Well, here is the long awaited "We finally met him" post.
Sorry for the delay, I was emotionally and physically drained!
We planned to start our day at about 3am in the morning to leave our apartment for the orphanage.
It is about a 6 hour drive.
We were so excited and still suffering from Jet Lag that we were all awake at 10:30 pm after trying to go to bed early. That backfired!
We got up and ate, watched some movies and packed everything up and waited for Sasha to arrive.
Here's a picture of the kids lovin on each other before we loaded up...
We left about 4 am or so I think and started the driving part of our journey.
It had snowed lightly overnight.
Lexi has been BEGGING God to let it snow so we can make a snowman together and play in the snow.
I just had to take a picture of the snow - this is on the car next to us
This was a long process!
Here we are in front of the door to the apartment building - last time as a family of 5!!
Austin, Alexis, Ayden and I were all in the back seat while Bryan rode in the front and Sasha drove.
I have told you before about the driving here...
It doesn't change even with snow, sleet and ice!
We encountered all of the above during this trip!
I told Sasha, thank you, you have brought me closer to the Lord today!
I said lots of flare prayers!Oh Dear Lord Jesus, please don't let me die!
The front seat of the car was broken somewhere causing it to bounce at every bump.
There are lots of bumpy roads here and we were cracking up at Bryan bouncing all around each time we found one! We were yelling "Yee Haw"
The kids said it looked like he was riding a bull! ha
Within the first 2 hours we had rain, snow and sleet... and a pull over...
Yep, we got pulled over -
not once, but twice!
Let's just say we were making record time.
He was fortunate enough to get off with a warning both times.
The police here are different in that they stand outside of their cars and on the shoulder with those things that they use at the airport to direct planes.. they wave them at you to have you pull over.
About 11 am we got to the orphanage.
I was a NERVOUS WRECK!
I was trembling.
I prayed for God to open Sergiy's heart to us coming and that he would be excited and comfortable.
I prayed for a good visit and for everyone to enjoy eachother.
God answered my prayers and then some!
We pulled up outside the orphanage and I realized that we didn't have his present out for him.
It is customary for you to bring a present to your child upon meeting them for the first time.
I had purchased an art set for him weeks ago back home but it was now packed away in the suitcase in the back of the trunk under about 5 other bags!
It was sleeting by now and we had everyone waiting on us including Sergiy.
Sasha thought it would be best to just go in and give it to him later.
I was so nervous about that.
I really wanted to get it out for him!
I didn't care if I got soaking wet doing so, I wanted him to have his gift.
I didn't want to break his heart or disappoint him.
We had to go in though.
Everyone was waiting...
As we got out of the car and walked up to the orphanage doors there were children outside sweeping the walk with these tiny little brooms that maybe go up to their knees.
They were working so hard to clear the sleet and water out of the way for us like we were something special.
I just wanted to say, don't worry about that! Go inside! Stay warm!
These kids will do anything to show their worth and please you.
They all hope you'll bring them home too or help find them a family.
I reluctantly went into the orphanage and not long after coming in and searching for him we were told that he was not there. He was in the other building.
I was sad that we had to delay it even if only for a few minutes but wait!
Maybe I can get the present then!
Since it was icy on the grounds and it was still sleeting with lots of wind Sasha decided to drive us to the other building. It is on the same lot but a good bit of walking distance in the sleet.
Sasha could see that it was really bothering me that we didn't have his gift so we put everyone in the car and dug through to get his present!
Made this Momma happy!
We drove over to the other building and hustled inside.
This was it!
The moment we had all be waiting for.
Counting down for.
I was finally going to meet my son in person!
I could finally see his sweet face!
Hug his precious little body and tell him in person "I love YOU"
I could hardly believe it was happening!
They led us into the play room where he sat hunched over looking as nervous as I was but excited at the same time.
He was in the room alone with one caretaker and here we came, his new family!
Bryan and I, Austin, Alexis and Ayden, Nina (our facilitator) and her driver as well as Sasha and a hoard of people from the orphanage.
I'm sure it must have been intimidating.
I immediately saw him and he was wearing the same shirt that he had on in the first picture we saw of him (only a bigger size) and I thought again.. that's my boy!
I said there he is!
He got up to greet us and we all hugged him and invited him to come sit on the couch so he could open his gift and we could start to relax and get to know eachother.
We sat down and I was shaking like crazy!
We opened his gift and he loved it.
I knew he would b/c I knew he liked art and spiderman, but there is always a doubt of will they like it?
Is this the right thing for him?
Will he know we put thought into this and care about what he cares about?
I was so worried about how he'd respond to us.
I hoped he'd be accepting and interactive and he was!
After opening it and showing him what all he could do with it I asked him if he would like to color on it..
Right there on my lap!
Made my day!
This is our first picture of him in real life!
Here's a few more - the kids were passing the camera taking pics :)
Our first picture as a family of 6
Look at his excitement!
So intent and focused on his drawing
I told Bryan we're gonna be in trouble with the girls in a few years...
Ayden had the camera this time
Don't they look just alike?
He looks like his Daddy!
After coloring we went over to a little play area they had behind the couch.
It is made for little kids...
He went over there at the request of his littlest brother, Ayden.
Ayden and Lexi were trying to play tea with him and he played along.
I packed up his present and took Austin and Bryan over with me to play.
The caretaker told him to sit on that little chair..
So, we all went and squashed those chairs!
I found a little fish in all those dishes so I asked him if he liked to fish.
He said yes he does, that he uses bread.
I told him we love to go fishing and that we could do that when we got home.
I also told him Erik, his best friend - now in America, has come to love fishing and that we'd have to go with his family in the spring too.
He was very excited about that!
I told him I don't like to eat the fish though..
So, I picked up the little pink fish with the tattered ends and pretended to eat it..
and then spit it out!
He liked that!
He laughed and laughed!
It was a quiet, contained laugh though and he looked around as though he wasn't allowed to laugh.
So, I did it again..
He burst out laughing that time!
Ahhhh, a true full on gut wrenching laugh!
Music to my ears!
I love this kid!
After a few times of doing that and breaking the ice a little more, I had to come up with something else..
Let's play hot potato only with a fish and pots!
Everyone loved it!
I wish I could have had someone videoing this happening.
It was so fun!
Sergiy was so enjoying playing with his parents and his siblings.
The joy and excitement in is face and his laugh is something I will never, ever forget!
I will treasure this day always in my heart!
He is really fond of his Daddy!
Papa as they call him here.
Every time he got the fish he would look to me then to his Daddy and nod and toss it up to him.
Alexis had to lean back so far to catch it one time that she flipped over backwards and of course we all rolled at that one!
She got so tickled she snorted and Sergiy burst out laughing so hard I thought he was going to cry!
We had a great time!
I remembered as we were winding down the hot fish game that we left the photo album we made for him in the car!
I asked Bryan to go grab it for him.
We didn't have anyone nearby to translate what was happening so as he got up and headed to Sasha and then out the door, Sergiy's facial expression changed.
He looked so sad and scared and worried!
What had he done?
Why was his Papa leaving?
I tried to reassure him everything was ok and Papa went to get him a gift!
I was now in the room alone with him, our other kids and our new facilitator, Nina who doesn't speak English (hence the translator who is with us now)..
His eyes look as though he is on the verge of tears and I am scrambling to figure out how on Earth to tell him everything is alright!
I ask Nina from across the room - do you speak English at all?
To which she replies no.
My heart sinks.
I try to distract him with cleaning up and then inviting him back to the couch.
He sees his present is back in the box and reaches to grab it and go.
I say "No, Sergiy, Papa will be right back, sit with me" as I patted the couch cushion.
He sat with me and finally, Bryan was back!
Sergiy's eyes lit up!
I had Sasha come over and help us tell him that this was a photo album of his family.
We went through all the pictures and explained who everyone was and some of the places they were taken and he was so intrigued.
After we were done he handed it back to Bryan.
I told him no, it's for you!
He took it back, hugged it and immediately went back through the pictures.
He recognized McDonalds and a picture of Bryan and I that we sent in a letter before.
He was so excited to tell me he knew that picture!
Here we are trying for a silly picture...
He didn't understand what I was saying, but cute smile anyway :)
This is the masterpiece he colored for me!