Almost done! Still pray!!
This is a mini version of the email that I sent out to update you yesterday. This is for those who have not received an update:
Thursday and Friday were full of activity yet there is still so much to do.
Thursday, Bill and Viktor (we don’t really have to use the name “Luke” any more but I think I’ll wait on pictures until we’re on our way out of here.) headed off with our friend, Viktor Migo, who drives us when we're with Alyona doing business. He will not allow us to pay him for his driving, which normally, we would have to do under any other circumstance if we drove with a taxi or driver who had to wait for us for the day. Bill did convince him to take gas money (by basically throwing it at him as he got out of the van yesterday) since he and his wife drove us two days in a row all the way to the villages and back (2 1/2 hours one way). Alyona was able to get Viktor's Social Security card at his village. She was told there that his family was a very good family at one time. It fell apart and the brother got in with the wrong crowd but he used to be a really good kid too. I was happy to hear this. I have already thanked God many times (and will continue to do so) that Viktor had been a baby who was held and loved by his mother. He was nurtured and cared for. He may not have always had enough food but he wasn't left crying, ignored, and starving in a crib, along with 50 other babies in an orphanage. I am very thankful for this. I know what happens to the development (or should I say what doesn't happen to the development) of their little brains and bodies when they are not held and loved on as babies.
With the SS card or number in hand, they went back to another village to get the passport that he needed just in order to get his international passport. As they were driving for miles down the road, Bill said Viktor was talking and pointing as they were driving down this road. Alyona explained that Viktor was saying that he used to walk down to this village (MILES AND MILES...Bill wasn't sure how many miles) to go to school. This must have been his 2nd school, right before the orphanage. He used to walk in the rain and snow, and yes...barefooted. Bill put "barefoot" in there as kind of joke because we always tease old people who say they walked barefoot in the snow to school, uphill both ways, but when he said it, they said "yes, barefoot".
Getting the passport was a very proud moment for Viktor. It has his new name on it. He is so very proud of his new passport.
Igor brought Dana and me to meet them at the Notary office late in the afternoon. Viktor couldn't wait to show us his passport. He wasn't going to get to keep it once he applied for his international passport (it was going to have be returned to the passport office in the village). We took pictures of every page that had writing on it so he could have it for memory. When we signed the notary book and the documents, the lady in the office told me that it was a good thing the boss left already or I would have gotten in trouble for taking a picture. I told her thank you for letting me take a picture. Not only did she let me take a picture, but after Viktor signed the Notary book, she had him sit in the boss's chair to sign his official documents so that I could take pictures of him there! How sweet was that! She was very happy for us!
We went to celebrate at dinner so we did not want to go to McDonald's, much to Viktor's chagrin. We went to a nice restaurant where we went for Woman's Day and had delicious food-the best we've had here I think. Viktor didn't order anything or look at the menu. He just wanted an apple, which he had to wait a few hours for. It was super hard for me not to run down to the grocery store to buy him an apple (or a McD’s cheese burger to go) while we waited for our food but I knew I couldn't do that. Of course, even if I tried, Bill would have been wise to stop me from giving in and doing such a foolish thing.
Friday morning Viktor applied for his international passport. Unfortunately, Alyona found out that they can no longer expedite a 3 day passport for adults. They said it could take up to 2 weeks to get the passport but most likely we'll have it within 5 days. With that being done, we headed to the police station to file for the criminal record which will be ready Wednesday. We hope and pray the passport will also be done by Wednesday. If so, we can leave for Kiev and finish up! Monday we should also get the medical report which was supposed to be ready this week. After the police station, we then went to the college to check out of school. Viktor turned everything in and had to get a paper signed. We waited in the same office that we stepped into 45 days before, when we first saw Viktor in Odessa and told the school we were adopting him. It was the day he wrote the letter saying he would like to be adopted by us and signed the document Viktor William. 45 days ago. Now, here we were, standing in that same office, waiting to get him out of there! Unfortunately, 2 people were not there to sign the papers. A very out of breath, sweaty, Viktor came in the office to ask the director about them because he couldn't find them. Also, the director of the University wasn't there to sign the document and that's who we needed to talk to next. We go back on Monday. Sigh. We did, however, get all of his belongings out of his dorm and take them to the van.
S.A. Christian people, you know those duffle bags they give you for middle school retreat? You know how we parents are like, "they'll never fit all their stuff in here for retreat! What are these people thinking?" Well, Viktor couldn't fill even half that bag with all his personal belongings, and that includes his new presents that he just received for his birthday. He left that dorm with an H.E.B.-type bag and a back pack and a coat. His coat, he informed us, he is going to donate to the orphanage that we are going to go to on Sunday with his pastor. He never wears it. He wears 2 or 3 light jackets at the same time but rarely wears his heavy coat.
We had an awesome afternoon of walking all over Odessa and seeing the sights and taking pictures. We think Viktor wanted to show us all around and also wanted pictures of everything to keep forever in his memory.
We stayed up until 2:00 am because we skyped with the boys after we watched the Karate Kid in Russian. TRENT, once again wasn't there. My little social butterfly was gone again. :( MISS YOU TRENT! We made ourselves go to bed because we promised the kid that we'd go back to the port at 7:00AM because "it's beautiful" at 7:00AM. Afterwards, we went to McDonald's for breakfast, Viktor's treat.
Viktor loves to buy things for people. He bought me a beautiful platter when he brought laundry over for me last weekend. It has yellow/orange tulips on it; the tulips match perfectly with the tulips that Dana and I received at church as a gift for Woman's Day. I now have a new favorite flower. :) Yesterday, he bought Dana and me bracelets from a little souvenir stand. He has bought other gifts for people, he gives money to old ladies who are begging in the street, to musicians who are playing under the streets, and to jars at the groceries stores if they are supporting something that has to do with children. Giving is one of his love languages. Touch and spending time are two other very strong love languages of Viktor's.
It was a beautiful, sunny day and yesterday we even ate outside until the wind got to us and then we had to move inside. It was probably a bombing 35 degrees out! WARM! :) Today is even warmer. All the restaurants even put their outside tables out on their porches for the day.
We have been hearing more and more miracles that God has been doing behind the scenes that we were unaware of until after things were taken care of. Things that I don’t want to mention here in public. Things that only God’s hand could have caused the seeing eye to not see and the enemy to not move. Please continue to pray as this isn't even over yet. Until we have every passport, every document, Visa, medical report, etc in hand, this is not done. The enemy is also constantly causing fear and doubt in our little new DeFrees. You can see him fighting it as he clings to his new found love and family.
The enemy will not stop attacking so please do not stop praying. We are depending on it! Love you all deeply!