The Best Christmas (?)

As the plane prepared to land, I looked out the window at the ground beneath me and held my breath as we touched down onto the wintry landscape that was Moscow in December.  I closed my eyes and said a short, silent prayer of thanks for a safe trip so soon after the tragedy of 9/11.  We exited the plane and found our hosts – both old friends and new – and piled into the two cars that transported our growing family to the apartment we would call home for the next eight days.
 
The next morning we said goodbye to our three oldest children, our family friend who traveled with us to supervise them during our absence, and our Russian hostess, Ludmilla.  We loaded up a station wagon with suitcases filled with humanitarian aid items for the orphanage and made the 150 kilometer drive to Ryazan to finally meet our son and bring him home to his forever family.  This was our second Russian adoption from the Ryazan Baby House.
 
hree years earlier we had made the same trip while I was six months pregnant with our youngest daughter.  Once we made it to Ryazan we spent hours at the Baby House getting acquainted with our son, holding him, playing with him, and feeding him, all while crying over the fact that we finally had the opportunity to be parents again.  During that first visit we also saw first-hand what happened to those children who aged out of the orphanage without the luxury of finding forever families.  Some begged for spare change outside the city’s churches.  Others worked the crowds that attended the circus.  And still others sought help from passengers on the city’s various mass transit systems.
 
"There but by the grace of God go my boys."
 
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