Our oldest, Ryleigh (5) was, and still is, pumped that she is in Poland, 49% because of Victoria and 51% because she does not have to go to school for a few weeks, though she loves her teacher Mrs. Jones. Upon arriving to the Chicago area, Ryleigh looks out the window and says, “Daddy, the lights are so beautiful.” Not Christmas lights, but street lights. The stewardess on the plane called us out over the intercom. We were taxing upon arriving and Layla (18months) had had enough. She walked across the aisle to me for a minute and then back to Leigh. Then we hear, “All passengers need to remain seated with their seatbelts on.” No incidents to report on the first flight or time in the airport. We boarded the 777 to Germany and prayed for weeks that the plane would not be full and that Layla would have some room to move so that we all, and everyone around us, would have a great flight. Upon checking in at the gate, an older lady told us that she could not get us in the front of the common folk section where the bassinets are because they were already taken. We explained our situation and she saw Layla running crazy and then said she would make sure that nobody was issued the seat beside us in our row. Layla had her own seat for about $1000 less than everyone else. Little old Asian lady, blessing #2.
Ryleigh sat beside a German gentleman living in NM. He had on military pants and had a camo backpack carry-on, though he never said if he was in the military. He took right to Ryleigh and helped her all through the flight from picking up stuff she dropped to helping her eat, get buckled, and figure out the TV screen. This meant that Leigh and I could focus on Layla, who did fairly well, with minimal crying on the flight. German guy, blessing #3.Upon arrival in Frankfurt, we quickly found our gate and waited almost an hour for our final flight. We were all tired, except Layla. We made the quick flight into Katowice, as did all our luggage and stroller, and walked out to find our driver Tom, standing there with a smile and eager to help. We headed to our apartment across from the large, Fayette Mall size mall with the Polish version of Wal-mart attached to it, which is open 24hours. A quick supper and a few items from the store, we quickly headed to bed at 7pm. Yes, 7pm local time.
With Saturday and Sunday behind us, we eagerly awoke today for an 825 trip to the orphanage for a 9am meeting. We did not know with who or about what, what to wear, or anything. The girls were tired but in good shape from the days travel. Ryleigh and Layla both took to playing in the orphanage room where they would soon be meeting their new little and big sister. After several minutes of our translator speaking with the directors and the lady from the adoption official office place, or something like that, we sat anxiously. All we know is that she is the one writing the report about us and she was watching us. The moment came when they asked if we were ready for Victoria. Ryleigh’s eyes grew big, Layla was content to be eating and playing, and in came Victoria. Ryleigh absolutely loved her. She said, “Ahh, she is so precious.” They played so well together and Victoria took right to her. We stayed for a couple hours just playing while the Polish girls talked about whatever. We did hear Americanski a time or two. We fed her lunch, took some pictures of the facility and watched as all the ladys from caregivers to cooks came and loved on Victoria one last time. She and Ryleigh held hands as we prepared to leave. We were fortunate to see the other kids before we left, though they were preparing to nap.
We really think that Victoria knew what was happening to an extent. On our first trip we left a photo album behind of us and we were told that they had been going over it with her. Before leaving, Victoria called Leigh “mama” a couple times and several times tonight she yelled out “mama” to her. To our surprise, Barbara, the report writer, followed us back to our apartment and came in for a while. Uneasy and unsure, we were still on our toes. This, however, proved to be blessing #4. While sitting and looking at FB pictures of the family and our lives back in KY, home of the #1 ranked wildcats, we looked at some pictures of our church. They noticed and she asked if we were Baptist. For a couple weeks now, I have been emailing an American pastor over here about visiting his church while we were here. How we would get there I don’t know, but God did. Barbara says she is Baptist and attends church here in Katowice. I said, any chance your pastors last name is Hash and wouldn’t you know, she attends that church and called the pastor for me to speak with about our journey thus far. She even said she would come by and get us Sunday to take us to church. Wow. God.
Today we learned that Victoria is definitely Layla’s sister. They both love to eat. Layla is having a bit of a hard time sharing and being a little jealous when I hold Victoria. She is like a little hamster (Jenny Hyatt shoutout) and stores food in her cheeks. We also observed some rocking at naptime, though she went down without a fight tonight. She hates bath time. Crocodile tears, but she cried and was cleaned, so that is something to work on.
Tonight we skyped with the Cawley’s in Africa which is always nice. We then skyped with my mom, which went well. Victoria is pretty aggressive with the computer. Much like Ryleigh, she thinks that the harder you hit the key, the better it works.
Leigh and I are both on skype if you want to talk to us. Search Hombirg and you will find us. We also have a Polish phone number if you don’t skype and would rather call. The number is 0 11 48 725015831. That will cost you a little but free to us. We are 6 hours ahead in time, so please remember that when calling. On a side note, the exchange rate is great, almost 3.40 something to 1.
Lastly, today was a great day. A day for remembering and reflecting. A day where:
· I killed my first Wii.
· The lady’s at the orphanage really appreciated the gifts we took them.
· Pasta with strawberry sauce is good.
· The girls love off brand Nutella.
· Everyone stares at us while we are in the mall.
· We have been to the mall twice. Twice Ryleigh has danced. Once in something resembling a flash mob and second with a girl demonstrating the XBOX Kinect.
· We have about 1000 channels or so. 5 English speaking ones. I had to push a lot of buttons to find them.
· Leigh did not lock the mall bathroom door and surprise, cleaning lady! Leigh also has another bathroom funny, best told in person, just ask her.
· There is an empty bed in the orphanage tonight.
· A family of 4 turned in to 5
· For the first three years of her life, Victoria had nothing that was her own. No toys, no clothes, no family. Today that all changed, forever.