‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Pain Is So Deep

I really struggled with whether to post about what happened tonight, but I feel like people really need to be reminded.

And reminded, and reminded.

There are over 143 million children like D in this world. Let that sink in.

143 million.

The pain they carry in their little hearts is too heavy for them, and they can never put it down. It is so much easier not to know about them and their pain. (Life looks pretty ugly when you allow the reality of 143 million orphaned children to settle in your mind. I get that.) But, it is real. It is not a made-up number. It is not exaggerated, and their pain isn't either.

Tonight D was not herself. The reality of her impending departure is weighing heavily on her, and she raged tonight, but with a degree of sadness that I had not yet seen. Nothing precipitated it this time, she simply walked in her room after we got home, slammed the door, and yelled 'I hate you!'

I went in to try and get out of her what had upset her, but she just started crying with a depth of sorrow I recognized from when my father died. It was the grief we feel with loss. I immediately knew this was about her leaving, but I just stayed present and listened. She cried and cried deep soulful cries into her pillow and did not allow me to touch her. If I tried, she screamed 'YOU'RE NOT MY MOTHER AND NASTIA IS NOT MY SISTER. LEAVE ME ALONE!'

I spoke softly and told her I understood what she was feeling and that I loved her. She kicked and pounded the bed, and even pushed the dogs away when they tried to comfort her (as they always do when she cries.)

'GET AWAY! YOU ARE NOT MY DOGS!' She yelled at them, and pushed them off the bed.

She then fell deep inside herself and just heaved and cried and cried. It seemed like it would never stop. The pain was that deep. It just kept coming and coming, and I knew she was releasing a great deal of grief about a great many things. I waited. And I prayed. God, how I prayed.

 Eventually, she let me rub her back.

Between sobs, she starting speaking 'NO ONE will rub my head at night there! NO ONE will stay with me! NO ONE will read me a book or hold me!' I knew she was talking about the orphanage.

I lay down next to her, rubbing her head and told her 'I will always be a part of your life, even when I am not with you. I will ALWAYS love you. I will ALWAYS pray for you. I will think of you every single day. When I am able, I will write to you and call you and send you things." I said everything I could think of without making any promises I could not keep.

'I will never see you again, " she wept,  "I know it. I know it! I will never get to see you again...ever....' She fell into her pillow sobbing again. Her whole body was shaking while my heart spilled into a million tiny fragments.

I told her I loved her over and over again. After what seemed like forever, she turned over and clung to me. I sat up and pulled her onto my lap. She cried and cried into my shoulder and stuck her arms under mine and held on as tight as she could. 'Mama, mama, mama....' She cried.

I held it together. I needed to for her.

And after awhile, as it always goes, she stopped. She relaxed and let me rock her, and she cuddled in to me,  but without holding on for dear life. And I held her like that and rocked her for a good 30 minutes more. Finally, in her own time, she got up and started to walk to the door. 'Where are you going?' I asked.

'I want to go watch Cinderella with Nastia.' and that was it. The storm was over, and the calm returned.

I followed her into Nastia's room and watched her climb up over her 'sister' and get cuddled under the covers. 'Ok, Nast, I'm ready. Turn on the tv.' She said cheerfully. She had emptied some of that weight in her heart, and I could tell it felt much lighter to her.

Last week I asked God to let my heart hurt the way His must. Tonight I think he answered my prayer.


  1. Anonymous10:01 PM

    This post seriously brought me to tears. You, Natsia and Dasha will all be in my thoughts in the upcoming weeks. I wish you all the strength in the world to get you through this difficult time. ((hugs))

  2. Anonymous10:05 PM

    I'm in tears ... I've seen the depth of this pain too many times in my little one.

  3. Anonymous10:10 PM

    so will you try to adopt her like forever? or you are not sure yet?

  4. Anonymous10:45 PM

    of course she is going to try!! But governments are horrible and I cannot understand why they would rather leave amazing children like Dasha in an orphanage than give them over to a loving family, papa or not.

  5. Keri, I am so sorry that the law is not allowing you to adopt her. Why don't they understand that one parent is way better than no parent?! You have again moved me to tears and moved me to prayers. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Anonymous5:15 AM

    Just bring present, as you say, and listening is so brave of you, Keri.

    I keep being reminded of how close I am to Russia here in Turkey. I'm in Istanbul the whole month of August, more or less free, if there's anything I can do. xo

  7. Mary Boucher8:22 AM

    OK, other posts brought me close to tears but this one did it. Now I will pray not just for Anya but for Dasha and that the Ukraine will change its adoption policy. One mama trumps an orphanage any day. You are one incredible mama.

  8. Anonymous8:32 AM

    OK. Seriously. We have to get you a husband, and quick. I'm not joking. I really mean that. Is there an old boyfriend, an ex, an old friend you never particularly thought of that way, somebody kind, somebody with integrity, somebody who could be a life partner? Like the line from that Joni Mitchell song "send me somebody who's strong, and somewhat sincere".
    Rosemary Clark

  9. And this is EXACTLY why I cringe when I hear over and over again "Oh, I could never do what you're doing!" If we don't, who will? I always wonder if people really know what they're saying when they say stuff like that. Do they realize they are saying that when they put limits on themselves ("I could never do that"), what they are really saying is that they COULD walk away and leave a child without help and hope just because helping them might not be convenient and the process can get a little messy?

  10. I'm in tears over here. I am praying and hoping everything works out!

  11. Anonymous11:30 AM


    Could you please email me? I have a question for you but don't have an email address to send it to you. My email is jjmarble@comcast.net. Thanks!

    Jenn Marble
    Fellow Gordon Grad

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Too many typos in my comment...had to delete and repost!

    I feel like responding to ALL of these comments but I just dont have the time today, unfortunately. but I heard every one and they meant alot, and to Rosemary, I'm looking...I'm looking so hard my eyes hurt.

    I know not everyone who reads my blog is a believer in God, and I am NEVER one to judge - especially in that realm -- but I do want to say that my faith in Him is what is getting me through this. I have a great confidence that Dasha will be ok, and let me tell you, that is NOT from me. I know it is from God, who strengthens me. God has her in the palm of His Hand, and I feel that on a very visceral level. I have NO DOUBT in my mind that He will take care of her and place her in a loving family, EVEN IF IT ENDS UP NOT BEING MINE. In fact, I have two sets of dear friends that are looking into it as I write this.
    Just pray/meditate/chant (whatever way you communicate with God) and ask Him to stir hearts to adopt. Remember, Dasha is one of 146 million parentless children.
    Hearts need to be moved and people need to be willing to be selfless and work HARD to heal these children. It is painful work, but it is the most important work in the entire universe.

  14. Ok..that was really sad...it makes me angry that their Government thinks its better for a little girl to be completely heartbroken than for her to have a loving, albeit single, parent, that she so obviously loves.

  15. Sometimes we get frustrated. We got frustrated as biological parents, but never to the point of asking "Should we have had these kids?" But then, we just let God decide about our kids, "planned parenthood" being entirely and in every way off my radar. That made it easier. And our adoptions were, likewise as "unplanned" as adoptions can be.....but still.... On Sunday Craig said of a particular child, "He probably would have been better off if we'd left him there."

    Thanks for the reminder. No matter how nice the orphanage - and in Russia many are as nice as the homes even middle class people live in - those are NOT their homes, orphans don't have pets, or their own belongings, or anyone to give them the special love that every child deserves.

  16. I know that each is called to serve the Lord according to the talents and the heart He gave her, and I have never felt in the least bit that motherhood is a calling of mine, but sometimes, like right now, I wish it was. I deeply admire your weakness/strength and the depth of your love, Keri. I am in awe. I hope that Dasha is able to process your love in some way that she can understand. . . especially since it may be the only love she's ever seen, and what other way is there to know God? Bless you, bless you, bless you Keri.

  17. What a beautiful girl Dasha is! My heart aches for her and you have brought me to tears. As a mother of an adopted child I do not understand how people can ignore the call to adoption. My daughter is amazing. special needs? Only one. she needed to be loved. I hope and pray she will have a family and can she you.

  18. Dasha is a deeply loved little girl, and what a BRAVE girl to let love in and have such HOPE. May HOPE and FAITH fill all your days together and sustain you and her when she must depart...for now. What great verbalization about her feelings, esp. mid-rage. What a shining star.

  19. sniff* this made me cry i just wanna say i love you guys and would help as much as i could


  20. DeLynn10:15 PM

    God Bless you, you are still in our prayers!!

  21. Hey, i accidentally reached your blog, but its awesome... It touched me... your love for Dasha is really great and all your writings too. I was sobbing while reading this post and also the Papa shopping one.. I just wish and pray, you have Dasha forever with you.. All the best and give my love to Dasha.. :)


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