Yesterday we had to take our boy to the airport for him to head back to Ukraine. One of the saddest things happened before we even left home. Derek was filling out the luggage tag and asked Valera to write his name in Ukrainian - he wrote Valera and then used our last name.
Some friends from church hosted a brother and sister from Ukraine. They came over to our house a couple of times and Molly got so attached to Natasha. She was happy to get to spend another hour with Natasha at the airport and she pretty much stayed attached to her side like below.
Valera enjoyed spending his last hours with us goofing off with the kids and laying around getting some last hugs from Derek and I.
He also reconnected with a friend from his orphanage, Vitaly. Any other time we got around other people from Ukraine, Valera wouldn't talk to them. He would RARELY use any Ukrainian words in our house, even when we'd ask how to pronounce something. So it was really fun and neat to see Valera interacting with Vitaly and hear them talking in their own language.
We really were not prepared for saying goodbye. In the training manual and in talking to other folks, I learned that the children usually will not cry. They are taught not to cry and in their situation, they really just shut down and don't show much emotion. That is what I was expecting. When the time came for us to part, Valera had his back to us waiting to be taken to security. A lady closer to the scene mouthed to us that he was crying. Derek went to him and said there was a puddle on the floor from Valera's tears falling off his face. Derek just held him and let his own tears land on Valera's shirt. Derek let him go and I went to hug him one last time. He wouldn't look at me or talk to me, so I just held him and his shoulders shook as I did. The group (the chaperon along with about 15 kids) took off to security and Valera didn't once look back at us.
I knew that I would be upset. I wasn't prepared for my own kids to cry. I wasn't prepared for the 45 minute car ride home in complete silence. I wasn't prepared to get so attached to a little bow legged Ukrainian boy.