We're back home now, safe and sound. We have more pictures to post from our last day with Andrey; once we get our new internet service working at home we'll be sure to post them for your viewing pleasure.
I have to tell you it was hard saying goodbye to our little guy. I think of it more as a "see you soon", but that can be hard to explain to an almost 2 year old. I wonder what he thought when we didn't show up the next day? I also wonder what his caregivers told him. Nothing? "They'll be back for you?" "That's your new mommy and daddy?" Who knows exactly what they are telling him. I'm hoping they're telling him we'll be back to get him.
We left Andrey a picture book of our photos; Andy and I, our parents, siblings, Andrey's cousins-to-be. He seemed to enjoy the book when we gave it to him, pointing to each face in the book as Andy said the name of the person. Our interpreter, Katya, pointed to my picture, looked at Andrey and said, "mama." For a moment I was a little stunned; that was the first time anyone referred to me as his mom. It was a moment of joy and yes, a little panic! Wait, I'm going to be his MOTHER? Oh, right, I knew that!
He gave us each a little hug the last day. Then, at the encouragement of his caregiver, he shook Andy's hand, then my hand, then Katya's hand, then he completed the circuit again. Then he smiled sweetly and said "paca", goodbye in Russian. What a little politician! He already knows how to work the crowd. Yes, folks, I managed to exit without crying, but it was a challenge. I did get a little teary at the airport, but the rational side of me took hold. We'll be back for him soon. Maybe not soon enough for my liking, but things will happen when they happen. Best estimate is that we'll return in 6 to 8 weeks for 2 more visits with him. On the third day of our visit, we go to court and he "officially" becomes our son. Several more weeks have to pass before he can leave the country with us, so then we will head back to Moscow for trip number 3. I should just send my entire paycheck directly to Aeroflot Airlines at this point!
There's a popular quote that speaks to adoptive families and their journey to their children, "Nobody said it would be easy; they just said it would be worth it."
Little Andrey, you are so worth it!