Celebrating our Sweet, Spunky Russian-born Daughter (Part One)
Today marks 11 years that our daughter Lauren officially joined our family!
The picture on the left is from when we visited had her at the end of November, 2001. The picture on the right is the day before our court hearing. She had grown and changed so much. We were supposed to bring her home in January but due to some paperwork issues we didn’t get to go back until April. Each day that passed was so hard – lots of tears and prayers!
Where does time go? 11 years ago today my husband and I were sitting in a Russian courtroom waiting – once again! We were so excited to “officially” become the parents to our sweet baby girl who had captured our hearts several months earlier when we first met her. In our hearts she already was our daughter!
I will never forget that day…and yet in some ways it seems like a dream! We were excited, nervous, hopeful, scared…and felt very out of place in the dark, solemn courtroom!
It is a very strange feeling to be in a foreign country where you can’t understand what people are saying around you and very few know English. We had an interpreter in court and she had “coached” us on what to say and what not to say. My husband had to do most of the talking and he was very nervous that he would say the wrong thing. We made it through court without too many questions and the 10 day waiting period was waived – an answer to our prayers!
We still had to get some paperwork finalized and go to the US Embassy in Moscow but she was now our daughter!
We couldn’t wait to go pick up our daughter from the orphanage but were soon told we had to wait (AGAIN) for one more day!! If you know anything about the adoption process, there is A LOT of waiting involved.
Finally…the long awaited day!
We arrived at the orphanage – excited, yet nervous at the same time! She was our daughter…we weren’t just visiting her…we were actually taking her with us this time!
Back at the hotel with Lauren – getting to know her and waiting for the next leg of the journey.
Now what? Where are the instructions?
Even though we were not first time parents, I distinctly remember feeling like I was. Here was this beautiful, almost 11 month old baby that I really didn’t know anything about. What does she like? What doesn’t she like? What comforts her? What makes her laugh?
It didn’t take long to find out some of these things:
- She was terrified of taking a bath
- She LOVED to eat
- She got silly when she was tired
- She found comfort in her bottle
God entrusted us with a very special gift that day and she has blessed our family in many ways. It humbles me that God choose me (half-way across the world) to be her mom. God gave us the desire to adopt because he had a special little girl chosen to be part of our family. It gives me a greater understanding of the love that God has for us as His children. He adopted US to be part of His family – what a special gift!
Next week I will be sharing Part 2 of her story – Homecoming and Beyond.
(Lauren has always been proud of her adoption story and recently asked me why I hadn’t shared it yet on my blog. She knew that I had shared our son Ethan’s adoption story last fall. I told her that I was waiting for her special “forever family” day and would love to share it if she wanted me too.)