Ok so I’m typing this later than I had wanted but all of the traveling and waking up at 4am for the past few days really caught up to me. On Tues. we traveled to Mariupol to take care of Julie’s birth certificate and social and other business. Unfortunately not everything could be done for reasons that I will not get into. Mind you we had to travel 4 hours to get to Mariupol so we had planed on getting everything done in one trip but it didn’t seem like that was in The Lord’s plan. After getting back late we made our final drive to the orphanage to pick up our Julie Grace. Gotcha Day had finally come!!! We met with the orphanage director one final time. She expressed to us how she was so grateful we came for Masha because she thought she would never find a family. Julie was one of her favorite children at the orphanage. We loaded up in the van with our daughter and her duffel bag full of clothes and trinkets we had sent to her and a new coat the director had bought for Julie. Normally when we would leave the orphanage I would look back and up at the windows just to see if anyone would peek out but no one ever did. On this trip when I looked back and up at the windows my heart shattered into a million pieces. A lot of the kids were looking out of the windows. I could only imagine what was going through the minds of those poor babies. I was excited to be bringing my daughter out of there but sad for all the kids left behind. I can only pray and advocate for those sweet kiddos. Well our first night went very well. Julie wanted mama to help her with her shower then we all ate dinner and went to bed because we had another 4am wake up to drive to Mariupol to try and finish what we couldn’t the day prior.
The next day we woke up early packed everything and loaded up in the van and headed to Mariupol. We said “Gud Bye Snizhne”. The morning started off horribly windy and the snow was coming dow very heavily. We all said our prayers because we were all secretly afraid of the drive. Half way to Mariupol our driver stopped and said that if we continued on we would be stuck and not be able to drive back to Donetsk. That was not an option because we needed to apply for Julie’s passport. We decided that the safest thing for everyone was to just turn around and not worry about our business in Maruipol. God would provide the way He had throughout this journey. We spent the morning applying for her passport and getting her picture taken. Since we were done several hours before our flight to Kyiv we decided to spend some time at Donetsk City (the mall). This is where all of Julie’s first began! She had never been shopping before much less at a mall. We took an escalator up to the 3 floor to find a bathroom and the look on her face was priceless…lol Not to mention her high stepping to get off. After a few times she got the hang of it. We took her to get a few things and she was set on getting something Hello Kitty. I had her try on some shirts and she kept saying…”mama…Hello Kitty?” I said yes but clothes first. Papa took her into a toy store and gave her 500 grivnas (around $58). Then he showed her this ginormous Hello Kitty stuffed animal. Yep…she was set on getting it. lol Next was her first time eating at a restaurant. We took her to our favorite restaurant called Pasta Project. She ordered 4 cheese pizza…not your normal cheese pizza. One slice was blue cheese and it was amazing. After lunch was done we headed to the airport and got on the plane. Julie was so excited because she had never flown before. I guess she was exhausted from all the fun and excitement because she was asleep before we ever took off. She did wake up during the flight though and did amazing. On our drive through Kyiv she was amazed by all of the lights. Our girl experienced so much in just one day than she ever had her entire life. We arrived at our apartment which is not down town so we are away from all of the protesting. We got a good nights rest last night. Today we were able to take care of the business we couldn’t do in Mariupol. I told you the Lord always provides a way as long as you trust in Him!
I have to say I have no clue what happened to that quiet shy girl we first met in Snizhne! Our girl’s personality must have changed with her name because Julie is a very rambunctious and vocal little thing. She loves her cartoons and music. She also likes watching and listening to them both at the same time. She is very open with us and it feels like she has been with us her whole life. Our facilitator also mentioned how most kids show some sign of being a little nervous but Julie was very comfortable with us. Today was a sign of that for sure. She was being a kid and running around and acting goofy and when I asked her to calm down she would say no and continue. I pulled out google translate and asked her to please sit. She said no so I pulled out the stern Russian and said “Da”. Yeah the honeymoon was over. She did not like that! She pouted her way to the kitchen. I asked her if she still loved me and of course I got a no. I gave her space and after about 10 minutes she was over it. It was bath time so I got a bubble bath ready for her which she LOVED! During this time I asked her if she was still upset with me and she said no. While I was typing something in google translate she said, “mama, I love you!” My heart melted. I explained to her that she needed to listen and obey her mama & papa and she said ok. After she was out and dressed she gave me a hug and kissed my cheek and said she loved me again. I’m so glad to have this time to bond with our Julie Grace!