James is at the keyboard for today's post. We had some time on the train to write out more details of our experience on 28 August 2014.
When we first met K and B, Mary and I asked if it was OK to post their names and pictures on our blog. We were told that it was fine. However, with the sensitivity of the process, we decided to use initials and not post pictures until things were finalized. Well, today things were finalized. Sadly, not in the way we had hoped. Today we said goodbye to Katarina (K) and Bogdan (B).
Katarina and Bogdan on the day that we met.
We have also not mentioned that the relative trying to undermine the adoption was their grandmother. Their grandmother signed away her rights to the children and placed them in the orphanage after their mother died so that she could live with a man that did not want them around. Five years later Katarina and Bogdan are still sitting in the orphanage although we know that the grandmother and at least three other blood relatives could easily afford to take them into their families. They simply choose not to and prefer to leave the children in the orphanage/boarding school and let the state pay for them. The stories of what this woman did and said to these children to convince them to reject the adoption that they had accepted is long and horrific. All I will say about their grandmother is that she is the most selfish person that I have ever met and that I am sorely tempted to use words that I should not to describe her. However, I will refrain.
This morning we received a call from our facilitator Natasha that we would have a meeting at the orphanage/boarding school at 1PM to hear the final decision of the children. So, we had several more hours to wait. We tried to occupy ourselves with games and reading but it is extremely hard to distract yourself from thoughts and feelings that won’t let you sleep at night. It was a long morning but we did receive some news that truly brightened our day. Some friends that we met out here had their court day yesterday and officially completed their adoption of two wonderful children. We are so happy for them as they have been here for so long working towards this day.
At last the time arrived for our meeting. We arrived at the boarding school about fifteen minutes early. Katarina and Bogdan had not yet arrived so we sat on some benches outside to wait. I decided to read. This year I have a goal to read the Old Testament so I pulled out the tablet and opened to where I had left off reading yesterday in Psalms. For the next ten minutes, I read Psalms 123-127. Several of the verses touched me deeply in that moment. Psalm 123:3, Psalm 124:8, Psalm 126:3, and Psalm 127:3-5. I just finished reading “children are an heritage of the Lord” when the District social workers arrived for the meeting. Many times in my life, the scriptures have brought peace in times of greatest need. The Lord was again mindful of my need.
Katarina and Bogdan arrived with their grandmother a few minutes after the social workers. We were allowed to visit with Katarina and Bogdan alone without their grandmother. It was the first time since Sunday that we had that opportunity. We shared with them some of the concerns that our sons had about their situation, explained to them our feelings, and said that we would respect whatever decision they made. We told them that we love them and that none of this was their fault. Then our time was up. We were asked to leave the room while the social workers met with the children alone to hear their final decision. A few minutes later, Katarina and Bogdan came out with their refusals. They gave Mary brief hugs and we parted. We are very sad that they will remain in the orphanage and that they were convinced by their grandmother that she would come for them. They have already waited five years. Sadly, it will probably be many more. However, we understand that every child has a strong desire to be loved by those that should love them, so it is easy to believe the lie over and over again. We love these children and pray for the best for them. Perhaps, they will have another chance with time and see a little more clearly after this process.
And so, with heavy hearts, we say farewell to Katarina and Bogdan and gather our faith to move forward and find children that would like to be a part of our family. We are on a train tonight to return to Kiev and request another appointment to view children available for international adoption.