Monday, March 2, 2015

Starting Over

It didn't feel right to blog here about my new adoption journey, so we're starting over in many ways.  You can find us over at Finding Josephine.

Monday, August 18, 2014


I have good news and bad news.  The bad news remains the same -- Russia is clearly not going to open to US adoptions anytime in the next few years.  I have come to terms with this, most of the time, and just pray that Tanya finds peace in her home country.

The good news is that the mission group again returned to Tanya's orphanage and discovered that she has been placed in a foster home. I knew something was awry when her databank listing disappeared and feared the worst while hoping for the best.  The wonderful women from the mission group were able to speak to the director to find out what had happened to Tanya.  This is not ideal, of course.  She is not living with a family, a real part of a family, but she is out of the institution and hopefully in a good place.

We move on here in this house, and the adoption agency is starting to call me with new referrals from different countries.  I know Tanya will not come home, but I'm not sure I'm ready for a new child just yet.  The advantage is that if I start a new process by next April, I can use many of the fees that have already been paid for a different child.  If I begin a new journey, I'll be sure to share with everyone.  Thank you all for your support - please keep Tanya in your prayers.  She'll need all the support she can get.

"He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them." Mark 10:15-16

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Being a Mother

I've seen the many blog posts, poems, and articles about the need for sensitivity on Mother's Day.  Yes, it is a wonderful day to celebrate our mothers, grandmothers, and the other mothers in our lives.  But yes, it is also a difficult day for those of us who do not have our children with us for whatever reason.

Last year, this day was really hard.  The adoption ban had been in effect just long enough for us to start losing hope, and there I sat, a childless mother.  My church did a fantastic job of being sensitive to these things, but I was still sitting there alone - and Tania was still in St. Petersburg.

I was not the only childless mother I knew at that point.  My sister was going through a pregnancy loss, and I'd seen my other sister deal with the death of her child.  Mother's Day is not all flowers and cards, folks.  For some of us, it's just painful.

But this year, I'm choosing to celebrate my motherhood.  Even with the incredible distance between me and Tania and the relative lack of hope, I choose to celebrate all she has done for me.  She made me a mom.  Could I ask for more than that?  I wasn't sure I'd ever be a mother -- time had caught up with me and the cards just hadn't played in my favor.  But then there she was -- a child so clearly born to be my daughter that no one could possibly deny it.  She has taught me patience, perseverance, faith, and hope.  Without her -- well, I cannot imagine a life without her, even though she is thousands of miles away.

I know there will be no hand print crafts or indecipherable cards, but I still choose to celebrate.  My daughter has changed my life, and for that I will rejoice.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


I will admit something here that I've barely admitted to myself.  I had given up on getting Tanya home.  I hadn't really told myself this and had generally avoided the topic.  I'm sleeping downstairs on my futon (yes partly because it costs a fortune to heat my second floor) to avoid the second floor of my house - where Tanya's room sits ready.  My niece and nephews slept in my newly bedroomized basement this past Christmas partly so that no one would be in Tanya's room.  Even when I had to go upstairs, her door stayed shut and I looked the other way.  I'm pretty good at avoiding problems.... clearly.

And then a simple request changed things.  My parents asked to borrow a space heater.  The only space heater in my house is the one I bought two years ago when I still worked at Sears (got a great deal...) for Tanya's room because my upstairs doesn't get very warm.  It was still new in the box in the corner of her room.  So I had to go upstairs.  I had to open her door, looking at her adorable name pillow as I turned the doorknob.  Her clothes peeked out from the closet, her books just sat on her nightstand, and her little elephant and blanket that were supposed to be her airplane comforts rested on her dresser.  I tried not to linger, but I couldn't help it.  As much as the hole in my stomach was growing, I could not help but to touch her jumpers and pick up her little shoes.  I fixed the blankets on her bed and put away a few pieces of clothing that were still sitting on top of her dresser.  And then I cried.  I cried so much I couldn't breathe.  But I had places to be, so I picked up the heater, put it in the car, and headed to the parent's house.  The entire drive was a fight to not completely lose it.  "Get it together," I kept saying to myself, and then I'd break again.  By the time I walked up to the door, I'd gathered myself.  When asked about the box, I simply replied that yes, the heater was new.  And then a beautiful niece and nephew arrived with cries of, "Aunt Jennie!" and a joy that was great enough to push my shadows to the side.

Realizing that I'd given up was a terrible awakening for me.  Luckily, I've had two amazing kids to keep me distracted this weekend.  And then I went to church this morning.  Blessed thing, my church is.  Prayer was the topic of the sermon, and as my pastor talked about his amazing answer to his recent prayer, a little piece of hope and God and prayer and miracles started to form in my mind.  That even though things are so very bleak (read any of the news about Russia lately?), that does not stop the possibility of a miracle.  We need a miracle at this point, I know.  A miracle is the only thing that could bring Tanya home.  And I know that not everyone gets their miracles - I've prayed for them before and seen God answer, "No."  But that doesn't mean I should stop praying - that we should stop praying for a miracle.  As we took an extended time to pray this morning, different miracle scenarios started to play in my head.  So if it is God's will (the tricky part), I believe that a miracle can happen.  We should all believe that a miracle can happen.

Here's where I ask for your help, once again.  I know a lot of you read and support me here, but we're a community of lurkers.... So I ask for you to pray for a miracle with me.  Would you do that?  If you're willing to join with me in praying for the miracle of getting Tanya home somehow, please comment below.  I still hope to share this blog with her someday, and I'd love to show her all the people who helped to get her miracle.  Please join me in praying that somehow God will bring Tanya home.

Matthew 7:7  "Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

Matthew 21:22  "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Monday, February 17, 2014

Her 7th

Today is Tanya's birthday, one I'd never imagined she'd have in a Russian orphanage.  I don't have anything left to say about how hard it is to live without her or how difficult it is to have the days, months, and now years tick by with no progress - or any hope of progress.

So happy birthday, sweet sweet girl.  We will continue loving and missing you.  We will continue praying for you.  And we will never stop fighting for you.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Carrying the Weight

I know I haven't been on here, but it's really because nothing new has happened.  The Russians have been clear - they have a law that makes US adoptions illegal, and they have no intentions of making exceptions or changing the law.  We continue to pray for changes in hearts and minds.

Given this, I have struggled with how to cope with having no timeline, almost no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.  What I'm trying to say is that this has been hard.  Really really hard.

When people ask me if I have children, how do I answer?

I feel such a constant sense of guilt that it is hard to bear at times.  I should have pushed my home study agency to finish things more quickly.  I should have pushed my adoption agency to give me more information about requirements sooner.  I should have started the whole process as soon as I saw her picture.  I should have...

Sometimes I can't breathe.  I can't sleep.  I can't think.  I can't be.  I don't know how to do this.

Her room sits empty.  Clothes hang in her closet, an adorable name pillow hangs from her doorknob.  But I cannot go in.  I find myself ignoring the very existence of the space.  As if somehow then this giant gaping hole just won't exist.  It won't be.

And there she sits.  Destined for who knows what if they don't change the law.  The hard fact is that she is sick and may not be getting any treatment.  Her disease is one that can be managed quite well with the right medications, but without treatment, she will die.  She might die before I ever have the chance to get her home.  It sounds extreme, but it is true.  I can't save my own daughter.  I can't even let her know that she has a family who loves her and is waiting for her.

And this last part is selfish, and I'm angry at myself for feeling it.  But I thought I finally had a purpose, I'd finally have a reason to be.  I feel like as I lose her, I lose myself.  I don't know what else to do.  I don't know who else to ask, who else to beg, who else to plead my case.  The State Department can't help, the Russians don't want to help.  Even some of the less scrupulous options aren't really options.  I've thought of moving to Russia (it takes five years to become a citizen), paying people for illegal transfers (I don't have that much money - and what kind of life is that?), other ideas... they're all dead ends.  And I feel dead.  I feel like I'm grieving for a lost child - like she's gone.  But she isn't.  There she sits, just waiting for a future that may never be.

And it's hard to just sit around and carry all that on my shoulders.  So when people ask me how she is, how it's going, I don't have an answer.  I pretend to be happy that I'm childless and carefree.  I'm just carrying it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Silver Linings

You know how I've been lamenting not being farther in the process?  Not being one of those 'pipeline' families that the U. S. State Department is working so hard to push through?

We found out today that the Russian government is claiming that in 99 of those 200 or so cases the children have now been either returned to their birth parents, adopted by a Russian family, or placed with family members.  Now I would normally take all of this with a very large grain of salt, but it has been corroborated by locals in Russia and local newspapers there that certain children have recently been adopted (most certainly related to the fact that Russia just raised their adoption aid by seven times).  While I am so happy that these children have families, I do worry that families may have taken them in for the money and not to care for them as their own.  And there is also that extra stab that the country pushed their adoptions to ensure that the American families who loved them would not have a chance to adopt them.  Because yes, somehow I would be happy if Tanya found a good family all the way in Russia, but I just don't believe that is what is happening the majority of the time.

The other positive part of Russia pushing adoptions again is that they have updated their orphan databank, and we get a new picture of my baby.  She is growing so fast, and looks anything but happy in this picture, but I'll take it.  So here she is, bangs all grown out, hair a little lighter, looking so very grown up.

Don't get me wrong.  Things are bleak, and that is putting it lightly.  The Russians are standing solid on the fact that they will not make any effort to put though any American adoptions.  The law is the law, they said, and they will not try to break the law.  They do not want to break the law.  Or change the law.  For now, things will not change.

And so I'll choose to be hopeful and happy for what I can get.  Hopeful that after some time (yes, it will be quite some time) and much negotiating, my Tanya will come home.  And in the meantime, we'll keep looking for those silver linings.

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."
Romans 12:12