Sunday, August 23, 2009
I wanted to write something special for this, being my 100th post, and I have known for a long time what the topic would be. And today I finally met the subject of my post - Little Charlie.
Little Charlie's parents, Michelle and "Stan" decided many years ago that they wanted to adopt. I don't think they knew at the time all of the work and adventures that awaited them in their search for Little Charlie.
Michelle was a journalism major in college and is an amazing writer. She kept a private blog of the experience, and this will be such a wonderful keepsake for Charlie when he grows up. Reading her blog was like reading a novel or watching an exciting movie, as her readers wondered what would happen next, and how soon it would happen. I would pass on some of the blog posts to some of my friends, who took great interest in what was happening. I don't think Michelle and Stan knew how many people were rooting for them.
So what did it take for Michelle and Stan to find Charlie? Well, in Michelle's words, it took "lots of money, paperwork, heartache and patience."
Money came in part from a fundraising cookbook that Michelle and Stan created (200 copies sold within one week!). One friend won a superbowl office pool and donated her winnings. Paperwork involved having the required background checks, home studies and countless fingerprints. Heartache - during the wait, Kaz, as it came to be called, closed, then suspended adoptions by U.S. citizens.
In October of 2008, Michelle and Stan were notified that they might be able to travel to Semey (Kaz) in 2008 to meet their baby. In November, they flew out there. There were some fascinating and humorous posts about the trip out there. They stayed in an apartment and visited the Baby House twice a day. It was so much fun to check the blog for pictures of this adorable little boy with very big cheeks. We were also treated to pictures and history of Kaz. After spending almost a month in Kaz, Michelle and Stan flew back to Cleveland alone. These are the rules. They then had to wait to find out when Charlie would be flown to Cleveland.
Charlie arrived in the U.S.A. (fittingly) on Valentines Day. I just love this picture of Charlie's Homecoming at the Cleveland Airport.
Charlie has grown and flourished in his first 6 months at his new home. We've read about Charlie tasting french fries, first words, discovering how lights turn on and off. And that smile - you just want to squeeze those plentiful cheeks and experience Charlie's joy for life.
So today David and I met Charlie and what a good time that was. Charlie is a VERY BUSY GUY. If I had 10 percent of that energy, I'd have a spotless house, a weedless garden, and a spotless office at work. He is a very lucky guy, because he has such committed parents who worked so hard to get him here, and continue to work hard to acclimate him to his new home. We feel fortunate to know these people and we hope to have more visits with Charlie, to watch him continue to bloom. And to see that smile that can just melt your heart.