Its Sunday and we leave for America in the morning. Wow! The last few paragraphs in this chapter of the journey are being written and the page will turn. The last 19 days have held so much, yet seem like a vapor. We have seen the beautiful and the dirty, the wealthy and the forgotten, the opulent and the rubble. This is a country of contrasts that have shaped our son for the last 11 years and 11 months. I am thankful for who he is…and who he is becoming. He is not yet who he is becoming…God has a great plan for the life of Aleksejs Zachary Tuttle.
I guess I owe you some updates on the last few days…
On Thursday morning we awoke early and got ready to head to the Orphan Court appointment. We were ready about 30 minutes early with all of our luggage down the 10 flights of stairs. As I arrived at the downstairs door with the last bag…Daina and Edgars showed up about 30 minutes early as well. We loaded up the vehicle and headed out to hear the fate of our next steps. Yes, we were early and the doors to the room were still locked. Once we were all gathered…and the secretary locked the door from the inside…and took the key, we started. The ladies were reviewing our two requests, first – our request to adopt Aleks and second – our request for custody so we could take Aleks back to America with us while we wait for everything to finish processing. They had a few more questions for us before reviewing our requests. “Do we still want to proceed with the adoption of Aleks” – duh (that’s Yes in Russian), of course we do! They asked Aleks is he wanted to be adopted by us…and he said Yes as well. Then they asked about what his new name would be. They had it in front of them Aleksejs Zachary Tuttle, but Zachary is not a name in Latvia. Cindy then explained through tears that Zachary means “God knows”. We don’t know all about Aleks past, but God knows and that is good enough for us. A last question about school again then they said they would take a five minute break to establish a verdict on our request. They returned to say that they supported and approved our requests. They would have the “Official” approval for us in a week but we were free to return to America with Aleks…YAHOO! We headed out for Riga, dropping off Ginta at the orphanage on our way. During the ride to Riga, Daina informed us that the Orphan Court Director, Tiga, had told her that they had already decided after our first meeting that they would allow us to adopt Aleks. We had received favor in their eyes…exactly as many of you had prayed with us about. Thank you!
We arrived in Riga early so we headed to Lido, a family restaurant and play center. It is incredible! It is a huge log home with a buffet spread that would make a dozen grandmothers, at Thanksgiving, jealous. They also have all types of activities outside for the kids to do. Once we were finished we headed over to the US Embassy to present our Visa application. Everyone there was very nice and the process was pretty simple (since Daina had done most of the paperwork for us). When they called us to ask us a few questions, they ended up asking Daina and Aleks to step out so they could talk to us alone. We were not sure what was happening but we complied. They simply wanted to know how we knew Aleks and if we were going to proceed with adopting him….of course we are! That was it and they approved our application and said it would be ready in 24 hours. As we stepped out of the room there was a look of fear and panic on the face of Aleks…he was scared that they were going to say No, that he could not come home with us. With all of that completed we headed to the hotel to drop our stuff and begin our explorations of Riga.
Riga is a really cool city. It seems to be where all of the commerce, fashion and people are. This is where all of the 20-40 year olds are. It is a town of young professionals. This is also a town which gives glimpses of what Liepaja could be once again with commerce once again. There happens to be a big music festival this weekend so there are things happening everywhere around the city. We have spent the past two days exploring and hanging out at the park. We spent some time at the waterfront seeing all of the exhibitions. Today we will take it easy. Packing and celebrating one last time at Cili Pica (Chili Pizza) is about all our agenda holds. Early to bed and REALLY early to rise and head to the airport.
See you in America!