Monday, March 26, in Kiev, Ukraine:
We are done with everything that has to be done in order to make Viktor our son and in order to leave the country and go home!!! Praise God for this and praise God for all our answered prayer!!!! We even praise Him for each and every trial because we can see how His hand guided us through and we can see how important the outcome was after the trial. Viktor needed to see our love and devotion to him and to God through this process and through each problem and road block. He can see we are committed. He can see and feel that even when there is stress and misunderstandings, that there is still love; that there is forgiveness; that we pray, cry, forgive, and continue to love. He knows, without a doubt, that he is extremely loved-by us and by God.
Today could not have gone smoother. I mean, seriously, it couldn't have. Our super sweet taxi driver picked us up and we packed all our luggage back in the van. We stayed the night with Karen Springs for the night but she has another family coming in tonight, so we just stayed one night. It was so good to back in her home again. We just feel so at home, at peace, and relaxed there. Viktor felt it as well.
The taxi driver is very nice and even talked back and forth with Viktor on the way to Karen's from the airport yesterday. Viktor will talk to anyone; he loves to talk. We thought it was sweet of the man to allow him to talk to him all the way there. The ride to the embassy was very quiet though. Everyone was tired and a little anxious. We weren't nervous, but we were ready to get this done. We had a prayer time before we left the apartment and gave the day to God, asking Him to allow us to completely finish everything in one day so that we could have tomorrow to just have fun and play and relax and not worry about anything.
At the embassy, we didn't have to wait at all. Viktor signed a few papers and we were told to come back at 2:00 with the medical results of his exam. Off we went for the exam. No problem there either. It took a while, but everything was easy, with no problems. No one said, "I don't want to take responsibility for this" or "come back tomorrow" or "we can't do this here". No problems at all. So amazing! Poor Viktor. All day today and yesterday he has been saying in Russian, over and over, out loud, "it's ok. Everything is ok." It's like he's just claiming it or just needs to remind himself of this through out the day. After the medical part was over, we checked in to our apartment, dropped off all our luggage and went to eat lunch. Off to the embassy we went again. We turned in the medical report and raised our right hands to promise that everything was correct. The man explained that the information would be looked over and it should take about an hour to get the Visa approved and then we'll receive the paperwork. OR it could be up to 24 hours. We sat and waited. We prayed we would have the Visa with in the hour even though it would have been fine to have it tomorrow since we'll still be here anyway. We only waited about 35 minutes and all was finished!! We were so excited. Viktor couldn't take his eyes off his Visa while the lady spoke to Bill and me, explaining the paperwork and what to expect at the airport at immigration. As we left the embassy, I kept Woo-hooing quietly and hugging Viktor. He was excited but was quietly telling me (jokingly) "stop it Pamchik". I kept telling him, "I can't!!!!" I even Woo-hooed as we walked back through security building of the embassy!!! :).
Viktor has been "daddy's boy" all day. He has been hugging him, walking by his side, and sticking to him like glue. He needed the extra security today and he also didn't have any of the other men in his life around him. We knew once he was away from Odessa we would see a different boy, and were we right. Especially once that Visa was in sight and in his hand. The wall of protection came tumbling down. He has always been affectionate and loving, but now that he can believe with all his heart that this is really going to happen. He is hugging us all the time. HUGE, huge hugs. He tells us "I love you" in English and Russian over and over again. He has told Dana this many times and he has said that he loves us to other people. He told me he loved me on the phone, but he hasn't been saying, "I love you" even though I tell him that many times a day. He has been holding back. I think partly because he felt he was turning his back on his family and partly because he was protecting himself incase this didn't work out. His little streak of rebellion and stubbornness that we were seeing here and there are also gone. We knew this was also a wall that he was building up. Maybe even a test to see how much we loved him; to see if we would abandon him.
It's so wonderful to see a smiling, relaxed, happy, Viktor. You should have seen his smile when Bill gave him a piggy back ride last night. Was it his first? We have to wonder. By his reaction, we really think that maybe it was. So sad, don't you think? Definately his first piggy back ride from his dad. :) He's fixin' to have a lot of firsts! Thank You, God that we are the family who is chosen to be a part of these firsts in his life. Thank You, Father. Thank You.