We left Kiev early Tuesday morning and drove to the orphanage in Pryluky.
We walked a dark but clean corridor to the director's office where we sat, smiled, and nodded. I don't think I really heard anything that was said- all I could think about was meeting our boy.
They led us up stairs to a visiting room where we spoke with a social worker.
She told us about "Roman's" biological family. She told us how his twin brother went home with his family but "Roman" was given up for adoption. She told us how the mom wanted to bring Roman home too but the father wouldn't allow it. She told us about all of the surgeries Roman has had and the difficulty of recovering in an orphanage.
She told us that his mother visited him a few years ago in the orphanage...and that she tried one more time to get her husband to let her bring Roman home but he wouldn't allow it.
She told us that his mother never visited again.
She told us that the rest of Roman's biological family was told he died at birth.
I had a brief moment to process this new information and wonder- will I someday have to tell my son this horrible truth? How old will he be when he asks me?
Then the door opened and in walked a small, freshly scrubbed, four year old boy. His hair slicked down, shirt tucked in, and such a serious expression on his little face. He held out his little hand to us- "Priveet (hello)", he whispered.
It was different than those moments a Doctor placed a newborn baby in my arms. The eyes hesitantly meeting mine held secrets of a past I will never know. This boy of mine has lived more than four years as an orphan. His life has been hard.
It was different and it was the same. I grasped his tiny hand in mine and suddenly my breath came easier. I looked in his eyes and something deep in me recognized him. Here he is.
We visited him twice a day and each day he was a little more excited to see us than the day before. By the last day he ran to us. Then came time to say goodbye on our last day of visits.
I knew he would be wondering where we were when we didn't show up the next day.
It was a month before we were back in his town for court. We left Pittsburgh on a Sunday- got to Kiev on Monday- had court Tuesday and came home Wednesday. It was exhausting but on Tuesday May 22nd a judge ruled "Roman" ours- AND I can finally drop the advocacy name and tell you his real name is Evgeni. Evgeni Gerard Kronenberger! He is called zhenya for short. The zh- is the same sound the S makes in the word leisure.
We snuck in a quick visit right after passing court!
When do we bring him home?! Well, after court there is a 30 day wait period before we can get him. We leave for pickup trip June 25th.
Originally Timmy was going to go alone while I stayed back with the kids but for many reasons we are now going as a family.
Most families I have talked to say we should expect to be gone for 3 weeks- the truth is-all we know- is it won't be less than 2 weeks.
That's a long time to be apart especially when a big change is occurring.
Martina's pickup trip was hard. The hardest days I've ever had. This might be completely different and easier BUT if not- I don't want Timmy to live those hard days alone.
This is all of Timmy's vacation time and then some.
Dexter and Bea really don't want to be apart from either Timmy or I. The hardest part of Martina's adoption was being away for two weeks on pickup trip. The kids at home had a very hard time with us being away.
Soo many tears when we left for the last two trips. So many. Not just when we were leaving but the week leading up to it Dexter cried every night at bedtime.
So we are all headed to Ukraine June 25th!!
The only drawback to this new plan is the additional airfare costs. We sent a few more support letters out a couple days ago and we will use credit if we have to.
Honestly, the cost of not all going seems higher than the cost of going. I think Zhenya will have an easier time with kids to play with and I know Dex, Bea, Simon, and Teeny will be happier and have an easier time accepting their new brother when the new brother isn't the reason mom and dad are away.
Adoption is hard and we are doing what we think is best for the whole family!
It has been a beautiful, crazy, bumpy road (literally the road to Zhenya's town was so bad sometimes we drove in the grass!) BUT we are almost there.
We are almost there.