Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day Five

Casey, Lexi, and I on our first meeting;-) She is hugging Mama and Casey just couldn't resist joining the love!!! How cute;-).
Then she let go of me and grabbed big brother for a hug and picture....sweet sweet sweet!!!
Sitting in her Mama's lap. She just didn't want to do anything except love on us and we ate it up!!!
Look how slender she became during that year and a half that she grieved for me!!! Poor baby...but, she looks very happy now. I think, from many of the things she told me, that she had inner arguments every night at bedtime about me returning for her. She told me that some times she would think that it would be too wonderful to happen in her life. Then she would not feel very well. She would get very sad with those thoughts in her mind and really did not want to eat, bath, or go to school. Then she would make herself stop thinking that way and she would make the pictures in her mind of my eyes watching her with love in the playroom. Vika would tell herself that Mama would be back for her. She battled her own mind for all that time!!!!
First visit of the day....
October 23, 2009: Casey and I popped up out of bed very early. Several hours before the wake up call was due!!! We were so excited to see Vika that we slept very lightly and Casey left the curtains open for the first sign of daylight to wake us. But, the sun did not rise early, it did not come out until around 9:00am. This was not what, woke us up early, it was our strong desire to see Vika!!! We automatically awoke at 6:00am. Casey looked so sharp in his light blue dress shirt and his navy blue dress slacks. he looked freshly pressed and wore a soft smelling aftershave. He was so dolled up with his hair combed ever so carefully and full of hair gel;-). He was beautiful...LOL!!!

I had on gray dress slacks with a black turtle neck sweater and a short sleeve gray and black sweater as a jacket over the black turtle neck. It was very nice!!! I topped off the look with very pointed (Russian style) black patent high heal shoes. I made sure that not a single hair was out of place on my head and it was a great hair day;-). I think my make-up was quite nice as well.
We went to the restaurant downstairs and ate our breakfast.
I love their buffet breakfast. It is pretty good and is included with the room. To save money, we only ate a big (free;-) breakfast, and got something very cheap for dinner off the street vendors (only a few belly aches...LOL). So, quite a good deal. Anyway....Following our breakfast, we went up to the room to get some of the gifts we wanted to give her and get the pictures for her to build the photo album we had brought for her to put together. When we went to the lobby of our Hotel, Yuri and Tatiana were waiting for us. We all got into his car and zoomed away for the Ministry building and our 9:00am meeting.

Once we arrived at the Ministry, we went to an area to check in our coats. I took my purse with me, as it had the pictures that I wanted to give to them. They were pictures of Katie Aunna when we got her referral and some of her presently. Boy, talk about night and day between Katie's referral picture and her presently. The lady at the ministry gasped when she saw Katie's referral picture next to her present pictures. She just went on and on about how wonderful she looked.

I also showed her pictures of our friend's daughter who was adopted at the same time we adopted Katie Aunna and she was amazed. I also told her about some of the things their little girl could do given her physical limitations. The Ministry lady almost cried and just could not believe me. She was not only amazed, over the other little girl but, could not believe how wonderful and happy Katie Aunna looked.

She was so pleased to know Katie's arm was healed now and that she has glasses that are repairing her slight strabismus. It was very pleasing for her to hear that Katie Aunna is now a very healthy, happy, and developmentally on target little girl. She was also amazed at how quickly Katie Aunna learned to speak English and that Katie is reading now!!!! I played some videos on my camera of Katie reading and she smiled from ear to ear throughout the entire video;-)

She remarked that there is such a dull look in their eyes in the orphanage and now their eyes sparkle like twinkling bright stars. She also said that she loves seeing follow-up pictures because it shows them that they are doing the right thing for the kids!!!! She said they seldom see photos of the children they place!!! The Ministry lady immediately went through Vika's file with me and told me about her older half sister who is in an orphanage for unadoptable children.

I won't go into detail, but Vika's older sister has many many many issues both mental and physical. Vika and this child, never lived together, as Vika lived in the Murmansk baby home with Katie Aunna and another little girl we'll call "A". Then Vika, Katie, and "A" (who was also adopted the previous year leaving only Vika and Katie to cling together) were moved to the older children's orphanage there in Murmansk. "A" also lived in the baby orphanage with Vika and Katie Aunna. Vika's older sister lives in another region and they have never met.

Following this discussion, with the Ministry lady, she got out a paper and filled it in. She made several official stamps on it and asked me to sign it. The translator, Tatiana, translated the document for me. Just about that fast our meeting ended and we were on our way to see our darling girl!!! We all got into Yuri's car and zoomed away to the orphanage. My heart was pounding in my chest all the way over there. I just keep wondering if Vika would look badly, as I had received an email from Katie Aunna's step sister who, at my request, went to the orphanage to visit Vika. She knew Vika when she used to visit Katie and Vika was always with Katie. She told me Vika was depressed for me and had lost a lot of weight and she was no longer chubby. That worried me!!!

As we drove up to the building, it brought back so many memories, those times that I began our adoption process of Katie and the day we met Vika. It was definitely familiar ground that I was going into. I felt unusually comfortable. We immediately went into the director's office. She had Vika's file and began to read things about her.
Things like information about her parents, grandparents, an aunt who also lived locally. But, none of these people were willing to take her and they signed relinquishment documents forever releasing any rights to the child. This happened a long time ago. But, the grandma would still come to see Vika on the "sly" to speak and for the lack of a better word. They were unofficial visits not documented by the orphanage.

Next, we were taken to the doctor's office and she went over her medical file on Vika. When she had her last vaccinations, her last doctors check up, the optometrists results for her, and the orthopedic doctor for her leg length difference. She was scheduled to do another, however, they will not do it now and they expect the American doctors to do it. That was a relief. Next we were led to Vika's classroom where she sat at her desk looking like my princess!!!

Vika was so darling in a brown and cream colored silk shirt, jeans, and a matching bow in her hair. It was a huge bow that is traditional for the Eastern European orphanages to put in their hair for special occasions;-). The most shockingly delightful thing about her was her hair. I had ask them to stop chopping it off back last spring. Lo and behold...they had stopped cutting her hair and it was quite long. Considering it was braided, it went to her shoulder blades in the back, and no more bangs (thank goodness). So, if her hair were taken down from her braid, it will be several inches longer. She has thick beautiful light brown hair that I feel certain will be dark blond in the summer sun!!! I am so excited to doll her up in some of the beautiful clothes I have bought for her!!!

When we first walked into her classroom, as she saw us, Vika sprang to her feet and came over to me. She buried her head in my bosom while wrapping her arms around my waist looked tearfully into my eyes and said some things that blew me away. "'s really you!!! What took you so long to come back for me after you left with Ana?" I almost cried and gulped it down and replied "Honey, there are many things that have to be done and lots of papers, too. I brought pictures of those papers."

Then she said "Mama, I knew you were going to come back for me. When we were in the playroom with Ana you looked at me a lot with a smile and your eyes said you loved me!!! Mama...I've loved you every day." Then she smelled me visibly and looked into my eyes while continuing this big bear hug. I sat down in her school chair and she was all over me. I felt weak in the knees because of my love for her. She came up beside me and just hugged and kissed and smelled me a million times!!!
Vika then asked about where Papa was. I told her that "he could not afford to miss his work. We really needed to make money for the bills and for her adoption. Plus he is taking care of her brothers and sisters while I am here." She seemed satisfied about this and began to take me around her room showing me her artwork that she had painted. She is really very gifted. I took a picture of one the paintings she made and she gave one to me as a gift she had painted over the last year while she was waiting for me to return for her. Even though she had no confirmation of my return she made this gift to give to me!!!

The care givers said they never told her we might come back and said nothing when we were coming until the day before we were due to arrive!!! She just believed in her heart and she didn't care that different people would say that we might not return. The director told me Vika would correct anyone who said I "might" not come back for her. To that she always responded with "Mama loves me and will be back for me soon". They said her faith was astounding and her courage unwavering. She did lose a lot of weight over the last year and a half as she would have days of discouragement and not eat...awe!!!!

After Alexi and my initial discussion with her, we were taken to a playroom with her, so we could visit in private. She sat down in my lap and started to ask me questions. "How many are in our family? Where will I sleep? Do we have any pets? Will you take me home soon or should I wait for a long time? Do you have clothes for me to wear? If not, then what will we do about that?" It was really cute all the questions she had for me. She also adored Casey Jay and had so much fun making jokes about his attempts at Russian and he had a blast getting her to say English words.

Next, I got out the pictures of the house and the family. We looked through them and I named each child. She was amazed and very pleased that she had siblings to play with!!! I gave her a photo album so she could arrange the pictures however she wished. She enjoyed putting them into her album. I also bought her the cutest little ladybug watch and a 14K crucifix. She put it on right away and was very proud of her new gifts. After this, we left for her lunch time and returned in the afternoon.
Afternoon visit of day five.....
During this visit I visited with her about her new American name. I asked her if she liked her name and she said yes. I said is this name your Russian name (duh for me...LOL) and she responded with "Of course it's Russian". I told her it was a beautiful name and it is important that we keep her beautiful Russian name. Her heart belongs to Russia and America would be her beloved home. But, she needs another name, a second name. She said "But, mama, I have two names already". Then I told her that in America, girls and boys usually have two names, in addition to their last or family name. She was listening very intensely!!! I said "you will need an American name as well as a Russian name".

It was so cute...she asked me if I had a name in mind for her. I said I did and it is Alexis Viktoria
Gartner. Then she asked me the funniest question..."Do all girls in American have this name???". We all laughed lovingly. I said "of course not sweetie. This is your special name and although there may be some girls whose Mommy's like this name and their daughters have it...many girls have different names. But, you will be the only person in America, most likely, that has three names of Alexis Viktoria Gartner".

She asked me to write this name in English and Russian so she could learn her new name;-). Then she said "I will take this American name and yours and Papa's family name. But, you are not spelling Viktoria the right way"....HaHa!!! I told her that we would keep her Russian name exactly as it is if this is what she wanted. She smiled and I made the correction. Shortly after, the translator called Yuri, who was out gathering paperwork. He was waiting for me to talk to Lexi and get her opinion. Tatiana gave him Lexi's new name and the proper spelling for it!!! Now how cute was that?!?!?!

Lexi paused and thought about this information for a while. Then she said she wanted me to know that she loved her new name and would practice writing it for me until I return for her. Her next question was when would I return to get her. I said Yuri says about one month. And she was thrilled!!! She also wanted to know if Papa would come then and I said "yes". She was extremely happy. I did not tell her about the ten day post court wait as this, I felt sure, would be a stress and heart ache for her. It is actually 10 business days and there will be two weekends that fall in that time frame. That's if there are no Russian holidays!!!
I am thinking if I could somehow, by miracle of God, find an extra $2000, then I could rent cheap apartment I could clean up (live cheap..feed her and ration me) and get regional custody of her. This would allow me to stay with her in this flat (apartment) so we could bond. Duane would fly back to the UA after court to care for our children and keep our income going during these hard economic times. Then, two and a half weeks later after I process her out of the region, he could fly back to Moscow (where Lexi and I would meet him) for three days to get us processed out of Russia and through the American immigrations.
If your heart feels Lexi separation anxiety and God should whisper this request to you....please donate so we can save this money and Lexi would have Mama with her as she waits. I already have $500 that people have donated so I might make my goal if we work together and not have to stress her out by leaving her for another three weeks while she hopes I come back for her!!! God will bless you ten fold if you can walk by faith and help this sweet little girl. We are only $1500 short. Please, help us do this for her!!! I never have asked people for help and this is a greatly difficult for me to do. But, love is a strong motivator for a mother ><> May God touch many hearts for Vika's mental health and her inner peace. She has waited so long!!!

Okay sorry.....back to Lexi darling.....We then sat down, to look at the pictures a little more, so I could show her the house, kids, and a picture of all the dossier documents laying on my kitchen table. It amazed her that so many papers were needed for her. She really got wide eyes when I said that more papers were still needed from Russia and just a few more from me. It wowed her that she was actually that valuable...LOL!!! We closed our first day of visiting with much love, many kisses, and big bear hugs. She has the greatest innocent love inside her golden heart and the most super sweet personality I have ever seen in a little girl. What a darling little girl and I can not believe that I am lucky enough to have her as my daughter. God has truly blessed us with this darling child!!! May God bless you...Trisha

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