>>Friday, May 05, 2006<<
Good Night Mother Russia, Hello Sweet Liberty!!!

As we close our last night here in Russia, it is with a lot of reflective thoughts. There are so many things that I have personally learned. We could have done this adoption process a totally different way. We could have broken this out into 3 trips. We gave a lot of thought to it. In the end, staying with a host family seemed like it would be more cost effective. And the other reason was…our newly found friends that were adopting from the same orphanage were going to be several floors below me while I stayed here on my own. I talked to our other newly found friend Malena (sorry Brent…I know I spelled your wifes name wrongL) did the 3 trip process. She did not regret going back for the 10 day wait. She and her new daughter seem to be bonding just as well as Nikolai is to us. SO, I can’t advise anyone on whether a home stay for 21 days is better or 1 partner coming for some of the time, and the other partner going home. I just know, that for me….I am glad that it worked out this way.

I would not have experienced the things that I did had it not been for my 3 week stay here. I promised myself that I would open up my mind and spirit and let it all pour in. I wanted to hear all of the sounds, see all of the sights, and smell all of the smells. I wanted to ingrain myself into the Russian culture. I just wanted to understand where our son came from. I felt like he didn’t have a chance to have a baby book when he was born. He doesn’t have the stories about when he was born in the hospital, or what it was like where he lived. He needed us to provide that for him. So, I decided to put aside any frustration that I had for having to deal with the political and at times ever changing process of adopting a Russian child. I wanted to be able to tell our son about the food in Moscow, where he was born. What the people were like, what did they wear. Where were the most popular points of interests, what do they eat. I wanted to understand their history and listen with an open mind.

Our son’s last name prior to us adoption him was Romanov. Romanov in Russia is a very powerful name here. The lineage is of the Romanov Czars. I wanted to immerse myself into understand that history so that I can put together a book for him.

I have always believed in life that if you don’t know where you have been in life, you will never know where you are going.

And selfishly, this trip did more for me than just all of that. It was beyond my wildest imagination that we would have a son anyway, especially from Russia. And here we are. I have loved my experience…albeit there have been trying times, and stress sessions and all of that. But, I found more than our son. I found me.

What? Yes, I said, I found me. I realized that I could step outside of my world in Cary, NC where I put myself into a box and believed that I couldn’t do anything else. My mind was racing. I just had the hysterectomy surgery and I was having a real fun pity party. Then, I stepped out into this whole other world. I woke up. I realized that I can do things. I am not afraid to do stuff. I can be alone in a big city on a big metro. I can finally walk for miles on end and have a peaceful mind. I like living in a minimalistic apartment where my host lives.

What I take away from all of this for me is…. I ended up loving to walk. I am going to get to walking when I get home. I have become unhealthy and overweight. I felt alive, and pretty and healthy while I was here. I am taking that home with me.

I am taking away that we are the ones that put ourselves into our own box. Not anyone else. So, even though I will have 3 children now, a part time job and a full time home…. I am going to find ways to step outside of the box. I will make myself get out enjoy some of the things that I used to. I am not "just a Mom". I am a woman that can do many things, even when i didn't think I could.

I am taking away a very valuable lesson that being good to yourself is not a sin. I allowed myself to sleep, to read, to meditate, to pray, to explore and to hold my shoulders up. I was more than a mom, a wife, a daugther, a super uber Mom. I found time to just be with me in silence. Either by reading in the quiet, or with jazz music on. Or writing, which is my true passion. Granted, I won’t have that find of free time at home. But, there are ways to make sure that I have a full tank to take care of myself and my family.

I have learned that I want to get healthy, physically and lose all of this excess so that I can keep up with my children. I want to get rid of the Junk we have in our house. No more clutter (or at least minimalize it). I want to enjoy the kids without beng stressed.

In have thoroughly enjoyed my experience here. Because I allowed myself to open up and to experience the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I was too afraid to try to experience that before. Thank you Nikolai for being born and for calling out our name to be your parents. Not only are we proud to be your parents, but, you also gave me a chance at a new beginning.

This is not goodbye for this blog by any stretch of the imagination. Consider this an Iron Man contest, where we just finished the first marathon and there are many, many other triathalons to do. We have so much we want to share with everyone and this is only the beginning. As our blog states "The Longest Journey is the Journey Inward" My theory always has been...it is not in the destination...but, the journey.

Signing out from Moscow, will be chatting with you this weekend in the good ole' USA!!!!


Blogger Debbie said...
Wow Caroline! Very inspiring post. Safe travels. Hope Nikolai does well on all the flights.

Blogger Elle said...
Tell the pilot to have a safe flight.

I can't believe his last name was Romanov. Very fascinating.

Blogger Brian & Rebeca said...
Sounds like resurrection to me! Have a great trip back home ...Hope to meet sometime ... maybe in NC since Brian's parents live in Charlotte.

Anonymous Chrisann said...
Yea!!!! You all are coming home. I am so glad everything is checked, dotted and crossed off your paperwork check list. I was getting worried I wouldn't see you before we move out to Clayton on the 19th.

Caroline...you really should try penning a book. Even if you sold if at first through some of these online publishers. Your writing style is really enjoyable to read and I believe alot could benefit from the story you tell and how you tell it.

Good for you acknowledging time for oneself is important. Walking is my time to enjoy the beauty of nature and sort out whatever is troubling me. The best part is that it is free and you can do it anywhere. Let me know if you ever want to put your walking shoes on in Clayton.

Take care...big hugs...and safe travels.


Anonymous Michelle said...
I miss you guys!!!

Have a safe trip home!

Impatiently waiting in NC,
Michelle (and Family)

Anonymous Betsy said...
How neat for you to have gotten so much out of this. Or maybe you just put into words what others have experienced as well. I hope you have safe travels and a quick adjustment to your new family life back in Cary. We should have an NC get together. We're in Charlotte and my parents are in Henderson (just up US 1 from you).

Anonymous Leggy said...
This is a great post in so many respects- your thoughts on Russia (the Romanov thing is fascinating), your thoughts on taking time for yourself, etc.

Safe travels and look forward to hearing how Nikolai adjusts.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow Caroline!!! What a great post.
I am so glad that you and Blake ( and Miss S) are coming home. It is 8:45 am your time and Y'all are at the airport or on the way..
And we will get to see you TONIGHT!!! It's 12:45 am here so I can say we will see you tonight.
Bring the children to Nana & Pa's when you want to go walking. I can ride beside you on my power chair...
I am so proud of you all...
I saw a post from Chrisann who says they are moving to Clayton.
That is sure God's country. The air even smells better in Clayton.


Blogger ipodmomma said...
I felt so many similar feelings, after we had been here a while... a new place allows you to strip away some things that you didn't even know were there..

have a good trip home, and love & prayers are with you all for this new step in the journey...

Blogger Rhonda said...
Wonderful post. I love the idea that this process allowed you to find yourself. What an awesome realization.

Blogger jeneflower said...
Beautiful post. I am glad that you were able to have this experience for yourself and your family and so you could share it. Sometimes getting away from our little niche in the world opens our eyes to possibilities we never imagined. Thanks for opening our eyes.

~Your future's for discovering...Coldplay~

Blogger Starfish said...
Great post. I hope to remember much of what you've said here when I travel for our child. I want to remember and soak in every little bit like you did!

Anonymous jennifer m. said...
Welcome home Caroline, thanks for keeping the story going for all of us here...I look forward to seeing ALL of the Ellavsky's once you are settled in at home :)