Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 12 (December 29, 2011)

Before we begin our letter to our sweet AJ, we have a couple things to say.

1. WE MADE IT THROUGH THE SUBWAY AND BUS SYSTEM TO AND FROM THE ORPHANAGE TODAY! (without any phone calls or snotting-gagging-heaving- sobs) Thank you, Jesus. We left our apartment at 0715. We got on the subway at 0730. We got off the subway and onto our bus at 0800. We were at the orphanage at around 0900. Our visit was over at 1115. Our bus came at 1125. We were back at the Metro station at 1240. We were walking up our street to our apartment at 1330. And tomorrow we will repeat.

2. Special note to our friends who have never ridden public transportation in and around Kiev: If you are at all fond of your own "personal space" or like to carry an invisible barrier around your body at all times, that of which only those you know very well are allowed in at any given time, know that it will most definitely be violated 27 different ways within the first 3.2minutes of entering either the subway or the bus.
This is my first experience at any sort of public transportation. Seeing as I don't live or come from a place with an underground metro system- I have no idea if  US subway cars are jam packed like they are here. And by jam packed, I mean I can smell and feel the dude's breath on the back of my neck standing behind me.
The bus system is most definitely different here than in the US. Not enough seats? No problem. Hop in and stand, like sardines, and breathe on the people sitting down. Don't forget to crack open your bottle of booze, at 730am, and continue to breathe on the people sitting down. This brings whole new meaning to "It's 5 o'clock somewhere." Good times. Good times.

Dear AJ,
Oh, Sweetheart. Since we knew what made you belly roll laugh yesterday, we had hopes of getting some video of you doing that today, but today was a bit of a tough day. The nanny that brought you in to the visitation room handled you rather roughly and seemed to be muttering under her breath at us. The way she was handling you did not make Daddy or me very happy. I wanted to shake her and tell her she had better be careful with my precious boy and treat you with care and love or bug off. Luckily as soon as I took you from her, she continued her incomprehensible mutterings right out the door. We hoped she wouldn't be the caregiver coming back to take you from us.

The slight congestion you had in your nose when we met you on Monday has been slowly getting worse. Today, you sounded completely clogged up and were breathing quite heavily through your mouth. Your respirations were quite fast as well. Every time you would cough, you would cry as if to tell us how much it hurt your little chest. I cradled you in my arms and Daddy cradled both of us in his. You fell asleep after you could fight it no longer, head on my chest, listening to the sound of my heartbeat and holding my hair in your little hand. I kissed your forehead repeatedly and prayed over you for complete healing and protection.

I called Yulia and asked her to speak with the orphanage director about your cough and increased congestion. If we were at home, we would be headed to the doctor and asking for a chest x ray for sure based purely on the sound of that horrendous cough alone, and because we are still getting to know you. Yulia told me that usually if kids are sick, the orphanage gives medicine to them. If it is more serious, they go to the hospital.
So, what can I do now? I can continue to pray and ask others to pray. Please, Father, bring healing to our little boy's body. Bring him comfort and rest. In Jesus name, we pray for healing to be complete here. We'll continue to pray for that and see how you are feeling tomorrow morning.

After you woke up from your sweet little nap, you needed some fresh pants. WOO WEE Buddy, did you ever need fresh pants! We walked into the hallway and started to call out for help. We could hear 2 women talking in the next room but we are not allowed to leave this part of the orphanage. Every time I would call out for help, they would stop talking. They never did poke their heads out to see what we needed. Then a caregiver came down the hallway and came to us. She brought us a diaper and what appeared to be a bath blanket type of thing. What do we do with this? Lay you on it or get it wet and clean you with it. It was rather large- like a baby receiving blanket. There were no wipes to speak of in the visitation room, so we used the Kleenex we had with us to clean you up. They held up better than I thought when made wet. I must say, I was very happy to notice that the skin on your little bottom looks wonderful. No signs of any breakdown at all. No signs of any diaper rashes either.  I peeled off the layers of clothing you had on today: pants, tights, and two pairs of socks. My, AJ, are you ever so teeny tiny. After we got you changed, we decided to get out the tape measure and see what your little dimensions were. Here's what we found:
Waist at belly button: 15 1/2 inches around
Hips (over diaper): 17" around
Upper thigh: 8 3/4" around
Ankle (over tights): 5" around
Foot: 6" long- same length as the palmar side of my hand, bottom of my hand to tip of my middle finger.

We decided to get one of your little arms out and measure your upper body as well, without making you too cold. You weren't fussing at all having this done. I think you were taking the opportunity to study my face and remember who I am. I slipped your right arm out from under your t shirt, turtle neck shirt, and heavy wool sweater.
Upper arm: 5 1/2" around
Wrist: 4 1/2" around
Head circumference: 18 3/4"
We didn't get your chest measurement, I wanted to get you covered back up. We don't know for sure how much you weigh, but we are in agreement that you are definitely not more than 20lbs. You are 6 years old. 20lbs on a 6 year old little boy is not right. Not right at all. We need to get you home, so you can begin to grow and thrive.

Around 1115am, the door to the visitation room opened up and another family came in with 2 children. They spoke Russian, so I do not know what their story was. The nanny who had brought you to us, came back to tell us our time was up and we had to leave. We reluctantly let you go, telling you how much we love you and we would see you tomorrow. At least the nanny seemed to be a bit more gentle this time and was smiling. With that, you disappeared through the door and down the hall. Until tomorrow, Sweet Little Lamb. Feel better.

To the moon and back,
Mommy and Daddy


  1. Praying for adequate (or better yet, superior) health care for AJ.
    So glad you are there with him.

  2. I love your letters and thank you for sharing them! Your little guy will be big and strong before you know it. :)

  3. We are deffinetely praying for good health for AJ and also praying that you can bring him home real soon so you can get better health care for him. I will try to lite a candle in church again for you and your boys and a safe trip home as soon as possible. love you all,Mom

  4. Nope, 20 pounds ain't right at all. But...your presence and touch and love are giving him a window onto Christ's unlimited love for him...and all of heaven, and all of the church, has got your back.

    Hang in there. Nice to see your sense of humor...gotta laugh or the alternative is to just cry, right? -Jerry WD

  5. 2o pounds. Goodness. That's half of Seth. :(