Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rocking Lucy to sleep.

video

Monday, June 27, 2011

TO BE HONEST....

To be honest, I was so scared that not only Lucy wouldn't like me, but I was even more scared that I wouldn't attach to her in the same way a mother bonds to her birth child. Some of you know me pretty well, and others, not so much. I have admitted in the past that I am not very maternal. I do not gravitate towards children, and they really don't gravitate to me. Most of my adult life thus far has never consisted of the mission to have children, and adopting was NEVER an option. How in the world could I love someone else's child??? Just not going to happen. Well I am morphing into the woman that God wants me to be, I am open and letting him work in my heart and mind. Granted, I have a love for people, all people, but children have always been a little different. Ragen came along and turned my world upside down. I have become a "Momma Bear", a mother that would die in an instant for her child without hesitation...I would give anything for her. After learning about all the orphans with DS that are suffering in Eastern Europe, I couldn't help but think of my Ragen. What if it were her? What if she were born there? What if, what if, what if...hence the decision to adopt. But all along my biggest fear was, I won't bond, love, attach to this child because she is "not from me". It took God giving me a biological child to really and truly love children, all children, and especially a special love for children with DS. Lucy is not from my body, so what will I do if I do not "love" her like I love Ragen??? The fear was really overwhelming. I never have really talked about it openly, not even with Rob. I was embarrassed and ashamed...I was afraid of friends and family thinking, "why in the world is she adopting then?" But I trusted God. I knew that not only would He not leave us through this entire process, but I also trusted that He would provide EVERYTHING we would need to bring this child home, into a LOVING home. We all depend on God for the financial obligations, to make this process a smooth one, BUT, I wonder how many others might feel the way I did/do and that fear keeps them from taking a leap of faith, and really depending on God for EVERYTHING, including our feelings? I've prayed so hard through this process for God to provide a bond, a mother/child love, a love that I have for Ragen. I prayed non-stop when we landed on this soil, especially before we were to meet her. The minute I laid eyes on this child, God gave me the exact feeling that I had the minute I gave birth to Ragen. I loved her the exact same way. I loved her the minute I saw her and my love is growing each and every day. This provision from God has got to be the greatest gift He has given me throughout this entire process. I can't wait to see her, to touch her, to hug her, to give her kisses, to laugh with her, to feed her, to play with her, to hold her, to tell her I love her....all those things that I LOVE to do with Ragen. I am amazed that God has changed me so much, and He has provided EVERYTHING that we need to make our home a happy, nourishing, loving, God-filled environment. Thank you Lord. Thank you for my precious angels and I am so looking forward to see what you have in store for our future as a family!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lessons from God- By Rob

It has been quite a journey that we have undertaken in the last 10 months. We started out by just thinking about what it would be like to add a little one to our family. Then we started taking the classes for adoption and sitting in a small room on uncomfortable chairs for two days straight listening to a lady that new everything about adoption and trying to keep up taking notes. Then we started with the first meeting with the homestudy and continued to work on that homestudy for what seemed like a lifetime. Others around us were completing their homestudies in 1 or 2 months and ours went on for what seemed like a year, but was really 4 months or so. We had documents signed by doctors, by lawyers, by friends and family and then had them all notarized, some of them more than once. We had one set of documents that we had to re do 4 different times. It felt like the paperwork would never ever stop rolling in. We had great people helping us at our agency Reece's Rainbow and we had great people in Chicago helping us get all the paperwork done and notarized.

So the paperwork finally got all done, checked and then double checked to ensure that it was exactly what we needed to send for final review. But before that we needed to put a state appostille on all the paperwork downtown CHicago. And, oh yes, don't forget the frantic call we got from our US based helper that said that we had an incorrect document and we needed to get a new one OVER NIGHTED so that they could re attach to our Dossier and re submit for approval.

So for about 10 months, it was all about the process. It was all about paper and UPS and notary and appostille and dreams and homestudies and roadblocks. It was all about getting there. Then today happened.....
We finally made it to the city where our little one has lived for the better part of the last two years of her life. She was born to a family here in this town of about 70,000 people. She was given up in the hospital at birth by her mother because they were afraid of the reputation and stigmatism that they would get from having a child with Down Syndrome. They even went so far as to register the birth of their child in a completely different city so that people would never know that they had a child that was what they refer to as an "Invalid". Think about that for a second. This mother and father didn't only not want their child, but they did everything they possibly could to make sure that no one would ever know that the child they had was different. They worked pretty hard to make sure that their baby would never be tracked back to them. For what reason they did all this work, we will never know the absolute reason. But it is safe to say that they did not want others around them to think that they were somehow cursed by God because they had a child that was different. Or they did not want the rest of their life to be scared in their community by a child that was different. My first thought for people like this is pity and sadness for such selfishness.
Yesterday was a crazy day of running around and meeting her for the first time. But today was the first day that we had one on one time with her for 2 hours, 2 seperate times during the day. We were with her from 930-11am and then again from 4-6pm. This morning from 930-11 was a really great time for Dena but not so much for me. Lucy Maria Sader was not used to seeing men before and was very scared of me this morning. She really had a negative reaction to me and really clung to Dena for the whole time. I kept telling myself that it was just because that she never sees male figures in the orphanage and that the familiar female touch and voice was much more soothing and comforting to her. But no matter what I told myself, I could not holdback the sadness and frustration that I had because she was not taking to me at all. I felt sad and embarrased and frustrated and disappointed and even a few times felt like I should just stay back at the hotel while Dena goes to develop the bond with her at first and then I could come later. I have never in my life had a child be scared of me like she was and it was just really sad to my heart.

After we got through the play time we were on the way back to the hotel and I was trying to explain to Dena what it feels like to have that happen. She was not really understanding what it felt like but at the same time trying to reassure me the best she could. We had a small lunch together in our room and just briefly spoke about it some more. I could not shake the feeling and it did not feel good at all.

Then something hit me hard and very specifically. It was a jolt or a whisper from God and the only thing I can remember hearing in my head was "It is not about you". As I heard this whisper from God, I said it outloud to Dena and we both just kind of let it go. But I thought about it internally for another hour or so and it just kept hitting me, "It is not about you". As I processed the whisper it became so clear to me that all of my sadness or frustration or embarrassment was all wrapped up in what I needed and not what Lucy needed. I was focused on all the hard work that we had done to get to this point and was looking for the big payoff with a great connection immediately with Lucy and for her to just love us both from the very beginning. I was looking for my needs to be met and not thinking about what Lucy needed or what God was asking of me. What an absolute infant I had been in thinking this way and not thinking about Lucy first. Then I prayed to God for peace and asked for him to meet me right where I was, a child looking for forgiveness for being selfish and self absorbed.
Then later in the day after our second meeting in the afternoon went so much better and Lucy was more open to me, I started thinking about her biological mother and father. I started thinking about how selfish I was and not thinking about Lucy's needs and how judgemental I had been yesterday in thinking about her mother and father and how they were so selfish in their needs to give her up. Some might say that their selfishness was so much more horrible than mine. But selfishness is selfishness. Lucy has had a short life in an orphanage because of the selfishness of two people and what God was telling me and reminding me of today was that she has had plenty of selfishness in her life. Lucy does not need any more adults in her life that are thinking about their wants and needs more than hers. She needs a father and a mother that are focused on and determined to provide a life for her on this earth full of SELFLESS love.
Today was not only a day of joy and love because we had a full day with our new little girl. But it was also a day of learning and humility for me, her father. I learned once again that judging others is not my job, but only Gods job. And I also learned again that this life is not about me. It is about connecting my heart to the heart of God, it is about giving grace for mistakes and it is about giving my life to others in a way that will bring glory to God and bring me that much closer to God's heart!
If we are listening, God is always teaching.....

Friday, June 24, 2011

WE GOT IT!

The Lord heard us all and we got our referral TODAY! Tomorrow we see our daughter for the first time. It has been a long road, but a road that I would go down again and again...we still have a way to go, but God has seen us through it all, He won't leave us now. I think this is really just the beginning.

We are tired and have to get up at 5:00am to be on the road to Lucy's region by 6:00.

I will post pics as soon as I can....I know YOU are ALL WAITING! SO AM I!

Until tomorrow...

OUR APPOINTMENT WENT WELL, PRAYING WE GET THE REFERRAL TODAY!

Well, as everyone that has gone before us, our appointment was no different than anyone else. It was very fast and to top it off, we were late! But it wasn't our fault. The woman handling the referral wasn't even going to ask us any questions until I mentioned that the one photo of Lucy, looked like Ragen...then she asked how many children we had. Then there was a second photo and I gasped. I tried not to seem alarmed, but Yulia could tell that I was. She told me the photo was older. But still, I cannot get that image out of my mind and won't be able to until I see her with my own two eyes. She was RAIL THIN. She looked starved. It was heartbreaking. But it is the reality of many children with disabilities that live on this side of the world. Seeing that photo confirmed with all my might that I will never stop advocating for these children...and that if God puts it in our hearts again, we WILL be back again to adopt.

We are back at our apartment and Yulia told us to be ready by 3. We are all hoping and praying that we will be able to pick up the referral this afternoon after 3. If we get it today, we will travel to her region tomorrow and see her TOMORROW! Oh, I am praying non-stop that God will make this happen for us. If we cannot pick it up this afternoon, we will have to wait to see her on Wednesday.

Praying and waiting....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

PRAYING FOR A MIRACLE

Tomorrow is our SDA appointment at 9:00am. We are praying that they will have our referral to see Lucy later that afternoon. They usually do NOT give referrals the same day. Everything is done manually, no computers, all paperwork....so I can kind of understand that it's not necessarily easy for them. BUT, with GOD, anything is possible. If we do not get our referral in the late afternoon on the same day (Friday), we will most likely not be able to see her until Wednesday of next week...we will have to stay in Kiev for 5 days waiting. Yes, this is notoriously called the "waiting game". Nothing has gone quickly for us in this process. We committed to Lucy at the end of September. So if we could speed up our process toward the end of this long journey, that would be wonderful. I'm not expecting it, but I am praying for it. Please pray for us as well if you wouldn't mind. I would love to see her sooner rather than later. Tuesday is a holiday here in the Ukraine...so please please Lord, give us that referral on Friday...all for your Glory, Amen.

Other than that, the milk is awful and our toilet doesn't work...but I'm on the same soil as my future daughter, and for that, I'm grateful.

And missing Ragen immensely...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WE ARE HERE!

We have finally landed on the soil where my future daughter lives. It feels so surreal. We had dinner tonight with some other RR families and it was great to meet everyone. We will be meeting again tomorrow night and I'm anxious to hear about everyone's SDA appointments...they will all be going one day before us, so hopefully we will get 411 on the do's and don'ts.

Not much more to say as we are super duper tired and need some rest.

I will write more about our journey as the story unfolds.

Love to you all!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

WE'RE ON OUR WAY!

YIPEEEEEE!! We got our appointment date...next Friday, June 24th at 9:00 am! Flights are booked and we are flying out of O'Hare on Tuesday at 5:00! "Hang on Melaine (Lucy), we're a comin'!!"

If you think of it, could you please say a prayer for this momma of soon-to-be 2 beautiful girls? It's ripping my heart out to leave Ragen at home. I've never been without her for this kind of time and I'm already missing her to pieces.