Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Sweetest Christmas Story – part 6

Back in the states the days dragged

as I waited to hear the dates for my return to Russia.

This was one of a number of things that was different on this second adoption.

But slowly the time moved forward.

I prayed and wondered knowing full well that not every adoption goes through.

Would I finally be able to return for Jenny?

I wondered.

But about the third week in January I received my invitation to complete the adoption.

Joy overflowing.

Between making arrangements for my oldest to stay behind,

getting airline tickets and working out details for my brother-in-law to go with me,

time passed quickly.

I remember those moments of packing my suitcase.

At the last minute I packed a pair of small pink shoes-

shoes that I had purchased in Kiev a few years earlier-

shoes that held so much promise and joy

that suddenly ended in a failed adoption.

Holding those shoes for a long second, I wondered.

Would they possibly fit my soon to be adopted Russian princess?

How strange that would be I thought as I placed them in the suitcase

and zipped it closed.

But hearts don’t easily close, do they?

No at least not mine.

The previous unexpected loss had taught me many things

among which was to hold all things loosely

 

and with a prayer to do that I grabbed my bags and walked out of the room.

I held my daughter extra long that day as I prepared to leave for one more trip.

All too soon I was thousands of miles above in the skies

on my way to Russia.

Again.

I love the country, the birthplace of my daughters.

The people I stayed with and met were always friendly and kind.

But it was far away and I longed to come home

this time with a toddler in my arms.

We arrived in Moscow right on time,

made it through security and we soon were on our way to Kostroma.

Snow covered the land and I marveled at the beauty as we rode along.

Many hours later we arrived at the hotel where we stayed for a few nights.

Looking back the details of each day have faded

but one shines brightly among the fog.

The day I stepped back into the orphanage

and I lifted my eyes and saw Jenny.

Sweet and small.

Shyly glancing down at the floor to then suddenly look up and meet my eyes.

Did she recognize me? There was no indication of that.

All that mattered was that she was there and that we were together.

We spent a few hours each day playing and sipping tea.

And then one day I reached for those pink shoes buried deep in my suitcase

and put them in my bag to take to the orphanage.

For Jenny.

She sat that day on the carpeted floor while I took off her brown shoes

and watched with interest as I put first one shoe

and then the other one

on her feet.

She looked up at me with the slightest smile

as if she knew

that they were for her. She stood to her feet and walked around the room.

A perfect fit.

Yes, bought two years earlier in another country

and kept to remember that time

They now fit those little feet like they were made for her.

How marvelous that our Lord cares about all the details.

Nothing is too small for Him.

Shoes that I had previously wept over

were now the shoes that I rejoiced over.

Our God Who knows all our disappointments and unanswered questions

Who knows our heartbreaks and painful losses

heals each one in His time.

He continues to make all things beautiful in His Time.

Has He done that for you?

Do you know this God of Love Who cares deeply for you?

Soon I would be walking out of the orphanage with my precious sweet daughter

but first there was the court date.

That had a twist of humor all its own.

The Sweetest Christmas Story – part 5

And now comes the part of the story that is hard to remember.

When sweetness turned to sadness.

After days of spending time with my little girl

the day came when I needed to say good bye.

Or until next time.

This adoption involved two trips to Russia.

So I had to leave her to await an invitation to come back to take her home.

I knew that day that the time was drawing close.

I played with Jenny and sipped more tea.

Talked to her and she studied my face with her serious gaze

when suddenly the orphanage worker came into the room,

reached down and took her by the hand

and led her away.  Abruptly.

I watched in surprise thinking that she would bring her back.

It was earlier than I had expected. But that was it.

When I asked questions I just was given head shakes and nods.

Realizing that I wouldn’t see her for weeks and wondering if anyone had explained

what was to happen to this little two year old

I hurriedly left the orphanage and bought a smiling stuffed bear

and brought it back.

Please, please give this to her. Tell her it’s from her Mommy

and that I will come back and get her.

Then with a heavy heart I was driven away from the orphanage that afternoon

and put on the train to Moscow.

It was hard to push away my thoughts and to prepared myself to fly home.

Feeling so empty without my little one

but excited to get home to my oldest daughter

jumbled me.

But deep inside I knew His loving care and trusted His timing.

Today? This was the day before Christmas.

The farther I got from the orphanage the better I felt.

So with the beginnings of excitement I boarded the airplane to fly home.

Home.

I could hardly wait.

I imagined the joy of being with my daughter and family.

It would be good. And with those thoughts I drifted off to sleep.

Before I knew it we landed Amsterdam

and were informed that due to a snowstorm in the States

we were all being put up in the hotel

for the night.

My heart sank. It couldn’t be. It was almost Christmas and I had promised to be home.

For a long time I stood at the desk searching for some plane,

any plane to get me back to the States.

Anything closer than Amsterdam.

But again and again was told there was nothing.

Slowly I walked the hall and found my room.

How would I possibly break the news to my daughter?

With sadness I placed a call and shared my disappointment.

No matter how hard I tried, there was no way that I’d be home for Christmas this year.

I remember well that phone call and telling her.

Memories of shared tears.

Memories of hearts wanting to be together after long days of separation.

As I placed the receiver down on the phone

my tears flowed.

Lord, I need you.

Adoption is never easy.  For me, it always was a walk of faith.

Trusting the Lord’s timing. Resting in His Plan. Embracing His Love.

But on this  night so many years ago

I remember crying myself to sleep.

Alone.

One daughter still in Russia without her mommy.

My other daughter in Virginia without her mommy.

Alone.

But in the darkest hour, He was there.

Comforting a weary mother who was alone on Christmas.

The next day I flew home to a wonderful, although belated Christmas celebration.

It would be a few weeks until I got the notification that I could return for my youngest.

God’s timing.

His plan.

My peace.

 

The Sweetest Christmas Story- part 4

My days were spent visiting my soon to be adopted little girl,

sipping hot tea in the big conference room and playing simple games with her.

At first she was very shy and kept her beautiful eyes with those long eyelashes lowered.

But gradually she began to meet my eyes for just a second

before looking down again at what she was doing.

A dish of hard candy was on the table and from time to time

I offered her little bits of sweets.

This went on for a few days – morning and afternoon.

At the same time halfway around the world

my oldest daughter was counting the days.

Waiting,

waiting for me to fly home on Christmas eve.

What do you do for Christmas? I asked the orphanage workers.

I knew their Christmas was in early January and I wondered how they celebrated in the orphanage.

The kind workers shook their head and mentioned one word. Orange.

An orange? I asked.

Carefully they explained that each child got one orange. That was their Christmas gift.

It was and still is hard for me to imagine getting one orange for Christmas.

That’s all.

But there were so many children to care for –

the needs were great

they could do so little.

An orange.

And then my thoughts move  forward to that day

when my tiny little dimpled darling

came into the big conference room

tightly holding an orange in her small hands.

She walked over to where I was sitting.

I stooped toward her knowing that this was her Christmas gift.

Her only Christmas gift.

She tightened her grip on that orange

clearly showing me that she was not about to share it. No way.

Halfway around the world we celebrate with toys and food a-plenty.

My heart longed to do more,

to give more

to share of all that I had with  all the children in that orphanage.

That day at the end of our visit

Jenny walked with the orphanage worker to the big gray door

still gripping her orange in her hands.

Little did she know that in a few weeks I would be coming back

to take her home

to her forever family. And ten thousand oranges.

Yes, I see oranges with new eyes these days,

They seem almost insignificant here

but in many places around the world

they represent plenty and abundance.

In a world that struggles with poverty, disease and extreme hardships

it often takes so little

to make a big difference.

Thoughts of those orphans holding their oranges

cause my heart to ache with sorrow.

Lord, open our eyes.

Help us to see what You see.

Teach us to love. And to give.

Soon I would be leaving Kostroma to fly home to the States.

But this image would stay with me

forever.