I was nervous because i had asked our facilitator early on in our process if there was any info to contact Stefanya's birth parents. There was a phone number and a street address. I had asked her to contact them and she agreed to do it after the 10 day wait was up and Stefanya was legally ours since we had no way of knowing if her birth family would be friendly, or would be upset at being contacted, or if they would end up not liking us and not wanting us to adopt her.
The night before gotcha day she telephoned Stefanya's birth mother. She answered the phone and our facilitator told her " your daughter Stefanya has been adopted by an American family and she leaves the orphanage tomorrow. Her new mother has invited you to come and say goodbye. " Her birth mother said thank you and that she would be there. I was so nervous , i really hoped she would show up but i was also so scared to meet her and was praying all would go well. I knew it was a risk contacting her birth family but since day one i felt God telling me that i needed to do it. I knew that if Stefanya could know them and know where she came from and why she was placed for adoption it would be better than carrying unanswered questions the rest of her life. I also felt strongly that there was a good chance that her birth parents loved her and didn't place her for adoption due to shame or not wanting the hardship of a child with special needs but instead because they were backed into a corner. There isn't access to therapy and help for families who choose to keep their children with special needs in their country. They have no special education. Society does not accept people with special needs. I also knew that their medical system is far behind ours, and getting her the medical care she needed would be difficult if not impossible for them.
We went into the office of the orphanage director and she told me through our facilitator that the birth parents were there and were waiting for me. i was so nervous i think my heart was beating out of my chest and i thought i was going to be sick. The director said don't worry they are very positive and are glad to meet you. that made me feel somewhat better.
They brought in her birth mother and father. Such a surreal moment . They are very close in age to Josh and I. My first thought was oh my goodness Stefanya is the exact image of her birth mother but with her birth father's eyes. When they came in they were speaking in Russian to the director and facilitator. Our facilitator said her mother would like to talk to you. And to my surprise her birth mother (we will call her O to protect her privacy and her birth father D) O spoke to me in English! she told me how thankful they were that we adopted Stef and she began to cry so i got up and sat next to her and held her hand ( i dunno what came over me i am not usually that brave with strangers) i told her about how much we loved stef already and about our home and all we could offer Stef. I asked if we could use the visiting room to talk for a bit , they said yes. I asked O and D if they would like to see stef. I remember O's eyes lighting up her saying are you sure, can i really? So we had stef brought in and i told O how much she looked like stef and let her hold her.
I felt such an instant closeness to O. I wanted to know more about her and D and Stefanya. I had 3 days left in Kharkiv before we had to head back to Kiev and then home to the states. I told O that i would love to see her again and asked if that would be ok. She said yes she would love to so we made plans to meet in front of the dolphinarium the next morning. I packed Stef up and we said goodbye forever to the orphanage.
Asher and Levi and my mom were all anxiously waiting at our apartment for me to bring Stef home. Well Levi really had no idea what was happening, I think Asher had stopped believing that baby sister was coming home at that point, but my mom couldn't wait to meet her. I came in the door and laid her on the couch for everyone to admire. they all fell in love instantly :)