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5 years ago and just the other day.

Posted on: September 7th, 2012 by 

This has little to do with San Diego, except that my son is a San Diegan.

My son's first home in a little town in Eastern Europe.

So I know many of you know Baby C’s adoption story – but I haven’t really shared Brother’s story.   Five years ago this month my husband and I kissed our 16 month old Sister J goodbye and boarded a plane bound for the other side of the world.   We are not world travelers, this was way out of our comfort zone.   After a direct flight from LA that was about 18 hours we got in a car and sat in deadlocked traffic on an ancient highway for the better part of six hours.   In the wee hours of the morning we arrived at a hotel in the middle of Eastern Europe.   A few hours later we met our translator and coordinator.   Details, details, details…… fast forward (all that stuff is too boring to read, I promise)….. our driver took us up to a very old building – well, old by our experiences, but it really was just a normal building in this ancient city.   We were let in the gate and met warmly by the orphanage director.   We walked in the building that smelled like cabbage.   It smelled that way because cabbage soup was one of the main dishes for the children.   To this day if I smell cooked cabbage I am brought back to that tiny building and I well up a little bit.   We waited in a very well kept room while they went to find the little boy we had heard very little about, but traveled half way around the world because something inside of us told us that he was part of our family.

One of my favorite pictures of all time. Brother at 10 months old - our first meeting!

And then the door opened and a nanny walked slowly hunched over helping a chunky little ten month old walk in to meet his guests.   I will never forget the big beaming smile on his face.   I had been told many children are timid at that first meeting, some cry, some run to their nanny or are withdrawn.   Not Brother, he gave us a peek into his personality from the very beginning.   Everyone is his friend, everyone is his favorite, and he LOVES attention.

OK, for reals, THIS is my favorite picture of all time!

Long story short, we made two more trips to his country before he came home.   That is how it works.   Yep, three round trips to Eastern Europe in about four months time.   Keep in mind my husband and I had been on a plane once in our 6 year marriage – and it was to San Francisco and that was a big deal to us.   People ask us all the time why we were willing to go through that process.   My usual question back is “Isn’t {insert their child’s name here} worth three trips to the other side of the world and back?   I mean, if you had to, wouldn’t you do that for your child?”   He was just worth it, most kids don’t come with those requirements, but he did so we did what we had to do.

Brother gets a lot of judgement because he started his life in an orphanage.   People love to give me their expert opinions.   All I can say is, I’m glad we don’t dismiss people just because their lives don’t start out perfect (I mean, I don’t know about you, but I am still a work in progress ;-) ).   Judgement for something that wasn’t at all your fault is quite the burden to bear, and yet of all my children, my son’s heart is the most compassionate.   He is the most forgiving and the funniest. I must admit he is also the naughtiest, not at all mean spirited, but so so naughty.   He is our “Dennis the Menace”.   He loves dirt and he never seems to stop, he is so busy, but he is amazing.

Our little boy started Kindergarten a few weeks ago.   He is so excited to be a big kid in Kindergarten.   He is excited to meet new friends and his teacher.   He is excited to learn how to read like his sister does.   He is excited to show off his Spiderman back pack.   But he is most excited about lunch – seriously, he is really excited about eating lunch with his friends.   That kid loves to eat!

Last year we dropped Sister J off for her first day of Kindergarten, and of course watching my first baby walk confidently into her kindergarten class had me a little choked up.   But to watch my little guy walk in this year was even sweeter.   To know his chances, the statistics, the preconceived ideas and prejudices against children who start life the way he did I am just extra thankful for where he is today.   Had he stayed in his country and not been adopted (which is the case for the majority to enter an orphanage – most are never adopted – domestically or internationally) he would likely have been transferred from his ‘baby house’ to an orphanage where children from 5 – 15 lived.   He may have been taught a trade, but many are not.   He never would have gone to a traditional school.   He would have simply been housed until he was 15 when he would be given a new pair of shoes, a clean outfit, the equivalent of $20 American dollars, and a bus ticket to the town of his birth.   That was statistically his future.

don't be too jealous - but those shoes light up!

But today he jumped out of the car, yelled “Bye Mommy!” and ran into class.   He will likely give his teacher some trouble and also a good laugh.   Today he will learn and come home very excited to tell me all about it.   My guess is, he won’t want to do his homework and we will have a stand off about it.   When he grows up he is going to be a doctor that fixes cleft lips, a construction worker, or Batman.

So basically, he’s normal.   I sometimes take that for granted, but today I am feeling especially sentimental.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – if you ever have questions about adoption please email me.   I care about adoption far more than I care about deals.   Oh, and if you are for some reason against inter country adoption I’d prefer you not post it, I’ll delete it to be perfectly honest.   Our son wasn’t born in America so we had to go to him, simple as that.   I hope this helps our friends and readers understand our heart and family a little more. =-)

Now back to your regularly scheduled programing ~


~ Kate

11 Responses

  1. Christine says:

    Sniff… how far they’ve come! Our little Russian Cutie walked into 3rd grade this year. Love and whole heartedly agree with your perspective.

    • Kate says:

      right?! We are so thankful to have him & for him to have the opportunity to be as amazing as he can be – just so warm & fuzzy =-)

  2. I love reading these stories. You have such a huge heart and a beautiful family.

  3. Beautiful story – I hope to adopt a third child someday!

    • Kate says:

      Colleen! Any little one would be so lucky to be a part of your family! I mean this in all seriousness – contact me anytime if/when you decide to go with it! If you have any questions – it is a process, but it is the best thing we have ever done =-)

  4. Laurie says:

    I so love your heart-filled stories. And i relate to the first day of Kinder. My miracle baby, Karlene, had her first day of Kindergarten this past Tuesday and I was filled with emotion. She greeted me afterwards with a weak “Hi, Mama” and a 102 degree fever (her second day will be this coming Monday). I’m guessing her teacher will be quite surprised when she meets the “true” Karlene, she is one truly energetic little girl :D

    So, aside from that, I want you to know how much your family stories inspire me, awe me, and bring happy tears to me. Our family is complete (at this moment in time), yet I think often about a sibling for our daughter, and adoption will be our only option (barring miracles). Your family’s journeys bring light to a possible new beginning <3

    • Kate says:

      I love that! Congrats on your miracle baby too! Email me anytime if/when you want to adopt if you have questions.

      Adoption was always part of our Plan A – but I know MANY families who adopted as their “Plan B” and are in awe of how perfect their family came together – it is almost magical =-)

  5. Becky says:

    Such a beautiful, touching story. Glad you shared it. xoxo

  6. Wow! You had me bawling my eyes out! Your heart is so big! What a sweet, sweet post.

    Someday, I’ll bend your ear. We’re going on year 4 of TTC unsuccessfully and next year is my 40th. Natural birth is probably a dream we need to exchange for a more realistic dream.

  7. The world is a sweeter place for your listening to your heart.