11/19/12

Oh look what God has done!

God has put a family together today.

Today I leave behind the names of lonely and longing and I become Mama to my little boy.

"He sets the lonely in families" Psalm 16:6.

They sky in Moscow is carpeted with one thick, grey cloud today, stretching from horizon to horizon. The temperature hovers around freezing and every few minutes it seems a dozen wispy snowflakes fall from the sky.

John and I are picked up by our facilitator and driver at 9am. Before we go to the baby home, we are taken to a grocery store by our translator to pick up some familiar toddler foods and two cakes with which the orphanage staff will celebrate Arie's home-going. I can't tell you what it feels like to give someone a cake who has raised your son for two years. It feels more than measly- entirely insignificant.

But we load our underwhelming cakes into the car and drive a short distance to the baby home.  The thick sky casts a shadow over the baby home almost like it is night outside; the lights inside the baby home warm the building through the windows. It looks cozy inside.

We park in the same spot as usual and enter through the heavy metal doors as we have done five times before.  This sixth time is our last time and I try to notice everything about the place, exacting it in my memory.  The black lab who greets us outside, the buttery hue of the baby home's stucco exterior, the diamond waffle pattern on both sets of doors as we enter.  This is my son's home, for only minutes longer.  For every electric fiber in me that cannot wait to pick him up and walk away, there is a spot in my soul that will hold eternal gratitude for this place. Gratitude for this home and its staff who cared for my baby when I could not. Deep gratitude.

Inside we remove our winter coats and turn left down a long hallway to the director's office. He greets us with a warm and accented, "Good morning!"  We sit down while our facilitator talks to him in Russian and then we sign what are essentially our son's discharge papers.  We talk for a while and John and I sit beaming on the couch.  We cannot wait.


The first thing our facilitator hands us from a stack of papers in front of her is something she knows we've been waiting for: Artem's baptism certificate. This is a gracious sign to us: a sign that says God knew our son before we did.  God called Arie his own before he bore our name. He was marked as a child of the covenant long before we even knew he was alive. Of all the grace in our adoption journey, this is my favorite.  Before we knew him, he was baptized.  Though he was was without a family for a time, he has never been alone. Always and forever in the sight of a God who is a Father to the fatherless.


We pour over the certificate and all its meaning for a while and then our facilitator asks us for the new clothing we brought.  I fish out the outfit we so carefully selected; a red plaid button up, white undershirt, thick warm blue jeans, red socks, and blue boots.  She takes the outfit from me and brings it to a nanny who is going to change Arie for us.

We wait some more, smiling all the while.

Soon, with almost an exact replication of the very first time we met him, the director says something in Russian and our facilitator smiles, "He's coming!"  We hear footsteps in the hall.

This time, where a shy and quivering little boy once stood, our Arie strides in confidently babbling loudly in Russian and proudly waving the little blue monkey lovey we brought for him last July. I try hard to notice the monkey and "wow!" over it, but all I want to do is scoop him up, so I do. I hold him tight in my arms, kissing his cheeks and telling him how much I love him. "Oh I've missed you!" I whisper in his ears.  He smiles and shows me the monkey again.

Arie's nanny has something to show me so John sits down and pulls Arie on his lap.  He sits quietly now, wide-eyed, watching and listening.


 His nanny gives me a thin cardboard folder filled with Arie's art projects.  There are drawings and painting and things he's glued.  She also gives me the photo-album of pictures I brought for him on our last trip.  In the back are tucked two dozen pictures of the last 2.5 years; pictures of Arie at a Christmas party in an adorable shirt and tie, pictures of him with his friends, of him playing at the park, and even doing tummy time as an infant. Again I think of that measly cake and I tell her the best thing I can think to say, "I will treasure these." She nods shyly and her eyes begin to gloss with tears.

Me, Arie, the nanny, the social worker, and the director.
We take a couple photos and it is time to leave.  Arie studies me as I put on his coat and hat.  He looks to his nanny again, likely wondering what is going on.  She is still fighting tears.  I once asked our facilitator what these home-goings are like for the nannies.  "They are very bitter sweet," she said.  "The nannies are happy because they know the child needs a home.  But they are sad to say goodbye."

We are walked to the door by the director, nanny, and the orphanage's social worker.  "Paka paka!" they call after us.  "Bye Bye!"  Before we get into the car I turn around to look at the baby home one last time and see more nannies crowded into an upstairs window.  I tell John to turn around; we wave and they raise their arms to wave back.

Then we climb in the car and drive away forever, to a new life.

On the way home we stop twice.  Once to get Arie's photo taken for his passport and visa and again to apply for the passport itself.  Arie is wide-eyed during this process, holding tightly onto our hands.  I hold tightly back and my heart is crying to him I'm not going to let you go. I know you're scared.  I'm not letting go.  

Toward the end of our journey Arie whimpers in the car.  He is sweating so I take off his coat and snuggle him tight.  I can tell he doesn't feel well. I whisper to John to pull out one of the barf-bags we took from the plane, wondering if is is even possible to catch a two-year-old's puke in such a narrow bag.  Thankfully, Arie falls asleep in my arms and I just stare at him the whole way home.


When we reach our apartment I wake him up and he moans again.  Quickly I open the car door, just in time for him to puke.  There is puke on him, puke on me, and puke on the ground, but none in the car.  My first motherhood victory! If you are the praying kind, you can start praying for his motion-sickness relief both for our next few car trips and our plane-ride home.  Yes, I will be carrying on at least one change of clothes!

In our apartment we clean up, eat a dry snack, drink a little and play.

Toddler's love for goldfish crosses international borders!



He and John are both sleeping now in our room.  Father and son.  Today we are a family.

Oh look what God has done!


xo

48 comments:

  1. Oh you guys I'm shedding tears of joy for you!! What a beautiful day this has been! (even in spite of the puke :) ) Praying for an easy flight home!

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  2. Congratulations, Mama!! This story brought tears to my eyes. So happy for you and your family!
    -Jackie

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  3. I have tears in my eyes as I read this. Thank you for sharing your awesome experience today. My heart is so happy for you and John and Arie. A family joined together by our heavenly Father. All praise and glory be to Him!

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  4. Tears of joy for all of you! So thrilled for Arie, John and you!! The puke is an awesome way to baptize you and add even more colour and texture to the chronicles of how the Burdens became 3. I hope you can find some children's gravol for the trip home. Much love

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  5. Such a beautiful way to wake up to MY day! :) Beautiful post of a beautiful day - puke and all! Indeed, look what God has done. I'll be thinking of his nanny too. Tough and bittersweet to let go but how wonderful that he has been so loved.

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  6. Oh Jill, I am in tears of happiness, I wish I could grab up my own children and get them to understand what this means, what adoption is and how God loves all his children.

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  7. Congrats to you both, I am so happy for you guys! Wishing you all the best as you start your new family and travel safe back home.

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  8. Anonymous11/19/2012

    congrats to you both

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  9. Congratulations! Tears are streaming down my face! Praying for the last and final leg of your journey!

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  10. Congratulations! Tears are streaming down my face! Praying for the last and final leg of your journey!

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  11. Oh my! The tears are flowing. It looks like I'm not the only one by the comments that have been left so far! I am just so elated for all 3 of you! And I will be praying fervently throughout this whole process... including the months to come! Arie is so precious and I am so happy that you are his parents! He is a very blessed little boy!

    Thank you so much for sharing this journey with everyone! It is so inspiring! God bless & safe travels!

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  12. You are finally a momma with your baby!
    Congratulations to all three of you in this most blessed of times!

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  13. Tears of joy for you all! So happy for you! Praying for the journey home and transitions to come.

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  14. Beautiful family! Congratulations!

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  15. I am so happy for you Jillian! I can barely contain the downpour in my cubicle this morning! Many blessings to you and your family, you look so perfect!

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  16. Anonymous11/19/2012

    Praise the LORD!

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  17. Oh Jillian and John and Arie ... God is good. Tears of joy rolling down my face for you as you are finally together as a family. We prayed for you last night at church and wow, what a God who hears and ANSWERS prayer. We will continue to pray for you as you travel home and transition to being a family of 3. Blessings to you. April

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  18. Anonymous11/19/2012

    YAY! Congratulations to all three of you!

    We use the Sea Bands for our son. (I find they do not totally prevent motion sickness for me but they definitely help - I'm just somewhat nauseous and not actually sick!) We also use "Motioneaze" behind his ears. You can find it at Walmart (which probably won't help you till you get home). It is just essential oils. The ingredients list includes lavender, peppermint, frankincense, chamomile, myrrh, ylang ylang and birch. Maybe you can find something like that - or just get the first couple of the oils and dab a drop on soft area of head just behind each ear lobe! Application can be repeated if symptoms recur.

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  19. So happy for you! You have been patient and the Lord has heard you. Enjoy every minute!

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  20. Peppermint has done wonders for my motion sickness. I carry candy canes when I travel and just break a part off and suck on it when I feel nauseous.

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  21. What a beautiful day! So happy for you to be together as a family. God is good.

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  22. I have been following your blog for some time via the bump. This post brought tears to my eyes. I am so, so happy for you and your beautiful family!!!

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  23. Beautiful family! I'm so happy this day has finally come and you have your son in your arms!

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  24. Anonymous11/19/2012

    Jillian & Jon - this personal journal of your process has been wonderful to read, your writting is so personal and honest and always makes me feel like I am beside you for the jouney. In the short time I have been around Jon and you during church and from my readings in this blog, I am so sure you both will be most wonderful parents to your son! He is truly blessed to have you in his life and you both are blessed to have him also in oyur life - a perfect paring brought together by God.

    Matt Biolette

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  25. TEARS! Knowing how beautiful adoption is and seeing it through your eyes now is amazing. Your blessing is here; your prayers have been answered' and this is only the beginning! Much love coming your way with prayers for a smooth transition time.

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  26. OH YEAH!!!! So happy for you!!! I did chuckle about the puke . . . I have been puked on many times. It is always different when its your kid ;). Praying for safe puke free travels!

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  27. I have never read any of your blog before but I feel such joy for you! I am sitting on the couch and desperately and unsuccessfully fighting tears. Congratulations on your beautiful family and such a treasure of a son! I have a son Aries age and I know what a blessing they can be. I will be looking forward to reading more of your adventures!

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  28. There are no words! Beautiful. Praise God for His goodness. :)

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  29. You are officially a mom when you are puked on! Praise the Lord for his lovingkindness! Thank you for sharing :) This made my day :)

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  30. So, so happy for you. I can't stop crying. Jill you have a beautiful way with words! Praying for safe, motion sickness free travels. Love and prayers to the three of you!

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  31. Carrierph11/19/2012

    We we picked up our daughter, I handed the baby nurse a beautiful ivory dress with green, gold and brown polka dots, a pair of heavy knit tights, and an ivory sweater. They brought my 11.5 month old daughter into the room and held her hands over her head so she could walk to me as I sat on the floor. I smiled and said I love you baby, I'm Mama, I held her tight and gave her a kiss on her slobbery open mouth. She giggled, turned her head and spit up peas all down the arm of her sweater. She giggled again, I thanked God that I also brought a coat, it was 9/5/11 and still warm out, and I gave her another big hug. Funny thing is, the puke was the same color as the dots on her dress. That was my initiation into mommyhood

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  32. Anonymous11/19/2012

    Oh man - I really shouldn't have read this blog in public! (The hardest time to fight tears is when you have to tell yourself to fight them) I am sooo happy for you all, almost speechless! Safe travels home and we can't wait to see more pictures...

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  33. You are a beautiful family and it warms my heart without limits to read this. You are each and every one lucky and blessed.

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  34. Dick and Sue11/19/2012

    Your family adventure brings back memories of my (Dick) first child, adopted through Bethany. The whole experience is a holy one, which clearly includes an extension into eternity! What a precious little boy you have embraced, John and Jill. It is both misnomer and truth to call him a burden/Burden. We praise God for the blessing He has brought to your life, and to Arie's. Love, Dick and Sue :) (and to Jill from Sue - you have a son!!! I remember fully and clearly some 32 years ago,the joy and wonderment of being Mom to a son. May he (along with any other children God brings into your life) be your greatest joy and best challenge! God is so good..and gracious...and loving...what a gift He has given you (and John!):)! ).

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  35. R Simonsen11/19/2012

    Congratulations!! You will be amazing parents!! Arie will know only a life full of love and laughter.

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  36. I wish I could express how wonderful and essential it was that I found this post today. We are in, what seems to be, the endless paper chase. Today was a day that I felt there was no light at the end of our adoption tunnel. And then I clicked over and read this post. It fills me with hope that "this will happen for us too". Bless you and your lovely new little family!!

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  37. Kerri Thomas11/19/2012

    Hey Jillian,
    Just wanted to say how very very excited and happy I am for you, John, and your son! Congratulations on making it through this long journey and enjoy every step of the new one that is to come :).

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  38. Congratulations Burden Family!! What an incredible day!!!!

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  39. What a wonderful day! Praying for a safe and not nauseous ride home!

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  40. What an incredible day!!!!!!!! A wonderful blessing!!! I'm sure this holiday season will be one to remember!! Congratulations!!! :) GOD bless you all!!

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  41. Congratulations - I've been following your blog for a couple of months and praying along with everyone else that things come together for you and your family. I am so excited for you and your family and so thankful that God has answered our prayers. Best to you all.

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  42. Celebrating with you, praying God's blessings on your family... and for travel mercies!!

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  43. Congratulations! Praise God for what he has done! I am so blessed by your story and I'm looking forward to hearing about the next stage of your journey. Enjoy every precious moment!

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  44. Congratulations! I found your blog from TB and am so happy for your family. Its an amazing story and I will keep you all in my prayers. I don't even know you yet I sit here in tears of joy for you and your beautiful son. So inspiring!

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  45. Congratulations! Your post brought tears to my eyes. I found your blog from someone sharing it on Facebook (I like in Oakville), and from reading your posts I can tell you are going to make an amazing mother. I have a son that same age as yours, and this is really the most fun age. Enjoy it!

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  46. I'm joining in on all these tears :) I have been following your blog as wel for the past couple months. I am so excited for you three! This stranger is praying for your family to bond smoothly and to continue to be blessed.

    -Shelby

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  47. This post brought me to tears! I am so elated for you!

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  48. I just happened upon your blog and can't believe this was only 9 days ago. Praise God for your little one! Adoption is such a beautiful thing.

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