Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I am posting Mel Dellanos' rendition of our events with a comment by me at the end. It is a reflection of "that day". I can tell you since I have experienced both child birth and paper birth, that the emotions are incredibly similar, and the pains that accompany each individual event are no worse for one than the other. I love Marina as much as I love Evan, and that is more than I can put into words...
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2011
What were you doing on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010??
Last year, November 16th was a Tuesday. Most people wouldn’t know that, or really care much because it was just another day but I will never ever forget it. I had barely slept the night before because I knew what that day meant. Cathy, Tully, & I had a lot of things to do, we had to pick up the passports, we had to finish packing, and cleaning the apartment (the landlady already hated us so we wanted to make sure not to leave too much of a mess for her to reinforce that opinion LOL!)… then we each had to go to the orphanages and pick up our children, forever changing their lives and all that they knew.
Last year, this day, Tuesday, was Gotcha Day. The day that Marina Hope Bachman & Timothy Danil DeLlanos would leave the orphanage forever in the arms of their Mommas.
The plan that day was for us to go to our regular morning visits. I decided not to go though because it would be just me and Timothy from that day on for the rest of our trip, and because I wanted him to have a little more time with his groupa/friends although he didn’t really know it at the time, and I wonder how much he remembers anyway. LOL I took the time to rest, pack, and finish up last minute things. We all had lunch at the apartment, and at 1 pm Roman picked us up and we headed for the Passport office. Tully & Evan stayed at the apartment.
When we got to the passport office, we had to wait a few minutes. Roman was our translator/facilitator for this errand since Marina (our actual facilitator) was in a different city with another family for their court date. We had been given some papers to hand over in exchange for the children’s passports. We gave them the requested papers, and continued to wait. We were taken to a tiny office and told to sit. We sat. There were three ladies there, one of them was speaking pretty excitedly to Roman, complete with some hand gestures and scary facial expressions. Cathy whispered that something was wrong. She just knew they decided to keep Marina (the child) and weren’t going to give her the passport. Of course, this was sarcasm, and totally said in jest. Nevertheless, we could tell something was wrong. Roman was a pale color, and was talking to the lady in a pleading tone. Then, our suspicions were confirmed when he called Marina and had HER talk to the passport lady. Of course, Cathy and I were sitting there in the dark, and Roman finally (out of the corner of his mouth(as if they would understand him! Hehe)) said, the name on Marina Bachman’s paper from the orphanage was wrong. Before they would give her passport over, it needed to be redone. This would mean going all the way back across town, hoping that the right person was available to get the paper redone, and coming back to the passport office all within about a 30 minute window so we wouldn’t miss the 5pm train which we already had tickets bought for. Now, anyone who’s been to Ukraine knows that such a feat is NOT gonna happen!! Traffic & timing are two things that are NUTS there! So, all we could do is pray. In the meantime, Marina was working her magic. Promising that she would be back to the city that night and would get the paperwork snafu taken care of ASAP if they would just PLEASE give us the passports. I’m not sure what she said to the lady (and I don’t think I wanna know!) but she reluctantly hung up the phone and proceeded with the “check out” process so we could take the passports. When they finally handed them over, Roman ushered us out quickly joking that we needed to hurry before they changed their minds! Lol
Once we were safely back in the car and headed back to the other side of town, Cathy and I finally breathed again, and we also noticed a HUGE vibrant rainbow in the sky… God’s Promise. Very appropriate for us at that moment, and one more thing to make the day memorable. We were so relieved that we were laughing, and crying. LOL
We went back to the apartment where we loaded up two vehicles and parted ways temporarily. My driver took me to Timothy’s baby house, to get Timothy, and Roman took the Bachmans to get Marina from her orphanage.
I’ll never forget the emotions, and the relief I felt that afternoon as I walked into the baby house for the last time… we did what needed to be done, and had a couple of tearful good byes with nannies and the head nurse (Tatiana) and walked back through the big grey metal gate for the last time. The weather was misty and cold, and it was cloudy. We headed to the train station and to freedom for a sweet little boy who had NO idea what was in store for him!!
When I think about that day, it’s still so fresh, I can remember the feelings, the sights, the smells… I remember the panic of thinking that the Bachmans might not get to leave with me & Timothy, the relief when we got the passports, saying goodbye to Roman, my very own security rabbit, and the train ride to Kiev, Nico’s face when he saw/remembered all the bags we had… getting to the apartment and being in awe of how great it was… the kids’ first baths… it was a long day, but one that I will never forget. It was my first day of being Timothy’s caretaker.
It was our Gotcha Day. A day that changed the course of our lives forever. Happy Gotcha Day to our sweet little son. We love you more and more each day!!
And My response:
Ah, I must add that when we parted ways for you to go get Timothy, and we went to Marina across the street from our apartment, there she was, sitting in a little chair in her "room". She looked bored as the nanny brushed her hair and brushed her hair...and brushed her hair. Then Marina gave up her orphanage clothes even the underwear and put on the new dress and stockings and fancy panties and coat and scarf and little red beret, and you could see she felt beautiful. We took a hundred photos since it was the first time we had actually all seen her room and all her friends were sitting around a table having cookies and milk. Then we met the staff at the front door, and choked back tears at the bonds that we formed in such a short time, bonded by the process of handing over a life that truth be told they never intended to watch over for so long:) But I could see they loved her and wished her well. We got in the car, Roman at the wheel, and headed to the train station with no extra moments to spare. Of course we were behind a wreck, and little Marina began to cry...sob, and she just fell apart. We were so sad for her! But Roman spoke sweetly and quietly for about 5 minutes to her, all in Russian, and she stopped crying. I will always wonder about what he told her, but I am not sure he could have told me in english. Marina never cried like that again so I assume she believed him and we somehow proved him true to his words. He really is a security rabbit! Journeying with Mel made all the difference as we were able to help each other and combine our funds to obtain one amazing apartment! Never mind how awesome it is to share the rebirth of a child with someone who has such a heart for going the distance too. I remember the sheer glee at getting to cut the kids free in the giant bathtub and Marina taking about 6 baths a day because she could. I remember thinking if Timothy turned off the light or the tv one more time....but I had no way to finish the sentence with recourse, because he had already done it 3 more times by the middle of my thoughts! Like a precious little puppy, God made Timothy too cute to have mean thoughts about:) I can never forget the friend I found in Mel, the friends I love in Ukraine, and the lives of Timothy and Marina who are now on vastly different paths than they were pointed. Where would they be now if we had not gone? I for one, would still have a giant hole in my heart. It is still broken but heals more every time I hear Marina laugh. And the cracks are now like stained glass, they let the light shine through in an interesting pattern. Thank you Mel for posting our memories. You did an amazing job. Probably because you are an amazing person. Love, Cathy
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
and I can hardly believe the changes in Marina, and Evan too for that matter. Just yesterday Marina and Evan were headed to the car pool line to get in my car and Marina was just full of herself! Evan looked totally dejected and on the edge of tears...this has all been brought about because Marina lost yet another tooth yesterday! Evan's are loose, but Marina does not say a word about her teeth being loose and before you know it, she has two missing from the front and another that will come out this week on the bottom. This is devastation for a 6 year old boy for some reason. It is now his obsession so I feel sure he will wiggle his own tooth out this week as well. I am simply thankful that apple season came early and halloween is over...these kids love apples and are starting to look like little jack o lanterns! I have noticed Marina being much less feisty in the last couple of weeks. Less spitting, less lashing out...and FULL of hugs and love. She signs she loves me when she heads to the swingset out the back door. Evan has taught her this and I am grateful. I sit here typing and I am full of LOVE for these two amazing children who tenderize my heart just looking at them. I used to keep a verse in my bathroom taped to the mirror about how sorrow would be replaced by joy. I actually got it from a church mission group who came to the hospital during Cay's leukemia battle and church missionaries brought things to strangers who were there (maybe toiletries or something like that) and anyhow this handwritten verse was tucked in whatever it was that I got. I found it in my things after we left the hospital and Cay had used another portal to exit...so I taped it to my mirror in the bathroom and I cannot tell you how many times I mocked that verse and begged God to make it happen at the same time. Well, it has happened. Yes I see Caylyn when I look at Marina...and had I known Marina existed, I would have seen her when I looked at Cay. They are terribly similar, and vastly different. Yes, joy has replaced my sorrow. There are things I am sure of now that have become rock solid within. I am sure Caylyn is safe and a mighty force still being used by God. I am sure Marina is safe and a mighty force being used by God...and I am seeing adoption take root in my son's heart as a true concern and I really hope it will shape how he changes the world as well, because I know he is going to. We all do in some way every single day.
So we have been busy as always. Evan is a tiger cub scout and Marina would not miss a scout meeting if the sky were falling...the kids are doing well in school too. We went to San Juan on a quick 3 day trip last week when the kids had an extra day off (groupon coupons rock!)The leaves had started to change and the nights were cold and we had not been to the beach as a family all year, so we hopped on a plane and enjoyed simply building castles and jumping waves. I could not tell you much about the country other than the water is perfect and the hotel was 5 minutes from the airport. Both kids had runny noses when we left, and the ocean was the remedy that healed most of that! I feel sure it was the least expensive trip we have ever gone on. It is because of this perk that I love my job at USAir! Marina attended her first Buddy walk and took to the front of the line for photos (shocking!!). We have attended Rachels Run and spoken to families about reaching out to make a difference.
I personally have battled and battled with the fact that our USCIS immigration approval will expire in December for adopting a second child from Ukraine and it is killing me inside that we are leaving someone behind. Yes, I can start over but WHY? Tully has said not right now and it is not sitting well with me at all. I have such a restlessness about this. But it seems like it will not be anything I can fix at this juncture in time. I cannot extend our time without another home study, and that window is closing fast since it has to go through DSS again. I would appreciate prayers for peace over this. I am working in other ways though to make a difference as opportunities arise. I have been part of a growing orphan ministry at our church and we will officially launch this soon which is very exciting! I hope to host a shoe drive for orphans pretty soon. I went to Jim DeMints conference on orphans and adoption and it was totally amazing. I found a post yesterday from another mom and I will add it here: I think it is similar to how I feel about urgency. If it does not show up which is often the case with blogger for some reason, go to nogreaterjoymom.com and spend a minute with words from Adeye--she is really amazing. So I am one but there are more. Maybe God will channel some of this mad hatter feeling in me about the obvious fact that every month even here in South Carolina 60 children will age out of the foster system without a permanent family they can count on...what do those kids do for holidays and hope and strength now that the state has graduated them to the street? And you wonder why the jails are full of youth? Were YOU ready to live life on your own at 18? Why has the church turned over the command to care for orphans and widows to the state and when will we reclaim this as our right and responsibility? Honestly I promise this is not where I thought this post was headed...but these are things that we have to stop turning our eyes away from. 147 million orphans worldwide is an epidemic. It is in our back yard as well as across the oceans where we do not let our minds wander for long because we want to scamper back to where it is safe here in America and we do not treat our orphans poorly, do we? Do we? And yet you know we do when you read the paper or see the news. It has to change. I am one...be we are more.
And so it has been a year since we first met Marina, and when you go back to the first pictures of Marina and compare them to now, can you see what being a member of a family who loves her has done? Does not every child deserve to be loved? I cannot forget the alternative for her had we not gone. That alternative is a reality and a majority of what is happening to little children as our lives go on and we do not think about it or consider it because it is too sad or too difficult. But it is still real whether we admit it to ourselves or not.
Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. Not everyone can adopt, but everyone can help. I hope that during Orphan awareness month you will be not just more aware, but will find a way to help be the voice of a child. I put this as a starting point just to make it easy for you. I know for a fact that these grants DO get handed to a family who will travel to bring a child home. Every dollar helps. It made it all possible for us. http://reecesrainbow.org/angeltreekids
I know the world is full of needs. I just can't think of one more important than helping a child who has no voice. When I think of the amount of money we spend here in America to dress our dogs for halloween I am utterly heart broken. This does not set well with me. No it is not my money to redistribute and delegate for the least of these... but it says alot about how callous our hearts have become in this world and our hearts need to be broken for these lost children...every single one of them. Together we can make a difference. I appreciate everyone who helped us bring Marina home. Instead of her sitting in an institution drugged and drooling, she is running in the surf and learning in a school surrounded by people who love her where she is a best friend to little girls named Mary, Nancy and Candace. She is a sister to Evan and a daughter to us. She is a cousin to Cole, Laurel, Leela Mae, CJ Mayfield and Forest, as well as those in Colorado she has not met yet. She is a grand-daughter who is doted on. She shares a joy that is indescribably rich about how her life is going to turn out now. That is a polar opposite to where she would be today had we not moved when God made a way. She had only a week before she would have been transferred to the mental institution, her original destiny. God is mighty, He can make a way for anyone to save a child from hopelessness. I am humbled and honored that He made a difference for Marina through us. Adding her to this family is the reason my sorrow has turned to joy as she joins hands with Evan walking down the hall at school and adds chaos and laughter as well as tears and teaching to our lives...she has been a gift from God to us, each of us. And we are a gift to her. There are more waiting for the gift of a family and the teaching of Love. Orphan awareness, the time to be aware is now.