We arrived in Warsaw safe and sound on May 9th – just less a couple of pieces of luggage. We didn’t really care, all we cared about was being reunited with our sweet boys. On Sunday, May 10th (mother’s day), we were picked up from our hotel in Warsaw and taken 3 hours southeast to Bilgoraj. After nearly a 6 month separation, a 20 hour travel day to Poland, a 3 hour drive through the country, we were only 5 minutes away from our sweet boys. The anticipation was killing us. Finally, on Monday, May 11th, we were reunited with them. And what a sweet reunion it was. Below is an excerpt from an email I sent that day:Today we got to see our boys again!! We received the best greeting complete with flying hugs! It felt like we never left - we just picked up right where we left off. I received my first bouquet of hand-picked flowers today. It included some pretty white flowers (I don't think they were supposed to pick), some dandelions, and a branch with leafs and a ladybug! They are very excited to come home. I think they were a bit disappointed to realize it would be a little while yet. They told everyone they saw today that we were their mama & tata and they were going home with us this week. Seriously, these boys just melt my heart.
I remember that incredible high of having them in my arms again and the relief that came with knowing we would never be separated again. All of the heartache of the process and the wait just melted away. The millions of pieces of my shattered heart that were left there so many month ago were instantly made whole.On Tuesday, May 12th, we took our 1st adventure out with the boys along with their caregiver, our facilitator and a representative from the orphanage. We explored Zamosc and Zwierzyniec – absolutely beautiful. It was a long, fun day and we were able to stay and put them to bed that night.
Wednesday, May 13th was a big day. It was the day that we received temporary custody of the boys. We spent some time at their house visiting with them, their friends and caregivers. We had some cake (there was always cake) and the boys received gifts. The good-byes were tough, but we knew we would be back in a few weeks. Around 11am, we headed out to take a 1 hour trip north to Lublin where we would be staying in an apartment for 3 weeks. The boys were excited and a little nervous – so were we.This is an excerpt from an email I sent on Thursday, May 14th:
It makes my heart so happy to tell you that there are 2 empty beds in Bilgoraj. It has been a long time coming.We moved from Bilgoraj to Lublin yesterday and are just starting to get settled into our apartment. I would love to tell you that it has been all sunshine and rainbows, but it hasn't been. Yesterday was a ROUGH day for all 4 of us, but especially the boys. We knew to expect this and have been preparing for it, but holy cow, I don't think anything could have prepared us for what unfolded. It was very hard for them to say good-bye to everything that has been their life for the past 2 1/2 years. While we know this situation is better, and they are very excited to be with us, it is hard for them to fully understand everything that is going on. In addition, I think the move stirred up some emotions and past hurts. It breaks my heart to look into their eyes and see the hurt and the grief. They have endured more than most people I know my own age. Yet here they are, trying to let go and love us and trust us - they have HOPE.
Today was so much better. We had lots of snuggles, giggles, play time, a super long bath (which they loved), and FEASTING. Yes, feasting. Meaning they eat and eat and eat! We knew to expect this, so we stocked up on groceries right away, but we are going to have to take another trip! We are going to brave our 1st solo field trip with them tomorrow, so wish us luck. Ready or not...here we come world!!The first week and a half was so tough. It was just heartbreaking to see the conflict in my babies’ eyes. They so desperately wanted the love we were offering, but were terrified to take it at the same time. I will tell you what though – my 2 boys are the BRAVEST boys I know. There is no way my 5/6 year old self could have handled any of that. And there they were, fighting with all of their might to break through the hurt and fear. They AMAZE me…Every. Single. Day.
After that 1st week and a half, something just clicked. The boys were starting to get the hang of this whole family thing…and so were we. The rest of our time in Lublin flew by. We had so much fun exploring with the boys. We also had 2 visits from the social worker, government rep and caregivers. One on Friday, May 22nd and the final one on Wednesday, May 27th. Below is an expert from the email I sent during that time:Our visit on Friday went great. The boys asked them when they were going to leave so we could play zombies! LOL! We had another visit yesterday and that went really well too. Both the social worker and the government adoption authority representative said that they will be giving positive remarks for the adoption in court. They called our facilitator yesterday after the visit and told her that they were very impressed with how well we were doing with the boys and how much they have already connected with us.
The boys' behavior is like night and day from a week ago. They are listening much better, they are trusting us, they are very affectionate, and we are able to have a lot of fun with them. We have been to the park several times. The parks here are absolutely amazing – I wish we had some like this back home. We made it to Old Town a couple of times too – so beautiful. We braved the Trinity Tower w/ the boys. They did so good, but we were all exhausted by the time we got home. We have walked everywhere - I would guess we have gotten in 35-50 miles since we have been here. We love it here and are afraid we have been a bit spoiled. We are really going to miss this place.I am writing this as we wait for our car to pick us up to take us to Bilgoraj tonight. We have an early court time tomorrow - 9AM, so that is 2AM your time. Please say a prayer that all goes well. Right after that we will be heading to Warsaw for our remaining time in Poland. After court, we will also know our return date. We have been praying our request to shorten the appeals period goes through.
With our hearts full and our first memories as a family of 4 burned in our minds, it was with much anticipation that we said farewell to Lublin and set out on the next part of our journey.