Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We Have a Name!

Gregory Kirill Davis

Obviously, we named him after Greg, whose first name is "Gregory." I'm just now seeing it written together as I'm typing it on this blog. I think it looks and sounds really good together!

A couple of other points of interest: delegates from the U.S. are in our country as we speak to meet with country officials in the capital to discuss intercountry adoptions. We have been told by our adoption agency that the outcome of these talks will likely determine whether or not our country will continue to allow U.S. families to adopt from their country. If they don't go well, then they will likely freeze adoptions until an agreement can be reached. That could take months or even years. We all know how slowly governments work...imagine trying to get two governments on the same page about an issue. So I'm asking you to please pray, pray, pray that these talks go well and adoptions continue without interruption. Our social worker will be attending a meeting in NYC on Saturday where she will be informed of the outcome of these meetings. She has promised to get in touch with us on Monday upon her return. I will post as soon as I hear something from our social worker on Monday. Until then, please be praying!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Adoption Crisis

"Crisis"...I hear this word A LOT in the profession in which I work. I deal with people in crisis on an almost daily basis. So when someone referred to our situation as an "adoption crisis," I was taken aback. Not because I think it's an inaccurate description, but because I really haven't felt like I've been in crisis. Please don't misunderstand me here; this has probably been the hardest thing I've endured in a very long time, if not ever in my life. For those of you who aren't familiar with our journey, here's the synopsis:

-Called to adopt last year (July '09)
-Committed to a little boy named Sergey
-Get to the end of the adoption paperwork process, send dossier to Sergey's country, and while waiting on travel date, lose the referral because one of Sergey's family members objected to the adoption.
-Heartbroken, decide to continue the adoption journey and commit to another child.
-Commit to Kirill
-Redo some paperwork & re-send dossier to different region of the same country.
-mother sends her child back to his home country, resulting in possible suspensions of all U.S. adoptions of children from that country.

So here we are. This is the second time we've been at the point of just waiting on a travel date to meet our child and something has happened. Both times we've literally been days away from receiving the news we've been anticipating for almost a year: "Mr. and Mrs. Davis, your travel appointment is (insert date here)." Both times we have had the rug pulled out from underneath us. We have felt frustrated, angry, devastated, heartbroken, confused, shocked, and every other upsetting emotion you can imagine. But through it all, you know what we have felt more than anything?


I'm not saying we haven't cried or been upset. I've cried out in frustration to God louder than ever. But that's the beauty of God's peace...the more I have cried out, the more peace he has given me about the situation. It is totally him too. Because if you know me well, you probably wouldn't describe me as a peaceful person. Impatient, easily frustrated, and stressed...yes. Outspoken, opinionated, selfish...yes. So you see, it could ONLY BE GOD giving me this kind of peace because it is totally out of my nature if I'm relying on me. But this situation has become so much bigger than me so I've had to just give it completely to God. In return, he has given me the peace that passes understanding.

This song is one of the ways that God has blessed me with peace. I have probably heard it a hundred times before but had never listened to the words at all. As I was driving home from work one afternoon, it came on the radio. I had been praying just moments before for God to please give me peace about our adoption. As I listed to the words, tears began to flow and I knew that God was giving me a message. I hope that it will encourage you as well.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm Going to Go Off...

NOW! With all the stress I've been under trying to adopt our precious son who just happens to have Down Syndrome, all I have to do is read a story like this one to make me go completely mad. It makes me absolutely sick to my stomach and all I can do is pray that I have a merciful attitude, but IT'S SO HARD. I'm not sure how Jesus would respond to the couple that elected to do this; and I'm NOT JUDGING THEM...leaving that to God. In fact, I have prayed for them, the doctor, and the millions of people in the world who believe that aborting 9 out of 10 babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome in utero is o.k. Just the thought that a child was chosen to be aborted simply because he had Down Syndrome makes me shudder to the soul. I can't help but have a very primal gut reaction to the whole thing because these children are Jesus on Earth. Ask any family of a child with Down Syndrome. I have never heard a single one say that they would change their child with Down Syndrome to a "typical" child if they had the chance. I have talked to literally a hundred or more families of children with Down Syndrome and they unanimously say they wouldn't change a thing about their journeys. But you know what? The thing that makes me the most upset isn't even the abortion. The thing that makes me the saddest about this story is that they refer to the child with Down Syndrome as a "deformed fetus" and the child that was mistakenly aborted, or the "normal" one, as "the couples' daughter." VOMIT. So why is the child that wasn't blessed with an extra chromosome a "daughter" and the child that was blessed with an extra chromosome a "deformed fetus"?!? It speaks volumes to the way our world still sees children with Down Syndrome. But I'm here to tell you there is nothing deformed about any of these precious children! If anyone ever tells me my son is "deformed," I'm pretty sure it will be the last time they ever utter the word "deformed" again. That's a promise. Because I've got just enough Julia Sugarbaker in me to dress someone down in a heartbeat.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Below you will find a link to the Joint Council of International Children's Services blog. There, you can link to a letter that they have prepared for President Obama and President Mevdevev. Sign the letter to let them know that we support the prosecution of anyone who abuses or neglects internationally adopted children AND that we are asking that international adoptions are allowed to continue, uninterrupted, despite the heinous act committed by the adoptive mom in Tennessee. It takes about 30 seconds and it could mean the difference between life and death for orphans in Russia. If he isn't adopted he will go to an institution. 85% of Eastern European children with disabilities die within the first year after being transferred to institutions. So please, please take a few seconds and sign the letter.

No Panicking Allowed

That has become my mantra since this story broke last Thursday. One thing we were told when we started the adoption process was to "expect the unexpected." Our home study agency social worker told us that several times during our interviews, but at the time, we didn't fully understand how true that statement would become in our own adoption journey. But God is still the same God that called us to this journey. God has been with us the entire way and he's not leaving us now. So when I first heard the story and the potential impact it would have on all American adoptions of foreign children, my initial reaction was to panic. "NO GOD! YOU CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN! NOT AFTER WHAT WE'VE ALREADY BEEN THROUGH. I DON'T THINK I CAN TAKE ANOTHER DISAPPOINTMENT." But through prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit, I've been reassured. God is telling me, "No panicking allowed. I've got this. Remain in me and everything will be o.k." You see, God is not shocked by the recent developments. He knew this would be a part of our journey when we started. He also knew that if we relied on him, nothing could steal our joy or cause us to lose faith. So by faith, we are moving forward and we will not be shaken. God is our rock. He's solid. We don't have to be shaken by anything as long as we are standing on him. Praise God for his faithfulness!

Some things to remember about Russian adoptions. First of all, this story is not the norm. Most children adopted from Russia into American families have a happy outcome. This story has brought up 10-15 other stories of negative outcomes where children were abused and even killed by adoptive parents. It horrific to think that this could happen to any child. Especially given that families are provided with great support systems once they return to the U.S. All agencies provide follow-up and offer assistance to families that have difficulty adjusting with their adoptive children. Sadly, a few adoptions end up disrupting and the parents relinquish custody of the children because they are not equipped to handle their emotional and behavioral needs. But there are appropriate steps that these parents can take to do so. Putting a child on a plane back to their home country is ludicrous.

Secondly, any child who has lived in an orphanage or institution are likely to have difficulty bonding with their adoptive families initially. Bonding issues are to be expected and agencies do everything they can to prepare you for these issues during the home study process. Adoption and home study agencies provide resources and support for bonding difficulties after placement. Most adopted children adapt and develop a healthy bond with their adoptive parents and other family members. I'm trying NOT to comment too much on the mom who started all this mess, but I will say, as a mental health professional who has worked with children adopted from other countries (and who often had attachment and bonding issues), that six months is not enough time to expect a child adopted from an orphanage to bond with their adoptive family. While it is true that some children bond more quickly than others, in the grand scheme of things, six months is a relatively short period of time. For every three months that a child is in an orphanage, you can expect one month of delay in all areas of development (emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral). So to expect a child to change seven years' worth of delay in six months is very unrealistic.

In case you would like to keep up with the latest developments, here are the links to the two websites that are dependable for accurate, up-to-date information. Remember, the media is not the most reliable source for information. :) I've had to watch the news cautiously in the past few days because I know that Satan can discourage me through all the sensationalized reporting. Please keep praying for a swift and positive outcome so that the families waiting to adopt Russian children can get their children home as soon as possible.

Joint Council on International Children's Services

Joint Council Blog

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Q & A...Including Updates

We've gotten so many questions about our adoption with the change in circumstances and we are so happy to answer these questions (most of them...unless they're mean-spirited...then we hope those people turn into a goon). Seriously, I think most people are asking because they are genuinely concerned/interested/worried/happy/curious...and I'm eager to talk with anyone who will listen about our adoption and/or adoption in general. My prayer is that the twists and turns of our adoption process will not discourage people from adopting. In fact, that is my biggest fear...that people will hear our story and say, "I don't want to adopt because something bad might happen." To those people I want to say, "You mean something worse than helpless children living a life of neglect and poverty?" Because the disappointment of not getting the child we had planned to adopt is nothing compared to the hell that the 147 million orphans suffer every. single. day. 147 minus 2...because now Sergey AND Kirill will have homes and had God allowed OUR plans to prevail, only Sergey would have a home. So I'm really thankful HE has the bigger picture in mind!

So I want to answer some of the more common questions we have gotten since we lost Sergey and committed to Kirill. Please feel free to comment and ask any other questions you might have. Or if you're more comfortable emailing me, there's a link in my profile.

Q: Who is the family member that objected to you adopting Sergey?
A: We don't know. We aren't allowed to know. Think HIPPA here in the U.S...that's private information and we have no right to know. The only thing we know is that it is a first-line blood relative. All first-line blood relatives have to sign off on the adoption of a child in Sergey's country. Most of the time, this is done before the child is made available for referral. For some reason, in Sergey's case, it wasn't. So when the Minister of Education (MOE) got our dossier and started looking at Sergey's file, he/she realized that all of his first-line blood relatives had not been notified of his orphan status at birth. Therefore, he had to notify them in order for Sergey to be free for adoption. At least one of these family members objected when they learned about Sergey. According to the law, that family member has to either take the child (most likely what happened) or find another family who is willing to adopt the child (unlikely). We are so thankful that one of his family members wanted him...what a blessing he will be to them!

Q: What if that family member doesn't follow through with taking Sergey home?
A: If they don't take him within a specified time frame, Sergey will return to the database of orphans in his country. At that point, he will be free for adoption again. His family member cannot ever object to him being adopted again. If that were to happen, we would jump at the chance to adopt him. However, we really hope that this doesn't happen; that his family loves him and that they are blessed.

Q: Will you have to start the process over/Will you lose time?
A: No and yes...we don't have to start the process over, but we do lose a little time (about two weeks...not much at all). Since we stuck with the same country for our adoption of Kirill, we don't have to start the process over. Everything we have done (home study, USCIS approval, etc.) can be used toward our adoption of Kirill. We do lose a little bit of time, but not much. That is only because Kirill is in a different region. If he were in the same region as Sergey, it might have been faster because our dossier was already in that region, translated, and in the MOE's office. Since Kirill is in a different region, we had to transfer the dossier to the new region, and that region has a few different papers that they require for the dossier, we did have to redo some paperwork and re-send our entire dossier to the new region. We have already done that, so that lets you know that it wasn't that big of a deal. There were a few hiccups (as there always will be with adoption...ha!) and a couple of really stressful days when it didn't look like things were going to go too smoothly, but God was faithful and it all worked out. As our social worker told us, "Don't let the paperwork deter you from choosing a child in a different region." It was definitely doable in a very short timeframe. As of April 2, we are already at the same point in the process with Kirill as we were when we lost Sergey...waiting for our first travel date. Only this time we are praying that it ends with us getting a date and meeting our son! But if it doesn't happen for the same reason as it didn't happen with Sergey, we will praise God...because that means another orphan home with a family...and there are 147 million more to choose from so we will just keep trying!

Q: Will you still have to make two trips?
A: Yes, all regions of this part of Eastern Europe require two trips.

Q: Will you lose any money because you changed children?
A: No; all of the money we had paid our agency just goes toward Kirill's adoption. Now, had we changed agencies, we would have lost money. Luckily, we have a FABULOUS agency and we are very satisfied with their services. We wanted to stick with them and Kirill just happened to be one of the children our agency represented too! God's hand was in every detail of this journey to Kirill!

Q: How did Clayton take the news?
A: Like any other three-year-old. We explained that Sergey's "grandma" (even though we didn't know that for sure, we just wanted to give him an image of a family member) was taking him to live with her. We told him that we would not be bringing Sergey to our house. Clayton whined a little and said, "But I have a Gator (motorized ride-on thingie) with two seats; one for me and one for John Sergeant! We will have to get another baby for that seat." What can I say; kids are resilient. He still prays for Sergey (only now he's added Sergey's grandma), and he has added Kirill to his prayers, "keep him safe until mommy and daddy can fly on a big airplane to get him." He also puts on my glasses and says, "LOOK! I look just like Kirill!" He tells people that Kirill is a "big kid like me," and that "Kirill is just my same age!" I still think he has no clue what is in store for him when his brother comes to live with us for real, but he understands things as much as any other three-year-old.
Like I said, if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! Unless you're mean, then I will turn you into a goon. Just sayin'.