We have arrived at the end of our 12 weeks with B. I apologize that I haven’t updated you much during the 12 weeks, but I didn’t really have the time. We packed as much as we could into our 12 weeks as possible. We visited with family, went to church, went bowling, played mini golf, went to the movies, played lots of card games and board games, went to the beach and Charleston, went to the lake, wake boarded, went tubing, went to the pool, learned to ride a bike, had a birthday party for him, and just spent time together as a family. Most of all what we tried to do most was show him love, patience, and consistency. I will do my best to be as honest and transparent in the post as I can be all the while trying to protect B’s privacy and to some degree ours.
This journey has not been easy, at times it has been heartbreaking, but it has been worth it. We poured our hearts and souls into this journey believing all the way that God called us to adopt this child. Now as we sit at the end of the 12 weeks we are left confused, heartbroken, and for some specific reasons…angry.
At week 7 we were given the permission to talk to B about our desire to adopt him. Why did we need permission? It is the policy of our hosting agency and our adoption agency that a family not talk to a child about adoption until they are ready to submit their dossier. I completely understand the reason for this. It is to protect the child. In the past there have been good intentioned people who talked to children about wanting to adopt them and then changed their minds or didn’t qualify, and the child was left with another disappointment. So when our last piece of paper showed up in the mail that we needed for our dossier we got permission to talk to him.
We talked to him on our own using a translating app. It was a conversation that wasn’t planned, it just happened. By week 7 he was opening up to us some and liked it when we asked him questions. On this occasion we had been talking about his family makeup. He told us he didn’t know his parents, and a few other things I will not share here. Based on that conversation we felt it was the right time to ask him if he wanted to live in the USA permanently, did he like staying with us, and finally would he like for us to adopt him and make him our son. He said he enjoyed his time here and that he would like to come back again to stay with us, but when asked about making it permanent, these questions were answered by only a shoulder shrug and an “I don’t know.” We ended this conversation by reassuring him that we loved him no matter what he decides. We told him we will love you whether you live in Ukraine or if you live with us in the USA. We wanted him to know our love for him wasn’t conditional, that our desire to help him, love him, and understand him didn’t only come as a reward if he wanted to be our son.
Because we were afraid that he may not have fully understood this conversation due to the inconsistencies of the translating app, and because we wanted to give him more time to process what we had asked him, we asked a friend from church to come and interpret for us one evening. So at week 8 we had her come to our house and talk to him. She was so very kind and patient with all of us as we spent almost 2 hours talking to him about all kinds of things. We asked about foods he liked, what had his favorite thing been that he had done so far, she asked him a few questions about where he lived, and his siblings. Then she asked him about our previous conversation and if he understood what we had asked him. He said that he hadn’t understood it until right then when she had spoken to him, but that his answer was the same. He shrugged his shoulders, and said he didn’t know. I get it…I understand…how can a 10 year old make a decision to leave everything he’s ever known including friends and adult siblings? How incredibly hard that must be to even think about.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
This verse was put on my heart very early on in this adoption journey. While at this very moment it doesn’t bring me much comfort, I know that it is true. So where are we now? What about our adoption? What is the next step? Our adoption is on hold as of this moment. In Ukraine you can not adopt a child without their consent. If we were to proceed with the adoption at this point it is likely we would go over to Ukraine, get in front of the judge with B, and B would say “no” or that he doesn’t know if he wants to be adopted. If that happens we would be sent home.
What is our next step? We are emotionally processing everything. We are trying to decide if we want to host him again this winter if he is available. We are trying to decide if we are a family that could only be a “host mom and dad” if all B ever wants is to visit us 2 times a year (winter and summer). Do we have the strength to be long distance parents? The answer to all of these questions right now is I don’t know.
We are both left completely at a loss. My emotions range from loss (I know we didn’t lose a child, but we lost the dream of one, and at this moment it feels like the death of a child who we had already mentally, emotionally, and in every other way adopted into our hearts as our son), to rejection (it is hard not to take it personally and wonder what is wrong with me or our family that he wouldn’t choose us), to failure (did we do enough? what did we do wrong?), and I feel like I let each of you that has supported us and cheered for us down. I feel inadequacy and numbness, and that it is easier to close everything down and not feel anything than to feel this. I feel frustration that we have no control over any of this. And I hate this, but I also feel deep and passionate anger because we feel like some of this could have been avoided or been dealt with in a more open, transparent, and honest manner by the groups we’ve been working with through this whole international hosting and adoption process.
Rant over. We want to thank each of you who have prayed for us, and for those of you who have given financially we can’t thank you enough for helping us. In an effort to be transparent we do want to talk about the finances. It has been asked of us, “what are you going to do with all the money?” To date through all avenues including direct donations, our gofundme site, and t-shirt sales we have fundraised just over $6,800.00. To date our expenses for this hosting and adoption process have been almost $12,000. So needless to say there isn’t any money left over.
What we do know is that God is good, and that his plans are far better than ours, even when it doesn’t feel like it…and it really doesn’t feel like it right now. Right now I am desperate to know the plan so that I can rationalize the hurt and the pain. I know that I have some amazing friends and family. Each of you have encouraged us, prayed for us, and supported us from day one, and we are forever in your debit. I pray that B felt the love that you guys poured into us so that we could pour into him. I know that this little boy has forever changed our family. When I can I will try and share some of our experiences while he was here. Even though there were a number of bad days there were also many more amazing ones. In the end the child we sent home was healthy, smiling, and loved, and while that wasn’t all we wanted him to go back to the Ukraine with, for now it will have to do.