Today we took our computer to the orphanage so we could talk to Vova via Google Translate. Here is a sampling of the conversation we had:
- Us: "Vova, do you know that we are going to court this Thursday?"
- Vova: "Yes!" And he smiles a smile that takes up his whole face.
- Us: "Shortly after court is finished, do you know that we will have to go back to America for a little while?"
- Vova: "Yes." His smile isn't so big now.
- Us: "But we will come back for you real soon!"
- Vova: "I know." And the smile returns.
- Us: "When we go to court, you will be given a new name. Are you okay with that?"
- Vova nods yes.
- Us: "Do you remember us telling you about your Granddaddy Welch? Twila's daddy? He's a doctor, just like you want to be, and he will be a very important person in your life, so we decided to name you after him. Your new name will be Vladimir Carl Miles. Do you like that?"
- Vova: "Yes, I like that very much!" He said with a smile.
- Us: "Now we want you to take some time to think about what you want to be called when you get to America. You can go by Vladimir, Vova, Carl, or whatever you choose. Just let us know when you decide."
- Vova, without hesitation, answered, "I want to be called Carl". I wasn't really expecting him to say that, but it made me feel happy, for my daddy is one of the most wonderful people I know, and I would be proud to pass that name onto our son. Time will tell if that name sticks when he gets to America, or if he will simply want to stay with the name Vova. But something in me says that he is ready for a change....
- Us: "We love you very much."
- Vova: "I will miss you when you leave."
- Us: "We will miss you, too."
At that, Jeff jumped up and grabbed his guitar (which he brought for the first time today). He said we were getting too mushy, so we had to move onto something fun!! He makes me laugh. Vova was very interested in the guitar, and quietly listened as Jeff and I sang songs together. We sang simple songs like "Jesus Love Me", "This Little Light of Mine", and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hand". Then Jeff sat behind Vova, put the guitar in his hands, reached around him, and helped him to strum a few chords. Another beautiful father/son moment.
After that, Vova went over to the computer and typed, "I love you two very much. Thank you for everything!". I tell you what, people, there is nothing like seeing a child's life change right before your very eyes. To see hope, love, security and joy all become real to him...to see a prayer for a family answered...it's beyond wonderful! And it all happened because God knew this little boy, and for some reason, made him known to us.
Then, to top off this day, Vova went to his room and brought back a zip-lock bag for us to take home with us. In that bag were all the letters and pictures that people had written him over the years, as well as a few things that he wanted to keep from our week together such as Ninja Turtle trading cards and the pictures we water-colored a few days ago. In essence, he gave us the things that are most important to him in life. In reality, this little bag probably contains the only things that he will take from the orphanage when he leaves. In that simple act of him handing those things over to us, he told us that he has every confidence that he will, indeed, be adopted by us, and that he is ready to go home.