"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do.
God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know,
and holds us responsible to act." Prov 24:12

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 10 Part 2: A Recap of Gotcha Day 2010

Our day started out early! We had to be out in front of the apartment by 5:45 am to meet Jasmina and her nephew (he was driving us) and then we were off to pick Jasna (our lawyer) up. We then headed to Alibunar, a small town about 1 hour from Belgrade, where Sasha's birth mother is from. It was great to see the landscape outside of Belgrade... it is a lot like the midwest. It is very flat with a lot of farms.

We got to the social center office in Alibunar around 7:00 and went through all of the official adoption paperwork. Everyone was very sweet and it was all very low key and welcoming. Within about 45 minutes, we were pronounced Sasha's legal parents and this was so wonderful. There were a lot of tears and a lot of hugging. He was officially our son and the emotion just came over us. It was just like when our other son's were first placed on my chest... a rush of emotion filled with so much love and happiness.

We then got a picture with everyone and headed off to Pancevo, the town where Sasha was born (the yellow building is the hospital he was born in), to do his passport paperwork. There is only one maternity hospital in the area so that is why he was born in Pancevo rather than in Alibunar. Pancevo is a really cute town. It has a population of about 100,000... it seems like a mini Belgrade. After about an hour there, we headed back to Alibunar (about 20 minutes away) to finish up his passport paperwork at the local police station. At about 11:30, we were done and headed off. Jasmina and Jasna were so pleased with how well everything went and couldn't believe there were no hiccups or delays, as they say there always are when they try to do the passport paperwork. They just kept shaking their heads saying they had no idea how it all went so smoothly. I was in the backseat thinking "I do!"... it was a total God thing. We feel like we are doing what it is we have been called to do and we have a lot of people praying for us. Thank you.

It was interesting because we were walking through Alibunar, which is very small with a population of only about 1,000. It was a cute little town but a little run down. Jeremy saw a bunch of kids playing in the park and looked at me and said "Isn't it interesting to think that if things would have been different for Sasha, this is the place he would be growing up in, running around playing with the other kids". I had not really thought of it that way and it really made me start to look at that little town differently.

We arrived back in Belgrade around 12:30 pm and headed straight to the orphanage. We were SO excited. What a wonderful feeling it was when we walked into his room and got him out of his crib for the last time. It was bittersweet because we knew that he was leaving behind everything that he has ever known but we knew the life he was headed for when we walked out that door with him for the last time. We know the next few weeks will be extremely hard and difficult for him but he will soon see just how beautiful life can be.

We got him dressed in his Gotcha Day outfit and all the nurses came out to give him big kisses and farewells. Then, we signed all his papers that needed to be signed at the orphanage and headed out the door. It was so amazing taking those first steps out of the orphanage knowing that he was our son and that he would never have to go back to that orphanage as an orphan. Now, when we come back to visit, he will merely be a visitor... not a child without parents. What a blessing.

When we arrived at the apartment the boys were so excited. Heath was giving him so many kisses and so much love. We weren't sure how Brooks would react but he was so sweet. He went right up to his baby brother, like he had always known him, and started loving on him. It was very sweet. He then scooted right next to him and they hung out for awhile. What a precious moment that was. What a lucky boy Sasha is to have such wonderful big brothers and how lucky are Heath and Brooks to have such an amazing little brother. We love our family of five, and we truly feel blessed.

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