There are so many details about our last few days with Mila that I want to share. I want to write about court and our long trip home. But I'm feeling the need to write another story first.
This adoption process, although in the same country Zoya was adopted from, was vastly different. We had friends, The Woods', which made the 3 weeks there so much less lonely. For Zoya's adoption, we spent 3 weeks alone in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. We needed that experience and looking back I'm glad God gave that to us. For Mila's adoption, we were in the center of a city with lots to do and see. We got to experience so much more of the culture this time around, which I am grateful for. The process and legalities of things seemed to be easier in so many ways this time. The entire three week trip this time, I just kept saying, "I can't believe how different things are this time around." The region we were in had a lot to do with how different things were.
With all those differences, ONE thing was exactly the same. So much the same that I was paralyzed in my emotions experiencing it all over again. That thing that was the same? The faces of the children crying out for attention. love. care. The cries and screams and whimpers. The cold hard reality that put the faces to the word "orphan." The children begging for a mama and papa. Being slapped across the face all over again feeling such pain and sadness for these orphans. How could it hurt just as much the second time around? When you have your heart ripped open wide, even as it begins to heal it never takes the same shape again. In a year and a half's time my heart was certainly a new shape, but I no longer felt the raw emotion of experiencing the pain of orphans. On this trip, my heart was ripped wide open again. Those raw emotions came flooding back to me in a way I didn't expect. My heart hurt just as much this time, all over again. It was as if I had never seen these things before. I certainly hadn't forgotten what we experienced seeing on Zoya's adoption journey, but I did not expect to feel so vulnerable again. There was a whole new set of orphan faces to look at each day, a whole new set of cries and screams and whimpers to hear again. A whole new sadness and deeply rooted pain for these children.
I want to tell you about an image that is frozen in my mind. One that I will never ever forget. An image of a child whose life was about to change in a way that would impact the rest of his life. This is where the story starts. Shawn and I were sitting outside the orphanage office waiting for Anna and Jerad's visit to be over so we could walk home together. In walked two women with two children bundled so heavily in snowsuits and hats and scarves that their faces barely peaked through. At first I thought the nicely dressed women were the children's mother and grandmother. They started taking out all kinds of paperwork and showing their passports and signing papers without emotion. I thought to myself, those women can't possibly be related to these children because there were simply no emotions coming through at all. And that's when it happened. A doctor came into the office and held her hand out to the little boy, probably 3 years old, the same age as my sweet Zoya. He looked scared to death and I was still trying to process what was happening. He took her hand and hesitantly walked away with the stranger. The doctor came back a minute later without him and took the other child, a baby, probably a year to a year-and-a-half old. Here comes the part that is burned into my soul forever. The doctor came back without the children, but instead with all their clothing, snowsuits and all, and handed the childless clothes back to the ladies who brought the children in. The ladies took the clothes and walked back out the same door, but this time, they left empty handed, leaving those two innocent children in the orphanage. What we experienced was their intake. I have no idea how or why they became orphans. I keep thinking about the 3 year old boy and the look on his face. I wonder what he thought was happening. I wonder what he thought that first night spending the night in a room full of other children, where he was just a number, felt like to him. I wonder if anyone explained anything to him. I wonder how his heart is handling the grief. I wonder what this means for the rest of his life. This is the cold hard reality. All I kept thinking was between Anna and Jerad and Shawn and I, we were giving 2 children a family, but (figuratively) their beds have already been filled with 2 new children. It felt like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in the bottom...impossible.
If you want a glimpse into a day in the life of these two children a few days later, read Anna's Post Here. If you click on that link be prepared to have your heart changed. I know my words alone cannot convey the magnitude of the sadness and reality of this situation, but I hope you can get a glimpse into why my heart aches so much for our orphans.