Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I Saw A Piece of Jesus' Heart Today.....
*Warning - this will be long, but I'm trying to chronicle our journey for our family scrapbook. Feel free to follow along!
Last night, Vitaly was supposed to arrive into Detroit at 9:00 pm. However, the flight from Kiev was late, so he did not make his connection in New York. At about 11:30 pm, we were notified that his new flight would arrive into Detroit a little before 8 am this morning. So we did some quick sleeping, woke up at 4:00, and got ready to head north. Our friend Abby, who speaks some Russian, went with us, and my mom stayed with our 4 oldest kids to get them ready for school.
We arrived at the airport a little after 7. We met some of the other host parents, and it wasn't long before we heard that the plane had arrived.
We waited anxiously at the bottom of the escalator for our first glimpse of him, and soon.....there he was!
My first thought was of how small he looked, swallowed up in an over-sized coat. We gave him a teddy bear, which he clutched tightly, and I couldn't imagine what was running through his head.....I just kept thinking about what it would be like for Adrian to be all alone with strangers in a foreign country. Oh my heart! We took some photos and talked to his chaperone, who told us that his medicine was in his backpack and that he is not allowed to have chocolate, oranges or grapefruit. Vitaly started talking to us right away. We couldn't understand what he said, of course, so he tried typing into the translator on my phone. Thank goodness for Abby! She came to the rescue and helped us to communicate. One of the first things he asked us was if all the kids he saw in our family photo lived with us. He then told us that he wasn't going to sleep and asked if we were going to come back and get him in the summer.
I held his hand as we made our way to the parking garage. As we were driving away, I offered him a banana, which he ate. Soon after he finished it, he started crying and saying that he wanted to go back to Ukraine. The poor boy was exhausted - we figured out that he most likely had close to a 15-hour train ride before he got to the first airport. Two planes and another overnight later, he finally got here. He probably had not slept good in 3 days.
We stopped at a restaurant to get breakfast, but he wouldn't eat. We offered him eggs, sausage, potatoes and plenty of ketchup (which is eaten by the truckload in Ukraine), but he wouldn't touch any of it. He just kept crying, and the waitress looked a little bewildered by the whole situation.
Back in the van, Vitaly amused himself for a little while by taking pictures with Abby's camera. Pictures of the scenery, semis, Abby, me, Chris, the twins, his teddy bear, himself....I think he must have taken 200 photos or so!
It wasn't long before he started crying again.....forlorn, wailing cries of anguish like I have never heard before. I think he was overcome with exhaustion, both physically and mentally, and he kept begging to go back. I felt totally helpless and so sad, and the thought struck me that this must be how Jesus feels sometimes as He looks down at the world. He loves us and wants to give us a Family, to shower us with blessings and take care of us.....but we are too scared to give in and trust. We want to go back to our deplorable state because it is familiar, even though God calls us to something so much better. Sometimes we choose to wallow in our comfort zone instead of choosing the beautiful life that He offers so freely.
V kept asking when he could call home. Trying to distract him, I told him (through Abby) that he could buy some gifts while he was here to take back to his special friends. My plan worked! He counted up 4 gifts that he wanted to get, and got to work making a list. He decided that he would like to buy a chocolate bar, a new notebook, and a pen for each of his friends. I assured him that we could make that happen, and then he began counting down the days until he will be leaving. He told us over and over that he was leaving on January 9, and I didn't have the heart to tell him that he will be here till the 15th.
When we arrived home, Chris showed him that he had a locker where he could put his coat and shoes. This started another round of tears. I think at this point, he wants to keep all of his things close by....he doesn't trust us yet. We showed V his bed and chest of drawers, which was filled with his new things....clothes, underwear, socks, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, pajamas, etc. He decided to go to bed and began to undress. He peeled off layers of clothing and put on a pair of the pajamas. Chris wanted him to take a shower first, but he wanted nothing to do with water, period. I decided to let the poor boy get some sleep before we crossed the shower bridge! He climbed in bed, crying still, so Chris asked him if he would like papa to sit with him. He nodded, so Abby and I left the room. In about a minute, Chris joined us and said that V was already out.....completely zonked.
While V was sleeping, Chris took his clothes down to the laundry room to wash. In the pockets, he found all kinds of things - coins from Moldova, peanuts, a broken pen cap, and other treasures. Our plan was to have everything washed, dried and put back in its place by the time V woke up, and it worked like a charm.
Vitaly slept for about 5 hours. We woke him for supper, and the dear boy thought that it was morning. Chris tried to tell him otherwise, but he insisted that he had to take his morning pills. After 2 quick calls to the lead translator and Abby, we got him straightened out. V is very protective of his medicine (his life depends on it!) and has a special place right beside his bed where he keeps it. Every time he takes a dose, he dumps out all the pills and counts them to make sure that he has enough for the month.
I made spaghetti for supper, knowing that Ukraine kiddos like pasta, and buttered the noodles in case he wanted them plain like Abby had suggested earlier that he might. Bless that dear girl! He ate the noodles and a banana, and insisted on getting a photo of us around the table.
After supper, Chris read the creation story from the Bible, and V followed along in the Russian Bible we gave to him. It warmed my heart to see them reading God's word together.
It is amazing what a little sleep can do! After supper, Vitaly blossomed before our eyes. He was delighted with all the toys he found, and enjoyed looking at my scrapbooks as well. He took a liking to Shana right away, and soon warmed up to Adrian, too. Adrian now goes by Andre, but he doesn't seem to mind. :-)
I printed some of the photos we took today and put them in an album for V. He was thrilled, and will fill every page before he goes back, I'm sure. It was soon time for baths, so we took him upstairs. He showed us that he brought a variety of clothing with him in his backpack, including a pair of girls jeans from Children's Place. I soon realized that the clothes I bought for him are too big, but it should work out great. He needs size 8's, which Adrian is just starting to grow out of. So they'll just trade clothes! V meticulously folded his things and put them away......I think we have another little perfectionist on our hands! :-)
Then Chris took him to bathe, and he loved it! Yay for America's warm water! It was then time for bed, so we showed him how to say his prayers and tucked him in. He was sleeping again very quickly, surrounded by all of his new possessions.