Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Check-Out

Yesterday was a day that we never thought would come. We were able to check Levi Nazar Yoder out of the orphanage. It was a day filled with emotion.

First, we quickly went upstairs to Levi's groupa, where the children were getting ready to have lunch in the meal room (can you find him in the photo?). We gave gifts to the women who have cared for our son for the first three years of his life. We also gave gifts to the children we have grown to care about.

We then handed Levi's clothing to the caretakers, as instructed by our interpreter Angelina, so they could have him ready when we returned from our next errand. Then we were off to a local government office to check out his "social money".

Back at the orphanage, we gave the money to the director to help care for other children at Green Forest.

We then signed some papers and were able to say good-bye to the caretakers and bring Levi home. It is hard to come up with the right words to thank the women who are paid practically nothing to take care of the orphaned children in Ukraine. Even though everything may not be done the way we would like to see it, and it feels like you are stepping back several generations in time, these women truly care for the children. They seemed very happy for "Nazari", as they call him.

Next, we stopped to get one last picture of Nazar on the "visiting couch". This is the couch where we met him and where we were instructed to spend our earlier visits with him. He is in his new snow suit that we purchased so that he would actually be allowed to leave with us. He's also wearing his new hat that our driver, Sasha, gave to him as a gift. It was a simple, yet kind gesture that we appreciated very much.

Finally, we were on our way to leave the orphanage. What is the first thing Levi Nazar did with his new family? He fell asleep within two minutes of heading out of the orphanage gates.

We had one last official stop. We needed to sign some papers with the local social worker. We stopped at his office, and then headed to our apartment. We will be picking up Levi Nazar's passport on Monday or Tuesday, with the tentative plan to take the overnight train to Kiev Tuesday night. We have the weekend to work on being together, before adding trains and planes to the mix! One last photo. Levi Nazar was so happily stimulated with all the changes in his life that he decided none of us needed much sleep on our first night!


Anonymous said...

A huge congratulations to you! I am a mother of an almost 4-year-old son with Down syndrome, and I applaud you for what you have done. God gave us our Samuel naturally, and though we didn't "choose" this, we feel like God has chosen us to be Sam's parents. It is exciting to read about wonderful families who have chosen to adopt a precious child with special needs. I believe God has chosen you, too & my hat is truly off to you! I know your journey will be filled with many challenges, but they will also be filled with unbelievable joy that only little boys with Down syndrome can bring!! Thanks for being an inspiration and for sharing your story with the world. I hope others will follow your lead!
Blessings - Heidi, Florida, U.S.A.

Collin and Amanda said...

I'm so excited for you! The pictures are great ... thanks so much for sharing them!

Amanda (RR)

John and Kathy Peters said...

Congratulations Jamie and Steve! What a blessing! Levi Nazar is so cute. You have to bring him to Monticello so we can squeeze his cheeks! Your mom has kept us up to date on your journey. I admire you, and we pray for your safe journey HOME as a family!!

Anonymous said...

Levi Nazar looks so cute in all of his pictures. Keep sending them

christycorn said...

I can't stop grinning and being teary eyed. Amazing! He's so adorable. I can't wait to meet him. Enjoy your first few full days with him! What a blessing! Love, Christy

Cathy O. said...

This continues to be one of the best stories I have ever read.

Your first sleepless night....! Yay! Parenthood! You are in for so much joy and happiness.

Steven and Jamie, you are truly two of God's special people. May He watch over all of you on your journey home. Much love to you and of course to Levi Nazar. I am so excited to meet him soon.


schoolmother said...

YAY! YAY! YAY! This is wonderful.

Tracy said...

You are absolutely glowing in all of your pictures. What joy Levi Nazar must be bringing to your lives. I'm so excited to meet him. Love ya, Tracy,Matt,Josh,Scottie and ...of course Arthur