‘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, October 20, 2010

Lend Me Some Hope, Will You?

Today Anya asked me what I will do if she cannot come home with us in a few months. I had no answer for her. No matter what the plan, I do have to go home for a January job, and also because my visa runs out then. I told her if we cannot bring her home, we will be back. but I also wonder -- how will I afford it? How will I make it work long-term?

As you can imagine, this trip has put me in debt like nothing else in my life besides college. Every time we go to the grocery store here, I cringe at the rubles being literally eaten up. I try my best to keep the girls occupied with things that don't cost anything. And we walk everywhere. NO buses or taxis for us! ( except to the orphanage of course..) We are very happy despite the limited funds, but even these funds will run out at some point. How do I make it all work?

Tonight the doubt crept in. I've been living solely on faith so far, concerning our future. Today I let my mind ponder, and it doesn't feel good. All the ideas people keep sending me for Anya, we have already tried. I'm so grateful to all of you who write us with ideas, but as you can imagine, in five years' time we have just about exhausted every avenue.

There are things we are working on behind the scenes that can't be talked about, but trust me when I say EVERY day we are on pins and needles hoping for an answer. I worry about even the few short months I will have to go home that Anya will be here alone. People don't understand. It's not like leaving her behind in the US. She has no home, but also there are no homeless shelters to go to. She has no family, but also no agencies or NGOs or anyone to help her manage her days. She has no money...I send her some each month, but no one is there to tell her how to spend it. Remember, this is a girl who lived alone, on her own, for most of her life.. She has NO life skills, and that has become even more evident while we are here.

Even the orphanage she was at confesses that she barely scraped by the few years of schooling she got there. There is no place for her here. She cannot work -- no one will give her a job. She cannot rent an apartment -- no one will rent to her. She has nothing. Nothing.

Anya needs a mother by her side. She never had one. She needs one now, despite the fact that she is 19. She acts more like a pre-teen and has the education of a 9 year old. Would you  leave your nine year old to fend for herself? No. That's where I am at with Anya.

When I pray, I only get the message to be patient. I just wish the message would change. I've been patient for five years and it is getting harder these days. I worry about what kind of work I will do if I move overseas ( I LOVE my work at home.) I worry about what kind of services I can get for Anya over here. ( She is in desperate need of therapy.)

Well, there is my vent of the week. Do with it what you will. I'll be back in top form in another day or two. It's just so hard to hope in a place where hope is such a rare commodity. I'm trying. I really am.

Anya and me, at the Hermitage.


  1. I can lend hope...and tears...but that's about all I've got. :*( How I wish I could do more!!

    Hmmm...just had another thought. Perhaps "be patient" means wait until November 3 when the stupid election season is over and all the beaurocrats can get outside themselves and actually think about the people they were elected to serve for 5 minutes.

  2. I wonder, have you thought about what you just said? There is nothing for Anya, no schooling, no place to live, nothing......there are so many more Anya's. Perhaps a project is to create a place for them? A place where an education can be gained and, a place they can get the guidance of a "mom", and a place there they can sleep safely at night? IS this a possibility? Can it happen?

  3. Keri,
    Since you can get online, I highly encourage you to look up information about EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique. It's incredibly powerful, pretty easy to learn, and once Anya learns it, I bet she'll be able to do a lot of the work on her own, especially if she knows that in the process, she can cry on your shoulder and she doesn't have to verbalize the details of stuff.

    http://www.eftuniverse.com/ There's a free resource to get started, so you can do this without spending any money, too.

    You and the girls are always in my thoughts. I'm sending you much love and hope. One of the things that has always helped me is to remember that if you are seeing shadows, there's a light somewhere. It's kind of cliche, but true.

  4. OK, I know this will be unexpected, but here goes. I'm hopeful today. I'm praying, but I'm also hopeful. I'll carry that banner for a while today for you. You just rest and pray and take care of your girls.

    All things are possible in Christ Jesus who gives us strength.

    I honestly feel like so much is possible, especially when I hear you being realistic. I think there are ways around these obstacles. I think you'll find a way to pay rent for her for a place for her while you work things out in the meantime about a place you can all live together, whether that's here in the US or somewhere else.

    Diana's point about the elections in November is a good one.

    Please, please, please let us know if there is anybody we can write to. I continue to write to Senator Kerry and to Secretary of State Clinton.

    I think you need to find a literary agent and write a book. An advance on a book might pay for some time living abroad while this gets worked out. I'm adding that to my litany of prayers for y'all.

  5. Keri,

    Remember the song I sent you right before you left, Coming out Strong. That song is full of hope.
    There, you have it, some hope :)
    <3 Rosie

  6. Thiinking of you and your girls, and being hopeful for you all this week! Hopefully you will receive an answer other than "be patient" soon!! That is an amazing picture of you with Anya! Stunning!

  7. I'll hope for you until you're full of hope again.

    Do not become weary in doing good. (And this is good.)

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  9. I am praying that you are able to find a solution soon. Would it be possible for Anya to stay at the orphanage there that you are volunteering at? Could they provide food/shelter in exchange for her working at the orphanage while you find a way to get her home?


  10. Big hugs coming your way. When a door closes, God opens a window. :)

  11. How much did you say that apartment is a month? I thought I saw it posted but I can't find your post with the cost.
    I think with 100's of followers, you can certainly ask for donations to cover the rent for her and prepay it for her before you leave. Even if it's for 6 months until you get back there next. This way your place is already secured as well for your return trip. Then the money you send can go towards food. She'll have to learn to budget money if even the hard way. She needs to keep herself busy in a good way so if she continues to volunteer at the orphanage it will teach her responsibility and give her security in a "job" where she can trust the people around her. A little donation from many will go a long way to bridge this gap.
    By the way, I sent an email to President Jimmy Carter begging him to please look into this case. I'm sorry to report, I haven't heard anything back. Should we all begin to send letters on your behalf, the squeaky wheel always is the first to get the grease. As long as the ideas keep flowing, it may spark some new hope that has been overlooked.

  12. Lending you love, because love nurtures hope.

  13. Unfortunately I can't post any of my ideas on your blog because none would meet with the approval of the INS...you don't even have to post this comment on your blog if you don't want to because of the vague reference, but I wanted you to know I commented anyway.
    Agree about the book...you TOTALLY need to write one. But it would be nice to have the happy ending first...

  14. I don't think my comment went thru, so I'm re-posting. Have you seen the blog about the mission work in Chita? I believe they are Americans who work specifically with children who have aged out of orphanages. I saw the website recently on the Russian Sibling Connect chat board. It is www.reflectionsrussia.org. I wonder how they get Visas to stay for such an extended period of time to do something like that? Just a thought... And keep praying for a door to open! You're in my thoughts!

  15. ok, I'm going to ask a really stupid question, but I don't remember reading the exact reason that Anya is not allowed to leave Russia.

    I know you're weary of waiting, but I also know that you must be encouraged to hear an answer, even if it is "wait". It means He is listening, and He has a plan. There is hope.


  16. Keri, just wondered if you got the e-mail I sent to your g-mail account last week and if you have heard from anyone on that end?

    ~ Carrie VB

  17. Oh Keri! It's so hard, what you are doing! I can't even imagine. I just bowed my head to pray for you and instantly God brought to mind what I had read this morning in my devotions: Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I sword to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous.

    Anyway - you get the picture. I am still amazed by you and what you are doing and will be praying with all my might that everything with Anya gets sorted out. Please Lord!


  18. I tried to leave a comment the day you posted this, but I don't think it went through. So trying again--but short on time. PLEASE get in touch with SGA and/or FEBC. I give their websites in English--they also have them in Russian, I think. I know that at least one of them has a Christian counselor (pyschiatrist?) who does radio broadcasts/takes calls from people. They may have some kind of an idea that none of us have thought of since they are active in Russia. At any rate, they will CERTAINLY pray for all of you guys, and esp. for Anya. http://www.febc.org/ and http://www.sga.org/ Ask them who you can talk with--or what resources they can point you to.

  19. Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

    Deuteronomy 31:6

    Well, God's word promises that when we feel that fear, we only need to remember that He is the one who will be with us through it all, he is the one who will not leave us or forsake us. That is God's promise.

    So if you are facing what seems to be an insurmountable challenge that is making you afraid, remember that you are still a child to God your father. Speak to him, say "Please, God, come in with me?"

    And be assured, He will. Always.

    I pray that God will give you peace today.


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