There are posts that are a delight to write, this is not one of them. It is hard…so please bear with us. It is also long, perhaps we will finally get to the stage of this process where we can post often and more briefly. For now, we are not free to share details until there are so many of them that an update becomes an epistle.
Officially the adoption of our little guy is over, not going to happen, finished. But! There is one last word of hope. It is a little sliver but we are giving it all we’ve got in the form of two letters, one written by this precious boy and one from us…God will use them to accomplish His will, either way.
Here’s the next chapter of the story. For those of you who have read the whole blog story, some of this will be a repeat, but for those who have joined us along the path, here is a brief overview. We have been in contact with these 3 siblings for 18 months and the passion of our hearts was to keep the three of them together. They have an older sister, aged out and married, expecting her second child. Their mother is alive and very much a part of the girls’ lives so they have deep ties to family in this area although nothing that will be a support system for them when they age out of the orphanage. Their father is deceased, died 5 years into a prison sentence, and their mother has no parental rights. They have been available for international adoption since 2007.
During this year and a half we have exchanged letters, sent gifts, paid for private English lessons for them and sent a significant amount of money for clothes, food and medications. We have loved these children, all 3 of them, and they are deeply entrenched into our hearts and always will be. Last fall the youngest of them, our little guy who will be 13 tomorrow, was moved 3 hours away to an orphanage in another city. A month later he became very ill and has been hospitalized with paralysis since that time and missed the entire school year. Two weeks ago yesterday he was crossing the street in front of the hospital on crutches and was struck by a car resulting in many wounds and a broken leg.
From our earliest contact the youngest of the sisters has said she was not interested in adoption. The older sister has been enthralled with the adventure but has always viewed it more as an opportunity for a free exchange trip to see America than a lifetime commitment to a family. It was obvious from our earliest contacts with the girls that having a family was not the passion of their hearts. At almost 16 and 17, joining a family and moving to a new country and language would be difficult to say the least. The only way this would have hope of success was if it was the deepest desire of their hearts. We cannot pour it into them and cannot and will not fight them.
We had been advised several months ago by those who knew them well that they had no interest in a family or adoption. While they enjoyed the material gifts and “stuff” their hearts were not focused on joining our family, being on the team, making it work. We came to the country very open to them and so hopeful that there would be connection, that when they met us and saw that we were for real they would be won. It did not happen. There was no connection between us and the girls.
There was instant connection with their younger brother when we met him separately the day before so we knew what this felt like and were so hoping to experience it with them. We have visited with them 4 different days for many hours and the Lord has made it clear that it is not to be.
The younger of the two girls would bark “NO’ at us anytime we tried to talk with her about adoption. The older girl decided along the path that she wanted to go. When we asked her what changed her mind, she responded that she was just going for a year to help her brother, that he would feel better to have someone else along. We talked with her about the lifetime commitment of adoption, that this was about her learning English, getting an education and joining our family forever, and she offered no response. We assured them from day one of our visits that we were not going to pressure them to come. This had to be the desire of their hearts.
It was obvious that they had no desire for a family, and we are respectful of their preference to remain in their culture, in what is familiar and where they have family with whom they remain involved. They are in their 10th year in the orphanage. While we believe every child needs a family and to be adopted we are realistic and have confirmation from others who work with orphaned teens, that every one of them cannot assimilate into a family successfully. We are not in any way offended but are shocked at what ensued when the government officials got involved. Both girls were in some way pressured to say they wanted to be adopted. There was absolutely no connection between them and us and we saw no transformation of their attitudes or hearts. It was obvious that someone had either threatened or pressured them in some way to give this response.
As the Bible instructs we sought wise Christian counsel from those who know us well in addition to those who have walked this path having adopted institutionalized orphaned teens from Eastern Europe. In every case, as we relayed the details of the girls responses to us, we were advised to not attempt their adoption. We had negative referrals from workers in their orphanage and the recommendation from a teacher that their brother would do well if separated from them.
Our official referral was only for their brother so official separation had to be granted to allow his adoption apart from his sisters. That has been denied by the Inspector in the city where they are registered.
Along the journey we have been blessed by other government officials who have been very supportive of separation and his adoption and we are forever grateful. They have contacted others who would make determining decisions if we were to proceed without this separation approval and learned that it would be upheld and the adoption would be denied. On Friday we thought it was over with no other options and we awaited word that the official paperwork was complete and ready to be returned as required to request a second referral for other children.
Our little guy learned on Monday that separation had been refused and his adoption and opportunity for a family were being denied. He asked if he could write a letter to the official who denied the request. He desires to join our family and wanted them to hear his feelings. We assured him that his letter would be delivered and we too had thought of sharing our feelings in writing with this official.
Yesterday we traveled to pick up the final paperwork and visit with him. He had his letter written when we arrived. We do not yet have the translation but I hope to share it here in a later post. He is a precious boy with such a sweet, gentle spirit. Late last night we wrote our letter to accompany his and when translation of it is completed we will deliver or mail the two of them together with a photo of the three of us to this official. We pray that if God wills this child to join our family that the heart of this official will be softened and the decision will be reversed. We rest in His sovereignty and that if He allows this door to close that it is His will, even if it makes no sense to us. We will have done all we can.
We delve deep into relationships and it has been interesting to be a part of two interactions with biological siblings that are polar opposite. We have an instant connection with this young man and yet none with his sisters. He feels comfortable, like family, like we should scoop him up and carry him out of that hospital to home, where he belongs. That you could be in your robe with sleepy hair and sit and talk with him for hours and no one care. His sisters feel like guests, acquaintances, folks we would really never get to know or be comfortable with even though our hearts were open to them all three equally. It is unexplainable in human terms but without doubt is the answer to our prayers for discernment, wisdom and clear leading from the Lord to the children He has for us.
So…here’s the plan from here. We have had to officially refuse the referral for the little guy since the separation was not granted and that or petitioning for court are the only options for requesting another referral appointment for other children. Is it maddening?? You bet!! This country has already separated these siblings with no intention of reuniting them. The young brother was moved months ago 3 hours to the east from his sisters, one sister is going to trade school this fall and the other will be moved to a new orphanage this fall, 2 hours to the west so 5 hours by car from him. With their limited means there is little to no chance of them ever being reunited again in this country.
He is such a bright young fellow, reading aloud to us in perfect English from our dossier apostilles and every word he can find in English from our camera and computer monitor. He learns fast and has a willing spirit to work hard and succeed. Our love for him is to the very kind, gentle, brilliant, sweet boy, not one based on sympathy due to his current disabilities. However, we see the urgent need for him to have a family, love, an exceptional education, a highly nourishing diet, and medical care if he is to walk again, regain his strength and health, and achieve his unlimited potential.
It is beyond contradictory that this country talks of children’s rights and their care for orphans yet this boy has lost a frightening amount of weight and an entire school year of education laying endless hours in a hospital bed. The current decision will deny this young man an opportunity for a family who will love and care for him until the youngest sister turns 18 and he will be available for adoption without separation. An additional 2 years, 3 months and 8 days is a lifetime for this young man. He does not have this time to lose.
With great sadness we signed the paperwork refusing his adoption yesterday morning, traveled to meet him (hopefully not for the last time) and acquire the required paperwork to request a second referral for other children. We joined our facilitator last night as she put that paperwork on the overnight train to Kiev to our other facilitator who is likely submitting it to the government office as I write.
We will be returning to Kiev within a few days for this new appointment and to begin the process anew. We have wonderful referrals for a sibling group of 3 (girls 15 and 16 and brother 13) in the Donetsk region that we hope to pursue. We are approved for 4 children so if the official’s heart is softened by the pleas of a young hospitalized boy whose heart’s desire is to join our family we will return to Kiev to begin the process again for him. We are allowed 3 referral appointments so this can still work.
It is a wild ride, yes…but this is the things adoption blogs and stories are made of. God is at work and we feel His presence in a mighty way. We must be honest and say that if He chooses to not move this mountain for this one young boy we will not understand but we will trust that He knows best and is working out His perfect plan for our family and this precious young man’s life. We assured him yesterday that we will never forget him and that we are doing all we can to free him and take him home. He smiled and responded in perfect English, “thank you very much.” We love that boy and entrust Him to the Lord who loves him far more than we can comprehend.
Thank you for all the kind comments and encouragement. If you have not read Matt Garrett’s comment on the last post…please do, it is a blog post in itself. Matt is back into the fowler’s snare after the 10 day wait and it is a lonely battle to the very end, even with the children officially and legally theirs. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths the enemy will go to keep these children in bondage. But we all press on determined to fight the good fight and be faithful to the end. We are so thankful for each of you who are partnering in this with us…it is the height and breadth and width of spiritual warfare on the front lines. We will stand strong and never retreat…