This has been, and will be, a BIG week here! It started yesterday with a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau. I’ve had nearly 24 hours to think about the experience, and it’s still just sinking in. I don’t think I could say anything that hasn’t been said already. It was heart-wrenching, somber, and inconceivable in many ways. I think what I came away with most, is the understanding that this one place represents the collective suffering experience of humankind. What I mean by that is, any agony imaginable, and ways of dying and tragedy, were experienced in this one place. From losing a child, family members, to torture, disease, hunger, being stripped of all dignity, dying suddenly, dying slowly, injustice, abuse…it was all experienced at Auschwitz. That weighs heavy on the heart. During the tour it was hard to adequetly reflect on what we were seeing. It was crowded and we were all herded from one exhibit to another, trying to see and move quickly to the next stop. My personality is one that I need time to really sit and think about it. Observe, close my eyes and “go there” and take it all in. So, it wasn’t suprising that I didn’t really feel the full emotional impact until we got home and I was looking back over the photos. I will post a few, and you can also see more on my Facebook page.
“Work Brings Freedom” in German:
Women and children on their way to the gas chamber. As you can see by their faces, they did not suspect what was about to happen. They were told they would be getting showers and cleaned up. It was sobering to know that I, and my children, would have been in this group. We would not have passed the selection process. Pregnant women, and children under 13 (in most cases) were sent directly to the gas chamber upon arrival.
Thankfully, Karolina was an angel and did great during the drive and tour. Obviously she is to little to be affected, so we felt comfortable taking her. One day we will tell her the story of being there, and show her the photos. Not surprising, I didn’t get much sleep last night. You can’t go to Auschwitz and not be haunted by it. Still, I am glad we went and will try to honor the stories I heard and the things I saw, by passing them on.
On a completely different note, we are VERY excited for our court date tomorrow. In our hearts, Karolina was our daughter from the moment we laid eyes on her (even before that really), but this will make it legal and official! We are counting the hours and praying the proceedings go well.
She has been with us 2 weeks and 2 days and in some ways, it seems like forever.:) It’s hard to remember life without her and every day brings more joy and new experiences. We have learned that she loves to sing! At mass when we are singing, she chimes right in and it’s one of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard! She talks a lot in general and is very relaxed and laid back. I believe they took excellent care of her at the orphanage and I have gained a deep respect for director and her staff. Karolina also sucks her thumb when she is tired and she sleeps like a champ (not one midnight wake-up yet)! She does not crawl or sit up on her own, but she’s getting there. We work with her every day and she’s very smart. Her 1st birthday is just over two weeks away! She will be a year old on June 30th.
That’s the big update here, praying all is well at home and grateful for these special days. 🙂