One of the most remarkable aspects of this adoption has been that it placed me and my sister, Tara, on a parallel journey. She and her husband, Jonathan, have been in an almost two year process of adopting a little girl from Russia. We hoped and dreamed that we could be in-country at the same time, but anyone who knows anything about Russian adoptions knows that planning is impossible. You are at their mercy, and when they say to jump, you only ask "how high?" We could only hope.
Jonathan and Tara met their daughter for the first time a month before we met James. They received a court date of August 9th. It looked like there was no chance we'd travel at the same time and even if we did, we travel to separate regions. We are only in Moscow for a day or so on each end of our trip. Well, we believe we experienced a miracle, because we found out we'd be in Moscow TOGETHER on August 4th and 5th. Yes, that was yesterday and today. We stayed at the same hotel and walked the city together! It was so touching when they walked into our room. James went straight to Tara and hugged her over and over again for several minutes. It was precious.
We loved spending the day together taking in the city and introducing James to his whole new world.
They are going to make such great parents! We just wish their little girl was with them today. Soon!!!
And here we are as a FAMILY OF FIVE:
We thought it was pretty special for James to walk around in Red Square, with his brother and sister at his side. It truly felt victorious to see him there.
We felt so carefree...James was ours, and we could take him anywhere and do anything! We were able to just have fun together as a FAMILY!
Grant had to be get his picture taken with these guys:
We introduced James to the wonderful world of ICE CREAM! He took to it mighty fast and we loved watching him enjoy himself. This is the first of MANY good things to come!
We ended the day by vegging out in our hotel room with Tara and Jonathan. They got to see James taking his bath (he was a wild man again) and we just enjoyed our short time together. James is doing so well. We were out all day long and he never cried or even fussed. We were watching for signs that he was getting overstimulated, but he really seemed to enjoy taking in all the sights. He was fascinated by the nervy pigeons that would come right up to him. He watched people with interest. He didn't seem to mind the crowds at all and we were so impressed with his easy-going temperament. Once again, he went to sleep quickly and slept through the night. Our little batman:
Today was an important day. We went to the U.S. Embassy to get James' visa. It was some of the easiest paperwork we've done (good ol' USA) and it literally took minutes. We had some consolate paperwork to do as well, but then we were free for the day. James fell asleep in my arms on the way back to the hotel.
For lunch, we walked to a nearby McDonalds, and introduced him to another yummy treat: the all-American hamburger and french fries. Oh my...he ate the entire hamburger and almost half the fries.
On the way back to the hotel, we HAD to stop to get him another ice-cream cone. He gripped it so hard his fingers pressed through the cone. You can tell he is all business about his food!
It is almost bedtime here. We are packing our suitcases for the last time. Our plane leaves tomorrow at noon, and we arrive in Knoxville at 6:21pm. James will be HOME! I can't believe I'm able to type that last sentence!
"...because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkeness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."