What a great visit with you today, really not unlike all the others. You greeted us with one of your ultra fantastic grins when you came into the visitation room this morning. You are really showing that you indeed know who we are and maybe, you might even like us a little bit.
Daddy and I brought you a piece of candy to try today. It was soft and gooey and rich and sugary and melt in your mouth- everything a kiddo could want in a piece of candy, I think. You were playing intently with Scout when you heard me undoing the wrapper. Your sweet brown eyes grew large with excitement and anticipation. Your face lit up the room- such a dazzling smile you have! You happily tossed Scout aside and while never taking your eyes off of my hands, you began to reach for them.
Your sweet little face filled with wonder as you watched me take a tiny bite off the end of the candy. That of which I bit in half one more time. We really didn't want to take any chances that I was going to have to give you the heimlich during our visit. (FYI- please make a mental note, AJ- Mommy and Daddy would prefer to NEVER have to do such a maneuver on your peanut body- ever. Thanks.)
You were like a baby bird in waiting. You knew full well the candy was for you. You opened your mouth and sat patiently waiting for that piece to hurry its way in.
The first little taste on your tongue and you...well, really no other way to explain it. You. Went. Nuts. Oh AJ, you squealed and squealed with such a delight and excitement. Surely your little cheeks had to be sore from all the smiling. You laughed and laughed and opened your mouth wide when you were ready for more. Daddy and I had to attempt to keep you from laughing so hard, afraid you would just choke on your own saliva. You did not care. Not in the least bit. You had a little piece of yumminess that was all yours and you had zero reservations about letting everyone know. It was, completely wonderful. If I didn't give you more fast enough, you were reaching for my hands. I thought you maybe wanted to feed yourself and let you have the gooey treat, but as soon as you realized I had let go, so did you. That was fine, we're more than happy to give you another bite and another and another.
I got the camera out to take a video of how incredibly awesome this candy eating experience was for all 3 of us, but of course, in true AJ fashion- the camera came out and you subdued your feelings a tad. We still got a few seconds of your beautiful smile and infectious laugh. Unfortunately, the last time I let you take the candy out of my hand in hopes you would try to feed yourself- it dropped....on the dirty carpet. Sorry kiddo, 5 second rule doesn't apply here, on this carpet. Ick. So, we said, "All done!" and washed you up. You knew I had it in my hand and I felt a bit heartbroken for you because I know you saw me throw what was left away. We will bring you another piece tomorrow my darling Antoshka. Trust us when we say, there will be MANY MANY MANY more days of treats to come.
On Sundays, during our visit- there is a Mama and Papa who come and spend time with a little boy named Danyl, their son. We aren't able to speak very much other than hello and goodbye due to our huge language barrier, but no words needed to be spoken to know how much this sweet little boy is loved by his parents. They come and bathe him, change him, play with him, feed him, give him his medicines, etc. Since you are so very much in love with your Scout and could really care less about the Paddington Bear we brought, we decided to give it to Danyl today. I walked over to them as Danyl was nestled in his Papa's arms and tucked Paddington under his little hands. Danyl's parents smiled at us and said thank you. It's clear that Danyl is very delayed. By his eye movements, I wonder if he may have some sort of cortical vision impairment. His body language told me he had CP, but it could be something else affecting his movements. Danyl's mother left the room and came back shortly after with a woman who spoke English. The woman introduced herself and said that Danyl's parents wanted to speak with us. They had figured out already that we were Americans and adopting you. They told us that Danyl was 5 1/2 years old and they wanted to know how to get him adopted. My heart ached for them to have to say those words, let alone be reaching out to complete strangers for help. They told us that Danyl's care, medicines, and supplies were very expensive and time was running out because he would be sent to the mental institution soon. They simply did not have the means to take care of Danyl at home and did not want to see their sweetheart be sentenced to hell on earth because of his age. We immediately got on the phone to Yulia and asked her to speak with their friend.
Rules rules rules. We knew what they were. We knew what would be said. We knew his special needs would not matter because of his age, but Ukrainian law dictates that Danyl would need to be on the adoption registry for one year- allowing Ukrainian families first chance to adopt or foster him. Then and only then, (along with Danyl's parents signing the necessary documents to terminate all parental rights to the boy they so desperately loved) would he be available for international adoption.
We cannot fathom being in that place. Knowing in your mind and in your heart that it would be far better to take the chance of never seeing your child again, out of pure love. We cannot fathom living in a place where families have no choice but to be torn apart because the system and the society do not deem your child to be worthy of life.
Danyl's parents did not seem upset over the details of what Yulia brought to them on how the system works. Which to us only says, they KNOW this is the only way their good and perfect gift can have any kind of chance, any at all. In Ukraine, there are no chances.
So today, Chris, AJ, and I reach out to anyone reading this. We ask you to humbly go to the feet of Jesus and pray for sweet Danyl and his parents. Pray for grace to be over Danyl's parents. Pray for mercy for Danyl's beautiful little life. This little boy is literally living on borrowed time. If Chris and I could take him with us along with AJ, we would. Unfortunately there are many many bureaucratic mountains that must be scaled first. So, we do what only we know we can. We do with it what we do with all things big and small- we let it go and leave it with our Papa. Please keep this family on your hearts and pray for them. Thank you.
And for now sweet Antoshka, we will be seeing you tomorrow.
To the moon and back,
Mommy and Daddy