When I write, it is my feelings literally flowing out of my fingertips onto the computer or paper. Last night I was not feeling it at all! It was a tough day! Today was the complete opposite. Although they are so much work, I really enjoyed the boys today. Zhenya had a hard time going off to bed. He just wasn’t ready. But allowing him to stay up late really affects him the following day.
I thought it would help him if I laid in bed with him for a while. As I climbed into his little twin bed and pulled the Ninja Turtle comforter over us, he settled down very quickly. I played with his ears and traced the curves of his face. I studied every mark on his face, the veins that show in his forehead, the freckles on his nose. I thought he was asleep as I started to get up. I looked over my shoulder and saw him watching me. I thought he would cry out for me to get back to bed but he just said “I love you!” And closed his eyes and started to suck his thumb.
This moment brought me back to day one. We sat waiting for these boys to come through customs for what seemed like days. Their original flight was cancelled so they were delayed more than five hours from when we were originally supposed to pick them up. Every time the doors opened, the other parents, children, and ourselves would jump up and stare hopefully. Finally, we saw the group emerge and the most nervous joy I could ever describe came over me!
Zhenya and Valerii came walking down the entrance looking tired, scared, and in awe. I will never forget the look on their faces. Two completely different kids than the ones that sleep soundly in their beds right now. Zhenya’s look was hopeful, anxious, and excited. Valerii’s displayed evident fear of what awaited him. They embraced us and I couldn’t help but cry. We brought them over to the table with food and I have never seen two little people eat the way they did. It was as if they hadn’t eaten in days.
What tore at my heart strings the most was the look in their eyes as we helped them. It almost said OMG these people actually care. Zhenya smiled at me as I opened his bottle of water. Valerii nodded as I peeled him a banana. We took them to the bathroom, gathered some paper work, and we were off with these two strangers who would come to mean so much to us in the next days. I expected them to be exhausted and scared as we drove home but they were far from that.
Rob and I giggled listening to the gasps and rattling of Russian in the back seat. We put in a movie and put the ear phones on their ears as Zhenya yelled OHHHH MUSICA!!! We showed them NYC across the bridge we were traveling over and they yelled NEW YORK CITY! I was amazed at how they could repeat our English. We called some family members and they yelled HI! I couldn’t believe how quickly they had taken to us.
Soon enough, the oohs and ahhs settled down and they snuggled up to each other to go to sleep. Rob covered them with his jacket and I will never forget the look in their eyes and smile on their face at that moment. They wouldn’t wake up at all when we got home until we carried them into their room. Then the excitement began again as we showed them around the house. Finally, we got them into their “NEW” pajamas and they hugged us, jumped up and down, and yelled “PLACEBOOO!!!!” (Thank you!)
These kids are far from those two boys I first met. It has been amazing to watch them grow, learn more about them, and settle down in the comfort of home as they let us into their lives more and more. I’m happy that Zhenya took me back to that day tonight. I will never forget the moment that I embraced these two boys. I will never forget how amazed I was at how something so simple as opening a bottle of water for someone could mean to another human being. That moment was something that changed my life forever. That moment was a moment I will burn in my memory forever. I look forward to going back to that moment time and time again. That moment was the moment Zhenya and Valerii stole a piece of my heart. I wouldn’t trade that moment for a million dollars.