Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Where were you when you heard?"

Dear Roman,

Someone asked me yesterday where I was when I got the news that you were going to be our son.  How did I know that you were the baby for us?  What happened in the days between getting your referral and when we actually decided that you were the one for us?   I realized that I needed to write these things down, get them on paper because they are part of your story.  Time has a funny way of fuzzing up details that you swear you'd never forget.  I will never have an ultrasound picture to show you, or footprints of your tiny newborn baby feet.  I'll never have a studio photo session from the first few weeks you were alive, but I will always have that moment when I saw your little face and I knew that I knew that you were the son designed for us.  This story is what we do have for you and we will tell it to you as often as you want to hear it.  Your birth mother brought you into the world by God's design and that same design brought you into our family.  You were meant for us.  She didn't give you up because she didn't love you.  She wasn't in a place where she could have taken care of any child.  We are forever indebted to her that she carried you and was the vessel that God used to bring you into our life.  All the while you were growing in her womb, God was growing you in our hearts.  You were born two weeks before we decided to adopt you.  And I so wish that we had those first 20 months with you, but in the same respect, I am so grateful that we will have the rest of a lifetime with you.  However many days God has numbered for us.

In a strange way, your referral story starts a few weeks before we got your email.  Your dad had talked to Irina who is in charge of the Russian program of Buckner and Dillon.  We both were so frustrated because you were still just in the paper stage.  Dad told her that he just wanted to feel like there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  She told him that she was going to send a referral for a little boy that they had just gotten.  We waited and waited and the next time we talked to her, she told us that she was so incredibly sorry but that boy had been referred to another family first.  In a strange way, we had peace.  For some reason, neither of us felt particularly excited about that child.  We couldn't explain it.  We didn't have a picture or medical background, but there was just a catch in our spirit that something didn't feel right.  We had prayed that if that wasn't the right child for us that the LORD would make that abundantly clear to us.  The agency has been wonderful about explaining that some families pass on referrals for a myraid of reasons and they completely understand.  I had told your father that I was worried because I didn't know if I could say no to a referral-all these children need homes and how could we not accept one of them?   So the way we see it, God took care of it for us.  He knew you were coming.

On Friday, May 13th (that's right! Friday the 13th) I was in the basement working out with P90X.  It was kicking my booty and I sat down for a minute to catch my breath.  I had my phone with me and decided that checking my email would provide enough distraction when I saw Irina's email.  "Referral"!  I jumped out of the seat and my shaking fingers couldn't open the email fast enough.  I kept repeating, "don't look at the picture, don't look at the picture" because we were told to read the medical information first before we were to look at a picture.  But there your photo was.  Blue eyes glowing.  Now, by now, you will probably know that I have absolutely no knack whatsoever for seeing similiarities in people.  I usually just smile politely when someone says, "Doesn't he look like his dad?" or "She has her mother's eyes".  In this, I am not gifted unless I study someone for a long time and, well, let's face it, that's just kinda creepy.  However, the first picture I saw of you, all I could see was that you had your Dad's eyes.  Now, I know that genetically, that's really not possible.  But I do know this.  God knew you were supposed to be ours and I happen to think that he pasted Dad's eyeballs on your sweet, little face.  I called your father and apparently I used a voice that only dogs could understand.  I had to repeat myself three or four times before I finally managed to speak intelligbly enough for him to understand.  "We got a referral!  For a baby!  And he is beautiful!  I didn't mean to look, but he is beautiful!  He has your eyes!  He looks like our baby!"

We had decided not to tell anyone until we could talk to a doctor and decipher what all the strange medical terms we got on your referral meant.  Even wikapedia didn't help us!  We asked a friend who was very familiar with medical terms and he gave us a very grim report.  "He probably has XYZ caused by ABC"  He did say though that the report was worded very strangely, though.  We were  scared.  That night, I had fitful sleep and your dad didn't sleep much at all.  He emailed a woman, Janet, with whom he had been sharing our story at 8:15 that night.  He didn't tell me because he wanted to know what she had to say first.  She had also adopted her son from Russia and had gotten a terrible diagnosis which turned out to be bogus.  You see, Roman, from what we've read and studied the Russian goverment doesn't want to adopt their healthy children outside the country.  The doctors in these orphanages know this, but they also know the chances that an orphan has growing up in an orphanage and what is likely to happen when they are released from the orphanage.  So these doctors will create a false diagnosis and word it a certain way so that other doctors who know the way the system works can decipher it.   It all seems so spy-like and double agent-y.  Janet responded about 11:30 and it wasn't until 2 am that Brock read her response.  He woke me up to read it to me.  She told us not to worry about it yet.  That our concerns were completely understandable but that we needed to talk to a peditrician who has experience with Eastern European children.  "Let me guess" she said.  "They told you that he had XYZ that was caused by ABC.  That's what they say on all of them."  She gave us the name of her doctor and we faxed up a copy of the referral and he responded within a few hours that, other than being a premie, he didn't see anything alarming.  And even though you were born at 32 weeks, your height and weight looked very good.  I guess you needed that extra insulation since you lived above the Arctic Circle.  My poor boy.  I'm afraid you are going to melt when you get to Southeast Missouri.

So now, after five trips to the Secretary of State office so they could apostille 44 documents (apostille: verb  the process by which the government charges you $10 a document to notarize a notary.  I guess the great state of Missouri wants their piece of the Gorby Fund too!)  countless phone calls to several agency representatives (Irinia was in Russia during this time) and one near disater at Fed Ex (the fed-ex guy put our documents in another guy's envelope and at the last second decided he needed to double check it!), we have nothing to do but wait for a travel date.  Well, that and get your room ready.  And raise $20,000.  But thankfully, we are dealing with "God-conomics".  It's more obedience based than anything else.  He's the one who fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish.  I can't wait to tell you the stories of the people who are playing a part in your life!  You have been one celebrated little man!  And every time there has been a hiccup or a situation that has caused any frustration, we both take a deep breath and turn our phones on.  Your picture is both of our screen savers.  We see those little dimples and your pudgy little wristcles and all is right again.  We're coming for you, buddy. 

I love you to the sun and down again.  Around the moon and down again.  And all the way to Russia and back again.  And back to Russia again and back again...again.

You are our miracle,

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