There is an adoption blog that I follow that until today made me cry for all the right reasons. More than FIVE years ago this family started their adoption journey. Below is part of an article about their story…I have taken names and places out because well I felt it necessary until they are back on US soil…
Heartache and Faith
The journey to parenthood for (where they live) couple
In June of 2004, the adoptive parents of (where they live) began the process to adopt a child. At the time, they knew they were in for a heart challenging ride, but had no idea what they were really in for. After talking to several other families who had gone through the process of an international adoption, they decided to adopt a child from Irkutsk, Russia. In July, 2004, the paperwork was completed and filed with the Russian government. The parents were planning a trip into Siberia for October of that year. Reflecting on the process, Mom said, “It does seem odd to people who have never been through an adoption. We got on an airplane, bound for Siberia, to meet a child we didn’t know anything about. We had cash in new American bills to pay for our translator, apartment and driver. We never questioned anything; we just got on that plane heading to Russia”. After 30 hours of travel, the couple was greeted in Irkutsk and taken directly to the Adoption Center for a formal registration process. From there, they were given permission to visit the Baby Home (orphanages in Russia are called Baby Homes). Dad said, “Maybe it was jet lag, but neither of us really remember much between getting off the plane in Irkutsk, and meeting our daughter for the first time.”
A little girl, barely 2, walked into an office at the orphanage to meet her new mama and papa. “Her big green eyes had so much confusion in them,” Mom remembers, “I felt so bad for her, I just wanted to scoop her up in my arms and tell her everything was going to be OK”. Mom went on to say that at that instant, she felt a maternal bond to this little girl. One of the Russian Social Workers noted that she could see love in this new family. It is not common for a child like this to be comfortable with strangers. It was fate. At the end of a 6 day visit, the parents were on a plane back to the United States, and the wait began. Typically, the process to adopt a child in Russia requires 2 trips. Trip #1 is needed to meet the child and file paperwork with the Russian government for adoption; Trip #2 is for the court hearing (generally 6-8 months later). The 6-8 months the parents had prepared their hearts for, has now dragged on to 2 ½ years (it was 2.5 years when this article was written ~ it has now been almost 5.5 years).
In the summer of 2005, a woman in Virginia killed her Russian adopted child. This child was born in the same region the parents are adopting from. “The backlash from this woman’s actions has caused many problems for everyone adopting in Russia,” said Mom. This situation started series of events within the Russian adoption industry that caused the agency the parents’s were using to loose accreditation to work in Russia. To date, most American agencies working in Russia continue to wait for proper accreditation and formal paperwork clearance to do business in that country.
Since July 2005 adoptions in Russia have continued however in the Irkutsk region they have not. Armed with Faith, abundant prayer, determination and love for a little girl, the parents traveled back to Russia in May 2006 to take matters into their own hands. They were able to hire a team in Russia who is helping them bring their daughter home. The team consists of a translator, interpreter, coordinator and a lawyer. “I don’t know how we were able to make connections with this group. Prayer is an amazing thing!” said Mom.
Their daughter, now 4 (she is now 7 I believe), calls the parents Mama and Papa. She carries around a photo album filled with photos of her visits with Mama and Papa. Mom said, “The older she gets, the more she understands what mama and papa means. On the last day of our visit in May, she thought she was coming with us. I can’t tell you how hard it was to leave my little girl in an orphanage, again. Their daughter kept saying, ‘mama papa I go with you now’. Even thinking about it today makes me cry”. Dad went on to say, “How do you explain to a 4 year old political red tape is the reason you can’t come with us. It’s all very hard for us as adults to understand, I can’t imagine what our little girl must be wondering.”
In October 2006, a 40lbs. box containing the required documents to adopt their daughter was shipped to Irkutsk. The documents were presented to the Russian Judge in November. Now, they wait for an official word that the documents were accepted as submitted, with no changes. (Those documents were NOT correct that time and would not be correct until late 2009…the hearing on the adoption was today.) With that ruling, the parents will get a court date to bring their daughter home.
The parents keep in touch with their daughter through letters and emails. According to the Director of the orphanage where their daughter lives, she feels very special because she knows she is loved. She asks for Mama and Papa frequently, and is waiting for them to come back to Siberia for her. The parents hope to travel back to Russia after the first of the New Year. If not to attend a court hearing and bring their daughter home, then to just visit their little girl. (Visit they did numerous times until now.)
A family friend, said, “It is inspiring to me to see Dad and Mom go through this process. Although they’ve lost literally thousands and thousands of dollars in this process, they will do whatever it takes to bring their daughter into their home.” Family friends organized a fund raiser in September for the parents. The fundraiser was able to raise over $6,000 toward translation and lawyer expenses.
Brenda Yonker, owner of Tears of Joy Adoptions, said, “The situation in Russia is very hard on everyone; the parents who are here waiting and the children in Russia who too are waiting. Dad and Mom have a tenacious determination and are fearless to do whatever necessary to break down whatever the barrier is to bring their little girl home.” Yonker went on to say that the nearly 50 other American families who are waiting for a court hearing in Irkutsk have not been able to make progress with their adoption cases because of bureaucratic red tape.
This article was written in 2006…it is now 2009. Three years later, and that determination finally was rewarded, today the adoption was GRANTED! I have cried numerous times today because of this family. I cannot imagine what they went through all for the love of a child, their daughter. They could have given up, they could have backed down but they didn’t. They prayed, they hoped and they loved. They did everything they could for not only this little girl but those who lived in the orphanage with her.
What this family still has to endure to get back to US soil. First they must wait 10 days (which may or may not include holidays and weekends) before they get custody of their daughter. Those 10 days are determined by the judge and they will go and visit her while waiting. Then they have to wait for a passport and so much more but while they wait they will have their daughter with them. They expect to be in Russia until the end of March at least. I hope someone has a HUGE party for them when they get home! I hope that the transition is easy though I know from experience it is not always as easy as one would like.
Here is a song the Dad wrote for his daughter complete with pictures of the family (have your tissues nearby):
So today I hug Little Man and Little Princess tighter as they help me while I cry some more for this family!
And because I LOVE how he left this…here is today’s picture: