‘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

A Star in the Face of the Sky

Fellow Elton John fans will recognize the post title right away. One of my all-time favorite EJ songs. It's always been a special song to me because first, I have a brother with this name, second, it was to be my name if I were a boy, third, it is the name of the person who probably understands me most in this world and then there's the last one....I always wanted a son named D--. The week before we left our home for Russia, I had a strange spiritual experience. I was praying the rosary and was experiencing a kind of ecstasy that I have only experience maybe three or four times before in my life. It was the feeling of God's love completely enveloping me. And as I experienced this bliss, I had a vivid vision appear in my mind. I was suddenly in the music room at Nastia's orphanage, and Jesus was there with a little boy with fair hair and light eyes. He nudged the boy towards me and said 'This is your son, D--.' Right then, the ecstasy stopped and I 'came to' and thought I had been dreaming. I let the experience go because I honestly didn't see myself adopting a boy. It just didn't fit into my plans.
Fast forward to the orphanage. We arrive and head inside, the camera people are in the hallway interviewing Nastia. I bring the bags into the music room in preparation. I am alone in there, until a little boy comes in and stands close enough to me to observe what I am doing. ' Privyet,' I say, 'Kak zavoot?' 'D--.' he answered hesitantly. It took a moment to register, but then the 'vision' suddenly came back to me and I found myself now sitting in the very spot on the floor that I had been in the vision. I honestly got scared, and instinctively disengaged emotionally. I did not want to fall in love with another child. But D-- had other plans. For the 2 days we were at the orphanage, He was my shadow. Didn't matter if I was outside walking with Nastia, inside in the girl's room, walking about taking photos, eating...wherever I went, there went D--. He stuck to me like glue, and was always staring up at my face with these big soulful eyes. When I would catch him staring, I would smile, and he would smile back and then shyly look away. The second day, all the children were at school. Nastia wanted to go visit and walk the halls and tell me about her classrooms and teachers. We made the uphill trek and entered the school quietly, walking around. She whispered that she wanted to talk to me about something. 'Mom? I keep thinking about that kid D--. I think he's supposed to be my brother, but I don't know why.' I had no spoken a word to her about him. This was completely out of the blue. As I stood there stunned, a door opened and a little boy ran out of his classroom and nearly knocked us over. It was D--.
Running into D-- in the school hallway
So, I don't have any answers for all these happenings. I leave it in God's hands, but have told Him that if He indeed wants me to be D's mother, that I say yes. I am not saying it is to be, only that I am fully open to God's desire for this little boy, whatever it may be. Who knows? But in the meantime, I pray for D-- and know I am at least meant to advocate for him. I honestly don't even know if he's available for adoption. D-- has FASD..all the obvious physical signs, and I know many of you that read my blog raise FASD children and will write me many warnings. All I can say is, if God says He is mine in the end, God will give me the strength and wisdom to raise another special needs child. He worked miracles with Nastia. Who's to say another miracle isn't on the horizon?


  1. What a beautiful post! It is amazing how God moves in our lives and orchestrates those "meetings".
    I will pray for this situation.

  2. It goes both ways. I am so interested in your journey and check the blog several times a day- when there is no post, I'm so disappointed. Your travel brings back memories of our own difficult and stressful adoption from Russia 3 years ago. The photos, your descriptions, seeing those kids- it all is so familiar, yet so strange. Nastia's maturity is so impressive. Godspeed.

  3. Wow that is powerful. Sometimes I get too big for my britches and have to hit my knees. Those were the moments that I was led to adopt the exact children I adopted. Visions are scary. Dreams can be too. I do not believe in coincidences like that. Maybe you are meant to be "something" to Danil or maybe he is meant to be "something" to you. Either way he is not there by mistake. I pray for you all the time. You have one of the biggest hearts I have ever read about. Your faith shines in every word (even when you get a little mad at people LOL). He is a beautiful child and his eyes are hypnotizing.

    My family is preparing to adopt again. Although I have not vocalized it to many and I certainly have not told my extended family. Each one of my children including the adopted ones came to me on seperate occasions within days of my husband and I silently discussing adopting again. In their own way they each told me it was time to do it again. I did not think we were ready. We have had a rough road with our adoption. Special needs and unforseen obstacles. However, we all feel led in one way or another. So I pray. Same way you do. If it is his will than it will happen. May not be easy or the comfy cozy way we want it. But it will happen.

    Keep smiling and bringing smiles to those children. I can't say enough how much I love living through your story :)

  4. Sweet Danyichka!! We have a Danya also, as you may know. This little guy is so handsome and his eyes are so deep! Praying for God to continue to make your paths straight as you acknowledge Him!

    Bless you Keri!

  5. He's so handsome! Your post gave me goosebumps!

  6. Hey Keri,
    I was going to try to send this on FB but I am having problems logging in today..

    Please, if you have not already, make sure you register with a US Embassy that you are there. You can do it at this website.

    Also, remember the Russian mentality. Once you have a connection with someone they are typically your friend for life. Maybe you could meet some officials on a more personal level. Also, "bribes" are not the same there as they are here. "Gifts" are a normal way of doing business in some cultures who may need such things to survive. In Russia you may have to be creative, but don't give up! ;)

  7. WOW! That is amazing. I have to say, we had a similar situation when we received our referral of our daughter almost 6 years ago. We have had long time friends from grad school that were from Russia. When I received Klaire's referral, I looked at the town and asked my friend about it. She emailed me back right away that the town was the same one that she grew up in. I mean what are the odds? All the towns in Russia? Also that her parents and sister are still there. So we also found out that the town was where the old Soviet system "shipped" all the chemist, and we are both chemist. It is little things like that that make you wonder! Good luck. Thank you for sharing all your stories about the orphanage. Keep your chin up!

  8. FASD or not all little boys deserve to have a family. FASD is a challenge, however these are great kids with endless energy, creative minds, and a drive to move forward who can become contributing members of society when they are given a chance.

  9. WOW! I have goosebumps. I'll pray that if this is God's will, it will happen swiftly and without roadblocks.

  10. I can't believe how much Danil reminds me of my own little boy (he's 11)and my nephew at this age (right down to the funny way he's holding his mouth in the third picture). Do you know how old Danil is?

    I just want to stuff them all in my suit case and bring them home. I could not do what you're doing. You are one brave lady!

    Hugs and prayers,
    Mary in TX

  11. OK, Keri, I totally believe you now when you say you have ADD, lol.

    You have a few more things on your plate to deal with first before you go finding yourself MORE children. I know it's important to listen to that small still voice, and to be open to wherever God leads you, but I think you have some more work to do before you're gonna be in a position to think of adding more children, don't you think, really?

    But maybe you're meant to be his godmother, and one of your friends can adopt him. Or maybe you and the man of your dreams who I hope will still appear ASAP (with lots of money) can adopt both Dasha AND Daniel. And all of y'all can live together in Switzerland or somewhere that would accept all of y'all, citizenship-wise. I have no idea really what country that would be, but it's just a thought.

    He does seem like a sweetheart of a child, and he undoubtedly needs and deserves love and attention. But you really can't adopt all of them. What was it, 126 million?

    Hang in there. I'm glad you've lifted Daniel up to all of us to get to know a little bit here and he'll be in our prayers.

  12. Exciting stuff...he is definitely beautiful!

  13. What a moving post! I pray that the Lord will bless you in this decision. Whenever a choice like this about fostering has come in our path, we have prayed and He always makes the correct path fall into place, so I have no doubt he will do the same for you.

    I am very much enjoying hearing your updates on your trip, opening up a world I can only imagine. My heart breaks for the children, and I wish I could bring one (or all) of them home myself. Many hugs to you and your family!

  14. I am touched my your heart and your magic with words. I look forward to joining forces in our mission to save children.

  15. Oh my goodness! Your post has given me chills. Danil is gorgeous! I know that if God wants this to happen then it will (and hello! look at those signs!)... and since I'm a true sucker for these types of stories I'm praying it works out! =)

    Love reading your blog!

    Leslie =)

  16. Rosemary, I am glad you are here to be the cold voice of reason. : ) The rest of us are still wallowing in the "WOW."

    Keri, you will do well to listen to your dissenters, since wisdom does consider all the sides of an issue--but yet, I for one would be the last one to say you are wrong in your instincts, in your interpretation. God has given me such clear instructions at times--sometimes direct words I hear in my head, sometimes an image, all so real and clear it is like I really heard them and saw them. And they are all GOOD things (i.e. things not self-serving), so I don't think I would qualify as crazy. ; )

    The moment you mentioned Danil in yesterday's post I wondered if there was something special about him. So, so awesome.

    To be honest, FASD scares the crap out of me. But you know what scares me even more? RAD. If God can bring such healing in your RAD kid, maybe He is trustworthy to not give you an FASD kid who would be beyond your abilities.

    He is beautiful kid.

    And I completely disagree with Rosemary on one thing: why not be working on building your family three at a time? If you feel it is God at work, HE will make it happen. Not you. NOT YOU.

    Just keep being avaiable, saying YES to Him, and He will bless you and raise you up. Be His instrument, and ask Him to open doors and make the way clear. It is not up to you to save all the orphans of this world--HE will do it, when His followers say Yes.

    There I go gettin' preachy again! I am aiming for encouraging--so take it in that vein. : )

  17. Thanks Everyone! Rosemary, I know you are only looking out for me:) But I am DEFINITELY not going looking to take on more...but I will trust God in all things, and He seems to be leading in that direction. REmember, it would be a loooong process. Also, although I am not ready to talk about it, we are not being allowed to host Dasha again,or adopt her for that matter. The orphanage director is not letting her come back and has some families over there lined up for her. I hope you understand it is too heartbreaking for me to talk about just yet. Perhaps a few months down the road....

  18. Oh, my goodness...I don't know whether to laugh or cry or scream "WATCH OUT, MAMA!!" through my tears of utter joy. If you'd like a greater understanding of that statment, come visit my blog.


    This is the page that has links to some of our key posts while we were in Ukraine. Scroll about half way down and find the section that starts with "SDA appointment". Read that post and at least the next 4 under it until you get through "Trust in the Lord."

    Hugs and loves to you, my friend! Hang in there. You are doing good work. I'm sorry to hear about Dasha, BTW. I can only imagine what happened there, especially after I've heard so many other similar stories regarding Ukrainian adoption.

  19. My Richard is full blown FAS. While he has his challenges,he brings nothing but joy to our family. His older brother and sister are also effected. They also have issues. They also have brought nothing but joy to our home.
    Not all FAS kids rage. Mine shut down when over stimulated.
    I just thought I would give you something positive about FAS kiddos. It isn't easy to parent them,but it very rewarding.
    I am praying for you on your adventure.

  20. My cousin adopted a girl from Estonia at age 10 or 11. Because of the FASD, they have struggled mightily for the last five years, trying this and that and then something else. Now that she is 16, they have reached the last resort... The Ranch for Kids in Montana, specifically focusing on Russian adoptees with FASD and/or RAD whose families run out of options. I haven't heard how it's going. But as you said, if you're meant to be important in his life, then you'll get the strength to do it, one way or another. The degree to which you are currently open to God working in your life blows me away. Congrats on the neon apartment!

  21. The dream you had is so similar to the one I had before we adopted Alek...it is amazing how God works! We'll be praying for wisdom for you...and that if this is truly God's will, that He will start opening doors for you! :) ((hugs))

  22. Lindy, thank you for what you wrote!

  23. I'm so sorry to hear that about Dasha, as far as your prospects of making her part of your family, but I hope for Dasha's sake that it means they really are going to find a family for her. I will keep her in my prayers - she's going to need a family that handle her challenges.

    I hope that what I said didn't come across as being harsh, and I do agree you need to be open to wherever God leads you.

    I know that when I personally have a lot of major stresses going on, I can find myself taking on whole other new projects as a distraction. I know you well enough to know that you know what a serious proposition it is to become a parent to another child. I was just putting myself in your place and imagining myself latching onto the possibility of some other dream coming true while I'm not particularly able at the moment to fully focus on my pre-existing dreams that have almost insurmountable problems.

    I am so glad you found an apartment.

    Big hugs to all of y'all.

  24. Well I admit I have selfish motives for hoping you do end up adopting Danil. My heart cries out to do it myself, but I know it will never happen. My husband doesn't understand why his face has haunted me since your last visit to the orphanage, nor does he get why these kids matter so much to me. He knows that they do, he just doesn't understand it. I give him full credit for trying, but it's hard for him to be "on-board" when he just doesn't feel it.

  25. An amazing chapter added to an already amazing story of boundless love and family. Add me to the list of those who experienced goosebumps while reading as well as among those who are heartbroken to hear the news about Dasha.

    Quoting the Bible is a bit out of my wheelhouse Keri but...

    "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven"

    Ecclesiastes 3:1

  26. I'm also praying for Danil. I do believe that you should try to adopt him if that option becomes available.


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