We learned today that we will have a very small delay, but our document arrived from America! We are so grateful for our team at Adoption Alliance and our Social Worker Joan for getting that accomplished for us. We still have a couple more documents Dominick will take care of when he returns home which we will need for immigration, and then I might just be able to say "Hallelujah and Amen!" after 11 years of adoption paperwork! I told Dominick he needs to take me out just to celebrate that alone. I don't think I'll know what to do with myself without having some adoption document or another to prepare. Fear not though, there are always post-placement reports to file for years to come, readoption paperwork, social security applications to file...awww man...I just made myself depressed! Hahaha!
Our small delay is that we will not be going to court tomorrow, but at 2:00 PM the following day. Looks like we are likely to be this judge's last case in this position as she doesn't work the next day for the New Years holiday. So, we will be in court in the middle of your night! If anyone can't sleep at around 1:00 AM Mountain Time, send up a little prayer for us.
We had a fairly uneventful day, yet it was rich in small, quiet ways. We spent the morning working on school work with the boys, organizing the mad scramble of paperwork they had strewn all over the place. When I completed Matthew's log sheet for school I realized he had done a lot more than I had thought! It was nice to see all the boys spread out on the floor, working on writing, reading books and doing math worksheets together. We didn't end up going out until later for our visit with the girls after their classes were over.
Walking into the RBS it was immediately apparent that the power was out, and someone was working on the system. We were taken to the girls bedroom where they have a table in the center, and we were waiting for Irina to arrive after speaking with the medical staff about the girls medical reports. We have some questions and hope to get answers soon...nothing to worry about but typical translation issues with strange diagnosis we need to get a better understanding of.
Here in the soft evening light we all looked at a photo album Olesya showed us that was hers. It had in it pictures of her and Angela that we had sent, similar to the one Angela has. She named her friends shown in groups with her, and she had taken great care to arrange leaves around one of the pages, and little hearts cut out around others. It was then that Angela stopped tackling Matthew (these two are quite a pair and I am so pleased to see the obvious enjoyment they get from being with one another) and went to a drawer and pulled out a stack of something. She brought it to me and showed me every single letter I have ever sent them.
Five years unfolded before me on paper, as she took almost every letter out and wanted to show it to me. She pointed at the hearts I had drawn like a kid myself on the bottom of one, a rainbow picture Matthew had drawn and sent on another, and then showed Irina the first photos they had ever received of us. They were precious to her, they were a connection to someone who cared about them...they were worth every single moment it took to write and package them.
Seeing her face light up, watching as she so carefully directed me to look at certain ones and explained to Irina what they were, I saw so clearly that the girl we met the first week was not the one for whom these letters and photos were so treasured. This girl standing before me had already had her family in her heart for a very long time, had carried us in much the same way we had carried them all those years and miles away. Where we had their pictures on bulletin board and fridge, they had ours in albums and drawers, pulled out every so often to dream and hope of a very different future.
Someday I can't wait to talk with them both, when language has been acquired and distance has been placed between then and the new "now". I will share with them more deeply all that we have been through, all the sleepless nights, the confusion of that first week for all of us, the admiration for the ability to change course when "stuck" and reach out to try and trust a family one last time. I will ask when they lost hope that we were ever coming, and tell them how hard it was for us to keep hanging in there too...but that they were too important to give up on. Maybe they already sense that.
I have mulled over that terrible, heartbreaking first week, and believe it or not I am giving thanks for it now. I know, I am crazy...what else is new. But I sincerely believe we were largely at peace the entire time because some part of us knew it would be OK, even though I didn't really see it. I think that this very rough beginning took us to places emotionally with each other that would have taken months, if not years, to reach otherwise. I can see how in our effort to reach her and her to reach us, we all shared what our fears were in an honest and open way. I learned Angela is a person I deeply respect and with whom I can be the "straight shooter" I always am and she too will respect that in return.
We have an understanding, she and I, and the words were spoken out loud "You have to let us parent you and Olesya or it will never work...we WANT you to have the chance to be the child you have never really had the chance to be.", and that needed to be said. It is interesting to watch now as she plays with all the kids and has already immediately cast aside the aloof teenagerish attitude and squeals, wrestles, plays tag and giggles with the rest of the kids. I think she is overjoyed to be able to be the kid, and our assertiveness in taking over control of the decision once she reached out to us let her know that we ARE the parents, and we will make the best decisions possible for everyone...that she can trust us to be fair and loving in all we do, and now she can relax and not worry about being the grown up. I have no illusions that we won't be facing this issue again, but we are much further down the road because of our experience and she feels more certain that she is making the right choice for them as well.
Olesya is seeing quickly that Angela doesn't have to be the only one to mother her anymore, and as Angela relaxes in that role, Olesya is freer to be herself and not always feel tied to Angela's leading. This is healthier for both of them and hopefully it will continue when we get home. Olesya will take a bit to create her special place in our family, as Angela is such a tomboy and so easily fits in with the boys that Olesya will be the more typical girlie one. She is softer...but not too soft. She gets right in there with the horseplay with them all, but tends to hold back a bit and be less rambunctious. She is freer with physical affection and more comfortable with it...at moments in fact seems to gobble it up without being too clingy. I dearly love hearing her yell out "Anzhela!!". The gentle side is there, but she will definitely be able to keep up with the less-than-dainty antics of the boys (and Mom!) around her!!
But today, I had one of those subtle breakthroughs...the ones no one else notices but the participants while others are wandering around you. We got ready to leave, and the girls went down to the front door then out onto the steps in the dark. We all got quick hugs and just as I turned to head to the car, Angela grabbed me again and held on...and on...and a little tighter before letting me go and saying "Das Vadanya...Zaftra!"..."Good bye...tomorrow!" It was the first time she has truly let go with me, where I felt the shift deep inside of her almost as if she was saying all that words could not say. Yes, we understand one another, she and I. The love was there, the understandable fear had to be overcome. She knows too that I understand that her fears were very rational given her life experiences. The elephant in the room was acknowledged and shoved out of the way quite unceremoniously. It had to be, we have some loving and living to do, and we already have lost enough time.
Isn't God simply amazing? Isn't the power of love and forgiveness just the best thing in the entire world? The things God can turn around blow me away. Two weeks ago, I thought Angela was too stone-like too move. I was never mad at her, I was heartbroken for both the girls and us. I knew there was a kid inside there whom I had once known, but wasn't sure if she was too far distanced to ever reach. Two weeks ago I turned and watched through my tears to see Olesya's face pressed against the glass of a window as we drove away from them, all the while thinking it was the last time we would see one another again.
As I look back on it, we have climbed a bunch of Everest's to get to this place and time...but perhaps the biggest mountain ever was the one standing in the way of Angela's heart.
God moved that one too.
And we stand aside, part of it all, and shake our heads in wonder.