Wednesday, August 24, 2011

So Much To Share

I am officially the world's worst adoption blogger.  I did not even blog after our court date- how awful is that?!  What it boils down to is that we have crummy Internet connection and we have been busy visiting with Dima and friends, that we are rarely home.  Well, today Carol and I slept in until after 10:00 a.m. and decided we needed a quiet day.  It is now after 12:00 noon here and we are still in our pajamas, lounging on the sofas reading and enjoying the cooler breeze.  Per some friend's requests I decided to suck it up and write this entry.

Where to begin?  Court day!

Our court date went very smoothly and much easier than I anticipated.  The only questions we were asked were if we could take care of Dima and what we wanted to name him.  The judge was a stern looking man but we could see the kindness and compassion in his eyes.  He, too, seemed nervous for some reason and he seemed pleased by our petition to adopt Dima.  He shared that Dima was quite literally an orphan since his mother had no legal right to him and he basically had no father.  Even the grandmother and great grandmother were neglectful of Dima and his older brother and it broke my heart to hear that.  All the more reason why we needed to rescue that precious little boy!  In all our hearing took 45 minutes and by the end of it Dima was officially Dimitry Daniel Monier!  We could not use his surname or the paternal name that he was given by law so we opted to use Daniel as his middle name (pronounced "Danil").  Dima will always be Ukrainian so we chose to keep his given name and wanted his middle name to be pronounced in the Ukrainian form, too.  Until Dima turns 18 he will have dual citizenship.

After court we went to visit with Dima and we told him he was officially our boy.  Not sure if he fully understood, but he could see that Mama and Papa were dressed up and super happy so he was happy, too.  What a wonderful feeling it was when Dima came running to us at the beginning of that visit and to pick him up KNOWING that he was truly our son.  Again, I want to grab him and run out the gate but the judge did not waive our 10 waiting period.  Our wait ends on August 30th so as of today and not including today, only 6 more days to go!  Poor Dima has asked almost every day to leave and he even tried to get into a taxi with the Director of the Orphanage to leave.  He is so ready to go home to be with his brothers.  After the 10 day wait, however, we have to travel to the town where he was born to have the birth certificate changed to reflect that Eric and I are legally his parents and that is an 8 hour round trip!  Our facilitator, Alex, will be traveling with Carol and I to get that done sometime next week.  Then, once that is done we will get Dima out of the orphanage and head back to Kiev for our embassy appointment.  There he will have a full physical and be cleared to head home for the States.  More than likely Carol, Dima, and I will not be returning to the States until the second week of September.

This past weekend we spent quite a bit of time with a missionary family that is here through Kontact Missions.  They are a part of our denomination and it has been fabulous to spend time with them and learn more about their work here in Kremenchuk.  They are in the process of rebuilding a building to be their permanent church home so Eric went with Jon on Saturday to help hand drywall.  Jon's wife, Jenny, and her 3 boys took Carol and I shopping to various thrift stores.  The weather here is strange; one day it is hot and humid and the next it is rainy, chilly, and damp.  We were not well prepared for that as we had been told about how hot it has been and nothing else.  So Carol and I were able to get a few pairs of jeans and a couple of sweatshirts for the remainder of our time here.  After our shopping trip we took the 3 Gainer boys to visit Dima.

Dima was a little overwhelmed by the sight of 3 American/Ukrainian boys and he was not quite sure who they were or why they were there.  For awhile he called them by his brothers' names, but then just didn't call them anything.  Once Papa showed up things got a little messy as Dima began to decide that he was not going to share his Papa.  Long story short, we saw Dima's "naughty" side and quickly determined that he will need firm and loving discipline and ASAP so he knows who is boss.  Sure enough, the next afternoon Dima decided to have a little tantrum and Mama was not going to have it so we had a battle of the wills.  Mama won and Dima quickly realized that he was not in control.  As part of his punishment he was taken back to his groupa early and he had to say goodbye to Papa on a sour note.

Eric had to leave very early Monday morning to visit the Embassy in Kiev and then catch a flight from Kiev to Frankfurt.  It was sad to say goodbye knowing full well that Carol and I would be on our own here on the other side of the world.  It was also obvious that Eric found it difficult to leave us.  But we really did not have a choice in the matter.  So off he went.  I just got word this morning that he arrived back home in FL late yesterday evening.  That was a relief.

In the meantime Carol and I have been enjoying navigating Kremenchuk on our own.  Our visits with Dima have been fantastic and we are eager to spring that boy out of the orphanage!  Dima was sad that Papa had to leave but he understood that Eric got on a plane to go home to be with Jeremiah, Elijah, and Natahan.  Every time he would see a plane fly overhead he would point and say, "PAPA!!!".  What an amazing little boy!

Carol and I are truly amazed by how much Dima is picking up in terms of English and ASL and to think back just 2 weeks ago to when we first met Dima, he is a different little boy.  He is more calm, more obedient, communicates well and doesn't get upset at the drop of a hat when we do not understand each other, and he is just SO happy to know that he has a Mama and Papa.  He tells everyone he sees that he has a Mama and a Papa AND a "Totie" (what he calls Carol).  I cannot even bare to imagine what his life would have been like if we had not obedient to God's call to rescue Dima.  That little boy's fate would have been a very sad one, one that no child should ever have to endure.  It is obvious that the nannies love Dima and are good to him as he seems to truly love his nannies.  They kiss each other on the cheek, they correct him with love, and he does not have any fear of them.  I am grateful for the love and kindness they have shown to Dima over the past 3 years.

The other children in his groupa, however, are breaking my heart.  There are a few in particular that so desperately need families that I would do just about anything to help make that happen.  If you watch the videos I posted yesterday you will see the children and hear my commentary on some of them.  Dima loves his friends and we have observed him "fathering" a few of them.  From what we can tell Dima is the oldest boy in the group and seems to be the leader.  The others look up to him and it makes me sad to think of how sad they will be when Dima leaves for good.  Please pray for these precious children!

In the meantime I am enjoying every moment of my time here in the Ukraine.  God has been so faithful to us, to Dima, and to so many others that have crossed our paths during our time here.  I hope that someday we can return on some sort of mission trip as it is obvious that the Ukraine needs the Lord.  The country itself is so beautiful and amazing!  Overall I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to come here to rescue Dima and I would not have done it any other way.  God indeed blesses those who are faithful to Him and His call, even when it may seem impossible.

Oh and before I forget!  So yesterday was my birthday.  It was a great day as I got to play with Dima and all of his friends which made for an extra special day.  I did, however, really miss my family as my boys always make my birthday so special.  Anyway, so Carol took me out to a nice outdoor eatery for supper and we had WiFi access.  It was while we were there that we learned of the earthquake just seconds after it happened.  How amazing is that?  There we were on the other side of the world, 7 hours ahead, yet we were able to find out what was going on!  WOW!  It just kind of blew our minds.  More than anything, however, we were grateful to hear that everyone seemed to be safe and sound.  We are praying that there are no more quakes or aftershocks.

O.K., NOW I need to officially sign off.  The laundry is done and I need to hang it so it dries (no dryers here in the Ukraine).  Again, thank you all for your love, support, and prayers.  We are most grateful.  Have a blessed day and please check out all of our new videos!!  Click HERE to see them!  Paka!

1 comment:

Lara said...

Congratulations! I've been following your blog for a while, and I have to say I'm completely in awe of your son, he's wonderful.
I love all the videos. BTW I think the girl Totie (tyotya? = aunt) is holding is not called Natasha, but Anastasiya. the child holding the camera calls he Nastya, which is the pet name for Anastasiya.

Hope your last 6 days go well and you have a safe journey home.