We are in the final hours. Our trip went smoothly except for only the smallest hiccup in Moscow. The printer stopped working at ticket counter for our connecting flight but after only a few moments, they had fixed the glitch and we were all set. "You are very lucky," we were told. "Normally, if it breaks it takes hours to fix and we wouldn't have been able to print your boarding passes." I don't know that we've ever been told that we were lucky while our feet have been on Russian soil. It was surprisingly delightful! * When we arrived at the hotel, we had just barely beat the torrential downpour that danced its way across the river. Another small blessing to not have had to pull our 130 stuffed animals and all our other luggage through the rain. We took our standard Sunday afternoon nap for a world record of six hours, got up, walked to a nice little restaurant and then to the grocery store to make sure our son had milk and yogurt, cheese and juice. The temperature is very cool here and I'm thankful that in my praying for wisdom on what to pack, I thought to grab some sweaters and long pants. It was so hot here last month that part of me thought it would be silly. Although, the time before that, only three months prior, the ground was covered in snow and ice and the river was frozen solid. Such changes in such a short amount of time.
As silly as it seems, there is a tiny, minuscule part of me that is a little sad to not have any more trips to Russia in the foreseeable future. There is a much, much greater part of me that is grateful to have this process behind us. More than anything I am relieved to leave this holding pattern of uncertainty and dive headlong into all the work and all the wonder of parenthood. This process has been a huge part of our lives for almost three years and now we get to dance to a new rhythm.
We have become masters at charades. When we ordered dinner tonight, our waitress did not understand what we were trying to communicate until Brock tappped his water glass and then wrapped both arms around his chest and shivered violently. She laughed and returned with a big bowl of ice. I would have thought that food would have been the most difficult thing to order, but thanks to bilingual menus, we are able to point. My favorite part is the way every waitress nods her head as if we've made a wonderful selection, and then repeats our order back to us...in Russian. We smile and nod and hope for the best. Last night I ordered, "chicken in the capital style" which turned out to be a piece of very done fried chicken breast.
Two years, seven months and eleven days ago, Brock came up quietly behind me, put his arms around me and whispered the words that have changed our lives. "I'm ready to adopt if you are." Nine hundred, fifty four days, almost one hundred thirty seven weeks, twenty two thousand eight hundred ninety six hours, one million, three hundred seventy three thousand, seven hundred sixty minutes, and approximately, eighty two million, four hundred twenty five thousand, six hundred seconds. We have been on forty three different flights and have three more to go. We have fallen in love with two small Russian boys and have the amazing privilege to take one home. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this journey would have taken the twists and turns that it did. I couldn't have conceived the number of people to whom we are forever indebted for helping us, praying for us and encouraging us to take one more step when we felt like we couldn't even crawl. (Granted, I couldn't "conceive" even one person!! :) We have experienced every possible emotion. And we will finish with tidal waves of gratitude, amazement and the greatest peace that this part is finished and we have finished well. We got discouraged, but never quit. We got angry, but never stopped trusting God. We got disheartened, fatigued and sorrowful, but we held on. "...if you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on until there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold On!..." Rudyard Kipling If
I am not in any way saying that WE did anything miraculous. Heaven knows that without the prayers and support of His people, we would have abandoned this a long time ago. I attribute all of our successes to His provisions of people and power.
In about three hours, we will walk into that baby home for the last time, bearing gifts and sweets and have a party with Daniel's caregivers and the other children and we will celebrate our family. We have had far too many days of mourning and heartache and today is the day of celebration and great rejoicing! Then we will walk out, with our forever son in our arms and bring him to his forever home. July 23, 2012 is Daniel's Gotcha Day. We will give him the best we can give him. We will shower him with love and affection and forever change not only his life but his legacy. But we are the lucky ones. We are the ones who have been chosen for this incredible privilege. For to love any child is a gift and the love of a child is the greatest measure of success.
It is finished...and then it will have just begun....