This is the day we've been waiting for. Our appointment with what we once knew to be SDA (State Department for Adoption). The name has changed, but it's all really the same, and it's finally here!
Our driver, Niko picked us up in the morning around 9AM. We had all of our things packed up and ready to move into our new apartment, which was promised to be in a fantastic location- close to city center. We thought we already had a fantastic location- could it really be better? Waiting for us in Niko's car was the Fitch family- well 2 people of the Fitch family! We finally got the opportunity to meet Allen and his daughter Mallory. I've spoken to his wife, Carrie, on Facebook before and we were very happy to meet one of their children and her other half.
We were on our way to the SDA for our appointment. We entered through a side gate of this building:
Once inside, all four of us were seated and told to wait on a couch situated in the nearby hallway. We didn't see any other families there for appointments that we knew of, but there were a few people milling around and about. The family we came with were called first. As we watched them ascend the staircase and disappear, Daddy said he was starting to get a bit of a nervous belly. I held his hand and said, "This is what we've been waiting for. Can you believe we're finally here? We're going to see our baby soon!" Daddy smiled at me and squeezed me tight. That is always most reassuring and comforting to me. I think you'll soon find how wonderful those loving squeezes from Daddy truly are.
Within 10-15 minutes of waiting, Allen and Mallory reappeared, smiles on their faces. Niko called for us to follow him now. We were led into a small office room with another seemingly smaller office attached. We were asked to sit on the couch and a woman named Maria presented us with your file. Yep, there you were. One baby photo, one photo of you at 4 years of age and another of you at 5 years of age. How strikingly handsome you are! We were asked why we wanted to adopt and if we were aware of the "special needs" you had. In my mind, I thought- "The only special need this little good and perfect gift has is the special need for a Mama and Papa and Big Brother who will love him for the rest of our lives." We answered her questions and she was able to share a bit of general information with us about you that we did not previously know. We hope that once we visit with your orphanage director and orphanage physician, we will know more in depth history.
We know that your name is indeed Anton. Unfortunately at this very moment, your rather long middle and last names are slipping my memory. They are on the tip of my tongue but I can't seem to get them out right now. We know you live in an orphanage in a suburb of Kiev called Boyarka, however this was apparently not your place of birth. They did not give us the name of the town where you were born, but said it was approximately 200KM from Kiev. We will travel there at some point in this journey to get your birth certificate. I can't help but wonder who of your family is still there?
We know that you were born when your birth Mom was just 7 months pregnant. She was not married to your birth Dad and he apparently was not an active part of your life. We were also told that your birth Mom passed away on February 4, 2008. You were not even 3 years old. Maria and Niko were unable to tell us how your Mom died and said it was not listed on her death certificate. I found that strange, but we were told that the orphanage director may be able to find that information out for us. I don't know right now if you were placed into the orphanage when you were born or not until after your Mom passed on.
We were also told something else that really tugged at my heart for you, Little One. You were your Mother's fifth pregnancy. Somewhere out there, you have at least 4 siblings. We were told that their whereabouts were unknown to them, but again the orphanage director may have more information. Oh my Sweetheart, I wish I already knew who and where they were. Do they have families? Do they need a family like you do? If there is any information that can be given to us about them, we'll keep it and safeguard it for you. If there ever comes a time that you would want to find them, please my Little Love, know that Daddy and I will do everything we can to make that happen.
At the end of the appointment, Maria slid two of the photos of you to us. She said we could have them and she would try to remove the baby photo that had been glued to a page of your file for us. Daddy and I couldn't take our eyes off of you. I held both photos in my hands and felt a hot tear slide down my cheek. I held those photos so close to me and Daddy held me so close to him. The Russian words for handsome and perfect flowed from my lips over and over again. With that, we thanked Maria and we were ushered back downstairs.
We were instructed that what needed to be accomplished today had been. We could come back at 3PM tomorrow and receive our referral to see you at your orphanage. Unfortunately, as much as Daddy and I would love to see you today, tomorrow, and especially Sunday (Sunday is our Christmas Day) we will have to wait until Monday December 26. But, that day, will be truly amazing. On that day, we will be face to face, nose to nose, and we will finally be able to tell you in person how much we love you. I cannot wait to breathe you in and have that be my only goal to reach for the day. So, we wait... just a short while longer to be with you.
After our appointment, Niko had some running around to do for paperwork and we sat at a little pizza place with Allen and Mallory. It was fun getting to know them. Daddy and I enjoyed our coffee and then it was time to go. Niko took us to our new apartment.
Here is the entry way and that is our front door leading into the hallway of our building. We are apartment number 2 this time, practically on the ground level. Yes, that is our refrigerator on the left...in the entry way...by our front door.
This is stepping out from the entry way facing the hallway of our apartment. The bedroom is straight ahead.
Here is the bedroom. We had already started to unpack and had done a load of laundry. We are drying our clothes on the rack you see there in front of the window and radiator.
Here is the kitchen. It literally has everything we need, despite the fridge being in another completely strange area of the house. You can't see it, but Daddy is standing next to the kitchen table while taking this photo.
Our bathroom! We think it was a trade off- in the last apartment, our toilet had its very own room and was completely separate from the sink and bathtub/shower. This time we have our toilet with the rest of the bathroom and instead have our refrigerator living a lonesome existence in the hallway, not in the kitchen with all its kitchen friends.
And yes, there she is. I love her. She loves me. She sits and waits for me inside the kitchen cabinet beneath the TV. We had a 5 load love affair on our first meeting. Ah, it's the little things, AJ, the little things.
Here is one view of the living room. Daddy is sneaky and snapped it while I wasn't paying attention.
Two, rather comfortably large chairs in the living room, complete with um.. "sitting cloths" as Daddy liked to call them.
The opposite view of our living room. Really a very nice sized room to say the least. Comfortable and nice for lounging. Daddy and I were able to find MTV- some videos of only God knows who in English. We also were able to painstakingly take in about 4.2657 minutes of Paris Hilton finds a BFF in Dubai or some freak show like that. It was in English but had Russian being spoken over top of it. Turns out, Paris Hilton is not only able to make Americans nauseated in English, but can do the same in Russian- and just as quickly.
We treked around the city center with Allen and Mallory for a little while. We found some nice shops and restaurants to try out. Daddy and I also found a nice grocery in the basement of Mandarin Plaza that I think we'll be using often. We finished up the laundry, watched American TV commercials on Ukrainian TV, and I watched Daddy figure out how to get ESPN3 on the laptop. He is beyond thrilled to know he will not miss the Hawkeyes play their bowl game. When he figured it out, I must admit, a part of me died inside. I loathe football and thought that in coming to Ukraine, I had found my freedom from it. (Insert loud sigh here.) I am happy to report he will have to get up at 5AM in order to watch it. (Insert maniacal laugh here.)
All in all, today was a good and special day. Tomorrow we hope to see Allen and Miss Mallory again before they head to their region on Saturday morning and meet the newest member of their family, Valentin. We have planned to all meet together with Eugene for tour of Kiev part dva.
Maybe, just maybe, Jesus has a Christmas surprise in store for us and we'll be able to see you sooner than Monday. We'll be praying on that, and if not, we know in our hearts that His timing continues to be perfect. Merry Christmas Little One.
To the moon and back,
Mommy and Daddy