Love Makes Families

Love Makes Families
A family of 7 due to the blessing of adoption!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Visiting Matthias

Less than 2 hours after saying goodbye to my tiny 6 year old son who I had waited 7 LONG months to meet, I find myself standing outside at the bus station waiting to board the bus to travel to Matthias' city. I was both shocked and anxious when a 15 passenger van pulled in. My guide had run inside for a minute and nobody around me spoke any English. I was silently hoping that this tiny (in retrospect) vehicle was not our "bus". I see my guide's face and start waving frantically. She comes over and confirms that this van is in fact our "bus". 20+ people are waiting to board. 
My guide is a tiny sweet young lady, but you would not have known it this day. 
She marched right through this crowd of locals and explained that she had purchased tickets in advance therefore securing our space on the "bus". Keep in mind this is the ONLY bus going to this particular city.... She told us to bring our luggage to the back and the driver left the irritated mob and looked at our large amount of luggage in disgust. He then said "It's a bus lady not a train." He literally had no space for our luggage..... Our small carryons were all that fit in the lack of cargo space in this van. We then push through the angry mob of people with our suitcases and backpacks to board the already full van. An elderly gentleman moved over, so I could sit by him. A mom put her small son on her lap, so my dad could have a seat and our guide squoze between 2 other young ladies. The driver then began smoking (I am allergic to smoke). My mother like guide (who at one point during our trip told me she would not even let me breathe without her) got up from her crammed seat and walked all the way to the front to yell and the driver and explain that he could not smoke near me.... He slammed the door and hated us "Americans" even more. It was such a blessing having this amazing woman as our guide.

The "bus" finally left with some people sitting on the ground, people standing and a young child on his mother's lap while the driver had 2 empty seats in the front by him that he refused to let anyone occupy. It was supposed to be a 2 hour ride, but that was not the case. In this Country they do road construction a littler differently. The completely tear up the road leaving just mud to drive on until the put the new road down..... It was pouring outside which meant it was supper muddy. Pot holes is an understatement. Oh and did I mention that even though one side of the road was closed that there are not flaggers or signs to let on coming traffic know?? Well basically the driver zig zaged across the road driving where ever he though the roads were best expecting oncoming traffic to yield to him. Thankfully they did. We zigged and we zagged and we dodged pot holes and bounced out of our seats for over 3 hours..... All the while I am holding our 2 suitcases in the isle trying not to let them fall and have my backback in my lap..... I was soooooo sore and tired by the time we got to Matthias' city..... Not to mention that we were almost 2 hours late for our visit by the time we found a cab (actually 2), checked in at our hotel and walked to his group home.

Our guide was not allowed to stay at the same hotel as us because it was "too expensive". I had to pay the $5-$10 more a night because it is pet free (I am allergic). We checked in, typed a quick message to our families to let them know we were safe, then we waited for her to come get us. She arrived and we walked the 10 mins to the group home. On the way, we passed the orphanage and I said a prayer thanking God that Matthias had been allowed to be in the group home for the past year and not the orphanage where he had been left lying in a crib for almost 5 years. You see Matthias has no medical diagnosis at all.... His only "special need" is delays from living in an orphanage. I believe the only reason he was not adopted earlier is because he was part of a sibling group. After a few years, they decided to split them up. 

We arrived at the group home and it is literally a home that the kids live in. We walked down the 5 stairs and were led into the director's office. We could see children in the play room, and one child was striving to get attention, but I knew it was not boy.... I honestly did not see Matthias. We spoke with the director, filled out some forms, signed the guest book, and then she left to bring in my son. 

I hate to admit this, but I was so exhausted that I could barely function.... Not to mention that I had just said good bye to one of my sons. I was so excited to meet my sweet Matthias, but I had no energy.
He came in and looked nothing like the only picture I had of him. The picture was a few years old. He had grown quite a bit since then. He smelled. Yes, my son smelled. He wanted nothing to do with me. Not to mention he was in the directors office which he rarely goes into. He was curious and looked around, but he did not look at me. He liked my guide and the worker and the director who all sat there and starred. It was like 90 degrees in the tiny office filled with 6 people and only about 2 square feet of space. It was his dinner time because our bus was late. He was hungry, he was confused and he was distant. I tried toys, but all he wanted to do was chew on toys. He broke one of the toys within 5 seconds.... None of my girls' were chewers, so this is going to be new for me.

I left discouraged. I did not have the instant connection with Matthias that I did with Adam. I even asked my guide what would happen if I decided not to adopt him (not that I would give up after 1 hour). I felt a connection with another child there more than I did my own and it scared me. We were told all of our visits would be in the director's office and that terrified me as well. 

The next morning we were told to be there at 9am. I prayed the night before and asked God to give me energy, strength and an open heart and mind. I asked him to let me leave Adam in his hands, so I could focus on my oldest son. We arrived just before 9am and were greeted by the same child that had caught my attention the day before (I am pleased to say that since arriving home, we have helped get his name out there and he has a mom  and dad coming!!). We went back into the director's office and I prayed that we could meet somewhere else. They explained that we could meet in his room and that I could feed him a snack a little later.... I was overjoyed. 

They brought Matthias in and he was still scared of me, but he let me carry him upstairs to his room. They had him dressed in the cutest outfit. I loved it. We went into his room and I think he thought it was nap time because he was not happy. The director gave him some toys, and that seemed to lighten his mood. I got out some of the toys I had and he was not interested in any of them. He kept trying to play with a socket on the wall and my dad "Poppy" kept telling him no. Then he was walking along the wardrobe in his room, and I noticed he was staring at his reflection.... That is when I remembered the mirror..... Oh let me tell you that he loves looking at himself and honestly with hair and skin like his I can see why. He lit up when he had that mirror in his hands. He had us all laughing. He was kissing himself and smiling. It was awesome. After about an hour, he climbed into my lap and gave me a big hug. It was a priceless moment. My guide and the director (who sat in on every single visit) kept explaining that I was his mom. He started playing with the toys and really opened up. I was finally started to feel connected to him. I already loved him, but my motherly bond was forming in an entirely different way than with Adam. Part of me wished I had visited Matthias first because he required much more energy. I learned this on Saturday afternoon. We were asked to come back at 1 because that was nap time.... It turns out my little stinker does not like naps and will wake all the other kiddos up if he is left in the room with them. We had the play room all to ourselves and I could tell this is where he spent most of his time because he went right to work at playing. I got out a few of his favorite toys from the morning (except the mirror because he will literally play with nothing else if that is out). I sat on a chair  (a tiny kids chair) and he kept climbing on my lap. After a while he got these bowl stacking toys I had brought and started building using one of those, a table leg and a chair. He was meticulous. He would get the angles just right and then stare at it with his fingers in his mouth. I thought this was something he had always done, but was later told that this was new since we were there. I could see just how smart he is. He was raised with so little that he has learned to play with toys in a "non typical" way. Later he climbed on my lap and threw himself backwards. He apparently likes to be hung upside down. He is so strong that he could be laying upside down and using only his abdominal muscles pull himself back onto my lap. After a while, I got tired and tried to set him down. He instantly started fake crying. I was laughing sooo hard. Every time I would give in, he would laugh and laugh. After flipping him upside down the back up over 100 times I decided to break out the "magic weapon" AKA the mirror. He saw it and crawled right over to it and starred at himself. It was awesome. The visits flew by and it was time to leave.

The next day went fairly much like the 2nd day.... 1st visit in the room, 2nd visit in the playroom. The one main thing he did this day was showed us again how smart he is.... He was playing with the mirror and ignoring everything and everyone else. When he was not looking my dad took the mirror and hid it under a tote. I believe it was while I was feeding him. As soon as he was done eating he got off the chair and crawled over to the tote, threw it out of the way and smiled a huge smile of victory. We all smiled along with him. I was pretty proud of him. I decided to try hiding it again later and he found it right away again, then he tried to hide it. It was fun. 

On a side note. He eat 5 times a day also.... Breakfast at 8, snack at 10, lunch at noon, snack at 2 and dinner at 5. He cannot eat solid food either. He eats mushed food like a smashed banana, yogurt or something similar. He has not been allowed to feed himself or even touch the spoon. the second he sees food coming, he folds his hands in his lap and opens his mouth. It is the sweetest thing.

By day 3 in the afternoon he was pretty attached to me and would not leave my sight and had to be touching me almost constantly when I was there. Days 4 and 5 we were in the play room for both visits since the others were in school. It was so much fun.... tons of building, flipping him upside down and using the mirror so mommy could get a break. On the 4th day in the afternoon we got to take him out of the group home to get his photo taken. On the 5th day (Monday) one of the workers came to change him because we were going to take him for a walk back to our hotel so we could say goodbye there.

While she was gone and the director was outside for a minute, Dad, our guide and I were playing with the beach ball that I had brought. We were basically playing volleyball. We were having a blast. When the director walked in, I was a little embarrassed and acted like we hadn't been playing. She asked to play as well, so we did. We were all laughing and carrying on. It was so much fun to get to know her a little better..... I may have accidentally hit the director in the face. I felt bad. She had been filling out her reports for our agency earlier that morning, so I asked her if she had already said she liked me before I hit her. She laughed and said not to worry that she loved us. She was a very kind lady and I could tell that she truly cared for the children. She told us to continue to play ball when Matthias came back in and see how he acted. We kept on playing and he tried to walk away lol.... I think we scared him. She picked him up and put him in her lap and helped him play catch with his Mama. It was a very fun time and he loved it. Before I knew it, my final visit was over and it was time to leave.  The director put Matthias in the stroller and walked with us back to our hotel. I thought that was very sweet of her. We walked and talked and we got to know he a bit better. I can truly say that I love her. She made it just a touch easier to leave my son behind because I knew someone loved him. When we went to get his visa photo taken, she asked if we would take a picture with him to hang above his bed. The put at rainbow as the background.... how fitting.

Just a quick insert that I forgot..... On day 5 Matthias walked all the way across the room to get to me. even though he is 6 and lives half way across the world, I got to witness his first unassisted steps.
We got a call while on the bus traveling back to the capitol that a worker with hair similar to mine walked in and he walked across the toy room, across the hall and into the director's office where she was. All by himself!! It was sad though because they said he was so disappointed that it was not me.

As we stood in front of our hotel, I cried as I told Matthias that we would be back as soon as we could. She said that she wanted to thank me on behalf of Matthias. She said she knew if he could speak that he would thank us himself. She said she loves the children and tries to give them the best care, but no matter how hard she tries that she could never replace a family. She cried and I cried. We said goodbye and she walked away pushing Matthias in a stroller.

In 9 short days, I had met both of my sons, loved on them, then said goodbye. 
I will never be able to express how emotional this trip was for me.
Meeting MY sons, then having to leave them there was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
I was told multiple times that 4-6 months was not a long time, but imagine being without your child for 4-6 months. It feels like eternity. I was super excited to be home with my 3 girls, but leaving my 2 sons was horrible. I still do not feel "human" being home. I want to go back right now.

I have a friend traveling to meet her 3 kids at Adam's orphanage next month and I badly want to sneak in her luggage. I miss them both so much. Now, I am in tears nightly not knowing IF I will raise the money to bring them home. In my heart, I know God has this, but $8000 in 4 months is a lot.... $2000 a month. I have barely raised $200 in the 2 weeks since I have been home. 

I will leave you with a couple of pictures.... not much since I cannot share my son's face.
His favorite toy AKA the secret weapon.... the mirror.
This is his day 2 outfit which I loved. The director always tries to make them match.
 Loving on Poppy
 This water fall was the view from our hotel window

 This was the letter "Damion" wrote to his future family
 Matthias's favorite position waiting to be hung upside down

1 comment:

  1. IT was so nice getting to read about your time with Matthias!! Your recount of your first meeting explains a lot! When we watched the video Jon and I agreed that you were in "the grip", and now I understand why. My car sickness would have killed me on that bus ride!

    I hope that your smart and helpful attorney can speed things along for you. the LORD will provide you the money you need!!! BELIEVE IT! :)

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