The very first picture I saw of our sweet son took my breath away. He had the clearest blue eyes and all I could think was that they had the same shape as Brock's. The next picture I saw of him, he was smiling his little turtleneck had his shirtsleeves carefully rolled up to reveal fat little hands with dimples at each knuckle. Wristcles, Brock calls them. They are like cankles for your arms! Not desirable for adults, but the cutest thing ever on babies! This was far more than we had dared dreamed. Wristcles meant that our son was getting enough to eat and smiles meant that he hadn't emotionally checked out. Praise the LORD who is able to do abundantly more than what we asked!!
Our report showed that Roman (which is his Russian name and will be his Williams name, too) lives in Murmansk and then later we found out, a little more accurately, Apatity. Suffice it to say that he lives near the border of Finland, very close to the artic circle. Poor baby is going to melt when we bring him home!! The good thing about Apatity is that it is a fairly affluent town, by Russian standards. The orphanage is newer and very well maintained. We also found out that his mother was "socially disadvantaged" which is the main reason that so many children are in orphanges over there.
In order to get to him, we will have to take about an 18 hour plane ride to St. Petersburg and then a 29 hour train ride to Murmansk and then Apatity is another 185 Kilometers south of Murmansk. When we go the second time to pick him up, we have to go to Moscow to appear before the judge and that trip will be a 40 hour train ride! We could fly, but the cost difference is several hundred dollars and this will give us an opportunity to see the country side which we hear is absolutely breathtaking. In the next few days, we should know when we will travel the first time to go meet him. It should be sometime in July and then about six to eight weeks later, we will travel back so that we can bring him home. I know it's been 18 months in the making, but it feels like we are in fast forward right now!
Roman was born on 11-27-2009 which is about two weeks before we decided to adopt. I had thought that we were pregnant and when we found out that we weren't I, of course, was devestated. Brock told me that he couldn't watch my heart break like that anymore and if I was ready to adopt, then he was, too. Little did we know that a child WAS in exisistence, just not in the traditional "grow your family" kind of way. As we've said for months now: We finally realized that God wasn't saying "no" to us, but "YES!" to a child on the other side of the world who had next to nothing. I still can't wrap my brain around the fact that we are the vessels being used to bring this child, who was on the track to being on the streets when he turned 17, to America where he will enjoy all of the freedoms that so many of us take for granted. Because the LORD chose us, Roman will have the opportunity to get an education, have a warm bed to sleep in every night and parents that would lay down their lives for him. He will have the opportunity to learn to read and chances to develop whatever talents that God has given him. He will get to go to the library and the park and Cardinal baseball games (he already has the outfit!) and Mizzou football games (again another outfit) He will have the chance to learn to drive a tractor from Grandpa Rudy and maybe even help Grandma Pam in the garden. He will get to vacation in Texas and play hard with his cousins there. He can build forts and "float the Frio" and have his Papa teach him how to swing a hammer. His Bammie will help him color and feed his imagination. He can decorate Christmas cookies and his daddy will teach him how to throw a baseball (his mommy sure can't!) He will get to go on campouts and fishin' trips and the children's museum. He will get to go to the ocean and the mountains and hopefully even Hawaii! (okay that's just as much about us!) He will get to go to church and learn songs and stories that tell him that he is a precious treasure and He is dearly loved by His heavenly Father. And when he is 17, he can worry about prom and earning gas money for Friday night and not have to worry about where his next meal is coming from and if he will be able to find a warm place to stay at night. And even through all of this, even though we are being used to dramatically alter the course of his life, we feel like the lucky ones. WE are the ones who feel blessed beyond our wildest dreams. It is our greatest privilege.
Many of you have asked what we need in the coming months. We are still needing to raise some more money. We have raised over $25,000 through Scentsy, my handmade jewelry and generous gifts given by family and friends. It's actually been really fun to see how God has provided everything we've needed at the exact time that we have needed it! We will be doing some more fundraisers in the coming months. If you would like to partner with us in getting Roman "Gorby" home, there are several ways you can help:
**Consider buying your Christmas presents in June this year with Scentsy. They make wonderful gifts for your loved ones and can be shipped right to you. And you can take a huge load of stress of yourself during the holiday times this year! Go to https://ashleywilliams.scentsy.us/ to check out all of our warmers and wax.
**We are getting some teddy bears with custom shirts that read "I helped bring Roman "Gorby" Williams home!" and are selling them for a minimum donation of $20. They are plush and super cute!! We will let you know more details.
**Also, "Change a Life". I have several baby bottles that were donated that we are giving to people to throw their spare change into for 40 days. If you live in this area, you can just bring the bottle by at the end of your 40 days and we will roll it. I think you would be amazed at what God can do with your pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. And this makes a much bigger impact than sitting it sitting in the console of your car! :)
**Pray with us that God will continue to stir people's hearts to want to be a part of changing our son's life forever! More than anything, we need your prayers!
I believe we will do another motorcycle ride "Ride for the Russian" before too long, selling Krispy Kreme donuts and maybe even another "Picture a Blessing"! We will keep your updated!
Our contact information is:
Brock and Ashley Williams
PO Box 86
Bloomfield MO 63825
Phone # 573-568-9875
I want to close with this: We have been completely overwhelmed by the excitement that our family and friends have shown us. Many of you have said that you were moved to tears when you saw Roman's picture. We are so grateful to be part of such a community, not just geographically , of people who have rejoiced when we rejoiced! Each of you have served us by accentuating our gratitude. Every emotion that we have felt in regard to this adoption has been so acute and this is no exception!
Thank you all!