Saturday, May 4, 2013

Foreign Adoption --Ukraine

I have been a bit sidetracked from my blog, because we have been absorbed with adopting a child from the Ukraine.  Last summer my sister participated in a hosting program of orphans from a Ukrainian orphanage.  The program lasted 3 weeks, there was 25 orphans who came from the Ukraine to spend their summer here in the U.S.A.  Families opened their homes and tried to give the children a different perspective to life, rather than what they find in an orphanage in the Ukraine.

We did not find out about the program until after my sister was picking up her child to host her.  We were in the middle of summer, my children were very busy with summer programs, plays, swimming, and we had a family vacation planned to Southern Utah.  I wished my sister the best, and we headed out of town.

When we got back into town, my sister invited our family to a picnic to say goodbye to the orphans, they were leaving to go back to the Ukraine the next day.  My sister had decided to adopt the girl they had hosted, and I really wanted to meet her, so we went to the picnic.  While we were there I saw a little blond girl and I had this quick thought, "that could be my daughter."  I started learning about orphans and orphanages in the Ukraine, and I cried for 3 days.  I found statistics of what happens to children who "graduate" from Ukraine orphanages, and I cried, I looked at orphanages, and how many kids were in them, and I cried, I found stories of people who adopted from the Ukraine, and I cried.  I felt like my daughter was one of those orphans and I just couldn't feel the same as I had before.

I think my husband thought I was either going through a midlife crisis, or that I was having a nervous breakdown, he saw me reading things on the computer and crying and I would have him read things and I would cry.  I had not yet told him that I felt this little blond girl was ours, but I was trying to touch his heart to open the possibility of helping her somehow.  Finally he asked me what was going on.  I told him about this little girl, and he told me he was so focused on the orphan my sister was adopting, he didn't really pay attention to the other orphans.  He also told me that he wasn't sure if he was open to adoption, but if there was another way we could help her he would be open to that.

Playing at the orphanage
I found organizations that did Christmas hosting programs, and organizations that do sponsorship programs.  A sponsorship is where you can pay for higher education and classes that teach independence.  When I contacted these organizations I found that they did not work with the orphanage she was from.  It took months to find out we had 2 choices, we could adopt her or ignore her.  I knew very little about her, I found out her first name from my sister and I found out she was a teenager that was it.  I asked my sister to find out more information about her, full name, orphanage, age, if anyone was trying to adopt her, and anything else she could find out.  The more I learned about her, the more I felt I couldn't ignore her, I just couldn't live with myself if I just went back to my life like I had never met her.  I realized at one point that I really felt like she was MY child, and I wanted to bring her home.  I asked my husband to think about adoption.  He came back to me with a changed heart and said, "let's adopt her."

This is a huge leap of faith!  We have since embarked on the journey of foreign adoption, we have braved the intrusive home study, leaped through the hoops of paperwork and policies, and we are at the point where we wait for the Ukraine government to give us the okay.

We have found out more about her and who she is and the more we find out, the more I feel we are making the right choice.

When I was younger I had a dream of helping as many people as I could, maybe open a soup kitchen that served good quality food.  I volunteered at a soup kitchen when I was a teen and I had a hard time serving the food I did to the homeless people we were serving because it looked awful.  I have always had a hard time seeing people who have nothing and not doing anything for them.

Posing in clothes that were donated to the orphanage
As an adult I have come to realize that I can't help everyone.  There is no way that I can single handed feed, clothe, educate, and provide for every person who is not able to take care of themselves.  Now I realize, I don't have to.  Part of helping this world be a better place is to be self sufficient for myself, to teach my children to be self sufficient.  To teach my children to make the world a better place.  

I once heard that the orphans of the world are everyone's children.  That it is everyone's responsibility to do our part to help them.  I don't feel like I am adopting to do my part, I don't feel like every orphan is my responsibility.  I do feel like she is my daughter, that I am adopting her to make it official.  I feel like if any of my children were in an orphanage I would move heaven and earth to bring them home.  That is how I feel about her.

I know her life has not been easy, I know that she will have several challenges to face when she comes home.  I also know that we will face those challenges and hopefully our family will be able to find the resources to help her overcome them.
Talking to us on the phone