|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.
|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 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.