Moving Forward....One Stone at a Time

"Some luck lies in not getting
what you thought you wanted
but getting what you have,
which once you have it
you may be smart enough to see
it is what you would have wanted
had you known...."
~ Garrison Keillor

As soon as we heard that we would not be bringing Laina home, as broken hearted as we were (and still are), we knew deep in our hearts that we had not been led this whole way by God simply to throw in the towel. Just when it appeared we might have reached a dead end on our path, miraculously, God started paving a path right before our eyes, one stone at at time. I hate not being able to see the whole road. I'm uncomfortable just stepping from one stone to the next when we cannot see all the stones laid in front of us yet...not knowing where we are going, but just trusting that each stone will be there.  As we jump from one stone to the next, we know that God will lay down each stone just as we need it, not too soon, and not too His perfect timing.

As a little background of where our hearts were, Shawn and I had said from the beginning, if something ever fell through with Laina's adoption we'd rather not adopt any other child, because it was only Laina that jolted our decision to adopt again. It was her sweet picture and her special story. That is how strongly we felt that Laina was our daughter and how strongly we felt that God called us to her.  So we had agreed that should something happen, we would cut our losses and run. God knew the only way we'd commit to adopt again was by seeing Laina's special story laid before us...He knew we couldn't turn away from that. He has surely used her to guide us on our path. We thought Laina was at the end of our path, and now we are realizing that our path is being extended beyond her.

Now we understand why there was a delay in being submitted. As I cried and stomped around like a child angry that we weren't submitted, I had no idea what God was up to. Had we been submitted we would probably be in Eastern Europe right now as all of this was unfolding. Maybe we would have already met Laina and her birth parents and maybe it would have been even more excruciatingly painful when we found out she wouldn't be coming home with us. But I knew there had to be more of a reason than just protecting us from an even worse heartbreak, I just felt it.  I kept wondering, why, why, why would God get our paperwork done in record time? I mean seriously, it has to be some adoption record for how quickly things got done, and how we got our I-171H approval the SAME DAY as our fingerprints. Why would that miracle have happened if we were just supposed to walk away? Why did it happen so fast only for us to sit and wait to be submitted, and then to find out that our plans to adopt Laina were falling through....

Just as God has done throughout this entire journey, in His perfect timing, He has laid down another stone so we can continue walking this path He has planned for us....

Meet "Harlene"
From Reece's Rainbow Website:

Girl, born March 2011

Such a sweet little dumpling!  

Harlene needs a family, QUICKLY, as she has heart issues which will need to be addressed.   She has a defect of the chamber wall, subaortic, and she has pulmonary hypertension issues.
Guess when Harlene's paperwork will be ready? In 2-3 weeks! Guess when we will probably travel? In 3-4 weeks! In an act only God could pull off, the way our petition was submitted for Laina will allow us to keep the same travel date that we will get (hopefully any day now), but instead we will travel hoping to adopt "Harlene" who needs immediate medical attention.  We don't exactly understand how the behind the scenes things are working out for us to be able to adopt Harlene....since we aren't submitting a new child specific petition, so be in prayer that it all works according to God's plan.  The funny part is when Harlene was listed a couple weeks ago, I showed Shawn her picture and jokingly said I WISH WE COULD BRING HOME TWO! LOL

Prior to being led to Harlene, we were feeling both extreme sadness, yet a peace we couldn't understand, we were so confused. As Shawn and I sat and stared at the computer, it felt like an impossible thing to do, to choose another child. How would we know? In the past, both Zoya and Laina's pictures have struck us and in that moment we just knew.  Just as I sent off an email to our facilitator in EE, I had received one from her. I had asked for more information on two children we had felt led to (one of those being Harlene). As soon as I clicked "send" I received an email from our facilitator with three profiles, two of those profiles being the same exact ones I just sent her! We asked for more information about their availability and waited to hear, not knowing where we were headed.  We considered doing a blind referral, and just going and allowing the officials to choose a few files to present to us once there.

I sat outside that night just staring at the sky feeling so very lost. I actually asked God if he could spell out our child's name in the clouds so we would just know! And no he didn't do that if you're wondering ;) For the first time in my life, I had no idea what to even pray. Every time I tried there was just nothing. All I could do was just be.  I wondered what I was doing wrong and why it felt I couldn't get through to God.  I went inside feeling ever so sad, but with this darn nagging peace that I couldn't understand. It was the oddest combination of feelings I've ever experienced.  I didn't know you could feel so utterly sad but yet so hopeful at the same time.  What in the world was God up to?
The next evening we got an email from our facilitator letting us know that Harlene would be available in a couple of weeks and that the other child would not be available for months. There was a third child who was available now, but our facilitator told us that Harlene was in the greatest need of medical attention. That was what we needed to hear as we had just reminded ourselves of our reasons for being called to adoption to begin help orphans in distress. This child clearly needs a family, medical attention, love, and opportunities in life. We are clearly paper ready with our documents just sitting there. We certainly don't have the "she's the one beyond a shadow of a doubt" feeling (maybe a little nervous to get too excited and have our hearts broken again having such a fresh wound), but once again we're trusting where God is leading at THIS moment in time.

We are excited and trying to rest in knowing that we don't know it all....we aren't even close to having life figured out. We are learning to let go and trust even more completely than we ever knew possible. We know in our hearts that God has big things planned for us. We are not silly enough to think that he's giving us the big picture yet....Sometimes he does with Zoya's adoption I felt we had a better overall picture of His plans. This time around we are being asked to step on each stone as they are laid at a time.  And although it is not easy, we know that if we follow we will be rewarded in the end. 

You'll notice on the new header Laina's little picture that's black and white, in addition to Harlene's bigger picture that is in color.  I couldn't bear to just delete Laina's picture because she is a big part of this adoption story and still has a very special place in our hearts. I don't ever want to feel like we are replacing Laina with another child. In our hearts they will be sisters, even though we will likely never meet Laina this side of heaven. So for now Laina will fade into the deepest place in our hearts and remain there, not forgotten, all while we move forward toward "Harlene." It's bittersweet and beautiful and scary and exciting. Thank you for travelling this journey alongside us and thank you for all of your amazing comments, support, and prayers. Keep them coming!


  1. Harlene is a cutie. Looking forward to following along on your journey to meet your daughter.

    Prayers from our home to your always!

  2. I don't personally know you and I have only been follwing your blogs for a short time but as I was reading your last post I just knew Harlene was the little one that you would be bringing home, I felt it. I am so sad for you but happy for you all at the same time, what a rush of emotions! Many prayers for you all.


  3. I KNEW IT! As soon as I read your last post I saw this little sweetie on RR my family found me and just knew she was yours! ok.. now I am going to go back and read your post because I had to write a comment as soon as I saw her picture :)

  4. I love the new header. When I opened your post I had to just look at it for a while, before I even started reading. It's perfect.

    As much as your heart still hurts I love that you are following the (unknown) path as it's laid before you. That's a hard thing to do and I'm sure that your little girl waiting at the end will be just who you were looking for.

    I'll have a box in the mail to you tomorrow. :)

  5. Praying as He adds another color to the tapestry of this story!

  6. I'm praying for you, Shawn, Zoya, & "Harlene" as you head to this new chapter. I'm also praying for your sweet little Laina and her birth mother. God's plan is perfect. Hang in there!! :) Mel

  7. Wow, you are amazing with words, I can just visualize each step being placed down as you are moving forward. I've been praying for you so much and checking your blog for an update after talking last! Harlene is BEAUTIFUL...what an amazing story only God could write in a way that only He could receive the glory for how this is working out. Praise Him. Looks like we'll have to wait until tomorrow for travel dates :)

  8. When I saw Harlene in the MFFM pages, I immediately thought that she was Zoya's (an Lainas's in some ways) new sister. :) Congrats! Glad to see you continue to persevere and trust God.

  9. Wow what a story. I just found your blog today, and this story is beautiful. I feel a little lost, so I may have to go back and do some reading, but I can already tell that you are an amazing person!!


  10. Congratulations! They could be twins, you know. :) She is beautiful. Yet another miracle unfolding in the world of adoption. :)

  11. I *knew* too, LOL. After I read your post yesterday, I too went and saw precious Harlene on MFFM page :) I am so excited to continue watching your journey to your new precious baby!!

  12. Will you have a rr donation for Harlene? Its not showing one

  13. Congratulations! I couldn't even read the post, I had to fly down to the bottom of the page and see the picture of your sweet child. Laina is very much and will always be a part of this adoption... As hard as it is to comprehend now, there is a reason for this, and she has brought you to your daughter! Congrats again!

  14. I am so sorry about Laina...I cannot imagine your heart break. I too believe everything happens for a reason, and sometimes we may not know what that reason is, but God knows!! And Harlene!! I just printed her photo to put on my Reeces Rainbow poster at the Buddy Walk this Saturday. I choose 5 children to profile, in hopes to spark some hearts, and I knew she could and would! I am so excited to print next to her on my poster that she has a family!! Congrats to your family!!

  15. Does Harlene have special needs other than her heart defects?

    Sad for you and Shawn but also amazed that you are able to work past the loss and continue on the path God has set out for you.

  16. I am so happy!
    I also am wondering about the money raised. What will happen to Lainas donations? What about the donations for Lainas locker? Are you starting a new one?

  17. But if Laina's birthparents had met you, they would perhaps have been able to decide to give their child to you?? Maybe you should meet them when you are in EE...

  18. I knew it!! Well actually was torn between whether it was Yana or Harlene, so so happy for you and you are in our constant thoughts and prayers as you grieve your loss of Laina as well. God Bless!

  19. Harlene is so beautiful! I know it must be excruciating to have lost Laina but God has a plan and it´d never have been right do adopt Laina when her family is obviously very distressed about her leaving and can´t handle losing her. I greatly admire your moral integrity and strength for stepping back and stop pursuing Laina because of her family (some people would have pressed on despite the biological family´s needs and wants). I am praying and rooting for you over here in the north!

  20. God works in misterious ways, she is so beautiful, congrats!

    Thankyou Sarah for sharing your HEART!! Again I am deeply touched by GODs amazing ways HE is leading you and your family and how you follow them!!!
    All my Love and Prayers!


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