|Large play pens in the groupa room.|
Elijah's birth parents gave up their parental rights at birth. We have no doubt that his parents had a hard decision to make when he was born. In Elijah's country, there is no assistance for children with disabilities. The country is no accessible to children/adults in wheelchairs. There are no special education programs for children. We have no idea how often Elijah's mother visited, or if she just came because the orphanage called and told her he would be leaving. It is nice to know that now she can be proud of her son and the accomplishments he is making once thriving in a family.
|Play area in his groupa room. A couple of times we saw Eli in the exosaucer when we arrived for visits.|
|His name on the end of his crib.|
|The crib in his groupa room.|
|Little man at the apartment on the day Papa sprang him from the orphanage.|
On the way back to the apartment, a stop was made to pick up Elijah's passport and get pictures for Elijah's Visa at the Embassy.
|Brothers enjoying one another.|
Grandma had stayed at the apartment this morning with Max. When they got back, both Grandma and max were glad to see Elijah and play with him. They called home to Ohio at 6:19am. Mama had just woken up, so she quickly got ready for school, then had a chance to Skype with the boys. Max is so gentle with his little brother. Elijah was happy to be the center of attention and chew on his pacifier. He played with his hands and cooed a little while we talked.
Once they arrived at the orphanage, they waited on the director. She was surprised that T was not with them. After some discussion between the director and Diana, the director asked if Doug would write a note as Max's father allowing Nate and Diana to take Max out of the orphanage as they like until we return. Doug said this time when he signed his name, it didn't feel so good. In a way, he was acknowledging that he couldn't be there for Max and be the parent he wants to be for the next six months.
They took Max back up to his groupa room. His "Mama" Olga was there and Doug gave her the pots they had purchased for her. After that, they walked down to the Life International wing and introduced themselves to the staff. Nate and Diana are going to encourage max of what a great opportunity it is to have Life International at the orphanage. These adults could be an encouraging factor in Max's life while living at the orphanage. At one time Max was very involved with Life International. One employee told us that once max's best friend moved away, he stopped coming because he felt alone.
Once Doug got back to the apartment, Eli was taking a nap. Grandma had fed him lunch while Papa was gone, and with a full belly, he napped well. Grandma thickened his liquids and gave him all the time he needed to eat his lunch. She said it took him 40 minutes to eat--a lot different from the quick 10 minute big spoonful shovel they use at the orphanage.
They finished last minute packing and headed out for the train station for the overnight train ride to Kiev. I'm sure pulling out of the train station was bittersweet. Leaving one son behind, and taking one. I remember being emotional leaving Odessa in 2007. We were leaving Hannah's homeland. We were leaving the only country she ever knew. I hope that Elijah sleeps soundly on the train tonight. They have a busy mornign tomorrow.
They will arrive in Kiev tomorrow morning around 6:30am. They will have the first embassy appointment tomorrow morning to turn in their paperwork and hopefully have a medical appointment. Our prayer is that the medical is uneventful and smooth.
Everyone is still on track to arrive home on Thursday evening. Doug, Karen, and Elijah will begin their long journey home before we head to bed on Wednesday evening and arrive home a little after 6:00pm Thursday. A total of over 24 hours traveling with layovers!