In light of recent events I wanted to write about my little Russian, Ethan. We went to Russia and were showed information about a little boy in Astrakhan. We were given permission to go there and meet him. So we flew out and were greeted by Olga our interpreter in Astrakhan. Olga was an incredibly beautiful woman who spoke English extremely well. She told the other couple traveling with us that there might be a problem with the child they were to see. But that our boy was fine. she did call him "your little boy" which of course made my Mama's heart swoon. We got settled at the Korvet hotel. This is not your gold standard hotel. but it was nice and it was clean and the staff was nice enough to let us email from their front desk computer. This was before Wifi.
The next day we went to meet our baby. We drove through stop and go traffic with Vlad our driver. I never did figure out the meaning of signs and stop lights as people and cars just sort of drive where they choose when they choose and stop and go so as not to run into each other. and lane lines were mere suggestions. We drove into the compound of the orphanage. It was rundown and old looking. But this was the "new building" they had just moved from the "old building" which we later saw and it was in much worse shape. the play equipment was rundown and paint peeling and fading but as we entered the building we had to wait for a bunch of little people bundled head to toe heading out to play in the snow. They brought us to the music room and we waited for them to bring us the baby. He wasnt a baby but to us he was. I remember Olga saying something Petunin. well it turned out Petunin was his last name. we still recall fondly every day going there for little Petunin. in came this little one year old and they put him down and he took one look at us and started SCREAMING! the care attendant smiled and tried to comfort him a little but left him there screaming after her. he stood at the door screaming and stomping his little feet. this was not the angelic meeting we had in mind.
I was at first at a loss as to what to do. Eric said why dont you go pick him up. So I did and that was it. I picked him up and held him in my arms and he was MINE! I dont remember when I let Eric hold him. I wanted to hold him all the time. we visited every day soemtimes twice a day but he never screamed like that again. We took the screaming as a good sign, he didnt know us! we were strangers! of course he wouldnt want to be left with us! We snuggled him and he fell asleep on my chest. OHMY! heart. head. tears. MY baby.
Fast forward to court time. Ethan had been sick and was in the hospital. we enquired if we should send medicines for him or what we could do. We never did find out WHY he was in the hospital. Eric was there alone as I had just given birth to Maia and she was still in the hospital at home. The judge had told us that we didnt both have to be there if I gave him power of attorney. At his court date they said no, thats worng, wife must be here too. I was at home. communication was hit or miss. I knew very little what was going on. I was holding down the fort with the other kids and our new baby Maia. My parents were there helping out. Eric came home without Ethan. It broke our hearts but we werent giving up on him. When Eric finally patched together a trip home I was NEVER in my entire life SO HAPPY to see him! New mom hormones Im sure contributed but I was so worried about him the entire time he was gone. I could handle home alone just fine but just couldnt stand him being gone and not knowing when I would see him again.
When he was home we were able to push our agency to get us a new court date when we could both attend. The orphanage director, a very kind and caring lady, who truly did care about the children, went to court with us to go to bat in our defense. She basically told them look, this kid is sickly, no one else is gonna want him! The dad is a doctor,what could be better? send him home with them. the judge we had was a different judge than Eric had seen. after a very tense hour of waiting for a decision it was decided that we should be the parents of Ethan Sergey Enberg. I was so tired and jet lagged and nervous in court and the judge said Papa looks happy! Mama think, just one more kid to look after! I laughed and told them Mama was very happy too.
Fast forward to now. Ethan is nearly 8 years old. He is a very smart boy. We have been recently informed he is at the top of his class in school. He loves to play outside, especially in water. He loves to swim, climb, jump, do anything active. He has his moments when he is difficult, but all kids do and I often have to remind myself of that. Dear Russia, Know that this child of yours is loved. he is wanted every single day. He is a HUGE part of our hearts and lives and family. He is not our adopted child, he is our child. No one in the family sees him as adopted or different, only as child, sibling, cousin, grandchild. He is happy, healthy, and safe. We love him. He loves us. What else is there?