The Russian Adoption Ban

Photo Credit: Nico Paix on Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit: Nico Paix on Flickr (Creative Commons)

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I feel about the recent ban on the adoption of Russian orphans by parents in the United States, and honestly, that has been a little overwhelming.  When I found out that Putin had signed the bill into law, it felt like I was just told that I can’t have children.  My heart is in Russia.  It has been for years.  And now the door from here to there has been bound up by politics.

And there is nothing I can do about it.

When I shared with a friend how I was feeling, he said, “But, you still can have kids.  There are other countries.  There are kids here who need to be adopted.  And you can probably still have your own.”  As selfish as it may sound, that hurt almost as much as the news of the ban itself.  Other countries, domestic adoption, biological children…that has not been my dream or my heart’s deepest desire.

You wouldn’t (or at least you shouldn’t) tell a woman who had just been told by her doctor that she was infertile that “everything will be okay, there’s always adoption and fostering and surrogacy.”  No, you would mourn with her the loss of a dream.

So that is all I am asking of you at this point.  Mourn with me.

And mourn with the hundreds of thousands of Russian orphans who are waiting for their forever families, who now have a that much smaller chance of ever being adopted, because the largest population to adopt them is no longer allowed to.

And pray.

Pray for the Russian people who are speaking out against the ban.  I don’t want to speak generally or ignorantly about the Russian government, but free-speech doesn’t mean the same thing in Russia that it does here.

Pray for the proposed reform of the orphan care system in Russia.  If you know anything about its current state, you know that it really is not the best place for a child to grow up.

Pray for Russian families, that their hearts would be opened to adoption, especially of special-needs children.  There is a rather large stigma against adoption in Russia and that stigma is even larger when it comes to adopting a special-needs child.

And finally, pray for the orphans, in Russia and around the world.

Mournfully yours,

On Niche Blogging and Finding My Voice

I read a lot of mommy blogs.  Seriously.  A. LOT.  But, it makes perfect sense.  A great deal of my friends are mommies who blog.  I love them, I adore their kids, I read their blogs.  I want to be a mommy someday, specifically an adoptive mommy, so it goes without saying that I would read a handful of adoptive mommy blogs as well.  Some may call it obsessive, I call it being prepared ridiculously well in advance.

I read a variety of other types of blogs.  A friend of mine writes a fashion blog.  I read it.  I love the idea of doing tons of DIY projects and crafts, so I read some of those blogs.  I follow a few cooking blogs, because, well, there is a kitchen in my house I someday hope to use for more than pouring a bowl of cereal or making a PB&J.  Many of my friends are involved in some form of ministry, as missionaries, ministers, or seminary students, and I love reading their words of conviction, struggle, and encouragement.

I also read some others blogs that serve absolutely no purpose other than entertainment and wishful thinking. (*cough*webcomicsandweddingblogs*cough*)

But, as I read these blogs, I start to wonder.  Where is the voice that sounds like mine?  Where is my blogging niche?

I’m not a mommy blogger.

Or a fashion blogger.

Or a crafty blogger.

Or a cooking blogger.

Or a Jesus blogger.

Or a wedding blogger.

Or an artistically comical blogger.

I’m not really anything all that similar to any type of blog I follow.  I don’t quite fit in any of those niches.

I’m just a girl with an oft-neglected blog and some lofty aspiration to someday be one (or all) of the above types of blogger, rubbing elbows with the women whose blogs I read at the next big blogging conference.  (BlogHer, I’m looking at you.)

I’m just a girl, single and in her mid/late-twenties (in West Michigan, WHAT?!?!), not sure what she wants to be if when she grows up, straddling the space between entering the adult world and actually feeling like an adult.

I’m just a girl trying to find sure footing in her faith while searching for a sense of purpose, direction, and meaning in life.

Certainly there are other girls like me out there on the blogosphere, whose lives have gone in a very different direction than they had ever imagined.  I wish I could read their stories of feeling unfulfilled, listen to them as they share their longings and desires, and experience with them their struggles and triumphs as they navigate this thing called life.  But until I find those other blogs and can read other women’s stories, I will share my own.

I may not have a niche, but I do have a voice.

So, here it is.  Here I am.  Sorting out my day-to-day musings on this little blog I call home.

Vocally yours,

My heart’s one desire…

I want to adopt.  Oh how desperately do I want to adopt.  My whole life I have wanted to be a mother, but only in recent years (perhaps the last 5 or so) has God moved my heart toward adoption.  Specifically, international adoption.  More specifically, adoption from Russia.  (Goodness knows that may change, but that is where my heart is now.)

My heart breaks for children who live without forever families.  Children who do not know the gentle touch of a mother’s goodnight kiss or the pure joy of play wrestling with daddy on an afternoon at home.  Children who spend their days and nights in an orphanage with dozens of other children and very few staff.  Children who have learned not to trust because their basic needs are not being met by those who are there to protect and care for them.  Children who know how to self-soothe not because they have naturally reached that stage in their development, but because self-soothing is the only kind of relief they have ever known.

I cannot wait for that day when I look into a tiny pair of eyes and just know, from somewhere deep within my soul, that they are my baby.  That, before He even thought the world into existence, God had chosen to give me the privilege of raising that little child.  Regardless of whether our lives intersect while they are an infant or a teenager, God planned for us to become a family.

I am excited, but I am also terrified.  I know that adoption is no easy task.  Years of paperwork, tens of thousands of dollars in legal and travel expenses, endless sleepless nights of worrying if your child will ever come home.  And then once they do…Will they accept you and your spouse as parents?  Will they ever be able to move past their attachment and trust issues so they can rest peacefully knowing that you are there to protect and love them?  Will they continue to suffer the negative effects of their early childhood spent in an orphanage for years after they come home?  Will they be able to handle all the changes that come with being adopted?

Will you be able to handle all the changes that come with adopting?

Will I be able to handle all the changes that come with adopting?

Is this something I am remotely capable of?

Can I even do this?

Can I?

Longingly yours,

[This post is largely inspired by my reading through the archives of an amazing blog Rage Against the Minivan over the last couple of weeks.  I would highly, highly, highly recommend reading her blog.]