Monday, December 23, 2013

Finding Joy in Jesus

One year ago today,

through cloudy eyes,

barely able to breathe,

I told my daughter I had to get on an airplane and fly back to America

without her

one more time.

I promised her I'd be back -

It wouldn't be long this time.

I believed that.

That promise would begin to haunt me just a few hours later.

It had been a good day.

The "Baptists" had come to play carols for the kids & give them each a hydrangea to represent hope.

To represent hope!

We were invited into the teaching and meal with the older kids. I'm sure the director would have choked if she knew.

In our discussions, we found out they weren't Baptists as the director had told us. They were actually Seventh Day Adventists. Basically, if you're not Orthodox, you're "Baptist."

(If anyone from that group happens to reads this, please, please, please contact me at

The best part of the day was when I was able to talk to a couple of the ladies about a sweet, non-verbal little princess with CP who never got attention or human interaction. I showed her how to take her out of her chair (insert more director choking) and play with her. Since the group visits four times a year, I cling to the hope that Vika has been held 4 times in the past year. I fear though, that Vika has been transferred.

Now I'm the one choking. The thoughts of what could be happening to her are too much for my heart to bear.

Moving on.

They thanked us and asked us about the impending American adoption ban and if we were sure we were going to be able to take Polina home.

We were.

We had been told as long as we passed court the next morning, we would be safe from the ban.

Christmas Eve would be our last night in Moscow for this trip. We would go to court in the morning, were confident we'd pass, and then we'd celebrate Christmas & our adoption with a gathering of both Russians and Americans.

The unspeakable happened the next morning.

Before court, our facilitator told us she had been wrong. Even if we received court approval, we may not be able to take our daughter home.

I dug deeper within myself than I'd ever dug before to find the strength to speak in that courtroom.

The judge put me through the wringer. I plead... repeatedly. Our facilitator told me I did amazing. I don't know how.

We passed, but it was somber. The judge, the representative of the Education of Ministry and the other representative all had a very bleak look in their eyes as they wished us the best. There wasn't a lot of hope in that room. It was inexplicably torturous.

I was numb. There wasn't relief in having passed court and now we had to go to a celebration where I knew the questions would fly & I'd have to admit the hardest thing of my life.

I wasn't in control and I didn't know what the outcome would be. All I could do was walk by faith and I haven't always been good at that.

We had advent & celebrated Jesus.


He came to Earth to live as man and give us hope for our futures. He taught us how to love sacrificially. He came to give us peace.

He gives us joy in the absence of happiness.

We chose Joy as Polina's middle name.

Please join me tonight in praying for joy & peace for the mommas who didn't get to bring their babies home. Pray for a God-sized miracle and that the doors will, in-fact reopen someday. Pray for safety, care & families for the orphans.

Please check out what we are doing at (and on Facebook at and let us know of any way you can help.

May your family find Joy in Jesus this Christmas!

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