Do you know where you were at this time, 5 years ago? Me, I was walking into Baby Home #13 in Moscow, Russia with my husband to finally bring home our little boy!
March 5th, 2012 was a bitter cold day similar to the weather we are having here in MA today. It was our third and final trip to Moscow and to the baby home where our son had lived for his first year of life. We started the process of international adoption in January, 2011 after a year of loss. I, more so than my husband, was desperate to be a parent and we decided on adoption. After doing a lot of research and soul-searching, I told him that I “knew” our son was in Russia. I couldn’t explain how/why I felt that way, it was just a feeling in my gut, that this was our path to parenthood.
We signed our contract with the adoption agency on January 19th, 2011 (ironically the day our son was born) and began the emotional roller coaster of international adoption. When we finally finished the home study, the course work, and got all our paperwork notarized and sent off, it was the end of July. Then the waiting began, and I felt I might go crazy. I had been through so much that year, and the only thing that kept me going was the belief that our child would be coming to us soon.
Finally, on the afternoon of October 18th, the phone call came in. We had a referral. It was a boy, he was 9 months old, and as our case worker talked, I sat on my living room floor and wept. Our boy was across an ocean, waiting for us. The next morning we received a Fed-Ex package with a dvd inside. The DVD was a short, three-five minute video of our baby, our boy, as he crawled and played on a mat in his baby home. He was beautiful, with his big brown eyes and curly hair, and I couldn’t wait to meet him. The best part of that day was looking over at my husband as he watched. With tears in his eyes, he looked at me and said, “that’s our son.” He was finally where I was. He just KNEW.
Needless to say the next few months were crazy and hard. Our first trip was in November and we got to spend a few hours a day, over a three-day period, visiting with our baby at the Baby Home. I could write and write for hours about the experience, and what it was like to finally hold my baby, or the look in his eyes when he first saw us, but let’s just say it was amazing. Then heart-breaking because we are forced to leave him there and go back home. Our 2nd trip, was in January, 2012. One year from when we started, we went in front of the judge in Moscow family court and officially became the parents of Brayden Patrick Belanger. We were there for his birthday, and we were now “officially” his parents, but we were not done, we couldn’t take him home yet.
We had to say good-bye to him again, and let me tell you he was not happy. It was the most heart-wrenching experience as they took him away from my arms, as he screamed, reaching for me. I stood in the hallway and cried as I heard my son’s screams as they took him down the hall. It all seemed so cruel. The law forced us to return to the US for four-six weeks while the courts and the Russian government prepared all his official documents.
Finally, on the morning of March 5th, 2012, 5 years ago today…we walked into that baby home and this time when they put my son in my arms, we were able to take him with us. We were finally a real family. We haven’t looked back since.
My amazing, funny, sweet six-year-old son is sitting on the couch next to me, in his pjs, watching Scooby Doo. He is happy, he is loved, and he is the best thing we ever did. He could not be MORE mine if I birthed him myself. I don’t think about what we went through to become his parents very much, what I do think about is how lucky I am to be his mom and how thankful I am for my family.