Sunday, April 13, 2014

God has given us a son

Introducing Lucas Yarik.
No longer an orphan, but a beloved son.
I was scared that morning of the second day of court.  We heard the prosecutor was bringing in two more people to testify.  I had a really bad feeling about it and was trying to prepare my heart that we might not get Yarik.  The first person to testify was a social worker from the town that the children were from.  He told the story about why the kids were taken away.  His testimony did not hurt our case at all, in fact it helped us.  Then a woman who calls herself the children's godmother testified.  She was against the adoption, but she couldn't offer them a life outside of an orphanage.  And honestly, though she has obviously played a part in their lives, she didn't even visit the kids until she heard Yarik was being adopted.  She was angry with M for changing her mind and stormed out of the courtroom when M began to speak again.  This time M was prepared to say what she wanted for her brother, no matter what anyone else thought.  And she did amazing.  She told the court that she supported our adoption of Yarik, that she wanted him to have us for a Mama and Papa.  We were and still are amazed by her bravery.  And now that Yarik is our son, she is family too.  Our facilitation team is going to look for a tablet in the big city where they can find a better price.  Then we will make sure we can skype with her before we leave.  Hopefully we can bring her to the US for a visit soon.  
No team but ours could have pulled this adoption off.  And no God but ours.
He is a very well loved little boy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The battle belongs to the Lord.

Some people's adoptions go perfectly smoothly.  Some people's adoptions aren't able to be completed and bring great heartbreak.  Most people have a few hiccups during their adoption process that bring stress but are able to be worked through.  We however are going through one of those adoptions where there seems to be mountain after mountain. 

I try not to complain.  I know of people who have had the child they hoped to adopt die before they could get here.  I know of people who have had the child they hoped to adopt become unavailable for adoption for one reason or another (oh wait that happened to us too).  I know of people who have successfully adopted and now their very sick children are home and fighting for their lives in the hospital because of the neglect they suffered before adoption. 

I try to keep things in perspective.  No one is going to die if our adoption is not completed, Gunter is a healthy boy.  But one little boy will probably lose his last and only chance for a family.  And that still is a big deal.  No other foreign family will try and adopt him after knowing all that we went through.  No family in his country has stepped up to take him in.  The older he gets the less likely that will happen.  In about a year he will be transferred to the older children's orphanage to go to school.  He will become rough and aggressive because he has to in order to survive.  He will learn to swear and fight and steal and drink and smoke and commit crimes.  Right now he is just an innocent little six year old boy. 

My mind is kind of wandering right now.  I woke up early and couldn't sleep.  I kept thinking of all the things I want to say in court.  You see we had court yesterday to adopt Gunter.  For three hours.  And then we had to stop and continue today.  Gunter only has one family member who loves him and cares about him.  She is the only one who has visited him.  She is the one who kept him alive when he was a baby and their mother abandoned them.  Gunter's 19 year old sister M.  She is an orphan as well, but unlike many children who age out of orphanages, she is focused on a successful life.  She goes to a trade school/college where she is studying not one, but two skills.  She is learning to be a seamstress and a cook.  After she graduates she wants to go to a higher college and become a Psychologist.  She is amazing.  She is so brave. 

At first when she heard her brother was being adopted she was against it.  She tried to find out about us but no one would tell her, and she was afraid for him.  People told her horror stories about foreigners adopting children so they could sell their body parts.  So she went to Children's Services and she went to the prosecutor and she filed a petition against his adoption.  But then she met us.  We talked through a translator for hours.  We showed her pictures of our home and our family.  We showed her pictures of a little girl from Gunter's groupa that had just been adopted a few months ago by an American family, and is loving her new life.  She asked us question after question.  We visited Gunter together and she was able to see how we loved him and cared for him and how we treated the other children as well.  She saw how happy he was with us.  And she changed her mind.  She decided that she does want him to be adopted by us.  It was an excruciating decision for her.  She doesn't want him to experience what she did in the older children's orphanage.  She wants him to grow up in a family.  But she doesn't want him so far away on the other side of the world.  And she is so scared of losing touch with him. 

After making this decision she was besieged on all sides.  Family members who have no legal hold on the children, and have never visited or cared about the children, called her and accused her of selling her brother out, and told her they did want to talk to her anymore.  The prosecutor in the case does not want Gunter to be adopted internationally.  I don't understand why she is fighting it so hard.  Her job is to see that the best interests of the child are done and she is not doing it.  She would rather see him grow up in an orphanage.  She is pressuring M to not allow the adoption.  She is threatening this poor teenage girl.  She told M that legal charges could be brought against her and that it would be in the news and she would be kicked out of school and no other school would take her.  This is all BS of course but M didn't know that, so she was afraid to say yes or no in court.  Our facilitator is filing a complaint against this prosecutor because she has gone far beyond what is allowable for her to do.  I hope she is relieved of her duties. 

They even had little Gunter testify in court.  A six year old.  Unbelievable.  But he did amazing.  He told the court that my husband and I were his Mama and Papa and he wanted to be adopted by us and go live in America.  We were so proud of him.  If I had been in his shoes I would have been to scared to talk.  He is a courageous child just like his older sister.

So now court continues today.  The prosecutor is calling some guy from children's services in another town to testify.  It's completely pointless because the court already has all the information about this family that they need.  The longer we are here, and the longer we have to fight, and the more people we have to call in to help out, the more money we are going through.  This adoption just keeps getting more and more expensive.  They are suggesting we buy M a tablet so that we can skype with her.  Which is a great idea but those things are freaking expensive.  We don't even own one ourselves.  It will be worth it to be able to keep the kids in touch and give M the security she needs that she won't lose contact with Gunter.  If we can even get her to take it.  She doesn't want to take anything from us.  But in the mean time we are burning through money that we had hoped to return to Child No. 2's grant fund.  But one mountain at a time.  First we have to win this case so we can bring Gunter home.  Then we will tackle repaying the grant.  And finally we can start saving again to bring Finn home.  We are trusting God, even though it makes no sense to us now.  We want His will to be done.  We are so thankful for the many many people who are praying for us and our adoption.  And now I must go prepare for another day and another battle.  Regardless of the outcome, the battle belongs to the Lord.

Friday, April 4, 2014

For the children left behind.

There are two little boys in Gunter's groupa that are available for adoption and listed on Reece's Rainbow.  Emory is six but he is one of the smallest in his group, closer to the size of an average four or five year old.  It is very common for children raised in orphanages to be small.  Most of them eventually catch up with their peers if they get adopted and get all the nutrition and medical care and love that they need.  Emory came up to me one day when we were picking our son up, he peered up into my face and waved hello.  Just as I was recognizing who he was he scampered off again.
Bonn is also six.  He is one of the taller kids in the groupa, average hight for a six or seven year old, but oh so skinny:-(  He walks with a bit of a jerky gate although he's not listed as having any physical disabilities.  He seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to disagreements between the children.  One day when we picked our son up, Bonn was holding his cheek and crying:-(. Poor little guy, I wished I could have walked into the room and comforted him as no one else was paying him any attention.
Both of these boys have some mental delays 
but they need and deserve a family.  They've seen 
their group mates be adopted before.  Three 
of the boys in their group are being adopted 
now, including our son.  Several of the other children 
have relatives that visit often.  Wouldn't it be wonderful
if it was finally their turn?  If someone came just for them
?  Someone to visit them and make them feel special
at last.  To bring them a special toy, and snacks
and games to play with.  Someone to give them
hugs and kisses.  And to finally take them home.
No one in their country will adopt them because of their
delays.  In another year or two they will be transferred 
to an orphanage for older children or more likely 
an institution for children with physical and mental
special needs.  Their only chance at having a family
is adoption outside of their country.  I can say from 
experience that six year old boys are awesome! 
And cognitive delays aren't so scary anymore
after you've held the child in your arms.  Can you 
do something for Bonn and Emory?  Even if you 
can't adopt them you can help them find a family
by donating to their adoption grant funds through 
Reece's Rainbow.  Just click on the links above
their pictures and you should be taken to their very 
own pages at RR. (Let me know if the links don't 
work please)

A few pictures.

The cathedral beside DAP.  I think it's St. Andrews.
The early morning view from our balcony.
Driving the spaceship.
Photos by Gunter:-)
A pigeon on our balcony.
His favorite activity, playing in the sandbox.
Writing some Cyrilic letters.
Papa's are good for spinning.
And piggyback rides.
We might have court next week.  And then I can share some better pictures:-)

Monday, March 31, 2014

My favorite orphanage 60 kids

Shawn has a family coming for him.  Murray has a family coming for him.

Shawn (4)Murray (2)
But Ethan still waits.
Ethan Oct 2013 (3)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A silver lining

Although we are very sad that Finn will have to spend so many more valuable months of his young formative years in an orphanage we have found that God did not bring us to this country in vain.  We feel so blessed to announce that we are moving forward with the adoption process for six year old "Gunter" on Reece's Rainbow.  We are delighted with him and he with us:-)  I can't wait to post more photos of him after court but in the mean time, here are his profile photo's from RR.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sad news

As is often the case in adoption, things have not gone as planned.  There is a problem with Finn's paperwork making him unadoptable right now and we won't be able to bring him home this trip.  We were devastated to learn about this.  We will most definitely be back for him as soon as this changes.  The second child we hoped to adopt we were unable to move forward with either.  We are currently waiting to find out about some other children as we still hope to bring home at least one child.  We have definitely been dealing with a lot of discouragement since we found out about all of this and we are so thankful for everyone who has been following our adoption and lifting us up in prayer.