I know many of you have been awaiting this. I'm sorry it's taken so long, and this may not be the greatest post as I'm trying to do it while myo princessa dochka is sleeping.
We were starving...it was almost 1:00 pm. There was no breakfast, it was a long night and a longer morning in the car and taking care of business in various buildings. But, there was no time for food because if we didn't make it by nap time, I was sure that we'd have to wait a couple more hours and we still had to go by the passport office on the way home.
Back to the orphanage we went...everything we needed. The cameras would have to wait outside. Poor Kirill had been waiting outside for hours in the snow. We went in, past the guard, and up to an office I'd never been in before down from the Directors. That was a relief. To not be in her office was a positive thing. Friendly faces of three women greeted us. The MOE representative gave her what she needed. She was filling out more paperwork.
I was asked for Polina's clothes. I handed them over...disappointed that I wasn't going to get to dress her yet. A few minutes later...she was wheeled in. There she was...my daughter wearing a shirt that said "Little Sister." She now had a family. Belonging. Identity.
And she was beautiful as always with her hair in two braids down each side. Pretty sure Angie did that. Thank you Angie! Thank you for all you did for our little girl and for all you do for the others!
Polina's first words to me? "Do I get to go with you Mommy?"
I got to say YES! I didn't have to leave her behind again! I have tears in my eyes as I type that.
I took her picture with Angie and we gave her a picture frame with a picture of Polina - one for her and one for another caregiver. And then, the director came in.
She didn't address us personally. She talked to some others in the room and then told us best wishes to our backs and left. We didn't know she was talking to us, but we were told. I had a nice picture frame with a picture of Polina in it for her, so I ran down to her office to give it to her. Kindness kills the heart...or something like that.
A few minutes later, she came back and things got tense. We couldn't make it out of there one time without the arguing? Really? Polina didn't need that! I didn't know what was being said, but she did.
I was told, "Let's get out of here as soon as possible."
You don't have to tell me twice.
I left the other three picture frames on the table to be given to the other caregivers. I shoved everything in the bag and picked Polina up without figuring out the broken zipper on her jacket. I could hold her against me to the car and it would be okay. So off we went...for the last time...leaving that.......place. Later, I was told that the picture frames were given back to one of our escorts, saying that they were just junk.
I had my daughter in my arms. That was jubilant.
But I was leaving others behind. Katya, Vika, Igor, Sasha, Valeria. I could go on. I will never forget those kids. I will never forget one of our translators telling me, "You're right, (she) isn't numb...she understands you!" or another crying for me and being put in the hallway and left alone in her wheelchair for well over an hour, because they think she's "numb" too. I will never forget these two girls just longing for human touch or their ecstatic squeels and delightful smiles when they got it. For Heaven's sake...just because a kid can't talk doesn't mean they don't understand. They should not be ignored and left sitting, in the back of the room or in the hallway, ignored. Play hand-over-hand with them. Tickle them. Hold them. Watch them bloom! As they say in America, I "triple-dog-dare you." It will change their lives, and it will change yours!
Sorry for the tangent.
We were in the van, on the way back to Moscow, with our daughter. It was a trip filled with wonderful moment and heartbreaking moments. Bittersweet was a recurrent theme this day. Polina would love on me. We listened to music and rocked together.
And then she told me, "I cried last night Momma. (Two of my caregivers) told me you weren't coming to get me and I wasn't going to go to America." My heart sank. My throat swelled. I was angry. I was disgusted. But I had to hold it together for her. And so I told her they were wrong, that Mommy was taking her home to America in a few days and she would never have to go back there. She went on to tell us about a boy in the orphanage who told her we weren't coning to take her because she was a (b****).
He was wrong too Polina. You are myo princessa dotchka now and I will take you to America!
She asked who would be with her in Moscow, if she would be alone, where she would sleep. We reassured her she would never be alone and we would always be with her.
The passport office was quick, we got some groceries, and we made it to our apartment around 6:30 that night.
I lived my dream that night. I fed her, gave her a bath, did her hair, read her a book and snuggled her. It took her three hours to fall asleep. I'll post in a future blog why I believe that is. But for now, my princess daughter is awake, and I have to go!
If you haven't seen this ABC news story (Thank you Kirit Radia!) you should watch it!