Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nikolai aka "Sasha", our baby boy turns 4

This was a picture of our first meeting with "Sasha" in Moscow, Russia.

When we tell people we have three children, they look at us as if we have multiple heads or body parts coming out the wrong way. I am like "Have you seen the show "Kate and Jon plus 8? , That is 5 more than us. So, in comparison...three is like having one".

It used to be families were large and have 5 or more kids in it. I firmly believe however that the Mom was drinking Moonshine and it was so clear she told her kids it was water and they must always drink their water. That is how they got through big families :)

Today is a special day. Not only is it New Years Eve....But, it is our son's 4th birthday. Sure, I brag about our kids. I am huge proponent of celebrating birthdays!! It is a beautiful So, your life should be celebrated and that you were born to make a difference on this earth.

4 years ago today...our baby boy was Alexandr Nikolaevich Romanov. He was born in a hospital in Moscow, Russia. He was born prematurely and the mothers sac broke too early, leaving him with a condition called ABS. Amniotic Banding Syndrome. Basically, three of his fingers were fused together and the thumb looks like it has a rubber band tightly around it. He had a single mother who I am assuming knew that she could not care for this little boy. In Russia, it is a stigma (which I think is changing) to be a single woman with a boy...because the men don't want to raise another man's son. And strike two would be they classified him as "special needs". I am assuming again that she felt that this was more than she could do. So, Nikolai was left in that Moscow hospital.

He stayed there for 4 months as he was really ill. He was then transferred to a Childrens Home..(we learned that it is not PC to call it Orphanage anymore).

Back in the States....I was having ovarian cyst after ovarian cyst. So, we decided after being so sick with our second baby that we would not try to have another. We thought we were done. Then, in Feb. of 2005...we heard Stephen Curtis Chapman talk about his adoptions in China after they had 3 biological children. Something he said to me stuck forever "We are called to be a Father to the Fatherless". We knew that was a message to us. We hosted a little girl from Ukraine as part of a hosting group over the holidays of 2005. It was not allowed to be an adopting situation....just a hosting one. But, it got our minds going. Hmmm....should we adopt? Then, I got on several Yahoo boards about adoption.

One day, I heard about an amazing woman who an adoption agency. I called her and we talked forever. She told me she knew of a special needs child. It was scary at first, because we had two healthy girls at home and we weren't equipped to handle special needs. I mean, we had experienced the PICU and all of that. But, not long term special needs. That is what everyone thinks at first. She told us about him and my heart melted. We were allowed to see his picture since he was special needs and he had those big blue eyes. With tears in my eyes, I said "That is our son". It took my husband a little longer to think about it, because he was worried about what the International Doctor told us "He will be retarded...he will be this and that" Something in my heart knew that wasn't true.....

As life would have it...I wasn't meant to have anymore biological children anyway. In April of '06..I had an emergency hysterectomy due to a tumor. They felt it was benign, but, high concern for cancer. As this unexpected surgery was happening, we were filling out papers to try and adopt this little boy named "Sasha" translation...Alexander.

We met him in May of '06 in Moscow and we were in love. We had to go to court, fly home and come back 4 weeks later. I missed him so...I didn't even birth him, how could I love another child like that? It isn't about blood that makes a child is in the heart.

Blake and I flew together for the official court hearing where we would hopefully "officially" be his parents. I cried when the Russian judge declared him ours. "Nikolai Edward Ellavsky". We were not to take him out of the Childrens Home for another 3-4 weeks. So, I stayed in Russia and Blake had to go back home. I stayed with a Russian family and frankly loved it.... I took the Metro everyday and literally walked a mile to the Childrens Home. I held him and took him for a walk everyday. I barely spoke Russian, but, enough to get me by. My sweet host counseled me on how to become a Moscovite. "Caroline, you smile too much...people will think you are crazy here. Walk with the crowd...." And on he went. I had my all black attire on (which is what you typically see in the winter there) and off I went on my own everyday. I made friends with the local baker outside of the apartment (think of a row of vendors). She knew my name and I taught her English and she taught me some more Russian. I went with people that I met to the market to buy a leather coat and everything. I went grocery shopping by myself. I ate Russian food. My host would take me over to other families home and I loved everything! I wanted to hear the sounds, smell the smells...experience everything. Because, I was going to be the only baby book that Nikolai would have of his homeland. So, I needed to be able to remember it all.

Blake and Sophia (our oldest) flew out to Moscow when Nikolai was allowed to leave the Childrens Home. He screamed and thrashed and basically was a ball of anger as he got into the car. So, it was not the scene people dream of "Angels came from the sky and trumpets were playing". He was pissed and scared. That is the only life he knew. Soon, with Sophia and Blake and I tickling him and giving him food (always works)...he started laughing.

We had to stay one more week until his paperwork was completed. We took him to Red Square, and everywhere. Most of us have a strong feeling about Russia. For me, personally...I didn't get into the politics. I just took in the life and that beautiful place where our son was born.

Today, he is a thriving 4 year old little boy. He loves life with all his heart. Everyday is a new day for him.

Happy Birthday our beautiful Alexandr "Sasha" Nikoleivich Romanov now Nikolai Edward Ellavsky. Thank you for waiting on your Mommy and Daddy to come and bring you home.

His first time walking on Red Square.

Psalm 68:5-6 tells us that as the Father to the fatherless, God delights in setting the lonely in families.

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