Skip to content

By lifting others we rise

149 days have passed since we greeted Alina for the first time.

73 days since she returned to Ukraine.

19 days since she left for ‘camp’ and we have been unable to contact her.

35 days until she will return to us yet again.

In this time we have changed, grown, seen things that have altered us. We have watched other families transform with the challenge hosting gave them. We have seen our friends make strides toward their goals and evolve themselves. We have seen failed adoptions and those that went smoothly. They say time flies when you’re having fun, but I think the river flows regardless of the amount of fun involved.

For the last 19 days Alina has been at camp. There is no service there, so we cannot communicate with her. Her cellphone held back by the people that marionette her. We are told this is a learning camp, so she will be pulled out of school for 21 days to attend. It isn’t a wonder to me that the kids are behind, she hasn’t had a full week of school since returning. She spent a couple weeks in the hospital, endless holidays, and now camp, I’m actually impressed with her progress considering her inconsistent life. The last day I talked to her she told me her bracelet was finally cracking, it was soon to fall off. The sadness in her eyes was undeniable, and I told her we would get her something else at Christmas. The days are long for her, and the memories are precious. I don’t know how I will bear to tell her my bracelet was cut off right before surgery weeks ago. They referred to ‘OR cleanliness’, and quickly clipped away the tangible memory in a blink, it was gone.

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live…We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.”

Joan Didion, The White Album

Joan speaks to me, in her raw grief after losing the two people that made up her world, her year of magical thinking is intriguing and thought provoking. Maybe I too am searching for the sermon inside the meaningless moments strung together with a thread of order so that I can make sense of one more day. Maybe the justification is what we crave so badly, and what helps us make or keeps us from making decisions. With endless assault from media’s interruptions, I have chosen to disconnect myself and my family to preserve some autonomy without the pressure of conformity. We walk along wrapping ourselves tightly with our inner circle that fuels us with the energy to hold true to ourselves. Our soundtrack of life is written in the heartbeats of our friends, intentions they put out toward us, and the melody written by each of their creative hearts. Lately our soundtrack is accentuated by our favorite violinist and teacher Rob Flax.

For many years we have had the privilege of watching Rob’s music transform, watching the music come from within him and pour onto the audience. The experience is like no other to see the music so clearly contained inside his body process through his mind into a language that is received by our own hearts.We are so proud of Rob for his new #Distractibleboy album, and highly recommend you check it out. Check Rob out here It is an honor and privilege to call him family, and endlessly thankful to the Bates Dance Festival for bringing us together. Just another strange turn of the red string of fate that some how connected a dreamer from Chicago, to a girl who just started daring to dream herself. You inspire us Rob, we love you.

Inspired by Rob and his bravery to leave the comfortable job he enjoyed, in order to pursue something greater, I too have made some decisions. It is easy to inspect your life on a day to day level, what is good for you today, this week, this month, maybe even this year. It isn’t easy to strategically plan to work toward a place that will effectively check off all the boxes on our bucket list, and it’s even harder to close doors that you love to make room for something else. All good things must come to an end they say, I have lately reflected much on this.

Today is my birthday. I’m sitting as the only ICU nurse in a small 20-something bed hospital watching telemetry. The town is small and the people know it well. This will be my home away from home for the next 3 months or more so I can generate extra income to help with adoption costs. I never imagined I would be renting an apartment or having a roommate for the first time at 34, especially being married with half dozen kids. I never thought I would permanently end the likelihood of cuddling another little baby, but I did. I wished for an opportunity to end the struggle in our lives, and the opportunities forward sometimes mean closing doors to what you didn’t want to see closed, and stepping into uncertainty, living beyond your comfort zone. I can’t wish for opportunity and turn down the challenge when it is presented.

Sometimes when you don’t make a decision, the decision is being made for you.

Sometimes when you let the what ifs hold you back, you never move forward.

We rise through lifting others. I hope my time here lifts the hospital staff to be empowered to make their hospital all it can be, that I raise Host Ukraine to do more of their excellent work, that I lift Rob to be successful with his dreams, and in the end lift my girl out of the bleak future she has staring her in the face, rising her up to have a chance at hope.