I don't even know how to begin to explain this amazing day. It couldn't have been more different than Zoya's gotcha day (where we had not a single farewell). The assistant director really loves Mila. Through our translator the assistant director said they could not believe how big Mila has grown since she met us. They were so amazed and in disbelief that they weighed her and measured her and could not believe just how much she had grown! A true miracle with no explanation other than PRAYER and LOVE and GOD. She said that Mila is getting healthier since meeting us and it is almost as if she was just waiting for us to come. She said on the 10 day wait she thinks Mila missed us because every morning at around 10am (which is when we used to visit her) she would start "talking." Hearing the director's words and seeing the tears in her eyes and heartfelt smile made my heart so incredibly happy. People here in Ukraine are slowly starting to "get it." Things have changed so much since our adoption of Zoya....but that is for another post. Knowing Mila was loved here means so much to me. The assistant director wanted so badly to ensure a smooth transition that she really went out of her way. She prepared all 3 of Mila's heart medications in daily doses and divided them into envelopes, she gave us a bottle and nipple freshly steralized, formula that she is on, baby tea that she drinks, wipes, a bib, and even printed out packets of information about all the medications she is on. If you remember, during Zoya's gotcha day, she was handed to us in a diaper and they walked away not saying a word. So this experience was just so different. They were happy to see Mila going home, even though they were teary-eyed as she left. I will miss this place. They care. They are making a difference. They do their best to take care of the orphans in hopes that this is just their temporary home.
After getting the court decree, tax ID number changed, passport/visa photo taken, birth certificate, and finally the passport, we went to bust Mila out! They took us back to her room where she was having her last orphanage bottle. As the caretaker took off Mila's orphanage clothes, the symbolism was not lost on me. She was being stripped of her old life, preparing for her new life. I had to choke back my tears because it was such an emotional moment. Together with her caretaker, I dressed Mila in her new clothes, symoblizing a new beginning. She laid there unknowing of all that was about to take place. The beauty of it all is that she will never know her life as any different from the beautiful life she will live with us as her family in America. Although I am sad I couldn't share this moment with Shawn, I am thrilled Mike got to be there. He has been an integral part of this trip. He said to me later that night, "You know, I thought you were crazy for doing this....and I still think you're crazy, BUT I GET IT NOW!" Wow. That is the change I try to show people through my words on this blog. I want people to see that WE ARE CRAZY....but moreso I want them to see it's fabulous to be crazy! If crazy is following God's calling no matter the price, no matter the fear, no matter the circumstances, then I hope you all want to be crazy too! I see more and more people starting to understand this crazy love, and I see people being changed, here in Ukraine, and at home in America. It is a beautiful thing.
|Mila's EMPTY bed!|
|Mila's room in the infirmary|
|Mila's last bottle from a caregiver instead of a mama or daddy!|
|Taking off the orphanage clothes|
|This is a size 3 diaper, maybe the orphanage didn't have any smaller ones? LOL. Mike was excited because it had a fire truck on it! haha|
|Ready to go in her "gotcha day outfit"|
|Light shining down from Heaven as Mila was handed to me.|
|On our way out...|
|Assistant Director on left and Head Director on right.|
|Violetta....our super fabulous translator who might as well have been the facilitator! She rocks!|
|This is a 0-3 month snowsuit...where are her hands? Does this picture remind you of A Christmas Story?|
|We have a doll bigger than her!! LOL|
We had a rough first night....Mila who slept so much in the orphanage just wanted to snuggle and be held throughout the night. I didn't mind but that means I only slep for 15 minute intervals for about an hour last night! I'm exhausted and getting a cold. Mila seems to be getting sick again, I'm hoping it will hold off until we are home. She definitely has some sleep apnea or something going on as she stopped breathing a few times last night and scared the pants off of me as she woke up gasping for air. With all the changes I expected her to have a little difficulty adjusting, but other than last night she has been fabulous. She did amazingly well on the flight from Lugansk region to Kiev (about 1 hour and 45 minute flight). We noticed she breathes loud and labored in the cold air and also at times when she is sleeping. Mike has been checking her pulse and breaths/minute so we have a baseline to compare to on the long flights home. I so can't wait to get her home and have her checked out head to toe! She LOVES the car and instantly falls asleep as soon as we start moving. I've decided that "holding a baby in the back seat of a van with no seatbelt or carseat while Nico the Nascar driver dodges dogs and cars" should be a new olympic sport!
So today after we arrived back in Kiev, we hit the ground running as we were 20 minutes late to our embassy appointment. Traffic here is horrific. Thankfully they squeezed us in and we got done quickly. Then we went for Mila's medical exam. I was very worried about this. There is one doctor here who has given some families a very hard time. I was so worried we would get her. When Nico pointed at the door and I looked up and saw her name I almost fainted. I just prayed my heart out right there. She looked at Mila and kept saying "Why HE so small?...Oiy HE so so so small." I told her Mila was a "she" and I guess she is small because she needs her heart repaired. Then when examinig her she said "He looks like little frog." Hmmm, that one made me almost laugh out loud. She asked me tons of questions, listened to hear heart and said "big murmur" and "very fast." Thank goodness her lungs were clear when she listened to them! She kept calling me "mah-der" (mother) and I found it comical how God gave me humor during such a stressful time! Mila passed her medical exam! Praise God! Our only obstacle between Ukraine and America is getting the visa tomorrow. The embassy's system crashed this week and as of today it was up and running again but the guy felt the need to tell me "hopefully tomorrow it will run too." Oiy. Please pray! One more thing to stress about but God is good...so good that twice during this trip at the most stressful times, the song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" came on! He is good like that!
We are so close I can almost taste it! Mila has been asleep for almost 2 hours, which is the longest stretch yet...praising God and GOING TO BED! G'nite :) Love to you all!