Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Brothers, Free at Last!

 The two most memorable, newsworthy days in international adoption (in my opinion) are the day that the parents first meet their children, and Gotcha Day (the day when the parents are finally allowed to take the children into their custody).  Well, March 5th was our Gotcha Day, and I apologize for keeping you all in suspense until now for updates on such a memorable day!  If you can imagine, I've been a bit busy!  

Well, in keeping with the yes-maybe-no, hurry-up-and-wait, it's-impossible-oh-wait-we-can-do-that-right-away nature of international adoption in this country, we were kept in suspense right up until the very last moment about whether we would even actually have Gotcha Day on Monday.  The night before, I had our bags all packed when I was informed that perhaps the boys' passports might not actually be available on Monday after all; it might actually be Tuesday instead.  Well, the problem with that would be that Thursday is Women's Day, a great big deal national holiday, and everything shuts down for Women's Day.  And if we didn't get passports until Tuesday, we would run into a big four-day shutdown of everything (due to this holiday) and would not be able to complete our embassy appointments until next Monday or Tuesday.  

As you can see from these pictures, we did end up getting the boys out on Monday, but all morning on Monday we were waiting breathlessly for news of whether today was the day or if we should go unpack and spend another day staring at the walls of our hotel room, fuming and fussing and trying to remember to take deep, calming breaths so that our screams would not scare the villagers.  Yes, it really does reach that point when you are the proud parent of one of the longest adoption processes ever to take place in this country.  (We will be at 76 days from the time we left home for our SDA appointment until the time we land on US soil with the boys).  

Thankfully somebody at the passport office was convinced to come to work on Monday and hand over the passports to us, even though Monday was supposed to be her day off.  So once we heard that yes, she would agree to meet us at the passport office, but hurry up and come right away, before she decided to leave again, we all jumped into high gear.  

The passport office was an hour from the village, so we had to buy train tickets, get the boys out of the institution, drive through a snow storm to the passport office, get the passports, and get to the train station.  All very rush-rush.  Not quite the sweet, leisurely photo-worthy moments I was imagining, so I am afraid I don't have too much to show you.  Fortunately, my mom is brilliant and whips out her camera when I am too distracted to even think about commemorating an event.  Otherwise I probably wouldn't have any pictures of Gotcha Day!  

One neat little detail:  March 5th is my dad's birthday.  He died when I was nine years old, and every year I miss him so much on this particular day.  My dad was adopted, and I think he would have been very happy to have met his newest grandsons.  He would have been a fabulous grandpa.  Now I will always be able to remember two very special days at the same time.  (Actually, March 5th also happens to be my brother's birthday . . . so three special events in one!  Can't leave that detail out!  Happy Birthday, Frank!  Love you, Buddy!)
Heading into the institution, with our facilitator, driver, and
the social worker

signing paperwork to transfer custody of the boys to me

I had been hoping to dress the boys, but that was
not allowed.  The nannies took the boys' new clothes
and brought the boys out to me all ready to go!
This is Gideon, straining toward the front door,
as a nanny held him back.  He was so ready to get out
of there!  And that is me struggling to put Micah's coat
on in the background, as he thrashed and yelled
in terror at this sudden turn of events.

Free at last!  Gideon busy taking in every little thing all around him,
and Micah starting to really get worried.  He does NOT like
being outside!  (But notice his adorable owl hat?  Thanks, Sarah!
It is SO cute on him!)

Hello, world!

So glad to finally meet you, big wide wonderful world!
Go away, world!
Mama, this is so scary!  We are outside AND this car is moving
AND you are hugging me!  

Our very patient driver and my mom waited with the boys at
the train station while I went with our facilitator to get our
train tickets and buy some food . . . Micah was calm once we
got inside this waiting room, which made the room well worth
the 40 grivna per hour they charged for its use, I would say!

Proud parenting moment:  my son's first meal with me was
chicken nuggets on the train.  Not quite what I had planned,
but oh well!  He liked them!
He loved to dip the potato wedges into the sauce!
Too cute!  What is it about dipping that kids love so much?

Serious but quiet once we were in our quiet little train
compartment.  Praise the Lord!  I had been picturing a 15 hour
crying jag!  But Micah was quiet for the whole ride.
My first glimpse of Micah's self-soothing habits . . .
he does this A LOT.

Micah's stubborn look after refusing to try Mama's soup,
rice cereal, plain water, and baby food.  He is glaring at
the bottle I am offering.  
Micah looks at his fingers to calm himself down
Gideon loved looking out the window of the train!

Love his wide-eyed wonder!
(And yes, we were able to fix that curtain rod!)

Gideon was very calm and happy on the train
He looks like such a big boy in this picture!  I love it!
He doesn't like my flash, but Gideon sure was enjoying
some banana bread before bed (thanks, Jolene!
He loves it!)
Micah squirmed around and around in circles, trying to get
comfortable in his little nest of pillows on the train bench
He doesn't know it yet, but he is TERR...IFIC!
Aw, there's that sweet grin!  As long as we are not outside,
Micah tries to be cheerful, but he is so very overwhelmed
by everything right now.

Sweet boys in their new pajamas
Gideon was so sweet and happy and wound-up at bedtime!
Can you even imagine all of the changes he is trying to wrap
his mind around at this point?  He knows he likes being out
of that place, though, that is for sure!  Here he was, trying
to pretend to sleep.
Um, I know you're not really sleeping, buddy!
Okay, now he really was settling down to sleep.
Goodnight, little boys!  Mama loves you!

Our first day together!  Stay tuned for the next chapter . . . 


Marie said...

Sooooo glad to hear that Micah has not screamed the entire trip thus far... still praying that he will eat and drink for you!

Jill said...

WOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!! CONGRATS!!!! What a day, huh? Wow! Gideon is such a champ! Dippin' like he's done it his whole life. :-) It was fun to see Arturo holding Gideon too. LOL I guess driving for all of these adoptions has softened him up a bit.

Anyway, so very, very, VERY happy for you and the boys! Praying went well at the embassy. You must be just about on your way home now. Praying for sweet Micah. SO glad the hat fit ok. Sarah was very concerned about it. Looks super cute. Oh, and I'm jealous you got to meet Jolene too. :-) They were on furlough when I was there. Blessings to you!

Laura said...

Gideon cracks me up! What a silly boy. Micah breaks my heart. :( Sweet baby...

Holly said...

WOOHOO! You got the boys!! I am so excited for you guys and for them!! YAY!

Anonymous said...

Yay!! Congratulations!!! Your mom did a great job taking pictures!! Thanks for sharing!! I praise God for you & your family.
Jennifer S.

Sherry White said...

They look so cute in their new clothes and PJ' someone's sons! :) What a joy to see Gideon taking in the world around him. He is clearly LOVING his new life! :) And sweet, precious Micah...not so much just yet. But how great to see him smile, even a little bit. I can't wait to know they're finally home and have all the time in the world to adjust to life with a family who loves them. Please know that I'm praying for you as you get ready to fly. Hopefully on the plane Micah will feel like he's safe & cozy indoors.

Randi said...

Loving this post! :)

Jolene said...

Oh, my goodness... I love this post!!! Such a special day, and it really made me smile to see that Gideon liked his banana bread. :o) Wish we could have done so much more for you.

Congratulations on officially becoming parents again. I pray all of the best for you and these two sweet boys and their new lives! You guys are just truly awesome, and it was such a pleasure to meet you!

Nealy said...

Praising God it all came together and a glorious Gotcha Day of March 5 - special day forever! SO very happy for you and the boys. Grateful Micah is straining to be content. Praying you can get him to eat. May our precious Lord Jesus protect you throughout the remainder of your journey and as you settle them into their new home - a real home! Thank you for taking the giant leap of faith for these two precious boys!

Eve Stein said...

Yay!! :D