Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bye for now

Well, Anya went home, back to Ukraine yesterday.  It was a very sad day, sadder than I ever expected. Before I went to bed last night I was online tracking her flight, and then first thing this morning I got back on to see that she landed safely.  It was 18 hours of flying with a layover in Amsterdam. She landed in Kiev, Ukraine about 5am Michigan time.  She is now on a 10-12 hour bus ride to Kherson where her orphanage is.  I hope she is doing well, she was a very emotional girl yesterday, and her tears showed just how much she is going to miss us.  Her first good bye was to Todd, Tony and Bella at the house before we left.  Todd could not get away from work to go to the airport, so I decided without his help, it would be best to leave the kids home with a sitter. 

Of course all her crying had me crying.  I tried to be strong and not cry, and I really thought I could do it.  Until I saw her crying.  She cried for the first half hour to the airport before she fell asleep.  We stopped for lunch, and she seemed to be doing okay the rest of the way to Chicago.  It wasn't until we got through the check out counter that she started crying again.  Maybe it's my pregnancy hormones, maybe it's the mother in me, but I felt horrible sending her back to fend for herself in Ukraine.  
Here we are trying to pretend everything is fine.

group picture

Getting harder to pretend...

Francie was able to come along for the tearful good bye.  (yes she was crying too.  Lol, we must have been a sight.)

Anya with her luggage.  I think it weighed about half as much has her.  

Going through security.

Last glance back before going through security

The goodbye wasn't just hard on me and Anya, there were 3 other kids there saying good bye to their families.  Lucky for them (although they do not know it) all 3 of those kids families have already started the adoption process.  Anya's future is still up in the air.  When I brought her to stay with us for the summer, I wanted go give this girl a wonderful 5 weeks in America, but had no real expectations beyond that.  Now I find myself wishing she was a permanent part of our family.  With a baby on the way, due in November, it's bad timing in many ways to be going through an international adoption.  

We are definitely planning on re-hosting her this Christmas... but between now and then, we have some serious decisions to make.  For now I'm holding onto this promise as much as Anya is.

I found out that Anya entered the orphanage on 5/25/2010.  Ironically that is my birthday.   It made me sad to think that while I was celebrating, Anya was moving into an orphanage.  I don't think I will ever be able to celebrate another birthday without thinking about Anya and where she is and how long she has been there (regardless of whether those answers change over time, which I pray they do).

Jill Lenkowski from two ring photography donated her time and talent to take these great pictures at the beach in South Haven for us.  

She loves to smile, now that she got her front tooth cavity fixed.

And here is a post I started a week ago and never finished... but I hate to delete it... so I'm not...

Last Sunday was the first day that Todd didn't have to work since Anya has been here, so we went to Notre Dame University (where Todd graduated from) and walked around campus.  I think Anya enjoyed it way more than I expected her to.  I think part of it had to do with spending time together with Todd, which we have gotten so little time to do that.  I let her carry the camera, and she took pictures of whatever she thought worthy.  I found it interesting to see the things that she found worthy of a picture.  She was constantly wanting to take pictures of Todd and I, statues and squirrels.  She was also pretty impressed, as was I, with the inside of the church.  Reminded me of the churches I saw in Italy with beautifully painted ceilings and stain glass windows.

Anya already gets Todd's passion for ND football.

The Golden Dome

Inside the church.  This picture doesn't do it justice. 

I can't remember what this is called, (I'm not Catholic) but it's a place where you can light a candle for a loved one who has passed away or is ill, or in need of prayer.  Todd helped Anya light a candle for her mother, who I believe passed away around the time she entered the orphanage.  

I've been to the campus many times, but never walked around and got the tour from Todd.  So I enjoyed the experience as well.  Although it was a very hot and humid day, and my kids both wanted only me to carry them around, so I was definitely ready to go, when we finally left.


Tina in CT said...

Tears are rolling down my cheeks as I read your blog. What a sad time to say goodbye.

Does she know that she'll be with you and your family for Christmas?

Yes, you and Todd have a tough decision to think about.

What a wonderful 5 weeks you showed Anya and all the love she will bring back with her.

That is something that she entered the orphanage on your birthday. Didn't she have a father or other relatives to care for her when her mother died?

My friend's husband and two of their daughters went to ND and loved it.

Jorden and Kristin said...

I know James and his family are wanting to adopt the kid they hosted, is Rachael adopting theirs as well? That would be so awesome if Anya became part of your family!

Kathy said...

Great pictures. I especially love the first one with Todd and Anya - so sweet.
The campus pics were nice too - Anya did a great job! So glad she enjoyed walking around campus. It really is a BEAUTIFUL place. I hope to get some family pics taken there yet this summer.
BTW - the place with all the candles is called The Grotto :) Amazing to visit at night!

PattiLynn said...

Lori, I've really enjoyed all your posts re: Anya with your family this summer. And your pictures have been fantastic!!

Anya seems like a really sweet girl who sooo deserves better than her current lot in life...and a better future too.

~ PattiLynn from Tx.

Annie said...

Lori, I sure remember vividly that empty feeling. HOW I hope you can bring Anya back to be part of your family. Rachael will attest to the fact that I kept waking up in the middle of the night with hair-brained schemes to get her back to you asap.

Her sweetness and energy are amazing...

I'm impressed that your husband went to Notre Dame! They don't let just anybody IN! :)

Elle J said...

Catching up after some time away - and so sad to see her return. I can tell just via blogland how much you all made a family for her, and she to you as well. Thinking good thoughts and prayers that the direction of Anya's journey will be clear and positive - whatever the direction.

Rachael said...

this post had me bawling three sentences in.

A Room to Grow said...

Thanks for sharing your hosting experience with Anya. She sounds like a lovely girl. I'm sure the decisions about the future will become clearer with time. Take care!

ps. I do not if I have commented before - I'm a friend of Rachael's. We adopted a 6.5yo from Russia about a year after Katya came home.

E said...

We hosted this summer too, and Departure Day was so difficult. :(

Do you know of any families traveling to Anya's orphanage soon, by chance? I have a care package that I would love to be able to send with a traveling family. I'm not part of the hosting or adoption blogosphere, and so I don't know any host families outside our local area -- and no one else nearby hosted from that orphanage.

Lori said...

E, I do not know anyone going there right now, but I have the address to the orphanage if you want to send a care package. I checked at the post office and they have flat rate boxes you can send from $16-$48 depending on size. Email me if you want more details. Costa.Lori@gmail.com