Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 14: Lots of tears

Well, Tyler left today.  We really were handling it very well...until the train station.  We spent the day walking around and enjoying our last stroll around town together.  We knew we would miss each other but we both felt we could handle it, after all he would be back in a few weeks.

Because of the bombings the train station was blocked off by police.  I figured I would have time to go get him settled on the train and say goodbye, instead because it was all blocked, it was pull up real quick, jump out of the car, and your on your own.  We were blocking lots of traffic of others trying to be dropped of so it was a quick hug and a kiss and jump back in the car.  Because the train tickets here are obviously not in English but also hard to read in whatever language they are in it is hard to tell what numbers are what.  Usually the driver walks us through the station to the correct train, to the correct car, and to our correct seats.  Today, in very broken English, Tyler was quickly given all this info.  When I left the train station we went straight to the orphanage and I was trying so hard not to break out the 'ugly cry'.  I just kept praying "Please Father, help my husband get on the train and keep him safe all the way home" over and over again while trying to choke back the tears.

I had no idea it would hit me this hard.  Still as I write this I am crying and feel extremely lonely.  I knew this was coming but I also know the One to turn to because with Him I am never alone.  If ever I had to trust Him and lean on Him during this whole process, it is now!

So, still very emotional I visited with Valentin first.  I waited for him outside and I could hear him yelling and screaming from outside the building.  I knew that was not a good sign.  Already emotional I just kept praying "Father, help me connect with your beloved child, touch his heart and mind with peace and trust."  He was very distracted outside (since he has spend so little of his life beyond the walls of the orphanage) so I could not get a smile out of him.  We sat for a while and I prayed over him a lot, sung some songs, and we played with some toys.  I took him for a stroll and every few feet he would scream (even bitting his hand once) so we would stop and I would speak some Russian (sometimes not even sentences - just any Russian words I could think of) and I would rub his back and he would calm down.  We would sit for a while and pray some more.  Then we would go another few feet and the same routine.  Again and again.  We made it about 30 feet and did the same thing back.  It was painfully frustration at times but I think it is such a good exercise for him.  I cry, mom helps calm me down, I cry, mom helps calm me down.  Hopefully it is teaching him to trust me.  The good news is that when the nannie came down to get him they gave him a cookie to eat and started pushing him around (away from the door to go in) and they motioned to me to hurry and go while his back was turned.  Now I hate that in his mind I just disappear, but I am happy to see that the nannies recognize he hates it when I leave.  Not a great way to handle it but it encouraged me that he is beginning to know me and miss me.

With Tyler gone I did not have much opportunity to take pictures but snapped a few, like I said I could not get him to smile but now you can see the face that he makes 95% of the time.  A little confused with mouth open wide.  Even still he is such a handsome boy!

We went down the block to see Joey.  He again was very excited to see me but I think a little more excited to see that I was carrying the backpack that just might still have his "cubica" in it.  He loves his blocks!  A different nanny was there today and I think she is the most loving, happy, and caring nanny I have ever seen.  She knew a tiny bit of English so she wanted to talk to me.  Through broken English and broken Russian we had a very nice conversation.  She told me more about Joey and his family.  She told me about another child she had in her 'groupa' that was adopted by a U.S. couple that she stays in touch with.  She wanted to be able to stay in touch with me.  It also sounded like Joey's sisters who were all adopted domestically want to stay in touch with him.  I absolutely love that!  We want all of our adopted children to be able to find their birth family if they chose to.  For our kiddos adopted from China they were abandoned, one in a hospital and one literally on the side of the road, with no information at all.  It makes us very sad that if they want to find their birth family and as much as we would help them, it is nearly impossible.  For these two boys though they have a chance if they want it and I think that is such a blessing for them.  At least they have the option.  And if Joey's sisters love him and want to keep in touch then we welcome that!!!  Anyway, the nanny wanted to take pictures of me with Joey and in turn I took a picture of her with him too.  I can tell she loves him very much, and all the other children.  They kept coming in the room and she was so good with them and I could tell they loved her too.  In all the brokeness I have seen, it was refreshing to witness this today!  She told me she works every other day so I look forward to seeing her again.  Little Joey was happy as ever with his blocks.  And guess what????  He actually gave me a kiss on the that the sweetest thing?!?!

Day 13: Lots of laughs

Since we are visiting both boys separately but in the same two hour time slot we only get to see each boy for one hour.

We finally got to see Valentin again!!!  Boy, we have missed him!!!  It was a much better visit too.  It took him a few minutes to warm up to us but he was all smiles and giggles after that.  He had a few yelling fits, mostly when he would throw his toy monkey and want us to pick it up.  Each time we would take a little longer to go get it and we would tell him in Russian "nee plach, f-syo kha-ra-sho" (don't cry, it's ok) and that seemed to help calm him.  Before, we were not able to calm him down before the nannies came out but today were able to.  That's a great sign!  He made quite a bit more eye contact with us too, even when we did not have a camera in our hands.  When the nanny came to take him back he screamed and cried all the way down the hall, I hope that meant that he wanted more time with us.  We sure wanted more time with him!

Then we went a few blocks and visited Joey.  We have so much more access in Joey's orphanage.  What a contrast between the two orphanages, in Valentin's we are only allowed access to a common area, not even down the hallway to his room and at Joey's we can go in his room, the room where they were watching a movie, and his class room.

They took us to the room Joey and his 'groupa' were in and they were watching a movie.  What precious little kids in his groupa!  It took Joey a second to turn around but once he saw us his eyes lit up and he got the biggest smile on his face.  It was precious!  As if it dawned on him that we really are there for him and that all that talk about taking him home was not just a cruel joke.  I wanted to play with all the kids but they took us to an empty classroom to play.  Joey had said his favorite toy was "cubica" (blocks) so we found a toy store near us and picked some up since that was one toy we did not bring.  He was SO EXCITED when he saw them and played with them the whole time.  He is not very interested in building with them just taking them in and out of the backpack and banging them together.  We have worked with enough Occupational and Developmental Specialist to know that is usually the order of development, banging, taking things in and out, then building or purposeful play comes later.  What could one expect from a child who until recently had never seen blocks.  He had us stepping up our game for learning Russian!  I was searching our book for phrases to say to him.  He wanted to hoard all the blocks so I had to learn very quickly how to say 'please share' once I did he shared.  We showed him a ball and asked him "shto e-ta?" (what's this) and he said "myach" we replied with "ball" and he giggled shook his head and said "myach" as if to say 'you crazy people that is not a ball, you really need to learn your objects' it cracked us up!!!

The hour went too quickly and they rushed us out, all we could say was 'bye'.  The joy drained from his face and you could tell he was sad, we did not even have a chance to say 'we will see you tomorrow'.  So now I have memorized "ya pridu zavatra" (I come tomorrow).

We have been so touched by all your comments, messages, and emails!  They encourage and strengthen us and we could not be more grateful!  Please know that we pray for all of you too, asking God to remember his faithful servants who intercede on our behalf.  We are honored to be among so many!  I love that whether we are here or you are there lifting us and the boys up, we all are doing it for the glory of God, and that is such a beautiful thing!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 12: Some BIG BIG news

We are safe back in Valentin's region.  I have been promising to explain to you all why we had to go back to the capitol for an official appointment so I will get right to it.

It started over a month ago when we started considering adopting more then just Valentin on this trip.  It really had not occurred to us to do so but we just could not ignore the fact that so many children need homes.  We again started seeking God's guidance.  And in His perfect timing we heard about "Joey".  If you have read this blog you know the struggle we had with whether or not to adopt Valentin and how much we agonized over that decision.  Now here we were thinking about 2???  Are we crazy???  I am sure that is what some of you are thinking now.  Well, we prayed and discussed it and it really did make a lot of sense to adopt two.  This would probably be the last international adoption we could both travel for without splitting the kids up (or being able to leave at all) plus it is FAR less expensive to add a second child to one trip rather then coming home and doing it all over again later.  So in the end we decided to leave it all in God's hands.  So we sent a request to meet Joey and decided to just see how it would go after we met him and Valentin and let God either open or close that door.

So we arrived in country and thought we would be able to see both boys files at the same appointment.  But they told us there was a problem with Joey's paperwork and we would have to come back the next week.  Hence, the second trip to the capitol.  We thought maybe this was God shutting the door.  Having this second appointment was adding more time to our stay and adding more expenses we did not budget for.  We started to question what we were doing.  The appointment came and we were told that he had just become available for international adoption THAT DAY.  That's what I call God opening a door!!!

So today we got to meet sweet little Joey!  We had very little info on him other then he had Cerebral Palsy and did not know what to expect.  He was once at the same orphanage Valentin is in but in September 2011 he was moved to a boarding school, praise God!  When kids 'age out' of the baby house orphanages at 5 or 6 they either go to school type orphanages or to mental institutions.  What a difference between the baby house Valentin is at and the boarding school.  I don't think the little kids at Valentin's orphanage understand adoption much so they don't think all visitors could be their mom or dad.  Very different at the boarding school.  All the boys, dressed in their school uniforms, met us at the entrance.  I don't know if this was a show for us made by the staff or if these boys were coming down hoping they would be picked.  I got the sense as they made deep eye contact with me that they longed in their heart and knew exactly what was going on.  I almost can't bear it, my heart has not stopped hurting.

They took us in a room with the Assistant Director, the Psychologist, the Doctor, and his teacher and we discussed his medical needs, behavior, etc.  They are not sure he has CP but said he had "spinal birth trauma" and is diagnosed as mild developmental delay.

And then they brought him in and we knew in an instant, yes, this is our son.  God gave us great assurance of that!  He came to me and I said "pree-vyet" (hi) and he responded the same.  I asked "kak di-la?" (how are you) and he assured me "ha-ra-sho" (good).  He was watching me take notes and asked what I was doing.  He wanted to show off his new mad writing skills.  It was explained that since coming to the boarding school he has made huge strides in development.  Whereas he was probably left in a crib with no teaching at the baby house, he is blossoming with now having a teacher.  His teacher was very proud of how much he could do and the progress he has made.  He drew his lines and circles for us very well and showed us how he knows all his colors.

They left us alone to play with him and it was as if we were already family!  We had a great time playing!  When our facilitator came back in she asked our decision...a million times yes!  We asked her to please ask him in Russian if he would like to come home with us.  We held our breath for his answer..."Da" (yes)!  She asked him if he wanted us to be his mama and papa..."Da" said with a smile and hugs!  I am crying still!

So now to introduce our new son:

He was so excited by the toys we brought

I mean REALLY excited

Showing them off

The staff really wanted us to see how far he has come so they brought out the contraction paper balloons and had him match the string color to the balloon.  He did so well.

He is so obedient to everything they say, and it is not a fear type obedience.  He just seems to have a very kind and gentle personality...with the energy of the tasmanian devil :)

So for the next few days we (or just me when Tyler leaves) will be meeting the boys separately until the director of Joey's orphanage gives us permission to take him with us just a block away to Valentin's orphanage and I can meet with them together.  Honestly I think this is really going to help with bonding with Valentin because he will have a brother who shares his language and as Valentin see's Joey interacting with me I think he will become more comfortable with the idea.

Oh, and by the way we asked our kids at home if it would be ok to have two new brothers and they thought that was cool...such amazing kids!

Friday, April 27, 2012

For our kiddos back at home

Hey guys, we miss you so much!!!  We think about you in everything we do here and wish so much that we could be with you!  We know that you are having fun with Nana and Pa and we are so glad you are enjoying your time with them.  Boys, we know how much you love trains, planes, and tractors so here are some pictures just for you...

Our baby girl, if we run across any princesses or ducks we will be sure to get some pictures just for you.

With all our love and missing you terribly,
Mama and Dada

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 10: Back to the capitol

We did not get to visit Valentin today because we had to go back to the capitol.  Miss him already!

I just have to tell you about our day, and while I know you 'just had to be there' to understand it, we have to write it down so we remember how crazy and hysterical our days are here.  Maybe we are so tired we are delirious, who knows but we just have to laugh our way through our adventures here.

We boarded a very early train and took a 6 hour ride for an official appointment.  Pictures of our train ride:

No less then 5 times we had to shrug our shoulders with our 'pitiful' face and say "English" as someone tried to speak to us.  "No problem" as our driver would say.  We arrived at the train station.

I had to use the restroom after we got off the train but could not find it. Trying to ask where the bathroom is 'no problem', just say "toilet" and they will understand, but when they start giving lengthy descriptions of where to find it in Russian you realize you can ask where the toilet is but you can't understand the Russian directions.  Finally found our driver and he showed me where it was.  It's another pay-to-use bathroom (very common here) so we pay and go through the turn-style gate ensuring no one sneaks in a pee for free.  I thought we were done with squatty potties in China...nope :)  Enjoy the beauty...

We go straight from the train station to our official appointment and wait past the appointment time until they are ready to see us, it's ok because we get some hilarious stories from Serge, our facilitation team leader.  We go up to the office and sit while a heated conversation insures (no yelling you can just tell to prove a point you have to speak louder).  We start to worry it's about out adoption.  After a few minutes our facilitator says "don't worry, not about you."  Whew!  We watch the language acrobatic show for a few more minutes until finally they turn their attention back to us.  Really we are cracking up on the inside because we have finally learned this is just how this country works and you can sit back and enjoy it as life experience or you can let it get to you.  We choose laughter.  Anyway we get our stuff done (again, we will share more about it later when we feel it's ok to share).  So we go downstairs and talk to another one of the team members about what needs to happen tomorrow.  About 10-15 minutes into the conversation (small talk at this point) she asked what we are waiting around here for.  Ummmm, I guess we don't know.  Since everyone was just standing around we figured we were waiting for something.  Silly Americans.

Then our driver spent quite a bit of time trying to find an available apartment to stay in (most are booked right now I suppose because of the holiday).  Yay, finally he found one so we went to pick up the key.  Traffic is horrible and no parking on the street near the rental company to get key so he decides to drive us near the apartment, park, and we will walk back to the rental company.  "No problem".  We walk back to rental company and the street is clear of traffic and tons of parking spaces are now open.  Can't help but laugh.  Go to pick up key, oh, one surprise, "must be out apartment noon tomorrow".  Whatever, just need a bed and shower so we will take it, good thing we were allowed to leave a lot of luggage with facilitator back in Valentin's region so we only have to deal with a small suitcase here.  So we start walking to apartment, the driver has never been to the apartment and can't find it easily.  We follow the twists and turns and back tracks like little ducklings.  Still enjoying our crazy day.

We finally got to eat our first meal of the day somewhere around 6PM, by that time we had lost all sense of time.  Enjoyed our apartment

The more crazy time we spend in this country and surviving adoption the more convinced we are that we could totally win The Amazing Race!  Wouldn't all my moms who have adopted from this country agree???

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 9: Tough day

No pictures or video from today...sorry.  Today was a very tough day for us and for Valentin.  As you have seen from pictures and video we do get moments where he 'connects' with us and allows us into his world.  These moments usually happen when we have a camera in our hand, he is fascinated by them and really comes alive when he sees them.  However, the rest of the time we have to work very hard to hold is attention or approval, and really we did not expect anything different, he has laid in a crib for six years, and he is pretty much how we expected he would be.

Today we had really hoped to be able to at least unbuckle him from his stroller so we could work towards finally getting him out and comfortable with us.  He was having none of it.  We unbuckled one side and tried to distract him but he started screaming and banging his head until we buckled it back up.  He even tried to buckle it himself, which showed great problem solving and fine motor skills, but to be broke my heart.  Now please bear with me because I know this is what we signed up for and we knew this was probably how it was going to go, but no matter how prepared we were it still hurts when your child rejects you.  I know he is not doing it on purpose and I know it is a result of how he has been treated.  I know he feels secure being confined and his little world has been so closed off that even visiting 2 new people in a room just feet from his crib is scary to him.  But my mama heart just wants to swoop him up and hold him.  I would even settle for any connection at all.  Eventually he got to the point today that he just wanted to be where he could see down the hall and just wanted to sit and wait for his nanny to come.  I can't stop crying even now, all he wanted was back in his crib.

I have to be honest, I read other blogs of parents here holding their kids kissing all over them, even having their kids fall asleep in their arms...I get a little jealous.  Please don't judge me or message me saying I should have know, etc...  I know all the reasons I should not feel sad about it, it's only been a few days, he can't help it, etc...but it still hurts no matter how irrational it is.

I know it will get better, I just needed to be honest.  I think the added stress and sleeplessness of having to go back to the capitol tomorrow and the reality that Tyler will be leaving soon are adding to my emotional state.  Today I am just plain sad.

I have been in contact with some very close family and friends and they have been so encouraging.  Hearing another mom who adopted a child in a similar situation tell me the strides that her son has made in a short amount of time with bonding was so encouraging too.  And really what can we do but what we have done all along...surrender it to God.  He will get us through this and Valentin's life will be redeemed, I have no doubt.  We just have to stick very close to scripture and pray and praise our way through these tough days.

I received the following email from my amazing mom and am meditating constantly on these scriptures, is she the best or what????

"Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries." (1Peter 5:7)
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
—2 Corinthians 4:16–18

Day 8: Stayed inside

We were not allowed to visit Valentin until 4:00pm.  From now on we are allowed to visit from 4:00 - 6:00.  We would much rather visit him in the morning, but what can you do?  They always tell us we will have two hours with him but they always come and get him early.  It's hard but soon enough we will get him all the time!

We decided to keep Valentin inside today.  We want so badly for him to experience the freedom of being outside but our first priority here is to bond with him and help him learn to trust us.  Our goal is to get him out of that darn stroller and sitting with us and playing around, and we just cannot do that outside because he is too focused on the other kids and there are just too many watchful eyes on us, so inside it was.  They left us alone in the room and said they would only come if they heard him cry...thank you, finally!  He was a little freaked out by the room and we knew if we tried to hold him again he would cry and the nannies would come so today we just got him used to the room, then tomorrow we will unbuckle him and see what happens.  Towards the end of our visit he dropped his book and really showed interest in getting out of the stroller to get it, that was a great sign since before he only felt secure when IN the stroller.  Baby steps.

We showed him Baby Signing Time videos on the iPad and he LOVED it!!!  We also found out he is stinkin cute!

I cannot go another day without thanking all of you again for your prayers, emails, comments, and encouragement!  It would be very easy for us to get frustrated, lonely, and depressed here...VERY easy.  But God has been so good to give us that peace that passes all understanding.  And the faithful prayers being said for us have had a huge impact.  We feel those prayers guys!!!!  And we need them, desperately!  I know how easy it would be for all of you to get tired of reading our blog and praying for us, yet you keep on...and we keep on.  I wish I had more then a simple thank you.

Just to let you all know what is going on, we will probably not be blogging for a few days.  We will visit Valentin at 4:00.  By the time we get back, eat dinner, FaceTime the kids, and get pictures and video downloaded we are spent so probably no blog tonight.  Then tomorrow (Thursday 4/26) we are taking the day train back to the capitol for an afternoon official appointment (hopefully I can share why in a couple of days) then an overnight train back to Valentin's region and another busy day on Friday.  Hopefully I can get everything caught up on Saturday.

Just a quick prayer request too, Tyler can leave on Saturday to return to work and come back for our court hearing (we estimate will be 5/15) but there are two very big holidays happening in the next two weeks here and our travel agent cannot find one single seat on any flights out of here until next Tuesday.  Tyler only has a certain amount of time off work and he is going to need it to come back for court and then to come back again to help me get home.  It is what it is and we surrender it to God but would appreciate prayers that something comes up and he can get out of here sooner (not that I want to be rid of him by any means).  Thanks!

And some of you have asked when we think we will be home.  IF (and it's a big if) things can get done by the facilitation team to speed up some paperwork stuff before this big holiday and IF everything goes according to plan we should be able to come home 6/6.  Yes that is June 6th.  That means I will be here 50 days.  50 days without my family...I can't even think about it too much or I will completely break down.  I am going to need continued prayers everyone.  On a positive note I made up my mind before we even left that I was going to take this time of no chores and no kids to really focus on my bible study and time with the Lord.  When else will I have this much time to myself?  Don't get me wrong I would much rather be with my family, but maybe God wants this to be a time with Him and that is what I intent to do.  He is so worthy and He is so good!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 7: Taking it easy

After looking up all the diagnoses and medications we received from the orphanage doctor we had a few more questions to ask so our facilitator went with us to the orphanage today.  We received some clarification especially on the medicines he is taking.  We are not worried about the things in his file, we just needed some clarification.

During that time our facilitator was able to show the doctors pictures of Julia, a little girl who was given no hope and placed in the same laying room that Valentin is in, but had been adopted and is doing tremendously well now.  The doctors were shocked!  They were so surprised she was doing so well.  Little Julia is a champion for special needs kids in that building now, she and her amazing family have shown them what potential these kids have.  Love it!

Valentin seemed a bit tired (or drugged) today so we decided to keep it calm for him and take it easy.  We just sat with him next to his stroller and played with toys.  He sort of zoned in and out.  But he was playful some of the time and we had a great visit.  He especially loved his book!

You will see in the video that the book was hard to maneuver for him in the beginning but by the end he was turning pages with no problem.  He is learning no.  You will see in the video he puts the book in his mouth and after being told no he sort of keeps an eye on me and gets close to doing it again with a coy smile.  Sly little guy!  Have I said how much we love him?!?!

I have to say that I had been very impressed at how some of the kids had been allowed to play outside and how well the nannies had been treating them.  Today I saw that they were taking some of the kids on donkey rides for therapy.

I was really starting to wonder if I had this place all wrong.  I have yet to see any child with obvious special needs except for one boy so I kept going back and forth in my this place really so bad...but it must be because they do nothing for the special needs kids.  But seeing how loving and friendly the nannies were really had me questioning everything.  Until I asked about the kids playing outside and I was told they are all the "visiting" kids.  Parents can use the orphanage as daycare or respite or if they get put in jail or something...then it clicked, all the "visiting" kids get to spend time outside and get special treatment.  They get played with and get to go for donkey rides.  The special needs kids get to stay inside.  Sad.  Disappointing.  I had hoped I was wrong.

Day 6: Finally got to hold him

I am posting this a day late because exhaustion finally caught up with me.  It was all I could do to eat an early dinner last night and I was in bed at 5:00pm.

We got to visit Valentin in the morning and they let us bring him outside again, and we even got to walk him around the whole property.  He was so fascinated by the other kids playing that he did not want to stray far from where he could see them.

He kept watching and laughing with some kids that were playing in a covered picnic type pavilion.

He seemed like he so badly wanted to go play with them so I asked if I could take him out of the stroller and was told yes.  This was the moment I would finally get to hold my boy and I was taking it!  Not knowing how he would react, I slowly unbuckled him, put my hands under his arms and lifted a little, so far so good.  I picked him all the day up, no problem.  His body is so stiff it was hard to find a comfortable way to hold him but he did lean into me and put his face against mine, so sweet!  I started to carry him up to the pavilion and he seemed excited, but once we got in, he had had enough.  He doesn't really cry or scream, it's more like loud moaning and he started throwing his body around.  I took him back to his stroller and Tyler and I tried to comfort him.  We would have been just fine but a nanny came over and took charge.  I think he was comforted by hearing Russian most of all so we will have to work harder on our Russian.  It was a little frustrating that she would not let us take care of it but maybe she thought she was helping.  It did not end well, but it sure was nice to finally hold him!  It all happened so fast Tyler was only able to get one picture.

We brought out a ball that we had for him and he instantly figured out that if you hit it, it lights up.  Smart boy!  I was also very impressed when he started putting it in the cup holder of his stroller and taking it out.  Our therapists would be so proud!  Given a little opportunity, he can do some pretty amazing stuff!

We left the orphanage just in time for our driver to drop us off at church.  We got to meet Nate and Diana Medlong and the other pastor at the Calvary Chapel here.  I wish I would have remembered to take a picture with them.  But we did get one picture.

I love the contrast, at our home church we have all the hi-tech audio and visual stuff, a decorated church and stage, and even a cafe and bookstore.  They have a rented room in a sports complex with a cross made of tape and an overhead projector to display song words.  And God was worshiped all the same.

We also met another adoptive dad visiting his son there.  It was a great time of worship and teaching.  The fellowship was fun afterwards.  They were all so gracious and willing to help us with anything we needed here.  One of the many reasons I LOVE being a part of the body of Christ!  It was such a joy to close my eyes and just listen to God being worshiped in another language, I did not understand the words (although we did recognize some of the songs) but the love was there.  The service was translated into English.  We walked home from there, we knew it would be a long walk but we enjoyed seeing the city.  About an hour later we arrived at the apartment, still praising God for all He has done and will do!