I never lost faith that I would be a mother to a second child. Through years of poor health that made it inadvisable to conceive, followed by multiple surgeries that made it impossible to conceive, I never gave up hope.
Through what seemed like reams of paperwork, tense social worker interviews and hurried trips to the county courthouse, I never gave up hope that adoption was the answer.
Through endless months of waiting, disappointing setbacks and changed legal procedures, I never once gave up hope that I would bring a little girl into my home and make her my daughter.
So, today, my heart is breaking for the 46 families in the process of adopting children from Russia. Today their hopes for a child to call their own were ripped away with one signature. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning U.S. couples from adopting Russian children in what seems like retaliation for an American law banning Russian nationals involved in human rights violations from entering the United States.
Dreams of forever families have turned into nightmares because of politics.
Over 740,000 children are housed in Russia’s orphanages. Over the past two decades, the U.S. has been the number one destination for Russian adoptees with 60,000 Russian children being adopted into American families. One of those is my daughter.
Five years ago, the Hubs and I spent the holidays planning our first trip to Russia to meet our daughter. A week before Christmas, we received a referral of a little girl in need of a forever family. She was eight months old with big blue eyes and chubby cheeks. She won my heart before I ever saw her in person.
I spent the next few weeks learning Russian phrases–please…thank you…hello…good-bye…I love you. I read up on Russian customs and traditions, so I could show the people of Russia that I respected them and felt honored to be chosen to raise one of their children.
During that trip to Siberia, the hubs and I spent a total of five hours with the little girl whom the orphanage workers affectionately called Dasha. We held her. We fed her. We played with her. By the time we left, we were in love with her.
I cannot imagine the agony of those parents who have recently met their children and woke up this morning to the news that they will never again see them…that their promises to return will go unfulfilled. The despair of the children waiting endlessly for their forever families to return is heartbreaking.
When I left Baby Home 95 in Novokuznetsk, Russia in January 2008, I knew I would see my little girl again. In my heart, I knew she was my daughter. I prayed every night that she be warm and happy, and my arms ached to hold her when I found out she was sick with chicken pox. I was her mother, and every day that passed without her, widened an emptiness inside me.
Those 46 mothers are in my prayers today, and their loss is heavy on my heart.
When asked what adoption “feels like”, I often say it is every bit as painful as childbirth. Watching other people have the children you can never have hurts. Having a stranger approve you as being suitable to be a parent hurts. Waiting hurts. Leaving hurts. Now, being a victim of politics hurts.
I can only hope that somehow the lawmakers can see beyond their political battles and find it within their hearts to allow these 46 mothers and fathers to complete their adoptions before the doors are closed completely. These are mothers and fathers and families, and they only want to spend forever together.