‘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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hell On Earth, But Trusting the Light

There are no words, no words, to express the darkness that came our way today. I don't think it's even worth it to talk about it, except to say that I feel completely and utterly spent. I know why so many non-profits start here and then give up. I know why adoptions don't happen much here anymore. I know why parents chose never to come back here after they've adopted. I wish I could say more, but I can't, for fear of making it worse. What I CAN say is how unexpected it was to be attacked from the American side today. What was that woman thinking?

Lately I have received an endless stream of messages, emails and even public FB posts urging me to consider giving a bribe to a Russian official. Before you weigh in on one side or the other, let me humbly remind you that:

#1 it's illegal,
#2 it's unethical, and
#3 it's immoral.

Let me also add that I would never do this and that I also know it would not work anyway. After receiving over dozen of these messages, I finally posted a simple but firm 'enough is enough' on my FB page, and a flood of replies ensued. Basically, some 'friends' decided to hijack the post and make it a debate about bribery in general. Not very helpful when we're completely in over our heads with complex problems halfway across the world. I simply wanted the emails and messages to stop. Fair enough, dont you think?

Well, one woman in particular decided to hijack the already hijacked thread, and suddenly, out of the blue, accuse me of being pro-abortion -- saying that I had 'no right to comment on bribery' when I am obviously pro-abortion. She said I was a hypocrite and even questioned my faith. Hello? Have you met me?

First, I have never ever talked about my stance on abortion for a very personal reason. But you, unkind friend, have forced me into a corner I want to get out of.

Melissa Marie Macy, I am PRO-LIFE. I have always been PRO-LIFE, and I always WILL be Pro-Life. But I sadly have MANY friends and family who have experienced abortion and I choose not to hurt them further by discussing the issue in venues they frequent -- like facebook and my blog. Those conversations are for private, intimate communication, where words cannot be misconstrued. No help will be gained by a bloodbath online. Personal, honest and thoughtful communication between friends is how I choose to communicate my personal beliefs about abortion.

Anyone who knows me in ANY capacity knows my complete and utter adoration of and love for children. Since I believe, and since science shows, that life begins at conception, I am pro-life. I have never ever stated otherwise, though you accuse me of posting 'pro-abortion' beliefs. You, my false friend, are a liar. Don't misconstrue that statement either -- I am not resorting to name-calling, I am stating a fact. YOU LIED. Therefore, you are a liar. You chose to post something:

#1 that you could not possibly prove as true,
#2 in a public forum for all to see and get incensed about, and
#3 at a time when you KNOW I do not HAVE the time or energy to defend my beliefs.

Umm, we're a little busy here if you haven't noticed. We're fighting a losing battle against indifference, callousness and mind-numbing beauracracy , trying so hard -- and against impossible odds -- to find a way to open a door that has just been shut in our faces. You chose to take my focus elsewhere. Doesn't seem very godly to me.

Melissa, if God ever calls me to discuss my beliefs in a public forum, I do. And without hesitation. But this issue is so painful for so many people I know and love, I chose to wait for His Lead in when and how to share. God has made it abundantly and overtly clear to me that Facebook (of all places!) is not the place for that discussion. He, our God, is gentle, forgiving, humble and compassionate. Where was your compassion when you lashed out at me?

I am not going to fight a battle that God hasn't asked me to fight. My job is here, He has made that clear. My job does not involve paying bribes. He has made that clear, too. And my job is certainly not to entertain callous and insensitive and UNTRUTHFUL remarks from someone who chose to 'kick' me when I was down -- someone who purports very strongly to be a Follower of Christ, but acts very counter to that. Thus, I've deleted you -- something I have yet to do on facebook (delete someone because of something hurtful they have said or done.)

I do not hate you, I do not wish you ill....but boy am I angry with you. Given the level of inconsideration and viciousness of your words and your decision to bear false witness against me in a public forum, I choose to not interact with you any longer. I have enough REAL battles to deal with, without having to fight false new ones to take me off task. How would you feel if someone decided to accuse you publicly, in view of all your friends and family, of adultery? Can you imagine the horror of that for just a moment? Maybe it'll help you to understand the degree of hurt you unleashed in my life today.

I wish you peace, Melissa, but please do not contact me again. Ever.

And to all my friends who are pro-abortion and now wish to discuss my beliefs with me, I am happy to...just not here. In person, face to face, with love and respect....that's how I want to share.

An online public forum is no place for such an important conversation.

Obviously Ms. Macy does not know anyone personally who has experienced abortion. (Or maybe she does, but they are too scared to ever share their pain with her because they know they would be judged.) Melissa, just about every person I know who experienced an abortion carries terrible and irrevocable guilt about it. And often pain. And shame. And sometimes regret. It is not my place to judge them. It's my place to LOVE them. And you would have me bring their pain and shame to light on a social media site??? Are you crazy? God is their judge, not you or I.

And God, while I'm mentioning You..I want to reaffirm that I trust in YOU. I listen only to you. And I await your wisdom in this current horrible mess here in Kemerovo. I don't know how this situation can be fixed, but you do.You will find a way. I know it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


I realize I've posted all my photos on facebook and almost none here! Here are some favorites from last week in Moscow. Enjoy!

First day, headed to Red Square
Old Czar checking his blackberry:)

Orthodox Priest in front of St Basil's

me and my girl - Red Square

Mother and son begging.

Bridget in the garden of St Basil's.

Bridget and Nastia walking near Red Square

Update from Kemerovo

It's soooooo good to see Anya. She has a new close friend, Ira ( Ivonka) and they have come to visit us every day. The housekeeper here at the gustinitza is being rude and told Anya she cannot sleep here, but we are going to try to have her stay for a night before we leave. I forgot how crazy things are in this part of the world!  Seeing everything through Kim & Bridget's eyes is reminding me how very different it is here.

Some things that I had forgotten that are pretty ridiculous: we are alloted one roll of TP for 4 people every three days. And these are Russian rolls of TP that last maybe a day for one person! So, of course, we went to the market to buy TP for our hotel room...lol. Our bed is a pullout couch from the Soviet Era. Not exaggerating. IT is old. It has never been used as a bed before. It is hard as a rock and the most uncomfortable thing I have ever slept on in 46 years...including all camping experiences. I didn't want to complain, but the first night I couldn't sleep at all, so I explained to the housekeeper about it and asked for a blanket to soften it, and she said no! So, back to the market to buy a comforter. Ah, Russia.

Aside from seeing Anya, the best part of the trip thus far was seeing my Shakespeare students yesterday. I love them so much. No, I ADORE THEM. I took Bridget and Kim to the school  (Nastia slept in) and Bridget was treated to a full tour of the school AND an impromptu question and answer session in an 8th grade English class! Bridget was soooo shy, it was adorable. But she did answer a few questions and quickly became the school celebrity! As we left the classroom, a group of 6th graders swarmed her, all bellowing "Hello! Hello!" and wanted photos with  'the American' and when she told them she had written her email address on the board in the 8th graders room, they all rushed in there to write it down! She already has at least one penpal:)

We then took all my students out for lunch at our old haunt, The Travellers Cafe. I had already decided I would use my work credit card to buy them a 'celebration dinner' as most of them are graduating this week.  (They are my Shakespeare students, after all!)  I'll post photos when I figure out how to move Kim's photos into my archives. I've never done that before.

On the orphanage front, things are in limbo, but I am refusing to give in to despair. Tomorrow, God willing, I will go with Svetlana before the Regional Director of Orphanges and request permission to visit. This delay is all due to one woman, who shall remain nameless here, to be safe. This woman decided, although it is her job, that she would refuse to issue us the invitation because  she is 'tired of all this work' and she 'shouldn't have to do it.' This is the woman who has held up our Host program for going on 8 months now. It is within her power to approve it, but she 'doesnt like the work involved'. So we wait and wait and wait. Can you believe there is such a heartless person in the world? Believe it...she is the one who issues all referrals for adoptions in Kemerovo, too. Maybe now you understand why adoptions in this region are nearly at a stand still these past few years.

Well, just keep praying. The Orphanage Director and all the kids are so disappointed we are not there today as planned.  But we're going to figure this out. I didnt come 6,000 miles with 450 lbs of gifts to be turned away. I hand it all over to God, who has a FAR better perspective than I do. He will do what He deems best.  More in a few hours, with photos!

Please comment while I'm here. It motivates me to post when I know there are readers. Otherwise, exhaustion makes me too lazy! Comments please!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Heart Exploding With Joy

I'm sitting at a desk in our 'gustinitza' in Kemerovo. I am so completely overjoyed at being here that I can't stop crying. I'm trying so hard to muffle the sound of my relentless sobbing, because everyone is asleep. I am counting the seconds till Anya arrives here, and my stomach is doing cartwheels just thinking about it. I feel so at home here, so very at home. I know that Siberia is not everyone's cup of tea, but I cannot help but adore this place more than any other on earth. God planted a passion for this place in me and it only grows more intense every time I come back. It is an all-consuming love. I just never want to leave.

The past few days have been difficult, but I don't regret one obstacle, one slammed door, one 'nyet'. I don't feel overcome by any of it, because it is part of the rocky road that brings me back here time and time again. Let me tell you, fate has dealt us some harsh blows on this trip thus far, but God continues to walk me through each one with the greatest gentleness and love -- love I do not deserve.

Our passage through Sheremetevo was not so great. Even with our planned arrival three and a half hours before our flight, we literally walked on the plane with the door closing behind us and angry looks from the other passengers. Despite being told by Aeroflot that I would likely have our excess baggage fees waived if I came early and spoke to one of the higher-ups, it did not happen. We were told to wait, and we waited forever only to be told 'no' and had to pay over $600 in extra baggage 'penalty' fees. But I surprised myself with my ability to let that go. I had prayed the entire time we had to wait, and it paid off. I just let it go, knowing that God will make up the difference somehow.

There is so much I want to write, but it is all mixed up in my head right now. I need time to process everything that's been happening. I will say it is SUCH a joy to watch Bridget take this journey. She is one special little girl. I can't get over her resiliency, calm and quiet joy at being here. She makes every bit of the hard stuff worth enduring ten times over!

And I didn't even post about meeting Tesney yet! What a joy! I wish I had our conversation on tape for you:) Meeting her made my day. I have prayed so hard for Kirill these past few months, so getting to meet his mom and dad was a total gift! I'll leave you with some photos of our meeting. I have hundreds of photos already. Some are on FB if you want to see them. I'll post all I can in the next few days. By the way....48 hours till the orphanage!!! As Bridget would say, ' WOO HOO!'
Kim, Bridget and me meeting Tesney Davis!
Greg and Tesney ( Kirill's PARENTS!) and me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Slings and Arrows

I've been consciously avoiding posting today. Not because there is a lack of things to talk about, but because I'm scared. Months ago a fellow blogger posted a long piece on how she hated when people blogged about their sadness, especially in regards to the state of things in this world. She was angry that people wrote about the sadness that levelled their hearts, concerning things like 'the orphan crisis' or similar suffering. It was a very cutting piece and she posted it several hours after I had shared one of those very types of posts she so condemned. So I took it personally and have avoided writing anything too depressing since then. I felt singled out and shamed, even if she wasn't talking to me.
Mother & son begging today, at Resurrection Gate.

But all day I've had this darkness weighing heavily on my heart, and I've carried it as bravely as I could and tried to pray it away, then ignore it, then fight it, and now I see how foolish it is to pretend it's not there for fear of offending someone. Sometimes sharing our pain is called for. 

I come from a family that usually hides its pain and sees open expression of it as weakness. I just don't agree.
Friends, sometimes I am very, very sad. So sad it feels like physical pain. You could all give me your arm-chair diagnosis, but I know what it is. You can tell me it's the weather or it's stress or it's the sum total of my emotional history. You might suggest it's unresolved grief or unexpressed anger. All those things I have experienced in my life. 

But this sadness comes from being open to the world. 

It comes from seeing and hearing a great many terrible and awful truths that I wish didn't exist in this world, but do. 

I may be naive -- I don't understand how anyone can live their life without believing there is Someone there to catch them. I don't get most of my friends, who seem to know the answer to life's secret and breeze along like they live in some version of a 'life is sooo good' sitcom. I don't get the focus on material things or constant pleasure-seeking or the need to have the next best anything -- even if that 'thing' is an experience. I don't get the day in and day out focus on 'me me me' and 'fun fun fun'....and the worst part is, I get punished for it.  I feel like an outsider almost all the time, even in my own family, and I grieve the loss in a way I cannot possibly put into words. I grieve the loss of connection with so very many people, just because I think I don't fit in their world view.

I feel so very alone in this world sometimes. I feel abandoned by others I love, feel like I'm not 'good enough' or 'fun enough' or 'laidback enough' . I have had plenty of people in my life tell me directly or indirectly that I'm 'too intense' or 'too dramatic' that I should 'relax' and 'calm down'. They tell me I 'think too much' or I'm a 'downer' because I point out dark things I see. But this is the way God made me. 

I wish you could just accept me as I am.

I'm so glad I have God to turn to. I'm glad I can turn to Him when the world feels heavy and when friends and family ignore, or show painful indifference. I'm glad there is Someone who loves me 'as is' and does not ignore me because I dont have a smile painted on my face most of the time. I'm glad my God loves me the way I should be loved -- unconditionally, infinitely, and forever.

So tonight, while everyone sleeps, and after a very full and remarkable day here in Russia, I am sad. Very, very sad, and I choose always to lay that sorrow in God's lap. He helps me carry it and He instructs me with it. He doesn't always remove it, but He often gives me the wisdom to know that it is going to be ok. People are flawed. People let you down. People can hurt you horribly without even intending it. But God supercedes all of that. He sees us for who we are and loves us just the same. 

If only those we love could do the same.

God asked me to pray for her today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kirill is no Longer an Orphan!

Got the great news that Tesney's day in Russian Supreme Court here in Moscow was a GOOD day. Krill is now Gregory Kirill Davis! So happy!  We have to run, but wanted to post quickly about Kirill. Here's a photo of us this morning. Later!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Good Morning, Moscow!

I'm home again! In Mother Russia and so very happy. Our getting here was the most ridiculous comedy of errors I've encountered since our September paperchase fiasco in Siberia. I honestly doubt you'd believe the chain of events, had I not three witnesses who had to suffer then firsthand, too! From being sent to the wrong terminal by British Airways and having to lug our 450 plus lbs (that is not a typo!) of orphanage donations to through elevators, across busy airport taxi lanes and onto a bus over to the RIGHT terminal, with minutes to spare.....to having the befuddled agent forget to print out boarding passes for the 2nd leg of our journey....to learning the terrible news that the Russian authorities had mispelled the translation of Nastia's name in her new Russian passport...to paying 'name change' penalty fees of $100 in London...and it only gets more crazy from there.

But we survived -- on patience and humor. I provided the hard-won patience that I learned in my Siberian exile, and Kim provided the humor. And the end result is, we made it!

I'm sitting in my bedroom overlooking an incredibly noisy lower Tverskaya Street in Moscow. It is 7am local time, and the seven hours of sleep I just got feels like twenty! Everyone else is asleep. Before we went to bed, we walked up to my favorite market and bought breakfast items and some snacks. Watching Bridget stroll around the store taking it all in was wonderful. Nastia stayed by her side, chirping the names of things in Russian over her shoulder. We walked home and ate a great many Russian specialties we had missed, and then went to bed. Just before I climbed into my room, I snuck a peak into the girls' room. Bridget was out on the balcony in the dark looking down on a lit-up Tverskaya street that reaches all the way to Red Square. She had one arm slung behind her, and grasped the railing with the other, and her head was cocked upwards. She looked positively awestruck. Perfect end to a long day for me:)

PS: Apologies for typos ahead of time. Between my jetlag and blogger's broken spell-check, I can only imagine what you'll find above!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thirty Hours

That's how much time I have left to get about 300 hours of work done before we board our flight. It always happens this way. I get slammed with work from every corner of my life right before I travel anywhere. I shouldn't even be blogging, I know! Just wanted to tell everyone that we are headed out tomorrow. It'll be days of travel before we reach Siberia, but I'm thankful for 2 days to catch up on sleep in Moscow.

Many difficult situations occurred before our leaving, though I can't really blog about them. I will let you know that I won't be bringing my dossier with me for D. I've cried for a week over this, but it's time to just deal with the facts and keep moving forward. I have no idea how I'll afford yet another trip over there to submit my papers this summer. No idea. but I'm going to leave that dilemma up to God.

I am going to try to blog every day while we are away. We'll be in Moscow from the 23rd to the 26th, then Kemerovo from the 27th to the 5th of June. Pray for safe and easy travel, and that we accomplish all we can in this too-brief visit. Between us four travellers, we are bringing eight gigantic duffle bags full of donations for the orphanage. Each of us managed to pack all our personal belongings into our carry-on backpacks. I'll take photos of our parade of bags tomorrow.

Things I'm excited about? Of course seeing Anya and D are at the top of the list, but also -- seeing the other orphanage kids, my Shakespeare students, my friend Svetlana, Nastia's grandmother and aunt and cousin, are all right up there. In addition, getting to experience this trip through Bridget's eyes will be a huge treat, as will getting to eat my favorite Russian soup again.

Siberia, here we come!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I have to make this quick -- Nastia is upstairs cuddled in her bed waiting for me. We just got back from her favorite restaurant -- celebrating what happened exactly six years ago tonight. On May 16, 2005 at a little after nine in the morning, Nastia and walked out of a Kemerovo courtroom as a family. The dream I had wished and hoped for my entire life was finally a speakable truth - I was a mother.
Moments after the judge declaring us a family. May 16, 2005.
The day was sunny and cloudless and relatively warm, for Siberia. I remember exactly what we both wore, where we sat, what was said. I remember my brother seated behind me and seeing the tears in his eyes when the judge made her decree. I remember talking to my Dad on the phone directly afterwards and telling both my parents they had just become grandparents for the first time in their lives. Nastia spoke briefly to them, simply saying 'hi' and 'how are you?' (My Dad passed away unexpectedly a few weeks later, so knowing he got to share in this day, if even just by phone, is very special to me.)

It's hard to put into words what this day means to both of us. I know I can't, but I at least wanted to share my joy. I am a very lucky mom - mother to a wonderfully complicated, passionate, opinionated, stubborn, funny, child-like, courageous and oh-so-lovable daughter. I wouldn't trade one step of our often arduous journey for all the rubles in Russia. We fit together so perfectly, there is simply no way to ignore that our coming together was part of a divine plan, not authored by us. I thank God every day for my little girl, now not so little. I love her more than I can possibly say.

My beautiful girl today. May 2011.

Monday, May 09, 2011

A Little Girl's Dream

Bridget and her Kitty!
Some of you know about Bridget. She is the sweet 12 year old girl I met on New Year's Day this year. She had been following my blog and wanted to meet me in person to give me all the money she had saved in her piggy bank, insisting it go towards Daniel's adoption. That '80 something' dollars was the most generous and heartfelt gift I've almost ever received. It also tells you a little something about this special girl. She has a big heart. In fact, now that I know Bridget better, I'd say her heart might even be a little too big for her tiny 12 year old frame. Caring hurts sometimes. And Bridget is always caring.

Bridget mentioned soon after we met that her biggest dream in life is to travel to Russia and meet some of these children face to face and help them. A big dream for a little girl, but I certainly resonate with it. And so, even though I knew the chances were minuscule, I told Bridget that if she raised the funds, she could join us on our next trip -- with parental approval of course. And this started the wonderful friendship I now have with her mother. Kim is so committed to supporting her daughter's dream, that she promised Bridget that if she were able to raise the funds to go, Kim would find a way for them to travel with us.

Lesson: Never underestimate the determination of a girl like Bridget! Since that January day we met, Bridget has raised close to $700 towards her airfare! You might have read in one of my earlier posts about her wildly creative marketing idea. She hit up everyone she knew for their 'orphaned' socks (you know, the ones that have no matches?) and she turned these throwaway items into adorable hand-stuffed and sewn creatures that come with their own adoption certificate! She then peddled her wares at school, in church, at girl scouts, to neighbors and family friends. She even left a basket of them at our house in case a random visitor here might want to support her efforts!

That brings us to now. I personally must travel to Russia before May 15th. Bridget still needs to raise about $500 more to cover her airfare to Siberia, if she wants to go with us. If you would like to purchase one of Bridget's creations or would simply like to support the efforts of an incredibly caring little soul, you can do so via my paypal account. Simply put "Bridget" in the subject line and be sure to include your home address if you want a sock creature! I will make sure Bridget receives your donations. And maybe, just maybe, she'll be able to come with us!

Bridget plans to document the entire trip via her own blog, with photos, stories and video clips. She also already has an entire suitcase stuffed with gifts she has been collecting for the children. If she goes, she plans on taking only a carry-on for herself, to allow more room for items for the orphanage kids. How many 12 year olds do you know that would do that?

Bridget & her mom, Kim
Bridget's mom is going to make the decision within the week. That gives Bridget very little time to come up with the rest. If you feel that nudge to help her, please do. You will get a lovely hand-written thank you card in the mail from this sweetheart!

If you can't help financially, please consider praying for Bridget as she tried to meet the deadline for raising the needed funds. We would simply ADORE having her and her mom along for the adventure!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

A Daily Snippet

Oftentimes I don't blog because I feel like my day to day life is so boring. Yet the blogs I most frequent are the ones that touch on the simple daily ups and downs that most families weather. I also love just hearing about what people are doing . Just made a trip to an antique hardware store? You made this reader's day! Your girls were caught washing the buffalo off your buffalo chicken? I'm riveted! And I'm not kidding!

So, in this vein, I give you a little check-in on the Cahill household. We are still purging. I think it's a combination of the adoption 'nesting' phenomena and my desire for a simpler life. This week we donated all our unneeded pet supplies to the local animal shelter. Then we cleared out all our CDs. We added all the music we love to itunes, and now we are bringing a hefty box to our local record exchange to make a little cash towards our trip!

I also got to meet up with Daniel S today, one of my former Shakespeare students, and passed on my 35mm film camera and lens to him. He is a really talented photographer and so deserving of this gift. He isn't even in high school yet and he's impressing the world with his work! His sister was the person who graciously travelled with me when I adopted Nastia, as I couldn't speak a word of Russian back then, but it was Anya S's native language.

I work really hard to live simply these days, and am trying to turn my very American daughter onto it as well -- no eating out, no movies, no more random trips to Target. Most days, we entertain ourselves with inexpensive past times. Nastia loves coloring and drawing, so this morning she was working on this design book...

And, of course, we always have these guys to keep us on our toes...

Tonight we begin the impossible task of filling our four giant duffle bags with all the items we hope to bring to the orphanage. We have to keep the weight under 50 lbs a bag. We easily have 200 lbs of stuff! Let's see how much we can squeeze in!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Siberia, Here We Come!

Thumbs up! We're coming!!

It's official! The tickets are purchased! There's no turning back now!

On May 22nd, Nastia, Bridget, Kim (Bridget's mom), and I leave for Russia! I had hoped to leave a week earlier than that, but we saved close to $300 per ticket by flying on this date, so the 22nd it is! We leave Boston late that night and arrive in Moscow the night of the 23rd. we will spend three nights in Moscow, as I have business at the Embassy and it will help us to have a few days to acclimate to time changes. We want to be fully rested when we get to the orphanage!

I will be bringing part of Daniel's dossier (God willing) and will also be acting as a representative for Project 143, to meet with the DOE and still try to get approval for our hosting program. We will visit Anya, too, of course. but most of our time will be spent ministering to those amazing kids at orphanage #5. I have about $1700 in donations to go towards the creation of the art room. And I'm hoping to solicit a few hundred more to install fresh water coolers in each of the five living areas. I'm not sure how much it will cost to have the water delivered weekly, but I'll find out once I'm there. I tried to explain my idea to the orphanage over the phone, but they really didn't get it..lol.

Last night I talked to the orphanage and told them we are coming. Nervous giggles and laughter were the response, and lots of 'Ladna!Ladna!' The boys asked if I could buy a few bikes for them once I am over there. And the girls asked for 'something pretty to wear.' I'm so happy that they feel free to dream of what they want now and to ask for it. It has taken forever for this change to occur. Our three months living over there really did the trick. They know I am a woman of my word!

Please write me privately if you have a special request while I'm there. For instance, some have asked for me to hand deliver letters. Others have sent special gifts for particular kids. Another made a beautiful little quilt for one of the little boys. If I get approval, I plan on interviewing the children for hosting, and will of course take as many photos as I can.

I haven't been able to sleep for the last two days, I'm so excited. One minute I think of seeing Anya and I get butterflies, another minute I think of D and feel overjoyed, another I think of handing out the gifts to the kids, or walking around the village with them..and I experience a growing euphoria! I'm telling you, if my daughter would only agree, I'd be living there by now. Nothing makes me happier in the world than being over there!

Lastly, it's been very quiet here and I miss hearing from all of you! Tell me what you're thinking about this trip! Woo hoo!!!

Friday, May 06, 2011


It's Mother's Day weekend. I'm so lucky. Not only am I a mom, but I have one, too. A wonderful one. One who comforted me in my little girl sorrows, and cheered me on in my victories. One that taught me kindness and selflessness. I was lucky, and I still am.

But so so many on this planet are not so lucky. Not only do they not have a wonderful mother like I have...they have no mother at all. Over 143 million children in the world right now are motherless. My goal in life is to bring this number down as low as possible. I know I'm one person and I may as well be trying to spin straw into gold, but I know that just one less orphan in the world is a step in the right direction. One more child in a family is worth a million rooms of spun gold.

Many of you know I am acting as a representative for Project 143. With founder Tammy Cannon, I have been trying to see a host program developed in the Kemerovo Region. Although it has been a long, slow road, there is still hope. When I head over to Kemerovo in a few weeks, I will be meeting with the DOE to see if an August Program is a possibility. Still, there are many children waiting right now on Project 143's photolisting. Children who dream of a family. Children who would be happy to just spend a few weeks with you this summer to experience family life first-hand. Children like Ent:

Or sisters like Sanita and Linda - --bright girls just needing a chance

Or Lyubov, age 12, who is described by her caretakers as 'merry' and kind and sweet:

These are just three. Boys are often overlooked, as are sibling groups and older children. And yet the gift of their presence in a family should mean people knocking themselves out trying to host kids like these. Can you host? Even if you can't host, you can donate, you can advocate, you can make a difference just by spreading the word.

Last year when I hosted, I was so sad that so many children did not get picked. I advocated for them online, I talked about them, posted their photos on facebook, and thought I had not made one bit of difference. But you know what? Months later, I had no less than three families tell me they had hosted because of my postings. And one of these families has since adopted the boy they hosted! All because I took 2 minutes out of my day to post on my blog about these kids.

A child in a home. What is more wonderful than that? A motherless one now in the arms of a loving mother. How do you possibly beat that? You do it by being an advocate yourself and helping to get the word out. Will you?

Here's Vlad. Will you help him, against all odds, to find a family for the summer?

What amazing things might this little boy teach you? What light might he bring into your world? What life lessons might you learn through him? Spread the word. On this Mother's Day weekend, let the world know about the motherless. You can make a difference. You can be part of the road that brings them home.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Bridget Has Butterflies! (The Good Kind)

If you have the time, go read Bridget's post about her excitement for the trip, and all the planning she's doing! Very cute.

I know she plans to keep a video diary while we are over there. I'm so glad! Some of the pressure is off me for video-taping! But honestly, I think Bridget's video blog will be far more interesting than anything I could do.

Be sure to add yourself as a follower of Bridget's blog so you can be a part of every minute of our trip! Someone asked if Nastia will be blogging. Sadly, my daughter did not inherit my love of writing. In fact, she'd probably rather do math equations than write a sentence! But you'll get glimpses of her and Anya from Bridget and Kim and me. She's very excited about going, in her own way. She's never keen on spending too much time at the orphanage, but she is counting the minutes till she sees her sister again!

Stay tuned!