This afternoon James and I took Albina to lunch with Anya. It was very interesting. During our conversation, Albina told Anya that she knew this hosting program was intended to find adoptive families for the orphans. She said that as soon as she found out she was coming to the US she knew she would be adopted. She said that she knew we wanted to adopt her and Alina and Maks as soon as she met us. She told us that she didn't want Maks to forget how to speak Russian. She is also concerned about staying in contact with her friends from school and the orphanage. I asked if she wanted to know the real story of how we were drawn to her... (since she believed we wanted to adopt her before we had even made the decision). I told her my story... how I felt when I found their pictures and how I loved them before I met them. I told her that when they walked into the room at the airport I started crying and had to turn so no one would see me. I told her that I felt like I had known them before. She said, “Oh! Now I’ll start to cry.” James and I knew she knew what was going on, but we didn’t realize she knew and/or suspected for so long.
After lunch we went and had tirimisu. Albina said she had heard about it in Ukraine and had been told she must try it. She said that she would not be at peace until she could try it. So we took her to try. She really enjoyed it (as did the rest of us).
On the drive home, Albina called her friend Lena that was adopted last year by a family in Indiana. They spoke the whole way home and even longer. After their conversation Lena asked to talk to James. She told him that she was very happy in the States and very happy with her family. She also told him that Albina sounded very happy and that she was excited to become a part of our family. What a huge relief that was to hear!
Once we got home we got everyone packed and ready for the farewell picnic tonight. There was some drama with packing. Alina really wanted to take 3 bags and kept saying, “please?????” I tried to explain that they could only take two bags on the plane, but it was too complicated for her to understand. She got frustrated until Albina came to the rescue. After everyone was packed we headed to the picnic.
When we got to the picnic, Rob immediately came up to James and I (we were a little behind our kids) and said that Albina had just told him that she didn’t want to go back to Ukraine. He said that she told him she missed Russian food, but that was all. :-( Right after that I was introduced to a lady that just got home 2 months ago from picking up her 2 boys from Ukraine. She immediately hugged me saying, “This is just what we do here. We all love these orphan kids, so we just hug!” I started crying. It was all downhill from there. By the end of the night I had cried with three groups of people. This first lade, her; Toria, Emma & Isabel; and another lady that is still waiting to get to Ukraine to pick up her daughter. The last of these groups got to see my complete meltdown. She hugged me while I cried and cried. Meanwhile, Albina stood nearby and cried while Tori hugged her. It was a tough and emotional evening. However, I felt a lot of love and support from a number of people that are willing to work together, share knowledge and support and simply just continue being passionate about helping the kids in these orphanages. It was wonderful to rub shoulders with good and supportive people.
After the picnic we went to Wal-Mart and got a new battery in Alina’s Justin Beiber watch (Isabel gave her an old watch of hers). We also got more photo albums (so we could make her a photo album gift from our family). Once we were home we worked on photo albums and putting music on Albina’s new iPod. Alina had very specific ideas in mind for the photo albums, and didn't realize that one of them was for me to create and one was for her to create. She wanted to create both of them. She got upset and started throwing the pictures. I picked them all up, put them safely away and said, “We’ll have to do this later.” She stormed upstairs to have a pouting session. A bit later Albina asked where Alina was. I explained what had happened and that one book was a present from us and the other was her book to fill. Albina sighed and went upstairs. When she came back I asked if Alina was okay. She said, “Yes. She’s okay. I… “ and then made talking motions with her hands indicating that she had chewed her out. A bit later Alina came downstairs and snuggled with me. Then I showed her the book I had made her and translated the notes that we had each written her. The sweetest note was from Micah. He told her that she was the best friend he had ever had and he didn’t want her to forget him while she was in Ukraine. It made me cry (surprise!) After I translated each note, she would smile with tears running down her face.
We finally got everyone going to bed around 1pm. So late. We are going to be exhausted and emotional tomorrow. It’s going to be extremely difficult! While I was getting ready for bed I just sobbed and sobbed. I kept thinking about how I’m not going to wake in the morning to Alina at my doorway saying, “Good morning!” and then coming in to give me a big hug. I’m really going to miss these girls so very much. Ugh. This is so hard.