“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…” – John Lennon
For those of you wondering what’s been going on… buckle your seat belts because the last five days have been full. I think that it’s probably easiest to fill you in on a daily basis… And you might want to get a snack before you get started reading 🙂
Wednesday 2/26 – We received a phone call from Karen Medve (our placement agency contact) informing us that our paperwork had been processed and we have been scheduled for an appointment with the Ministry of Social Policy in Kiev, Ukraine on 3/11 at noon… which means travel to Ukraine on 3/9 – yikes… not a lot of time!
Thursday 2/27 – We received a phone call from Karen informing us that there have been a number of Ukrainian families visiting with Sam – who was moved to a new orphanage a couple of weeks ago. And what does this mean? This means that he is very likely going to be adopted by one of these Ukrainian families. Yes, you read that right… no longer available. Now this conversation was a little surreal to me because despite the fact that you are told over and over again that there are no guarantees in the adoption process… it really just seemed impossible to me that we would do everything asked of us in the short time allotted and that no one in Ukraine could tell this little boy that there was an American family getting ready to get on an airplane to finalize the process of adopting him. But they won’t do that and because he was no longer in the old orphanage which had received money to keep him “safe” (i.e. hold onto him for American adoption), he was now publicly up for grabs domestically. And domestic adoptions trump international adoptions. So… that was it… he was no longer available. Done.
So, what do you do when this happens? Well, you can quit… or, you can realize that the connection you had created in your heart with this child was nothing more than your self-made bond and then you decide whether you can put your heart back out there and continue on.
As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will and that you will flow with them to your great delight and benefit. – Emmanuel Teney
And we did. And… on
Friday 2/28 – We received a phone call from Karen telling us about another little boy, Max. Max is 9 years old with a birthday in June. I believe that Max was put in an orphanage at about age 6 after his mother died. When that orphanage closed, an employee took several of the children into her home in foster care and has continued to advocate for their adoption. This is where Max lives today. We also found out that Max has been hosted in the U.S. twice, by the same family… and we were given the phone number for the hosting agency contact and ultimately the number for the host family. And this meant… lots of real information! HOORAY!
So, I spoke with both contacts and really all the information was quite positive. Any problems that they had were either 1) explained or 2) nothing out of the ordinary for any 8-9 year old – competition with siblings, pouting – for those of you with children… I imagine these things sound familiar. There was no ranting… no throwing things and no physical violence. We were off to a good start.
Now most people immediately wonder… well, if he’s so great, why didn’t the host family adopt him? Well, first off – they got into the hosting program at the urging of relatives who had hosted/adopted a teenage girl from Ukraine. So they decided to host without the decided intention of adoption. However, after the first hosting visit, they had such a great experience that they decided to start paperwork for adoption and in the meantime to host him again in the summer. It’s at this point that the story gets a little complicated…
During the time between the hosting periods, the previously mentioned relatives of Max’s host family adopted a second daughter from Ukraine – who they had not previously hosted and who was and continues to be a very difficult teenager. This second daughter arrived just before Max arrived for the summer visit and, it turns out, the girl knew Max from their days at the same orphanage. So, both families gather at the beach for a week of vacation. And during this week, Max spent a lot of time with this teenage girl who had a major bad attitude about everything – didn’t want to go swimming in the ocean, didn’t want to get sandy, didn’t want to be in the U.S., didn’t get her way… yada, yada, yada. And, of course, this entire conversation was happening in Russian… so no opportunity for intervention. And lo and behold… all of a sudden Max didn’t want to go swimming in the ocean and he didn’t want to get sandy and he didn’t want to live in the U.S.… you get the idea. And this attitude continued after the beach and by the end of the summer visit… the general feeling was that this wasn’t a good match. Today, everyone that I spoke with is of the firm belief that this change in attitude was a direct result of being reunited with this teenager. However, that being said… we love the beach and we are planning to continue living in the U.S.… so this could potentially be a deal breaker. We needed information – and the only place to get it was with Max, himself.
And so, on
Sunday 3/2 we set up a Skype call with our Ukrainian facilitator – Angelina, the foster mom – Tatiana (and foster dad) and MAX! How great is that?!? And, it turns out that he does want to live in the U.S. and, although he doesn’t go there much, he’s okay with the beach. Deal back on! The conversation was good. The foster parents had good questions which shows their concern for him and we were able to get information about his education, his religion, his health and very important information – like his favorite color! Answer? Green!
So, after the talk we had a family meeting – a motion was made and seconded, and the decision was made to invite Max into our home. Which means…
We are planning to travel to Ukraine this Sunday leaving D.C. at 7:00 p.m. and arriving in Kiev on Monday at 1:00 p.m. Now, this concept has sparked a number of different responses…
“Oh my gosh – that’s great!”
“Oh my gosh – so soon!”
“Oh my gosh – do you need any help?”
“What? Are you serious? Do you live in a cave? Have you seen the news?”
And I will start by saying that all these responses are appropriate and they are all appreciated.
To answer the final question. Yes, we do have TV’s and we are keeping a very close eye on the news and the happenings in Ukraine. And we are consulting with folks in Ukraine and folks here and we will take their advice on our travel plans. Our tickets are purchased but they are changeable. If it is not reasonably safe, we will not travel this weekend. Frankly, it doesn’t really work well for an adoption agency to send the adoptive parents into life threatening situations… doesn’t bode well for the adoption. And, our number one main priority is Rachel. So, we wait and watch… another common theme!
That being said… we do look at things through a slightly different lens than others. And, we do hold a firm belief that we are headed to a place in life where we are ultimately supposed to be. I think that when you have realized such a tremendous loss, as we have, it is not ultimately about finding a reason or a responsible person… it is about taking this reality that defies reason and transforming it into something meaningful. And sometimes, making that happen means that you travel some roads that are not without potholes.
I exchanged some emails with my siblings earlier today and my sister Barb had the following comment… “I have to believe that what seems like twists and turns to you is actually the straight path you will be able to see someday!!”
And I think that’s a great thought to end on…
Oh… and here’s Max… we think he could fit in…