Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm home - Merry Christmas!

I came home Sunday afternoon to 10 inches of snow!
It was beautiful, but is going to make finishing my shopping very tricky. I will only update the blog when I get news about my next trip which probably won't be for several more weeks. I intend to spend as much time with this part of my family as possible. They were very good while I was gone, but by the last week, the changes in their life was taking a toll.
Thanks for taking this journey with me and check in with this blog in about a month nd I'll hopefully have news about the date of my next trip. God bless and Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Court is over, packing to go home

Court went fine - except the translator got me crying before I went in because she told me they were going to ask about my perceptions of the girls progress while I was with them. When I told her how slow Molly Jane was to trust and then how fully she embraced me, I couldn't even go on talking because the grief just grabbed hold of me again.
My heart is so heavy knowing that I was part of this system that gives these little ones a taste of what a mother's love feels like and then dash those little feelings when I hand her back to the orphanage. Talk about being part of instilling RAD in a child. This is also the only thing I hated about being a foster parent. You feel like you are contributing to a bad system and that the child's best interest is talked about, but they system doesn't always walk the talk.
How many times can a child go through being abandoned without loosing them to a life of trusting no one?
As I said, court was fine, although it was a different set of women on the bench and so I felt like I had to start all over with why a child with DS and not a 'healthy" child. They wanted to know if I understood the diagnosis and all the potential complications that could show up. I told them about my son Jacob and how sick he was as a baby with his heart and lungs and feeding tube and O2, etc. and then I told them how strong and wonderful he is now and how his life is very full and rich because he is loved and accepted by his family and community. And luckily I had emailed my pediatrician about Molly Janes' issues so I could truthfully tell them that I had consulted my Doctor and that he feels that I am expereinced and realistic enough that I can handle whatever all this turns out to be.
They agreed that I would be a good placement for the girls and they gave their approval. Next court is civil court and that will makes it legal. I'm hoping I don't have to wait too long for that court date.
This morning I am packing up and wrapping gifts for my attorney and facilitator. They more than earned their money. They had to drive me to two different orphanages both a good distance from the city and then with Myia needing to go back to the hospital twice during the two weeks - and it was a good 40 minutes from the city....and then they had to deal with the big Mama baby who has cried the last two times they've seen me...whew! I'll be lucky if they let me come back!!! LOL
The challenge in going home is not the flights to the States. The challenge is can I get from the airport to my house. Western WA has been hit with the coldest temperatures in 18 years and at my house there are 5" snow on the ground and the roads are iced over. Tonight is supposed to be 90 ph winds and more snow or ice showers. I might get stuck in the airport in SEATTTLE! Ha! Who would figure you can fly 1/2 way around the world and then get stuck 40 miles from home! Shuttle Express won't make a commitment to get me home! My parents put the studs on my small van and they're going to try to come and get me. Please pray for their safety!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

RR Friends again!

My dear RR friends. I got an inconsistent signal this morning (usually it's fairly reliable at night) long enough to read the comments on my blog to last night's post. I was doing so good until I read all your thoughts and empathy....now I'm crying again and I have court in an hour!
Last night I came back to the apartment, had a bowl of soup and laid down on the couch with CNN on - just to be able to hear some English!
I fell asleep and woke when Victoria from About A Child called at 9:00. I have to stop here and say that any of you starting the process with that Adoption Agency - especially with Victoria, will not be sorry. She has called me every day since I got here. She reads my blog and has followed along not only with me, but with the attorney and my facilitator/translator, Viktorija. I feel very well cared for by her.
After her call I started to feel the loss of the girls again and as I sat on the couch staring without seeing the tv, I felt His arm around my shoulders and I knew it would be ok. So I went to bed. I woke up at 5:30 like I always do and had that same feeling of peace until I read your comments. I so appreciate your support and empathy. Most people in my world don't understand why I had to do this. But I think they will all get it when they see these wonderful little girls.
And Lisa, I especially wanted to say, Yes, you're next coming here to get Little Dina. You will love the place and the people. and you will get through taking her back to the orphanage and then leaving. I think what's helped me is all the years of foster care and having to give back the children that have lived with me for several years. I know it's all part of the plan. This was harder, because I know these are my daughters and I want them with me.
And yes, I am single, and that does at some times make it more difficult, but I have the greatest Partner ever. He is with me whenever I need Him. When I was a little girl, the nuns would tell us to save a space next to us for our guardian angel. Now, I don't need an angel, because I have Him. And now I need Him to help me pull it all back together so I can go to court! Thanks again for all the love and support. I leave tomorrow to go home. "There's no place like home, there's no place like home..."

My second biggest life lesson

The first is patience, the second is letting go. God has certainly tested me on both of these charactieristics during this adoption journey.
The girls are back at their orphanages.
First it was Molly Jane. When I handed her back to the worker I wasn't sure I could walk out. Big sobs started deep in my chest. I kissed her hand and she was gone. I have the most wonderful attorney. He really understands what it feels like to walk away from a child. He put his arms around me in the hall. Such a kind man.
The orphanage was very clean and I got to see her play room where her groupa is. There were no other kids, but there were 4 workers who came to greet her. None of them spoke English, but they were very happy to see her.
Myia went in to Molly Janes' orphanage with us and she wanted to stay and play on the toys and she started to cuy when we left. But what was so amazing is that she laid like a baby in my arms all the way to her orphanage about 45 minutes. It was almost like she knew what was coming next.
It was so much easier leaving her because when we drove up to her orphanage she got very excited. It was a beautiful old ski lodge! It had an incredible wood staircase that curved down into the foyer. And a huge brick fireplace. She went willingly with the worker up the stairs and when she got to the landing she waved, "ata" goodbye.
Now I'm back at this apartment and it is eerily quiet. Molly Jane's hat was lying on the table. I will see her social worker in the mornng at court and give it to her. Myia's cup of apple juice was in the refrigerator half gone. The baby spoon was in the sink from lunch.
I want to go home. I want to see my other kids. And now here's where the patience comes back into practive....I don't know when the next visit will be. I won't know tomorrow at court, they'll e-mail me when they get a date.
This is sort of like when my son was born and he had to stay in intensive care for a month. We lived on an island in Puget Sound and he was in a hospital in Seattle. It might as well have been half way around the world. And his big sister, who was 20 months old, was at home. So when I was with him, I had to leave her, when I was with her, I couldn't be with him. And so it goes...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The last night with the girls

Tonight I'm packing the girls' belongings. They go back to the orphanages tomorrow afternoon. They're going back with a lot more than they came with. The clothes I had brought for E and N will be going with them to the orphanage, along with the toys I brought to entertain them and the extra diapers and wipes. It feels so sad to have their little socks hanging on the radiator tonight. Myia just won't go to sleep. I think she gets it that somethings happeneing. There's still snow on the ground. About an inch. It's supposed to snow more tonight.

I know I signed up for this process, but this part sure seems cruel. I loved having them here at the apartment for the two weeks, and I knew this was the plan, but now that I have little faces and little hearts right here, it sure is going to be hard to walk away.

My kids at home are having a snow day. School is closed. I love to watch them outside in the snow. I hope there's some left when I get home on Sunday. And then in four days it will be Christmas. I am so not ready.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday night - It's snowing!

I'm on the window sill with the computer up against the window...And it's snowing! it just started about 20 minutes ago.
I wondered if I was going to be getting a signal tonight. I wonder if it has to do with the snow. i still don't understand how any of this computer stuff happens.
Today was the final meeting with the social worker. We're old freinds now. She brought a collegue with her. Myia was adorable, putting on the woman's shoes and trying to get into her purse.
Even Molly Jane was perky for her and was "showing off" her babbling, clapping and waving. She's learned so much in just these two weeks.
So tomorrow is my last full day with them. Thursday they go back to the orphanage and then Friday morning is orphan court where I go and petition the courst to adopt these two sweeties. The social worker says it will be a good report from her. I'm not surprised, but i am relieved.
I changed my flight again, I was able to get a non stop from Frankfurt. I still won't be home until Sunday but I'll get home around 1pm instead of 9pm so that's worth the little bit of extra money it cost to change the flight. ($50 - yeah Golden Rule Travel!!!)

Monday, December 15, 2008


Cindi, thanks for sharing your dream and how God worked in your life to prepare you. Isn't it amazing!!! He has such wonderful plans for all of us if we would just trust Him.
My littlest one here has a few problems that I haven't shared yet, as I am waiting for a response from our pediatrician. God prepared me by having some foster children move into my home and gave me practice for what was to come. Had He not prepared me, I would have had to say no to her and miss out on this amazing baby. As it is I have an amazing peace about the future with her even if it isn't a long future. But then, how can we predict the time each of us has? I can see in her eyes that I am the best thing that's happened to her. She is already such a mama's girl and I'm so blessed with the peace I feel about her issues.
Thank you for sharing your experience...people would call these things coincidence, but all I need to do is look back over my life and see that it was a carefully laid out plan!!! Hugs! - Linda

Monday, December 15,

It's almost time to leave and there's a big part of me that still can't believe I'm actually here. I waited so long for this to happen. This journey started a year ago. December 30. It's so much easier looking back to see what His plan was for me. There's so many little things about this plan that if I tried to explain them, they wouldn't seem meaningful to anyone but me. But I get it now. I see why I needed to just have faith and come here and let Him show me which children are mine. It's like that reoccuring dream, Mom, that I told you about. Where I've just had a baby, and I'm getting discharged from the hospital and I'm told to go get my baby. There's a moving ramp that I stand on and all these bassinets are lined up. The "rule" is once you've moved past a baby you can't go back and get them. I'm terrified as I get onto the ramp that I won't recognize my baby. And I'm equally terrified that if I don't grab one, I'll go home without one. I've had that dream several times a year since before my first child was born 32 years ago. Well, I felt like I was living that dream as I came through this journey. I didn't know which child was mine. I thought it was Margarita and Katarina, but the ramp just took me on past. I just had to trust that God would bring me to my babies before the line up ended. And He did.
After 10 days of living with Myia and Molly I feel like we've always been together. Myia can read me like a book. It's so amazing how much she understands and with several things stacked against her being able to...her DS, the language issue to say nothing of just being 5 years old.
Today I took the girls a couple blocks away and bought Myia a pair of shoes. It was hilarious. First off, she doesn't know a stranger and the folks here don't smile at anyone, let alone a child with DS! But she wasn't discouraged she waved and babbled at length to everyone in the shoe store. She was so excited when she tried on the shoes! Then she wouldn't take them off and the woman who was helping us couldn't speak any English so she was trying to tell me that we needed to put the shoes back in the box and I was asking her if she could just wear them and Myia was bolting for the door in her new shoes. Finally the woman just gave up and tried to come at Myia with a pair of scissors to cut the tag off. Well, Myia must have thought she meant surgery, because she started to howl. The woman finally handed me the scissors so I could cut off the tags. I had to figure out a way to redirect Myia from bolting out the door so I gave her the bag and put her old boots in it. One of her favorite things to do is put everything she can in a bag and carry stuff to another corner of the apartment and then dump it out. She then puts them back in one by one and repeats te process. So the old boots in a bag worked fine and she was busy folding over the top of the bag and straightening out the boots inside so they lay just so. I think she walked taller heading back to the apartment in those new shoes, with her bag dragging behind her. When we got home she started a new game. Put the new shoes on, put on a hat, a scarf and tap me on the shoulder "ata" (goodbye) and then she would go into the bedroom and sing and then go back to the entry take everything off, fold it up, put it away and then put everything back on again.
There's a Christmas tree in our courtyard. It has shiny ornaments on it and at night they turn on the lights. She's happy to go with me now out to the garbage can so she can see the tree. She walks around it and says "oooohhhh" like it's the first time she's seen it.
The social worker comes for her last visit tomorrow at 3:30. This time I get to know when she's coming. I have no qualms that she will support this adoption. You'd have to be blind to not see that the three of us were meant to be together. it's like they've always been here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday night Day 14 of being gone

Today I took the girls for a walk. Myia did really good hanging onto the stroller and staying right next to me. We only went two blocks because it was so cold. It really helped getting some fresh air though. I'm going to take them out again tomorrow and buy Myia some shoes. She only has a pair of boots that the hospital gave her. The orphanage had sent her to the hospital in sandals and they hospital kept the sandals and gave her the boots. Hopefully if i buy her some shoes they'll let her keep them until I can come and get her.
I caught my landlord out in the court yard and told her I would need to stay for another day and she was fine with that. She'll stop by tomorrow to get the rent for one more day.
It's kind of funny, but the money here feels like play money. Like I could spend it all and not be out anything. I know that's not true, But it just doesn't seem like money.
It's only 6 pm and both girls are asleep. After dinner i put their pj's on them and we sat down to flip channels on the tv and they noth just about fell asleep on the couch so I brought them in here to the bedroom and they both went to sleep. I'll probably pay for this quiet evening tomorrow morning, but it seems like a good trade off right now.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday - one week left

The days are blurring into each other. I have to keep figuring out what day it is.
We have a routine going and it works well for all of us. I'm up at my usual 5-6am but the girls sleep until around 7-8 which is perfect for when they come home. From 5-7am there is an old movie on TMC whcih is only on in the middle of the night. And it's in English! At 7am it becomes a Russian channel and I'm back to only having CNN in English.
At home the kids get dressed before they come to the table for breakfast, but with these girls
I feed them first because Myia is always very hungry in the mroning. She makes anxious noises until I put the food on the table in front of her. This morning it was scrambled eggs. I fix their breakfast and sit with Myia while she eats. I put Molly in the stroller since there's no high chair and feed her. Then after breakfast I wash dishes (no dishwasher - I'm so spoiled) and then get them dressed. Then it's time for the laundry which takes all morning even though it's only one load. It's the tiniest front loading machine I've ever seen. it basically holds a days worth of clothes for the three of us and that's it. One night Myia's diaper leaked and I had to wash sheets - that's all that fit into the machine - two sheets. Then because there's no dryier and very little room to hang clothes, I take down the clothes that I washed the day before and hang up today's. They're stiff from drying over the radiator. (wow am I spoiled.) The water here turns every thing grey - note to myself to not bring anything white next trip) Then it's playtime for all three of us. Usually I read through the books I've brought for Myia and she's starting to understand the pictures. She's pointing to the ones she likes - the cow is best. She's starting to say "What's that?" although it sounds like "whas zat?"
I'm doing joint compressions with Molly and wish I had brought the brush for brushing her, but I'll start that once I have her home. By 11:30 it's time to start lunch which for them it's the big meal of the day. I'm trying to follow their orphanage schedule so they don't get too far out of their routine. Today we had spanish rice and something called biezpiens. It's sort of like cottage cheese/sour cream with chives in it. It was good. Molly had baby food...the social worker read the labels for me so I could be sure there was no milk in them. When I bought them at the grocery store I just went by the pictures on the labels because I don't undersand the words, but when I found out about her milk allergy I got worried about feeding her the commercial baby food because I couldn't read it. Today she had rabbit. When the social worker read that to me I could feel myself shudder...that's not a meat that our family is used to. But I guess they have it a lot here.
After lunch it's more dishes and then naptime for them. I have to sit in the bedroom with Myia. for the first few days when it was nap time I was so tired from the jet lag that I would lay down with them and sleep.. Now that I'm not needing the nap, Myia has discovered all the interesting things in the drawers and if I'm not right with her she's into everything. For example, she found my glasses and broke the stem right off. So needless to say, I sit in the bedroom now just until she's asleep. That's my time to read or play on the computer. I don't always get a signal in the middle of the day, but occasionally I do. I feel so blessed that there's some unsecured signals that I can pretty much count on that come at night.
After nap time I've been taking them out into the "square" (the area in between the buildings.) It's really a parking lot, but there's usually only a few cars parked here and Myia loves to chase the pigeons.
Then we go back in and have snack. And then it's "free time" that's what the orphanage calls it. I call it watch CNN time and see if I can find out what's happening in the rest of the world.
Then it's bath's another snack and bedtime by 8pm. And again for the first week I was going to bed when they did. Now I'm managing to get an hour of reading or Spider Solitare in before I go to bed.
A week from today I'll be back on the plane heading for home. I can't wait to see my other set of kids!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Don't know how I skipped posting for yesterday.
Myia came back from the hospital with a "clean" bill of health. They want to see her back there in February. They didn't send any medicine with her. Just a note to use saline drops in her nose. She hates that too. She was very happy to be back here. She gave me a big hug at the door and then started babbling like she was telling me all that went on since Tuesday night.
Victoria's friend, John, brought over a crib for Molly Jane. He was very nice and really enjoyed the girls. It was the first time he had seen a child with Down Syndrome and he kept commenting on how they are just like other children! Spread the word, John.
Today the social worker came at 10am. I had no warning, so I was glad the girls were clean and dressed and the dishes were done! She told me she had never worked with kids with DS before and she was really pleased to see how happy and bonded they were. She asked me if I was going to take them home next week! What?! Can I??? She said, she thought I could. But I checked with Bruno and that's only for the French families who come here, because they are part of the European Union. The United States is not. It was fun thinking about it for a few hours though.
Then this afternoon the housekeeper came. When she saw the girls I thought she was going to cry. She THANKED me for taking these girls. It turns out she is a teacher at the high school. She teachers Home Ec. She was down on the floor wiht the girls singing Latvian songs to them. She said that she knows her country is not ready to have these children out in the community, but that she heard there are so many opportunities for them in America. She was very sweet. It was nice to see that there are people here who can see our kids as worthy of a home and a family.
I'm ready to go home. I know I want these girls. I feel sure that the social worker's report will be a reccomendation to let me adopt them. I just want to go home. Everyday I dread giveing the girls back, but I know it's inevitable and I want to go home and see my other kids. It's really too cold to take the girls outside and there's not much to do here.
Oh, Myia likes Barney! I had brought a DVD with Barney to show her. I figured since Barney is a staple at home, I might as well introduce him to her here. She sat and watched the whole DVD and danced when he sang. It was very cute.
12 days until Christmas. Today is the 47th birthday of Noelle, the first foster baby our family had when I was 10 years old. Happy Birthday Noelle....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

US Embassy

Wow, doesn't that sound impressive? My whole life I've heard news about the US Embassy in this country or that and today I went in to the US Embassy in this country. The woman there is one that I wrote to way back in April when I first learned that I had to change countires.
I was able to talk with her about the issue with my home study and the I-800 having the wrong ages listed if I want to adopt Molly Jane, Yes, it means more paperwork. I have to get the homestudy updated with the social worker okaying me having a child under two and then the US government department of Homeland Security needs to ok it too. It's just a couple of months - she'll be two in May, but it must all be accurate so I'll do it. Then she gave me two more packets of paperwork that need to be filled out prior to taking the girls home on the third trip. - Yes, I did say third trip. She says that my attorney can certainly request they waive the 20 day waiting period, and the embassy does support that, but they have asked before - in fact they have formally requested that it be changed, but they feel they need it to protect everyone. It's the waiting period that someone could appeal the adoption. Like a family member. Myia does have a grandmother that visits her, but she had already formally asked if she would raise her and she said no, so the gov't terminated the mother's rights. I suppose it's possible that the grandmother could appeal it, but I doubt it. If she is like most other grandmothers here she is probably not financially able to adequately care for herself let alone a special needs child.
I took Molly Jane for a walk yesterday. It was 32 degrees, but not raining or snowing and I wanted to see her reaction. I bundled her up (to the point that when we got home the only part of her that wasn't toasty warm was the tip of her nose.) We walked for an hour up and down one of the streets near my apartment. I had hoped to visit St. Gertrudes' church - I saw it on the map, but the map doesn't have all the streets listed - just the main ones, so I think it was a lot farther than we walked. On the way back when we were about one block from the apartment she started to cry, sad, moaning kind of cry. When I got her back to the apartment and unpealed all the layers, she put her head on my shoulder and went to sleep. I guess she had enough city noises.
She is slow to trust. She is just now showing me what she knows and she's playing "games"like covering my eyes for peek a boo, and clapping and her little laugh and giggle! Oh my! This one totally has me. And she now is looking me in the eye and holding my gaze which makes me feel so much better. I think she is just a very cautious personality.
Myia, this separation was good for me...I really miss her. She has some of those orphanage induced rituals - like rocking. She rocks with her legs straight out and she bends at the waist and has this rythmic verbal pattern that she does when she rocks and she grunts with the same throaty growl that Coleen has still to this day. Oh, but little Myia's laugh and sense of humor is so endearing. I'm really looking forward to her being "home" again. I was not unhappy about having one on one time with Molly Jane. Myia is jealous of the cuddling I do with Molly even though she isn't comfortable with it, so I was looking forward to having time to just snuggle with Molly. But I miss Myia, so I'm ready for her to come back.
Tomorrow (Thursday) Myia comes home from the hospital. I hope I get some news about what they found. But I know that even in the States, it takes days before this doctor or that reads the xrays and writes their report. Molly Jane's crib will come tomorrow too. I think it's cute with her sleeping in the suitcase, but it will be nice for her to be able to stretch out more. She sure doesn't seem to mind the suitcase!
It's 34 degrees right now at 9:11 pm. I hope it doesn't snow tomorrow so the roads are clear when the translator goes to get Myia. - Linda

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday Evening

Hi Shirely! You must be so proud of Liz! I know I am of Charlie! It's such a blessing to me that they volunteered to stay with the kids while I was gone. I feel so confident with them there!

Tonight I had to practice saying goodbye to Myia. She had to go back to the hospital because tomorrow they're going to do a bronchioscopy and check out her lungs. They needed to have her there tonight so they can sedate her right away in the morning.
She is learning so fast! She now can say, "Please, thank you, more and bye bye and Myia and no" (don't they always learn that one fast?!. IN ENGLISH! She didn't really even have any discernable words in her own language! She's pretty amazing.
Yesterday she had to go to the hospital and get checked. The doctor that saw her, came into the room with such an attitude! She didn't like the idea that I wanted to adopt this child. "You know what about Syndrome Down?" (She knew some English) Luckily my attorney was with me to help us both with tranlations. By the time we left, she was smiling and had totally changed her tune. The final smile on her face was when she asked me "where in United States you live?' When I told her that I live about 20 minutes from Seattle Washington she was glowing. It seems her Uncle moved to Seattle from this country and she has been there. "You know Hospital Childrens?" I told her that all my kids receive care there. She was glowing. One more victory in the battle to get our kids with DS into families!
Yesterday the social worker came for her first visit. She was one of the women who was at the Orphan Court Hearing.( I thought she was one of the judges, or jury or board of directors or something. She is so nice. The girls were sleeping when she got here. (I only had 20 minutes notice that she was coming) but she said let them sleep. She spent about an hour asking me what I did with them during the day and what I was feeding them and did I feel capable of handling the language issue. I told her there is no language issue with the baby and Myia is handling the language issue between us! Before she left the girls woke up and came out. This social worker is the first person on this journey that I felt that understood that I love these girls not only in spite of the Down Syndrome, but also because of the Down Syndrome. The only negative thing that came out of it is that she doesn't like the baby sleeping in my suitcase! Ha! and here I thought I was so creative! She asked Bruno to find me a baby bed. Victoria was put on that task and we should have one in the next day.
I woke up this morning to snow! It was so beautiful. But the people over here are so worried about children getting cold, I decided to not even show Myia. I wasn't sure if she has ever been out in it and I would have loved for her to have that experience, but there's always next year at home.
Molly Jane (I've taken to calling her Molly Jana "Molly Yawna" Yawna is how her name is pronounced here) I kind of like it. But for her birth certificate I think Molly Jane will be less confusing once she's back home. She has really come to life today. She is babbling and smiling and even laughing out loud. She is touching my face and my hair and really starting to figure out that I'm someone to reckon with! lol. I just can't imagine leaving them in less that two weeks. This is such a good process having to live with them, but then they should just let us have court and then do the Embassy Dr. and all and let me take them home. This is going to be so hard on all of us to be together for two weeks and then not see them for a month or 6 weeks.
There is a family here from France that is adopting a boy that is 6 and a girl that is 8, healthy typically developing) They can't speak any English and I didn't remember that I knew a few French words until last night the dad came to my door and brought me a nice jacket that he pantomimed was too small for his kids and he motioned to Myia that he was giving it to her. Suddenly out of my mouth came, "Merci" That surpirsed us both! Then tonight he just knocked again and brought me an arm load of food. They leave tomorrow. I had gathered a few things I had brought thinking I was getting the older girls, some color crayons and tablets and some punching balls, and had bagged them up to give to them when I saw them next, so I gave them to him for his kids and he kissed me on both cheeks - just like in the movies! Actually, the orphanage director at Molly's orphanage did that when I left with her too...so continental!
This whole thing has been such an amazing experience for me. Going through customs, being in a foreign country - at least two of them. Getting left at the Frankfurt airport and then having to get new flights, getting dropped of in Berlin - oh so foreign. Then living here with no one I know any closer than half was around the world. I'm really blessed to have had this opportunity...and I'm done now. I'd like to take my new babies and go home. I'm all done with being a jet setter. I can totally commit to these two girls and I'd like to have my life back now. 10 more days with the girls and then back on the airplane. I guess I can make it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

To answer a few questions....

Just read through the comments over the past few days.
Thanks to all for the wonderfully supportive comments. I'm really happy and yet so tearfully homesick for my other kids.
Myia is pronounced "my -a" It's actually spelled Mija in her language, but they J is pronounced Y in her language so I changed the spelling. It's said the same though.
Julie, thank you for the offer, but I think we should skip the Holiday party for the kids. I think it would be just too much for everyone. I'm sorry, I really hoped we'd be there.

Sunday night Day 7 of being gone

I just talked with all my kids via video call on the computer. It's very cool. how does that work? it's so amazing. Jacob wanted to know if I was coming home at "5:00."
Another boisterous day with Myia. She just never runs down. She now knows the sign language signs for more, please, thank you, eat and all done (or all gone). She's starting to approximate English words too. I will point to something and say, "what's that?" and she will point and say "what's that?" fairly clearly. She also is saying "more" when she signs it. She seems to understand most of what I say to her. It's pretty amazing. Since I'm listening to her language via the attorney and the translator and people in stores and I'm not picking her language up!
Tomorrow the attorney will come over in the morning so we can take her back to the hospital for another "treatment". I'm not sure what it is. I'm hoping they'll let me watch so I can understand what it's all about. I was thinking it was asthma, but I have my stethescope and I'm not hearing any strider or wheezing so I'm not sure what they are going to do. It sounded like maybe it will be some kind of physical therapy with a ball. Hm-m well see. It's hard for my translator to understand the medical and developmental issues.
Molly Jane is really coming alive. I think she was just totally confused the first night. She is pusing herself to a propped sit and she is scooting with one leg all over the apartment. She kind of does a modified combat crawl. She's very quiet, but after her nap before I got her up she was babbling really nicely. She's just a very docile and somber personality. VERY OPPOSITE of Myia!
Here's a potential glitch for the worriers out there. My homestudy and my USCIS form says I'm approved for two children ages 2-10. Never thinking, of course, that I would get anyone under two. So we're going to make a stop at the US Embassy tomorrow after the hospital and ask if there's going to be a problem or do I need to resubmit MORE paperwork.
The attorney seems to think it will be March before I get the girls home:-((( Well, I've waited this long for them, I'll wait some more. Very disappointing though.
Sandy, I've had to move my return flight home. I won't be home on the 19th like I thought. I leave here on Saturday 20 thand get home Sunday nightthe 21st. I had to move the flight because it took so long to get the girls. I had to have two full weeks with them. Would you check with Charlie and Liz and see if they want you to find someone for that weekend? Maybe Amy or Jessica or Julie might too. It's up to them, but I'm sure they're going to be tired. They had Makayla there this weekend too. Thank you for checking with them.
Today I watched High School Musical three on tv and it was in English! They had the Russian written below. Still the only reliable channel in English is CNN. Once in awhile there's a soccer or skiing program in English. They have Discovery and Animal Planet and Cartoon Network but they have it dubbed so you really can't follow it. There was a show on about The Beatles. I watched it anyway, even though I couldn't understand it just to see the old footage. Most of it I hadn't seen because it was when they were touring over here in Germany, etc.
Hoping tomorrow goes smoothly for Myia. today I tried to put her coat on her to walk to the garbage can with me and she wouldn't put it on. She kept saying "Ne ata" (no bye bye) so I stood her at the window where she could see me while I ran outside to the garbage container. I think that was a good sign that she didn't want to leave. Hopefully she'll go quietly tomorrow. i don't want her screaming as I'm trying to put her in the car they'll think I'm kidnapping her! Where's that Embassy number just in case! :0)

Tammy and Lori

Tammy and Lori, Thanks so much for getting the word to Dolores. I am so happy for her, I can't stop thinking about her and Little Lucy Noel! How wonderful! Tammy, my coffee buddy, thanks for keeping the pot going while I'm gone. I'm telling you the jet lag has lingered all week. Good thing I promised the Orphanages that I would follow their routine which means the girls get a nap after lunch and I've been laying down with them and have slept both afternoons! I'll probably just get used to the time change about the time I head back! These girls are a wonderful Christmas gift, I just wish I could take them home when I leave here on the 2oth. Hopefully court will be in January sometime and I can come right back! My attorney was telling me about a new change that could shorten the last trip here. It seems the US is waiving the girls need to have a visa. That would eliminate about a weeks wait in country! That would be great. He says we'll stop in at the embassy and talk to them about it. I sure hope so.
Thanks again to you both for alerting Dolores! hugs, Linda

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Oh my friend! How wonderful! I wish I could e-mail you direct, but can't send e-mails! Lucy Noel! She is absolutely precious and who would have guessed, my friend that a couple of ol' ladies like us would end up with another baby!!! Isn't our God awesome!!!?? I couldn't be happier for you -how perfect. I think back to our e-mails off list this summer about how we were wondering what God was up to with us! Now we both know!!!! Love and hugs to you! RR friends, would someone e-mail Dolores and let her know I have this message here for her. I'm sure she has her hands to full to be following my blog!!! What an awesome God!!! When He puts it in your heart - He delivers!!!!

First full day with my new girls!

First off, thanks again to Sandy and to Jessica for the e-mails. I can't respond, but so love to hear updates from home! Sandy, why do you thing Julia was crying? Ha! I knew Katie would be upset about the clothes. She helped me pack for the girls and we were expecting 2 seven year olds! So the clothes are big on the biggest girl, Myia, but workable - good thing, because her orphanage didn't let me borrow anything except what she was wearing that day plus coat hat and boots. The little one, Molly is wearing a size 6-9 months and the smallest clothes Katie and I packed were size 4T! But the social worker at her orphanage is a sweetheart and she loaned me plenty of clothes and a stroller! (I had to leave mine at the airline gate or pay $200!) Margaret, it's a good thing I didn't take yours!!!
And thanks too, John for showing mom the blog. Wish she wasn't so afraid of computers! She's missing so much.
Jessica, she is not the Molly on the RR page, although I was in love with that Molly too, which is why I showed you her picture. She's in a different countyr that I'm too old and too single and have too many kids to adopt there. But this Molly was on there for a few days with a very blurry picture, because of the country I'm in not allowing pictures, but she was listed as Missy. Funny, Katie was called Missy before I could change her name! Have Charlie show you pictures. He took some of the girls from the instant messaging video call we did today.
So first night and day with the girls...both went to bed without much fuss. Myia slept in bed with me and Molly slept in the suitcase. (Jesse asked me tonight if she could unzip it by herself! I said, no, I didn't close the lid! Ha! Only a 6 year old would think of that!)
Molly woke up at 2am with a fever - luckily I had baby Tylenol with me. She's getting both back molars and her gums were really inflamed. I gave her some applesauce too because I can't get her to take liquids. She won't take the bottle I have and she has no idea what to do with the cup. I've been spoon feeding her milk and water and she takes if fine that way. She went right back to sleep and they both woke up around 7am. I played possum for awhile to see what Myia would do unsupervised and she stayed in bed! She just sat up next to me and babbled and patted my head, and sang songs and played with her fingers. She passed my test within 20 minutes so I "woke up" and as soon as I sat up she was off the bed. She's like a little tornado! She just flies through the apartment. She's so easy to entertain. She is playing with empty yogurt containers, the pots and pans and a paper bag that she puts everything into, carries it around the apartment and then stops and takes it all out again. She's into evrything, but if I say "Ne, Ne" (no no) she stops! She feeds herself and is signing More with no prompting. She takes her dishes over to the counter. She started to take her spoon and bowl at the same time and then she stopped and put the spoon back onto the table, took her bowl over and then went back for the spoon! Someone is teaching her good skills! She also likes to take my shoes and her boots and line them up at different places around the apartment. What a funny little girl. She is not potty trained, but at my house that's not an issue. (my girls call it the house of pee and poop, because there's always been so many in pull ups). She likes getting her hair combed and her bath time was a kick! She saw me getting the little tub ready and she was so excited. There's only a shower here, but there was a little plastic pan like a dish pan and I used that. I put baby bath in it to make bubbles. I got her undressed and she got in and immediately started washing herself! Then she started splashing and playing. She was so happy! I have some great pictures of her sitting in the tub. Good thing our DS kids are so flexible a typical kid couldn't have folded themselves into it.
She's been very sweet to Molly. She brings her toys and sometimes she stops what she's doing and bends over with her bottom in the air and babbles at the baby like she's asking her if she wants to come play. No aggression towards her at all. She has hit me a few times, but it's usually when she's really excited like when we played with the bubbles she was pretty excited and next thing I knew she hit my arm. She did it 2-3 times more. it doesn't seem to be agression but more that she's excited and just lets loose.
She's lying on the bed right now (I'm in here too leaning over the radiator holding up the computer on the window sill so I can get a signal.) and she's pulling the cord on the little bear I bought each of them that play's Brahm's lullaby. over and over. She's starting to yawn though.
Molly's fever was gone this morning and she was much more active than last night. She ate the Gerber Rice cereal and some baby plums. She has a very immature manipulation of the food in her mouth. Part of It comes right back out when she takes a bite. My feeding therapist is going to have fun with this one! But she has a good appetite. She sucks on her ring finger and middle finger but when the spoon starts coming toward her she pulls it out.
I put her on a blanket on the floor for some tummy time and she rolled over and pushed herself to a propped sit! Then later she impressed me with her ability to get up on all fours and rock. She's not crawling but she has the strength and postion good. One thing I'm worried about is she is not weight bearing - at all. She just folds when your hold her up to stand. Good thing we have terrific therapists that we can get started with when we get home.
Molly is a snuggle bug. She would let me hold her all day, which I was tempted to do, but I also wanted to spend time with Myia. Myia likes to give kisses and she likes tickle games, but she is showing some definate signs of attachment disorder, as is Molly, she won't look in my eyes for more than a few seconds and then she looks away. I fully expected it with any kids I get whether there from here or foster care. It's pretty hard to find a child who is securely attached in an orphanage or in foster care. Molly's fever is back up tonight, so I gave her some more Tylenol and she's already cooler.
I'd really like to take them outside tomorrow before we all get cabin fever, but it's really windy and cold. It snowed on the way to pick them up Friday evening. Didn't accumulate, just covered the grass. Today it didn't rain or snow, but it was cold enough to snow.
Both girls are asleep and I'm no fool, I sleep when my kids sleep - I even took a nap today when they did and I slept! I never sleep during the day even when I'm sick. But it just felt so good to finally be here and I had talked with Charlie and Liz and so all was well with the world - so I slept!
to all the prayer requests on RR, I've heard you and I'm praying. I'm sorry for all the delays, the plans and dreams that aren't going to happen/ Just don't give up. I thought my chance was over last April and here just 8 months later I'm here with my kids. Not the ones I had originally intended, but these are the ones meant for me. ...Hugs to all, Linda

Friday, December 5, 2008

RR Friends!

To my RR friends....I just realized how you can see Molly...she is Missy on the Angel Tree! :-)

They're in my arms and my apartment!

Hi all,
First off, I wish I could respond to e-mails. As I said before I can get them, but can't send any. Very frustrating! Sandy - got your e-mail! Love you, Miss you! I am fine here. no Worries about the neighborhood or not speaking the language. People are helpful although no smiles, although I was warned about that. I'm sure they think I'm a crazy person because I keep forgetting and smiling at everyone I pass on the street. Thank goodness most of them don't even make eye contact!
All my RR friends, thank you for the prayers! It really does boost you to be in country and read the comments on the blog and the e-mails. Thanks to all of you! Orphan court was this morning! It went very well. They wanted to know why I only wanted children with special needs. So I gave them my story and they said thank you. Then after the formal proceedings they all told me they thought it was wonderful that there are people who want these children and not just the healthy ones. They were very sweet.
So then I had to wait from 9;30 until 2pm to get the girls because of more paperwork that the orphanages have to do. They give me a schedule of when to feed them and when to give them a nap, etc. My kind of people! That helps our kids so much to have that routine!
So my translator and I walked around the Central Market while my attorney had some more court appearnaces to make. It was a long time between court and getting the girls!
During our walk I noticed an elderly woman sitting on the stairs in the rain holding out a cup, begging. I went over and dropped in the equivelant of 3 dollars and she let out this cry. "Thank you thank you thank you!' It broke my heart! She was literally crying and I didn't understand why, when my translator said that most people drop in about 20 cents. This country is so poor. We were on our way to get lunch and so I bought the woman some bread and a wonderful salad with cabbage and ham and cheese. We went back so I could give it to her but she was gone. (hopefully to get something to eat.) But not far from where she had been was another elderly woman. So I gave the lunch to her. Again, so much gratitude.
My translator told me that there are no government programs for the very poor and they have to beg. We walked through another tunnel to some more shops and there were people lined up begging. It was overwhelming.
But to the happy news. At two o'clock my attorney picked us up and we went to get, are you ready for this? Molly Jane. Her name is Janu - which translates to Jane, and I've wanted a Molly and she's little enough I feel ok changing her first name. So she will be Molly Jane! She is so tiny - wearing a 6-9 month size clothes and she is 18 months old. She is not sitting up alone, but she sits propped. She is so beautiful! I can't wait to share pictures, but I can't yet!
Then we went to the hospital to pick up Myia Bridget (Bridget is for my Grandmother) Her name is Myia and she knows her name so I'll keep it and I like it. She is 5 years old and also tiny for her age, (even for a child with DS). She is wearing a size 3. Both girls have crossed eyes, and I know that can be corrected. Myia has been in the hospital for the past two weeks with asthma (yes, Grandma, more asthma!) and they have been doing some therapy to help her lungs. I'll learn more about that on Monday when she goes back for her final treatment. She has no words yet, but she babbles a lot. The translator listened to her but she couldn't understand any words in her native language. But get this....first meal - I gave her a big bowl of yogurt when she wa s finished I peeled a tangerine and gave her one slice. When she wolfed that down she put out her hand and grunted. I said, "More?" and showed her the sign language sign for it, and then moved her hands for "more". By the end of the tangerine, she was signing more! Then I got a banana and gave her a little piece and then waited to see if she understood that it didn't mean tangerine and you've got it! She signed "more"!!!! She's saying "Mama" too. They had practiced it with her at the hospital. Although I don't think she knows what it means yet. Right now I am 5 feet away from Myia, who is sleeping in my bed (with chairs backed up to her side to make it so she can't roll off) and Molly who is sleeping in a make-shift crib, made out of my suitcase!!!! Her little bottom is up in the air and she's sucking on two fingers! And Mom! Guess what? Myia chews on her finger just the way Jacob does! And in her sleep she sucks her tongue, just like Jacob does. I tell you I am in Down Syndrome Heaven right now!!!
All you RR moms who are doing the paperwork and getting notices for more and more changes, and you're sweating the financial part and you're wondering if you'll ever get that travel date?? DON"T WORRY! It is so worth the wait and the heartache. I still wish it was Katarina and Margarita, and I'll probably never stop wishing they could have come home, but God did not disappoint me! He gave me two girls that are so much more than I ever imagined! So that's day one with Molly and Myia! How will I ever be able to give them back to the orphanage in two weeks? I don't know. Love to all!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday's Tourist

Today was a whole day of waiting.. The attorney had to prepare and submit paperwork to the Orphan Court and there was nothing for me to do in regards to the process.

I was able to connect via webcam with Charlie and Liz and because Jonathan had a hard day, *I know mom's not coming back" I asked them to get him up so I could talk to him.

But then I lost my signal. I don't seem to be able to get a signal during the day here, but here I am again with a weak signal, so I'm going to try to keep posting.

So with nothing to do, I headed out on my own today to do some sight seeing.And I'm so glad to have this opportunity because once the girls come to the apartment I won't be going far with them. It is so cold - not

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Email me the password for messenger - I can't get into it. Love you - Mom

Still Wednesday night here!

I just wanted to thank my Reece's Rainbow friends for your supportive comments on my blog and the e-mails. For some reason Outlook won't let me send, but I am receiving. Thanks for your support. Our God is not letting me down. These two girls are so precious and I will be so proud to be their mom. But I still have to get home before Christmas and get the social workers here who will visit me to support my adoption. So please keep praying! Thank you. I treasure your friendship. - Linda

Wednesday evening

Just got back from meeting little girl #2. But I will bring you up to date with what is going on right now.
First off it seems I can only get a signal at night here which means it's morning and rush time at home. Maybe I can try to use the web cam Saturday night which means it would be Saturday morning at home.
I am in my apartment in the bedroom with the laptop on the window sill with the blinds pulled up and leaning over the hot radiator to be able to type. It's the only way/time I get a signal in my room! I'm sure it looks comical from outside my window! What is the crazy American doing hanging onto the computer up against the window?!
Sunday I left the house at 10:30. Getting into the shuttle express van was one of the hardest things I've had to do. My children were standing on the porch waving goodbye. It makes me cry just typing about it. Lucky for me the van driver was a young woman with a special needs child, which she told me before we were out of the driveway. So all the way to the airport she distracted me with questions about therapy and her sons challenges.
The first thing that I found out when I got to the airport was that my bags were overweight. They had a scale sitting there as you get in line so I weighed my bags...one was over by 4 pounds the other 3 pounds. So I shifted things into my carry on bag, which was already too heavy, but i was determined to take everything with me. When I got to the window I was met with another surpirse, they would not let me carry on the strollers without a baby. It would cost $200 to check them in so I left them there. They were nice enough to put them in the "cage" and I can get them when I come back.
On the plane it was very nice, but very crowded. I sat between two young men who said hello and goodbye and that was all they said for the whole 10 hours. That was nice. They had movies on the plane and I got to watch "Mama Mia". I didn't sleep the whole time because I was going between being so sad to leave my kids and worried about my connecting flight since we were an hour late leaving the gate because of fog and a computer problem.
Sure enough when I got to Frankfurt my connecting flight had left. So I went to three ticket counters before someone could help me., Just in time - got ticket changed to Berlin and then on to my girls. But I didn' thave a phone number for the people who were to meet me at the airport and I was now going to be almost 4 hours late. Luckily they figured out what happened and met me at the later flight.
They took me immediately to my apartment even though it was only 7pm all I wanted to do was sleep.
Tuesday morning the facilitator/translator , Victoria came over and took me to get my money exchanged and get some groceries. Also the landlord came to collect the rent. $1000 for 18 days. It's a nice apartment. It's on the first level. It has a small kitchen with a stove top, microwave, coffee pot, and toaster. Set of dishes and cooking utensils and a few groceries left over from previous tenants. In the bathroom is a shower, toilet and sink and a wash machine! The bedroom is as bigger than my kid's bedrooms at home and has a bed and wardrobe, dresser and night stands.
First day, an ATM machine ate my card. I called the phone number to the bank and they said that probably my bank didn't have an agreement with their bank so they keep the card. But when I was fianlly able to call home this morning Mom called my bank and canceled the card. Good thing I brought enough cash.
While Victoria and I were at the bank and the store, the attorney went to the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs and got my referrals - 7 of them.
He came back to the apartment and we started looking at where all the children were. The two girls I thought I was going to get, plus two more, were at an orpahange about 30 minutes out of town. The other 3 were scattered. I was under the impression that if I wanted two children they had to be at the same orphanage. The attorney said, not necessarily so. The important factor is where is their court. That needs to be at the same place.
I told him that I wanted to go see E and N first and then if for any reason, I changed my mind we could go look at others.
He called the orphanage where the girls were to talk to the director and to let them know we were coming. He was on the phone with her for 20 minutes and I couldn't understand anything he said. When he got off he said - "Big problem. Orphanage Director says these girls are very damaged, had lots of problems and that he wouldn't show them to us without a medical doctor who could translate medical information and he didn't know of any that would come out."
Attorney said this director doesn't understand why you want such damaged girls and that I must not understand long range issues with girls such as this.
Ok God, this must be what I was asking for...lead me to my girls.
So attorney called another orphanage director that had one of the other girls. He knows the social worker there very well and he spoke to her about the child at that orphanage. She said, "This is wonderful girl. Very happy and very quiet, but very bright."
We went to see her. The orphanage was well lit and clean. We met the social worker and she took us to a visiting room. Very clean and nice with a whole bookcase full of toys.
She brought in the little girl and it was love at first sight. She is beautiful and chubby and very interactive. I held her and played a few simple shake-the-toy-like-me games and she responded and smiled. Then when I brought her over where the attorney and translator and Social worker were I was holding her and rubbing her head and she started to fall asleep. What a cuddler! So I said YES and she will come to the apartment on Friday.
I learned of another step in the process that I didn't understand. Once I say yes to a child there is a collection of papers that have to go to Orphan court. They read my Dossier and the papers about the child and give their blessing (or not) So those papers go to the court tomorrow, Thursday, and then the court hearing is 10am Friday and then I get to go get her.
Then after figuring out the calling card and calling home this morning, Victoria came over here again and we waited for the attorney who had been talking to orphanage directors to find a second child. So this afternoon we went to an orphanage the opposite way from the other orphanage and met another little girl. This one was another keeper! She is older, about 5 and she is walking and talking and very cooperative. She was shy at first and I just stayed away while she held onto the worker's hand. She kept trying to leave the room when she saw other kids in the hall, but when she was asked to stay here, she did. Then I got down on the floor and went over to her. I put out my hand and she took it. I had learned a few words so I tried one on her. I waved bye-bye to the kids in the hall and said "ata" (goodbye) and she smiled and waved and called something to them - probably meant ata, but not clearly. Then she heard a phone ring down the hall and she point to it and did that little sound you make when you are surprised. I imitated her pointing and going "uhhhh" Then I made the sign for telephone and she laughed and smiled. Ok I want this one too!
So tomorrow, papers to court, Friday at 10 court hearing and then I go gathermychildren!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm here! I'm ok!

This is a message to my son, Charlie. I can recieve e-mails, but not send them on Outlook. I hope you got the message I sent through Comcast.net. I have a very low signal in the apartment. I am going to try to Instant message you at 7pm tonight (Tuesday) your time.
I have no phone ability to call you. But the e-mail I hope that you got has the phone number here. Call me from the house phone if you need me.
I'm fine. Not getting the two girls I had hoped to get, but there are others. Political problems with the orphanage. Will explain when I get home. Saw one little girl tonight and said yes! Will go see others tomorrow morning.
I had trouble with the flights here - ended up going to Berlin from Frankfurt and then here. Very tired as I was on planes or in airports from Sunday morning to Monday night. With no sleep. Couldn't sleep tooo excited. Slept 9 hours when I got here.
Nice apartment, Very nice people helping me. The city is beautiful, and we are so lucky to have all we have and most of us take it for granted. I hope I never do again.
This might be the only way I can communicate with you so I hope you remember to check it! give all the kids a hug for me. Please call Grandma and Grandpa and tell them how to access this as it might be the only way I can communicate.
I love you! Mom

Friday, November 28, 2008

36 hours to blast off!

The girls just helped me go through my checklist and double check everything in the luggage that I've been throwing in for the last two weeks. I was worried that each would weigh over 50 lbs which is the max weight for each checked bag on Lufthansa, but when I weighed them on the bathroom scale they were each 40 lbs! That was a relief.
Katie and I packed the clothes for the girls. Not an easy task since we don't know what size they are. So we packed a variety of sizes and I'll just make due. Most of it I will leave for the orphanage anyway, since I want to donate as much as I can to them and will bring more next trip. We ended up packing an out fit for each girl in size 4, 5, and 6. We figure I can roll sleeves and cuffs if they're too big. I had bought two darling sage green parka's at Ross with pink lining and dug out a pair of snow pants for each of them. Shoes is the hardest part. I'm just trusting that the orphanage will have a pair for each of them that we can borrow for this trip.
I have my laptop back and I've had one lesson with the web cam! My son Charlie is so amazing on the computer. He never had classes and he can do just about anything with them. We're going to be using just our instant messenger with the web cam and we'll see how that works! It worked good from my desk to the dining room table! Theoretically it should work from the other side of the world.
Julia's 14th birthday is Monday and I'll be in the air somewhere over the north pole so we celebrated her birthday tonight. I had really hoped to not miss any important family dates, but with the size of our family that is next to impossible.
Tonight I got the news that the family that was going to adopt Katerina won't be able to make that happen. Why God? Why can't those two girls have a family? I can only trust that He has a wonderful plan for my Ukrainian daughters. At least she and Margarita will still be together.
I checked the weather at my destination and it is 36 degrees during the day. I really hope for light snow while I'm there. Just not too much to get around. I'm assuming they are used to snow and won't slow down their city.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I've Got Pictures!

It was a long time coming and a huge leap of faith to make the plane reservations without a profile or picture, but I did it and no surpirse here when the pictures came yesterday - the girls are perfect! What an awesome God to make all this happen and then have my two newest angels be so totally perfect for my family! Of course they are! All my children are so absolutely perfect for me!
So now I'm at T-7 days and counting. Today is the big meeting with all the amazing people who are stepping up to help make this miracle come true!
My parents are taking my youngest since she is not in school full time and my mom will take her back and forth to Head Start. My son Charlie and my daughter-in-law, Liz, will move in and be the temporary guardians of the other kids. My wonderful friends and childcare - oh heck my "other daughters" Jessica, Amy, Molly and Julie have their schedules to be here after school and evenings until Charlie and Liz get home from work. My friend Sandy is coordinating the childcare with any emergencies or "what if's" like if someone gets sick, or someone's car won't start and can't meet the school bus, etc. She and my mom are also going to keep the groceries coming! My friend Margaret is trying to get life organized to maybe go with me on the trip that I bring the girls home! And of course the friends who have financially contributed to this. Then there's the countless others who are praying and just offering moral support!
I really couldn't have done this without the childcare help, without the financial help, without the prayers.
And none of this would have been possible without Andrea and Reece's Rainbow. I would have not known of the need of all these children who are languishing in Orphanages around the world. I always "knew" but wasn't aware of just how awful their lives are. I will definately have a better idea after this trip. Even though the country I'm going to has far better care of their orphans than many other countries, it still is lightyears behind what their life will be like here.
Reece's Rainbow (PLEASE visit the website http://www.reecesrainbow.org/) is not an adoption agency, it is a ministry started and run by Andrea to help find families for children all over the world who have Down Syndrome. She is amazing, not only finding families, but raising money to help us be able to afford to go bring our children home. I couldn't have done this without the grants she was able to get for me.
And since I'm dropping names! About A Child Adoption Agency is THE BEST! Victoria really cares about the kids and the families. She has held my hand through this whole process - staying up until midnight and then the next night staying up all night to get the pictures of the girls for me. (The girls are 10 hours ahead of us, so the government workers are working when we sleep). And I might as well mention Golden Rule Travel too! They are a Christian Travel Agent who have contracts with the airlines to secure humanitarian flights, this started with missionaries but they've expanded it to international adoptions. They found me a great flight and a terrific price.
I hope to be able to post during the trip. I am having "technical difficulties" as my lap top has a virus and Charlie is working diligently to re-whatever you do to get rid of the pesky thing, isn't there a pill for that?
But I will update as I can and I will give access to my son and daughter so they can update if I can't but can reach them by phone.
Please continue to pray for this journey. Pray for my new daughters that they won't be frightened by this change in their life. Pray that they will somehow understand that when I take them back to the orphanage on the 18th, that I will come back for them soon. Pray for my kids here and all the people caring for them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Making Progress

Today I learned that my Dossier will be submitted tomorrow for adoption! I'm so excited. My hope is to get over and back by Christmas!

I should get the referrals for the girls in the next week to ten days. I can hardly wait to see what my two new daughters look like. And then I'll know their names. On RR it lists them as Natalija and Emilija, but those are names that Andrea gave them because the government won't give out their names until you submit your Dossier!

It won't be long now!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Coleen My Life's Inspiration

When I was 14 years old and just entered high school in the late 1960's the nun's tried to get us involved in community service. They would take us in groups to the Red Cross where we would roll bandages (can you imagine!) and we would go to nursing homes and read to the elderly people. These types of activities were enjoyable to me, but I sure didn't find those activities very compelling.

That changed the day that they took us to Fircrest. Fircrest is the State School for the Mentally Retarded. At least that's what they called it then. Today it's just Fircrest and the conditions I will describe, thankfully, no longer exist there.

When we first arrived I was struck by the long low buildings that I later learned were used as army barracks in the 1930's. There seemed to be 20-30 of these buildings on the expansive grounds. As we entered the first building, the stench that hit when the door opened seemed as though it were a solid wall rather than air. It smelled of a combination of urine, feces and vomit. The second thing was the sound. Moaning, yelling, grunting, but interestingly enough, no crying. Then my eyes focused in on the children in the huge room.

Lying on the floor with blankets rolled into dividers were about 20 children of various ages probably 8 or 9 years old through 20 years old. These children were lying on the floor in between the rolled blankets. Most of them wearing just a large cloth diaper and hospital gown. Many of the children were bent in odd shapes, which later I learned they had Cerebral Palsy and their limbs were not broken as I had at first thought but contorted due to their CP. Many of the children were having seizures. The few caregivers that were there seemed oblivious to the "fits" as they called them. And some of the children seemed to have several while we were standing there.

The guide then took us to other buildings where we saw some older "children" who were obviously mentally retarded, but were able to walk and talk and they seemed very bored, but very happy to see visitors and wanted to touch our hair and clothes.

One of the buildings had the "water babies". I thought that sounded kind of pretty and expected to find angelic little children floating in a swimming pool. What a shock to find out what a "water baby" really was. These were babies with hydrocephalus and since the shunt had not been invented yet, these were babies and children with heads with 25" and larger diameters. Their heads were so big that it took 3 people to change their sheets because if someone moved the child without help they could snap their necks. It usually took 3 people to lift the child because their heads were so heavy. Oddly enough there were a few chldren that had lived 10 years and could talk. It was very surreal. We were told that their heads would just finally "explode" from the build up of the fluid.

As we left that building I was beginning to wonder if there was a place for me, when we walked into the buiding that has forever changed my life. By that time I was getting used to the smells and the noise, so I don't recall either when walking into the last building.

Same large room as the other buildings but this one was lined in cribs. There was a long row along each wall and a kidney shaped table and chairs in the middle of the room. In each bed was a baby with Down Syndrome. The children in this room ranged in age from birth to four. I remember walking away from the guide and the group of my friends and walking down this long row of cribs and looking at all these babies and thinking that they were the most beautiful babies I had ever seen.

There were between 20 and 30 babies in this room and what struck me was that there wasn't one noise. The ones who could sit up were rocking back and forth and flicking their hands. The babies who weren't sitting up were just lying there.

I listened to the guide talk about these babies who would never walk, never talk, never feed themselves and that their life expectancy was 13 years old.

And then I saw her. A little blue eyed blond baby girl sitting in her bed watching the shadows on the walls. This was Coleen.

I asked if I could hold her and they said sure. There were so many cribs and no space between them that they had to move several down in order for me to get beside her crib to let the side down.

From that moment I spent the next two years coming to Fircrest as many weekends as I could convince someone to drive me the 20 miles from my home. My parents could not understand why I was drawn to these babies.

My parents were foster parents and from the time I was 10 until I turned 19 my parents always had a healthy newborn in our home. Until I had that first day at Fircrest I was always pushing my parents to adopt one of the baby girls so I could have a sister. (I had 4 brothers.)

Once I met Coleen I began pushing my parents to adopt her. Her parents had given her up at birth and I had talked to the administration and was told that yes, it was unheard of , but she could be adopted if someone wanted to.

My parents told me that people put children like her in institutions for a reason. You don't bring them home. I wasn't convinced.

When I started visiting Coleen, she wouldn't look at me, couldn't stand, couldn't talk of course, and actually I didn't hear her cry.

I would sign in each week as a volunteer to work in her building, but soon it was obvious to the two women who worked weekends in her building that I was there to be with Coleen. I would help with the other kids, but as soon as all the diapers were changed or babies fed, I sat in the only rocking chair holding my girl and singing and talking to her.

The women who worked there would chuckle at me when I would stand Coleen up against the wall and try to get her to stand there alone. She would flap her hands and make a distress noise, but I persisted and it wasn't too long until I could stand her up at the wall and move back and put my arms out to her to beckon her to come. Her little knees would lock and she would screech in protest, but she began to trust me and although it took a long time before she would take a step it didn't take too long for her to reach her arm out for me to pick her up.

Meal time was structured for the two workers not for the kids. They were brought from their cribs and put in chairs around the kidney shaped table. One worker would bring the kids and tie them with a large cloth diaper around their waist to keep them upright in the chair. The other worker would have one bowl and one spoon and she would start at one end of the table shoving the food into one mouth after another and then go back to the first child with their second bite. The other worker would then start taking the children out of their chairs and put them back in bed and bring the next round of kids. Bottles were propped - some could hold their own.

They laughed at me when I would sit her down at the table and bring baby food from home and give her a spoon while I would guide her hand from the bowl to her mouth. "Even if you teach her, we can't take the time to let her feed herself. She only does this when you're here" And when I would hold her in my arms and feed her bottle, they would say the same thing, "You're the only one that has time to do that. The rest of the time it's propped."

None of the children had their own clothes. They only had cloth diapers and hospital gowns. So on the weekends I would bring my doll's clothes and dress her in them so I could take her outside. (I had a Patty Play Pal doll that wore size 3 clothes that my mom had made a small wardrobe for me for Christmas. )

By the time I had been there for two years Coleen was walking, feeding herself and she had one word. "Mama". The workers assured me that word was reserved for me because she only said it when I came or when she was rocking herself to sleep at night.

The staff was amazed at her progress, but they said that it was easier for them before she was doing those things. Even as a teenager, I thought that was a very sad statment.

When I would get there, and she saw me coming across the room, she would sit rocking in her bed and start chanting "Mama, Mama, Mama." Then when I would walk up to the crib she would squint her eyes, smile and reach her arms out to be picked up.

One day when I came home from school I was told that there was some very sad news. I was told that Coleen had died suddenly. I demanded to go to Fircrest to see her, I wanted to go the funeral, I wanted to know why she died. I was told that there was no funeral beause she had no family and that she was buried already.

I buried her in my heart.

Some how my life went on. I got married, had two babies of my own and as those two kids left home I started foster care. My pictures of Coleen (there are only 9 of them out of my friend, Christie's Brownie camera) were always in my bedroom and everyone who knew me, knew the story of Coleen.

When I started foster care I asked that in my profile that they keep at the placement desk that I would really like to have a child with Down Syndrome. I did get placed with my Jacob 6 years later. He was 6 months old.

As Jacob neared his fourth birthday, which was the age that Coleen died, I had the overwhelming need to go back to Fircrest to see if I could find out why she died and if there was a grave I could go visit.

Fircrest Administration was very understanding and respectful when I shared my story, but they told me that if she died in the 60's it was way before that information was computerized and there would probably be a paper record somewhere but all the information was archived.

When they saw my disappointment they referred me on to a kind man, Bill, who said that he would make a few phone calls to people who were around back then and see if there was anyone that remembered Coleen. I gave him her full name and birthdate and left feeling like there was little to no way I would hear any information.

Six weeks later I got a phone call from Bill. He told me that he might have located someone who remembers Coleen, but could I send a copy of the picture of her so she could be sure. I sent the pictures to Bill and waited.

Bill called a week later and said, "Call this number and ask for Linda, I think she can help you."

So I called and started to explain to Linda who had answered the phone, "Kitsap Residences", and suddenly she called out, "This is the woman looking for Coleen!" I said, "Excuse me?" She said, "Coleen's here!"

Well, of course, I thought it was impossible. I thought it was a very cruel joke, but Linda insisted that they were very sure this was the same person.

The decision came from that phone conversation that I needed to go the 60 miles to Port Orchard, WA to see if this person they insisted was Coleen, was truely MY Coleen.

The first visit with Coleen – May 9, 2005

For the few days leading up to my visit the staff at the agency that cares for Coleen would call me with things that I needed to be “prepared” about.

For example they said she might not tolerate more that two minutes. She hasn’t had any visitors for at least the 15 years that she has been connected with this agency. No friends, no relatives have come to find out what happened to her.

They told me that since she is non-verbal she might just walk into her room and shut the door – visit over
She might walk me to the door – visit over
She might spit in my face – visit over
She might slap me - visit over

And then there was the picture that came that was meant to “prepare me” for what I would see. This picture was the best one they could get of her and it was dreadful. She was mostly bald with a few wisps of hair, but that wasn’t the worst part. Her eyes, her face were the saddest I’ve ever seen, and I’m a person used to sad faces on all the foster children who’ve come to my home over the years.

But the exciting news was that it was my Coleen! No doubt in my mind.

Over the next few days, including Mother’s Day on the day before my visit with her, I had lots of preparation from my family. My younger twin brothers and their families were at my house for Mother’s Day and they told stories of me begging my mom and Dad after Mass on Sundays to take me to Fircrest. I even told them I’d walk home, but of course they would come and get me.

Monday was agonizing – waiting for the time the babysitter would arrive so I could leave. I walked across the Bremerton ferry and took the foot ferry to Port Orchard where Debbie met me. Debbie has worked at the agency for 7 years and was chosen as my chaperone to visit Coleen because they felt she knows her best on a day-to-day basis. Debbie worked for 5 years - 40 hours a week with Coleen and now Debbie is the supervisor of the building that Coleen’s apartment is in.

But, apparently there was more preparing me to be done, because the 20 minutes ride from the ferry dock to Coleen’s apartment was spent telling me what to expect. Things like – “In all the year’s I’ve known Coleen, I can count on one hand how many times she has hugged me or someone else that works with her. “ And “ In all those years we haven’t been able to get her to sit still for a picture or catch her smiling”. I believed that one already because of the picture they had sent me. And she reminded me that she is non-verbal.

She also glanced at the photo album of the 11 pictures I had of Coleen and me from the 60’s and told me that Coleen doesn’t look at books. She doesn’t look at pictures. I told her that was ok because all I wanted was for her to have these eleven pictures of her childhood. That one day back in the 1960’s of my friend, Christie Brown, taking pictures of Coleen and I together are the only pictures Coleen has of her childhood. I had blown up the eleven pictures to 8 ½ x 11 and put them into an album with some extra blank pages that I hoped would be filled over time with more pictures of her. I had brought my Polaroid camera in hopes that I could leave that day with one of her and me together again.

I told Debbie that I would take her lead and if she thought Coleen had had enough of a visit that I would go.

By the time I walked into the apartment I was “prepared enough” to only hope for a glimpse of Coleen and then be whisked back to the ferry.

When I walked in, Coleen was in her room sitting on the bed, legs straight out rocking back and forth. She had a wad of clean socks clutched to her chest and she was looking at the wall.

Debbie said, “Coleen, I brought you a visitor.”

Coleen didn’t look up she just rocked faster. I walked into the room and stood near the bed. I could barely find my voice to say, “Hi Coleen”.

I started just talking softly about the pink tennis shoes she was wearing and then started telling her that I knew her when she was a little girl and that I brought some pictures for her to look at.

I opened the photo album to the first page. I said, “Coleen, look at you! This is when you were just a little baby girl.” Her eyes darted just barely noticeably and then, away again. “Look this is when you were a little girl and now you’re a big girl, and this is me when I was a little girl and now I’m bigger too.” Her eyes turned towards the book, though her face was still towards the wall. “Look, weren’t you a beautiful baby?!” She stopped rocking and turned to look at the picture for just a few seconds. Debbie gasped! Coleen tried to turn the page, but she couldn’t she started getting anxious.

“I’ll help you,” I said and turned another page. Coleen bent over the picture looked up at me, then at Debbie and smiled. The same little crooked smile she had 38 years ago.
Then as quickly as it appeared it disappeared and she started to rock.

“Keep talking to her, she’s listening”. Debbie barely whispered.

So I spoke on about the pictures and that day. How we went outside for a walk and how she was so little that her legs got tired and I picked her up and carried her. And how we used to play and how baby Coleen used to hug me. I showed her a picture of us with her head on my shoulder and her little hand hanging onto the lapel of my coat. She looked at that picture and studied it. Then she looked up and smiled. “That makes me smile too, I said. – Suddenly the hand came up and she slapped me in the face and she started rocking violently again.

“I think that’s enough pictures for now. “ I said

Debbie suggested that she make some coffee and see if we could get her out of her bedroom and into the dining room. Coleen wouldn’t come out so after a few minutes I went back in to talk to her. This time I stood at the foot of her bed and her feet were pointing off the side. I had my hands on the footboard while I spoke to her.

I started talking again about when she was a little girl and how I used to love to play with her. She kept rocking but her hand left the wad of socks for a fleeting second and came to rest on my hand. Then she pulled back quickly. I kept talking. A second time she put her hand on mine this time for a few seconds longer. I could hear Debbie shifting in the doorway to Coleen’s room trying to get a better look. I put my hand out, palm out and said, “Will you hold my hand, Coleen.” Several seconds later the little hand came up and rested on mine. I felt like I had a handful of gold! Debbie let out a little gasp and Coleen spit at Debbie and then at me.

I backed off and told her, it was ok, and I’ll go check on the coffee. I walked out to the dining room with Debbie and she asked me how I was doing. Although I was emotionally exhausted I was more interested in what she thought about Coleen’s advances toward me and the smiles we had seen.

“I don’t know what she remembers, but it’s obvious she’s remembering something about you, or the pictures, or that time. Keep talking to her; I think it might be your voice. She seems to recognize your voice and she’s really listening.”

I walked back in again alone and walked to the side of the bed. I asked Coleen if I could sit down, and since she didn’t spit at me, I took that for a yes. I sat on the edge with her legs stretched out beside me. She was rocking again and seemed calm so I started talking to her.

“Coleen, I have loved you for a very long time. I loved you when you were a baby, and I love you now that you are a big girl.”

“There was a very long time when I was very sad. A long time ago I lost you.” (Her rocking slowed) “I couldn’t find you. I looked everywhere to try to find you. I’ll bet you were very sad too.” (She stopped rocking and looked at me out of the side of her eyes with her head still bent toward the wall)

“But I kept looking for you and then I found you and now I’m very happy!” At that moment she turned her head toward me with a big smile and threw both hands up in the air like she was saying ‘What a great ending to the story!’

But just as quickly the hand came up again and hit me and then the spitting started. I rose slowly off the bed but stayed right next to the bed.

Debbie who had been standing in the doorway watching came into the room and told Coleen that spitting on Linda wasn’t very nice. Coleen’s rocking slowed back into her comfort speed.

I sat down on the bed again and laid my hand on Coleen’s ankle and put another hand on her back. I told Debbie, “I have a dilemma about something. Coleen didn’t know me as Linda, she called me “Mama”.”

Coleen stopped mid-rock and bent over to my face and studied it and then she said, “Bama”! Then she started rocking and chanting, “Bama, Bama, Bama, Bama” She smiled, she paused long enough for me to say, “That’s right Coleen, Mama” She started chanting again, and I started chanting with her. It went on for several minutes.

Debbie’s lower jaw hit the floor. When she could speak she said, “I’ve heard her do this before. But we didn’t think it meant anything! I used to work swing shift and help her to bed. That’s what she says when she’s going to sleep! I’ll bet after you stopped coming that became her way to comfort herself!”

Within a few minutes, Coleen had stopped chanting and was rocking steadily and more slowly again. I walked into the kitchen with Debbie to regroup. I looked at the clock and it was almost time for me to leave to catch the ferry as I still had a three-hour journey home and I needed to be there to put Jacob down for the night.

I asked Debbie about the Polaroid Camera. I was really hoping to just get a shot of Coleen and myself next to each other for her photo book. Debbie thought it was worth a try but reminded me about the difficulty of getting her to hold still and catching a smile was probably too much to hope for.

It was Coleen’s dinnertime and she was called to the table. She sat down in her chair and grabbed her spoon with the palmer grasp of a 12 month old, bent her head to her plate and shoveled in a mouthful. Her chewing was practically non-existent as she mushed the food between her tongue and her palate.

When she was about half way through, Debbie said, “Coleen, let’s get a picture of you and Linda.” No response, she just continued eating. Debbie and I joked about her priorities being straight – food first, pictures later.

Debbie glanced at the clock and said “If we’re going to do this, we better do it now”

At the risk of getting cooked carrots spit in my face, I knelt down next to Coleen’s chair and said, “Just go ahead, as long as we’re together. I just want both of us in the frame together.”

“Coleen, let’s take a picture of you and Mama.” Debbie said. Coleen put down the spoon, put her cheek right next to mine and Debbie shot the picture. “Take more,” I said between clenched teeth…Debbie got two more pictures before Coleen pulled her plate back in front of her and resumed eating.

Debbie and I glanced at the clock and Debbie said, “Coleen, we have to go now.” Coleen threw the spoon across the room and stomped her foot. Then she dropped her head to her chest in a typical two-year-old pout.

I knelt down beside her and she slapped me. I grabbed her hand as gently as I could and said; “I told you that I was so sad until I found you. I’m going home now, but I promise I’ll be back. I’m not going to loose you again.” She smiled, stuck her hands into the food and started eating again.

Finding Coleen again has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. Since that first visit, she has spent weekends at my house, has spent Christmas with us and even took her very first vacation ever with us.

She still has only one verbal word, "Mama' which she uses alot, and when I disappear from sight she grabs my 12 year old's hand and pulls her down the hallway chanting, "Mama, Mama".

But what she has done for my life is give me the drive to save at least one little girl from having the life that Coleen had. I couldn't save her, but I can find one little girl with Down Syndrome and pull her from a life in an institution and give her a family that loves her.

This is my song for Coleen...it's a song from that era sung by Chicago.

You know our love was meant to be

The kind of love that lasts forever

And I want you here with me

From tonight until the end of time

You should know, everywhere I go

Always on my mind in my heart, in my soul

Baby, You're the meaning in my life,

You're the inspiration

You bring feeling to my life,

You're the inspiration

Wanna have you near me

Wanna have you hear me saying

No one needs you more than I need you.

And I know yes I know that it's plain to see

So in love when were together

And I know that I need you here with me

From tonight until the end of time.

You should know,

Everywhere I go

Always on my mind

In my heart in my soul

You're the meaning in my life

You're the inspirtation

You bring feeling to my life

You're the inspiration.

When you love somebody

Till the end of time

When you love somebody

Always on my mind.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Zombie Mother

So now it's June and I should be in Ukraine right now bringing home my girls.

Although I have physically moved on, sending off my I800A form to get permission from the US Government to bring the two little girls home from Latvia. I've redone the financial statement, the homestudy, the Doctor's paperwork. I've researched the new country and read about the adoption process. but the kicker is that I haven't emotionally let go of the girls in Ukraine or emotionally attached to the girls in Latvia. It's not a good spot to be in.

I walk through the days in a fog. It's a blessing that the kids who are already here inadvertantly drag me through each day with their needs and activities. I'm getting out of bed and getting those that go off to school.

Those that stay home are so oblivious to Mom's fog that they just chatter through their day reminding me when it's lunch time and time for the afternoon kindergarten bus and gentle reminders that I didn't get the mail yet.

It makes me feel like I'm useless to the girls half way around the world and just about as useless to the kids here.

The only real moments are my conversations with God which swing from deal making with Him to pleading with him to either slam the doors shut to international adoption and release me from this burning desire He put into my heart, or tranport me NOW around the world to bring home whomever He wants me to bring home.

I don't feel like I can move on with my life with this total unknown devouring my spirit. I think back prior to 12/30/07; back when I thought it would be impossible for me to adopt internationally at all.

I loved following the other families at Reece's Rainbow as they went around the world gathering THEIR children. But I truly thought my life had taken such a turn over the past 15 years from gathering children domestically that I had no way financially or that I could picutre myself leaving these children to go gather more from far away places.

The desire to adopt a little girl with Down Syndrome has been in my heart for 40 years, but never did it burn any brighter for me than 12/30/07 coming home from Church and KNOWING that I needed to do this.

And then April 12, 2008 while my Dossier was in Ukraine getting translated - readied to submit for a court date, some unknowing men and women in the Ukrainian legistlature slammed the door shut between me and my girls; forever altering their lives and mine.

I spend the evenings watching every Christian station I can for some message from some more enlightened-than-I person of WHY is this happening. What did I do, or didn't I do to encourage this change in what felt like destiny?

Last night I got a glimmer of an answer...I heard that "Miracles don't happen where there is no faith."

I'm thinking this morning that maybe I gave up too soon and let myself fall into this depression. Maybe the Right Response would have been to hold onto the thought that Nothing is impossible for God. That this was merely a test of my faith and that if I had prayed hard enough, long enough, been good enough that maybe He would make a miracle for me and Katia and Margarita.

This is so exhausting! The paper pregnancy was exhausting and the mental and physical preparation to be ready to leave my kids here at basically a moments notice was exhausting and now to start the whole process over for another country and another set of travel arrangements and on top of that it's three trips to bring the Latvian girls home...It's all just so exhausting.

And yet the fire burns deep inside me and I know that I have to keep going.

Friday, April 25, 2008

His will, not mine.

It's not to be. The door has closed to Ukraine for me. April 12 the Ukrainian Parliment passed a law that single people cannot adopt from Ukraine. And to add insult to injury, they threw in that the adoptive parent can't be more than 45 years older than the child they want to adopt.

So, even if I could convince a male friend to marry me for a few months, I can't change my age. It's just not gonna happen.

My very first reaction was denial...for the next 10 days I kept thinking that they didn't mean me, that they would make an exception, surely with me being this close they wouldn't make me give them up. But the final NO came in an e-mail on Wednesday night.

"Sorry, Ladies, It's time to grieve and move on." That was the message from our fearless leader, Andrea. Amy and I, both single moms were hoping to go to our separate corners of Ukraine this summer and bring our children home.

So now what? Andrea had gently sown seeds about going to another country the first day we all heard about the impending law. But I swept them aside in my arrogance thinking that surely the law would be bent for me. After all I love these girls who are to be my daughters. They can't possibly mean for ME to not come.

By the time Andrea's final words came, I knew they meant me too. No possible stone left unturned. Andrea had contacted many of her colleagues and had gotten the same story. No more adoptions to single people in Ukraine.

I had not really grieved the loss of the girls over that two weeks, because I wasn't willing to let go of the idea that it wasn't going to happen. I had tried on denial, I got angry, I got depressed, I got numb, but the grief started seeping in and by the time the final word came I was ready to break.

Now it's Friday and I'm beginning to feel things other than grief, saddness, helpless, If they call this process of adoption the "paper pregnancy", then this must be what a miscarriage feels like.

So, I'm starting the climb back. Today I started the paperwork for another country. As it is with foster care here in the States, there is always a tidal wave of children needing a home.

This time the country is farther north - in the Baltic States, the country of Latvia. There are several little girls with Down Syndrome in orphanages there and according to Andrea there are very few adoptions from this country because they are truly blind referrals. Absolutely no pictures.

And so it goes, that I leave more daughters in institutions. The reason for this journey is Coleen - that I couldn't get her out of the institution 40 years ago, and so I wanted to save Margarita and Katerina from the same life she had, and now there are three little girls I love who move me on to try to give a home to a little girl or two who someone thinks is a hopeless, unworthy child.

It's time to shut up and listen to God. I thought I was listening, but I think my arrogance got in the way and I took over the mission instead of letting Him guide me to where I need to be. My strong will is useful at times, but when it's a God thing, I need to let Him lead.