I am very sorry, it has taken me so long to update! I know you want to know all about Vika, and I promise I will fill you in on most everything we know about her in a minute and of course, if our internet allows post some pictures, but first let me back up to where I left off. So, on Tuesday night, we got on our train. We were met by our wonderful facilitator Y and her husband, who helped us get all of our stuff onto the train. We got to share our cabin with the other RR family who is currently in our region, which was a real blessing as we spent only half the money we would have spent otherwise and we had some Christian fellowship. Poor Y had to share her cabin with unknown people so she did not get much rest. She has been running around for us every since, and I know she has to be exhausted!!! The train was not very fast and had several stops along the way, but we all got at least a little rest.
We got to the train station and our driver was waiting for us! He is very, very nice and brought us to our apartments. Both of our apartments are very close to each other and also very close to the baby orphanage where the other family is adopting from. Unfortunately, there are no apartments close to where Vika's orphanage is. The apartment we are in is beautiful and way above anything we needed! We are blessed! We will get to learn to ride the bus or enjoy walks in the city. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we had some time to get a quick shower, reorganize some things in our suitcases, and get a bite to eat before we were picked back up to go to a government's office to do some paperwork. We waited there for a while for another lady to come with us to the orphanage to observe our meeting with Vika. Everyone here has been very, very friendly. Yes, people don't smile often, but they are always very kind. We are used to people not smiling at strangers coming from Germany. :) And off we went to Vika's orphanage. We got to talk a little bit about our motivation to adopt Vika on the way there, and then we met the orphanage deputy and some of the staff and shortly thereafter, we were walking into the gardens to pick up Vika. We saw her form afar and immediatley got to take her from her play yard to a wheel chair and into another part of the orphanage garden so we could spend some time with her.
At first she was very occupied with a piece of a "treasure" she had found somewhere and was holding onto very intently while several people of the staff came to meet with us. We spoke with the psychologist and later with the doctor and the deputy. They were very emphatic about how "severe" Vika's condition was and that they want to be sure that we understand the burden that she will be on our family and that she is the one we "want." From the moment, the Lord opened our eyes to Vika until we made a commitment to adopting her, we knew that we would be going into this not knowing all there was to know about Vika and her special needs. We also did our best not to have any specific expectations of her. When I first found out that I was pregnant with our oldest daughter, Annalee, it was nothing short of a miracle placed inside of me that I would have the opportunity to grow and nurture and love and raise as God's child. Did I know at that moment all of the heartaches and hard times we would have to go through with her and that still lay ahead of her? Did I know that I would put her through implant surgery as a very small child? Did I know she would be lethally allergic to nuts? NO!!! Would it have changed the way we felt about her and the miracle she is? NO!!! We love her unconditionally, NO matter what! And that is how we feel about all four of our girls. We rejoiced and were blessed beyond measure with each new life the Lord blessed us with.
And it was that way with the blessing the Lord brought into our lives a few short months ago-the blessing of Vika. Yes, we knew more about her than we did about any of our other blessings! Yes, we knew some of her diagnosis and what she may have to overcome when she finally comes home, but did it really matter what her diagnosis would be and how severe or mild her needs would be? NO!!!! It would not change our love for her! YES! We are sure!!! We will not abandon her when the tough times come! We will love her no matter what hurdles may come along our way! And we also know that it will not be that we are saving her, but that she is blessing our life more abundantly than we could ever ask or think. Will we be able to give her what she needs in our own strength and not "neglect" our other girls? NO!!! But we are confident that God will give us ALL that we need. We learned that Vika actually has a shunt due to hydrocephalus after birth, and this will likely be our first order of business when we make it back home. Vika was also born very tiney at 3.5 pounds and at 30 weeks gestation. She was discharged from the hospital and placed directly into her baby orphanage. From there she was transferred to where she is right now last year.
After making it through trying to explain our love for child we never knew and that no matter her disability, we will love her for who she is, we finally got some time just with Vika. And as you can see in the pictures, she GREATLY EXCEEDED all of our expectations. We saw her walking independently! We got to make her laugh because she is sooooooooo ticklish and in exactly the same places where our other girls are ticklish. :) And above all, she LOVED to be held and snuggled! She soaked it up for all it was worth, and was on the verge of falling asleep on me while I was singing to her when they came and had us bring her back! Even after this very first short meeting, it was extremely hard to leave her where she is although the workers do the very best that they can and genuinely care of the children! There are just so many children!
Because the orphanage staff wanted us to be sure what we were getting into and because there have been very few adoptions from this orphanage to date, this was all that we could get done for the day. Of course, we want to get all our paperwork submitted so that we can get a court date as quickly as possible, but we also know that the Lord has a much bigger plan than we do! He knows what we need and when we need it. We came back to our apartment and rested a little and spent much time in prayer. We could not get on the internet which was also very discouraging, but also gave us time to spend with the Lord instead. Around 5 p.m., we got picked back up to go to a grocery store and to figure out what was going on with our internet connection. It is a very interesting experience to shop for things when you don't have a clue what anything is! More on that another time! Everytime something does not work on a computer, it is usually a BIG headache! So, Y spent several hours trying to get us up and running both in the store and then in our apartment after we got back to discover that it was still NOT working! She is so nice and patient and we are definitely so blessed that God allowed her to be our facilitator. She finally got her own modem to work on our laptop and is letting us use it while we are here. What a blessing! I had quite some work to catch up on after missing almost two whole days, so I was busy with that most of the night last night.
This morning we got to spend about another hour with Vika and it was even better than the day before. She was so happy to see us, it was like she had been waiting for us all her life! She walked and walked the garden with us and we played with some toys, but we have not yet found the toy that will really keep her attention. She has a lot of the same frustrations that Annalee had before she was able to communicate her needs. Of course we have a language barrier, too. She again laughed a lot, snuggled a lot, and even remembered how to blow us a kiss when we said good bye! She was very proud to show us! :) She is a very special little girl and we are so blessed that God would choose us to be her parents!
We left the orphanage to do a little more paperwork, but Y has been running around for us all day trying to get the paperwork done that needs to be done. We were hoping and praying that our petition would be submitted to court today, but as of right now, we were not able to accomplish that yet. We know it is in God's hands, and He knows what is BEST for us! As hard as it is to trust Him sometimes, we are completely dependent on Him in every part of this process. Most of you know how much I like to be in control of everything! Well, this is definitely a very humbling experience as I have NO control whatsoever! :) Okay, I know this was VERY long! I will try to do a better job at updating daily from now on, so you don't have to endure so much writing! :)