Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Christmas Miracle...

(Note: This started as a quick "I've got to show them this miracle" post, but apparently God had something else in mind. Hang with me. I think it's worth it!)

There is so much going on in our house right now. I can barely fight the tears as I write this. Our family has been through so very much in the past year. Christmas is a time of miracles for sure!

Heartfelt Advent

This is the first week of advent. You've probably heard of it, but may not know what it means. This year, I understand it. I can feel it like never before.

Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas and literally means "coming." Advent is a time of remembering & preparing our family to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The first week of advent is the week of hope as Jesus is our hope in life. God sent his one and only son to live as man on Earth in order that He may die for our redemption so that we can have eternal life in Heaven.

Likewise, I went for my daughter so that she could know the love of a family. For many of us, the love of Christ is difficult to accept. For Polina, the love of a family has been difficult to accept. Adoption has put me on the other side of redemption.

This time last year

In 2012 we were given the miracle of a court date on Christmas Eve. We were honored to celebrate Christmas with wonderful Christians living in Moscow....including a couple that adopted a special needs child. We were clinging to our belief in God's ability to perform miracles in order to keep our hope that Polina would come home! We had told her we were coming. And yet, we were separate and might remain separate from her forever.

Experiencing that separation was the most painful feeling I've ever had. In fact, I wrote that death would be better. In those times, I came to better understand the sacrifice God made for us - to be separate from His son so that we no longer had to be separate from Him.

The journey to today

It's now been 10 months since Polina arrived on American soil. We've shared moments of joy with you here and on Facebook. But have you ever wondered why I don't blog more often?

Truth is, it hasn't all been peechy-keen. It's been exhausting - spiritually, emotionally, mentally and financially. Even the days of fun and excitement ended in an exhausted me, too drained to share with you. There have been lots of tears. There have been times I've wondered what I'd done and if I could continue. There have been times I've understood some of the horrible things adoptive parents have been accused of. In those times, I often prayed and told God that I'd be okay if he chose to return to Earth that day.

Through it all, there were two things I never doubted.

We are told in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for the good of those called according to his purpose. I knew adopting Polina was His calling for us.

I also knew I loved her and Jesus had set my example of love by laying down His life for me. I knew I wasn't going to have to die for Polina, but I was going to have to lay down what I knew as my life for her.

Those moments of joy we have shared with you have been God's reminder of Deuteronomy, Hebrews and Joshua - that He will not leave us or forsake us.

The familiar feelings of reactive attachment disorder

There. I said it. The words I've avoided for ten months. Fact is, Polina isn't simply strong willed. She struggles with attachment because of her past, just as I've struggled with God because of mine.

I know how dirty, broken and hopeless I was before I found Christ. I understand the emotional pain my daughter was feeling that caused her to self-mutilate because I realize I've done a lot of self-mutilation in my life. It just looked different. Seeing her lack of trust and fear of abandonment has brought me terms with feelings I let consume me for two decades. I understand her difficulty in admitting wrongdoing and apologizing genuinely. When she is corrected and responds with "you don't love me," it brings to light my own perfectionism and rejection of God's grace and mercy.

As I fight for my daughter to earn her trust and to get her to receive grace, I'm reminded of how hard Christ fought for me. And I have hope.

Where we are now

Thanks for sticking with me. I've finally made it to the Christmas Miracle part...the warm, fuzzy, get-out-your-Kleenex part. The "I'm posting a video of me in my pajamas and rag-a-muffin hair" to show you there is hope part. 

This is the end of a conversation Polina and I had Sunday morning. It was about attachment, what it means to be loved unconditionally and to never be abandoned again. The video quality is LOW, but turn up your volume, it's what is said that is truly important. (You'll have to access the blog via computer to see the video).

And just to top that off, today, when I asked her if she trusted Mommy, she told me she will always trust me. It felt so good to hear that, that I asked her later in the evening and she responded, "Don't you remember what I told you today? I will ALWAYS trust you."

That's hope for the journey.

Do you still have Kleenex handy? Because after we decorated the Christmas tree tonight, Polina recorded a little "Merry Christmas" for us all!

May everyone who reads this find a little hope in what Christmas is all about!

PS: I promise some fun, lighter-hearted posts with "First Christmas" celebrations soon!

To find out more about what our family is doing to help special needs orphans in Russia, check out Polina's Promise. You can also "like" the Polina's Promise  Facebook page for updates.


  1. SHE IS WALKING!!!!!!


    Merry Christmas to you all!

  2. Oh boy. You always make me cry xx

  3. Oh wow!! Anyone who doesn't believe in the true spirit of Christmas should watch these videos. *tears*

  4. hope to see more posts with the videos in your blog! :)

  5. Gallantly! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! heartily we congratulate you... we wish health, patience, patience, forces of forces more, and LOVE - the LOVE sea! ! ! ! Good luck!!!! we are with you! ! ! Moscow