You know, I had kind of felt sorry and even worried for a while. We have become dear, dear friends with the families who have adopted, and are still in the process of adopting, from our hosting group. We also had the privilege, at our first SDA appointment in April, to meet and become good friends with a wonderful couple from New York who were adopting out of another region. In all of these instances as we have kept up on the progress of all these families, we were reading about how their children were running to them and throwing their arms around them. Or how they would snuggle up to their new found parents and not want to let go. Our kids just weren't like that.
Honestly, they are more like our own biological children, as Marsh pointed out. Our kids are so loving, but somewhat reserved and are not comfortable just throwing their arms around people they don't know very well. However, when our kids are comfortable, they are very demonstrative and affectionate. Marsh, always the cool head, reminded me of this similarity when I was unwisely comparing our situation and our children and ourselves to everyone else. Good thing he's around.
Well, today, after arriving at about 9:30am in our orphanage region via an overnight train, we were taken to our apartment to kind of settle in. Our driver came for us at 11am to take us to the orphanage. Since it is Saturday, the gates were locked and the normal staff wasn't there. However, we had been given permission to visit and we were able to walk through a gate onto the grounds.
Our driver started talking with an adult orphanage worker who was nearby with some toddlers while Marsh and I stood on the path. Suddenly, there was Nastia literally running at us with open arms and the biggest smile on her face that I have yet seen! She ran right over to me and threw her arms around me. We hugged and hugged until she ran off to get Ruslan. I was so thrilled and I thought about how concerned I had been for no reason. Once she had run off, I couldn't decide if I wanted to cry over her hug more than seeing those orphaned toddlers or the other way around.
Ruslan was inside so we ended up walking to the building, me sniveling and Marsh trying to remind me that I need to pull myself together. He was so happy and talkative and Nastia looked like she was just going to burst. I think Marsh and I were both surprised at how happy and excited they were to see us. It's not that that weren't happy before, it's just that this time there didn't seem to be any barriers.
A couple of weeks ago when we were realizing that things were not working in the timeframe we had hoped, I wrote the kids a letter. I wrote it using Google Translate and sent them both the English and Russian versions...both two pages long...and sent each of them a copy so neither of them would be left out. I pretty much dumped out the kid-version of the details of what we were going through and let them know we were anxiously waiting to be able to come see them again.
My first real question to them was whether they had gotten the letters. Yes, they had. Did they understand them? Ruslan smiled and said, "The translation was funny!" I figured. But, at least they knew we were coming for them.
During the course of our conversations, we helped them understand what we are dealing with, showed them on the calendar what our schedule looks like, explained that we had to go back home again (that made Ruslan very sad...I think he thought this was it, that we would be here until court and then everything would be finalized), found out from Ruslan that two of his three best friends were adopted away...one into Washington state...and helped them mentally prepare for saying goodbye to friends about mid to late July. We also discussed their goodbye gifts and will be making photo albums to leave with their friends. They liked that idea.
I think, overall, I was wrong. I had been saying to Marsh that I didn't think they would be too anxious, that they are pretty well settled into their lives there and aren't pining away for us. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be in their situation and I just assumed that, as kids, they would find it more uncomfortable to think of leaving than staying. But, seeing their reactions to us today, their deep disappointment at the fact that the waiting isn't over yet, their joy in our reunion and the obvious bond that is forming and has formed, I was wrong. It hurts my heart to know that it is hard for them...harder than I realized...to wait and hope just to have things put off again and again. It's hard for them in a different way than it is for us...and yet it is also the same.
It's hard for our children at home, too. Hard in different ways than it is for all the rest of us and yet the same. We all share the same, aching desire to be home together moving forward with this new way of life we are all anticipating and have been looking forward to for a year now.
Ruslan was in our home a year ago this July. By the time he's home for good, it will probably be at about the year mark. We have a lot of time to make up for.
We spent the rest of the time doing our boy/girl things. We girls making fabric flowers and designing headbands and the boys building a ship that, luckily, doesn't require glue, nails or hammers. :) It was something I had hoped to send to Ruslan for Christmas, but the family who was going to take it ended up not going. I think it served a much better purpose today. It was much more fun for him to do it with his new dad than to do it alone, I'm sure!
It was a lovely day and a wonderful reunion. Tomorrow we will have the same privilege.
I will post pictures as soon as possible. Our internet is unreliable right now and Marsh needs to spend the rest of the day writing on this computer.
We love you all! Better publish this while I can...it's taken three drafts to get to this point! :)