Sunday, January 2, 2011

With Eyes wide Open

I'm back.

From Ukraine.

From helping out over at Hope4everychild.

And my eyes have never been wider.

I spent roughly two weeks in the country. Riding planes, trains and automobiles (no pun intended), photographing, blogging, exploring, loving...

and changing.

My time in the country was well-spent and fully-used. We started off where I left this blog, still in my home state, sitting in Albany Airport. As yesterpost will tell you, there was some pretty interesting airport art as well :D We took a 45 minute flight from NY to Philadelphia, and even though I was terrified at first (I hadn't flown in like 4 years) I found pretty quickly that the clouds make for some pretty awesome photos :D We got into Philly and got to our gate with just a little breather time to spare. We boarded our flight to Frankfurt and got settled for the 8 hour flight ahead. Between sleeping, eating, watching movies and reading the time went pretty quickly, even if its a while to sit. Things got dicey, however, when a blizzard slicked up the runways and we were stuck in Frankfurt for a mind-numbing 16 hours. I will say this: nothing teaches patience like roaming the same 100 sq. ft. for 16 hours :D We quickly boarded the three hour flight to the country's capitol, and after we filled out the paperwork to find our lost luggage, quickly boarded the train for Julia's district. After catching up on sleep and taking some pictures of the landscapes we passed, we arrived in the region and quickly arrived at our apartment.

After settling in, we headed over to the orphanage to have our first meeting with Julia. It was a very exciting and fulfilling night.

Going to Julia! from Caleb Lococo on Vimeo.

From there our days for about a week ran in a cycle: wake up nice and early, visit Julia, come back, use the afternoon for internet work, walk around the city at night. One day we had Julia for the afternoon (with a caretaker) so we could get her passport together, and two nights we visited with our friends the Winkles. I am eternally grateful for their friendship and awesome meal at their apartment on Christmas Eve. They made our visit much less lonely, and I pray so hard that they will be home with Yuri and Bohdan soon. Christmas Day was Gotcha day, and it was also the day my eyes opened. I had seen many families make the journey over the blogosphere. They all went over and got their child and then fell in love with another one and advocated their hearts out for these kids. And I had promised myself it wouldn't happen because it just couldn't.

But it happened anyway.

I hadn't had much opportunity to see Julia's room. But on Gotcha Day, they let us in. There were about 6 other kids in the room. One of them is also in Reece's Rainbow and doesn't have a family. As soon as I walked in. I saw her happy little smile not to far away from my little sister. I walked over and that was the end of it. she had me wrapped around my finger almost as fast as quickly as Julia had. Her name is Sonya.

                                          Absolutely, irresistibly cute!

Up until then, I hadn't realized the full gravity of this sad predicament known as institutionalization. I hadn't seen it's face in person. I hadn't felt its hands. I hadn't seen its smile, heard its laugh. But now I had. And my new mission, to see Sonya get the same chance as Julia, was born.

That night was a night full of laughter and adjustment. Julia was the perfect little playmate and dinner guest, and it was so exciting to have her finally with us.

The next day we got up and walked down to the local Catholic Church with Julia and came back to the apartment after we saw the church to get ready to leave. We got to visit with the Winkles one last time, and it was a sad goodbye indeed.

We said goodbye to our driver and facilitator and then took the train back to the capitol. We arrived at our second gorgeous apartment, and spent the next couple days making embassy visits, exploring the city, and going out to dinner with some other adopting families.

Our trip home was short and uneventful. We arrived to the smiles (and teary eyes) of our family. The drive home felt quick compared to our combined 16 hours of traveling previously. The last couple days has been adjustments and preparing to re-enter "real life."

There are so many more stories I could tell of living in another country for ten days. Of what it was like to see, smell, and hear the home of the orphan in one little niche of the world. But for now, I'll reflect, readjust, and remember.

(P.S.- WOW! 3 new followers! Thank you and welcome to the party! Thank you to all those who have followed faithfully for the past 6 months as well!)

1 comment:

  1. Caleb, I have so enjoyed your posts as you updated and chronicled your trip on your family blog, I just had to pop ove here and check in! You are a wonderful writer, and I hope that you will continue to share your experiences and your heart. God has a way of changing our perspective when He leads us to a place that we might never have gone. Fight for the children Caleb, never let anyone say that your voice is not important. I'm so happy that your little sister is home now, and look forward to continuing to follow your family's journey now that she is there. God bless you and your passion.