River of Thoughts

Christine Royse Niles — Changing the world one word at a time

Day 19 – Thursday, 24 August, 2006

Well, it’s taken me close to a week to bring myself to write the entry for Thursday, the day we said Farewell to Masha. The day began early. Running on about 6 hours of sleep, we awoke to darkness for the first time since Masha arrived. She made some final preparations, checked her room for any final things she wanted to cram into her suitcase. The mood in the house was solemn, knowing that good-bye was near, and not wanting that to come. Masha ate her last American breakfast while Mark and I made last minute preparations.

At about 7:15, we loaded Masha’s suitcase into the car. We’ve had a running joke about whether she or I sat in front while Mark drove; for the ride to the camp, Masha asked to sit in front, and requested that I drive. I thought it funny that Mark would have to sit in the back, until Masha said sadly to to me “Mark raboota?” Mark is going to work? NO! I smiled at her and explained that Mark was coming with us…relief flooded her face and she relaxed a little bit. Mark climbed into the back seat behind Masha. For the most part, driving distracted me from the fear of what was coming up; I only started crying once.

We were the second family to arrive at the camp, and Masha jumped out of the car to see Vica and Little Masha. They ran around the parking lot, talking and smiling, while Mark and I talk with their parents about saying good-bye to our little girls. We comfort ourselves by sharing plans for next steps, planning a package to send all the things that wouldn’t fit in their luggage. Other families, escorts, and volunteers began to arrive, and the parking lot became a mass of activity.

Three moms volunteered to drive car-loads of kids to the Indianapolis airport. Once everyone arrived, luggage was transferred and riding arrangements were figured out. Kids and escorts scurried around to make sure that all the luggage was loaded up and that everyone had a seat. All logistics resolved, the hugging commenced and the tears began to flow. We had been prepared by the program organizers that this was the time for adults to be adults and keep it together for the kids. We tried that really hard, and I managed to keep it together as I hugged Masha and murmured “i love you” over and over again.

Finally, the time came to say our final goodbye. Masha piled into the car, and held Mark’s hand as they slowly pulled out of the parking spot. I hid behind Mark and cried as I watched her pull away. The only consolation was knowing that we would see her soon, and that we would never have to send her away again.

For those of you who haven’t heard already, we have made the final decision to move forward with the process to adopt Masha and bring her back to the US as our daughter. Over the next few months, we will navigate our way through the jungle of the international adoption process. We will continue to post updates occasionally, answering some of the common questions like “How did you guys decide to do this?” and “What next?” I will also take the opportunity to post some of the other great photos from Masha’s visit, so keep checking in…..

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About Christine

I am a writer, a project manager, and a corporate refugee with a heart for orphans around the world. My two daughters were adopted from Ukraine at ages 12 and 14. I post about writing, chasing dreams, and making a difference in the world, and sometimes I share fun snippets of fiction in-progress.

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