Sunday, June 12, 2011

Home, Sweet Home

After too many hours without sleeping, I finally made it home on Thursday evening.  It was a very emotional trip home, but I am so thankful to be home!  If someone had tried to explain to me how good it would feel to be home, I wouldn't have believed them!  :)  How can anyone really describe the appreciation for a car with airconditioning to drive, being understood and understanding everything that is being said to you, eating food and knowing what you are eating, having a LARGE washer and dryer to wash your clothes, that actually come out CLEAN, taking a deep breath and appreciating the fresh, clean air, being able to drive your car wherever you want to go without having to walk on dusty roads or crowded on a bus, being able to open the doors and windows and not hear constant barking and talking but just listen to the quietness of the rain, or to hold my precious girls and not have to let them go.  YES, it is so good to be home, but it was harder to leave Vika behind than it was to leave my girls behind!  I knew our girls were well taken care of!  Yes, I had never left them before except to give birth to one of them, and then I was only gone for a day and they got the chance to see me somewhere in there.  It was incredibly hard to talk to them via skype and not being able to wrap them up in my arms.  But it was infinitely harder to leave Vika where she is because I cannot know for sure that she is well taken care of.  I cannot talk to her via skype and know that she is okay.  But I know that God loves her more than I ever could, and He can take care of her infinitely better than I will ever be able to!  So, for now, I am doing my best to make the most of our time at home!  Abe should be coming home on Sunday afternoon and going back to work on Monday morning.  I am not sure yet when I will be headed back to bring home Vika or what our schedule will be like on the second trip, but I will fill you in as soon as I have some details. 

Now, I promise to write about our whole court experience at some point, but I am not going to take the time to do so right now.  I will tell you that from the short moments we met our judge, we learned that she has a very special heart for the orphans and especially those with special needs.  Having been in Vika's country for almost three weeks and having experienced many orphanages and meeting many people involved with the orphans, I know that this is VERY unusual for Vika's country.  We are so blessed to have met her, and know that the Lord can use her mightily in the position He has placed her in.  I even got to give her a hug and thank her for what she does for these precious children.

Our last visit with Vika was tough.  I had started out my day very early because I knew that we would have to be completely ready shortly after we would get back from our visit with her.  I was feeling very restless inside and just could not get control of my emotions.  We got on the bus as we did every day, and told the driver "nostanovke pashausta" at the place where we always tell the driver so that he will stop at our bus stop.  But on this day, he did not stop.  He just kept on driving and driving and driving, until finally we got him to stop at a bus stop.  The Lord knew I needed a long walk to surrender my emotions and this day into His hands.  All this time, we had no idea that our facilitator was frantically trying to find some documents that somehow got lost from our court paperwork.  We had no idea what she was doing on our behalf so that we really could go to court. It turned out that the documents were there all along where they were supposed to be, they had just been put in the wrong place in our file.  We finally made it to Vika's orphanage and delivered some gifts that we had brought with us for the workers.  Normally, you give these gifts after court, but since we knew we would not be able to come back after court, we brought them with us for our morning visit.  I did not want to bring them with me on my second trip since I will be traveling by myself and will do my best to come with as little as possible.  :)  We waited for a while for them to bring Vika out to us.  Vika was very, very tired, so we just spend a lot of quiet time with her.  The best part of the whole visit was when she snuggled up to me and just rested on me.  Here are a few pictures. 

After we got back, we had some lunch and finished up some cleaning and packing, and soon after that, we got the call that our driver was waiting for us.  We met with the landlady and communicated with our hands and feet and face to tell her how thankful we were for her beautiful apartment. And then we were picked up by our wonderful driver Igor.  Igor then proceeded to pick up several other people and we stopped to make copies or pickup more documents along the way and finally made it to court.  We started court promptly, and it lasted about 1.5 hours from beginning to end.  We then dropped off everyone again and then we found out that we would need to drive back via car in order to make our flights on time.  We traded out the van we were in for a car and Igor got on the way to Kiev.  We had a few short stops and finally arrived at the airport around 10:45 p.m.  We drove through some BEAUTIFUL countryside, too!  If I only had my camera in the backseat with me, I could have recorded Igor and Abe having a "conversation" about cars in Russian!  It was quite amusing!  Good thing, men use their hands more than their mouths to communicate anyways!  :) 

Yes, we did get pulled over by the police!  :)

We found a place to sit down and wait until we could check in for our flights at around 3:30 a.m.  The flight back is just a blur.  I spend a lot of time reading and reflecting and praying on the way home.  I had to wait and wait and wait on my suitcase to finally come so that I could go through customs in Atlanta.  I was so glad to be coming up that escalator and seeing my girls!  Words cannot even begin to describe it.

We got home after spending some time in a traffic jam-welcome to Atlanta! :)  Wanda and Derick had stocked the pantry and cleaned the house!  Somehow there are more groceries in my pantry and the house is cleaner than when I left!  :)  They are way too good to us!  The last couple of days we spend mostly laying low around the house.  We did make a trip to Stone Mountain, and the girls got to play in the water hole and have a picnic.  I have been so tired and my body is definitely not back on this time zone.  There have also been so many emotions that I have had to work through since having time to reflect on all that happened the past three weeks.  I will do my best to share some of the experiences that I have not yet been able to share over the next few weeks to help you understand.  Thank you for all your support and prayers for us!  We are so thankful for you and know that it is only by God's grace and by your prayers that we have made it this far!  Vika has already taught us so many lessons without even saying ONE word. 

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