Today we started off waiting. Waiting for a phone call to see if we could visit this other orphanage that so many people rave about.(as far as orphanages go) T finally called about 9:15 and told us she would pick us up at 10:30. When she arrived we went to see Eli at his orphanage. I wish I had known this I would have brought some toys with me, but I didn't know this was on the agenda today, not that I minded!!! We arrived and played with my son while T went and closed out his bank account. She came back, we left the director a gift (Eli's money from his bank account) and then we went to look at the new orphanage where we thought about placing Max. It was nice. A little different, but nice. It was different in that, the kids go to a public school, which is common in some areas, but they also get bussed to another area close by to sleep at night. They visit the building we saw just before and after school until bed time. Not a bad place, just different. So T told the director our situation and after some coercing she agreed, but only first with a letter from the U.S. Embassy. Since Max has parents that are American citizens this causes a big problem. Ukrainian orphanages are only for children that are Ukrainian citizens, with Ukrainian parents. The director wanted a letter from the U.S Embassy stating that they were aware of the situation and gave their approval. This is no problem except that we didn't find this out until almost 3pm today and the Embassy closed at 4. We also had to have it done by Monday since we are leaving for Kiev on Monday evening. It just wasn't going to happen. Plus, the orphanage wanted a monthly donation of something between 100 and 200 dollars per month. This is what the average cost is I was told, but I could give what I wanted it was a donation. Even T didn't like this idea. So she called the director of the orphanage of were Max is currently at and explained our situation and said he could continue to stay there, but she would like a gift. So it looks like he won't be moving after all. I still have to figure out what a gift is, but I still think it will cheaper, an easier transition, and if by chance he still gets to leave earlier than April, it will make the return trip easier. I just hope he can behave there.
We made a few more stops after the orphanage visit and then headed back to the apartment. Once behind closed doors, I called home and vented and unloaded all this mountain of information onto Cara. She was gracious and just let me vent to her. We then proceeded to Nate's house for dinner and games. It was a great evening with friends from the church. We ate, fellowshiped and played dominoes. What a great time. We made plans for Nate to pick us up in the morning, travel to Max's orphanage, and pick Max up for the weekend. This will probably be the last time we really have to spend with him until we have to go to Kiev. I hope they let us take him for the whole weekend, and there aren't any hiccups with this. Please pray the director lets him be excused for Saturday and Sunday. I am his father now I would think that should have some merit. It will be a great and tough weekend. It will be bitter sweet. I can't wait to spend the time with him, and for him to meet Nate and his wife Diana, but taking back on Sunday evening is going to be tough. Monday is going to be even tougher. Monday I have to sign him over to the orphanage as his father. I have written my name millions of times, but I don't think any of them have hurt like this is going to. I'm trying to prepare my heart for the ache, but I know there's no stopping it from happening. I love this boy. He's my Son. He needs to be with me and his Mama. He has wanted this more than anyone, and I feel like the door is being slammed again. I know we will get him in a few months. I know this is just temporary, but to him I know it will feel like an eternity. Just a few weeks ago he was dreaming about his dreams coming true. Finally having a family, the one that he wanted and it was in America. Now he has to watch that family leave, his family, while he stays in the one place he doesn't want to be. Please pray for him. Pray that God gives him the strength to carry on. Pray that God gives him the wisdom to make good decisions. Pray that the Ukrainian government grants him amnesty and I can come back and bring him home in a couple weeks and not the 6 months. Pray for me and Cara as we deal with trying to be a parent to child 5000 miles away. Pray that we find the rest of the funds we need for a third trip back to Ukraine to bring our son home. Pray for me as I sign my signature saying that I give them permission to take care of his needs while he is here. Pray for Nate and Diana as they so graciously take the role of Cara and I as best they know how. They already have a full schedule and still have decided to take on this role. Pray that they can be the encouragement that Max needs, the level headed one that he listens too and the ones that he can call when he is in need.
This entire journey has been long, and it has been rough, and its still not over. I know God has his plan that he is still unfolding, and it is beautiful. He has something special in store for Max. This boy has been through so much in his 14 years. Things most of us couldn't experience in a lifetime. If there is ever anyone on this earth tough enough to endure this, it is him. God knows this and I think Max does to. This is all God's plan. It is perfect. It might not seem perfect to me, but I only see a little bit of the puzzle. I know that He is in control, and in Him I put all of my trust. After all, it is out of His love for Cara and I, and Max that He has called us on this journey. He asked us to endure this only because He loves us and He sees the whole puzzle put together. And with that, I can truly say, It is well with my soul.