Moving on over!

I imported all my old posts on Blogger over here! Yay! I thought that would be the hard part. It’s not, going through all those posts and tagging and categorizing them and wiping them clean of identifying information is a little harder. Be on the lookout for tons of new old posts soon! I’m not sure how they will show up yet, so I appreciate the patience!

In other news, I did the dishes last night. It was major. Even the husband said, “Are you okay? You are doing the dishes?”

To everyone who’s hurting..

(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.

A Thousand Years.

In between the milestones sometimes it feels as if this is a dream. It feels like we never met her and she’ll never be ours. Then, the milestones hit and I read the words… court dossier registered… and then in a rush, the reality sweeps over me and my fingers get tingly. I catch the breath in my chest and I can’t focus. I can’t remember what I was doing 5 minutes ago.
The next several hours pass in a blur as my imagination goes crazy. What will the date be? When will we leave? Does anything have to be rescheduled? Then more, does she miss us? Does she remember us? Does she know how her life is to change?
Then, even more, I hope she’s home by Halloween to see her sisters in their elephant costumes. I wonder if she wants to be the ring leader or another animal. I wonder if she’ll be sad not seeing as much snow this winter. I wonder if she’ll like my cooking. I wonder how she’ll be as a teenager, as a young woman. I imagine her as a mama.
No matter how far my brain takes those thoughts, I am always brought back to the first minute we saw her. So many people have asked what it was like to see her for the first time. Her groupa leader led this scared little girl into the room, dropped her hand and left. She stood standing there for a minute with big tears just waiting to fall as she looked around at us. I instantly had tears in my eyes for her and rather than rush to her and attempt to comfort her, I let a more familiar person go to her.
A sweet fellow adoptive mama, posted a song online today. As I read the lyrics, my breath caught again and there I was. Watching her watch me. Willing her to know.

“Heartbeats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall

But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow
One step closer
I have died everyday waiting for you

Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I love you for a thousand more
Time stands still

Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me

Every breath
Every hour has come to this
One step closer
I have died everyday waiting for you

Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I love you for a thousand more
And all along I believed I would find you

Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I love you for a thousand more
One step closer
One step closer
I have died everyday waiting for you

Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I love you for a thousand more
And all along I believed I would find you

Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I love you for a thousand more

-Christina Perry “A Thousand Years”

My favorite lines: “Beauty in all she is. I will be brave. I will not let anything take away what’s standing in front of me.”
Now the judge has 10 days to issue a court date or request more documents. Even if he requests more documents, he can just request that we bring them when we come for court so we don’t have to wait for a court date.
My Sweet Girl, I have loved you for a thousand years and I will love you for a thousand more.

To her mother..

5 years ago, while I was blissfully enjoying my newlywed year and getting ready to celebrate our first anniversary, you found out you were expecting a baby. I’m sure you were scared, nervous, maybe even excited. I don’t know how stable your life was, but I have no doubt that you loved the little life you were growing. Then, on April 4, 2008, she was born. I’m sure she was beautiful and perfect. I can imagine the love you had for her when you stared at her perfect little features and rubbed her little head covered in red fuzz. You named her (hidden for her security) and no doubt she was your princess. She has siblings – are they older? Did you have children at home you were struggling to provide for too? How old were you? Were you married to (hidden)’s daddy? Even with all the questions, I think you took her home. Then, somehow at 5 months old, sweet baby girl entered the orphanage. Is that when you gave her up? Or did something happen earlier and you had to give her up then?  I wonder if you knew before you gave her up what you had done to her. I know you loved her so much and that you wouldn’t have given her up if you thought you could raise her. I know you hoped she would be adopted by a family and taken care of and loved. I hope they tell you that we adopted her. I hope they tell you that this mama and daddy love her so much no matter what. I want to thank you for choosing to give her life and for loving her enough to give her the opportunity to be our daughter. I promise you that we will love and cherish her forever and that we will give her everything she needs. She’ll get to go to the best schools and she will have wonderful doctors. She has sisters who will play with her and annoy her and love her too. I’m so sorry that you won’t get to watch her grow. I know that breaks your mama’s heart.  I want you to remember that in your heartbreak, you’ve added a piece to my heart I didn’t know was missing. 

A camping we will go!

One of our favorite family activities is camping and we’re lucky enough we’ve got a great (and growing!) group of friends who loves to go with us!

We used to think this was a cheap way to get away for the weekend, but we are realizing that we like to eat well while camping so it’s not as cheap as we always think it will be 🙂

So without further ado, here’s the awesome pics (that I shamelessly stole from others because I didn’t upload my own yet). 

Our speed demon
And her cautious sister
Nighttime cuddles
Yes she got the twizzler, no she didn’t get the Coke.
Sitting on the dock
So sleepy
Kiss the fish
Bike trailer riding!
Tomboy at heart, but not when it comes to kissing the fish
My sweet family
The most awesome baby play yard ever – this is only like 1/4 of it!
Breakfast at the table Daddy made for us

While we were camping, we also got a surprise. A new pic!!! Doesn’t she look like she fits right in and could have been out there with us? Love this sweet face and this sweet girl – we’re coming baby! 🙂