Two hosting sessions down, and what have I learned? Where am I now? That’s a great question.
One year ago we first picked our girl out of the list. Almost exactly a year ago.
One month later my husband had run out of funding for school, and started to look for work. He would surely be working in plenty of time for hosting, this would be fine. We didn’t realize it would take him seven more months before he found anything. We certainly had no idea that we would push our situation further into desperation scraping to feed the kids through the summer. We pulled out of daycare, canceled music lessons, did everything we could to keep afloat, and kept ‘praying’ for the ‘miracle’ everyone talks about. Donate Now
We did our best to not let the dire situation effect us as we welcomed Alina into our family. We spent 11 weeks trying to crack her thick wall, and by the end of the summer only a few splinters of light had shone. I wonder in reflection if my wall had gained a few bricks as I looked at the insurmountable challenge of fundraising, paper work, and relationship building that was ahead of me, while I was already running on fumes. Many people told me to keep ‘praying’ for the miracle, but I was starting to have my doubts. Still I had a time line, we’ll start our home study by October, and be ready to travel beginning of summer. It was still doable.
By October things were still not really improving, so I decided to take a travel job, what would have proved to be some of the hardest forced insomnia I’d ever experience. I felt as though I was in a torture experiment as I worked overnight two hours away from home, and stayed awake for multiple days in a row every week. The goal focused my weary mind as I pushed through the exhaustion. The first week I was out of state our refrigerator died. Not sure how many people have ever tried to feed 5 kids with no fridge, but it’s not pretty. That took the first thousand right off the top. Three thousand for hosting for our Christmas visit was finally paid (thank you to a few people who helped us with this), and then promptly the van died. Another few thousand to make it run and my contract was abruptly ended for sharing harsh truths with the wrong person. I returned home in a full blown adrenal crisis, and probably borderline blue paper-able. I was no closer to bringing our girl home, or even starting the home study. I tried to rationalize this with the fact that she liked orphanage life, and I still had time. We’ll just change the time line, add another $3,000 for summer hosting, but that’s ok, we’ll figure it out.
Messages continue to pour in from Ukraine non-stop.
“How are you”
“What are you doing?”
These three messages I have received multiple times a day for every day she has internet connection. I try not to get angry but feel myself bubble. Didn’t I JUST tell her what I’m doing? What does she think I’m doing at work?
This isn’t her fault. She didn’t chose to be chosen by a family that thought a prayer would fix this. She didn’t ask to be brought by a family that has nothing but cascading bad luck like tsunamis over Atlantis. I’m drowning, and none of this is her fault.
“I’m good, How are you?”
“I’ll see you soon!”
I reply with a fake smile. I don’t want to see anyone right now. I certainly don’t want to drive to Boston to add another body to the air tight ship as the oxygen vanishes before my lungs can grab enough to sustain. My head is fuzzy from the hypoxic insomnia, and I drive to Boston after a long rotation and absolutely no sleep. My kidneys ache from the constant adrenaline I’ve required to keep my heart beating another day. I slap on a smile and I drive to the airport. Help Here
We waited for what seemed like forever to catch a glimpse of the yellow shirts behind this restricted zone. Is that where I am? I feel like fate has me stuck in the glass box of hopelessness while the excited frenzy buzzes around me like a hive. I’m not happy to be here. I’m not excited to have more tasks to complete before I can finally sleep. But she didn’t ask to come here, I brought her, and so I push on using my last ATP to stay awake to visit with her, catalog all the families at check in, collect the passports, take the photos, and return to the car. I remind myself in my moments of desperation watching her face as she raced ahead of the group straight to Millie, this is worth it. This pain has purpose. Only one session ago she was the last to appear, terrified, and quiet, what a difference our 11 weeks had made. Maybe there were a few more cracks in that wall than initially appeared. Maybe my tsunami had washed away some of her doubts while it bent me at my knees. Where there is an action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, maybe this is what that means.
We tried to catch our breath during Christmas, but all I found was more chaos. It was nice to have her home, but the guilt washed over me about my lack of time I had to spend having fun with her, and my lack of movement toward her permanent solution. Christmas met me with complete regret, and hopelessness, maybe I should offer her another chance, another family. A family that can get this done for her, because I can’t find the tribe willing to help me move this mountain, and the people that are helping me move my pebbles are fighting to climb their very own mountains. When Solomon declared we will cut this baby in half, it was the real mother that decided to give him away, because your true mother would want health over her happiness. How can I bear to give her away, but how can I look at her fate if I don’t accomplish this. It is too much to contemplate, so I move on.
This journey has taught me some of the most selfless people are adoptive families. People in my very situation who send us money, a message, a card, energy to let me to know I’m not the only one in this hurricane. The winds are so loud we can’t see a foot in front of us, but every now and then you’ll see the clouds clear enough to see a celebration of a home coming, or the sadness of a loss. My mind spills out with the thoughts and panic, as I try to act normal day to day. I browse the posts of the grieving families after hosting ends, and I realize, there is always someone who would rather be fighting your demon. I think about a good friend of mine, who lost her first daughter at birth, who rose to adopt several more motherless children, to change the course of the future for over half a dozen individuals. Was it the loss of her first baby that pushed her to alter the topography of the future? Did it feel in those moments, going home empty handed to a house full of reminders that she was childless, that the pain would have a purpose? I have learned a lot on this journey, I never imagined the deep crevasses that would form in my soul that would trickle blood through the bottom. I almost can see the stream below flowing underneath the dam I’ve built. The wall that has held back my own hopes all these years after being an orphan myself. I never imagined the lesson in this journey would be someone else depending on me to pull my wall down, to ask for help, to cry, to let other people help, to push through every fiber of my own reactive attachment that whispers the prediction of disappointment. How do I quiet the laughing devil on my shoulder while I open myself to love someone, to allow someone’s entire fate to be resting on my ability to trust a community? To trust a God I don’t know? To trust that people will hold us up? What it is I don’t know. Did my friend know that while she buried her baby there was another in a far away land dreaming of her? Did she know how to wake up another day, how to pretend she was okay when she felt alone and worn? I never imagined I would have to mourn myself to birth a process so impossible to complete, yet so necessary to survival.
I do not know what the universe wants with me. I do not know why it is after so much struggle, after surviving things that break most people that I still must continue to bleed rivers. I do not know what it is that will come of this, now that I have transferred my last hope to my daughter in Ukraine, giving her my last light so she can survive a little longer in darkness. I hope soon the tsunami resides and I will be able to come up for air, pulling her with me. Even in my darkest moments as I search for any reprieve from the storm, I’ll look up and see she has liked 25 of my photos, one from a dear cheerleader encouraging us that she is ours, and she is waiting. Holding a mirror to the matchstick of hope I sent her.
I know the fire awaits unbelievers, all of the sinners the same… if I’m born again I know the world would disagree, want a little light, but whose gonna save a little light for me? I’m not excited, but should I be? Is this the fate that half of the world has planned for me?
When she returned to the orphanage after Christmas I could see her depression setting in. I saw photos of other girls wearing her special Christmas gifts. I started to hear some of her pain. Her trust was growing and her coping was less, maybe orphanage life wasn’t as easy on her as she had pretended. She tells me she misses us, something that would have never happened before. She leans on us to answer the 10 video chats a day. She needs to see the dogs, she asks where everyone is, she checks the location app every hour, noting everyone’s geographic location. She misses us loudly. It seems the ocean is good for many things, the layers of Hydrogen and Oxygen muffle the whimpering from both continents. We are all screaming to be together, but the ocean is not forgiving, it holds us down under the impossible fundraising and red tape. We both continue the routine, looking forward to the summer break, hoping there is a time where we fly home together, above the ocean that currently has us pinned.
If this doesn’t happen soon, I am certain we will both drown.
There is several thousand dollars drowning us right now. The fee schedule is no secret and is open to anyone interested. Before any grants can even be applied for we need to pay approx $7-8,000 to two agencies to complete a home study. This is only the start. This would at least BE a start. Alina turns 15 in April. This gives us only barely enough time to be there when she turns 16 as the time line for adoptions has now been extended due to the country requiring three trips per adoption. We need to act fast.
Please help us remove a pail of water from our ocean to bring Alina across. Many hands make light work, the same goes for our challenge. If you can’t donate, help run a fundraiser, help spread the word, help by asking your family and friends if they will donate and share our story. We have 14 months left to get a 12 month process done. We can’t waste another 11 treading water.
If you want to have a hand in changing the world for one girl, help us give #hopeforalina Help Now