Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yes it is Gotcha anniversary for Marina! Happy Bachman Birthday 1 year!

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...


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


  1. What wonderful tributes to that marvelous day a year ago! I remember it well - checking your blogs throughout the day for updates, and rejoicing with you when Marina and Timothy were yours at last, and admiring that darling red, white and black little outfit Marina wore as she left the orphanage forever.

    I'm wearing my Marina bracelet right now, as I do most days...a beautiful reminder of a beautiful child, and all those children who still wait. I dropped off shoeboxes for two of those children at our local Operation Christmas Child collection site, and two more boxes are heading there as soon as today's rain stops. Six years ago, my young cousins were two of those "Christmas Children" they're packing their own boxes.

    It's a good way for me to celebrate Timothy and Marina's special day, and to honor all those families and children, both those who are united and those who still wait...

    So thankful for Marina - and for her family.

    Much love,

  2. Beautiful post! I love what you wrote about Marina's gorgeous Gotcha Day outfit - she truly looked like a princess that in it. Happy Gotcha Day to all of you!

  3. LOL She DID look like a princess!! Although, I think the hat became a frisbee once we were on the train...hehe God knew JUST what He was doing when He put us with our kids AND us with each other!! Your friendship and support made things so much better!! LOVE you all!!! Give them kiddos HUGS & KISSES from me!!

  4. I loved following yours and Mel's journeys. We were just a couple of weeks away from our own journey and I awaited your blog posts anxiously. :-)

    I must say I loved your analogy with the stained glass...made me cry. It's perfect though. Thanks for sharing your heart!