Please welcome to our family, our daughter! Karolina Elizabeth. Born into our hearts on March 5, 2011, and legally born into our family and bound for life on June 15, 2011.
“Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone,
but still miraculously my own.
A precious daughter from a far away land
God has chosen us to hold her hand.”
I was hoping to post a picture of her actually smiling (she doesn’t look overly thrilled about it here)! Ha ha. However, with the flurry of traveling, packing, driving and moving to Warsaw, there just wasn’t a chance to snap a planned family photo. This was taken at about 6am at the airport before I flew home yesterday. When she gets home and we are ALL together, we definitely be taking a lot of pictures! It seems like ages until she and Jim will be here, but it’s so worth it, and at least I am back with the boys until they join us. With traveling, and then no internet access, there is a lot to catch up on. I’ll give the recap as best I can.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 12:00am (local time Poland):
COURT! We received details the night before about what time, and where court would be. It was about an hour 20 minute drive and we were told to leave Karolina at the orphanage for the day. It was hard to drop her off and we didn’t want to confuse her, but we knew it would be the last time. We arrived at court not quite knowing what to expect and just praying we would have the right words. We walked into court with Magda (our advocate and translator), and Bernadetta, the orphanage director. Three judges were seated at a table with a transcriptionist. There was a podium set up in the middle of the floor and I was asked to stand before it and answer questions. They asked us things like “why Poland?” “Do you drink or take drugs?” Are you religious, what will the childcare situation be, are friends and relatives happy about the adoption, what do the boys think?” The head judge also asked us several questions about Karolina’s medical history, and if we were prepared that she might need therapy and ongoing evaluations.
After that, it was Jim’s turn to speak. I sat down at the bench while he stood, looking very handsome in his suit, and answered questions about our family, Karolina and why they should allow us to adopt her. It was at that moment that I started to feel a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Looking at my husband of 11 years, standing before the judges and sharing his heart, his love for his family, his devotion to Karolina and the faith that God brought us together, was a moment I will never forget. I never loved him more. I guess it rubbed off on the judges too, as I noticed I wasn’t the only one wiping my eyes. The entire proceeding took about 20-30 minutes, and after asking us questions like “are you sure you won’t change your mind” they accepted our answers and gave us the official stamp of approval! Here we are outside the building. The sign says “District Court.” Magda took the photo and in her beautiful Polish accent, said: “I cut your bodies off, but so what.” Ha ha. That’s Magda. I love it.
I had expected to be nervous, possibly intimated, but it surprised me that we were all so emotional. I chalk that up to another God moment. It was the culmination of all the years of prayer, wandering “through the desert” wondering what the Lord wanted for our family, and then finally feeling his hand nudge us toward adoption, and gently lead us, directly to Karolina. Listening to an audio book on the airplane, a quote from John Paul II seemed to sum it up:
“We have been chosen, and called to set out. But, it is not for us to determine the destination of our journey. He who ordered us to set out, will determine that goal. Our faithful God! The God of the covenant.” This is based off of Hebrews 11:8( “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go. )
I still catch my breath when I think “this is real.” We were scared to death when we set out. Knowing the high expense, the paperwork ahead, months of waiting (possibly years), staying in a foreign country for so long, and not having a clue how/if it would all work out but just holding on to God for dear life. I am here to say, it is ALL worth it, we are forever changed by this experience and our sweet Karolina and God is faithful and good!
I also wanted to post a few photos of our view in Warsaw. After court, we traveled back to Czestochowa, picked up our luggage and Karolina, and started the 5 hour trek to Warsaw. Jim and Karolina will be staying there until it’s time to come home. I actually changed my flight to an early date so I could get back to the boys, and although I was thrilled to see them, I am bummed I won’t be able to explore any of Warsaw. Being a history lover, I had places mapped out and sights we really wanted to see. That being said, I know Jim and Karolina will have a great time, and I am happy to see my own beautiful “sights”…the boys smiling faces! Anyway, here is a view from our apartment in Warsaw:
I have more photos to post of our apartments (in Czestochowa and Warsaw) Jim kept the camera, but when they get home I’ll post, probably on our adoption blog. Fyi, if you have not seen the movie “The Pianist” I HIGHLY recommend it! It is phenomenal! Jim plans to visit the cemetery where Władysław Szpilman is buried, as well as the Warsaw Uprising museum and all the great parks with Karolina. 🙂
Whew, I think that about covers it for now! I would be remiss if I didn’t offer a HUGE “thank you” To my mother-in-law Judi for watching the boys for 3 weeks! She is a tough cookie and a loving grandma and that’s a pretty special combination. She patiently drove all 3 boys to baseball games, sleepovers, church, the park, the library and navigated a new city and new people so we could go to Poland. We are grateful and indebted to you Grammie! Also Poppa for allowing her to come, my mom, and so many friends who helped us out by taking the boys to play, picking them up and making sure they were well taken care of. I don’t have words to repay our thanks, but we do have one pretty little girl who made it all worth it. 🙂
Thanks for reading. Sorry for the long post. God bless the USA, it’s so GOOD to be HOME!:)