It seems unreal that exactly 8 years ago at this time I was in Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan adopting my son Michael. The time has flown by.
I wrote about this anniversary last year and included a lot of photos.
I remember being so startled by the weather in Petropavlovsk. It was freezing cold and snowy. The buildings, like buildings in Russia, were warm or even hot. Outside was yucko. Every time I left the hotel I wore my Crocs rain boots. Lots of snow, frozen slush, mud, etc.
By contrast, the high today in Atlanta is 52. The high Sunday is supposed to be 75. That's the March weather I am used to experiencing.
In the fall of 2005 I had seen Michael's photo on the Adoption Ark website, and I knew immediately he was my son. He was born the same month my father died, July of 1996. In fact, Michael was born one week after Dad died. Included in the information was this sentence, which tore at my heart: "Everyone that knows Igor is desperate to find him a family because he is such a special boy."
After much prayer, scrambling to find the money for the adoption fees, and even the writing of my book Jack's New Family, to help him transition, I was ready to go to Kazakhstan.
For over a year, the good folks at the Antares Foundation had emailed me photos of "Igor" -- his birthname. Below, one of the photos. I studied each photo over and over.
I remember our first meeting like it was yesterday. We were in a small conference room in the orphanage, the translator, me, the assistant head of the orphanage. I had photo albums on the table. I had barely slept the night before.
In came one of the caretakers and a tiny boy with a burr haircut.
Michael was SO small -- not like the 10 year olds here. He was the size of an American first grader. Shy, too. Barely said a word during that meeting.His first question to me? "How OLD are you?!"
I told him that day that I had to have 2 hugs every day, and he hugged me without reservation. I visited him every day for the next three weeks, and on April 3, 2007 the judge said he was my son.
Happiest day of my life. [Equally as happy as the day in Russia when I became a mom for the first time.]
Happy anniversary, Michael. Here's to 8 more great years!