Monday, April 12, 2010

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


  1. I thought about ya'll when I read that article - praying and hoping!!!!

  2. I thought about you guys immediately when I heard this story on the news. What a tragedy! You have a great attitude -- we'll be praying!

  3. I am going thru what you are as well. It has been very hard and my husband is so upset at that woman. What I have heard from a mom over there is that no 10 day waits will be waived bc of this. So far that is all I have heard. I called the Russian embassy in DC and they said to call my agency or attorney and ask them they would know. So I called our attorney and she said nothing is for sure yet on the freezing.

    I am so very sorry you are going through this. I started following your blog awhile ago but it hasnt allowed me to comment. I will pray for your family and your child. You are right God is still God, still the one who ask us to do this so why would He fail us now. He never fails! God is bigger than Russia, the USA and all of this crap! If we have to have bloody knees to get our kids home so be it. Thanks for putting into words so well what I was thinking and feeling.

    Be blessed

  4. I am relieved to hear this. Ive been praying for you and the other families we know in the process. It also speaks to me. I just posted about our present issues and have to know that God is not surprised! I need to keep resting in the knowledge that He has done it all so far and will continue.

  5. Hello Tesney,

    I have been following little Kyrill for the longest time and feel inlove with him several years ago when I first saw him on Reece's rainbow. Andrea R. and I spoke about him on quite a few occassions. We were not in the position to adopt him but never forgot about him and in our family we would pray for him to find his family. A few nights ago, when I couldn't find his picture, I emailed Andrea and sh
    e wrote back that he has his family and she pointed me to your link. The thing is, we had prayed a special prayer for him just the night before and then we got Andrea's reply the next day. Tesney, this is the most wonderful news and I can't tell you how happy we are for you and Kyrill and your family. I am certain you will complete this journey successfully.
    I never write anyone but because of Kyrill, I feel I must write to you. We have three adopted children of varying ages and some who came with great challenges. Our first and youngest is a girl who was just six when we brought her home from Kazakhstan. Our daughter has DS. I tell you all of this so that you know I have been through this adoption system a number of times and I can only tell you that in our experiences, even when things go smoothly it is a very hard process. Adoptive parents have no control and you just have to let go of it because there is nothing you can do. Everything is in someone else's hands. The only time you can have any say is in accepting a child or not.
    I also wanted to say to you, that I think the mother in Tennessee who sent back the boy must have also suffered a great deal. I do not believe that the decision she made was an easy one for her. I think she must have been very disappointed and sometimes people when they are desperate don't make the right decisions. We also know from experience, that there is not always the help and support available to adoptive parents. Now everyone is coming out saying they would have helped her, but maybe that wasn't the case at the time she had the boy with her and maybe she was truly afraid of him for herself and her family. Some institutionalized children are such terribly damaged souls and that is the great tragedy. Love is not enough for those sad children. Maybe this mother did not know of a way out. All I am saying is that, there are two sides and as adoptive parents, and also with how much you mention your Christian faith in your blog, we are taught not to judge our neighbors. This is a tragic and painful situation for everyone. I hope you take what I am saying in the spirit in which it is meant and forgive me if I offend you. I just feel very bad for this mother too and not just the boy. All the blame has been put on her and she has been ruthlessly vilified especially by the media. She has become a convenient punching bag but where are the reforms needed in these institutions and in Russian society to prevent so many children finding themselves so cruelly abandoned by their own families in the first place? You will see as you go on this journey, parts of it are wonderful and especially many of the caregivers are such caring kind people but sometimes it is also very hard when there are so many children lanquishing in these places for years, some becoming hardened or extremely institutionalized as well as the poverty of some of the orphanages. It is better to try and see that another person might be lost than to pass judgement on their fear, pain and confusion.

    You and adorable little Kyrill will remain in our thoughts and prayers until you bring him home. All the very best.
    An Older Mom
    PS. Again, I don't mean to offend you, please forgive me if I have. We are so happy for Kyrill.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Older Mom...
    No offense taken. I would just like to say that I'm NOT judging this woman. I have never, nor will I ever, say that something like "she's going to hell for what she did." I'm simply pointing out the fact that a) there are resources out there (albeit hard sometimes to find them depending on your location; but even in the most rural your adoption agency) if adoptions become too stressful. And b) she should be held accountable for the crime she committed because if not, then it sets a precedence for other parents to think that child abandonment is a viable option for disrupting an adoption. I don't doubt that she was desperate, but what she did was still a crime and saying so is not judging her. I mentioned I've worked with these children, but what I didn't say is that it was in a residential program for kids 6-12 with severe emotional disturbance. I've taken care of children who were a product of disrupted adoptions; some who have killed siblings, tried to poison family members, and other horrific acts. I've cried with their adoptive parents who realized that love wasn't enough to change their past...and it is gut-wrenching. So please don't take my anger at the situation as being judgmental of the mom. I understand that she was probably living in a hellacious situation. However, her decision to abandon the child may affect hundreds if not thousands of children who are waiting to be adopted by families.

    Now, if I'm mistaken and I have said something judgmental against the mom, please point it out. I've read and re-read my post and have prayed a lot about my attitude toward the woman. So far, God has not convicted me that saying she made a bad decision by putting a child on a plane back to his home country is judgmental. In fact, I want other adoptive parents to know that it's wrong so that they won't make the same mistake, but rather will go to the appropriate resources to disrupt the adoption. I understand there is a stigma attached to disruption sometimes, but the stigma this woman is facing is far worse I'm sure.

    I hope I haven't come across as defensive, because that is not the spirit in which this is written. I am coming from a place that is very difficult myself since we have already been at this point once and lost the referral for the child we had planned to adopt for 8 months. It has been a very difficult journey, as are most adoptions. But I'm praising God for what he's doing in our lives and how he's bringing us through every difficulty.

    Thank you for your prayers for Kirill. I am glad that you commented so I can thank you for that.