We have been unable to post because we have been so busy the last few days. (And because the ADSL, as were the washer and elevator, that we were assured was here—was not!) We left
In the morning, we picked up our court decree and went to see the boys and get some more documents. This ended up being a ten-hour day of driving and sitting in waiting rooms and freezing!
The next day was similar to the first, another ten hours of driving and documents and waiting and being a little less freezing (not because it was warm but because we were getting used to being freezing!)
Today was our favorite day so far. Why? Because we had to take our three boys TOGETHER to get pictures for passports and visas. We picked up Misha and Vitali first. Misha hopped happily into the car but Vitali stiffened and was obviously petrified of the car! Despite taking him around the car and letting him look it over and despite the sight of Misha’s ear-to-ear grin from inside the car, he would not calm down! What was the problem? We asked out translator. Turns out that most likely all of his car trips have involved trips to the doctor at the hospital which were not good experiences for him at all. Alla, our translator, assured him that we were absolutely not going to the hospital today and he submitted and snuggled up with Mama and stopped crying. Poor little guy!
We drove the short distance to Max’s orphanage and Misha was so excited to see his brother again. I (Melissa) waited in the car with he and Vitali watching him alternate between eager anticipation of seeing Max and being pre-occupied with the dome light.
Before long, Max was in view. Misha started exclaiming with joy, “Maxeeeeemmmm! (and a bunch of other stuff in Russian).”
Max was also excited to see Misha again, but the most touching part to us was after we were all settled in the car, Max kept looking over to Vitali, whom Max has not seen since he was one year old, and reaching out and petting his head or his cheek and, for most of the trip, holding his hand. He asked us, “ Eta Vitali?”(It is Vitali?) “Skolka (something) Vitali” (How many years is Vitali?)
“Three”, we told him. “And you?”
“Nine,” he said. (he’s eight) grinning, but again reaching up to pet his ‘Malinky’ (little) brother’s cheek. Then, back to holding his hand.
We had a great day with the boys. We enjoyed spotting every ‘Avtobus’ (bus), ‘Tram vye’ (electric bus), tractor, and ‘poiesd’ (train). Even a ‘Cemailot’ (airplane)! I don’t need to tell you all that with three girls, these have not been items of interest on our travels so far! The three boys and Steve and I were all sitting snuggled up in the back of a little car the size of a Ford Escort. It sounds cramped but it was wonderful—that is, until after our McDonald’s trip when Vitali threw up all over himself and Steve! (Just a quick note from Steve!) [In 8 years of having our girls I wasn’t vomited on once. I worked very hard on this and in our very first visit with all 3 boys, my crown has fallen! Vitali was also quite intrigued by standing up to use the urinals in the men’s rooms. We are going to have to find out how to say “don’t stare” in Russian! Courts can say you are the parent but getting thrown up on makes you the parent!!!]
Still, at the end of the day, it is easy for us to say that this was our best visit yet! To see Max with Vitali, so tender, and to have Vitali so unusually snuggly and sweet (he even hugged us both without being asked several times), and seeing them all together—oh this was wonderful! And we can not wait to get our boys home! Now, more than ever!
Keep praying! I am planning to fly home on Thursday and Wendy and Laurie, Steve’s mom and sister will likely fly here around then. Our hopes are that early the week of the twenty-first our sons will set foot in