We had been waiting a long time to meet you. It had been about a year and a half from starting our adoption paperwork - but it had been about 7 years that we had been longing to become parents. Empty arms for 7 years. And then the day finally came.
When the phone rang, we couldn't believe it. Finally! There was good news and bad news. The good news was - we had a referral. A referral. We had requested 2 children and there was only 1. She said, 'There is not another child available at this time'. Then she told us that this region in Russia gave semi-blind referrals, which meant that there was limited medical information and no picture.
So she e-mailed us the information. We called our International Adoption Specialist to review the information. He said things looked pretty good, so we accepted the referral and began our travel plans. A few days before we were to leave, we got another phone call.
"I have good news and bad news. The bad news is, that referral is no longer available but there are 2 more available now. You can pick from a 3 year old boy or a 1 year old boy."
"Why isn't the first referral available?"
"I honestly don't know, we got a call from Russia. They are saying there was a medical condition."
"Can we consider both since we requested 2?"
"Not at this time."
"I'm not really sure, our facilitator in Russia said you could only adopt one."
She went into more detail about how this region in Russia worked, and then since she worked for a Christian agency, she reminded us that God always has a plan even when it doesn't make sense....
And so she e-mailed us the information. Again. We called the IA Specialist. Again. He said both read well on paper (again - no pictures) but all things considered, he would encourage us to accept the younger one. Simply because typically younger children can overcome being institutionalized easeir than older chilren.
So we accepted the 1 year old referral and got on the plane a few days later.
After many, many hours traveling to the other side of the world, we arrived in Siberia. Exhausted and culture-shocked. But ready to see our baby. The orphanage was 2 1/2 hours from our hotel. That seemed like the longest ride of our lives!
Upon arriving at the orphanage, the ladies in white coats immediately brought the child to us. They were so excited to show him to us. They encouraged us to play with him. He was cute as a button - but there was no attachment. I knew he wasn't our son. I tried to force a smile. I glanced at my husband and knew he was thinking the same thing. We both felt like we were babysitting someone else's child.
After some time of trying to bond with this child (we really did try), the ladies in white coats were picking up on our discomfort. They were all talking - in Russian of course. Even our translator was talking with them. No one would look at us.
I couldn't believe what was happening. We just traveled all this way and waited all this time for - nothing? I had never been a parent before, did I not have the "mommy feeling" right? Why did God bring us here if things weren't going to work out?
We were devastated.
They took the child out of the room and we sat there in silence. Finally, the white coats stopped talking and our translator said, "Well, the 3 year old boy is still available, would you like to get some more information on him?" We agreed. She said, "We will have to come back tomorrow to see him, it is too late in the day now. But we can talk about him tonight."
So we got out our notebooks and pens and listened to the translator. A few things we asked for clarification on. A few times they answered us. Once they did not. The white coats ignored us again and talked and talked and talked - in Russian. Our translator was not translating.
Finally, she said, "The doctor will be right back, she is going to get more information for you." And so we sat in silence again.
A few minutes later, our translator said, "Look" and motioned toward the doorway. We turned and there you were. Our son. You were standing there looking at your feet, holding the doctor's hand. You glanced up at us and then ran straight to your daddy's lap and buried your head in his shoulder. I was immediately crying hysterically. Your daddy said, "You've got to stop crying, you're going to scare him!"
There was no doubt that you were meant to be ours. None. You weren't "perfect". You were 3. An older child. Your teeth were a rotten mess. You waddled intstead of walked. You had blue tights and girl shoes on. But when we looked into each others' eyes, we knew God had brought us all the way here just for you.
The hardest thing we ever had to do was say goodbye to you. We had to come back to the States and wait on who-knows-what paperwork to be completed. When you walked down the orphange hallway, your back to us, holding that doctor's hand as we waved goodbye - I didn't know if I'd be able to breathe. A piece of my heart was left there that day.
Four long months later, we went back to the orphanage bring you home. No looking back that time! You honestly never looked back. The smile of joy on your face was unbelievable. Ours too :)
It was a long journey home with a scared 3 year old. But for some reason, you trusted us. Oh you cried and cried and cried for most of the plane ride home, but we made it. And when that plane touched down on US soil, I think we all breathed a sigh of relief.
We will always be grateful to Russia for giving us our son. But even moreso, we are grateful to God. I still don't know why you could not be born of our bodies or why we had to be separated from each other for 3 years. There are scars there that will never go away - for you and for us. But this was God's plan all along - every detail of it. God doesn't make mistakes and He's never late. Even when bringing families together.
And God had another surprise for us as well. That second child we requested? She came home from Guatemala a year after our son came home from Russia. We had the wrong country and the wrong timing for our other child, but God knew that!
Life is not always what you expect - but when you trust in the Lord God Almighty, He will never let you down. Our journey to parenthood is not what we expected - but it has been way beyond our wildest imagination!