Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Events

One of the things that I'm most afraid of in this adoption process is that our story is going to be a discouragement to other families considering adoption. Our adoption has been extremely arduous, this is true. But I want you to understand something; I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I want to take some time to explain WHY our process has been so difficult. We sometimes joke, between our tears, that it has been "a series of unfortunate events."

First of all, our adoption is NOT typical for Eastern European adoptions. Most EE adoptions, from start to finish, take about 8-12 months. We are on month 19. If you've been following our journey from the beginning, you already understand all of the ups and downs that we've experienced. If you are new to this blog, I want to take this post to explain our unique experience and why our adoption has been anything BUT typical.

In the summer of 2009, we committed to adopt a little 2-year-old boy named Sergey from the same country as Kirill (whom we are currently adopting). Our homestudy was completed in a couple of months and we completed our dossier by Christmas. It was submitted to our country and we anticipated we would travel sometime in January 2010.

Days and weeks passed and I began to worry. I was reassured by our adoption agency that everything was fine and we would receive our travel date "any day now." However, I knew something was up after February came and went and still no travel date. On March 16, 2010, I received a phone call while running errands. I will never forget where I was or the words from our social worker, "We have received devastating news about little Sergey." Basically everything after that was a blur, but I heard enough to know that Sergey wasn't going to be ours. He never should have been listed on his country's registry of orphans because all of his family members had not been notified of his orphaned status. When the Minister of Education discovered this error, he contacted the family members who decided to adopt Sergey. This was probably one of the worst days of my life. I just couldn't understand how such a terrible mistake could happen. However, God revealed many things to us through this experience. We are adopting because we are following what we believe is God's command to care for orphans. Our goal is to help solve the orphan crisis by adopting a child and hopefully inspiring others to adopt. We feel that because of our interest in Sergey, his family members were notified and he is now one less orphan. We choose to look at this situation as a blessing because through our adoption process, there will be two children in homes, out of orphanages, and with loving families.

We took some time to grieve the loss of our hopes and dreams to make Sergey a part of our family. We knew we still wanted to adopt a little boy with Down Syndrome, but we had no idea of where to begin as far as choosing another child. We knew we didn't want to change agencies or countries because a) we were very happy with our adoption agency and b) we didn't want to have to redo all of our paperwork, which would result in a loss of time and money. Our adoption agency works in more than one region of the country Sergey was from, so we asked them to help us identify a child. They gave us several names and photos of children, but we really only considered one...a four-year-old boy named Kirill. It's a long story that you can read about HERE, but Kirill was just supposed to be ours and we knew it right away.  So we committed to adopt Kirill and began making the necessary changes to our dossier due to K being in a different region and being a different age. This was the first round of redoing paperwork...there would be many, many more. The main things we had to do: update our homestudy to reflect our desire for and ability to parent an older child AND update our USCIS approval for an older child. This paperwork was done rather quickly and we had re-submitted our dossier to Kirill's region by mid-April.

But mid-April was the same month that Torry Hansen decided to send her adopted child back to Eastern Europe, all alone, on a plane, because she couldn't parent him. Now I want to take an opportunity here to clarify something that has been bothering me for a long, long time. The Torry Hansen case makes me extremely angry. Her careless actions have caused many, many children to remain in orphanages when they could be home with their families. Does this mean I don't empathize her? Absolutely not. I totally get that she was probably overwhelmed and felt desperate. I have worked with families in my professional life, and I also have personal connections to families who have had to dissolve their adoptions. It is a hellish thing to go through, there is no doubt. However, I WILL NEVER CONDONE CHILD ABANDONMENT AS JUSTIFIABLE. What she did was WRONG. Period. There is never an excuse to abandon a child. If you disagree, that's your opinion. I have a very different one. There are measures that adoptive parents can take to dissolve an adoption. Ms. Hansen did absolutely nothing to try to follow the procedures for dissolving an adoption. She did not disclose to ANYONE that she was having difficulty with her child. In fact, when follow-up visits were done by the social worker, Ms. Hansen did not report any problems at all. There are many other details of the case that I won't go into because it really doesn't pertain to this post. I'm sorry I'm off on a tangent, but I just want people to understand that it's o.k. to be angry with someone for doing something so wrong. You can still love them and pray for them, but you do not have to condone their actions. I've had several people try to tell me that she had her reasons and as Christians we should be understanding of her and not be angry with her. I disagree. I think Christ got angry when he was on earth and saw injustice, sin, and mistreatment of children. I think it's o.k. if that makes us angry. Do I hate Torry Hansen? Absolutely not. I am hopeful that she is getting the help she so desperately needs. Am I angry at her actions and the pain it has caused the families and children whose adoptions have been halted because of her? Absolutely. Do I think Satan used her to his advantage? Absolutely.

Back to the the Torry Hansen situation caused adoptions to come to a screeching halt. We were told that it might me months before adoptions resumed and we would be able to travel to meet Kirill. It was a 1-2 punch to the gut to get that news so soon after we lost Sergey. I just couldn't believe it was happening.

There was so much confusion during this time.  We really weren't sure what was going on with adoptions in K's country because there were so many conflicting reports coming from the media.  Our adoption agency really couldn't give us much information because they didn't know anything for certain. So we waited...

As we waited we started to hear that other regions were moving and processing adoptions, but not ours. Finally, in July 2010, we got a phone call that we would be traveling in August to meet Kirill and accept our referral. Finally! We were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel...or so we thought.

While we were in country, we were told that the judge in our region was not issuing new court dates. The U.S. and K's country had been working on a treaty regarding intercountry adoptions. Until that treaty was signed an official, our judge didn't feel comfortable issuing court dates. However, we were also told that our judge would be going to a meeting of the supreme court and that she might change her mind after that meeting. We left not knowing when we would return, but we knew it probably wouldn't be as soon as we had originally thought.

Our agency remained hopeful that the judge would change her mind and we would have K home by Christmas. So they advised us to go ahead and get the necessary paperwork and medicals for our second trip. This was expensive and we knew the documents would expire in three months. We hoped to be back in country before they expired. However, the days and weeks came and went and we were finally notified that our judge was not going to change her mind. Another story had broken about a family abusing their adopted children, all of whom were from K's country. This time the story was even more horrific. The three teenage girls were tortured by their adoptive parents. This story caused our judge to remain firm in her decision. There are other reasons that played into her decision, we were told. These reasons made sense and even though we felt defeated, we kind of understood the judge's hesitation to process adoptions. So we did all we could do...prayed and prayed and prayed..

Then in December we received wonderful news that our judge had decided to go ahead with adoptions and start issuing court dates again. We were beyond ecstatic. We scurried to get the paperwork, which had expired by this time, redone and sent to our judge. God had answered our prayer, but Satan was waiting to mess it all up again. There were more paperwork issues and I won't go into detail, but it delayed getting our court date again.

That brings us to the present. Now we have received word that our facilitator will meet with the judge this coming Wednesday to ask her for a court date for us. This meeting is so important. I don't think I can stress enough how much we need prayers. My friend Ashley has written an excellent post on her blog with more details. I'm not going to re-invent the wheel since she has written about it already, but I would encourage you to hop on over to her blog HERE and read about the imminent need for prayers.

I want to leave you with a verse that has become my strength over the last few days. It is Psalm 112:6-8:

6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
   they will be remembered forever.
7 They will have no fear of bad news;
   their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
   in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.


  1. Here I sit, having no fear of bad news. God will bring our children home. He will deliver them. And when He does, the glory will be all His, for He has orchestrated everything so that there is no human explanation for victory. He's all cool like that.
    Love you.

  2. Another verse that is great, Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." Not you, not I not any judge in that country can interfere with God's plan.