So much to report but the most important is that Vitaliy is now officially our son. I arrived in Kiev the evening of the 7th and was taken to the first apartment that Brandon and I stayed in on our first trip. I realized then that I brought the wrong cell phone charger and my phone was almost dead. Irritated at myself for making that mistake, I set up the lap-top to access the internet. After 2 hours of trying it still wasn’t working. I left it on a small table and went to the kitchen to make some tea. While in the kitchen, I heard a thump. My heart sank because I just know that sound was my laptop hitting the floor. I was correct. The table I sat it on broke and my lap-top’s screen is busted. L So no phone and no internet, I sat in my apartment cut off from the world and cried. God was there to comfort me as always and I eventually was able to get a bad connection on Brandon’s ITouch to let him know I was alive and that I made two costly mistakes. With the great love and sincerity, my husband told me that it was ok that I have ended up making the cost of this trip increase. A tough night of barely 3 hours of sleep, I woke up on the 8th ready for the second part of the trip.
I was picked up at 5am and we were off to Kiev airport for our flight to Simferopol. Our facilitator and I were picked up and immediately taken to the city, about 2 hours from the orphanage, where Vitaliy was registered at birth to pick-up his new birth certificate up. I was able to get a picture of me with his new certificate in front of a statue in the city. Our facilitator let us know that this certificate is the one that says he is Officially Ours! Hooray!
The agenda for the rest of the day was supposed to be full so I was told that we probably wouldn’t be able to get him, so I prepared myself for that. As we drove back towards Simferopol, I was told that we were heading to the orphanage to pick-up Vitaliy to take him to get his passport photo taken and that we would have to take him back to the orphanage afterwards. I was just happy to be able to see him. When we arrived at the orphanage, I was led to a room to sign some more documents. This is a normal event. Then in walks Vitaliy with a bag. He was packed and ready to go, forever. I looked at the director concerned that he had been given the wrong information, but in-fact, the documents I had just signed was signing him out of the orphanage FOREVER! Vitaliy was ready to go! He hugged me and was practically jumping ready to go. We took a few more pictures and then he ran for the car to leave. As we pulled away he only looked back when I told him to say good-bye. He said good-bye, took a long glace, and then turned his head forward, sat up in the seat as tall and close to the front as possible and smiled a smile of relief, hope, and the promise of a better tomorrow!
Then we spent the next 5 hours running from one government office to another, getting pictures taken for passports and visas, finding me a new phone charger, and going to a grocery store. I had not eaten anything since a sandwich on the plane that morning and I was starving! While sitting in the car waiting for something (waiting in the car is also a normal occurrence) my stomach was growling very loudly. Our driver had great compassion on me and went to a nearby store to buy a Danish for us. Vitaliy’s was gone in about 45 seconds. I then went into the building and Vitaliy had to stay in the car with the driver. When we came back out about 45 minutes later he was shoveling down another Danish. I asked him how many he had and he told me four with a big sticky grin! During all of our running around Vitaliy would spontaneously snuggle-up next to me in the car and lay his head on me. He stood right beside me at the grocery store and helped me push the basket around. He was thrilled to pick out some grape juice and yogurt. Since we were still hungry we did a Victory Lap through the McDonald’s drive-thru! I got him a cheeseburger Happy Meal and some juice. This was his second time eating there and he told me the first time in Kiev had tasted better. LOL Then it was finally off to our cozy little temporary home. We were greeted most enthusiastically but those already there. Vitaliy knows the Shumaker’s and Kloehn’s and was happy to see some familiar faces. They had just begun to prepare dinner but I wasn’t hungry. Vitaliy however had an endless pit. He ate. After dinner it was time for a nice warm shower. Vitaliy is accustomed to ONE cold shower a week. A warm cozy shower was just what he needed. After the shower he dressed in his new fresh undies, socks, and PJ’s. I gave him so house slippers, which he LOVED! Then he wanted to explore the room we were staying in. His wonderment at what I consider everyday items was fascinating to watch. He looked in every drawer, in every corner, under the beds, on top of the closet and thrilled when there was something to be found. I gave him a flashlight so that his search would be even more fun. He dug through the drawers that I had just finished filling with our clothes, inspecting every item as if it were an object of treasure. He then found my some box that held my jewelry. He took out each necklace and earring and studied it with intense focus on how they clasped and dangled. He then took apart the flashlight and put it back together at least 7 times. There was a clock on the wall that wasn’t working. He took it off the wall, took out the battery and then took a battery from the flashlight. He was so excited that he had brought it back to life. Fortunately, I had extra batteries with me. There are keys in our door to our room and he took them and tried them out on every door in the house, to be satisfied that they truly only worked on our door. I tried my hardest to get him to rest as I had about 8 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours. The effort was a bit like bringing a 3 year old to Toys-R-Us and asking them to take a nap in the store.
After hours of exploration, another apple and banana, I was able to get him tucked in and said prayers with him for the very first time. He loves the hugs and kisses. The entire day and night I was calling him my baby son, in Russian. Each time he would look at me with a twinkle in his eyes and giggle. This is what I called him last as he snuggle in under the blankets. Two minutes later, I heard the long, deep breaths of his sleeping body.
God is good and His Mercies Endure Forever, Praise His Name all you people! His ransom has been paid; he is an orphan no longer. We look with hope into Vitaliy’s future that God will heal him, restore him, and call him into His family.