It’s been a while Blogland. Who knows if I still show up in your reader. If I do, I hope this update brings a smile to your face….
My Dearest Vera,
As we come upon our three year family day and your “gotcha” day I find it hard to put into words how different my life is with you in it. Different in a way that I could ever have imagined. Better than I had ever dreamt. More full then I could have ever hoped.
The day I met you is engrained in my memory. As I sat in the director’s office on the old green plush velvet sofa I listened intently and not all as they told me about the only thing that belonged to you. Your history; your story. The door to the room where we sat kept opening and closing. The translator was speaking quickly and with empathy. The door opened once again and I turned my head, this time in frustration. I was quite surprised when I looked and there you were. In the arms of a caregiver looking terrified but oh so cute. In that single moment the entire world became quiet and began to move in slow motion. As the emotions and the reality that you were in fact a real live little girl overcame me, I was overwhelmed at how tiny your frame was. You were so much smaller than I had imagined you to be. So fragile emotionally and physically.
After some coaxing and reassuring from the caregiver you came to see me and sat in my lap. The adults spoke to me some more and I really can’t remember what they said. But I do remember that the last words were “Do you still want to spend time meeting and getting to know this girl?”. My answer was a resounding “YES!”. We then walked over to your groupa where they were playing in the outside porch play area. You and I played alongside them for an hour or so. I still remember their faces and I often wonder where they are today.
Over the next 4 days we got to know each other more. I spent a couple of hours each morning and afternoon with you. By the time I left on Friday, you were reaching for me and smiling upon my arrivals and crying when I departed. That last goodbye hurt and your face seemed to know that I wasn’t going to be back that afternoon. You cried and fussed and my heart hurt in a way I had never felt before.
After two months of waiting I received an email the day after Labor Day. It was time to start planning my trip back to Russia for court. On September 21, 2011 I began the trek across the globe. After being away for 2.5 months there you were. You were much better at walking and also once again skeptical of me. You cried big tears of fear when I walked up to you. We went off by ourselves with my translator in tow. It took a minute or two but you stopped crying and we played and you let me love on you. Your smile upon my arrival the next day let me know that that you remembered me. I knew that all the praying I did for God to open your heart to love, to me, to family to our new life was in play. We spent a couple of days together and then I had to head back to Stavropol for court.
Court lasted two days. Monday September 26, 2011 and Tuesday September 27,2011. Day one was about 60 minutes of questions with a few people in the room. Day two was about 2.5 hours long with the room filled with many people who had your welfare in mind. They spoke of watching you and I interact and how you seemed to enjoy the one on one attention. They smiled and mentioned when they spoke how it was quite clear the passion I had when I spoke of you and my desire to adopt you and be your forever mommy. There were Dr.’s, lawyers, social workers, the baby house director and even one of the caregivers from the baby house there to speak on your behalf. They all agreed that they thought we should be a family. The judge excused herself after hearing from us all. Standing in that hallway by myself I was sure I felt the building sway back and forth. I was so scared. I never felt that scared in my life. What if the judge said NO? What if after all this I had to walk away from you and forget you? I knew that was impossible. I began praying. Praying like you do when your life is at stake. Because that is what it felt like to me.
Soon we were asked to enter the room for the judge’s decision. She spoke and I tried so hard to listen to my translator but it all sort of sounded like Charlie Brown’s mom speaking. Until he said “she has said yes and has granted your petition to adopt the girl. Now she is giving her answer on whether she will waive the 10 day waiting period.” In that moment, I wanted to cry and scream at the same time. I wanted to jump up and shout “YES!!!!” and punch my arm to sky! I wanted to pop open a champagne and celebrate with the whole room. But I stood there quietly as she finished. She waived the 10 day waiting period and told the baby house to get Vera ready as I would be there tomorrow to pick her up. Court ended and I thanked the judge and everyone else in the room with a smile and handshake.
I never took the obligatory picture in front of the court house. I wish I did. When I got back to the hotel I walked to the grocery store. I bought myself some champagne, cheese and salami and had a little solo celebration in my hotel room
The next day came we got to your baby house in record time (2.5 hours). It was 5:30 when we arrived. I quickly passed out gifts for everyone. I changed you out of the baby house clothes (which is protocol) and they fed one last bottle. The caregivers took out there cell phones and took some pictures of their own. They oohed and awed over your cute sweater and bow. They wished you luck and happiness. We walked out and you happily left that life and into your new one with me.
You cried a bit when we got into the car but you quickly found comfort in my arms. You laughed a lot while we waited in the airport for our flight to Moscow. You cried again on the bus on the way to the plane but many people spoke words to comfort you and that seemed to help. Several brought you over fruit to share. We arrived to a rainy night in Moscow. The rest of the story…. Well it follows the same line as the story I tell you about how we became a family. We saw Dr. Boris. We went to the embassy. We got your visa and on Saturday morning we got on a plane to the USA. You were the best travel companion. You just snuggled up to me and we cuddled and napped and watched tv on that long flight.
I was prepared for mourning at your end. For lots of tears, for rocking and thumb sucking over the next days and weeks but none of that ever came. Maybe you mourned in silence. If you did, I am sorry you went thru that. You put your trust in my hands when we left that baby house. I felt it there. Slowly your trust turned to love. Those fractures on your heart have healed. Love came in and healed the fear, sadness and need. You healed my heart too.
You are the bravest person I know. You are best daughter. Strangers tell me all time how polite and kind you are. You really are something special. Everyone who knows you can attest to that. So on this three year anniversary of our family. I want to let you know that I love you so much. At times I think of you and all you have gone thru and how lucky I am to be your mom and I cry. I cry because I am happy and I cry because I am sad you went thru that. Mostly I cry because the love I have for you Vera is something that all moms can understand. It is pure and hopeful and unwavering.
I love you Goosie.