JANUARY 18th: WE MEET OUR JENOVIC FOR THE FIRST TIME!
Our agency rep (D) told us he would call us sometime before noon when he arrived at the hotel. We have heard that never expect anyone to be on time, we are now on AFRICA time. So Jeff and I tried to sleep in (it was 9 hours time difference). We missed our only free meal that morning too but I was not really in the mood for eating. We spent some time watching the people go about their day, some time reading the book "1000 sisters" and also racking up our phone bill unintentionally. Note: Turn your phone OFF! By the time we got home I had managed to rack up an extra $700 phone bill. This happened mostly because we used face time on our phone and the hotel Internet connection kept going out on us. Therefore, the hotels "free wi-fi" did us NO GOOD!
Anyways, the view from our hotel was one I will NEVER forget. Here we are in this very nice and comfortable hotel, and then you take a look out the window. I felt guilty just looking. My first thought was they must be redoing the streets because there was torn up cement everywhere. Almost looked as if a bomb went off. Yet there were hundreds of people just going about their day. Some just sitting there on the streets, doing nothing. The poverty was overwhelming. I was not expecting to see this right outside of our window, and the sad part is is that what we were looking at didn't even compare to what other areas were like.
It was nearing noon and we were anxiously awaiting D's phone call. Waiting seemed like it was all we have been doing the past year....And I had enough of it! Noon turned to one, then two, then the phone finally rang! My heart was racing, and I think I walked in three circles before we gathered our donation bags, and headed down to the lobby. There we saw D and I could tell by the look on his face he was going to tell us we had more waiting to do. He said he had more appointments and running around to do (this man works hard and our agency needs to hire about 3 more of him) and that his wife (J) would come and pick us up when she gets off work around 5. My heart sank, but I tried to remain in good spirits as today was going to be the day, no matter what, and nothing was going to ruin that! So back to reading, people watching, and running up our phone bill.
4:45 we head down to the lobby. We do not know what his wife looks like so every time a lady walked into the hotel I would watch her every move and try and make eye contact with a smile like trying to say "hey, we are Jenovic's parents," but for 1.5 hours no such lady walked through the doors. I remember just thinking, no matter what we will get him tonight, its going to happen so keep your spirits up. Around 6:30 his wife finally walks into the lobby, looks right at us and gives us a not so friendly smile. She said she was going to call a taxi that she knows to come and pick us up. SERIOUSLY! I figured SHE was our ride, but that would have been too easy. So we WAIT, and WAIT, and her taxi never shows. I bet an hour went by. The hotel staff finally takes charge and hooks us up with one and within half an hour our taxi who is going to take us to our son arrives.
It is now 8pm. It is dark and our taxi looks like it had been in a handful of wrecks. I get in and try to buckle up. My seat belt was broken. I tell Jeff to switch me spots, but his is completely missing. I say bonjour to the taxi driver and we are off! FINALLY! About a minute into our drive, I realize the gas gage is on Empty. Not just close to empty, like beyond empty. I whisper to Jeff and he says, "its probably just broken."
I try and make small talk with J but she didn't care to talk much. I tried asking her all about our son, as we really never got much information on him as far as his personality goes. We received info like "good boy" and "runs normal". So any information she could provide was going to be more than we had heard in the last 9 months. I asked her what he was like. Did he talk much? What language? Does he sleep well? Does he nap still? Who does he play with the most? Every answer was as short as it could be, except for one and that was when I asked her which kiddo was the most outgoing and talkative of the group, and she said with a smile: "Jenovic, he is always talking but we don't know what he is saying...We just smile and say ok Jenovic:)" That made my heart leap! I was shocked as I actually thought by the lack of personality information we received that maybe he was quiet and reserved. Boy was I wrong on that one!
The drive to the orphanage was honestly the scariest drive of my life. I thought flying was scary. Nope driving at night, in a crowded city, dodging people and ginormous potholes left and right, with two people we don't know, one who doesn't want to talk to us and the other doesn't speak a lick of English, in a taxi that seems to be on its last leg of life, without seat belts, and NO GAS. If we slow down people start approaching our window, and these people speak LOUD! I can't tell if they are yelling at each other, or just having a conversation. I kept thinking, no way God would let us die now, no way! Soon we come to a gas station and stop. It wasn't just broke after all. We really were out of gas! Of course I'm freaking out because all I have read is how scary it is here, and that nowhere is safe. A man walks up to my window and motions for me to roll it down. I smile and look away. I'm thinking to myself, please don't open the door (which was locked anyway), please don't pull me out of the vehicle. Hurry up taxi driver! (Looking back now I realize that all that man wanted to do is sell me a map. He had no intention of harming me, just wanted to sell me his map.) We finally get back on the road and drive for what seemed like forever. About twenty minutes after our gas stop our driver stops again but this time just in the middle of nowhere. Just hops out of the car, leaving us all in there wondering what is going on. After a minute I realize he is peeing in a bush. Of course, why didn't I think of that! I really should have taken some zanex before this day started! Once again, we are off dodging tons of people in pitch black, no street lights, no stop signs or signals, just a free for all.
It was around 10pm when we finally arrived at the orphanage. We pull up and I fumble around trying to get my video camera turned on (later realizing I forgot to turn on the night vision.) I'm shaking, scared, excited, nervous, and oh so ready to squeeze our son! While walking up to the house I see a little boy peek his head out of the front door. A nanny quickly pulls him back in. It was too dark to make out any faces but I'm positive that was the first time I seen our son:) We walk in the doors, and there to the right of us were about 13 kids sitting so quietly you could have heard a pin drop. They were watching a fuzzy tv show like price is right:) I then looked forward and across the room there stood a little boy. He waited till our eyes met and I said "hey buddy," then he walked right over to us.
He knew we were coming for him that night. How crazy to think that for him in could have walked anyone, I think they may have showed him pictures but I doubt he really understood. He had watched other Moms and Dads walk thru those doors and leave with his friends, but tonight, it was HIS turn! His mommy and daddy were coming for him! Even though he had no idea what to expect. We on the other hand, knew what he looked like as we have been staring at his photo and dreaming and praying for him for 9 months. It was so sweet as he just walked right up to us, looked up as if to say, ok here I am. Jeff immediately picked him up, and I cried:) Im not sure why I didnt snatch him up first. I think I was frozen:) I watched him and Jeff look at each other for the first time and I could tell that in my husbands eyes, this last year of putting up with his crazy obsessive wife was all worth it. He was hooked. This was his son. He passed Jenovic over to me and it was one of the best moments of my life. It felt so amazing to have him in my arms. Poor Jenovic was scared, as you could tell in his eyes, but he was brave and let his new Mommy and Daddy soak him up in their arms.
Next up: A week in our son's country.