Two years ago this week, we came home from Church Camp to learn that our dossier which had been sitting in Tula had been pulled. Our agency’s rep had gone to visit the officials in Tula, had learned that “nothing was going to happen for at least a year” and had pulled our dossier from the region along with that of another family. I remember well the phone call with Carol at CSS—this was another “change” after being assigned to the Izhevsk region by our previous agency; at this point, I felt a bit like we were hopscotching our way across Russia.
It was at this point that Carol told us that we had two options: (1) we could place our dossier in Moscow and wait to see what happened or (2) there was a little girl in Kaluga that she “wasn’t ready to give up on yet.” There was something in her voice and in our hearts that told us “ok, let’s seriously consider Kaluga”, and so, after a quick prayer, we told her we were interested in the little girl in Kaluga. Within a couple of days, we received pictures of her, and our dossier was registered in Kaluga. By July 28 (amazing to me now that this was just two years ago!) we had travel dates to meet with this little face that we only knew from some rather dark and grainy pictures from our agency:
I look at these now, and see my sweet daughter in this face—two years ago, I’m not really sure what I saw. Potential, perhaps. A child who looked a little bit scared and whose feet didn’t come near to touching the floor in the walker she was sitting in. I remember looking at them and trying to feel a connection—but it was difficult to do so.
I will tell you that after we made the decision to go see her and had committed to buying the tickets and getting the visas that there were times that we came close to questioning our decision. When the report from our IA doctor in St. Louis came back with some HUGE red flags, we weren’t sure what we were getting into. However, there was nothing that she told us that was a “definite”, and there was nothing that told us that we shouldn’t still go. We decided with a huge leap of faith, that we would still make the journey.
I guess that I should qualify that previous statement—it was a leap of faith, but it was one that was encouraged by so many of you and your support and prayers, and by things that happened that I can only call “God messages". During the period between when we decided to go and when we actually got on the plane, TWICE, I got very clear signals from God that this little girl was supposed to be ours. Both of them came from two books that I was reading at the time. In both books there was a Russia character in a predominantly American cast of characters. In BOTH books, the Russian character’s name was—you guessed it—Karina. Now, Karina isn’t a “typical” Russian name—and the fact that both of these “Russian” characters had this name was a huge neon sign for me that we were supposed to go and meet this child.
Well, you all know most of the rest of the story. I can’t imagine now what our lives would be like without this dear little girl in them. Even though life isn’t always perfect (I didn’t join in the “Not the Cleavers” postings not because I didn’t have something to share, but because I didn’t have time to write it down!), it is full of wonder and blessings. A good reason to celebrate this week of July.