‘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

Sunday, December 19, 2010

These Kids Want A Family!

I feel compelled today to remind everyone who reads my blog that the children you are sending gifts to have one gift they desire more than any other -- a family. More than half of the children at orphanage #5 are currently available for adoption.Why aren't they being adopted? Many reasons, but the primary one is that they are not babies. Adopting an older child is not for the faint-hearted, but I cannot imagine anything more rewarding in life than giving a home to an older child.

I am not in the adoption field, but I do want to do everything in my power to advocate for these kids. As you can imagine, many of them are very jealous that D is being adopted, and wonder why no one has come for them. Are you the person they've been waiting for? Are you willing to do what it takes to bring them home? Here are a few random things you absolutely need in order to adopt:

1. Infinite Patience: it can take as little as four months but as much as a year or so (longer if complications occur) to bring a child home. It depends on so many factors that it is impossible to gauge a time frame. But isn't a child worth the wait?

2. A Lifetime Commitment : Older children come home with many problems. They are damaged and hurting and it takes a great deal of time for them to heal but again, isn't it worth the time and effort? I know my daughter was and is. You cannot adopt these children expecting gratitude from them. You need to be the adult who leads them to healing. You cannot give up on them. Ever.

3. A Loving Heart : And by love, I mean the action word. You need to have enough love to put someone else first. You need enough love to say goodbye to your former life and welcome a whole new type of life in -- one of sacrifice and some suffering. (Sorry, need to be honest here.) You need to be willing to make this child your life's work, the work of your heart. You need to be willing to let go of expectations, and just allow that child to move at his or her pace in healing. It can take a lifetime.

Of course there are other practical requirements -- You need to be healthy, you need to make enough money to qualify, but that's fairly easy. I only made $30,000 a year when I adopted Nastia. You don't need to be married (I'm single) You do not need to own a home (I don't.) You do not need to be rich (I'm not.) You do not need to even have a college degree. ( I do, but not everyone who adopts does!)

If you want to adopt, and you meet the above criteria, you should adopt. Plain and simple. Too many people let either the financial concerns or the fear of the paperwork get in the way. It's hard, I won't lie. It took me five years to save the money to adopt Nastia. Five years. Filling out the paperwork was one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life (I'd rather climb Mt Everest, to be honest) Having ADD made it very difficult to get through all the documents, but I did it. Slowly and painstakingly. You can, too.

Don't let age be a deterrent either! In Russia you can adopt well into your fifties, as long as you are no more than 45 years older than the child you are adopting. Meaning, I can still adopt children ages 5 and up . But Latvia has no upper age limit! My friend Jama is adopting a 14 year old right now, and she is 61! ( Hope you don't mind my sharing, Jama!)

Here's the thing -- I truly believe that there is nothing more urgent and important in this world that finding homes for orphaned children. These are real flesh and blood children we are talking about. I met them, held their hands, wiped their tears, and listened to their desperate pleas for families. I met hundreds of them in Russia, and yet there are millions more throughout the world.

Lives matters. Souls matter. Christmas presents, houses, ipads and ipods, vacations, jewelry, fancy clothing, spa visits, -- Do NOT matter!


Every extra dollar you spend on things you don't need could be making a difference in the life of a child. Strike that -- it could be the difference between life and death for them. Truly - life or death.

Can't adopt? Why not give to someone's adoption fund? I plan on committing a monthly donation to adoption funds once I get D home. Why not commit to raising a specific amount for a family that wants to adopt but needs a little leg up financially?

Here are some of the kids waiting at Orphanage #5. They are even 'advertised' on the new orphanage website. They are waiting, waiting so very long to have someone to love them enough to climb that mountain for them.

C, outgoing and curious

V - kind, generous and thoughtful.

D and A ( not related, just in same photo)

R, a firecracker, and lots of fun!
Pray for these kids. Advocate for them.

Tell people about them.

If you can't adopt, try sending them monthly care packages or letters. It may be a pain to translate a letter into Russian from one of those online programs -- but it's not impossible. I do it at least once a week.

Want to adopt but don't have the funds? There are countless organizations that give grants to help. There are also amazing organizations like Reece's Rainbow that make adopting down syndrome and special needs children very affordable. If money is your excuse, throw it out the window. It is a flimsy excuse. If I can adopt as a single mother in this economy, making under $40,000 a year, you can. Start saving now! Hold yard sales, bake sales, have an online auction, sell things! I'm currently selling things on craigslist and it may end up paying for half of D's adoption costs! Look around your house -- you'll be amazed at what you find you can sell!

Ok, I am stepping down off the soapbox. But I'm not saying I won't get back up on it very soon :)


  1. So glad you are posting this and calling others to the joy you have found and reminding us all of the joy we can bring. While International Adoption is not for us at this time (we foster and have adopted from foster care) we have contributed to two different international adoptions this year and it has been a delirious joy to know we have helped two children reach their forver home.

  2. Hi Keri, I feel your pain girl and hope you get through to someone who can actually adopt one or more. Unfortunately I am soon to be 64 but will continue to write to them hoping to give them something to feel good about. I went to the web site but it is all in russian and I couldn't see anything that let me use it. Keep trying girl, it's worth the effort.

  3. I started following your blog before your trip and have been wanting to email you...can't seem to find an em address. Thank you for all you do for these children! I am trying to start my adoption and when things get discouraging, seeing these very real children on here makes me keep trying and try all that much harder!!

  4. Odie you can use


    to translate the website.

  5. Thanks for your commitment! We adopted three siblings n 2008 and are working on our second adoption (this will give us 7 kids). Our three youngest (11, 8 & 7) are from southeastern Siberia. We hope to start working with orphans of that area starting in 2011.

    I wanted to add that there are several groups offering grants. All it takes is patience.

    God Bless -

  6. Thank you for these posts. As a new momma currently in Siberia waiting to head to Moscow to finish our adoption, I agree with your post with my whole heart. We spent today at our new dd's orphanage with two groups of kids (ages 5 -8) it was amazing. Our son and newly adopted daughter played, danced, sang and we got to meet so many wonderful children. It is heartbreaking knowing that because they are not babies, their chances of finding families is slim to none. Our new dd is 5 and 1/2 and has brought the most amazing light to our lives.

  7. I also thought that finances would prevent us from adopting. Fortunately, we found an agency that did their work for older children for very little (I paid the agency about $4,000). In all, our adoptions were about $14,000 each. Since there is a tax credit for adoption (about $11,000 between the federal and state) that really just was four vacations in Russia. Granted, we took a home equity loan for the first one and we are still paying that off, I guess you could say....but oh! how well, well worth it.

    I will also say that, if you are fearful, there are some guidelines to follow that will help make sure your child doesn't have significant isses resulting from attachment or trauma. Find out about the child's history. One of our children experienced early neglect, and she has some issues that are a bit challenging. On the other hand, two of our Russian boys are, by anyone's standards, "easy" children. The third boy has issues related to perfectionism, but that could certainly be worse! My advice for the faint of heart would be to look for a child who had a solid first three or four years....children who experienced love, care and consistency in their early years, are often pretty resilient and adaptable. I know well probably twenty children adopted as older children, and of that number only one had significant issues. That is because our agency had a woman in Russia who selected well-behaved, good natured children for people to adopt! She admitted that this was purely in her self-interest! And, she was in a region that allowed the "good kids" to be adopted. Now, here we have Keri who can tell which kids are good candidates for adoption.

    I loved having my bio-children...but it is the adopted ones that seem like miracles!

  8. Hi Kerri,
    My friend is not a blog reader but is interested in adopting a sibling pair like Rosa and Vasya. How would she go about pursuing these two. Also, she is interested in hosting this summer too, with the intent to adopt. The problem is they already have 6 kids. Would Russia allow this?

  9. Keri, I sent you an email - this is "flies by seat of pants". Please respond when you get a moment and I'd love to speak with you. Talk soon, Teresa


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