Friday, December 12, 2008

American Soil

We just arrived back home this afternoon...and it is very good to be home!

We had an amazing, exhausting, exhilarating, emotional and heart-wrenching trip.  36 hours in the air in 6 days but all worth it for the 4 hours we were able to spend with our daughter.  Since our last post we went to the Notary in Russia to officially accept the referral and spent another couple hours at the orphanage.  We also had some time to explore Krasnoyarsk but could only handle the cold for about 15 minutes before we found an excuse to find some coffee.  In front of our hotel they are preparing for Christmas and New Year celebrations with a huge tree and ice sculptures.  The temperature hovered around -15 F most of the time we were there.  This doesn't seem to bother the Siberians, but Peta would never be able to find enough paint to scratch the surface with all the fur coats.

Our second visit with Anna went very well and it took less time for her to warm up.  She was laughing and playing and we were able to try some clothes on her as well.  She loved to play with the toys we brought and was full of giggles when Ryan played "Airplane" (tame version) with her.  We were comforted to see that she is really well cared for although any one-on-one time is scarce for her.  Saying goodbye was excruciating.  Having been able to spend time with her, see her environment, love on her and then have to leave her behind was as hard as we thought it might be.  We rest in the fact that she is God's child and He will take care of her during this next phase.
Several people have commented that we have not shown pictures of her face...this is because the Russian government and our agency (as well as us) are keen on protecting her identity until we bring her home.  We wish we could share the 175 pictures we took of her but that will have to wait.

After the long ride back to our hotel, we packed up and were up at 4 AM Thursday headed to the airport. We managed to miss our connection in Moscow so had a long layover but were in Amsterdam by that evening. It wouldn't be a full travel experience if our luggage wasn't lost so we were able to put a check in the box on that one for a night in Amsterdam. We were able to extend our stay in Holland and go check out our old stomping grounds. It was a really nice debrief and date day. We had coffee with our former Pastor and his wife, took pictures of the hospital where Brooks was born (filled a missing scrapbook page for Amy), ate Oliebollen in Wassenaar, caught up with our Dutch neighbor and had dinner with the Linkerhof's in Den Haag.

When we got home, we went straight to get Bradey out of school early. The boys did really well with Amy's Mom and we are extremely grateful to her for keeping the show running. We are so thankful for everybody's prayers while we were gone...we could feel it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Yesterday was the day we met the little girl who we have cried for, yearned for and prayed for.  Our little "Anna".

We landed in Siberia in -27 degrees Celsius at 5:30 AM.  We were taken to our hotel for breakfast and a much needed nap.  We had a chance to shower and prepare for our meeting with the Ministry of Education.  This office overseas all the children who have no parents in this region.  After a meeting with her we were driven approximately 45 minutes to the orphanage.  We met the orphanage director and were able to ask her questions.  She was a nice lady with a genuine concern for the children and the homes they will be placed in.  She was a very warm, inviting lady who also loves the children she is in charge of, and desires loving homes for each of them.  The orphanage was very well taken care of, clean with lots of toys and pictures.  After our meeting we were walking to the room to meet our little one, and as we passed the stair well we saw her being walked upstairs by her caregiver.  Immediately our tears started flowing. 

She was hesitant at first, there were lots of people around fussing over her.  After about 30 minutes of being timid she started to warm up and crawl around.  She stuck close to Amy's lap, we called it her "home base".  She would crawl to get a toy then back herself right back into my lap.  She and Ryan started a game of pass the toy and she loved that.  We played for about an hour and a half, then she drifted off to sleep in my arms while staring at Ryan and him whispering to her.  At her mealtime her caretaker came to get her so we had to say goodbye until the next day.

It is 5:30 AM now, we are starving and in much need of coffee!!  Not a Starbucks to be found in this Siberian tundra.  We will go to the orphanage again at 2 PM.  Please continue to pray, especially for strength today as we will have to say goodbye to her for the next few months.

We are struck by how big our God doubt He knew long ago about this very little girl and placed it on our hearts 6000 miles away.  We have no fear or doubts about this reality and have a sense of peace that only he can give!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Almost there

Just a quick note to let everybody know that we have made it to Moscow. Our flights were pretty uneventful and now we have a few hours in a hotel before catching our next flight to Krasnoyarsk. We will catch a bite to eat (they have TexMex in the hotel!) and a few winks before continuing Eastward.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers!

Hopefully we will post tomorrow after we have met our little girl!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tick-Tock until Takeoff!

I'm done!  Yep, we are officially packed, it took Ryan 20 minutes and me 5 days, but we are done packing our bags for our journey.  So many things to think of since we need some clothes with us for our important meeting just in case our bags don't make it to us. But then there is the other factor of packing enough clothes for -7 degrees as the HIGH.  

My mom arrived yesterday and has already been a huge help watching the boys, cooking food, baking cookies, and watching me pack.  

Our ride comes tomorrow morning at 5am to take us to the airport.  We should be traveling until approximately 6pm Sunday night west coast time.  Please pray for us that night as we will be going directly to our meeting with an official then off to the orphanage to meet our baby girl.  Pray for peace for us and for her.  This will be a time of uncertainty and confusion for her, wanting to be held by complete strangers who don't speak her language.  We pray that even in the short time we are allowed with her she will start to understand that we love her.

Our next blog will be from Russia, so stay tuned!  We can't post pictures of us with her but we will give as much details as we can.

In His care,
Ryan and Amy