(title is the first line of the lyrics of “Hold Fast”, the song this blog was named after)
My secret confession is that I dreamed that in 3 years he and I would get on a plane and make the long flight to Vladimir again. I dreamed of Vita and Ilya picking us up at the airport and driving all the way to that sweet hilltop town that gave me my daughter. I dreamed that we’d perhaps go to the baby house she spent her first 18 months at and find the last piece of our puzzle. I imagine him having dark hair and big dark eyes – maybe a little Roma in him since his own country would reject him for that. His eyes would hold the same despair with the same hint of sparkle that Sweet Girl’s did. I had selfish hopes that he’d be very young, 12 months or so, so I could cuddle a little squishy again. I tossed around names for him – imagining what his Russian name might be. Would he be a Max? Or a Sasha? We have been so blessed with how well Sweet Girl has adapted to being loved and to being in a family that my heart ached to show this love to another child. To have the last missing piece of our hearts in our arms.
Then, on January 1, 2013, the unspeakable happened. Russia has banned US adoptions. For over 6 weeks I have cried with my friends who were in process, and those who already had little Ruski’s home about the tragedy of this decision. All those sad little eyes in all those pictures are now lost. Some of these mommies and daddies met these babies and held them in their arms. They whispered prayers for easy transitions and whispered love and hope into those little faces. They cried ugly tears at having to leaving knowing a court date could be months away. I know those ugly tears. These families are now grieving the child they have lost while simultaneously praying for a miracle. I don’t know that pain.
For other mommies and daddies it’s a different kind of pain. The looked into the eyes of a picture and dropped everything to gather the paperwork and raise the money. Some were days away from finally getting to hold these sweet babies in their arms. I know that longing. Now, they are left with pictures of a child they never got to meet. I don’t know that pain. I mourn for them. I mourn that they won’t get to see the light glisten in their little Russian’s eyes when they know they are loved.
My dream was so far off that it almost seemed selfish to think about it when for so many others the pain was so current, so now, so fierce. I am mourning the loss of a dream, they are mourning the loss of a child. So, for 6 weeks people have said to me, “I’m so thankful you got her out because look what happened now!” I instantly imagine my brave little Russian trusting these two strangers with her whole heart. I imagine her climbing into that car with us and driving off into the dark night while the only family she’s ever known lay sleeping in their rows of beds. I still don’t know what to say. I usually mumble something about being very blessed while also mentioning the thousands of children left behind. It is impossible to celebrate her getting out while not also imaging the little faces who won’t.
I don’t even know how to advocate anymore for orphans. I know there are millions of them around the world in other countries, but my heart is still in Russia. I can’t show you pictures of these little faces and ask for help with their ransoms. I can’t encourage my friends to start this journey. I can’t scour the blogs new families travelling to our region and relive it through them. I can’t even think about the other lives affected without losing it. Our sweet Vita now has no job. Our trusty Ilya is left looking for other work rather than ferry American families around Vladimir. The people at the agencies, the people at the embassy’s, the social workers – there are so many lives and families affected.
So please don’t tell me how lucky we are. We have a sweet little red headed light who brings us so much joy, but we are grieving and mourning all the other little faces that might never come home. My friends, my sisters, are grieving the loss of their children. I am grieving the loss of the dream of my little boy. Nothing about this is lucky. Nothing about this is fair. Nothing about this feels like God’s plan.
Once you have seen, you cannot unsee.
These are pictures of some of the babies my friends are mourning right now. Please keep these families in your prayers. There are hundreds of other babies who don’t have families fighting for them either who are now lost.
and this sweet little one shares a Russian name with our sweet girl 🙂
To address some comments I’m likely to get.
– We are still fervently praying that Russia will reverse the ban. This will not be enough for the children who will die from lack of care in orphanages and age out of the system due to the time we have lost. There are also hoards of people giving up on these kids and giving up on Russia who might never go back for them
– I know there are plenty of other kids available for adoption. Once you have adopted one, then you can tell me or them to just pick another kid. Until then, let us grieve.