‘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, December 24, 2012

So Much To Be Thankful For

Left is Nastia's referral photo. Right is D this week. I see a resemblance:)
I know I am way overdue for an update. I just haven't felt like posting with all the ups and downs in Russia this past month. But today I've just been feeling so grateful - despite the bad news. We have been hosting D for two weeks now. Its been a great experience, even with all the infighting between she and Nastia. Its been a great learning experience for all three of us and D is a very special girl. She is smart as a whip, funny, brave, willing to try new things. She is incredibly athletic, loves the outdoors, loves dress-up and dolls and bedtime stories - but loves games and legos and building with blocks just as much. She is an interesting mix of girly-girl and tomboy. She is fiercely independent and strong-willed, but luckily I have experience with that:)
D with Matilda

Everyone who meets her falls in love with her, much to Nastia's dismay, but we are working on this. At church yesterday, Nastia confessed that she spent the whole time asking God to help her with her 'jealousy issues.' And she's trying so hard. More than half the time they are really enjoying each other, but when they do clash - watch out! Neither one will back down and it takes mom intervention to help them both see how to compromise.

My mom is visiting this week too, which is really really wonderful. Its so nice to have family here. She gets a kick out of both girls and has been spending time just hanging out with us, which  is so welcome. We had a huge Christmas Party here last night and it was so packed that we literally had no room to move! It was shoulder to shoulder and lots of fun, but I did wish that I could expand my tiny house for just one night a year! I got to see friends and students from long ago, as well as most of my current ones. Nastia had some friends in attendance and she actually stayed out in the party nearly the entire time - huge change for her! D had a blast and entertained everyone with her antics. A few stayed till after 1am and we had a great, long talk about Christmas, the meaning of it all, how swift time is moving and what we can do to slow it down and savor the moments.

As for the Russian Adoption ban, I can't say much right now because its a little too raw. I cant go there in my head and heart yet. A journalist friend in Russia is doing a piece on me and Daniel for a national magazine. A few others have been in touch about covering our specific story. In the meantime, my chiefest concern is for Daniel's welfare. Suicide is rampant in their part of the world. Just last year Daniel found one of the other orphanage kids dead - he had hanged himself. I am terrified that when he hears of the situation with adoption, he may feel its over for him. I've sent a message to him thru several people I know in Prokopyevsk. They have promised to see him in person soon and let him know I am never ever giving up and that I will be his mom no matter what - even if that means being his mom the way I am Anya's mom. As my brother Dan wrote me " You can still always make a difference in his life."

I'm going to try.

Right now I need to head upstairs as D and Nastia are waiting for me to play a game with them. Then we'll open an early present and go to midnight mass with my mom. There is so much to be grateful for. Just focus on the good and trust in the goodness of others. It's there, even when it looks dark.


  1. Anonymous6:33 PM

    Merry Christmas!
    They are both such beautiful girls! Wanting to work on her jealousy issues, that's what makes Nastia such a great person even when it seems difficult for her. Way to go Nastia!
    I truly hope that Russia ban doesn't pass.
    Have a great time...

  2. Oh dear ... I am afraid I am out of the loop. I thought Russia was open again (per a previous post?). Daniella is beautiful and I do see a resemblance as well. Blessings to you and your children (with you and those afar). I will keep you all in my prayers. St. Jude's intercession most definitely needed!!!

  3. Enjoy your time with your little visitor. So proud of Nastya!

  4. I'm sure you are already familiar with this. But I'm posting it just in case you haven't heard.

    ""U.S. families currently in the process of adopting a child from Russia are encouraged to reach out to the Department of State at AskCI@state.gov to provide information regarding where they are in the adoption process. We encourage families to use the subject line “Intercountry adoption in Russia – family update.” We will seek to provide information directly to families that contact our office through email as it becomes available. Information regarding the passage of any legislation that affects U.S. citizens who are in the process of adopting a child from Russia will also be posted on adoption.state.gov ""


    Peace for you and all your loved ones.

  5. Could I ask what organization you are hosting through? I would love to host someday too, and have found a few organizations, but they all seem to be based out of the south. I am in upstate NY. Thank you

    1. HI Danielle,

      I hosted with Open Hearts and Homes and I really love them. But my friend Tammy also runs a wonderful hosting program called Project 143. I can recommend both highly. And YOu can host in NY with either of them!

  6. Anonymous12:51 AM

    So glad you Daniella gets to come and experience your home. Praying for Nastia to learn and have peace. Also praying for the kids waiting in Russia. Most likely they will reopen as in the past, just wonder what "concessions" will be demanded and it doesn't take too long. How is the fundraising going for the orphanage?

  7. They look a lot alike. It is eerie! (But in a wonderful way!) Russia likes to play games....hopefully, when the spotlight is no longer on this issue (or our humiliation of them), they'll do the right thing (in that international adoption is good for both the kids and Russia.)

  8. Are you doing OK, Keri? I think there will be a change in the recent anti-adoption law, some sort of compromise. Do you think you could move forward in faith in Daniel's adoption process? xoxo


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