Our Adoption Journey (Part 3)

I feel certain some of you may have thought I just forgot to finish posting on our adoption journey. I do tend to be very forgetful these days. However, this time of year will always be memorable for me. So, no, I didn’t forget. I just thought it might be more meaningful if I traveled these sweet memories on the actual dates in which they occurred (3 years ago, of course).

So, with that being said, I’ll pick up where I left off…

September 19, 2004

We had come back home after visiting our Ben in Russia on September 5th. As I mentioned previously, it was tough leaving our son behind, yet we were so anxious to return home to Anna Katherine. We were thrilled to find out that our wait between trips would be just 2 weeks. Realizing some couples wait up to 3 months, we were truly counting our blessings and thanking God for answering our prayers.

Those two weeks were a wonderful time for us to make final preparations for our little guy’s arrival. It was also a time of preparation for Anna Katherine. As excited as she was about the idea of a baby brother joining our family, we knew it would be quite an adjustment, as she had been an only child for 7 years. Looking back, we had little to worry about. She welcomed Ben into our home and loved him as if her life had been incomplete without him in it. (Of course, these days they both tend to get on each other’s nerves fairly frequently, but they wouldn’t be normal kids if they didn’t!)

So after the two week waiting period, we boarded a plane on Sunday morning, September 19, 2004, to return to Moscow. I vividly remember dropping Anna Katherine off with Nana & Pop at church and watching her in my rear view mirror as she walked across the parking lot with them. It was one of those moments in life where you know you’ll forever keep a “snapshot memory.” It was a bittersweet moment, realizing that it was the last time I would see her as my one & only child. Yet it was a joyous moment, as well, knowing that the next time I would see her face to face would be when I introduced her to her baby brother.

We arrived in Moscow the following day and were excited to be reunited with our friends, Andy & Jeanne, whom we had met on our previous trip. They, too, were adopting from the same orphanage. However, they were returning to pick up TWO babies. I know I may have mentioned this before, but it truly was such a blessing having them alongside of us on this journey. We shared thoughts, frustrations, fears, laughter, and even some tears together. Best of all, we shared a life-changing miracle together. Actually, not just “A LIFE” was changed, but I’m guessing hundreds of lives have been changed because of the addition of these three children in both of our families.

When we arrived at the airport in Moscow, we discovered one of our bags had not made it on the connecting flight from Paris. And wouldn’t you know, it was the piece of luggage that was carrying our “dress clothes” for our scheduled court date. I telephoned back home and asked that they pray about that, and God was faithful…the luggage arrived the next morning at 6:00 a.m., just shortly before we were to check out and travel to the orphanage.

We could hardly wait to see our sweet baby boy again. We were hoping he might have a vague memory of us. But we knew that even if he didn’t, he would probably warm up to us again. Because we had FOOD!!!! And that seemed to work like magic on our first visit. We had also left a stuffed animal for him and a tape recorder with our voices on it. (This was not our idea…it was a recommendation made by a friend who had adopted the previous year.) I feel certain that if those orphanage nannies actually played that tape for Ben, they all got a nice laugh out of it. (I can just imagine them sitting in their rocking chairs, simultaneously nodding and speaking in their heavy Russian accent, “you might be a redneck if…”). And if,by chance, they didn’t play it for him, that’s okay, he’ll have an opportunity to hear it someday in the future. (Since they gave that priceless audio gem back to me on our second visit.) Now he can get a good laugh out of it, too!

Our adoption agency scheduled for us to go to the orphanage for a visit with Ben on Tuesday, September 21st. This would be the only visit we would have with him before our scheduled court date on Wednesday, September 22nd (ADOPTION DAY). (To say that we were a little nervous about that court appearance would be the understatement of this century. It would be the equivalent of saying that Bill Gates has made a little bit of money working with computers.) The idea of standing in front of a Russian judge, social worker, and attorney, while being questioned in a language that was oh-so-foreign to us was enough to make us both sick to our stomachs. But I think by this point in the journey, we were willing to do whatever was necessary to take our son home.

Here are some photos from our final moments with Ben the day before we were officially named his legal parents.



By the way, we didn’t get to see him again until all the paperwork was processed and his passport was complete. So when we left him on Tuesday afternoon, we didn’t get to see him again until Friday!!! But that Friday was a glorious day, and I’ll post more about that later!

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