June 2, 2007 We Flew To Moscow
I was somewhat incredulous that we were flying all the way to the other side of the world to adopt a child, since we had many irons in the fire in the United States. Adopting a baby from our own hometown would have been just fine with us. But God apparently wanted us to go to Russia, because none of these other things worked out.
We Arrived In Moscow At 10am
A driver and an interpreter picked us up at the airport and dropped us at our hotel an hour later They would be back tomorrow to take us to a smaller airport for our flight to Izhevsk.
I Need Sleep, Please
Although we just wanted to go to sleep, as it was about 2am our time, they say when you fly overseas you must stay awake until bedtime in your new time zone or you will have a much harder time acclimating. So we headed to Red Square, the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral.
It was spectacular, but my memory is that I just wanted to lie down somewhere. We stayed awake until about 4pm and then couldn’t stave off sleep any longer. We woke at 2am and slowly got ready for the trip to Izhevsk.
Izhevsk Is A Small Industrial Sort Of Town
It was a 2 hour small plane ride strait east of Moscow, right before hitting the Ural Mountains.
Matthew’s Journal Entry: June 4, 2007
The flight was fine. We were in a TY 134 like a small DC-9. Izhevsk is wooded with some fields. The grassland looks like Oklahoma, but the soil is pitch black. The airport looked like Ponca city’s – small, but there were a good number of jets.
There is Matt in the lower left corner.
An interpreter met us and got us to our hotel. It is set in an old apartment, but the entry is an added-on building they renovated.
Our hotel, or motel, or whatever it was is behind us.
There are tons of these 8-10 story apartment blocks. They are awful and no one mows the grass. To us it looks like the slums, but we walk around and feel perfectly safe.
We have been working on speaking Russian. The locals appreciate it and light up when we speak it. We’ve been into town on two trips. The first was to a church to the west of Udmurt University.
What a ceiling!
Allison got the priest to let us take photos.
I lit a candle for the boys.
Wow. It is a green church. What a use of color!
Women had to wear head coverings so I used my sweater. Nice.
Next trip we went to the town square or rather town center. We got there late and had to leave because I thought the sun was setting – oops – it goes down about midnight. A very nice town center. Don’t know if we get to see Alexander today. We have to be interviewed by the Minister of Education at 2pm. It is all very “go with the flow.” Lots of waiting.
The next day a driver/interpreter picked us up at our small motel. First we had to go do some paperwork at the agency.
Ok…Looks like the beginning of a scary movie. These are the hallways to the agency office. It did get better.
Then our guide drove us (like a maniac I might add) 45 minutes to a smaller town north of Izhevsk called Votkinsk. We were literally out in the middle of rural Russia far from any known reality, completely dependent on our driver. What a deal. What an experience. What the heck are we doing?
The orphanage at Votkinsk
We pull up to a very rundown building and are told to go through “that” door. Ok, whatever you say.
We sort of tentatively walk in and someone points to another door. We walk in that door and are greeted by the director, the interpreter, and the social worker. We are all crowded in a tiny office and they proceed to ask us questions and interview us. Then we ask a few questions.
Finally they bring Alexander, 15 months old, to us. He is a darling little boy. We play with him for maybe 30 minutes in the directors office. We ask a few more questions and then it’s time to go.
The Ride Back To Izhevsk
I sit in the back seat and cover my eyes as this guy drives. Matt is in the front seat. (I feel sorry for him.) We didn’t have time to talk. Cars are honking constantly, inches from each other, going 70 miles an hour, swerving in, out and around. We are each thinking separately about what we just experienced and praying that we make it back to our motel alive.
Our driver let us out and said he would pick us up at 8am to go back to the orphanage for a second visit. Oh, ok. Well, that is good. We can see him again. When we finally got to talk, we both were a little unsure. It was all very intense. The orphanage was dark and depressing. We didn’t talk much about it though because we knew we were going back tomorrow and we would get a better idea and then really talk.
Journal Entry that night:
Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; with deepest awe I will worship at your temple. Lead me in the right path O Lord… Tell me clearly what to do and show me which way to turn. Psalm 5:7-8.
The next morning we head back to Votkinsk. Another hair-raising drive. This time they take us to another room with a few toys and then bring Alexander to us. We spend about 30 minutes with him. Again he is a precious boy, but I can sense that both of us feel there is something not right about this.
Finally, We Leave The Orphanage
We had spoken to our agency back in Texas the night before and Doris could tell we were unsure. She told us to go ahead and tell them yes and take our time to think about it and then we could, as she said, “deny the referrel” later, but if we said no now, it would be difficult to change our minds later. Ok. We are just going with the flow here.
So we tell the orphanage that we are interested and our agency would work out the details. We get back into the car for the final (thank you God) 45-minute trip back to Izhevsk. Both Matt and I are in a strange space. Again, we can’t talk now, but must sit with our thoughts alone during the drive back. Probably a good thing.
Something Is Not Right
By the time we get back we both say to each other “this is not right.” We aren’t sure why. We just know we are not meant to adopt this boy. It is breaking my heart to leave this child here, but we’ve just got to be obedient to the leaning of the Holy Spirit.
Journal Entry that night:
We have prayed deeply and we believe You, Father, have not called us to bring Alexander home with us. We absolutely believe if we sense Your will like we do, that his (Alexander’s) forever family is soon coming. We must be obedient, even if it is difficult. We will continue to pray for him. Please bless him Jesus.
Stay Tuned For Part 5