Parenting, day 3

The jet-lag cloud got me again!  I was determined to stay up until 11pm Moscow time, but alas I fell asleep while I was putting Arie to bed at 8pm! Another 1:30am wake up for me, but this time I'm waking up on (American) Thanksgiving Day so let me be among the first in the world to wish my American readers a very blessed Thanksgiving Day.  We won't be enjoying turkey today, but the spirit of gratitude is rich in our hearts as we revel in the gift of our son.

Yesterday the only thing on our agenda was to get Arie's medical completed for the Embassy. Our first parenting success was getting some food into his belly followed by some anti-nausea meds to prevent another motion-sickness puke.  Whether it was the food, the meds, or the shorter car ride that prevented his puking I'm not sure, but we were successful!  We're walking to our next appointment (Friday) at the Embassy which means our final trip with him is the 40 minute drive to the airport on Saturday.  Still praying we avoid a puke then too!

His medical was completed at the Children's Hospital here in Moscow.  The daylight hours are very short right now in Moscow so when we arrived shortly before 9am it was still dark outside. I think our little Arie was already a bit out of sorts due the fact that I bet he's never been outside in the dark before!  I carried him into the hospital and held him on my lap while we waited for our appointment. He started to cry as we waited and our facilitator told me that he likely associates the hospital smell with getting shots. I now know why parents have told me they secretly enjoy these moments with their children because Arie snuggled in to me so tight and held on for comfort.  What a powerful feeling to be able to provide your child comfort in their fear! Another step forward in our attachment journey.

Our waiting area was just the hallway of the hospital's first floor.  Everything was clean enough, but very, very worn.  The dull tiles had lots of cracks in them and the paint on all the trim and baseboards was chipped and greying. Many of the office doors had signs on them made of printer paper in a page protector, just taped on with scotch tape!  Remnants of old tape from previous signs were everywhere.  Directly across from where we were sitting was a shelf with a Care-bear on it, so old it was almost completely faded under the florescent lights. What a difference from the bright, glistening and modern American hospitals near us!

While we were waiting a unique family waited on the white metal bench across from us: a Russian Orthodox priest with his wife and daughter, about 8 or 9 years old. The priest was exactly what I'd imagine a Russian Orthodox priest would look like.  Tall and thin, thick beard, long dark hair in a ponytail tucked inside his black dress-like priest's garb.  An elaborate metal cross hanging from his neck, bouncing in his chest as he tended to his daughter and went off to find her some "sok" (juice). I wish there would have been a polite way to take a picture of this family! I also wanted to somehow tell him that our son was baptized Russian Orthodox and thank you for being part of a church that cares for orphans in this way, making sure they are not forgotten by the Church! The ROC will always have such a special place in my heart.

Soon we were called in for our appointment where Dr. Boris did a fantastic job examining our son.  As he examined each area of Arie's body he asked Arie if he was ticklish there and made Arie giggle away the entire time. At the end he told us the only problem he thought we'd have with Arie would be keeping the girls away!  Ha!

At the end of our appointment we met another American family who had just adopted a 21-month-old boy! The boy's father was there with his in-laws since their daughter (the mom) was not able to make the third and final trip to fetch their son.  The boy's family lives in Alabama and the in-laws are from Alaska. It is so funny how hearing English in a foreign country immediately thrills you. We were putting Arie's coat back on in the waiting area when we heard the Grandmother remark how cute Arie is. John and I immediately looked at one another like, "AMERICANS!" and John asked them where they were from. Over the course of our conversation we discovered that we're on the same flight back to JFK! Knowing that another adoptive family will be on our flight gives me great comfort because I know if we have a puke or a long cry, we'll at least have those three sets of empathetic ears.

Back at our apartment we took another visit to park which Arie enjoyed immensely more than the first visit.  He lost most of his apprehension and enjoyed playing on the slide and chasing the pigeons.

Pointing out the pigeons...
...and he sees them!

 A few times he saw a car pull up in the parking lot near by and he called out toward it for his nanny.  John and I are guessing that he used to see his nannies come and go from the parking lot near the orphanage's playground. He was not upset when it wasn't her getting out of the car, but it is still a difficult reminder of his loss. When we get home I can't wait to take pictures of his new life and send them back here to Moscow to show the nannies how well he is doing! I am daily so grateful for their care.

Our final milestone yesterday was getting Arie to enjoy his bath!  In the orphanage children are typically showered once or twice a week and it is a pragmatic affair with no time for enjoyment.  The first time we put Arie in the bath he cried and cried and was in and out as quickly as possible.  The second time John put on his bathing suit and climbed in with him and comforted Arie but he still whimpered though it.  This time John got in first and Arie went without tears! About 2 minutes in, he reached out his little hand to touch the water.  We made a big fuss over that progress which made Arie smirk and slap the water.  That was it.  There was hardly any water left in the tub or voice left in Arie from all the splashing and screaming with delight!  This time the only tears came when we had to pull him out!  I can't wait to get him in the bath at home where our toys are so much better than the cap from John's shaving cream and a Johnson&Johnson baby wash bottle!

He sticks his little tongue out like this when he concentrates. My favourite!
We are so grateful this Thanksgiving Day for our little man and all the joy he has already brought us.  We will be giving thanks on this holiday and into eternity for a God who called us to this adoption journey and granted the desire of our hearts.  Each time I look into Arie's sweet face I stand in awe that he is ours.  The most beautiful gift from the most beautiful giver.  On this holiday of gratitude and always I will say, "Thanks be to God!"



  1. Happy Thanksgiving to the new Burden family!

  2. AH! These pictures are SO wonderful! I'm so glad I found your blog! Yay for becoming parents to such a handsome and sweet boy! :-)

    1. I'm so glad you found it too!! Thanks for the comment love!

  3. Thanksgiving indeed...what sweet pictures of a really great day as a family! So cool about that other family joining you on the flight home - God is truly in the details, isn't He?! :)

    1. Yes! I am always amazed at how these things come together!

  4. Anonymous11/21/2012

    I don't recall where I first saw your blog, but I have been following for several months now. I am thrilled for you and your new son - what a beautiful family!

    I do want to share something with you... My best friend adopted all 4 of her children. When I met her, she had just adopted her first sweet baby - a little girl only 4 weeks old. I gave birth to my daughter the next day. From then on we were fast friends. 3 more pregnancies for me and 3 more adoptions for her. We both shared in each others experiences as though it were our own. Now we are both enjoying first grandbabies and are still the best of friends.

    What I wanted to share with you is during those early days, we would take our kids to the zoo or other fun places and of course there was lots of picture taking. When I would see the developed (no digitals in those days) pictures of her kids, I would think how much they looked like her. Even now, I look at pictures of my sweet bff's kids as babies, I see the "resemblance" to her, even though they share no genes. What's even weirder is that the 2 of her children are of an entirely different ethnicity - and still they look like my friend and her husband!

    As I look at the photos of you with your son, I see the same thing - I think he looks like you (both)... even though I have never met you! I now realize that this resemblance I see has nothing to do with genetics or bloodlines. It has to do with BELONGING. Your son belongs to you every bit as much and my friends kids belong to her and my kids belong to me. In belonging to you, my eyes and my brain see that he looks like you.

    How precious that thought is as we think about God and how we belong to him. Do we "look like" our Father too? I hope so.

    Congratulations on your new son. He looks just like you!

    Blessings to your family...

    1. Angel thank you for sharing this wonderful story! I have been amazed at how many people remark that Arie looks like us! I do not see the resemblance but I love what you said about belonging; maybe what people are seeing is how well we fit together. A supernatural connection that we don't have words for so we put it in the category of similarities. That gives me chills! Thanks again for sharing.

  5. Love it! Happy thanksgiving!

  6. We are so thrilled to hear the news of your new son! What a blessing to read your blog and share in your joy! I (Gerri) talked to your parents at the Trinity bazaar as they were bidding on toys at the silent auction for their new "grandson". Warmed my heart! Wishing you safe and happy travels on your way home! This truly is a wonderful Thanksgiving for you and Christmas is bound to be a celebrate not only of the birth of a Son, but the arrival of your son!
    Many blessings to you and your family!
    Henry and Gerri Nyman

  7. I'm so glad things are working out in such a great way! Arie is absolutely adorable and you guys look great together as a family. Praying you will have a safe and uneventful trip home.

  8. Happy Thanksgiving! So much to be thankful for this year. Arie is adorable and his smile priceless.

  9. I have so enjoyed reading your adoption story! But out of all the deep thoughts I could comment with on this post... I really just wanted to say that I love your ear warmer headband. It's so cute and looks great on you. Have a safe trip home, I hope his stomach stays settled and things go smoothly!

  10. Anonymous11/25/2012

    I am SO happy for you! What a wonderful way to build a family! You are all SO blessed! Thank you for sharing this journey with us.


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