‘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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Crushed: Enough is Enough

Friends, I've reached my limit. The pain I'm experiencing far exceeds my ability to deal with it. I'm worried I'll be crushed by it. I'm so confused by what is going in in my life, I feel like I've lost a bit of my sanity. Ever felt like that?

Having two family members attack me and verbally abuse me is bad enough. I get it. I'm out of their lives for good. Do you want to know what it is about? My blog. One of them saw my recent post requesting emergency donations for Anya and he decided to call another family member to complain about it, instead of telling me directly they were upset by it. Both, in turn, then contacted my mother over it and expressed concern that I was giving away my dad's books behind her back. When I found out, I did what I thought was right -- I contacted each of them separately and said 'If you have a problem with anything I do or say, contact me DIRECTLY.'

Instead of hearing an apology, I was hit with a horrific spewing of abuse. I was accused of using the money for myself. I was accused of 'making up' the charity. I was told I am an 'embarrassment' and I have 'tarnished the family name.' It gets worse, but I'm too ashamed to post some of the other things they wrote. And evidently offering some of you my father's book as a gift for donating was the biggest 'no-no' of them all. Books my father gave me..my books. My personal property. But, by sharing them, I'm told, I was was 'tarnishing' my father's legacy. Sharing his books -- books that have sat for 7 years collecting dust in my basement -- is 'ruining' his legacy'?

I was hit out of left field. I was shocked beyond comprehension. I had never ever thought that accepting donations on behalf of the orphanage or Anya was wrong. I had been giving to similar personal charities myself for years. I could not wrap my head around their accusations.

Today, after yet another scathing email, I felt so crushed and confused, I started thinking 'maybe it is wrong to ask for help' and that maybe they are right about me, I'm an embarrassment. I sobbed myself to sleep.

Later, when I woke up, I went to write a friend a message on facebook. It was there that I saw someone had written me about today's terrible news in Russia.Hit out of left field again. Two for two: Russia is suspending all US adoptions of Russian orphans until our government complies with the bilateral agreement they signed in July. I'm too tired to share the whole sad affair here, but I will try to post some links later. Suffice it to say, my adoption of Daniel is likely off for a long while. I want to throw up.

By the way, since its haunting me now, did I ever tell you why Daniel's adoption didn't happen on time last year? Probably not, because I knew that the person responsible was reading my blog and I didn't want to hurt her feelings...but now I am too hurt myself to care. Did you know that one damn missing PPR is what kept me from being able to submit my dossier last June? Did you know that my son would be here right now if that one family had gotten their PPR in? ( For those not familiar with the term, a PPR is a post-placement report required from the country of origin in the months after you get home with your child. Your homestudy agency writes it to confirm how the child is doing. They are required by law law. It is illegal not to do them, but our government does not offer any kind of recrimination if they are not completed.)

This adoptive family attempted a kind of apology to me when they found out they were the cause, told me it was a money issue. Well, if they had swallowed their own pride and asked for help, they would have saved my son from another motherless year in an orphanage. They failed to submit their last PPR, so my HS agency was blacklisted just before I was headed to Russia. Their laziness/fear/pride (whatever it was) cost me MY SON, not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of dollars have had to spend since, in re-doing everything from scratch.

 Heartbroken. Lost. Bereft. Confused. Devastated. Without consolation. I've prayed till my hands honestly hurt from holding them together for so long. I give up. One of the two family members who has chosen to kick me while I'm down added that I seem to 'love all the drama' in my life and revel in it. He addded that I am a 'master of manipulation' and that Anya's story is, basically a crock of !@$&#. Could you or I anyone even possibly have imagined a storyline like Anya's? Even Shakespeare is less 'dramatic'. It sounds too heart-breaking. It sounds unreal. But too accuse me of making it up?

I would cut off my right arm if it would end the 'drama' in Anya's life. Anyone who really knows me knows that. Can you, for one moment, imagine that someone you thought loved and cared about you actually thinks you to be a liar and a cheat and a host of other horrible things? God, how I wish they could live a month in my shoes. I would give anything for them to know firsthand what I experience every day.

Please, if you have experienced anything like this, I need to hear from you. I don't know how to get through this. I feel like I've been on one of those carnival rides that twist you up and down, and in circles and when the ride is over, the world spins and you cant find your footing. The past 48 hours have been like that for me.

You'd think I'd be an expert as prayer by now, but I can't hear God or see God or feel God in any of this. I pray and pray and pray and there is silence. I'm in a black hole. Maybe He can't find me. God knows I feel invisible enough.

Tell me how you've found him in the blackest of nights. Please.


  1. Not knowing your family dynamics i cant really comment but your family members sound very narcassitic..and if those books are rightfully yours then who cares what you do with them??as for the family members whos are prob reading this shame on you..your right to cut them off they wont need to wrry about drama then will they??I feel terrible that because one family your son is still waiting yet again and now could wait forever..all i can say is try to ignore it all and pray one day at a time..you know satan is trying to get you were it hurts ..another time things could be different..just pray you know god hears and really he is the only one who matters..

    1. Thank you, Nicole:) And thanks for the reminder - "You know God hears.."

  2. I don't want to post the whole story here, and it's not as bad as yours, but I went to my family home one day to find myself locked out, key gone, with a note on the door telling me I didn't deserve to be part of the family (no, my parents did not leave that note.) I guess I don't have to tell you how I felt. I literally shook and felt like throwing up.

    Keri, I don't know if you've read Hannah Hurnard's allegory, Hinds Feet on High Places. There's a part where Much-Afraid is journeying through the desert and she comes upon a single flower, thrust thru a crack in a rock under one single drip of water to keep it alive. It was cast there and abandoned, left to die friendless and alone. Yet the flower says it's name is "Acceptance-with-joy." At the moment that's not the important part - accepting is hard. But what the flower says brought suffering into a new light for me. Behold! the flower says. Now there is nothing to distract me or stand between me and my love, the sun. The flower basks in its glory all day. I tried to find my copy so I'd get it right but it's somewhere amongst my many tomes and I can't find it right now.

    You said you are giving up. I'm not going to tell you not to. I'm going to tell you that I have found my greatest strength and peace when I've finally given up and quit fighting. When nothing is left, He remains.

    I love you.

    1. I havent read the series, but a woman I REALLY admire reads them aloud to her four girls, and I know they love them. I'll have to visit the library soon:) I so appreciate your perspective and empathy, as I know you've 'been there'. The most important thing you wrote ( for me) is "I love you.' When one doesnt feele loved, those words are like water relieving a terrible thirst. THANK you.

  3. I'm sorry you have been hurt so badly by your family. Sometimes family can be so cruel. Yes, I have been accused of being a liar. When I was 15 years old, I told my mother that I had been sexually abused by my older brother. For years and years. I was told that I was a liar and looking for attention. I was told I needed to get help, and dragged to the world's worst therapist ever. She did her nails while I tried to tell her my history. Then went to my mother and told her whatever I had said. They struck a deal and said that if my brother (in his 20s at that point) didn't move back home, she wouldn't have to report the abuse. So no report was ever made, no help for me was ever given. My mother ignored me. She now plays the victim and smears her phony relationship with my brother in my face.
    This same woman took in my ex-husband and invited him to live with her, as we were going through our divorce.
    This same woman chose a co-worker's wedding over my graduation (MA). I was receiving the department's top honors and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. Yep, she chose her co-worker's wedding.
    I'm now in my 30s and asked to go meet with her therapist, to talk about the betrayal. When confronted, she shrugged and told her therapist, "Well, she's always been a brat."

    I could go on and on.

    My point being -- you can live without these people in your life. Please don't let them hold this sort of power over you, to drag you into these depths of despair. They should not wield this sort of power over you. Sending you strong and healing thoughts. I like to listen to empowering music and exercise. When really confronted with sadness, I tend to start demolition projects in my home. The physical exhaustion of taking out something with a sledgehammer feels pretty good at the end of the day. When I work hard, I eat better and I sleep better. That makes a huge difference in my outlook.

    Wishing you, Nastia, Anya, and D the best.

    1. Schnitz -

      I am so so sorry for what happened to you. I can't even fathom the level of pain you felt. And one line you wrote really jumped out at me " THey should not wield this sort of power over you." I needed that reminder -- dont we all? Family sometimes wields an inordinate amount of power over us. The roots of their presumed hegemony run deep deep deep. Time to weed.

      I ike your idea of the demolition projects..lol. I'll try to remember that.

  4. keri - first breathe, then when you can look within, you know the truth, HE has not gone anywhere, where truth lives so will HE. While not experiencing the exact situation you are in I can relate. When you allow other people to degrade you, you let them win. You are a survivor, your children are survivors, stand up, hold your head up, and proceed. Take a deep breathe and believe.

    1. Thank you for the reminder " When you allow other people to degrade you, you let them win". Easy to push aside when youre dealing with family. Important to hear a reminder from friends:)

  5. I can SO relate to what you are going through. I know you don't want to hear 'I'm so sorry or you'll get through it right now. I will not say that to you. Those words used to send my nerves into a tailspin. Because at this time, it does feel like a ripping of the heart in two. Last year in February, we were going through the most awful time. In the midst of 3 adoptions, ready to take trip one, we were hit w/ a bogus CPS investigation. We were told by family members they would do whatever it takes to sabotage this set of adoptions. We had tremendous abuse and nasty, nasty things said to us, I still to this day can not understand why. I wouldn't even repeat what htey said. Honestly, too vulgar. We were reported to the government once the CPS case cleared & our trip one was over. Yes, another attempt to sabotage. We were being accused of running an orphanage here, being too poor to adopt, and putting them all in one room. All lies. All hurtful. Our family has not really spoken to us since we've been home. We've been home for 3 months now. We have been cut off it appears at this point. It is heart wrenching to go through. I have yet to write about it all on the blog. We have lived through such horror over the last year. Yet, we were recently brought great joy to be reunited as a family. It is clear we did the right thing by bringing these three home. The tears, the horrible things said, living nightmare from day to day is starting to disapate. I will not say it's easy. It is far from easy. The pain is deep. I still cry. If you ever want to talk, write me. My kids have all been older coming home. I have heard stories that would make your skin crawl. Do they sound dramatic? You bet. But they are real. Too real. Take solice in the fact you are not alone. My heart goes out to you. Stephanie

    1. Oh, Stephanie, I am SO sorry. I went through the horrors of CPS involvement when my daughter first came home....a virulent anti-adoptin 'nut' reported me. It took years for me to get over the horror of that time.. And I am sad to hear you have been at the receiving end of familial hate, like me. Nothing hurts more deeply. I'm glad to know I am not alone, though.

  6. Anonymous1:12 AM

    I have no idea what to say to you right now... Just a loss of words for you... I am 15 and you have been my "light at the end of the tunnel" in a world with mean and closed minded people. You of all people, in my opinion deserve to have a stress free life, and paid for, completed adoptions... But instead, you have the most difficult adoptions I have ever read! I wish I could just pay for you to have Anya home, because you both deserve it, and now on top of that, you can't have Daniel home at the moment! Unfair! And you totally don't deserve it... Neither do your children. As for you family, I actually understand the family "hate" issue. I have family members that have said things to my mom about how I am a messed up person... and I am a kid!!! ( To them messed up is caring about others more than yourself and not being a "typical drunk teenager")... All I can say is you don't deserve this, and I pray you adoptions are opened again quickly.

    One question... Have you ever thought of moving to Russia? I know that might sound a little insane, but I was just wondering.. If so, would you be able to "bring home" Anya and Daniel to your Russian home?

    1. Alysa; I agree with everything you said, and I'd love to have a teenaged daughter like you!

    2. Thank you Alysa, my youngest and dearest reader! And yes, I not only think about miving to Russia, I am obsessed with the idea. but sadly my daughter is not. In fact, she hates even visiting there. I've prayed that she might change her mind, but it hasnt. It gets worse. I dont think I can move there until she is on her own...a long way from now. IT is still to hard for her. Russia reminds her of her past. She lived there for those 3 months with me, and cried EVERY SINGLE day. It was awful -- sacrificing the needs of one child for another. I wouldnt never do it to her again...

  7. Keri - I'm so sorry you are going through all this. You are simply doing what you know to be right. If anyone is upset by your actions, you deserve for them to bring their concerns to you, not to talk about you behind your back! It seems to me the Evil One is trying to stop you, and I sincerely hope you can find the strength to hold on, and to continue doing the right thing. God Bless!

  8. Keri, I am soooooo sorry :-(
    It's awful, unbelievable and so sad.
    I don't understand all the adoption lingo but I am shocked that the actions of one family caused such an outcome and now therei will be even more delay. Do NOT give up.
    Remember St. Jude!!!!!
    You are in my prayers.
    You are a beautiful person and an inspiration!
    MariaG (Canada)

  9. Oh, Keri - you and I need to join hands and go to our own private blogs, where we can control readership a bit better. My heart SO goes out to you, and, frankly, I am feeling LUCKY in having practically no extended family. These people don't deserve a hearing from you. HOWEVER, there is the possibility that somehow the deal with the books "triggered" the pain of losing your dad, and if that is the case, hopefully you can give them a bit of leeway. Are these people RAD adults? Sounds like it. That's all I can think.

    With the book offer, I thought that you were taking care of two birds with one stone. While that is precisely the sort of book that sounds "up my alley", my alley is a strange one, indeed. Most people wouldn't purchase a book like that - UNLESS it were offered as part of a "deal" that would benefit some organiation or good cause. And, don't you think that your dad, who love you, would have DELIGHTED in supporting his granddaughter? I don't, for an instant, believe YOU would have felt so positive about this plan, if that were not the case! Look to your own conscience, Keri. That is all that matters - unless you somehow see a way that what you did legitimately hurt someone's feelings. In that case, you don't have any reason to feel guilty, only to try and understand.

    Your fear over the adoption scare is legitimate, but those things are usually short-term. One of those episodes occurred as we were in the midst of adopting Sergei - and everything worked out in the end. Trust and pray on that one..... And, forgive.

    The only part of your post that hurt me a bit, was your anger over the person who didn't turn in the paper. Money anxiety makes people freeze and panic sometimes. I just let "money issues" (and time issues) prevent me from getting a paper in that would have provided us with another $100 plus dollars a month, so money can even stand in the way of self-interest. I would also bet this person didn't realize the significance of what they were doing. And, most people have too much pride to ask for help - even on behalf of someone/something they care deeply about.

    I think it is pride, a flaw. Humility allows us to do this sort of thing - I am not nearly as good at it as you are, but I want to be better!!! Just think of Jesus, sending his apostles out with NOTHING - instructing them to beg! And that was for food for THEMSELVES - not even to help another!

    You are on the path to holiness, Keri - but Jesus didn't promise that people wouldn't be critical! People slung abuse on our Lord, Himself! Welcome to an early Lent!

  10. Keri, I don't know what to say about everything - I don't think that there is anything that I can say to make the hurt easier to deal with. Time might be the only help there. But I want you to know how much of an inspiration you've been to me - for many years now I've wanted to adopt a child - you've shown me time and time again that doesn't have to be a far off goal, but something that I can start right now, even with what little resources I have. Admittedly, we haven't started yet, still have to get my hubby on board. But I have the inspiration and someone to look to for hope - YOU. And it seems more attainable and doable now.

    Thank you for being you - you are amazing. You are a light in the darkness for a lot of people - Thank you. <3

  11. I am so sorry that these family members are so evil as to do this to you. It sounds like they sit and gossip about you and work each other up into a frenzy. Perhaps they need to mind their own business and get a life. If your father wanted them to have those books, he would have given them to them. Jealous, evil b*&ches (unless they are men, in which case I'm sure I could come up with more appropriate profanity!). Cut them out of your life and move on. You don't need that kind of poison bringing you down!

  12. i am so sorry Keri. I have felt hurt in my life too and i am sure you have already considered this, but i found a Christian counseling service that was very helpful. My counsellor not only helped me with deal with the immediate problem that i was dealing with, but also helped with past hurts and disappointments that I thought I would never feel better about. I know you are out of work and on a budget, but the place i went to took donations for those who could not afford the service. God can use others to help us. I wish you lived in my city and i would give you the name of the person that helped me. Maybe your clergy can help you find a person/place. Initially i was really nervous, embarrassed to go, but really, it was one of the best things i have ever done.
    I am not suggesting this because i think you did anything wrong by the way. God gave you a giving heart. You hurt for others and feel things deeply. That is a special quality that not everyone has or understands.

  13. I sent you a private email. I hope you got it, and I want you to know, you too will get through this!!!

  14. :(((
    This, too, shall pass! Life=up and down, up and down!
    Can be awfully exhausting, but it it easier when one learns how to deal with problems more efficiently and when one learns to accept/love oneself. Some people know these matters better then most of us and why not ask for their precious knowledge? After all, God helps those who help themselves, or so they say.

    It is ugly to be hurt like you by your own family and it's quite normal to feel sad. On the other hand, the fact some people are our family members doesn't make them nice, reasonable, sympathetic or good. And we have to open our eyes before this truth. Otherwise we end up crashing because of wrong people, wrong reasons. Really, are people like these two someone who should have power to cause you crash??? These two who accuse you of things you KNOW are not true?? Should people like these really make you question obvious things like validity of asking for help? Should you really feel this awful because of people who so seriously can't see when they crossed the line, like with the book problem? Hello, but even under law, when you own something it gives you complete right to do with it what you want, end of discussion. It is nothing to discuss, you should only feel sorry for these people who can't tell right from wrong. And still, even though it's them who are so wrong, you keep questioning your own worth and reason and in addition call yourself ugly etc ...that makes no sense, it must stop. You, who helped over 100 orphaned kids, who posses such an enthusiasm for teaching kids Shakespeare and these are only two tiny parts of your beauty. Does a person who does such immense things really deserve to be called ugly or unworthy?? Imperfect, yes, but show me someone perfect.

    I am so sorry for Russian adoptions, let's pray they sign it as soon as possible and everything goes back to normal.

  15. Keri.... my friend... trust the Lord. He is with us, even when we don't feel it. Yes, I have been deeply, deeply hurt by relatives. And you know what? I had to forgive them...but that did NOT mean I had to include them in my life. They area still living in destructive ways that I cannot be a part of. And I am so freed. :)

    Now, for any of your relatives that READ THIS BLOG. If I give money, it is MY BUSINESS. I have not been coerced, forced or lied to. If I give, it is from my OWN FREE WILL and desire to help a young lady around the world. And you know what? If I give, I trust Keri to use that money for her OWN, if she so chooses to do it! Frankly.... I can't think of anything colder than to not want to give to an orphan with a gun shot wound stuck in the hospital with no money in Siberia! That is colder than Siberia!

  16. Jeremiah 29:11 popped into my hear immediately when I read your post.

    "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

    I hope this DOES give you some hope. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this along with everything else you have going on.

    And this too came to mind:

    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33.

    I hope this helps you Keri.


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