Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 12.3--Passports and the First Night Together!

Leaving the passport office. 

This was after getting their new birth certificates from their local region.  We then made the trip to the regional passport office almost two hours away.  Chris and Patty had to stay at the apartment because there wasn't enough room in one car and we didn't want to pay for two!  I REALLY didn't like leaving them there...I think I said about 3 prayers between the apartment and the orphanage because the feeling of driving away from them was not enjoyable.  I thought about how scattered my whole family was in that moment...two children here, two children there, four more on the other side of the world, Marsh at work...and I was in a car in between. 

Taking them out of the orphanage was done with no fanfare at all.  There was no time for them to change into new clothes, no siblings to greet them, no one there to say anything at all, actually.  No one but me.  So I hugged them both and we climbed into the car and drove away.  That was it.

Once in the car with the kids, I started to worry about my lack of ability to help them enjoy two hours on the road.  We decided to stop for water and ice cream.  Ruslan went right into his "help Alisa" mode...which I will be so grateful for until we are out of Ukraine...and beyond, I'm sure.  We climbed back into the car and I tried to make small talk.  The kids didn't know they were going as far as they were until they were in the car.  They also didn't know Chris and Patty wouldn't be with us today (neither did I...the day began unfolding at about 9:30 and things changed from moment to moment) and I was concerned about their level of happiness!

The ice cream helped, of course, but then my day took a turn I never imagined.  I always wondered when this would happen and how it would feel when it did.  I imagined what my response might be and vowed not to make a big deal of it.  I figured when the anticipated moment occurred, I'd play it really cool and act like it had always been that way.  I don't know why I ever try to presuppose anything about any situation or anyone...including myself...

When Ruslan finished his ice cream, he handed me the wrapper and said, "Here, Mom."  Did you catch that?  Here, MOM.  MOM!  He called me Mom.  I melted into a little puddle and said, "Oh, you called me Mom...thank you!" and tried really hard to stop myself as the words came literally tumbling out of my mouth.  So much for playing it cool.

He has been calling me Mom all day long.  Maybe it's because I really AM his mom now.  My name is on their birth certificates.  Could it be that he really understands the situation well enough to know that I am officially his mom as of today?  Time will tell what he knows, but for now I'm just thrilled he's willing to call me that.  I know if I had lost my mom when I was thirteen, I wouldn't have been willing to call anyone mom again...ever. 

In front of a sunflower field on the way back. 

I was sorry Chris and Patty wouldn't see the fields on the way to the regional office.  I have been on that road more times than I ever could have dreamt I would and even recognized towns and landmarks.  I knew when we were here in June that these fields would be blooming when we got back.  And, boy, were they!  I've never noticed before that sunflowers face east.  Am I the only person on the planet to not know this?  Acres and acres and acres and acres of sunflowers were growing and blooming and every single one of those flowers were facing east.  Perhaps that's why they are called sunflowers since the sun rises in the east...it's the only thing I can come up with.  If one of you smart people out there can share a better answer, please do.  I consider this quite a phenomenon!

We were traveling in the late afternoon and evening.  I had figured I would stop to get them something to eat before going home, but they wouldn't hear of it!  They wanted to head back to the apartment as soon as possible.  They must have been anticipating this night for how anxious they were.

My facilitator made a phone call on the way back.  During the call, Nastia kept hugging my arm and looking up at me.  I had no idea that she was reacting to the conversation my facilitator was having.  Apparently, she was speaking with the orphanage director who assumed the kids would sleep at the orphanage again.  I had already had this out with the facilitator...no one thinks I should be sleeping on the floor, but that was the only solution I could see for a group of five people to sleep in a one bedroom apartment.  I guess my facilitator said to the director, "She's their mother now and she refuses to bring them back to the orphanage or ever let them go again.  Since she's the mom, she gets to sleep on the floor if she wants!"  So, that is what Nastia was hearing.  :)  I'm so glad of it, too.

Patty anxiously waited for the opportunity to show Nastia her new wardrobe.  She had picked out an outfit for her and everything.  Nastia, of course, had a different idea of what she wants to wear tomorrow!

Every one is bathed and in clean, new clothes.  Boys are being boys and girls are being girls.  It was so much fun to have everyone together again!  Finally!

Ruslan has an incredible sense of humor.  It's a gift, really.  He keeps us laughing...like rolling on the floor laughing.  You can see here that Chris can't even keep a regular smile on his face when Ruslan is around.  He kept reading from this book of English phrases and he just has this way that cracks us all up!

Ruslan said, "Zero, zero, seven?"  Yep.

Spat, malcheekee! 
(Sleep, boys!)  I'm sure that's not gramatically correct, but they still seem to understand.  Too bad they can't actually follow through, though.  This is NOT sleeping.

And THIS is how well the girls did trying to go to sleep.  This may look subdued, but imagine them both popping up to see the picture once it's taken and then try another pose.  No sleeping here, either.

It was just one big slumber party tonight...giggling, tickling, Ruslan repeating everything Chris said in English (which, was HILARIOUS)!  I finally turned off all the lights and sang to them. 

Two hymns later (with an occasional "Girls!" or "Boys!" between phrases) they were quiet enough to drift off to sleep.  Which is exactly what I'm going to do now...

Tomorrow, we will have the goodbye party, deliver our donations and toys and take a train to Kyiv.  There will not be a blog post tomorrow because we will be on a train all night...maybe...we are still short two tickets.

Not a moment without adventure!


  1. adventure it has been for you and even for us as we read and see the wonderful pictures.
    Safe journey.

  2. I don't know exactly why the sunflower does that, but how neat! One of my favorite quotes:

    "My favorite flower is the sunflower. When I go for walks in the morning, I notice how the sunflower turns its face toward the sun. By evening, it has turned so that it faces the setting sun. I enjoy gathering my grandchildren around me and telling them how we can be like the sunflower: We need to turn our faces to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and follow Him. He is our light, and if we follow Him, we will be happy." Patricia Pinegar

  3. Love this post and the picture of the sunflowers with the kids is just fantastic.

  4. Alisa as I have watched you through this process I have seen tremendous growth. I think you and Marsh have worked through each trial of the adoption beautifully and now Alisa, you are in a foreign country with 4 kids BY YOURSELF! WOW! I know you have had to take a major leap of faith to do this. Look how much you have overcome and how much you have grown inside. Thank you for your example of faith and following the spirit. May the Lord bless you and the kids in your travels! Ruslon and Nastia are lucky to have you.