‘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, July 25, 2014

Tilly's World

Tilly has adjusted beautifully. It's a joy to watch her learn to be a part of a family, to accept being loved and to settle in to her new role as a beloved 'forever' daughter. I hadn't anticipated it being this easy of a transition. Not to say there aren't moments of hurt or trauma rearing its ugly head - of course there are; older child adoption is not an easy road for the child or parent. But, on the whole, she is adjusting to family life far more quickly and easily than Nastia did. 

The photo above is of her in a play she recently appeared in. She played 'a beautiful milkmaid', and she loved it. I think her favorite part may have been just the chance to wear make-up.. but either way, she had a wonderful time.

In the fall she will start third grade and so we have started the preparations - cleaning out closets, sifting through clothes to see what still fits, organizing her room, making lists of school supplies to purchase. It's been a great time of bonding. Nastia is currently in Russia with her sister, and I had the week off from work, so it's been a nice break from the crazy-busy summer Shakespeare schedule!

The two of us fly to Latvia next week to complete the immigration requirements of her adoption. Her biggest concern is whether she'll have to get any booster shots while there. My biggest worry is fitting in all that we have to do while there. Aside from all the appointments that are part of the immigration requirements, we also want to spend time with her foster family, her biological sister who will be in Riga that week, AND time with her little brother Toms and his new family. It's alot to cover in 7 days.

The other night as we fell asleep, Tilly counted all her family members. It was a long process and we both marvelled at our incredible luck at having such a huge, international family now. She counted 5 mothers and an inconceivable amount of siblings. She of course considers Anya and all of Nastia's 16 other siblings hers, plus her little brother's new siblings, her bio-sisters in England, her bio-sisters new little half-sister, and anyone else she could find related to her by marriage or adoption. It was very sweet. And we are so fortunate that most of these families feel the same way - even Toms' new family sees us as extended family, and we gladly  accept the role:)

God has been so good to us. I may be in worse financial shape than I've ever been in since college, but in every other area we are thriving and full of joy. Plus I know the financial issue is temporary - it's just likely a year or two to recover from these adoption costs. Nastia also received so many scholarships and grants for college that I gratefully only have to pay a little over $2500 this year. (And thankfully I can pay monthly!) She even gets to live on campus  in a dorm - her dream! Matilda will be at the school behind our house - a 2 minute walk at best. And I'll be back at work in the schools starting in October.

Thank you to all the people who have loved and cared for us these many years - Christian friends who prayed, Catholic friends who said so many rosaries, Buddhist friends who chanted, T.M. friends who meditated, and all kinds of other friends who thought of us, held us up, sent us words of encouragement, walked us through hard times. It feels like Tilly is the final piece of a puzzle I have longed to complete for a decade or more. We can now focus on the normal things families focus on, and also work on getting Anya home and being one big happy family under one roof. I feel immense gratitude to have reached this time of celebration and peace in our lives, but I'm also grateful in the struggles, too. Each joy and hurt  we experience is part of this incredible tapestry we weave in living this human life. Thank you for stitching it together with us!

Tilly's headshot, which she loved!


  1. So glad to hear that Tilly is adjusting well! And I'm so glad to hear that you feel like things are finally falling in to place for you. I can tell by your writing that you feel more at peace than you have in a long time. I can hear the relief and joy in the tone of your words :) Continuing to pray for you guys as you get into a new normal.

  2. Thank you for the wonderful update! Reading that Nastia will be going to college and living in a dorm- how exciting for her!

  3. I am so happy for you. You are the only other adoptive family I've run across who considers that they've not just gained a child, but a whole new family! I feel so blessed by my Russian relatives. I just hope I can visit sometime.

  4. You sound so happy and so at peace! What a blessing that Tilly seems to be adjusting so well...and Nastia going to college? Wow! It was good to get your update!

  5. Heart4Russia11:55 AM

    If there is anyone who deserves a time of joy and peace, it's joy. I'm so glad to hear of Tilly's acclimation to her new life (and I love her nickname!). Those of us who have read your blog for more than six years know that this isnt the whole story, and you are likely still grieving for Daniel and also dying to have your Anya home. I don't doubt that she will be home at some point…we've all prayed so hard! But in the meantime, I'm truly overjoyed to hear you have some wonderful things happening in your life right now to delight in!

  6. Anonymous9:23 PM

    What a blessing! I love the fact she likes to count all her family members!


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