Today was no ordinary day. It was the day we met our third son! ...which is probably why I got absolutely no sleep last night.
I had many fears, questions, and doubts, but those were all erased by one happy, smiley, tiny little man.
He is absolutely perfect for our family. He belongs with us. He is going to be our son.
Daina (our adoption attorney) and her son picked us up in front of our apartment this morning at 9:30. It was raining pretty hard, so we rushed into the vehicle and completed our introductions inside.
We took a fifteen minute drive to E's baby house while learning our schedule for the next couple days.
Outside the baby house, we waited for our interpreter to arrive. She appeared to be young twenties.
We went inside and were greeted by a social worker. She showed us into a large, open room with toys before going to find the doctor.
The doctor came and reviewed E's extensive medical history with us. His numerous special needs are the reason he was eligible for international adoption at such a young age. Most children here are not released for international adoption until they are nine.
Surprisingly (but then again not) a few things in his medical history were completely new to us and had not been included in any of the reports we had previously been given.
None of them have a big, lasting impact on him, but it's always interesting to find out that they left off three major surgeries and a couple diagnoses when writing up his report!
The medical care is decent here, but we are still anxious to get home and start making appointments with the specialists we trust.
We also learned that E was never in his mother's custody (his paperwork led us to believe he had been with her for the first year and a half). Today was actually his third anniversary of coming to the orphanage. He spent from late May until July 1 in a local hospital, where his mother abandoned him.
His mother is from a gypsy tribe (similar to Nasko's mother) and was described as having significant developmental delays (same as Nasko's also). She was deemed by a court to be incapable of caring for E when he was a year and a half old.
E has a speech delay (he is imitating like a mocking bird, and appropriately responsive, but he's not putting words together yet) and has received therapy for treatment. He also has physical delays from his club foot, hips dysplasia, and scoliosis. He receives therapy as treatment for those issues as well.
One of E's legs is shorter than the other, and requires a platform shoe. Also, he wears a brace for his skoliosis and glasses for astigmatism.
His physical therapist met with us briefly before going to retrieve him for our introductions. She mentioned that he loved any kind of water activity or music (considering his brothers do too, we're in luck!)
E and his PT entered the room and he was all smiles. Evidently he is one of the favorites in the orphanage, mostly because he is so happy and smiley. The doctor told a story of a very stern surgeon who just melted when E gave him a big grin before surgery.
E came over to us and gave some high fives. He loves being the center of attention, and just ate it UP that we were there for him.
Chance and I weren't sure what to do with him (especially without scaring him) so we quietly watched him for a while as he sat with his physical therapist.
Eventually I knew I had to make a move, so we pulled out the snacks we had packed (goldfish and pretzels) because, as a mama to all boys, I know that food is the way to their hearts. E took the goldfish from Chance and promptly shoved an unhealthy number into his mouth!
He quickly took a liking to Chance, the keeper of the goldfish, and from then on, the two were practically inseparable.
After E got warmed up to us, he really enjoyed playing. We brought a small backpack with some toys in it; he especially took to the GUND bear we bought (you may remember Nasko and Louis also received bears).
We could not get over how tiny E was. For our time here in [EEC], we packed mostly 3t clothing. He is two years older than Louis, but they should be able to share clothing! The only differences in their size is that Louis is heavier and E is about one inch taller. Today, as you might have noticed, he was wearing suspenders in order to keep his pants pulled up!
Nasko and Louis seemed interested in E, but mostly just observed him today. Nasko really wanted to be able to take him home, but he understands that is on the agenda for tomorrow!
Following our play time, lunch and naptime were quickly approaching, so we said our goodbyes. All morning when someone came in or out (even when Chance went to use the bathroom) E waved and said bye.
When it was time for him to go to lunch, he left the room and we told him bye. The social worker then took him up the stairs to lunch, carrying his new stuffed bear. She said that on every step he stopped, turned around, and looked for us saying, "bye?"
When the social worker said that, our interpreter started crying. Our attorney teased her about "not being very professional," but our attorney was almost in tears too!
Thankfully, I held it together. I struggled through five months without Nasko, I can do 24 hours! I certainly do like this process much better!
Tomorrow, we leave at 9:00 for orphan court. This takes place near the town where E was born, which is four hours away. The four of us will make the long journey and then spend a little time in court being asked questions like, "Why do you choose to adopt?" and "What plans do you have for your child while in [EEC]?"
Following court, they should grant us permission to host E with the promise that a social worker will check in on us periodically. Following this 2.5 week hosting period, we will return to court to ask to bring E home with us on a temporary visa with intent to adopt.
After tomorrow's trip to court, we will retrieve E from the orphanage for the very last time. He will spend the rest of his life in our forever family!
Please pray for court tomorrow and the long trip there, as my children are much better on airplanes than they are in cars... Pray that E would have a divine understanding of his adoption, and that he might not be afraid. Ask God to give Chance and I wisdom as we adjust our parenting to include another child of the kingdom.
Thank you all for your kind words, prayers and support here on the blog and on Facebook. We are SO blessed to have such a wonderful support system.