This is for those of you taking the journey of international adoption and for those of you at home supporting them. This is not a complaint but an attempt at an honest take on this process. This is not meant to scare you away but give you an opportunity to prepare yourself for this journey. The mind that is prepared has a 95% better chance at getting through something than one that is not.
These last days are excruciating. I woke up this morning after a restless sleep (there are many of those due to hard uncomfortable beds and the stress of what you are doing) and my heart was so heavy. I could feel the tears behind my eyes trying to come out. I blink to keep them where they belong. This isn't that bad, I tell myself. Things could be so much worse. I am healthy, my kids are healthy, my family at home is healthy. It's not working. So many other people have it so much worse than this. I have nothing to complain about.
I'm a very positive thinker. I read books like "What To Say When You Talk To Yourself" and others and I know what it does to your brain to have good self-talk. I'm a "self-talk" queen and pretty good at it normally. There is just this heavy weight on my heart right now and those darn tears. What in the world is wrong with me?
This is international adoption at its finest. The call first thing in the morning that some paper you desperately need to get home is held up by something. Maybe an official is off that day, or for some unexplained reason the whole office is closed that day, or any number of reasons. And you realize that instead of going home on Monday that it will be Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday and your brain can't process past that.
And you miss your family at home more than you can verbalize. You've been gone 10 weeks and you've missed 10 weeks of hugs and conversations. Conversations because no matter how nice it is to FaceTime or Skype it's just not the same as cuddling together on the couch or her bed to have a nice long chat about all of the silly little things going on in her life. Or having your 6'3" tall 15 year old hug on you several times a day. Or watching the 17 year old that you adopted last year turn into a man this summer. You watch their faces on the computer and know they want you there but won't say it because they know how important this is. That is until one day your daughter just bursts into tears because she misses you so much and she can't stop and there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO! Except after you hang up with her you burst into tears yourself.
So today you wake up with heavy heart and tears and tell yourself to buck up. You give yourself the same pep talk you've given to others. You are stronger than this. Yahweh is counting on you to see this through and you will. You have no doubt you will get through all of this. "Yahweh knows"!! One day you'll be home and look back with fond memories of this time. But that is in the future and today is today. Saturday. And NOTHING happens on Saturdays, or Sundays, so two days of just waiting. Home is very far away, both in time and in distance.
I cannot afford to wallow. So I pray. I pray for His strength because mine is long, long gone. I pray for His patience, too. I cannot do this alone. I think of Him and all He has done for me. It gives me the courage to do today.
I also look at the three teens sleeping on various pieces of furniture in the apartment. Three less orphans in this world. Three!!! Three starfish off that beach and into a future. That's what this is all about. His mission for us to look out for the orphan. To hear him say someday, well done good and faithful servant. To see them grow up into adults with good lives. Educated, with a spouses and children of their own. More grandchildren. And lives continued. It helps me re-focus on what is truly important.
I wonder what Yahshua (Jesus) thought about the day before He went on that cross? Now, what we go through over here does not compare in the slightest to what He did giving His life, but when life is hard it makes you wonder. What did He think about? Did He think about what was going to happen or did He spend those hours thinking about the others He impacted and was going to impact? Did He think about me and how what He was doing was going to impact me? He got His strength from Yahweh. Good lesson for me.
I read the book of JOB last night. What an inspirational man he was. No matter what happened to him he held tight to trusting Yahweh. It was hard. He lost everything including his children. His wife and best friends turned their backs on him. But he trusted, no matter what. It gave me strength. I will think on that today. The strength that JOB had that he received from Yahweh.
I'm a private person. I don't cry. I am there for everyone else - always. This thing I'm writing today, well, it's not easy for me to lay it all out there. But someone might need it someday. I hope in someway it helps.
Your adoption journey might be simple. Others are. The first time we came here for our Vlad it was simple. 8 days first trip, 22 days second trip. Smooth as smooth can be. No delays and we were on that plane home. I think Yahweh was laughing. He knew. He was softening us up for this trip. I hope your journey is like that. Be prepared just in case it's not.
This one 11 weeks (at least), more paperwork delays than a person could imagine, a daughter left behind due to a war (which is a whole other reason I could cry at a moments notice), missing out on a business retreat that I need more than anyone can imagine because of the delays and getting the daily update that something else has gone wrong and it will be at least another day or two fixing it. That is this trip in a nutshell.
The adoption journey for Vlad was a dream vacation compared to this one. Now, hopefully I haven't scared you away from international adoption. We have made some amazing memories here this 11 weeks. My husband and I treated the first 6 weeks or so like a second honeymoon. We walked and walked and saw amazing things. We spent great time together. What a blessing. I will never forget our walks and discoveries and the long, long talks we had here on these wonderful paths.
And even though this week is harder than I could have imagined there are still blessings to be seen. Three teens so excited about going to a football (soccer) game tonight at the Olympic stadium that they are bouncing off the walls is a blessing. Seeing Maidan all cleaned up and being here for the Independence Day parade - a blessing. Memories being made with my husband and best friend - a blessing.
If you are a friend or family member of someone adopting over here the best advice I can give is this. Pray for their journey. Pray for their strength and patience. Pray for protection over them and their family. Prayer works - I've seen it up close and personal. And jump in and do whatever you can to help them at home. Love on their family left behind because it matters more than you can imagine. Be there to take pictures of things going on at home. Give those left behind some love. Because by doing so you are doing your part to help those orphans.
And send them messages of support. I will remember and cherish each message I received over here, from the friend I've never actually met except online who told me that her daughter's entire summer camp group was praying for us and couldn't wait for the updates to the person who told me that we were in their family prayers every day. I will cherish everyone who posted on one of my Facebook postings. Just knowing there were people back home CARING got me through so much.
If you are contemplating international adoption just know that if Yahweh brought you to this then He will bring you through it. This journey, more than anything I've ever done, has brought me closer to Him. I talk to Him constantly. He is my companion. That is the biggest blessing of this entire journey and the funny thing is that the harder it is, the closer you are to Him.
So today I embrace the hardness knowing that He is close by. That the harder it is the closer He is to me. And that each day I am closer to going home. Home, sweet home!
Now it's time for some Katie Perry, ROAR! And going out for another walk in this beautiful city, Kiev. As hard as this is and as much as I want to be home I will miss it here. The hilly paths that make for great walking and that has gotten me in the best shape in years, the views over the river and the history. A city many thousands of years old. A beautiful city in so many ways. A gorgeous country even in the midst of war.
Thank you for listening.