‘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

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Anyone Out There?

I'm sure I am just suffering from a combination of homesickness and culture shock, but I would really love to  hear from more of you. I have checked my statcounter each night and there are between 1500 and 3,000 visitors a day, but only about 3 or 4 comments. What gives? I usually donut even think about visitors and page loads and counters, but I'm so out of my element here, and so overwhelmed by the bureaucracy that keeps me stuck here, and the loneliness of being away from all that is familiar...I find myself checking this blog 3-4 times a day to see if there are comments -- something to hold on to. When there is one, I am overjoyed! It is like getting a letter from an old friend. When there isn't one, I feel crest-fallen.

Hope more of you comment, however briefly, after you read in the coming weeks. I could really use the

Much Love, A very exhausted, overwhelmed and homesick Keri.


  1. Anonymous4:06 AM

    I am here. I don't comment much, but I avidly read each post. I am getting a care package ready to send to the orphanage sometime next week. Anything you think I should include?

    I am praying for you and trust me....you have got my support. Your blog even hooked my husband (he doesn't comment...not even on my blog).

    God Bless and Happy Equinox!

  2. I think all those thousands of people (like me) stand in awe of this amazing adventure you're on... I'm reading you in my RSS feed and on FB as I go about my perfectly normal, "easy" day and thinking there is no way to even compare my day to yours. You strength, even at your lowest point, is clearly from God... How else could you do this. So I pray that today you continue to have that strength to shine in a very grey world. --Elizabeth

  3. Anonymous6:43 AM

    I am one of those people who regularly come to check in with your blog but have not posted. I can empathize with you on the feelings of utter lonliness and lost, I surely was not in region as long as you will be but I was in the most far eastern part of Russia when I went to pick up my daughter. To be 15 times zones away from everyone and everything is quite intense. Keep your eye on the prize and relish in what you are doing for both your girls. Russia is a very sobering place and it is hard to find literal and figurative sunshine but know how many of us here in the states are sending you good wishes and cyber strength to endure this journey. Relish in the knowledge that you are both inspirational and heoric.
    Best Regards

  4. I am reading in Texas. I'm following your incredibly interesting journey! I have one 4.5 year old son. Love the pictures too!

  5. Anonymous6:59 AM

    *waves* Sorry! I'm so glad to hear how happy you're making other people, as is your nature. =) Hang in there- - and home is where the girls are, isn't it?

  6. Hi Keri-
    We are really enjoying reading you blog here. As we celebrated Alex's 2 year Gotcha Day last week and had lots of our own memories of Kemerovo/Prokopievsk come back to life it was amazing to be seeing current pictures of the place.
    If all goes well, we hope to be back in Russia this year.
    I'm sure the time there is hard, it can definitely be isolating. At the same time, I am positive that at the end of this three months you will not believe how fast it has gone. Savor every moment with Nastia and Anya. We are hoping that you are able to bring them both home at the end of this.
    We'll keep reading to hear more about how amazing all three of you are!

  7. Keri, hang in there! We all think you are one of the most awesome human beings in the world. A giant force to be reckoned with. I, for one, can't fathom doing what you're doing...and it's all for love and compassion. All good things. I often don't have the words to express this awe. Hope you feel the positive energy all around you.

  8. Hugs to you. I remember vividly how homesick I was with just 6 days ahead of me alone with Katya in Moscow. (Turned out to be okay when we met a friend. But, oh how I remember that thud in my stomach when I walked into our tiny hotel room, in that strange, gray, cold city, sleep exhausted on the first day.) I'm sure it's just a drop comparatively. Just wanted to let you know I'm enjoying reading about your time in Siberia, supporting you from back "home."

  9. Hi Keri - sorry you're feeling so overwhelmed and lonely! I've followed your story for a few years now, both on FRUA and on your blog.

    I would expect it will take a few weeks to really get used to the time change, and the other dramatic changes you're having to go through. Hopefully when you're able to get into your apartment, you can settle in for the long term, and get into a routine.

    Take care. Stephanie

  10. First! Sending love from across the miles.

  11. Sorry you are homesick! I love the pictures for the children's house. The little boy Daniel has wonderful but very sad eyes. He almost looks similar to your little summer visitor, like her brother. I wish I could go and adopt about 5 more!
    I was wondering what are your goals for this trip besides the passport. Are you going to try and get your other daughter to the US? Or help her find a job? Apartment? Just wondering?
    How is that for some questions for you to answer! lol. I hope your homesickness gets better. And you accomplish what you set out to do.

  12. I'm here, reading your blog every day and checking your FB postings. The photos of the children are wonderful, but I am so haunted by the young woman with the baby girl. Whatever will happen to them? I pray that every one of those children will find a forever family. You are amazingly strong to go there and be with these children, even though I'm sure there are times when you don't feel strong and feel like you are falling apart. You are not alone. You have tons of admirers, total strangers who are amazed by you. God bless you.

  13. I'm reading and checking to see what you guys are doing everyday. I'm praying for all of you. God bless and strengthen you in all that you are doing. And may He draw you into a closer relationship with Him during this difficult and lonely time. A friend shared this Scripture with me when I was weary and needing support and now I'm sharing it with you. You're doing a wonderful selfless work! Lots of us are cheering you on!

    Galations 6:9,10
    "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people..."

  14. (another lurker says) - sorry. we are supporting you and reading but since I read in my RSS reader, I don't comment as often. will try. some of these pictures are amazing and hang in there.

  15. LOL, Keri, I had been reluctant to post because I didn't want to waste your internet time! We're out here, we really are, reading everything that's happening & looking at all the photos.

    I'm so glad that Nastia and Anya both got to hand out toys to the kids at the orphanage. That has to have been such a meaningful experience for them. You know, I think one of the real keys to building self esteem is to do good things, build yourself a track record of having made responsible and loving choices, and you're giving Anya a chance to start doing that. I think that's especially true when there are such cultural differences and there just doesn't seem to be a culture of service to others and charity and generosity and pulling together and taking care of each other, at least that has been my experience of Russia. I'm sure it's easier to do that when you have enough material things to share more easily. But I also think they just don't quite have the same experience that we do of things like church communities, and things like Habitat for Humanities and volunteerism. And some of the deepest satisfactions can come from helping others, as you well know.

    Bureaucracy - sigh. It is what it is. And remember that it is not illegal there to take chocolates and flowers to people at these various offices. And one of the only job perks the people in those offices get is their own feeling of power. But it's easier for them to exercise that power in a way that doesn't stick their necks out, i.e., in a negative way instead of permitting something they aren't sure they're supposed to permit.

    Maybe it's time to call the governor of Kemerovo again.

    But I do think some of the other people who've posted on here & facebook are correct, that they can't KEEP Nastia there - she is a U.S. citizen (as well as being a Russian citizen).

  16. Ok I totally understand. I have been under the weather and well not commenting on much. I do read the posts just been kinda lazy. Things here are tiresome but at the very least I do have my comforts at home. I can only imagine what you are going through. I remember as a young military wife being stationed in Germany. I was in a beautiful place with my wonderful son. My husband was gone 90% of the time but I was enjoying the country. I started to learn the language and could get by here and there but what I really longed for most was to hear my native tounge. Odd I thought I would hear it in Germany of all places but we were stationed on a small base in southern Germany and we did not live in base housing. We lived in a German community. I was more like an outcast than anything.

    Try to find comfort in the fact that you are doing something wonderful and you have an enormous cheerleader section back in the States! We love reading your posts. I am shocked that you are able to blog as much as you do. Please keep going. I like that I can experience some of your story with you.

  17. Hi Keri,
    I've been following you since I saw the article in the Salem News. We grew up in the same neighborhood. I use to deliver your daily newspaper to your house and sometimes take care of your family dog. I'm honored to know you and all you do for others. You are an amazing person, woman and Mom. Sending you huge hugs and sunshine from North Salem & Cabot Farm. Hang in there, you ARE making a difference!
    Be well,
    Christine Lutts

  18. Between being completely at a loss over the ridiculous bureaucracy, and being totally in awe of your courage (though I know you would just say you're doing what is necessary), and being so humbled by your spiritual and material generosity, I haven't known what to say. "You rock" just doesn't seem to capture it! I am following your story, reliving a bit our very long time culturally and physically isolated in the sticks of Ukraine (wouldn't trade it for the world as it gave us our beautiful amazing boys) and my 2-year stay (earlier in my life) in very rural Uganda. I know what it feels like to be so on your own, far from all your safety nets. You are doing such amazing things!

  19. hey babe, i've left comments that aren't appearing. and i thought maybe you were filtering them. i'll check back and see if this is there and i'll know you're not. whether or not people comment, their interest and support follow you. and the vocal minority will keep cheering you on. hang in there babe.

  20. Yes! The support for you is HUGE! I do think we are in awe of your journey and sometimes that leaves people speechless. I am sending you a HUGE HUG (HUG HUG HUG - for you and each of your girls) from California! You are an amazing MOMMA!!! We are here for you and will be back to remind you of that!!

  21. I just saw your blog for the first time today. I'm usually just a lurker on the blogs I read, but seeing today's post, here I am commenting! Bless you for what you are doing. I love your little blurb about yourself ont eh sidebar. :) I hope that you are able to bring Anya home and be back with all your friends and family. I will be praying for you.
    Melissa in Durham, NC

  22. Reading over other peoples' comments has me nodding in agreement every time someone says they don't know what to say. I do, however, read every your blog every day - if there isn't a new entry I even reread old ones. Sometimes I want to say something, but don't know how to say it without sounding trite, or don't have the time to say it at that moment because I've got a 4-year-old jabbering in my ear. I think about you, the girls, and the kids at the orphanage constantly - my husband knows this matters to me, but he really doesn't understand why even though I've tried to explain more than once. I don't see adoption in our future - not even domestic.

  23. I'm here Keri. Excited to read what happens next.

  24. Hi! working about fifteen hours a day trying to get the religious education program up and running. No time to buy groceries, let alone be reading blogs. But dropped in because I'm waiting for something to print! I try to read, late night and early morning. Prayers are with you.

  25. Guilty as charged...I've been doing quick hit and run visits to the blogs but not commenting much. Will try to remedy that...I remember being in Russia and how hard it was. The smell of meat stuffed ravioli things (I belive more properly called pelmini) gave me nausea for about a year after :)

  26. Sorry about that! I haven't been blogging much lately, but I've been stalking my reader looking for updates from you every day. I promise to try to do a better job of leaving you comments. But rest assured, I'm praying for you daily! :)


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