‘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, October 31, 2012

When You Least Expect It, God Opens A Window

Our window:)
Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that things haven't been easy as of late. I couldn't give many details, but I think you could read between the lines -- we've weathered a storm of bad breaks with no end in sight. Anya continues to miss us and need us, but there is still no way to get her here. D's adoption has hit one big roadblock after another (not unlike my attempted adoption of Anya six years ago.) The region I'm adopting from closed is doors to Americans and the local DOE refused to accept my dossier for months on end. Even with the law now dismantled this week, they are still refusing, and if that weren't enough - the bilateral agreement goes into effect tomorrow, barring independent adoptions. My adoption is independent.

Most people would just walk away in defeat by now, I know that. But I think God has used my entire life as preparation for these kinds of insurmountables. The hard lessons of my life - and there are too many to count -- have built a strong faith and trust in a Power greater than myself. You can call Him what you like, I don't think He really cares all that much. You can call Him 'She' or 'It' or 'Higher Power' - I honestly don't think it is important to Him. It's the content of your relationship with Him He cares about, not the FORM.  Imagine your Love for God and His Love for you is like water. Do you really think He cares whether you put that water in a plastic cup, a glass, a ceramic bowl or even a cupped hand? I don't. It's the CONTENT in the cup, the glass, the hands that matter.


Anyway, I am sharing this because I know a great many people in this world suffer crises of faith. We don't expected to be pummeled with bad experiences, losses, obstacles, and misdirected hate throughout our lives, without rhyme or reason, but these things happen to people - ALL THE TIME. And when they do, we question why. We cry, we scream, we shake our fists, but mostly we just want an answer. Why, God? Why? And answers do not always come. But --what we do with that big question mark stamped on our heart is most important of all. 

To give up is easy, and it's human nature. It's our default setting. But why settle for that? If we can rise above the scary question marks and keep choosing the highest, greatest and most loving responses in every situation, we are LIVING the answer. We must strive to do this even when we fail.

It's hard to see past the rubble of our shattered dreams. It's painful to crawl out of the debris and reach up towards the Light we often cannot see. It's scary to trust. I get that. But the rewards of ever trusting, ever stepping forward into that unknown, instead of collapsing in a heap of 'I give up' - are COLOSSAL.

D's adoption is all but a pile of rubble come tomorrow, when the new law goes into effect. But if I keep the faith and keep taking a step towards him every day, he may still get here. You know how he WON'T get here? If I give up and take 'no' for an answer. You know what MIGHT get him here? Knocking on every figurative and literal door I can think of. And I'm doing that.  THat's what I keep doing for Anya and I KNOW someday the right door will open and the answer will be there. I know in my heart someday she will be home, here, where she belongs.

 I just spoke to an agency that is willing to go to bat for me with D. It's an agency I've gotten to know quite well over the past 18 months, because they did my homestudy. The amazing head of this agency has offered to send a letter to the DOE in Kemerovo asking permission to handle D's adoption in the region, even though they are not yet registered there. (And those of you in the adoption community know this never happens.) On top of that, I have media connections and professional contacts on the ground in Kemerovo who are willing to go to the DOE and 'encourage' them to push this adoption through. The DOE has the power to bring this boy home. They just need to WANT to do it. And, by God, I will do everything I can to put that pressure on them to help them see the light.

While all this was/is going on, and while I kept moving forward, I also reserved a part of myself for grief. I have grieved HARD over this new loss -- the now extended wait for D, the loss of time with him, the loss of the memories we could be storing up right now, even the loss of the tens of thousands of dollars already poured into his adoption. The money is secondary, obviously, but it is not insignificant. I have to grieve that, too. All that money that could have gone to help others...washed away in bureaucracy and red-tape. Having already experienced this same devastation with Anya did not make this loss any easier, in fact, it made it worse. One failed adoption is horrible. Two feels like a hurt that will never heal.


And here's where the little window opened. While all this confusion and  darkness was encircling us, a little girl kept showing up in my newsfeed on facebook. This is the time of year for hosting programs to advertise. For the past two months I've seen my share of postings about various children. But one kept recurring on my newsfeed over and over again. It was like a little bell going off. And so I prayed for that little girl whose name I did not know. I prayed until she found a host family. Then later, she was there on my newsfeed again. The family had fallen through. So I kept her in prayers and soon she was off the list and had a home for Christmas.

And then, last week, she appeared again.

It struck me suddenly that maybe we were her host family. We would actually be home for Christmas this year, and we'd likely be quite lonely without D or Anya there. (Christmas is a hard time for us.) And wouldn't it be great to host again? Hosting Dasha in 2010 had been SUCH a gift. But then again, there was no money. Not a penny. Every bit of my money was tied up in D's adoption and our impending trip to Russia to bring him home. But we were willing to host, so why not ask? 

I messaged one of the coordinators whom I know and told her we'd be delighted to host this little girl if someone provided scholarship funds. We had the time, energy, space and love to host - just not the funds. It would even be healing for us, and obviously this little girl needed a host family, and there was only a day left. Sadly they had no funds to cover her hosting costs...maybe a few hundred dollars, but that was it. She suggested I put the word out to my friends and see what happened. 

On the heels of learning I could not go bring D home, I posted a  status on FB about our desire to host and about this specific little girl. Three hours later there was a total of almost $1,000 in my paypal acct from three very generous friends, with a note attached that it was 'for hosting, and to heal your heart.'

Long story short, I let the hosting program know that I now had some funds but not all. It still didn't look possible, but then last night - a day after the deadline - I got an unexpected email from the hosting organization: they said yes! We could host her! Although all the funds were yet to be there, they were acting on faith, just as I was. between them and me, we could find a way to cover the rest over the next 6 weeks. She needed to come, and so they were taking a leap of faith, too.

 Hosting is a GIFT and we now get to spend almost a month nurturing and loving a little girl who needs it. We are SO FORTUNATE.

This post is longer than any one I've ever written, I think. Sorry for that. The words just kept coming. In the weeks and months ahead, I'll post what I can about our hosting experience and our sweet little visitor. I hope it will be an encouragement to others who are on the fence about hosting. Maybe it will lead to others hosting next summer!

Anyway, please don't forget that old adage, because it's true: sometimes when a door closes, a window appears. Just keep an eye out for them, because surely we miss them sometimes when we are distracted with grief and pain. Be ready, because when one appears, God may be waiting for you to open it. I just opened mine:)

27 comments:

  1. Yay Keri! Your faith and ability to see the good in the darkest of situations is truly inspiring! I pray that God continues to open doors and hearts so you can have all of your kiddos home with you.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Nancy! I have to keep believing that one day they'll all be home! That's the only thing that gives me the energy to keep trying!

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  2. I am happy to hear of your opportunity to host, and am impressed with your loving friends who are helping to fund you. Looking forward to hearing about your little visitor, and about ALL events on your adoption front.

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  3. Anonymous11:55 AM

    Woohoo! So maybe in 2013/2014 you'll have two kids coming home (if you fall in love with Daniella!) ! :)

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    1. Wouldnt it be wonderful to go from one to four kids home in 2013? I can dream!

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    2. Anonymous11:13 PM

      Yes it would! I still firmly believe that Daniel and Anya will come home. Because God is good... And something tells me you are going to love Daniella.. So four kids for Keri it is! ha!!

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    3. Anonymous11:13 PM

      Or maybe more realistically, 2014... Because Daniella won't be available until the end of 2013, right?? :)

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  4. Anonymous5:57 PM

    She looks precious. Can you say how old she is?
    Debby_in_MA

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    Replies
    1. She just turned 8 a few weeks ago, but she is the size of a 6 year old - very tiny:)

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  5. Ill be praying for you, D, Nastya and Anya. And for your adoption agencyy -- if there is any way for you to get D home, I will pray that you find it.

    Your Xmas hosting girlie is adorable too -- I hope you give her the best Xmas ever.

    Ps how is Nastya doing in high school? Are you still in touch with the girl you hosted a few years ago that was adopted????

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  6. Hi Keri. I just stumbled across your blog and story for the first time. I went to college in New England (Quincy, MA), married a New Englander, and now I work as an adoption social worker - so there are a few connections. I'll be praying for you and your family to be all together soon, and I'm grateful that God has found a way for you to host Daniela. God bless you!

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  7. Anonymous1:13 PM

    That such a dear little girl should STILL be available - that's just amazing! It is always the teenaged boys who are "left over" when the dust settles, and the pretty little girls who are snapped up first, so seems like she is meant to come to your house!

    Annie

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  8. Anonymous12:09 AM

    ug, you're terrifying.

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    Replies
    1. Then why bother reading my blog?

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    2. Anonymous5:32 PM

      Keri you are beautiful - inside AND outside. You are an inspiration to many. I don't know why a few seem to be upset but don't let them get you down... I love you and all you do for the orphans of the world. YOU DO and I try to help you as best as I can through prayer and whatever else I can manage... Look at that beautiful face at the beginning of this entry and smile for all that YOU DO!
      Debby_in_MA

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  9. Anonymous4:47 PM

    You'll probably erroneously contact the authorities and lock your blog when you read this, but you should really just concentrate on yourself, and not on other children "out there". If you were stable, financially and emotionally, sure, but you're not. And you're very dependent upon an imaginary guy in the sky. There's noone pulling strings or guiding you or teaching you lessons. Imagine the freedom that would come with letting go of that fairy tale! Depend on YOURSELF and your own strength.

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    1. Hmm...someone who doesnt know me taking the time to post an ill-informed, rude comment. Sounds like you are possibly the unstable one. i have friends who are athiests, but they've never insulted me for having differing beliefs, just as I would neverbelitle them for theirs. When people feel the need to lash out, it's usually because there is something unresolved in their own lives. Instead of fixing it, they attack others. Sorry you felt the need to, but you're the one who has to live with such anger. I wish you peace.

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    2. Heart4Russia5:49 PM

      Anonymous, it is obvious you do not know Keri IRL. If you did, the gap between your words and her lifetime of positive actions would embarrass you. My guess is you are a very angry person who is really truly bothered by people who believe in a God. Its your right to believe differently, but to post such a comment publicly only shows your own insecurity and immaturity. My guesss is , like most trolls, you would never EVER post if you couldnt hide behind the anonymity of the internet. Whatever you beef with Keri ( whom you do not know), your comment stands out like a sore thumb to me next to the thousands upon thousands of acts of kindness she has done for thers, including me. You could learn so much from her, but you'll never realize that, I"m afraid.

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    3. Anonymous11:11 PM

      *Sigh* I for one think Keri rocks. If she is what you call "unstable" then I would like all of my friends to be unstable. Oh, and in that case, it means that I also strive to be unstable, because she is everything I wish to become! Her compassion for the orphan and nonjudgemental heart is something we should all work towards.

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  10. Anonymous5:52 PM

    Anonymous, your insecurity is showing. Good thing you can hide behind that title.

    ~ Sharon C, from ME

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  11. Anonymous6:26 PM

    This is my first time ever commenting on a blog, so bear with me. A friend of mine on facebook sent me the link to your blog a few days ago. I've been steadliy reading each and every post when time affords. What struck me about you is the exact opposite of what Anonymous posted above. You seem to be incredibly stable. I cannot comment on your financial stability, but my guess is that anyone going through two adoptions, failed or otherwise, would be temporarily financially strapped. However, I know from firsthand experience that you wouldn't even be able to adopt if you weren't found financially stable. My sister adopted 4 years ago and I couldn't believe the proof she had to supply - multiple tax returns, a letter from her bank, proof of savings, proof of employment, copy of mortgage, etc. If you were approved to adopt, you are not on welfare, that's for certain.

    Although I do not share your belief in a "Higher Power" as you put it, I do know many people who do. And what strikes me about the ones I know well is how much strength they seem to glean from this belief. I'm impressed by people of faith and their ability to do outrageously good things for others because they feel there is a God behind them. Kudos for you for your incredible strength and determination to bring these kids home, even when you've had obstacle after obstacle put in your path. I think Anonymous is possibly just jealous/incredulous of your ability to keep positive in the midst of so much struggle. You're right to wish him or her peace and just keep doing what you're doing. Good luck. I look forward to reading the rest of your blog. Sincerely, Dan A. from Connecticut.

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  12. Keri,

    There IS a greater power at work. You believe in it, I believe in it. Hopefully the anonymous a-hole will just fade away. Please continue to let us know what you can! My little Russian fellas and I are all praying for you.

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  13. I'm happy for you and for the little girl you'll get to host. She's neither A nor D, but love is big and grows to be enough for as many as needed. And loving her might bring some much needed happiness and balm to your hurting hearts. I'm truly happy for you.

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  14. Is your sweet Daniella in a country that would allow a single parent to adopt? I really hope so! :-)

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  15. Anonymous8:38 AM

    Did she come? Hugs to all of you at Christmas! Debby_in_MA

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