Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gotcha Day Part 1 - They Told Her I Wasn't Coming

A shower or a blog while Polina is sleeping snuggly? I think there's a lot of people waiting for a blog, so the shower will have to wait.

Adoptive families celebrate the day they are awarded custody of their child as "Gotcha Day."  It's like having a second birthday and something we always celebrate. For us, that day is Jan. 29th, 2013. We never would have imagined the way it would go when we started this process, or even the day before, really. And honestly, there's so much about it that I can't tell you yet. I will try here to sum it up the best I can even give you a glimmer into the emotion of the day ...telling you what I can & using pictures. If you read closely and pay attention, you'll catch some things I intend to not blatantly point out.

Our alarms went off at 5:30am. We had some "guests" arrive at 6:30 and the caravan began at 7am. We stopped to pick up a passenger in the minivan about half an hour later. I filled out some embassy paperwork before the pretty part of the drive. Then came the beauty of the forrest on a Russian snowy winter day. It's beauty made up for my freezing feet! We stopped at our regular stop just before town where we met up with the others in the caravan. Such a thing is difficult to keep together in the Moscow traffic!

At 9:15, we headed to the local Ministry of Education. It was a nasty building inside on the first floor. You never would think it was a government building except maybe a prison. I can't imagine at this point what they look like. We were directed upstairs where it was at least a little cleaner and into the office of four women. We were warmly greeted by smiles as they all knew why we were there - the last Americans to adopt their child from this region. We knew that the lady we were here to meet would help us get our daughter from the orphanage where the director had been less than friendly to us on our previous visits. We showed our passports and signed some papers. We adjusted the seating arrangements in the caravan so that she could ride with us and headed to the orphanage.

I felt like I was going to throw up. I had such a mix of emotions. Anticipation and excitement at one end and apprehensive on the other. I was going to meet my daughter for the first time & it was not a day I wanted to experienc the conflict of the past when visiting her. Most importantly, I didn't want her to have to experience that. On top of that, I had been told upon arrival in Moscow that Polina had chicken pox and I wanted to be able to comfort her during this treacherous feeling.

The unknown is hard for in general, but as a Momma who has had to fight for her daughter and would do everything in my power to protect her, not knowing is nearly unbearable. I didn't know if anyone had told her about the ban, and if they had, did they tell her that we werent coming after we had told her we were? This was the nightmare that had run through my head everyday since the adoption ban was signed. I was very saddened on the way back to Moscow when Polina told us (unsolicited and out of the blue) she had cried just the day before when a couple of the caregivers had told her that her parents were not coming for her and she was not going to America. She told us who they were by name & I recognized one of them. I can not express the anger I felt that my child was unnecessarily caused so much anguish and despair. It's just pure emotional & mental torture to do such a thing!

Moving on...

The lady from the Ministry of Ed went in, leaving us outside. We went on a little walk to have our translator tell us about some of the buildings we had always wondered about when visiting the orphanage. The city was founded in 1154 - seven years after Moscow. This could partially explain why the MOE building was so nasty. In 1941 (sorry for the incorrect date the first time, give a tired girl a break!), the Germans were stopped there on their way to Moscow. Russia lost more souls to WWII than any other nation. There was someone at the gates of what we assumed was a school because there were always children nearby. He told us that this was one of the best schools in Russia based on some "contest" they had a few years back and that they had only the best teachers. Sound like American Standardized testing to me. Just of the best schools in Russia with the best teachers...on the same street where my daughter lived...

I thought it was going to be time to go in and get my daughter. My emotions were high, but it turned out we had some more business to take care of. So back in the car we went to do that. It took us hours  filled with stress, conflict, a security guard and an escorted trip to the "chief's" office for some. But in the end, it was all resolved and we had what we needed. Now the question was if we were going to make it back before Polina went down for her nap and the director had another reason not to let her leave immediately. we were all pretty hungry at that point - but it didn't matter. We were going to get our girl!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Less than 24 hrs

In less than 24 hours, we will pick up Polina. My first job as her Momma, cover my baby girl in каламин Лосьон  and cuddle her. That's right - she's got chicken pox. At least that's what they think it is. We will have a doctor come to see her where we are staying to know for sure what we are dealing with. She is far enough into it that it shouldn't hinder our process as long as it is in fact chicken pox.
It was very humbling today when we met with our facilitator and she told us it is widely believed that my Dec. 26 blog that was translated & published all over Russian blogs was an integral part of the decision to allow those through the court system to come home. That's what it's all about for me - getting all of the orphans that have met their parents home.
Other than that, things are going well. We are meeting with "old" and new friends and filling out paperwork, going to the grocery store & pharmacy. I'm reading more and more and recognizing places. I'm sad to know that this is our last time here for awhile. My heart has grown huge for the Russian citizens & of course the orphans! I know that God is working there somehow. He knows where it is going even while I do not.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Two Ways to Help

UPDATE: Our matching grant with Titus Task was matched  thank you all for blessing us!

I've been hesitant to post information about donations for several reasons, but so many have asked, and we are going forward with travel plans, so I've decided to go ahead and share.

We have been blessed to be given a matching grant by Titus Task. To get more information or to donate, you can visit:

Also, if you are an employee of the Bentonville School District, you can contact HR to donate a personal day to me to be used for leave when we travel back to Russia. That is worth quite a bit to our family as I am out of days at this time. Thank you to the two people that donated for the last trip!

Thanks for your consideration!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

UPDATED: Candlelight Vigil

Jason & I Praying
Handing out Prayer Balloons
Jesse - a former Student of mine, and his mom Sherri
"This candle burns for Polina. Please let her come home to her family."
Photo from Peoria, South Africa
Polina's Granny & Papa
participated from California
Children Praying for Children=Powerful!
Tyler prayed, "Please give Polina to her Mommy!"
Candlelight Vigil
Mary Mae Elementary Cafeteria
102 & C St in Bentonville
Saturday, Jan. 12th
6:30-8:00 CST


This will be a time of community fellowship and prayer. The Russian people have shown my family so much support and offered to try and help Polina in so many ways. There are several families who will be travelling to Russia on Sunday without knowing if they will be bringing their children home. We are not scheduled to travel until the end of the month, but want to show support to the other families as well as the Russian Citizens who will be holding a protest against the adoption ban on Sunday. Also, the Russian Gov’t and the Dept. of Education (like DHS) representatives from each region will be meeting on Monday.

If you would like to come support us and the 740,000+ orphans in Russia, we would love to have you! Feel free to spread the word!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Death & Separation - Two in Two

Everyones questions:
1) Have you heard anything? Just the news coming out of Moscow & reporters "checking in" from around the world. Nothing from agency or State Dept.

2) How are you doing? I guess I'm growing closer to God in a very painful way! Y'all tell me how strong I am and what an amazing witness and how God is using my blog and story for His purpose. Well, I'm glad to be able to use my blog to reach people for Jesus. I just wish it wasn't because I am losing my second child in as many months. It was from experience that I wrote "the blog that started it all" about my child dying being better than knowing she was half way around the world and there was nothing I could do to help her or tell her I love her or why I didn't come. And let me just clear the air and say that in no way did I wish death upon Polina. I was simply talking of the difficulty for a mom to be separated from her child. 

And so there you have it. God sent His son to die on the cross for our sins, and yet He is separated from those who do not believe.

He knows how I feel. There are few people on this planet who can understand my emotions. But He can. He knows & I don't even have to tell Him. I'm so thankful for that because I really don't want to talk about it. If I talk about it, I might forget to breathe. That's how I'm doing. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry's Response...

This is an article (translated) on the response from the Russian FM in regards to the US Dept. of State in regards to following the bilateral agreement signed by both countries in November.

FM: We stopped and not "suspended" agreement with the United States for adoption
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a strong statement, which chided the U.S. State Department in an attempt to distort the position of the Russian Federation on an agreement on adoption between the two countries.
This agreement on cooperation in the field of international adoption (adoption) between Russia and the United States by Russia stopped, stressed the Foreign Ministry.
Its position in the Russian Foreign Ministry decided to clarify, after the Jan. 8 U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said that the Russian side, "one day after the New Year," informed of the intention to "suspend" the bilateral usynovlencheskogo agreement.
"Russian Foreign Ministry recalled that officially transferred to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on January 1 note with a notice of termination - and not about the" suspension "- of the said agreement in connection with the entry into force on the same date, of the Federal Law" On measures of impact persons involved in the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms, rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation "- said in a statement department.
"Any other interpretation, attempts to distort the essence of our position is unacceptable," - said the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Recall that in Russia from the beginning, came into force called "antidetsky law", which is a response of the Russian authorities to "act Magnitsky."
The document suggests the visa and financial sanctions for U.S. citizens who are involved in violations of the rights of Russians. The law also contains an amendment, according to which a ban on adoptions of Russian children by Americans.
This amendment terminated the agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States for adoption, which was signed in Washington on 13 July 2011