I’ve heard many other adoptive parents who have gone through the process describe adoption as a roller coaster. There are so many highs and lows, but most of all, you feel completely helpless and out of control.
We started our paperwork in the fall of 2011. The paperwork itself was a mountain to climb. There were so many times of frustration because even that didn’t depend totally on us. We were at the mercy of others as we begged for their signatures or their part in proving that we will be worthy enough parents to be trusted with a child.
We saved for two years in order to be able to fund the adoption. TWO YEARS. We had to read so many books and take so many different courses about parenting and adoption. We subjected ourselves to unfolding our private lives and became completely open because that’s what would bring us to our children. It’s not exactly commonplace to submit paperwork and fingerprints for a criminal background check, get a lettters from our employers to confirm that we both have jobs and have a certified public accountant look at our bank accounts, paychecks, tax returns, and other assets and determine how much we’re worth. We had to visit the doctor to make sure we were healthy enough to be parents, and have out home and marriage inspected by a social worker.
We comforted ourselves with the thought that all this was necessary to prevent crooks from being allowed to adopt and told ourselves everything we had to deal with would be worth it once we brought the children home. When we finally had every single piece of paper notarized, apostilled, and finally sent to our agency, we felt like at last there was some headway and we did our part in this seemingly endless process.
Our dossier (the complete collection of paperwork) was sent to Russia and we were registered in the Krasnoyarsk region. We were told that parents were getting referrals quickly, like in the matter or 10 days! We were so excited and held our breath. Maybe we would get a referral quickly. Months passed and we still waited. We called out agency every once in a while to find out if they had heard anything. Each time we were told to keep waiting; they hadn’t heard anything.
Finally in November, we were told that WE were next to get a referral. We were the only ones from our agency that were waiting for a referral in Krasnoyarsk. One morning, both my husband and I were sleeping after working the night before. It had been an exhausting week before that, since my brother got married and all of my family came down for Thanksgiving and the wedding. I was really sick and after working 3 nights with a fever, finally fell asleep. That’s when we got a phone call from our agency.
Our case manager told Sergi that there was a possibility of two girls and we had to sign a letter, scan it and email it to them that very day, ASAP. Sounds really promising, right? Since in our paperwork we had documented that we wanted to adopt two children, a boy and a girl, we now had to sign a letter stating that we would be willing to take two girls. We both jumped out of bed and waited for the next email from our agency with the letter for us to sign. We were so excited! We emailed the signed letter to the agency and told ourselves, maybe we’ll get a referral tomorrow, or sometime this week?! We called our parents and told out siblings. It was such a joyful, exciting time.
The next day, our agency informed us that the letter was fine, but it needed to be signed and apostilled. I should have known. We went to the bank that day to get it notazired and posted it overnight to the state capital where we hired a courier to take it to the Department of State to get it apostilled and sent overnight to our agency.
And we waited again. Every time one of us would get an email, our hearts would start pounding and we rushed to open our phones just in case we were getting a referral. We knew that if we didn’t get a referral by Christmas, we wouldn’t get one until the end of January, since all of Russian workers are on a long vacation and nobody is working from New Years’ til the end of January. We kept hoping and praying.
A week before Christmas, just when our hopes we at the highest and we finally allowed ourselves to get excited, we heard the news that Russia was considering banning U.S. citizens from adopting Russian orphans. That day I felt like all my dreams came crashing to the ground. I cried and cried, but still held on to a glimmer of hope. Maybe the law wouldn’t pass. Russian adoptions had been threatened before, so I told myself to just hope for the best. I don’t watch or read the news but I checked it everyday now. As the law went through different stages, my heart sinked lower and lower as it passed every time. The day after Christmas, it was voted on unanimously by the Russian parliament. This morning, my husband and I found out that Putin had signed the law into effect.
I hate politics with a passion, so I don’t want to get into it too much, all I’m going to tell you is that the U.S. passed a law called the Magnitsky Act which bans Russian diplomats who are known human rights violators from coming to the U.S. or from having accounts in American banks. Russia retaliated with this new law, banning U. S. citizens from adopting Russian orphans.
We don’t know how all of this will end and it’s completely out of our hands. I never liked roller coaster rides, but I would tell myself to hold on, and eventually the ride would end. No matter how drastically I was being thrown around on the ride, I was buckled it safely, it was all an illusion and I wouldn’t be hurt. This time, the roller coaster is real and we don’t know how it will end. We are asking you to pray with us. Pray for all the parents waiting to adopt Russian orphans into their loving homes. Pray that all those innocent children would get a chance to be given a family and a place of belonging. I’ve been through a lot in life and I know that sometimes that ending isn’t “and they all lived happily ever after.” We know that our lives and our future are in God’s hands, so we’ll wait and see how He wants our story to continue.