One year ago I woke up to a cold, wintry Vladimir. No evidence of Spring here. We had breakfast in the little restaurant at the Orion and anxiously awaited our driver to take us to the baby house. I wonder what E's last breakfast was like. I really couldn't even begin to imagine the depth of grief that leaving the baby house that morning would elicit in her. It was the only home she had known - and despite being an orphanage many of the caregivers seemed to genuinely love E. and they did the very best they could for her - with what they were given. Living in a family is what we were created for and it is infinitely better for E, but leaving her home was heart wrenching. And I believe I have seen her grieve that loss over the past year. When they brought her to me, in the music room, it was clear she knew something big was happening - I know she must have seen children leave with their forever families before - and she wanted nothing to do with it. She wailed, quite literally, as they stripped her down out of all the clothes, and she changed into the outfit I brought for her - the first of many outfits that would be all hers... Lydia, the caregiver I met on the very first day was the one who helped to change her. It was so clear to me that she and E. had a very special bond. Lydia was tearful as she said goodbye to E. Lydia hugged her many times and whispered sweet things to her, encouraged her - I so wish I knew what she had said, but I imagine it was precious and comforting. E. was leaving the only family she knew and she knew it. Not a dry eye in the room. It is always so interest when deep sorrow is the only path to great joy and this was one of those days.
I have quite a few pictures of that transition time, but they are so raw and so, intimate, really, that I don't feel they are mine to share - they are E's to look at and remember in her own way.
I will share this sweet picture of E. with Lydia, on the left, and Tania - the sweet music teacher on the right. I love these two women and I believe they loved and cared for E. in a very special way.
The intensity of the crying and sobbing really only lasted until we were in the van and then I became the safe one...E. quieted and snuggled into me as we made the four hour drive back to Moscow! Let the joy begin - not that the sorrow wouldn't return, it did, it has, it will, but the joy just keeps getting bigger. Thank you Jesus for the gift of E.