Monday, August 8, 2011

The Day that had to come...

First off, here is a family shot: Artem was all dressed up too, but he spilled ketchup on his button down shirt! Oh, well...he is still adorable!
This is my brother and sister and law and their youngest, Nathan with Artem. Thanks to them, he even went home with some Spanish words (Tia and Tio mostly)!
And here he is with Nana and Papa (Shauns parents):

And finally Babushka and Dedushka (sp?): This boy is very very loved!

So, departure day. I really thought I was prepared for it. I mean, I was dreading it the whole time, but we went into this with a host only mentality and I thought I was alright with that. It. was. awful. The days leading up to it there was plenty of talks about it. He was so open about not wanting to go back, so free with his emotions and affections. We got plenty of hugs and kisses and I love yous the whole time he was here. One night in particular broke my heart- we were having a chat on the translator and he was expressing his worry about what would happen when he got back to Ukraine. I guess the older boys can be bullies, and if they see something they want, they just simply take it. All the little gifts we got him were such treasures to him- I seriously doubt he has ever had so many possessions in his life. The thought of someone stealing from him made me so sad. I asked if there wasn't a teacher or a caretaker who could look out for him and he looked at me like I was completely crazy. He got a set of earrings for his sister whenever he sees her again- I went ahead and wrapped them in hopes that they would be more likely to stay in his possession that way. He basically told me that if someone tried to take those, he would fight them, but I cringed at that and told him to be careful and look out for himself- no material things are worth his safety.

Packing his bags was tricky but we got it done. Photo album full of memories with our contact info in the back. His Russian English Bible in which I highlighted some of my favorite passages. Clothes, toys, shoes, school supplies, and gifts. Poor kids carry on weighed a ton though! And I managed to slip in a letter and some unseen goodies after he went to bed.

The flight out was really early, so Shaun stayed home with the two younger kids and Ashtyn and I took him. We were such a wreak! Artem was somber at first, but as soon as he got around the other boys, he separated from us and took on the tough boy act. They were all in pretty good spirits- several of them had been through this before so I think they were coping the best they could. When it was actually time to say goodbye however- the tough boy act melted away and he clung to us and choked back the tears. For Ash and I there was no hiding it, we were complete saps. My sweet sweet boy- I don't think he has any idea how much we miss him!!

The one thing that made it all slightly more bearable however is that we do have hopes of seeing him again. I cannot mention any names and it is certainly not a sure thing yet, but some friends of ours that met him while he was here are seriously considering adopting him. So we are praying for that to work out, and hoping they might host him for Christmas. Couldn't let Artem know anything about it poor kid. He is so strong though, and so brave. And he is always in our thoughts and prayers so I know God will take care of him!

The rest of the visit

Wow, we got way too busy for blogging. Forgive me, i wanted to savor every moment!

I would say the highlight was a long weekend in a beach side resort (I love spg points!!) We headed over to Sand Key and spent 3 nights and 4 days. It was awesome. Ironically most of the kids preferred the pool to the big blue ocean- but we got plenty of both! Grandma and Grandpa went with to help with the kiddos (since Shaun couldn't stay the entire time-boo). Artem got even tanner (if that is possible) and even met a cute little girl from Moscow at the pool one day. Strangely- we seemed to find Russian speakers everywhere we went while he was here- I don't think he has a clue how rare that actually is in the States. They had kids activities at the pool in the afternoon, and he got second on a swimming race- against some much bigger kids too.

We went to Rock Springs with our cousins- water is always a hit with Artem. He did reach a point of being tired of little kids, so my 14 year old nephew Zac and his friend let A hang with them for a bit- which totally made his day. These springs are especially cool because you can take a tube up to the boil, and ride the current downstream.

I pawned off my little ones, and took the two oldest to Disney again. I was really hesitant to do it after the first failed attempt but I am so glad we went! It was fantastic- he had so much fun. We went to Magic Kingdom and he conquered all the mountains- but I think his favorite was the race cars. We closed the place down, staying through the electric parade and the fireworks. I hope he took home some good memories.

Let me add some pics and I will cover the goodbyes in a separate post...