‘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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Get Your Perspective Right

It's so easy to focus on the negative. It takes no effort. It's like rolling down a hill; gravity helps you. But remaining in that place that sees the light and the good in even the darkest corners? That takes effort.

I've been praying a lot today, and listening for what God might have to say. He didn't send me any epiphany of Anya's imminent arrival, no confirmation that Daniel will be home soon, or that Anya will walk again, or that my business will survive, or that my health will strengthen - nothing of that sort. But what He did offer me was the nudge to write on my blog again, and to write about trusting Him even when you can't see Him or feel Him. Probably because I'm becoming an expert on that.

This week alone, I had three different people offer their sympathy for what I'm going through. 'I don't know how you do it.' one said. ' I'd have lost my faith by now!' one laughed. 'Don't you feel like you never catch a break?' queried another. Well, yes, sometimes I do feel that way, but then I turn to God in my despair (and obviously limited perspective) and ask Him to show me the truth of the matter. And He does.

True Faith, for some of us, must be hard-won, I think. I have friends who seem to come by it easily, but I never did. I always doubted and worried and bit my nails and second-guessed. I never really had true faith until I experienced times of total despair. In those times I had no choice but to hold on to what God promises. And you know what? He really, truly reaches out to us in those moments, if we reach towards Him. If we just say 'I give up, I can't do this alone', He hears that.

I'm truly at peace lately. I know something that I didn't know before. We don't have to sense God to know He's with us. We don't have to 'feel' supported or taken care of. We can just trust His word. I used to think that if I didn't sense God in my life, then He obviously wasn't there or had turned his back on me. Not true. Not true at all. Love is with us ALL. THE. TIME. He created us, He knows us, and, most importantly, He loves us beyond our wildest imaginings.

This is how I don't fall apart when I hit yet one more ridiculous obstacle in getting Anya here for treatment. This is how I don't lose my mind when Anya is skyping me, begging me to come be with her when I know I can't possibly get there. This is how I keep my sanity when Daniel is in tears on the phone, asking when he will see me again. I know that in the very roots of my pain and despair, is the One who loves me most. God is there, right there, in the midst of the despair, holding me together and ministering to the hearts of my children.

Do I wish God would just come out and tell me what to expect? Do I wish He would share the secret with me on when - or if - my children will ever be home? Yes. But I trust Him. There must be something He knows that I perhaps couldn't not comprehend or understand.

Back in the spring when Greg & Tesney Pearce Davis were fighting the Russian Supreme court to get their son here, I immediately felt called to pray for Kyrill. My heart felt burdened, knowing here was yet another child being kept from his family. I was devastated. I laid on my bed and cried and cried to God to allow a miracle to happen. Within no more than 5 minutes after I started praying for Kyrill, an internal voice, not my own, said 'Do not worry. He is coming home very soon.' It was so strong and so powerful that I immediately stopped crying and felt completely assured that the prayer was already answered. I knew in that moment that God had already heard the prayers of Kyrill's parents and others, and there was no doubt in my mind that the judge would rule in their favor. Kyrill is home right now as I write this...flourishing in every way.

I'm not sure why I share this little story with you, except to show that sometimes it seems that God communicates with others about our situations. Our faith may be buoyed up by others sharing the weight of our pain. God loves community. God loves to see a shared burden. God encourages us to reach out and hold hands in our pain, not lock ourselves away.

So, I'm continuing to hope that Anya will be here under our roof sooner rather than later, despite over six years of 'No.' I'm continuing to believe that Daniel will be cuddled upstairs in his waiting bed before too long, even though the current climate in Kemerovo adoptions says otherwise. And every day I'm trusting the One Who created Me, to meet all my needs, even as I see my business floundering more every day. It's not my job to worry, it's my job to keep offering myself up to be His hands and feet in others' lives, while I trust Him with mine.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Very Detailed Update on Everything

A very tired Anya on Skype.
We have been speaking to Anya as often as possible via Skype. Sadly, it has not been working again for the past 10 days. We can hear her, but she can't hear us. We keep trying, though. Unfortunately, the hospital still refuses to release any paperwork about Anya, and so this has stalled our Humanitarian Parole attempts. Don't worry, I'm not letting it get to me. We've had so many obstacles like this over the past 6 years, that now they just don't scare me anymore. We just keep plodding forward. It's funny how you can make it through things that once seemed impossible to bear. Suffering brings the gift of tremendous resolve and strength if we align ourselves with Love (God). I just keep choosing Love and Hope every day. I fail often, but then I dust myself off and make the choice again.

As for Daniel, I'm in a holding pattern. As most of you know, I had to start all my paperwork over again. My attorney has been so patient and so understanding. The Kemerovo region is currently not issuing any referrals anyway, so even if my paperwork were completed, we'd have to wait. It may be months, there is no way of knowing. But the good news is, I'm not letting this deter me either. I've seen Kemerovo close down numerous times over the past 6 years, so this is just a bump in the road. I choose to keep looking forward.

The hardest part has been speaking to Daniel and the other kids at the orphanage and hearing their pleas for a visit. 'Kitty, we miss you!' and 'Kitty, how many days till you come back to us?' And 'Kitty, Daniel cries after you call him.' Yes, Daniel cried when I called him for his birthday. He doesn't believe he'll ever be home. I try to comfort him, but it is difficult to do over the phone. Just wish I could fly over even for a day and hold him.

My friend Kim (the one who travelled with me in June) says she tries to do one thing every day that brings her closer to getting back there. I decided that would be a great form of therapy for me, so I am starting to collect again..lol. Dolls, matchbox cars, toothbrushes, socks and mittens...you name it. I'm starting to gather things I can bring over when I head over with Daniel's paperwork. I have NO IDEA when that will be, but I'm giving myself a tentative date of January, so I have something to hope for and look forward to.

I'm also packing up a few care packages to get in the mail soon, so they arrive before it's too cold. I remember arriving there last September and stepping off the plane into 32 degrees. I want to make sure they all have winter clothes to keep them warm!

On a VERY positive note, my other friend Kim D noticed this week that a few of the children were suddenly on the National Database (www.usynovite.ru) of orphans. This is unprecedented, I have hoped and prayed for their updated info to appear on this registry for SIX YEARS! So, I did some searching myself yesterday and found over forty of the children from DD #5 listed suddenly! And the photos were almost all BRAND NEW some of them were even wearing things we brought them in June. It may be wishful thinking, but I'm hoping something I said helped this to happen: when we were "monitored" by the Regional SW on our orphanage visit in June, I made a point to talk to her about the outdated info on the database and how I longed to see the children of #5 listed there, so they had a better chance of being adopted. I told her I had bought a new digital camera for the orphanage so new photos would not be a problem. She agreed that updated needed to happen, " But, Keri, we are so overworked, you have no idea. We really do try, but there are often no people available to do this work. We will try.' I understood the difficulty, but hoped!

So the photos look to be taken at the summer camp. The children are more tan than when I saw them in June, and some look older already! Here is one:

№ 2bt6y
Кемеровская область
Есть братья или сестры
Возможные формы устройства:
усыновление, опека, приемная семья
Девочка родилась в январе 1999
Глаза голубой
Волосы русые
Характер целеустремленная, жизнерадостная, требовательная

This is Katya, and she is wearing the headband I gave her in June, so I know the photo is new!

Let's hope that these updated postings will help these children get adopted before it's too late! We are still hoping for a hosting program to be approved. It is looking better for summer 2012. Your prayers are always appreciated.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Update on Anya's Situation

Anya sleeping (Christmas 2009) So sweet.

Lots to share but not much time to share it. But you, my blog friends, have been so supportive these past few years, and I want to keep you updated.

What I Am Doing to Get Her Here ASAP - Angels are starting to appear:) Tomorrow morning I meet with one of them - an immigration attorney who is going to walk me through all the humanitarian parole paperwork. I need to get it in as soon as possible. I also have contacted every hospital and medical person I can think of. ( and so have a few of my friends) I need to have an orthopedic surgeon who is willing to treat Anya for free once she is here. I need him/her to put that in writing for the HP form supporting documents. We are trying to get that by tomorrow evening.

I also need proof all her medical costs will be covered by someone or some organization. Any ideas? They will not approve her visa if I cannot prove it will all be paid for. any advice from those in the know is appreciated.

Much more going on, but these are the major steps I am taking in the next 24 hours.
How Anya is Doing Physically - Not very well. And I know prayer works, so please, please offer up prayers for her stability and healing. She had another surgery and is getting another blood transfusion. She is now on oxygen and was moved to the Russian equivalent of ICU. She still has a fever, and she is unable to have visitors or calls or even use her computer for now. I have the doctor's email and he will update me if anything major changes. I am hoping to talk to an orthopedic surgeon here who can tell me if her ankle can be fixed in any way. The Russian Doctor says no, but I want 2nd , 3rd and 4th opinions.

How Anya is Doing Mentally/Emotionally - Anya is a very resilient girl. She seemed restless and frustrated when we video-chatted with her, but she was also heavily medicated so it was hard to tell. What I do know is that once she is not so medicated is when things get difficult. Anya is the most stubborn person I have ever met. If she does not want to do something, there is no one and no thing that can make her do it. Believe me, I've tried, and I am VERY persuasive. Anya hates being idle and 'bored'. She is always trying to get away from herself. Having to spend months in a hospital bed will not appeal to her. I know she will try to leave the hospital when she thinks she is well enough. She is street smart, but VERY naive. It is not a good combination. She will think she knows better than the doctor when she is well. This concerns me. I want to find ways to keep her mind occupied, so she will stay put. She loves to draw and listen to music, so that may help, but she doesn't like to read, and there is no tv there. I'm wracking my brain for simple things she can do to keep her motivated and occupied once she is out of ICU and in a normal hospital room.

I'll keep you all posted as I learn more. In the meantime, please send a card if you can (address in my last post.) I want to tell her when I next skype with her that countless cards are on their way. It will give her something to look forward to.

As always, please pray that she is brought home swiftly and surely. It is my deepest and most hoped for desire. May it be so.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Unexpected Blessing of Pain

This will be brief, as it honestly hurts to sit. As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Reactive Arthritis a few years ago after getting salmonella poisoning. It was terrible the first year, but this year it's been relatively dormant. Two days ago I had the tell-tale sign that a flare-up was coming, but I ignored it, hoping it was my imagination. Well, it wasn't, and I woke up this morning almost unable to get out of bed.

Normally this would send me into a rage, as I HATE being limited in ANY way, and like to be very busy. But I honestly am looking at the silver lining this time. No rage, no resentment -- just rest. Rest is not something I tolerate very easily, but it's becoming more evident as I get older that I need to learn balance. I'm too busy too much of the time, and my body seems to be teaching me, against my will, to slow down and rest more often.

So I am. I have piles on my plate this week, but there is literally nothing I can do comfortably but lie in bed, read a bit and take aleve. So that's what I'm doing. I'll be back on with an update in a few days when the pain retreats. It usually only comes for 3-4 days, and on only two of those days do I find myself completely incapacitated.

As for Anya, we have still tried Skype every day and night with no luck. But we are all holding her up in prayer and still holding out hope that this tragedy mght be her ticket home, if even for awhile.

So many of you have offered help...thank you! To Beth -- I'd love to see you Sunday. See, I'm learning how to accept help! Still feels yucky, but I'm doing it!

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

And a HUGE thanks to the dozen of you readers who sent Anya a letter via my address! They are already on their way to Siberia!