As I sit here in my hotel room during the wee hours of the morning on what is Thanksgiving back at home I am amazed at what God has done. He has sent me to a country where I never expected to go and has brought me new friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. Russia is amazing. I am so in love with this country, this city and all the wonderful people I have been blessed to meet. They will forever be rooted deep in my heart. While there are many differences between our cultures, there are so many similarities also, because we are all just trying to make a better life for ourselves and our families. We all want what is best for our countries and their citizens. Sadly many movies and news stories paint a very negative picture of us to the other and that is so very sad, because the Russian people are wonderful, just as Americans are. My hope is that someday the relationship between our countries will improve and we will all see the truth about the other. How wonderful that would be. Today (and everyday) I am so very thankful for the gift that God has given me...... The gift of my family. I am thankful for my precious new daughter. The one who has been in my heart for so long, but always missing from my arms until now. This child is so very sweet. She can be pretty ornery at times, but is an absolute joy. She is already showing signs that she will eventually attach well. Which I am so very thankful for. The first day was difficult, because as can be expected she was completely overwhelmed. We expect to have many more difficult days as we travel home and she begins to have many new experiences, but whatever comes we are ready for it and will help her in any way she needs to transition into her new life. I am thankful that she was in an orphanage with a caring staff. While they may not have the resources needed to care for the many children under their care the way a family would, it is evident that Ana was loved, and cared for to the best of their abilities. For that I am so very grateful. Tomorrow we leave this beautiful city and head for Moscow where we will spend 4 days finishing up the rest of the paperwork so that we can bring her home. I will truly miss it here, but I am looking forward to walking around Red Square again (it is so absolutely beautiful) and then arriving home so that I can sleep in my own bed and we can get our life back to a new normal. This has been an amazing experience. Long and difficult, but in the end so very worth it.
I am so very grateful to have this precious child in my life.
I look forward to each and every day with her.