...I woke up in a Moscow airport aerotel.
...I anxiously waited in the lobby for my driver.
...Dimitri met me in the lobby and helped me into his black Ford Expedition -it was very comfy. I was so surprised since my agency told me to expect small cars and long drives.
...I took lots of deep breaths as we drove away from Moscow - telling myself that surely this was the right car to be in. Dimitri spoke very little English and I was very surprised that my coordinator Tania was not with him. They hadn't told me that she would not be with me on the drive from Moscow. Dimitri must have sensed I was anxious because he shuffled some papers and handed me one that said my agency's name and my last name on it. Whew! I wasn't being whisked away to somewhere scary :)
...I sent instant messages via Yahoo with my dear friend Ann in Pennsylvania. It was so comforting to be able to chat with her on that 4 hour car ride to Vladimir. What a truly small world we lived in.
...I watched the countryside through the window - it was frigid that day about 4 degrees Fahrenheit. When the sun finally came up around 10:30am the sky was cloudy and the ground was covered in snow.
...I experienced the peace that only Jesus can bring. Knowing that I was in Vladimir at His direction...under His protection....to meet the child He intended for me.
...I drove into Vladimir City for the very first time. What a beautiful place. The city you lived in for the first three years of your life. The city I can't wait to return to someday with you.
...I met the doctors and caregivers who loved and provided for you for those first years. Such sweet women...I have no doubt they cared deeply for you and gave you the best life they could...you needed a family though.
...you toddled into the music room, holding Lydia's hand...looking down...close to tears...shy...sweet...precious.
...I will never forget that moment. We were both nervous and uncertain. Meeting for the very first time...and yet I knew...you were my daughter!
...I wrote in my journal that my heart was full.
...I thanked the Lord for giving me the strength and courage not to give up - four years of waiting to meet you...it was a long journey and I'm so grateful I didn't miss it!