Saturday, March 20, 2010

Meet Kirill

1 I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.
You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you restored my health.
3 You brought me up from the grave,O Lord.
You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
4 Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones!
Praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
6 When I was prosperous, I said,
“Nothing can stop me now!”
7 Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.
Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.
8 I cried out to you, O Lord.
I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
9 “What will you gain if I die,
if I sink into the grave?
Can my dust praise you?
Can it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
Help me, O Lord.”
11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

If you've been following this adoption journey, you know how excited we were to adopt Sergey, or as we had planned to name him, John Sergeant. We were devastated to find out that he was not going to be ours, but we knew that he was going home to a family member and that gave us great comfort. We have felt an incredible sense of peace, the peace that passes understanding, as we grieve the loss of the hopes and dreams we had for Sarge to be a part of our family. We KNOW that God sees the bigger picture and it seems that he has begun to reveal that picture to us rather quickly.

Many months ago, I received an email from a stranger named Lisa. She had learned of our adoption plans and was hopeful that she and her husband would adopt a child with Down Syndrome from Eastern Europe. As we emailed back and forth, she told me that they had been considering a little boy named Kirill from Eastern Europe. I was THRILLED for them. Kirill caught my eye back when we were pouring over pictures and trying to decide on what child we would adopt. We did not consider him seriously because he was a little older than what we thought we wanted at the time. (*Side-note: As we have traveled this journey, God has really changed our hearts and opened our minds to many different possibilities for our family. When we first started, we were pretty adamant that we didn't want to change Clayton's birth order. But that has become unimportant to us as we have prayed and studied about God's heart for orphans. We want to have the same heart as him, and we just don't feel that birth order is that important to him. This is a personal decision, and I definitely understand concerns about changing a child's birth order through adoption. I'm not judging anyone else if they decide they don't want to change birth order, but for us, it has become an unimportant factor). Back to Lisa and I emailed and we even talked about the birth order thing because if they adopted Kirill, he would be older than their daughter.

When Lisa told me they had officially committed to Kirill, I was so happy for them (and even a little jealous). ;) Kirill was just so cute! We continued to email and make our plans to travel to meet the child to whom we had committed, bouncing questions about travel off of each other. Lisa truly seemed like a kindred spirit to me and it felt like we had known each other for our whole lives. Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I got a really sad email from Lisa. She told me that they were not going to be able to adopt Kirill. Her pain was palpable. I knew from her words that the decision was a heartbreaking one for her family. I knew that she was so disappointed and I just hurt so much for her.

As Christmas approached, our family decided to forego the typical gift-giving fiasco and donate our Christmas gift money to a child or maybe two children from Reece's Rainbow. Kirill was one of the children we picked, along with another one of our favorites, Victoria. We got two Christmas ornaments from Reece's Rainbow, one with each of their names on them. Kirill just kept tugging at my heart and I even told Greg that if he was still available after we got Sarge home, I wanted us to seriously pray about adopting Kirill too. Since I look at the children on Reece's Rainbow often, Greg just kind of laughed and told me that we should probably worry about getting Sarge home before we started committing to other kids. But for some reason, a reason that we now understand, Kirill was always in the back of my mind.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday, March 16th. I was out running errands with Clayton and had left my phone in the car when I went into a store. When I got back to the car I had a missed call from our adoption agency. I was SO EXCITED. This was it! We were getting our travel date, I just knew it. So I called them back and when our social worker answered, her voice was so sad as she said, "Tesney, we have received some devastating news about Sergey." After those words, I don't think I heard another word she said. In a matter of seconds I went from the highest high to the lowest low. Later, after Greg called back to clarify, I realized what she had explained to me on the phone. In Sergey's country, law requires that all of the first line blood relatives of a child have to sign off on an adoption. Not just the mother and father. This should have been done before Sarge was referred to the adoption agency, but it wasn't. So when the Minister of Education received our dossier, he or she had to contact them before we could get our travel date. At least one, possibly two, of those family members were opposed to him being adopted. Our social worker went on to tell us that the MOE had worked for a month and a half with the family member(s) and help them see the benefits of him being adopted by an American family. However, they were persistent that they did not want this to happen. Also, according to the law, if a family member opposes an adoption, they must take the child home or find another family to adopt the child. That gave us a lot of peace knowing that they couldn't just oppose the adoption and leave him in the orphanage. Still, we were absolutely heartbroken that Sarge wouldn't be ours.

After a lot of tears and a lot of prayers, we felt so much peace. It was definitely the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Greg and I decided that regardless of what had taken place with Sarge, we would press on with our plans to adopt. It never really was a question with either of us, but we just needed to reassure each other that we were o.k. to regroup and move forward with considering other children. Kirill was already in the back of my mind, so we decided to just go ahead and inquire about him.

Our adoption agency was so positive about us moving forward with Kirill. Several factors seemed to be confirming that he was the direction in which God was leading our family. He will turn four years old in May. In most Eastern Europen orphanages, once a child with special needs turns four, they are put into an adult mental institution. Often, they cannot be adopted once they are transferred. Kirill is only about six weeks from his 4th birthday, so time was running out for him. He also is in a region that doesn't allow families with more than four children in the home to adopt, so that knocks a lot of families out of adopting from this particular region. We definitely met that requirement. We also loved the idea of him and Clayton being so close in age; we felt like it would be positive for both of them. Plus, let's just face it...Kirill is FLIPPIN' ADORABLE!

On Thursday night, Greg and I spent some time talking and praying about Kirill. When we finished, we both felt that we just couldn't say no to him. We could save him from a lifetime in an institution with very little effort on our part. Our paperwork is relatively done and we met all of his region's requirements. So, we called our adoption agency and committed to adopt Kirill!

I emailed Lisa and told her the news. She is so happy and I'm so happy that she will always be able to keep in touch with Kirill! It's just amazing the way that God has woven our stories together. Not only does she share our love for Kirill, but she can also relate to the loss that we feel for Sarge because she felt that loss with Kirill.

We still feel very sad that we won't get to be Sarge's mommy and daddy. Over the past eight months, we have fallen in love with his picture and the idea of being his parents. To us, he was already a part of our family and we loved him with all of our hearts. We are still very much grieving over the loss of our dreams for him. But, we feel so much hope for our family and for Sarge's family too. We believe he can be a catalyst for change in his country as people see him with his family. We are hopeful that God is going to use him to change people's view of children with disabilities in Russia. He may very well save many children from a lifetime in an institution because their parents will see his family and say, "We can raise our children and not hide them away from society." It has been and will always be our pleasure to be an instrument in his story. If our role was to pray for him for a season of his life so that his family could find out about him, then we are so happy that we were given that chance. We will continue to pray for him and his family every single day. And now, instead of only one child finding their family, there will be two children who have found their families: Sarge and Kirill.


  1. THANK YOU FOR POSTING! I'm crying as I type this. I can't wait to follow as you go to bring Kirill home. We are adopting Aaron who has already be transferred. I struggle with terror that something will happen that causes us to lose him. God IS in control! Thank you for the reminder!

  2. We felt that kind of heartache with our last fall through adoption attempt. However, now that we are adopting Anna and Tanner, we know all things do happen for a reason. Again, we are thrilled for Kirill! He is truly a cutey pie.

  3. As usual, I'm crying. Y'all are a wonderful example to us all. Thank-you for sharing this amazing journey! Love you!

  4. I am so happy you are getting Kirill! When we inquired about Duncan someone else had committed to him at that time, so we also considered Kirill. Before we had a chance we received a email saying that the family that committed to Duncan could not get him due to medical issues so we went ahead and committed to Duncan. But my husband constantly talked of Kirill and we hoped and prayed he would find his family. I know this has been hard for you and your family but I feel God always has a plan.

  5. Incredible! I'm so excited for y'all and will continue praying for all of you!

  6. I have been praying consistently for Kirill, have donated to his adoption fund, and was so happy to know that he has a family. The day I checked online and did not see his profile anymore, I emailed Andrea at RR to find out WHY and she told me "Yes, he has a family!" God was definitely working, because Kirill was the one child I felt led to pray for every day, and now that I know a bit more of your story, and what was going on during that time, I have a glimpse of what He was up to. Bless you guys, I can't wait to follow your adoption journey!!

  7. Beautiful. I'm so glad to read the whole story. So happy for all of you!

  8. Tes,
    I am so glad for you all. Kirill is so very cute! He has only grown cuter with time. I really do admire you all for your willingness to follow God's direction despite your own pain. Thanks for the example you are.
    Can't wait to see it through!

  9. I am so amazed by your faith in God's direction for your family. It's not always easy, yet you have approached it with such a positive attitude! Kirill is adorable, and I'll continue to pray for Sarge and his family.

  10. How wonderful our God is! Very excited about meeting Kirill this summer/fall and thankful for the peace God has given you throughout this journey. Love you!

  11. We are SO happy for you guys and for Kirill. What a blessing that Kirill has found his forever family. He is the cutest little guy! We followed him for some time on the Reese's Rainbow site and he definitely looks like a charmer.

  12. Such an amazing story and journey! Praise God! Thank you for letting Him use you guys in his plan!

  13. Your faith is AMAZING! Your story brings tears to my eyes! I am so happy for y'all and can't wait to hear all about your angel!

  14. Wonderful story of God being in control of our lives and working everything out for the good of those who love Him. We are still praying for you and Greg! Thank you for your faithful example. Also...he is so cute! Have you seen Jerry Maguire? He looks like the little boy in that movie! To me anyway.

  15. Your story is truly an inspiration. I am so excited to hear that you are able to move forward with the adoption Kirill! I'm looking forward to reading more of your adoption story!

    Best of Luck,
    Director of Blogger Networks

  16. This twist in your adoption journey is heartbreaking yet wonderful! Little Sarge has found a family and he may inspire more families in Russia to keep their children with DS as they will see that Sarge really isn't that different from "normal" children. Kirill is absolutely adorable!! I hope you will be able to travel quickly and bring him home!

  17. I'm so happy for you and for him. He is ADORABLE!! Prayers for the rest of the adoption to go smooth.

  18. I found your blog through another that I read regularly and have enjoyed reading about your journey through the adoption process. It's so wonderful that you will be giving a home to a child with DS. My daughter Emily is 10 months old and has DS, though before her birth it wasn't something I thought I would choose, we have found that we wouldn't change it even if we could :-)

    Kelli @ http:/

  19. I've been meaning to tell you... since I've got your button on my blog, and it now has Kirill's pic on there, if Hank (my 2 year old) is ever in my lap when I'm checking things he says, "I wanna see dat cute baby wif dose gwasses." So I have to click on his pic and go to the site so Hank can see him. He always smiles and says, "Hi Kwill!" We will definitely have to schedule a get together someday so all our sweet boys can play. We'll leave them with Lucy and go get pedicures. She could probably handle all six by herself! :-)

  20. Holly...I'd trust her! :)

    As for Hank...HOW STINKIN' SWEET! We must get our kids together soon. :)