Lots of tears today. And none of them were from A.
We made it to the orphanage around 9:30 but with it being Saturday the gate was closed so Mr.Slick had to be the gate attendant for us. And then later got scolded for not closing it properly, ooops!
Today we were allowed to use the big room, no more closet for us! We waited for only a few minutes and then A came in and came straight over to Mr.Slick and sat in his lap. He remembered us and by the smile on his face we could tell he was ready for some fun. He was dressed in the same clothes we put him yesterday, plus some long underwear. But it was no big deal since we brought him new clothes again. The shy little boy from day one was gone and from the start he was his normal silly self.
We had ready for him all the familiar toys we had been playing with all the other days and we went straight to playing. He was talking a lot but we still don't know exactly what. He seems to have a vivid imagination and while reading books he'll make up his own stories and sounds. He even sang a few songs today while reading and playing.
He liked throwing a plastic bowling pin around but it seemed to annoy the woman in the room with us so we had to get him to stop. Luckily he's a quick learner and even with the language barrier he understood when we said "gentle" and would play quieter with us. He really liked playing basketball with one of the mini hoops in the room. He thought it was pretty funny when he would throw things up through the hoop the wrong way. But he thought it was hilarious when Mr.Slick threw a ball from several feet away and made a basket.
Today he seemed much more interested in our reactions to his playing, he was looking for approval. After doing something silly or doing something well he always looked up to us to see if we were pleased with him. He made so much good eye contact with us today. At one point I asked for a hug, which in days past he would always let you hug him, but today he ran up and threw his arms around me and hugged back. We held each other for a few minutes and was amazing. He did the same for Mr.Slick and really gave him a good bear hug and nuzzled into his neck for a long time. Today he not only let us show him affection but he also showed it back.
While playing a game we began to point at Mr.Slick saying papa over and over, and then he said it! He said Papa when I was pointing at Mr.Slick. We were amazed. He then started incorporating papa into his stories he was telling with his books and play. He would be "reading" his books and in the mix of Russian we'd hear papa come out and he'd look to Mr.Slick. When we'd ask him to bring something to mama or go to papa he'd look to us and do exactly what we said all while looking right into our eyes with a smile on his face.
Today he played so intently with us he would sometimes forget completely about his food. It was no longer his main concern and he wanted love and play time more than anything. Don't get us wrong, when he would eat he'd eat it by the mouthfuls and he still ate a lot but he wasn't constantly looking for the food today. If he was sitting in your lap he would lean against you and search for you. If he was sitting next to you he would lean on you and hold on to you. If he was playing around you he was constantly looking to you.
He enjoyed using Mr.Slick as a jungle gym while he laid on the ground today and we got some good giggles out of him then. In between some serious playing he'd come to me and get some good hugs and snuggles, today prompted by him, and then run around again.
It felt like such a short time after we got there that his caretaker came back into the room and told us it was time for him to go. We were happy we didn't have any warning so we didn't have time to be sad in front of him. He let us hold him and kiss him and he hugged us back but then it was time to let him go. He waved goodbye and then was taken into his room for lunchtime. It didn't really hit us until we were in the hallway that it would probably be at least two months until we'll see him again. There were lots of tears shed. Mr.Slick just had something in his eye (ha!).
We then left for the notary to officially sign all documents to set up our court date. We won't know when this will be but we do know now that our petition will be sent to the court and we will soon know when we can come back. We also at this time had to finalize his name. We chose a name that we both love but we have decided to keep it to ourselves until we bring him home.
We're packing our things but leaving half our hearts here in Russia. We know it's still not final and we know that things could still go wrong but we feel this is the path God has chosen for us. We did not know it was possible to fall in love with someone in just three days.