Monday, July 30, 2012

"Birth Family"

What is a "birth family?" How do you explain to your 5 year old son about birth and life and adoption
in a way his little mind can understand? How do you answer the questions of:
“Whose belly was I born in?” 
“Why did I go to the baby home?” 
“How did I get here?”
 “Do all babies who are born in Russia go to baby homes?” 
“Why don’t you ever have a baby in your belly? Just some girls get big bellies filled with baby?” 

Answering Dima's questions isn't easy. It's a fragile dance of honesty, simplicity, and enough information to satisfy his inquisitive little mind. Sometimes his questions rock my world and stir emotions, but despite this I want to communicate confidence and pride in his story.
Because there is much to be proud of.

During this past week, the Olympics began and we stayed up late to watch the parade of nations. As they called out “Russia” and watched the beautiful athletes walk the track, we stood and cheered.
Because there is much to cheer about.

There are roots in this place. These roots will always be there. These roots are beautifully drawn on his face through his striking features, they are heard through his little accent and are even tasted through his unique tastebuds and love of all things pickle and mayonnaise. :) We don’t want to squelch or deny those reminders. So we respect and rejoice in these roots…
the roots that gave him life.

About a year ago, Steve and I wrote a letter to Dima’s birth family. If they ever came to the orphanage to look for him or wondered where he was, we wanted them to be able to have something to bring peace to their minds. So we wrote this letter...

Dear ______,

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m sure you must be surprised to read this letter. It is very difficult to write. What do I say to the brave woman who gave birth and life to the little boy who I call son? Thank you does not seem like a big enough word. I hope in this letter I can tell you a little about Dima. And even more, I hope that after reading this letter, you will be relieved to know that Dima is being well taken care of and loved.

I will tell you a little about us first. My husband and I were married in 2002. After 8 years of trying to conceive, we realized that we would be unable to do so. We were devastated. We began to pray about what to do next. Should we give up? Should we adopt a child from the US? Should we adopt a child from a different country? All we knew is that we had so much love in our hearts that we wanted to give to a child. 

We starting looking in to Russia. We have many friends who are from Russia and also have had many friends who have adopted children from Russia. The children are beautiful and smart. And so we decided to adopt a child from Russia. In October of 2009, we were sent a picture of the most beautiful little boy we had ever seen: Dmitri. Though he seemed timid in the picture, we could see into his big brown beautiful eyes a very special boy. 

We came to Russia to meet him at the baby home. The baby home seemed very clean. He seemed to listen well to the caregivers. They described him as “calm, smart and quiet.” They said he was a good sleeper and a good eater. We spent 4 days with him, visiting him at the baby home and after those 4 days, we knew for sure that he was the boy who would be our son. We fell in love with him right away. And he seemed to fall in love with us too. Because of the way the process works, we had to come back to the US to wait for the judge to set a date in court. In February of 2010, we came back to Russia to bring Dima home. It was emotional as we said goodbye to the kind ladies who took care of him and as we said goodbye to his birthplace. He has been in our home for a little over a year.

You would be so proud of him. He is smart and funny. His laugh is filled with joy and he laughs a lot. He does love to eat. His favorite foods are bananas, apples and chicken. (He also likes candy and chocolate too!) He loves to figure things out. He is very curious and loves to know how things work. I wonder if one day he will have a job where he is working with his hands. 

He loves trucks and cars. He is very athletic. He is such a good climber and a fast runner. He also is by far the best 3 year old swimmer I’ve ever seen. He just loves life. He rarely cries or gets upset. He has lots of little friends his age that he sees often. His grandparents are absolutely in love with him. We visit with them often. He has cousins and aunts and uncles. We hope to one day adopt another child so that he can have a little brother or sister. He is so sweet and kind.

Every night before we go to sleep, we say a prayer. We pray for his friends that he left in his baby home and we pray for you. My husband and I think of you often. We know that as Dima gets older, he will have many questions, just as we do. Where did he get his big, beautiful brown eyes from? Where did he get his funny personality?  

We do hope to one day visit Russia with Dima when he gets older. Russia is very much a part of our lives, and always will be. We never want to forget it. We want it to be a place with positive memories and stories.

Thank you for choosing life and giving birth to the cutest, sweetest, smartest, funniest little boy that we have ever known. I hope this letter gives you a peace of mind to know that Dima is in the very safe hands of a man and woman who are now called daddy and mommy.

As I read back over this letter I am reminded of the great need to be praying for our little girl’s birth family. We believe she is probably already born and we can't help but wonder what her story is, even now.

Is she already in the baby home? 
Is she with her birth family? 
Have they already made the incredibly difficult decision to relinquish their rights of this little girl? 
Are they making those decisions now? 

I don’t know. I just want to pray that somehow both Dima’s birth family and our little girl’s will feel a deep peace that their birth child is being well taken care of, well loved, and in very safe hands. We pray for a peace that passes understanding that would allow them to continue on with their lives without feelings of fear or regret.

It is complicated. 

Birth Family. Infertility. Baby Home Caregivers. Adoptive family. Different countries. Different cultures. 

But it is also beautiful. Adoption is a beautiful picture reminding us that God brought us in to His family. He calls us His own. He brings us into His safe, loving arms of security and provision.

So, will you pray with us? Will you pray for this sweet little girl’s birth family? Will you pray for our little girl – that during these first few crucial months of her development that she would be specially loved and uniquely cared for? And please pray for all of our hearts – that God would begin preparing each of us for life in our new family.

  • We have one more document that will be finished tomorrow to complete our home study.
  • Once the home study is completed we can begin working through our DOSSIER

  • The Give1$ Campaign has totally taken off! Our good friend set up this online campaign. The desire is for everyone to give $1. You can check it out by clicking HERE and watch the status change regularly. We are so grateful!! 
  • We are still seeing money pour in dollar by dollar through so many different venues. We are so grateful. If you are still interested in giving and getting a tax write off for your donation, please check out the “HOW TO HELP” page for more information
  • This Sunday, August 5th is our first big fundraiser. It is being put on by a  recent high school graduate from our youth ministry, her mom and another former graduate from our ministry. 
  • We pray for our little girl’s birth family. That they would feel a sense of peace in their hearts as they make (or if they've already made) this tough decision.
  • Pray for wisdom for us to explain this to our son as he walks through this process with us. There will be many questions along the way that he asking on behalf of his “sister”, but these are questions for himself too.
  • Pray for God to continue to stir in the hearts of people to give financially and pray. We can not do this on our own: financially, mentally, emotionally....thank you for lifting us up and praying for us when we come to mind.

Until next Monday, love Kate, Steve, & Dima. 

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