The Sweetest Christmas Story- part 7

As shared in my previous blog I knew that if nothing went wrong

I would soon be walking out of the orphanage with my sweet daughter.

But first there was the court date.

It loomed in its seriousness and I wondered what would be involved.

All  I knew was that I must appear alone before the judge.

The judge had the power to block the adoption.

It kept me on pins and needles whenever I thought about it.

Each day I would go to the orphanage and spend time with Jenny.

Sipping tea. Playing games. Talking. Beginning to build a bond.

She was very shy and kept an understandable distance.

But one day I was notified that this was the court date.


Not knowing what to expect particularly in a foreign country

caused me apprehension.

But  I tried to calm myself and  reasoned

if God had brought me this far

He would most certainly prepare the rest of the way.

He is faithful I reminded myself over and over.

I rode to the courthouse and waited awhile to be summoned.

When the summons finally came I pushed open  the door,

walked down a few steps

and took a seat in a medium sized room.

A number of people were seated all around the room. Everything was spoken in Russian.

Suddenly I heard my name.

My eyes were fixed on  the female judge up front.

I was told to stand so I rose to my feet.

All eyes focused on me.

Today, many years later, the details have all faded but one.

As I stood there nervously longing to just to get this over with

suddenly the judge looked at me and asked in clear, unbroken English,

“What will you do if you meet a man who wants to marry you

but he doesn’t want this child?”

Immediately I responded.

Everything in my heart cried out silently,

“She’s mine to love and to care for.”

But  very calmly and clearly I answered.

“If any man were to come into my life

and wanted to marry me

but did not want my child

I would say no.

I would not marry him.”

That was it.  A conscious decision made earlier and now verbalized.

My child- both of my children would take priority.

The judge looked at me and smiled a huge smile that stretched from ear to ear

and others nodded approval.

I knew I had been approved.

The adoption had made it through the court procedure.

That was the final big hoop to jump through.

Joy filled my heart as I walked – practically danced – out of the courtroom that day

and prepared to return to Moscow with my little girl.

Reflecting back at the moment so many years ago I am so glad that that question was asked.

Once more I saw that they cared not only for the children but also that that they

wanted them to be  adopted into stable families that would love them forever.

The sweetness of that moment blesses me today many years later.

How wise to make conscious choices before a situation even arises.

Choices to stand firm,

To follow the Lord,

To put His Will first no matter what.

To keep the commitments we have made.

Well, I’ve been privileged to mother my two daughters for many years now.

I could not have done it without the Lord’s enabling.

The One Who led me

continues to provide for all of our needs one day at a time.

It has not always been easy.

No, but the Lord has blessed us with many, many sweet moments

where His love shines through

reminding us that His commitment, too, is for always.






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.


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.


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.


One daughter still in Russia without her mommy.

My other daughter in Virginia without her mommy.


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.