Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Zac is already giving us hugs and KISSES without our asking. For the first few days we had to ask him, show him, force him.... whatever. But today, (when things were going well for him) he would run right up to us and smack a big kiss right on our lips. It's been a wonderful day.
Zac was also really showing off how smart he is today. He already is understanding and using some English words. He says, "More please" "Milk" and "All done". What's more, he can point to his nose, ears, eyes, and mouth when we ask him IN ENGLISH. It should also be noted that he can clearly understand a lot of our phrases. "Come here" "stop" "wait" "Do you want me to pick you up?" "Stop picking your nose and eating it". (which he does far too often...)
Tomorrow we head to the Embassy. Hope all goes well!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
This is a picture of the funky couch that we have in our flat. It folds out and although it's not much to look at, it is EXTREMELY comfortable. (Or maybe I'm just really tired). Please note my awesome pajamas. Also please note how "particular" Zac is. We are constantly finding him "organizing" his toys. (Although he throws them an awful lot too).
It should be noted that we absolutely LOVE our apartment. Definately one of the best choices that we've made on this trip. We're in a great location, the price is right and we've got 4 times as much space as a hotel room. It should also be noted that I don't normally eat breakfast in a white dress shirt. The truth is that I slept in that shirt because the couch did not have any extra blankets. I simply put on socks, jeans and that shirt and I kept nice and cozy warm. (It's like camping... sort of)
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
First a note to our family...this trip is really expensive and using Skype in Novo costs triple what it costs just to blog. So, we are not going to Skype until we get settled in our apartment in Moscow. Supposedly, we have free internet access from the apartment. Check in is not until 2 pm, so we will catch up sometime after that. Tell Hallie and Jacob Mommy REALLY misses them and give them gigantic hugs from me (and Daddy)!! I love you guys!
OK, now on to our day. Ryan drove to Kemerovo and back today to get Zac's Russian passport and sign some "other" paperwork. He said other than two almost near death car accidents the trip wasn't bad.
I got to spend the day with my sweet little boy! Based on the interpreter's suggestion we went to the mall play area for a short time this morning. After a few minutes with the sounds, lights and busyness I could tell Zac was getting over stimulated. We went outside to wait in the car, but the driver was no where to be found. Therefore, we waited outside the mall on a bench. I was having to keep Zac's coat on (to please the Russians-even though it was warm), and keep him off the ground. He was acting out a little so I was having to say, "Nyet" several times. This ended in tears. A combination of too much activity, being tired, hungry and two years old was just too much. Fortunately, the driver then arrived and Zac calmed down with me holding him and singing after a few short minutes.
We came back to the hotel ("Dom" or house according to Zac) and ate lunch. Then I asked, "tee oo-stahl?" (Are you tired?) and he answered, "Da" (yes). Hearing him speak Russian is absolutely adorable! So, he was off to bed for a 3 1/2 hour nap! When he finally got up we played and had a wonderful time together. He even used the English word, "ball" when we were playing. He was also playing silly games where he would make these funny faces and stomp around. I think he and Jacob will have a great time being silly together. And, I'm sure he will make Hallie laugh!
After dinner at the Fork and Spoon Zac took a bath, with little to no fear or apprehension (we have come a long way in a few days) and went to bed. This kid is a pro at going to bed!
We are packing things up to head off to Moscow tomorrow. We leave the hotel at 5:30 am. We appreciate any prayers you might pray for a safe flight and maybe even the new plane again!
Thanks for all the comments and support! More from Moscow!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
- Zac is amazing. Katie and I are 100% sold out in love with our son. There have been absolutely NO thoughts of "this is hard" or "I'm not sure I can do this". I've never felt more sure about anything in my life. Zachary Pavel is my son. Case closed.
- Kelli asked how big is he? The answer is not very. He's 2 1/2 and he's wearing 18 to 24 month clothes.... and they seem to be alittle big. Actually, they fit well around the middle, but seem to be long. This is the exact opposite of our first two kids. Hallie and Jake are long and skinny. Zac appears short and stout. He has extremely "thick" hands in my opinion. I'm convinced that he's going to be a powerlifter... or a line backer.... or something.
- He loves books and puzzles. We've brought a handful of toys, but these seem to be the biggest hit so far. He's quite amazing with the puzzles. I've been very impressed with how fast he picks up on things. He has NO interest in Play-doh.
- He is talking a lot. He was very soft spoken on day 1, but day 2 seems to be different. There are times where he talks about a mile a minute. And, of course, it's all in Russian - so we have no idea what he's trying to tell us. Sometimes, he'll grab our hand to get our attention and point to something and start going off in Russian. We simply smile and say "Da". That seems to be good enough to satisfy him.
- He got pretty nervous at bath time again last night. Upon my announcement of bathtime, he began to cry but this time instead of running away from us, he ran to me for security. That was pretty awesome. I told him "Do not to worry, Pasha. It's OK. I am here" (Nee-vahl Noisya Pasha. So-Hah-Rah-Sho Ya-Stah-Boi) Those words alone seemed to calm him down. Katie got in the bath with him this time. In the end, he had a lot of fun.
- We popped in a Baby Einstein movie right before bedtime. I think the main reason we did this was simply to see if he would like them or not. (We're already anticipating the 12 hour flight home from Moscow) To our surprise, he loved it. I would have thought that perhaps he's never watched tv before and it wouldn't make sense to him. Or perhaps, his attention isn't refined yet. Or whatever. We put in the "baby wordsmith" DVD and it was awesome to watch him. He sat on my lap and Katie pulled out the video camera. The DVD began saying words like "Dog" and then showing pictures of a dog. Zac began to repeat back "DOG!" (with great enthusiasm) The cutest part is his little Russian accent. He has no problem saying words in English (and is already using some English words - ball, good, duck) but it definately has a Russian flair to it. Very very cute. Don't worry, we're not a big TV watching family. We don't plan on teaching him English via the DVD. We just thought it would be fun to see how he reacts.
So in conclusion. Things are going awesome. I head back to Kemerovo today to get his Russian passport. Katie and Zac will stay here for the day. I'm not happy about leaving him for the day, but I suppose it's the only way that we'll be able to come home. Tomorrow we head back to Moscow.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
anyway, things continue to go incrediblly well here. we're only 24 hours past gotcha moment and he's continually coming out of his shell minute by minute.
we also went out and hit the town this morning. we went to some fortress thing. aparently used against the kazaks back in the day. we also went to the grocery store and mall. i began to see a little of the sensory overload thing that i hear most adoptive parents talk about. in truth, it didn't look much different than hallie or jake right before naptime. he really is a good little boy. i have not seen any hidden demons come out yet. for the most part he is all sweetness. the only time he has cried was before bath last night. i got in with him though and he quickly cheered up. he even laughed when i poured the water over his head.
here's a few more picture and captions;
We told him to say 'eeeee' it seemed to work pretty well for a great smile.
laughing very hard already
having fun with mama and papa
out together at the 'high point of novo' -at the fortress
i finally figured out the picture thing. i hope you enjoy them! things continue to go well here. for some reason, my computer doesn't let me capitalize anything now. it's always something.
zac slept pretty well. at one point he fell out of our bed - which is only about 8 inches off the floor thank heavens. the sad part was that he didn't even cry. although i've seen hallie do that before. maybe it's not that big of a deal. he may have just been really tired.
anyway, we're planning another quiet day today. tomorrow i have to drive to kemerovo again. i'm not really looking forward to that, but it needs to be done.
the bonding thing is going amazingly well. he already proactively gave me a hug this morning. he is also talking with a lot more enthusiasm.
The weather has indeed been incredibly warm. i'm sure that we hit 70 yesterday. of course, i packed 2 sweaters and a button down shirt. therefore, i had to buy a t shirt yesterday. i should be much more comfortable today.
gotta go! my boy is destroying the computer lab!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
First of all, I'd really like to post some pictures, but there continues to be "Siberian technical glitches" going on here. I'm working on it. Really, I am.
We picked him up around 10am. Everybody was packed into the director's teeny tiny office except for myself. I was standing in the doorway looking in. It was about 10 degrees hotter in the office and I was trying to cool off. (Have I mentioned how HOT it is everywhere we go?) These Siberians are a bunch of wimps when it comes to cold. -Totally different than you'd expect.
I looked down the long hall just in time to see Zac around the corner. I crouched down and held out my arms. He gave me a tender smile and walked all the way down the hallway way to me. When we met he opened up his arms and and gave me a gentle hug. Really. I'm not kidding. It was a Hallmark moment. Truly surreal.
He and I talked and cuddled for awhile while Katie was finishing up various "important background questions". Then Katie got to hold him for a while too. He was so comfortable with us. Not overly friendly. Not fake affection. Just very VERY comfortable. And we are comfortable with him. No fears. Nothing awkward. Just two parents with their new son.
We wrapped up details and goodbyes and packed ourselves into the car. Nothing too eventful happened as we were only about a 5 minute drive from the orphanage. We quietly went up the stairs and down the hall. He began to look a little concerned. Understandable seeing as how today is the first day he's stepped foot outside the baby home in 20 months. Nevertheless, he seemed very comforted by our Russian words. (Side note, I can't begin to emphasize how helpful it's been to know Russian better. I've already had full conversations with him! -Do you have to use the toilet? nyet. Do you want more milk? da.
While in the room, we read books, ate lunch and finished with a bottle. "A bottle?" You may ask. Yes, we've read that bottle feeding toddlers is great for attachment and eye contact. He seemed very relaxed and tired at this point where upon I told him (in Russian, of course) that it was time for a nap. What happened next was amazing. He marched over to the bed, crawled under the covers and immediately lowered his bed on the pillow. He lay flat on his back and began staring at the ceiling. Katie and I both layed down next to him as we thought he may need the comfort. He didn't budge. He didn't wiggle around. He didn't fuss. He didn't roll over on his side. He just went "into the zone". Within 60 seconds, Katie and I both watched him fade off to sleep. It was robotic.
Part of me was thinking "SWEET!!!" but the rest of me knew what this really meant. In his world, you don't have a choice. There is one way to take a nap and we just witnessed it. Don't wait for a book. Don't wait for a song. Nevermind all the noise and other kids crying. Just go into the zone and shut off the world.
It broke my heart.
I can't begin to convey how perfect today has been. Katie and I are in complete disbelief. Are we dreaming? Somebody pinch me. I expected disconnect. I expected terrible twos. What we have instead is perfect love. Perfect family love. I know it doesn't always start like this. This is what is must mean to be blessed.
My point is that I really understand why blog writers go AWOL during the most important parts of their adoption. But NOT ME. This blogger will persevere!
So, here's my take on court day:
We left at 6:45am (after not sleeping all night - as I've mentioned a few times). We drove for 3 hours across wide open Siberia. The roads were actually pretty good. Four lanes in parts, and two lanes in other parts. Except for the potholes, it didn't feel too much different than driving across I-80 to North Platte. (Katie is reading over my shoulder and telling me that she disagrees. She wants to add that the SMELL wasn't the same, nor was the structural scenery. i.e. their houses and buildings look a little rough).
It is worth commenting (and I mean no disrespect) that Russia SMELLS different. The bottom line is that the air has a permanent "flavor" of smoke and exhaust. The smokers are everywhere. In the buildings, on the street, in the stores.... come to think of it, Zac's baby home is the ONLY place that that we've been that has not smelled like smoke. The exhaust... well, that obviously comes from the cars and factories.
Anyway, we got to Kemerovo (which seems much more developed then Novokuznetsk even though they are the same sized city - 600,000) and drove for about 1 hour before we finally pulled up to the court building.
The tension began to mount and we found ourselves walking down to a basement courtroom. We sat down on some chairs and waited for the judge to come. We saw the judge along with the prosecutor, social worker, scribe and one other random girl that who we never figured out walk down the hall and enter our courtroom. D&A quickly shot up and said they wanted to go first - which was fine with us. We passed the time by telling awkward jokes and pacing around. In truth, we were feeling quite peaceful. (Thank you all for your prayers!)
To our surprise, D&A emerged from the courtroom after a mere 20 minutes. They were parents! So now it was our turn. We walked in and I was surprised to see an actual courtroom. I was under the impression that it would be nothing more than a simple room with a cardtable and 3 chairs. I was quite wrong. We entered a large courtroom with approximately 8 rows of benches. Of course there was the large elevated judges platform and a long desk going down the front of the room for the other participants. The biggest surprise was the caged cell quarters large enough to hold approximately 8 to 10 criminals. Apparently, they hear all types of trials in their courts. We were later laughing about how it might be difficult to be objective in a hearing with the defendants behind bars. Anyone looks guilty in that condition.
Anyway, we quickly got going with the trial. The questions were pretty much as expected. Most of the questions were just double checking facts. (Name, address, etc.) I found that about 75% of the questions were directed at me (the man) and the other 25% were to Katie. All the questions were quite easy to answer. After about 20 minutes, they told us to wait outside for a verdict. We walked out of the room and took a deep breath. Within about 10 seconds (I'm not exaggerating) they told us to come back in. They told us that the adoption was granted immediately and that the 10 days had been waived. Yea! Katie and I both let out a tear or two. It was finally complete.
People began quickly filing out. We thought perhaps it would be nice to get a picture with the judge, but unfortunately, she did not share the same thoughts. So we simply walked out and went back upstairs.
This begins part 2 of the day. This was something that we were not prepared for. I don't recall any bloggers talking much about this "2nd half" of court day. After yesterday, I know why too. The "secret 2nd half of court day" is not fun. It involves waiting, waiting.... more waiting.... followed by some ....waiting. And then we waited. Do you get the picture? I'm not even sure what we were doing most of the time, but I know that I spent a lot of time waiting in various government offices. The funny part is that only myself and D (the male half of D&A) had to do this amazingly fun task. The women, on the other hand, had the "easier" task of sitting in a cafe for 3 1/2 hours all the while listening to Russian Disco music in the background. Katie described it as "worse than Gitmo torture" The intent was that they wouldn't have to "wait" like the men. The irony was that that's all they were doing. Waiting. So basically, by the end of the day (5:30ish) the whole crew was really tired of waiting.
We were all exhausted. But the day wasn't quite over. We had to begin the 3 hour trip home. (Which unfortunately turned into a 4 hour drive as a result of a grocery trip and 2 smoke breaks from our driver).
A long day, but what a great day it was! The journey has been awesome and I wouldn't trade a thing.
Today, of course, is the REALLY BIG DAY. Gotcha Day. I'm realizing that we're going to go get him in 2 hours! Holy Cow! I'm so excited.
Last note: I've changed the blog back to public. Tell your friends!
I would like to announce that Zachary Pavel Horner has officially been adopted by Ryan & Katherine Horner. The 10 day waiting period has been waved and they will be picking him up tomorrow morning from the Baby Home at approximately 9:00am.
I'd love to tell more, but I am exhausted. As I mentioned, we were up all night and we just got back from Novo 15 minutes ago. It takes 4 hours (not 3) to drive ONE WAY. So not only did we have court AND a bunch of paperwork chasing to do afterward, but I've also been in a smokey minivan for 8 hours today. I'll post more tomorrow morning before we get him.
In the mean time, I'll post a picture collection that I downloaded to blogger before I left. Yes, we can now offically show him off.
Monday, April 21, 2008
It's all happening so fast.
We flew all Sunday night. (as I've mentioned) We cleaned up in less than an hour, saw Zac, then went back to the hotel and slept for 7 hours. Now we're really really messed up with our sleep. We basically woke up at 8:00pm Novo time, came down and blogged but had to hurry and eat dinner because the Fork & Spoon closes at 10:00pm. (The Fork & Spoon is a "Boston Market" type of restaurant that is 50 yards from the hotel. It's too close, inexpensive and yummy not to eat there).
By the time we got back, the computer lab was shut down for the night. It didn't open back up until 6:00 Tuesday morning. (Which is now) Of course, we were up all night. We may have slept 1 or 2 hours. After a while, we gave up and watched movies. (Napolean Dynamite and Mission Impossible 2)
We leave for court in about 30 minutes, so I'm trying to type like crazy. (Sorry if there are typos. I pride myself in double checking for errors, but that might not happen with this post). Surprisingly, I'm not too nervous. The big relief was right after we came into Novo. One of the first questions I asked Lena was "Has anyone ever been turned down at court?". Her answer was "Never". That was a huge relief.
I'm not sure if my picture posted or not. This computer that I'm using is weird. It's very difficult to nagivate through because most everything is in Russian. (Cyrillic). Additionally, it won't pull up any pictures or icons. Most the time, I have to guess what I'm clicking on. Or go off of memory.
I can't convey enough how well everything has gone on this trip. I know we've gathered up a lot of prayers, but this has exceded my expections. Clearly, God has been working miracles. I told Katie that it's times like this were having faith is EASY. Some of the things have been small. (Getting our luggage). Other things have been pretty big. (Getting us to Novo on a brand new plane. - Even Lena said that she had never seen or heard of that plane before. Were we the first?) And other things have been down right HUGE. (The way Zac was yesterday). He was so incrediblly wonderful. It's a given that I love him no matter how he acts, but we had so much FUN yesterday. He laughed, played, talked. It was awesome. We have some great video. I watched that a lot last night too.
We have court at 10:00 a.m. this morning (9:00 p.m. CST-please pray!) and then we apparently have to sit around for 3 hours while Lena does "paperwork". Then we have a 3 hour drive home. I probablly won't post until late tonight. (Early Wed morning for you all)
Then we get him Wednesday morning. AAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
More to come later.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I actually typed up this nice blog post on the plane and saved it as a Word doc to load onto the "computer lab" computer that they have here. But time won't allow me to do all that is necessary.
The gist is this: Zac, today is April 21st, 2008. Today is the last day that you'll ever be considered an orphan. The nightmare is over. It's time for you to come home.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
But don't be fooled people! This stuff may look like milk, but it smells like feet and tastes like liquid sour cream. If anyone can read Russian, I'd love to know what in the world this stuff was. It should not be available for consumption.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The problem is that my mind is going 1 million miles a second. It's like drinking 8 Mountain Dews and then trying to sit down to read. Not an easy task.
I look back at my blog entries during our first trip and I realize that I missed about 94% of everything that happened. I'm going to try harder this time. I'm also packing my video camera on my carry on (instead of the guitar). Point being: I'm hoping to post some cool videos during our trip.
Random factoid: If I'm reading things correctly, Wednesday's forecast in Novo is 77 Degrees. (Yes, that's Farenheit..... I suppose I didn't need to say that. Duh. Of coarse that's Farenheit. If that were Celcius, we'd all be dead.
Anyway, I'm thinking I need to pull out all the snow suits and pack my shorts!
Spring Break Siberia BABY!!!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
1. My cell phone
2. Katie's cell phone
3. The International cell phone that we rented from rangeRoamer (We'll let you know how this goes.
4. My laptop battery
5. My second laptop battery
6. My iPod Nano
7. Katie's iPod Touch
8. My video camera battery
9. My second video camera battery
10. My still camera battery
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Here's a picture of Novokuznetsk that I found on the internet:
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Today, I tried to be a little cooler when I saw him. I said, "Hey Austin! Can I have a five?" (holding out my hand) He simply shook his head and said, "No".
Oh. Well, I did ask him if I could give him a five - I suppose he has the right to say no.
I couldn't help but think about Zac and our first encounter. (for those that don't know, Zac didn't exactly warm up to us on our first trip) Will we pick up where we left off? or will he be a whole new happy kid?
I guess I'll just have to wait 1 more week to find out.
By the way, we leave Friday - We'll see him Monday - Court is Tuesday - Gotcha Day is Wednesday.... hopefully. Gotcha Day is subject to change.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Having our flights cancelled at the last minute and missing our courtdate. (Has anyone heard of someone missing their courtdate? What happens?)
With all this mahem about the FAA pulling entire fleets from service, I'm a little freaked out. (Until we have the kid home, I'm going to continue to worry.... I know I'm not supposed to worry, but that's just the way it is)
Anyway, I looked and we're taking a Canadair Regional Jet to Atlanta and a 767 to Moscow. To my knowledge neither one of these fleets have been pulled... yet. Once we get to Moscow, I'm not too worried about Russia cancelling any flights on account of safety.
In fact, I looked up what type of plane we're taking from Moscow to Novokuzenetsk. I was fortunate enough to find a picture of the actual plane.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
We're checking off just about everything on our "to do" list before we leave next week. (Yes, I said next week!)
Aside from the typical list, (tickets, reservations, visas, packing, blah, blah, blah) we did something kinda cool. We ordered a flag to be flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of Zac. We debated as to which date to fly the flag: Court date, Gotcha date, Coming Home date.
We decided on the Court date (April 22nd) as everything else is contingent upon our 10 days being waved.
I just thought this was kind of a cool thing to do. Too bad we don't have a flag pole...
Monday, April 7, 2008
But nothing happens around here without a good story. It goes something like this:
The scene: Ryan sitting in his office. He is at his desk when he suddenly picks up his phone. He dials the number to the Russian National Group and plans to find out if they have yet received his Visa application.
Receptionist (with a thick Russian accent) : Hello? Russian National Group.
Ryan: Hi. I'm traveling to Russia and I sent an application for a Visa last week and I just wanted to call to confirm that you had received the application.
Ryan: (bilwildered) Uh..... (awkward pause) Aren't you going to ask me what my name is?
Receptionist: What is your name?
Ryan: Ryan Horner
Receptionist: We do not have it.
Ryan: OK. (another awkward pause) That's a problem, because I have a Fed Ex confirmation saying that a Lena signed for it on April 3rd.
Receptionist: I will call you tomorrow.
Ryan: No. We have a problem here. You have my passports and I'm leaving next week for Russia. Do you or don't you have my passports and visa application?
Receptionist: One moment please.
(1 minute pause. Ryan looks back at his computer screen and proceeds to read a few emails while waiting for the receptionist. Finally, the receptionist picks the phone back up.)
Receptionist: Yes. We have it here.
Ryan: (very much relieved) OK. Good.
Receptionist: We will process it tomorrow.
Ryan: (quickly resuming his previous emotion of frustration) But, I paid EXTRA money to have the visa processed the NEXT business day. We've already established that you received our application on April 3rd. You need to process this today.
Receptionist: (With little emotion) Fine. We will do it today. I will call you at 4:00.
Ryan: (Wondering what 4:00 has to do with anything) Fine. Thank you very much.
Receptionist: You're welcome. Good bye.
(Both parties politely hang up the phone. Ryan continues to work for appoximately 30 minutes when a co-worker unexpectantly enters the scene with a Fed Ex package. Ryan opens it and is completely surprised as well as confused to find his passports and Visas inside. Apparently, the visas were indeed processed as they were supposed to have been.)
Ryan: What the.....? (long pause) Unbelievable.
Friday, April 4, 2008
You have met the person you've dreamed about all your life. He has every quality that you desire in a spouse. You plan for the wedding, enjoying every free moment with your fiancée. You love his touch, his smell, the way he looks into your eyes. For the first time in your life, you understand what is meant by "soul mate," for this person understands you in a way that no one else does. Your heart beats in rhythm with his. Your emotions are intimately tied to his every joy, his every sorrow.
The wedding comes. It is a happy celebration, but the best part is that you are finally the wife of this wonderful man. You fall asleep that night, exhausted from the day's events, but relaxed and joyful in the knowledge that you are next to the person who loves you more than anyone in the world…the person who will be with you for the rest of your life.
The next morning you wake up, nestled in your partner's arms. You open your eyes and immediately look for his face.
But IT'S NOT HIM! You are in the arms of another man. You recoil in horror. Who is this man? Where is your beloved?
You ask questions of the new man, but it quickly becomes apparent that he doesn't understand you. You search every room in the house, calling and calling for your husband. The new guy follows you around, trying to hug you, pat you on the back,...even trying to stroke your arm, acting like everything is okay.
But you know that nothing is okay. Your beloved is gone. Where is he? Will he return? When? What has happened to him?
Weeks pass. You cry and cry over the loss of your beloved. Sometimes you ache silently, in shock over what has happened. The new guy tries to comfort you. You appreciate his attempts, but he doesn't speak your language-either verbally or emotionally. He doesn't seem to realize the terrible thing that has happened...that your sweetheart is gone.
You find it difficult to sleep. The new guy tries to comfort you at bedtime with soft words and gentle touches, but you avoid him, preferring to sleep alone, away from him and any intimate words or contact.
Months later, you still ache for your beloved, but gradually you are learning to trust this new guy. He's finally learned that you like your coffee black, not doctored up with cream and sugar. Although you still don't understand his bedtime songs, you like the lilt of his voice and take some comfort in it.
More time passes. One morning, you wake up to find a full suitcase sitting next to the front door. You try to ask him about it, but he just takes you by the hand and leads you to the car. You drive and drive and drive. Nothing is familiar. Where are you? Where is he taking you?
You pull up to a large building. He leads you to an elevator and up to a room filled with people. Many are crying. Some are ecstatic with joy. You are confused. And worried.
The man leads you over to the corner. Another man opens his arms and sweeps you up in an embrace. He rubs your back and kisses your cheeks, obviously thrilled to see you.
You are anything but thrilled to see him. Who in the world is he? Where is your beloved? You reach for the man who brought you, but he just smiles (although he seems to be tearing up, which concerns you), pats you on the back, and puts your hand in the hands of the new guy. The new guy picks up your suitcase and leads you to the door. The familiar face starts openly crying, waving and waving as the elevator doors close on you and the new guy.
The new guy drives you to an airport and you follow him, not knowing what else to do. Sometimes you cry, but then the new guy tries to make you smile, so you grin back, wanting to "get along." You board a plane. The flight is long. You sleep a lot, wanting to mentally escape from the situation.
Hours later, the plane touches down. The new guy is very excited and leads you into the airport where dozens of people are there to greet you. Light bulbs flash as your photo is taken again and again. The new guy takes you to another guy who hugs you. Who is this one? You smile at him. Then you are taken to another man who pats your back and kisses your cheek. Then yet another fellow gives you a big hug and messes your hair.
Finally, someone (which guy is this?) pulls you into his arms with the biggest hug you've ever had. He kisses you all over your cheeks and croons to you in some language you've never heard before.
He leads you to a car and drives you to another location. Everything here looks different. The climate is not what you're used to. The smells are strange. Nothing tastes familiar, except for the black coffee. You wonder if someone told him that you like your coffee black.
You find it nearly impossible to sleep. Sometimes you lie in bed for hours, staring into the blackness, furious with your husband for leaving you, yet aching from the loss. The new guy checks on you. He seems concerned and tries to comfort you with soft words and a mug of warm milk. You turn away, pretending to go to asleep.
People come to the house. You can feel the anxiety start to bubble over as you look into the faces of all the new people. You tightly grasp the new guy's hand. He pulls you closer. People smile and nudge one other, marveling at how quickly you've fallen in love. Strangers reach for you, wanting to be a part of the happiness.
Each time a man hugs you, you wonder if he will be the one to take you away. Just in case, you keep your suitcase packed and ready. Although the man at this house is nice and you're hanging on for dear life, you've learned from experience that men come and go, so you just wait in expectation for the next one to come along.
Each morning, the new guy hands you a cup of coffee and looks at you expectantly. A couple of times the pain and anger for your husband is so great that you lash out, sending hot coffee across the room, causing the new guy to yelp in pain. He just looks at you, bewildered. But most of the time you calmly take the cup. You give him a smile. And wait. And wait. And wait.
--Written by Cynthia Hockman-Chupp, analogy courtesy of Dr. Kali Miller
The "Zac dreams" are happening about every other night now-a-days. It's fun to be able to "see" him so often.
I'll update more later.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Today was fun. We booked our flights. We're choosing to fly Delta this time. Delta has, by far, the most direct way to fly from Omaha to Moscow. We'll go Omaha to Atlanta to Moscow. Last time, we went Omaha to Chicago to Toronto to Moscow. We're hoping that the fewer connections will decrease our odds of loosing our luggage this time around. We'll see. At the very least, I'll be packing a smarter carry-on this time. (Like that'll be hard to do...)
Another change this time around is that we're going to stay in an apartment while in Moscow rather than a Hotel. As some of you may know, Moscow is the most expensive city in the world. Additionally, the end of April is a big travel time for them because of their Easter (using the Orthodox calendar) as well as May day (which is big for them). The result is that a suite at the Holiday Inn costs $545/night! Yes, that would be dollars, not rubles.
Therefore, we're opting for a "cheap" apartment at a mere $270/night. Practically a steal!
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Although we did get our courtdate last Tuesday, we still did not have official confirmation that our region had received the official letter from the Databank saying that Zac had been released.
Therefore, we were very tenative about our April 22nd courtdate.
Well, today it's official. It was confirmed that the letter was received from the Databank. We're officially traveling to Russia! We even started booking flights and hotels (apartments) today. I can't tell you what a huge weight has been lifted.
Tonight will be the first night in over 9 months that I won't have to go to sleep wondering "Will tomorrow finally be the day that Zac is released?" It's almost like that thought has become me. It defined me.
Well, not anymore. That chapter has officially come to a close. It's been a good chapter. Not exactly an easy chapter. Certainly a very confusing chapter. But in the end, I have come to experience a deeper understanding of patience and surrender. These are good attributes to carry around, I have learned.