Friday, May 22, 2009

Waiting...Doing Nothing As Time Crawls By

I think the waiting to begin the process is the most difficult part of this journey. We are committed in our hearts, and our dreams and our children's dreams, are filled with visions of Lexi. However, we are not yet actively able to pursue her adoption. This waiting on others to begin our journey is so difficult. There is such a sense of not being in control. Although, the time between the visit trip and court is no picnic, there are at least things to be done during the interim. Doing "nothing" is ever so difficult because human nature is to "do" something in active pursuit of a dream. However, at this point in time, we must sit and wait as each day passes until we begin our dossier composition. Not a single moment goes by that I do not recall Lexi's tearful little face on my shoulder and feel her cheek as I patted her face in Russia last year. I pray that God will comfort her heart and keep her hope alive. We now have six more weeks before we can begin this tedious process of bringing Lexi home and uniting her with her forever family. Please, keep us in your prayers and especially for continued patience on our part. Many blessings!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day In Russia

I woke up this morning thinking about Mother's Day one year ago. We were in Murmansk and waiting for Monday to come so we could obtain Katie Aunna's court decree. Which was the first step in getting back home to my children. I felt so horrible because I was stuck in Murmansk on Mother's Day and my kids were in America without their mother. It seemed like forever that we had been away from them and yet here it is one year later already. On the other hand, it was a very exciting time, as I had just become a new mother. Which we celebrated with the three of us.

Now, I find myself wishing that I was sitting in Murmansk, with Lexi in my custody;-). Really, I never thought I would feel this way one year later about being in Murmansk!!! As we presently wait to get our home study completed, and then begin the process of a hefty dossier, it seems as though time is crawling once again. I keep telling myself to look at how quickly one year has gone. How I wish Lexi knew that she has a family waiting for her and that her family will be coming for her soon. Also, that the family coming for her is her hearts desire!!!

Although, in Russia Mother's Day is not celebrated. They do celebrate what is called "Women's Day" in March. It is a celebration of all women...mothers, daughters, sisters, girls both young and old. So, in that sense I am glad that Mother's Day is not celebrated there. Lexi is living from one day to another without a mother or family in her life. Her two best friends have been adopted by families and she has been left behind. Of course, many people might say "there are thousands of kids who are orphaned". But, to that I refer to the "Starfish Thrower" written by Joel Barker and inspired by the writing of Loren Eiseley:

The Starfish Thrower
Once upon a time, there was a wise man, much like Eiseley himself, who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently, throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer, he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?” The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.” Next the wise man asked, “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” to which the young man replied “The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die." “But young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You can’t possibly make a difference!” The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. “It made a difference for that one!” His response surprised the man. He was upset. He did not know how to reply. So instead, he turned away and walked back to the cottage to begin his writings. All day long as he wrote, the image of the young man haunted him. He tried to ignore it, but the vision persisted. Finally, late in the afternoon he realized that, he the scientist, he the poet, he the wise man had missed out on the essential nature of the young man’s actions. Because he realized that what the young man was doing was choosing not to be an observer in the universe and make a difference. He was embarrassed. That night he went to bed troubled. When the morning came he awoke knowing that he had to do something. So he got up, put on his clothes, went to the beach and found the young man. And with him he spent the rest of the morning throwing starfish into the ocean.

No, we can't change the circumstances of all the orphaned children of the world. But, we can make a difference in Lexi's life. Although, the whole world may not change, her entire world will. I am so looking forwarding to the day when I can place into her mind that she is loved and she does have a family with room for her. My arms yearn to hold her tight and give her a mother's kiss. Just to tell her "I love you" will be such a sweet time for all of us. Your prayers for Lexi are very much appreciated during this time. Together, we will make a difference to "this" child and her world will be forever changed. It is my prayer that, those who desire to be a mother and those who wish for a mother, have their dreams come true. Have a very happy Mother's Day and God's many blessings!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Introduction To Lexi

Alexis will be our tenth child. She is probably our last child!!! Duane is not very receptive to adopting again and quite honestly....I doubt we can afford any more children. As devout Catholics, we believe, that we should take what ever God chooses to give to us. During our 36 years of marriage we have done quite well. We were married on August 18, 1973...groovy!!! We are still very much in love and hope to spend another 36 years together. We adopted our first child within the USA as a newborn baby girl in 1977 independently using an attorney. In 1981 we adopted a newborn son through a USA agency in Albuquerque. After twenty years of marriage, we gave birth to a healthy boy we conceived using, In Vitro fertilization, in 1993. As this child grew older he asked us for a sibling. This began our quest into international adoption.

In 2002, we adopted Christian and Karissa, independently from Ukraine at the young age of 14 months old. They were virtually twinned at birth and have never been a part from one another. Next, we adopted Annie Kate from Serbia, Russia in 2005, as a 19 month old baby girl. Mary Beth followed Annie in 2006 from Borovichi, Russia at 20 months old. Then our hearts took a different direction in 2007 when we found a 27 month old boy in Belgrade, Serbia. Following John's adoption from Belgrade, we found a young girl (6 y/o) in Murmansk, Russia whom we adopted in May of 2008.

It was during our adoption of Katie that I saw a child that had been represented by our agency for several years. I had previously watched her video several years before I had met her in person. Although, I felt drawn to her when I saw her referral video, I did not feel God was asking us to adopt her. She had some SN physical issues which concerned me and so I passed her over and found Mary and then John before considering her again. At this point in time, I viewed Lexi's referral video again, and saw another girl who was 5 y/o at the time and fell deeply in love with her (Katie Aunna). So we adopted her and gave the name of Katie Aunna Gartner.

I never expected what was going to happen with Lexi at Katie's adoption!!!! It was the day before our adoption court hearing for Katie and we had gone to the orphanage to visit. Our soon to be daughter was holding the hand of another child while lined up in the hallway. I walked up to Katie and greeted her in Russian. At that moment the girl holding Katie's hand turned around to look at me. I gasped and said her name in a question like "V" is that you??? The child said yes and I realized she was the child I had looked at so many times between adopting our other children. She looked into my eyes and a wide smile spread across her face. "V's" eyes lite like stars in a dark sky and twinkled at me. I swear her feet were not touching the floor as she was floating on clouds of love for Katie's Mama and Papa. She was madly in love with us!!!

"V" floated on this cloud into the playroom with Duane, Katie, and I. She was so in love with us and I could see how sweet she really was. This is the moment I began to fall in love with her. She was staying very near and directly beside me. Katie was jumping all over her new Papa like a wild child. Duane thought it was very cute of Katie to be running wild like that;-). I was trying to listen and understand what "V" was saying. When the translator saw "V" with me she told her that Katie needed to be alone with her new parents and to leave the room. "V" laid her head on my shoulder and deeply breathed in my scent as she placed her face into my neck.

She smelled me with a deep inhale as though to store this scent of mine forever in a box hidden deep within her heart. Then with tears in her eyes she ask me to please take her too and be her mommy. Tears came to my eyes as I knew I wanted to, but, we did not have clearance on our home study for two at that time and our I171H was for one child. I almost felt defeated before I ever entertained the idea of adopting her. The translator took her from the room and we were instructed to concentrate on Katie. So, we did as we were told. I looked at Duane and said "Honey, please...." and he shook his head NO.

We focused on Katie Aunna and brought our little daughter home to America. But, the face of "V" laying her head on my shoulder has not left my mind's eye or my heart. Duane admits that she is also in his heart and mind ever calling "Papa". Perhaps she is looking out that orphanage window everyday and hoping with all her heart that we will return for her. Her face looked sad and forlorn in the last pictures we saw after we left Russia. She seems quite depressed!!! September is her 10Th birthday. It is my goal to have her in my custody by this time. Only God knows His plan and I hope He will help provide the financial needs we have to get her home.

That was one year ago (May 17, 2008) that I last saw her. I know her heart was broken that we did not take her home with her best friend Katie. Over the last year Katie has advocated for "V" at every possible opportunity with us. At last God has won over our hearts and we have began the process to adopt her this summer. Our home study will be ready in July and we will begin to pursue the process of creating our adoption dossier. If all goes well, I will be sitting with her in the orphanage in August and bringing her home in September 2009.

This blog is dedicated to her adoption and I hope you pray with us through this journey of love as we bring our 10TH child home to join our family. God's many blessings to you and thank you for your prayers for Lexi and our family!!! Trisha (mom2b4#10)