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Adoption Stories: Week 2

Caleb is the handsome son of Ben and Kim Green. This is his testimony that he shared on Orphan Sunday at his church:

“There are orphans in the world that need our help. We have got to help them! We have got to pitch in everything we’ve got for God! He did not make them to be alone. Psalm 82:3 says to defend the poor and fatherless and do justice to the afflicted and needy. Exodus 22:22 says you must not mistreat a widow or fatherless child. If you do they will cry to God and He will hear their cry. God is telling us to help them. You should not be afraid to use your voice for God. God gave you a voice for that purpose. God wants us to help people who don’t have a voice. God loves the orphans. God created them in His image.

I once was an orphan myself. I was born in Liberia, West Africa and lived several years there. I don’t even know my real birth date. They don’t keep track of that sort of stuff in the bush of Africa. They just try to survive. I have a heart for the orphan. I know how it feels to not get enough to eat, or enough love, or enough fun, and I just wanted so badly for a mom and dad to love me. I wanted a mom to hold me when I cried and most of all I wanted a mom and a dad to give me a hug. I would cry at night for love in the orphanage. God heard my cry and came to help me. He saw how I was being treated and how lonely and angry I was. He did not like it. He sent my mom and dad to get me and my sister Madisyn and bring us home from around the world. Nothing is too hard for God.
Psalm 139 tells us who we are and who we were made for. We were made for glory. Orphans were not made for the dumps or for the garbage. They were made for God. God loves them just like He loves you and I. But He needs you all to be His hands and feet to go get them and bring them into your families like my mom and dad did. Psalm 2 vs 7 says, “He said to Me, You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.” My dad says the same thing. He adopted me and made me his son – forever.

I haven’t been the easiest child but mom and dad have never given up on me just like God never gives up on you. You should help the orphan by sending them food or money or making them a part of your family. They are counting on you!” -Caleb Green (11 yrs old) — with Kim Ellens Green.

From my dear friend and client Caroline Wilmer Fairchild:

“Within a given week if you were to say “ Caroline, what’s on your mind? What are you praying about the most these days?” Probably 8 out of 10 times I will reply with something adoption related. Thoughts and prayers about my two children, their birth families, friends that are fostering or adopting, blogs I have read, global and local orphan care, or my own adoption journey are often the running commentary in my head.

Adoption has always been a part of my reality. I can’t remember the first time I realized I was adopted. I feel like as a child there was always this distant ache in my heart. Don’t get me wrong, my adoptive parents were wonderful and everything a child could desire. Unfortunately, that was not enough to alleviate this strange ache, a nagging feeling that somewhere there was a whole tribe of people who were genetically connected to me. I never looked like my adoptive family. My olive skin, black hair, and dark eyes were enough to make it evident to your average Joe that in a conventional sense, I didn’t fit. I remember as a young child telling friends I had a brother that lived with another family and I got to see him on holidays. It seems funny now, and I am not sure why I did it. Perhaps because I wished it was true. Who knows? I think I just wanted people to think that there was someone else out there that was just like me.

The truth is, the pain of adoption and loss is very real. I was a smart, normal, average, happy child. But under the layers of “average”, was a lot of pain and grief. I did well in school, and I have always been a people pleaser. So the pain was pretty well hidden until I reached young adulthood. I tell parents that have adopted children, every teenager goes through some kind of identity crisis, the adopted child’s crisis is just a little different than most. In my search for “self”, all I found were lots of rejection and abandonment. My eyes were so clouded by my pain, I couldn’t see the absolutely overwhelming love and acceptance surrounding me by my parents and friends. In my ignorance, I made a lot of bad decisions and broke a lot of hearts, including my own.

It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s after a series of dysfunctional relationships and failures that a change began to happen in my heart. In August of 2002, I met a man who would change my life forever. He would teach me about love, acceptance, faithfulness, joy, long suffering, and peace like I had never known. Meeting Jesus changed my life, and though it wasn’t automatic, the story of my adoption became a story of redemption. I realized that my adoptive family was one of God’s greatest gifts to me. They had loved and cared for my sister and I through so much pain and heartache. They showed me the Father’s love, over and over again, and always welcomed me in to their arms with kindness and affection. Our crazy family is by no means perfect, but we are absolutely meant to be together! I don’t know if I actually have a brother out there somewhere, but that is okay with me. I have enough family and love to satisfy me for all of eternity.

Adoption has taken on a different shape these days. I am no longer just the adoptee, I am the adopter! This fact still makes me chuckle sometimes. I have had a lot of people ask me if I am nervous about the struggles my children will go through in their adoption journey. The truth is, some days I am grieved by this fact. But I realize there is no pain that goes unused by God. Suffering can be such a glorious gift, when you use it to teach you how to be an overcomer. My prayer is that their loss will give them a passion to seek true justice for the orphan and widow. I hope they will learn in their grief how to lean into God with their whole hearts knowing that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. And that they will have the priceless revelation that forgiveness and love is the pathway to true freedom. I am so thankful for the gift of adoption. If I could choose to do things over again, I would side with the life God has given me every time. His leadership in my life has been absolutely perfect.”

Telma Weisman is my beautiful niece. She was adopted by my brother and sister in law Derek and Renee Loux:

“My biological father left after getting my mother pregnant. I was born with severe scoliosis, having a 115 degree curvature of my spine. My mother couldn’t handle the stress of taking care of me. After being passed around to several different people who provided shelter, but were not able to care for a child, I ended up doing whatever it took to survive. Alone and unprotected, I learned how to fight on the streets. Looking back, it is hard to believe the situations I was in, as I defended myself and searched desperately for food. The one room house I lived in was often used as a place for people to have sex. I would get paid a soda or a bag of chips to be a lookout while various sex acts were taking place right in front of me.

One day, I met twin girls that told me about this missionary guy named Derek Loux, who had really cool hair and was leading worship in my own language. I felt compelled to go hear him. As I sat with his wife Renee’, and their family, I found out that they were planning on adopting the twins. To the majority of the Marshallese children, all Americans are rich movie stars and I wanted to be adopted too. Two days later before the sun came up, I knocked on the door of the apartment they were staying in and asked if I could play with the twins. Not only did I get to play, but Renee’ welcomed me into their apartment the whole week they were there.

When they had to leave the island, I was devastated. Renee’ held my face and wiped my tears promising me that she would find me the help I needed. I didn’t really think it would happen but Renee’ kept her promise. Six months later, I was part of Derek and Renee’s family. The missionary guy with the cool hair and the beautiful mom were now my very own parents.It took awhile for me to realize that I did not have to be in charge of me anymore; there was actually a family that wanted to take care of me. It took a little bit before I felt free to be me, free to hope for my future, free to feel loved, secure, and blessed. There are so many kids that live on the streets in the Marshall Islands, but God knew me and rescued me through two very loving and Christ like people.

When I was adopted by Derek and Renee, I began to experience what it was to be loved, cherished, and valued. In the past few years, God has given me a greater revelation about who He is, as my friend and my Father. God allowed me to experience His amazing love as a daughter and feel the joy of being loved!

As many of you know, my adopted dad passed away in a car accident almost 2 years ago. It was devastating to lose the only father I had ever known but the Lord’s been so faithful and has helped to come to a greater understanding of His amazing love for me. I know I’m know I was just one of millions of orphans who fought to survive but because of the obedience of the parents in listening to God, I’m no longer an orphan. I wanna invite each and everyone of you to pray about what your part will be in walking out James 1:27. For some, it may mean adoption and for others, it may mean the giving of your finances and times but for all, it’s a mandate from God that I challenge you to walk out. Adoption changes a child’s destiny. It changed mine!”

Kate tells the story of how adoption has changed her life. (Katherine is pictured top left)

“Along time ago, this crazy half-Mexican woman met this charming brown haired green-eyed Italian guy. They fell in and out of love many, many times and since neither of them had ever heard of contraceptives kids actually became part of the deal. Every time a new kid appeared, the charming Italian guy would disappear and as soon as the child disappeared, the guy would magically reappear.

One day the fifth latest miracle appeared and tragically, instead of a boy this one was a girl just like her four previous sisters. The crazy Mexican mother decided that it was not even worth it to bring this one home from the hospital and instead a foster family got the privilege of getting the disgruntled baby from the nurse. Thus began the poor baby’s wonderful life. Sadly, after one month, the foster family was very tired of feeding the baby nightly and changing all those diapers. They decided mom should really reap the fruits of her decisions, and back to live with mom for one month did baby go. Mom quickly tired of baby dear and a new foster family was sought for which baby dear did go to live with for 2 months. (Did I mention in all this that way back when baby was born no one even took the time to fill out her birth certificate and years later it was discovered she didn’t even have a name??)

Well crazy mom decided that she would like the baby’s older sister to live with baby so she found them a Christian home they could both live in. One day the crazy mom and the new woman went to the baby’s foster home, removed the baby, and took the baby to live at the new woman’s house with the baby’s older sister, Manda.

Two years later found the new woman, now known as mom, receiving legal custody of baby dear and her sister. By now, baby’s name has gone from Katherine to Katie, though how one ever derives one name from the other I will never know. A few days after the two were legally under the guardianship of their new parents, Grady and Cindy, a darling little screaming boy was born. When this little lobster was only three days old, he came to live with the sisters and tormented their lives ever after.

The three little monkeys grew up together surrounded by a Christian environment and in an affluent area of Ohio. The dad was an engineer for NASA and was always dialoguing with the monkeys about the stars, moon, and the solar system and sadly, none of the three ever did retain much knowledge about the cosmic world (even though it would have helped them in college!). The mom was busy teaching them how to read, write, count, and to be bright respectful kids. The trio are all now in their twenties and are extremely thankful to the loving family who took them in and called them their own. ”

My dear friend Angela shares her story. My eyes are filled with tears as I post this. I am so amazed by the beauty of her life.“My name is Angela.

I was adopted at age 8 by my grandparents. Some people in the adoption community hear that and say “Oh, that wasn’t like real adoption since they were family.” I’m here to tell you it was, maybe harder. How many people do you know who can say their dad is their brother and that person picking them up from school is their Grandma, no wait, Mom, no, umm.

It was confusing and hard and carried with it all of the rejection and hurt that adoptees tend to experience at some point in their lives. When I was adopted I was the only adopted person I knew and my parents rarely talked about it or the other half of my birth family. Openness was pretty much non-existent and kids were just expected to stuff those feelings and desires to know where they come from
down until they were adults and could seek the answers for themselves.Reading that you may think I had a horrible adoption experience, but I didn’t.

It was hard, but made me who I am today.

Let me explain.I am also a birth mama and an adoptive mama.

When I found myself pregnant at barely eighteen, and in a life situation not conducive to raising a son, my mind turned to adoption. I immediately realized that, like my birth mom before me, I was too young to raise a child. I wanted my son to have a two-parent home, to have the opportunities I could never give him. So I made an adoption plan, all the while remembering the love and stability I was given when I was adopted. I remembered all the lessons my adoptive parents instilled into me, lessons born out of their long lives and experiences raising their children before me. I tried to imagine what I may have been like if I had stayed with my birth mom. Remember, I knew her until I was eight and visited her every other weekend. I knew many of the mistakes she made in parenting me that led to my adoption and I was thankful to have been raised by my adoptive parents. Thankful because I liked who I was, despite the poor decisions I had made recently. And so I chose adoption because I knew adoption.

Seventeen years later a little boy joined my family via adoption. It is rather eerie how his story parallels mine in some ways. You see, we thought the Lord would give us an infant and that is how we prepared. Then we got the call and the little boy was 18 months old. So, like me, he came to his adoptive family with memories and knowledge of his birth family. Add to that his birthday is a mere two weeks earlier than my birth son’s birthday. In the first months, my sweet boy raged against us in his confusion and frustration. The more I prayed, the more the Lord showed me why he behaved this way or that. He related it to my own adoption story and the insecurities I felt, first as a foster child bouncing between my grandparents, birth mom and birth dad, and then as an adoptee. For instance, my son is a bit of a perfectionist. His birth mom wouldn’t have described him that way before his adoption. Now, if the blocks don’t stack right or the food in his bowl doesn’t cooperate, his frustration grows to tears and more. He wants the things in his hands to work perfectly. He wants to control an out-of-control world.

The Lord reminds me that I walked that path and helps me to patiently guide my son to the truth of his safety and our love when I would otherwise be tempted to show anger for his tantrum over such a little thing.Being adopted set the course of my life forever. I am forever an adoptee, a woman of two worlds and two families. I am forever a birth mom, a woman who longs to better know the son who was raised by another wonderful family. I am forever an adoptive mom, a woman who raises a son not of my body and seeks to help him overcome the difficulties of adoption, to embrace the joys of adoption.

And so, when you think of it, I am blessed to have the largest, most complicated family of anyone I know.

My family includes my adoptive family and my birth family (whom I have a close relationship with now). It includes my birth son’s adoptive family and my adopted son’s birth family. It is complicated, and forever, and the relationships do not always come easy. But I am filled with joy for my confusing story and family because I see God’s redemption flowing through every part of my life. Not only did He redeem my soul, but he provided an adoptive family when I needed one, and another when my son needed one, and yet another (my family) when my adopted son needed one.I tell my adopted son all the time that God knew him before the world was formed and knew he would need an adoptive family and so prepared my family to be his forever family. It is a lesson I must remember myself when I am tempted to bemoan the loss of my birth family and the difficulties of being adopted.”

Pictured above are the following: top left, Angela’s birth son, 16 years ago; top right, Angela’s family today with her son Christian in the center; bottom left, Angela wit her adoptive parents; bottom right, Angela with her birth parents.

Angel Porch share’s how her family was shaped through adoption:

“It’s hard to even know where to begin when describing our adoption journey…..

As an adopted child myself, I have always believed in the power of adoption. The feeling inside my own heart knowing the love of a family who I belong to and always will. At all times feeling so loved that I never knew how they could love me one ounce more even if I was biologically their own. My mother and father always perfectly explained adoption to me and made it seem like it was special and all mine. So much so that as a child I would go up to perfect strangers and say “Hey, did you know I AM ADOPTED?!?!”

It never felt odd or strange for me to share it with the world. All this time little did I know my heart was preparing itself for the journey to an adopted child all my own.Thankfully I married the most magical man in all the world. he gave me the chance to carry a daughter, our precious Auburn. She is an amazing little soul. Strong, loving, fiercely passionate. We are blessed beyond measure to call her ours. She was a perfect pregnancy, simple delivery, and even more easy baby and toddler. when we felt our hearts ready for another. We only imagined it would be as easy as before.

We were wrong. we experienced two miscarriages and both were due to blighted ovum. We had this occur back to back times and our doctor said it was so rare to see this occur twice and back to back. This all occurred within a matter of  months. We had the option to carry on, do some testing, the doctor assured us it would work out in the end. This was never an option. I knew what I was being told. I shared with my husband the feelings I was having. the feeling that the two times we miscarried there was never a baby growing. With blighted ovum a sac grows and levels rise, but a baby does not form or grow. So, as we were both sad and grieving the loss of the baby we expected, we never felt hopelessness or extreme pain. We knew and saw the bigger picture. and, when I told my husband I thought my heart was being prepared for adoption he said “I always thought we would” …hearing those words, what a joy to my heart.

I replied “Well, why didn’t you tell me!!” Ha, how I love that we always end up on the same page.  So, the journey began. and, a journey it would be!!!!!

As a full time photographer I had the wonderful change to be a part of a group “Celebrating Adoption.” We provide free photo sessions for adopting families. I met amazing families that truly changed my heart. Many of those families had adopted from Africa. The children changed me. Spoke to me. It was like I could see the entire world in their eyes. My husband was on board. He wanted a child, he did not care where in the entire world they were from. So, we decided on Africa.

Within our own community we made friends and had a strong support system and lots of help along the way. A friend was in the process of a Congo adoption and once we chatted our hearts were settled and at peace with the Congo path. Knowing it was a pilot program and could be bumpy road. It was a 9 month paper process. We were matched with our son in early January 2012. His sweet face. only days old. We were in love. Beyond in love. We would receive just one more photo and update at the 4 month point.

We knew children in his orphanage were sick. Many passing. He was the youngest in the entire orphanage. We had to fight for him. Get there quickly. Get him home in record time. And, with the help of another couple adopting from the same orphanage we did just that. FOUGHT our way there.

They would say could help it go quicker if we were there, so my husband did. He went to Congo to file the paperwork and to bring our son home. We knew it would be long. We knew it would be hard. And, it was all those things. My husband was in DRC for 21 days. It was hard. He got sick. Our son was very ill. Doctors think he would not have made it much longer. To hear that he possibly only had weeks left was almost to much. The doctors in DRC were actually very helpful. My husband was able to get his health under control.

We were SO excited here in Oklahoma to get our boys home! We got the call they were set to go and I met my husband in Belgium to continue the journey back to the states. Seeing my boys was amazing. Getting home was even better. Our daughter was instantly in love. Her heart was complete as was ours. She was always meant to be a big sister and no one could love him more than her. It has been amazing to see her grow, see how big the world is. She prays for the children of Africa still and it has changed her, in a great way.

Having Oaks Thomas Mathias Porch home has been amazing. He is delightful, soulful, and amazing. He absorbs everything around him and his Grams describes his eyes as seeing right through you. We would encourage anyone and everyone who feels it within to adopt to DO IT! We have been blessed a million times over. We cannot believe we have been able to experience now a girl and a boy. To fully know and understand there is a difference in boys and girls, yes – but, NO difference in biological and adopted children. They are equally ours. Equally loved and treasured. Equally completing our hearts in ways we never knew possible.

I thank my husband again for having the strength to bring home our son. For giving Auburn a little brother, for completing our family. I thank the amazing Congolese woman who had the strength to choose a better life for her baby. We know nothing of her story, only that she brought him to the orphanage because she could not care for him. I thank her. I pray for her well being and I promise to her that we will raise Oaks in a way that he will always know love. Forever love and support.

I met Anya several years ago when she was a student in an art class I was teaching. It was then that I learned of her adoption, but not until this moment have I heard the story so powerfully and beautifully told. It is bittersweet and full of redemption. Anya is pictured above with her adoptive family in Russia, with her fiancé, with her parents and sister:

“I was born in Russia, in a small town called Luknovo. I have two sisters. My oldest sister’s name is Tanya and my younger sisters name is marina. My crazy journey began from when I was five years old. My parents at the time were already divorced, but we’re still living together for the sake of the kids ( my sisters and I). My father was an alcoholic and abusive. My mother was an alcoholic as well, and would often leave the house and not come back for many days. At that time I just began preschool. My mom took me there the first day and after that I had to walk there all by myself everyday that summer. I loved it though.  Of all the chaos that was going on in my life, my time to myself was like gold. To get to my school I had go across a big field. I would often take as long as I possibly could just so I could ask questions into an open air. I would literally talk out loud. I asked ..”Why my life has to be this hard? Why my parents could never get along? Why is my family so disfunctional?”.  All these questions would flood my little mind. I felt so at rest all by myself. But as soon as I got to the street where I lived, I would have to put it all away and just face the reality.

Close toward the end of that summer, my life took a different turn. On one of those summer days, my dad and mom got in a fight. First it was verbal, then my dad started to be physical. My mom was trying to defend herself, but she was to weak. He hit her on the head with a CD player that was close by and my mom blacked out. She laid there on the flood as her head kept gushing out blood. Shortly after police showed up and took my dad away. My mom lost a lot of blood and it took her awhile to recover. My dad was put in jail for 5 years. Where I lived, if you abused one of your family members and they end up in a critical state you go to jail.

That incident changed my life. My mother after that disappeared. Nobody knew where she went. My oldest sister did the same thing. So there it was, my grandmother, Marina and I. I tried going to school and live life the best I could. I thought that now that my dad was jail, life would be kind of normal. Just when I thought that, a few women showed up on our front porch one day. They came from an orphanage a few hours away. I came to found out later, that one of my grandma’s friends called them and asked them to come and get us. My grandma at that point was getting pretty sick. She was having a hard time walking and doing stuff around the house.

When the people from the orphanage said that we had to come with them, I broke down in tears, I never thought it would get to this. I never thought that I would end up in an orphanage. Grandma was sobbing and didn’t want to let go, but they forced us to let go and get in the car. I sat in the car silent and angry. Soon we pulled up in front of the orphanage and were admitted to the first floor. They took all our personal belongings and gave us clean clothes. Following that we were led to a nurse who examined us. She carefully checked our bodies and then went to a different room. A few minutes later, she came back and brought clippers with her. She told us to sit in a chair and that she was going to shave our hair off due to lice. Tears streamed down my face, because my hair was so long. I was trying to ask and see if there was another option, and maybe we can use something to get them out, but she just ignored me.

After all the hassle of being checked and having our hair shaved off, my sister and I were taken to our rooms and introduced us to other kids on that floor. The first floor was were the new kids stayed till all their tests were done and then they were transferred upstairs. Upstairs were three different facilities. The reason there was three facilities, was because there was one for boys, then girls and the last one was for little children. They had fun names and the kids loved it. When I turn came to go upstairs, We were excited. Now my sister and got used to it and we made lots of friends.

We lived in this orphanage for about five years. My sister and I went to a regular school, went to camps and lived life. However, the lack of seeing your parents and people you thought really mattered to you was awful. I remember nights when I would fall asleep crying because I wanted to see my mom or my grandma. I would look out the window in hope that I would see one of them coming towards the orphanage from the bus station. That sight was very rare. My mom came only a few times to see us, and she would always bring presents. My grandma would pay a visit as well, but only twice that I remember. I loved my grandma. And every time I saw her coming down the road far away, I would sprint and run to meet her. It was the happiest day of my life then. She walked really slow and in pain because of her age, but she wouldn’t of traded to see us for the world.

Time went on and five years flew by. At the end of those five years, we had an unexpected visit by a tall man. When the orphanage administration  informed us that we had a visitor, I ran down as fast as I could, thinking it was grandma that came to visit us again. As came downstairs I saw a man standing with his hands in his pockets looking at us. I stopped in surprise and it took me a few seconds to figure out who this man was. It was my father. It has been five years since he went to jail. He came to see us right after the police let him out. He came to get us and take us home. He said that things would be a lot different. He said that mom and him are working things out and that they won’t fight anymore. So we went home.

Few weeks being at home was nice. My parents were acting normal. Dad didn’t drink and neither did my mom. Grandma was the same. Her body was slowly giving up, but her love for us was even stronger. I loved sitting with my grandma and have her tell me stories about grandpa , who passed away before I was born. At that point I didn’t thinking we would ever go back to the orphanage. Little did I know, things went south. My parents began to fight verbally and my dad was vey agitated a lot of the time. Soon my mom just walked out of the house and didn’t come back. So we were left with my dad who then got drunk. Dad went into a crazy mode and began to beat my grandma in front of our eyes. He kicked and hit her as she was laying on the floor begging him to stop. Eventually he stopped and went into a different room and passed out. I helped my grandma up and put her on her bed in her room. I prayed that God wouldn’t let her die, because she was barely responding. I checked her breathing every five minutes to make sure she was alive. After this event, the people of the orphanage were informed of what happened came and got us. So here we were again in the same place again. This time around we’re in the orphanage for about two more years, but I never knew my life was gonna take another turn.

My sister, since she was born had a heart beat problem that the doctors at the orphanage took her to get it checked very often. However, one day they used that excuse of taking her to a doctor to cover up the truth. One morning, about three am, my sister was standing by her bed getting dressed. I asked where she was going, and she said she didn’t know. And then a voice of the nurse said that she was going to her heart check up. She said that my sister will be back in time for lunch. So I went back to bed. That day I went to school and did my normal routine. When I came back from school I went to find my sister and I couldn’t. I asked almost everyone I encountered if they have seen my sister, but they all kept saying they don’t know where she is. So finally I went to the nurse and asked her where my sister is, but she turned around and walked away. I followed her and asked her to tell me but she simply ignored me. Tears were now running down my face and my heart was racing. I went to the administrative office and asked the director but she wouldn’t  tell me. Then one of the ladies that worked in the office,called me in and said that Marina was taken to a different orphanage and that they didn’t tell me because I would not have let it happen. My heart sank and tears turned into rivers, my head was spinning in circles. I couldn’t believe that they would do something like this. The lady looked at me with tears in her eyes and began to comfort me.  She held me till I stopped crying. My eyes were swollen, my head hurt and I wanted her back so bad.

The next morning, I had to gather myself up and go to school even though that was the last thing on earth I wanted to do. But i did. It was the longest day of school I ever experienced. I couldn’t focus. Finally the bell rang and I ran out of the school. I decided to walk home a different way than usual. So I took the road that lead right by the hospital. As I was walking, I saw a man pacing in front of the hospital, as I came closer, I came to find out it was my dad. I was very caught of guard. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to turn around and walk back, but he recognized me. He called my name and told me to come over. As I came closer., I notice a look I haven’t see on him before. He was worried. I came to find out that the reason he was there was because my grandma was admitted to this hospital. He said that she fell and is in a vey bad condition. I ran towards the door to go to see her, but they didn’t let me. I told him that Marina was taken away from me and started to cry again. I eventually had to go back to the orphanage. My dad told me that he would call me and let me know how grandma was holding up. I was so worried, scared and crushed. I couldn’t believe that all of this was happening. Shortly after I got back to the orphanage I got a phone  call from my dad and he said that grandma died. It felt like my body was about to give out. I didn’t know what to say and do. My legs felt so weak that I ended up falling on a chair near by. I laid there for hours. I never cried this much in my entire life. Two people that meant so much to me we’re taken away. I didn’t sleep of eat for days after that.

Soon enough I got myself on my feet again, and tried to make sense of all that was happening and in the midst of that, I found that that reason grandma died was because my dad beat her again and this time her body gave up. My heart was absolutely broken. Nothing made sense to me and why all of this had to happen to me. A few days after grandma passed, away my dad was put in jail. That day at the  hospital was the last time I saw him.

Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to moths and unexpected happened. When I came home from school one day, the lady that told me the truth about where my sister went told me that I was going to see Marina! She said she worked very hard to work it out so we could be reunited. My excitement was through the roof. My sister and I were separated for six months! And now I would get to see her. A couple of days later I arrived at the orphanage my sister was. They took me to the director of the orphanage and told me to sit down.  The first thing I asked them was where  I can find my sister, but their answer was, “She is in a hospital,” my heart dropped to my feet it felt like- not again, this can’t be happening. “The last time I heard someone was in the hospital was my grandma, and she died!” I said with tears in my eyes. They all responded at the same time and said that she is fine. They told me she was having some tests done and that I would see her soon. One of the other ladies that was sitting there was Svetlana. This woman was the doctor of the orphanage and my foster care “mother”.

Svetlana took both my sister and I into her home and loved on us. She watched my sister very closely and made sure that Marinas heart condition was fine. She made our lives so bright. We went to regular school, went to all kinds of classes and socials and made lots of friends. We called her parents, grandpa and grandma and her daughters, sisters. Life was exciting. It didn’t even feel like an orphanage. People loved and cared for each and everyone of those kids. A few years down the road, another life changing chance came along. We were asked if we wanted to go to America and visit a family who wanted to adopt us. My sister and I both said yes, and few months later we flew to United States of America to meet our possibly future parents.

It was June 2005, when we went to USA. When we arrived at the Los Angeles airport, we met Jim and Joy Maffuccio, who are now our amazing parents. Shortly after we, met our crazy three brothers! Who knew that we would have brothers. God did! Then with translators help, we got in the car and went home. Marina fell asleep right away, and I just stared out the window and couldn’t believe this was all happening. The entire month of our stay there was filled with fun EVERYDAY! We met with other families who had adopter Russian  children and had the time of our lives.  When the time came for us to go back to Russia, my parents sat Marina and I down and asked us if we would like to be part of their family forever. We screamed and jumped out of excitement. A yearning for a family was met for both of us right there and then.

When we got back to Russia, my sister and cried for long hours because we wanted to go back. Sure enough four weeks later, our parents flew out to get us. We went through all the paper work and courts and were released to go and be with our family! One of the happiest days of our lives! Months after we got back my sister and accepted Jesus into our lives and got baptized by our church pastor, Steve. My hunger for Jesus grew each day and my eyes were opened to how He was there with us every step of the day. Jesus was there every time my dad hurt my mom or my grandma. He had a plan and a purpose for our lives and He accomplished it. He is a faithful Father that cares for His children.

At the time we were living in California. We had lots of  great friends and an awesome church community. However, the Lord had something more I store for all of us. In 2006 our entire family came a conference here in Kansas City. My life was completely changed by the love of Jesus. I couldn’t speak very good English and I didn’t care because I understood everything the Lord was speaking to my heart. Months after the conference our family made a big move to Kansas City, and we have been here ever since. We are now part of the biggest worship movement in the earth and our hearts are full of gratitude to the Lord for all that He has accomplished in our lives. I can never thank Him enough for all that He has done.”

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