Maria's view: Day 1 in "Finn's" country has been wonderful! This morning, we woke up at 7AM thinking that we had plenty of time before our 10:00 referral appointment. WRONG! As I sat sipping on my coffee, our driver called to let us know that he was in the parking lot waiting on us at 8:30. So we dashed around, threw our clothes on, and ran out the door. We arrived at our appt super early and our facilitator introduced himself to us. We went inside and sat on the couch.
I was so nervous! About 10 minutes later, another American couple walked in and sat beside us on the couch. We started chatting and they are from AL and adopting 2 older children. As we continued to talk, they spoke of how God orchestrated their adoption and I just loved their testimonies! We also shared that we felt that God has chosen our "Finn" for us and that because he has Down syndrome, we weren't sure how to explain at our appt why we would choose a child with Ds, except that it's a God thing. And then we were called back for our appt.
The lady who met us for our appt seemed very kind, very smiley, and that calmed my nerves a lot. We sat on a little couch and she began to ask questions. Who are we? What do we do? How many children do we have? Do any of your children have special needs? Why do you want to adopt a child with Down syndrome?
Why do I want to adopt a child with Down syndrome? I paused... and I said, "they deserve a chance just like anyone else."
And she reached for my picture books.
She pointed at my girls pictures and giggled. They make me giggle too!
She looked at all 3 albums as we waited for the call to find out if our "Finn" is available.
That was the longest wait ever... probably only 10 minutes.
And finally, it was confirmed that the orphanage has him and he is available!
Then our facilitator began to go over his information with us.
He's healthy as far as we know. At least within this past year, he's been healthy.
We know his name...
This is a huge God thing, are you ready?
He was born on the 19th.
It's a God thing because all of my children are born on a 19th. Both of my daughters were born on the 19th and "Finn" was too!!! I actually thought about changing his birthday to the 19th so that he can share the 19th with his sisters and I don't have to!! God already worked that out for us.
19 is my most favorite number!!
Day 1 is in the books! We got up and after rushing around to get dressed due to an early arrival by our driver, we headed out to our appointment. We were given a small history lesson about some of the buildings and things on the way to the office. The city has some very beautiful sights... many old "Stalin Baroque" style buildings, but many have been torn down and made new for the modernization of the city.
The streets in the historical section of town where our appointment was at were cobblestone, built by the Germans during and after World War II, and they were extremely narrow. Many of our German friends will totally get the narrow streets, it's very much like some of the ones we drive daily.
After our driver found a place to park, at the foot a beautiful blue church, he walked us across boards over holes in the ground to a small door beside a gold sign. This is the gateway to our "new normal" as Maria so eloquently put it yesterday. We were shown into the building, very plain and industrial, except for a brown "pleather" couch.
We sat and waited for a good while, until it was our appointment time. While we were waiting, another couple came in and sat by us. Come to find out, he was an Air Force officer stationed at Maxwell AFB, in Alabama. They were adopting two older children, that they met on a mission trip. We made small talk for a few and then we were called upstairs.
Our facilitator introduced us to the social worker in charge of adoptions. We started by telling them about us... just 5 minutes from each of us, what we do for a living, where we live, how we met, etc. Then, Maria got thrown the fastball... "Why a special needs child?" She lined up and swung for the fences! It must have been a home run cause that was it of the discussions! She perused our photos that we brought and even called some other women in the office to come take a look. She was examining the pictures pretty closely from what I could tell.
When we were finished, we went out to the street, where another of the drivers told me it was too cold to be wearing just a long-sleeved dress shirt & tie. Uh... it was approaching 70! They don't realize we are coming from Germany where we have yet to really get out of the 50's all year! Haha! It's their culture though. It wouldn't surprise me to see jackets in 85+ degree weather.
We walked the streets looking at street vendor's wares. Lots of nesting dolls, old Soviet era militaria (I'm sure it was all replicas), traditional embroidered clothes, etc. The thing that caught my eye the most was the wooden mace's. They are the national symbol of power in this country. They had some that were rather plain, all the way up to very ornate and intricately carved ones. Most had pretty sharp wooden points coming off of them. Not kid friendly, to say the least.
Our driver finally returned from buying our train tickets and took us back to our apartment, where we changed and headed out for some lunch. We shared some plates at T.G.I. Friday's.
After lunch, we walked down to Independence Square, the site of the Orange Revolution. It was a big freedom movement from what I remember. There were a bunch of costumed people roaming around the square. They were plush costume characters, like mascot style. Garfield the Cat came up and took a picture of Maria & I, then took some funny pictures with us... then promptly asked for a donation as a college student! Yeah, we should have seen this one coming! We were warned that NO ONE in this country does anything for free. It was fun & we got a couple funny pictures out of the ordeal.
Afterward, we walked back to the apartment, admiring the architecture and the people.
The people are very much like the German people that we first met. Seemingly cold and self-devoted, yet I am sure they are warm and welcoming, once you break through the tough exterior, much like the lady across the street from us in Germany.
Then we walked over to the grocery store, complete with a live fish section and a liquor department that would rival any package store in the states, and grabbed some water & bread, then back to the apartment to relax for the evening, and enjoy our peanut butter sandwich dinner!
For more pictures of the day, check out our Photobucket site by clicking HERE!