This year flew by. Most years of parenting do, but wow, this one really did.
A year ago today I spent all day waiting for that phone call. The one where our facilitator would say he had our boy's passport and we were ready to break him free; to start our new lives together.
That phone call did not come until 5 pm. The sun goes down in the fall/winter in Ukraine at 3:45 pm, so it was quite dark. We headed to the bank, then back to get my stuff and give the keys to the landlord ("What do you call in English?" "Landlord." "OK... like Lord of all Laaaaand!" -me and Niko, haha) Then we went to the orphanage to get my boy! We went to the office, handed them our donations, and I left baby Sam with Niko and the others while I went to get Maks changed into his own clothes. 75 layers of them, of course. He was not in his regular groupa's room, all the kids were gathered around for story time in another room. I got to see some kids I hadn't seen before. They were all so sweet and happy.
We went into that groupa's bedrooms, which was full of cribs with no sheets. I am hoping they were just being washed, because I don't feel like that orphanage would be the type to keep babies on plastic mattresses with no sheets. But I don't know for sure.
One of the nannies helped me get him dressed while I took pictures.
Eventually, Niko came to find us and I picked him up and carried him out. Maks blew kisses to all of his friends and they all said, "Paka paka, mama!" It broke my heart, but I had to focus on the joy.
We got back to the office and they gave me his file (which included his baptismal certificate, two crosses, and medical info) and some medicine for his eye. Niko carried Maks and I carried Sam, and Maks smiled ear to ear looking over his shoulder at me. I wish I had a picture, but it was too dark to take good ones.
We got into the car, and headed to Kiev. It was a 2 hour drive, but he was happy the entire time.
He watched all the lights, junked out on cookies, "talked" to Nico, and just had a blast.
When we got into our apartment, it was pretty late at night, so I got him ready for bed, but he wouldn't let me leave his sight. This sweet boy wanted me to hold his hand while he fell asleep, but I needed to do embassy paperwork, so I stood in the livingroom with my iPad on the tv so he could see me, and made sure I did not leave his sight until he was asleep. It was so utterly sweet, and I couldn't believe it.
When you prepare for adoption, you have to expect anything. Many of these children have traumatic histories, or do not transition well. I was prepared for that. I was waiting for that. I was waiting for temper tantrums, fear, mourning, anything... but it never happened. Our boy was lucky enough to have been in a decent orphanage, with strong bonds to his caregivers (this is not typical!!) All of the prayers that had been said on behalf of us and our sweet boy had worked. His heart was ready for us. He was ours.
Gotcha, Maksimka. Forever and ever.