Gotcha day was a snowing, sleeting mess of a day, but I woke up hours before my alarm went off. I was just so nervous and excited that I couldn’t sleep. My friend Jennifer and her daughter arrived on the overnight train from Kiev bright and early (about 6am) and would be sharing the apartment with me for about 12 hours while they rushed around doing their own paper-job for her sweet Joshua. Having a new good friend in region was such a blessing to us. She was a sight for sore eyes after I had been alone for about a week. We had about 2 seconds to catch up and then I was heading out to finish up the last of the official business before Gotcha could happen. Every orphan is giving a government bank account with a small monthly stipend. I had to clear out the account before I could get Jacob. It is customary to donate this money back to the orphanage and this what I did. The lady filling out our paperwork at the bank kept looking at me and finally asked Sasha to ask me why I was adopting Jacob and would he ever walk and talk. She wanted to know a lot about how I would get him therapy in the States. She was very kind and seemed touched and genuinely interested in my answers. Before I left, she approached me again and asked Sasha to tell me that her friend had a child with CP and did I know if there was any way for her to get treatment in the U.S. It was heartbreaking honestly. No wonder she was so curious about Jacob. I told her that sometimes there are hosting programs in the U.S., and that I would try to find something out for her. I really don’t know what is possible, but how could I say that I wouldn’t try. If anyone reading this has any ideas, please leave a comment for me. This mother kept her handicapped child against all odds and against huge pressure to abandon her in and institution. The least I can do is try to help her if I can. Once I had finished the paperwork, the bank official said that she hoped God would bless me and handed me an enormous stack of money...about $1,300. The director of Jacob’s institution (a huge teddy bear of a man) and one of the ladies who has an official position as well, but I can’t remember what, met me at the bank. He wanted me to go with him to buy supplies for the institution so that I would know that the money wasn’t wasted. I really appreciated his integrity with this, but kindly refused and handed him the money. I didn’t want to waste any time when I could be going to get Jacob. He gave me a big bear hug and wished me well. He really was such a kind and fatherly man to me during my time in the institution.
We picked up Anna, the area social worker who had to be present for Gotcha day and headed to the village. I wish I could speak the language...Anna seems like a riot of a lady. She was one of our biggest supporters in court in favor of the adoption and I just really like her. She had never done an adoption before but was willing to learn how. She saw our adoption of Jacob as his only chance for a normal life. I will always love her for this.
We bumped and slide all down the road to the institution one last time. I was thankful that Viktor is such a good driver on those snowy roads. It was really a terrible day weather wise.
Once we arrived, I handed Natasha, the assistant director the gifts that I brought for the other kids, the nannies and the director and handed the main nanny the bag of clothes that I brought for Jacob. It really is like a re-birth for Jacob. He leaves naked, with not a single possession of his own. It is up to us from that point on to cloth him and feed him.
I signed a few more documents that transferred custody from the institution to me and then before I knew it, Jacob was there. He was so sleepy and seemed to be just waking up. How handsome he looked in his new little overalls and sweater. I felt like I was glowing from the inside out. He was finally ours.
We posed for a few pictures and then I opened the doors and walked out with Jacob in my arms. Welcome to our world sweet baby boy.
coming soon...The train ride (It deserves its own post)