‘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, November 10, 2010

Lying in the Lap of God

This trip has taken a massive toll on my daughter Nastia. She has trudged on like a trooper, but she has been severely homesick for over a month, and a few times has expressed such grief that I honestly did not know if I was doing permanent damage by staying here. Last night was sadly one of those nights. The outpouring of grief was so huge and so deep and so profound, I could do nothing but hold her and ask God for His peace for her.

Nastia hates it here. I'm not sure if hate is even a strong enough word. Repulsed, maybe? I have not blogged about it because I was honestly hoping to see a turn-around. You know, 'Russian girl embraces her home country and finds peace' -- that sort of thing. Nope. Not happening. She is positively bereft at not being home. She says over and over that she will never ever ever come here again. She despises this place, her homeland, and wants out now. 

Technically, we have three weeks left, but I honestly don't know if she can make it that long. It seems we have exhausted all routes of bringing Anya home (another post for another day) and If I'm going to lose one daughter, I am certainly going to do everything I can to keep the other one ok.

Visions of Sophie's Choice come to mind. It is slowly dawning on me that I will be leaving Russia with one daughter in tow -- one exhausted, overwhelmed, burned out, grieving daughter. The other one? The one I must leave behind? All I can do, all I can possibly do, is leave her in God's hands.

Each night I  end my  prayers by envisioning my two girls lying in the lap of God. He looks on them with great love while they lie there, curled up within the folds of His garments. He showers them with light while they lie there, dreaming. He reminds them that someday this hurt will all be over. He strokes their hair. He wipes the tears from their cheeks. I know He loves them like I do.

So this is the vision I will hold in my mind when I say goodbye to Anya. I consecrate her to Him. I beg Him to keep her safe in a place where safety and peace are hard-won.

I thought I was writing this post asking for prayers for Nastia. That was my intention. But our need for prayer clearly extends so much further. As we enter our last few weeks here, please pray for my girls. I don't have any answers. My hands are empty. I came here with the greatest hope that Anya would leave with us, but it is looking very much like we will be walking away from her. Again.

How will I possibly do that?

The Christmas Holidays at home, and all its indulgent trappings, will feel like a slap in the face.  Our home itself will provoke guilt for me. And as much as Nastia is desperate to get out of here, I know her grief at the loss of her sister will fill a canyon when we get home.

God, in your great mercy, please help us.


  1. I was praying about this very thing last night. I knew Nastia must be feeling torn, but also had the feeling that there is a large part of her feeling "I got away from this miserable country and its horrors and now I've been brought back to it!" And all she's enjoyed in America must be very hard to be without. Barring divine intervention, she needs to come home. Whichever God chooses, He is the author of Good from anything. I also prayed that God would give you just a little break here and, if not, that He would pour out extra PEACE into you.

    Does God want us to act? I don't know. Is there anything we can do to cut through the red tape? It's just paperwork, really, and bureaucracy. If every single one of us makes a big, pleading scene outside of John Kerry's office - he did promise to help, didn't he? - will that be what it takes to tip the scale? I don't know. We pray, we hope, but should we act? Maybe we can all pray about that one.


  2. Kari my friend, so many emotions in such a short period of time. You know we all wish it could have been different for you and certainly our prayers are with you and all the needs you've mentioned.

  3. I can't imagine what you are going through but you are in my thoughts and prayers

  4. Keri, is there any way we could contribute toward a "safe house" for Anya and eventually Ksusha, a place where they would at least have food and shelter and maybe some support in learning a skill that could be leveraged into a job?

  5. My heart aches for all three of you. If you can think of anything for an American transplanted to Canada can do to help the cause of getting Anya home with you, please let me know. The intransigence of this situation is driving me nuts -- it is all soooo ridiculous. I can't imagine how it must be affecting you as you relive it over and over, and with all the worry and fear. Really keeping you in my thoughts.

  6. I'm mailing your blog to Senator Kerry again. If it is so frustrating for me, a total stranger, to try to understand how our government can let this happen, I cannot comprehend what it is like for you there on the front lines. I am praying for you and your beautiful girls and for a miracle.

  7. How hard it must be for all. I second ChrisK's idea. I love all of you.

  8. I pray for you, your girls and Daniel daily and I will continue to do so.

  9. i can't wait for you to come home but i also know that while she'll be joyful you'll be full of sadness. not just for anya but for all the other children there....

    i just don't know what to say or do anymore right now. i'm sorry our boxes haven't yet.....

  10. I had no idea she was so grief stricken. Praying for all of you for peace, wisdom and above all MIRACLES to MOVE MOUNTAINS.

  11. Breathe in, breathe out, s l o w l y. Breathe in, breathe out. There has been healing here, for everyone. Breathe in, breathe out. Even if it isn't known until years and years to come. Breathe in, breathe out. The internal shifts you have written of, they must be happening with the girls too. You, my love, have the ability to see growth as it happens. Most of us just see it when we look back. It's gonna be rocky, but it shall be.

    Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in the love, breathe it out others.

    Love you.

  12. My thoughts, prayer and Reiki are with you.

  13. Keri-
    You inspire all of us that you can move mountains. AND YOU ARE MOVING Mountains with everything you do!! Is it possible (if Anya can't go home with you in December) that she and maybe Ksusha stay at the apartment that you are renting right now? We all can help donate towards the monthly rent. Also, You need to come back for Daniel in 3 - 6 months and that way she has a safe place to stay and food. Also is there anyone there (from the orphanage or school) that can check up on her and assist Anya in maybe finding a job? If there is ANYTHING that you want us to do - Please let us know!! I am here for you!!! I hope you feel better and rest up!!

  14. Keri I am reading the above post here about helping with that apartment as I had also suggested. Is that even possible? Of course, technically Ksusha is hoping to get adopted by May, isn't that right. But a plan B for her will ease her worries.

  15. How I ache for you. Poor Nastia, too..... I hope you don't get her home and find she misses Russia! Any chance that part of her issue is not getting your undivided attention? Frankly, I'd be afraid to take two of my kids to Russia because I think they'd run away. Another e-friend of mine had that very thing happen when she took one child back to Ukraine to adopt another. (So, it could be worse?)

    Yes; that whole Christmas thing will be painful. It always is for me, and agonizingly triggering for the kids. What a shame that we've taken this lovely, quiet holy day and made such a materialistic travesty of it.


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