On our drive to the hotel from the airport, we received a phone call from a dear friend who was at that moment visiting Gabe at the orphanage! We were able to talk to him for a moment and hear him exclaim "Mama! Papa!" over the phone. It felt so good to hear his sweet voice again.
We also received a call from our facilitator, who asked us if we would like to try to visit Gabriel the next day (today, Monday), and of course we said yes! So we made plans to meet in the lobby of our hotel in the afternoon.
We spoke at length with our wonderful facilitator. This woman is amazing. She has been working so, so hard for all of the families. To listen to her speak about the recent happenings, the emotion was clear, her determination even clearer. I was so struck by what she told me about the protest that happened yesterday in Moscow. Since Blogger won't let me sign in through the internet, I have to post all the photos at the bottom, so the first ones will be of the newspapers here covering the protest.
She told us that they have felt like soldiers here. She went to the protest with her family, and she said in that moment, she felt so strong, being there with all of those people. She said there were many people there she didn't expect: rich people, people with children on their shoulders. One mother had her daughter on her shoulders. Her daughter held a sign with a popular children's poem on it that described how even when a child plays hide-and-seek, their parents will ALWAYS find them. The mother held a sign saying, "love doesn't know borders." She said there were many signs like this.
At one point, she said there was a helicopter circling overhead. In her mind, she wondered if they were going to bomb the protesters. She said she thought, "it is okay, I am ready to die for this cause!" Tears came to my eyes as I watched this woman describe how she would die for her right to stand up to her government and say, "enough is enough."
She also described how so many people here are against this ban. Even the judges, Ministry of Education and other government offices who work with children are against it.
Here is a link to the video from BBC news about the protest, it is so inspiring to watch! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21005008 The protestors estimated there may have been 100,000 people there! That is more than showed up December 2011 to protest the election controversy. The people are angry with their leaders and want to be heard! I am so touched that they would go out on the streets, risking so much, to make their voices heard! They love their children here, just as much as we do in America, and they know that until attitudes and services here change, these children are better off in a family than in an institution.
As I said before, we got to go visit our boy today. It was so bittersweet. On the one hand, we were so happy to see him again, of course. On the other, we are sick and tired of just visits!! He is our son, legally and in our hearts, and we just want to bring him home! I will post photos from the visit below also. He was a ham like always, so imaginative and fun! They had recently had a Christmas program at the orphanage, where they recited some poems. He obviously loved it, because as soon as he dressed up in our gloves (he called them "hands" :-), he began reciting the poem very animatedly, stomping his feet back and forth and using a deep voice. Oh how this boy belongs in our family! I can already see he and Jake and Leah dressing up and putting on shows for us.
When it was time to say good-bye, he was not happy about it. But our facilitator told him that tomorrow, we will come back, and he will go for a walk with his Mama and Papa, and for a car ride. This seemed to make him very happy. If all goes well at court tomorrow, which we are very hopeful about, we will go straight to the orphanage to pick him up. Once we do, he will no longer be considered an orphan and that will offer him some protection. We leave the hotel at 8:00 a.m. for the courthouse. Here's to hoping I can post tomorrow the joyous day of springing our child from the orphanage!
I am posting a link to the video from when he first saw us today. It was the first time he had laid his head on my shoulder, and he hugged me for the longest time! He said, "Mama!" and patted me on the back, then gave me a kiss on the neck! I hope this link works.