Saturday, October 1, 2011

One Year Ago Today: Winning Liza

September 30,2010
(read the previous post first)
On the morning of September 30, 2010 Rick and I prepared to go to our SDA appointment. We had thought we would be going to get the referral of a little girl we had known as Liza K for almost 20 months. But the day before we had been told that she was unadoptable and there was almost no way that her status would be changed in order for us to adopt her in 2010. Sometime that morning, or maybe even the night before, we had decided that if we really had to give up on Liza we would come back for her as soon as she could be made adoptable by the courts. Serge had told us that a judge could do that but it would take about 6 months. I knew how to put together a dossier and get through immigration by this time and I figured the next time things would go a LOT faster!

When we got to the SDA office we prepared to go in - trying the whole time to keep a positive outlook. Eventually it was our turn and Serge went in with us. It was obvious that he was well liked and well known by the ladies in the office and that made us feel a little better. We didn't understand what was being said at first but the next thing I knew they had a folder out with our name on it and there were the CSPs I had sent months before. Then there was a picture of a little girl taken out of that folder and laid aside. It was "my" baby girl's paperwork being laid aside because of a paperwork error. It broke my heart and that's when I started to cry. We were told again that because of the paperwork issue Liza was not adoptable and we would need to choose another child, then Serge said something to the SDA lady and she brought out 3 more folders. Inside these were the little girls that fit our parameters. I only remember two of them and only because one was almost our daughter and the other was being mourned just a week later when news came that she had passed away. Her name was Anne-Marie.

I remember Serge kind of "helping" us to choose. He told us that one of the children had more needs than the others. Then when Rick showed interest in the little girl with the rosy cheeks and long hair Serge mentioned that she was in a region that he hadn't worked in before. One that they would like to get into because it would mean opportunities for more children to be known about and better chances for them to be adopted. We eventually chose the little one with the long hair and rosy cheeks. Serge told us that her name was Alexandra but she was called Sasha. Rick seemed to already be smitten, but I wasn't sure. I didn't think that I could love this little girl the way she deserved because my heart was so disappointed over the little girl I had loved for nearly two years. Serge had told us sometime during this whole procedure that we would have until about 5 or 6 THAT day only, for Liza's parents to be found and the paperwork to be fixed. Then we could get Liza's referral when we came back to pick up official referrals. Ok, whatever you say, but if it means there's still a chance for me to meet my dream face to face then okey doke!

We left the SDA trying to grow accustomed to the thought of traveling to a region we hadn't even heard of before that morning and, myself, trying to believe that I could give up my hopes for Liza to come home with us and fall in love with Sasha. I spent most of the day continuing to pray that Liza's parents would both be found in Krivoy Rog and making plans to return to Ukraine and adopt Liza in about 6 months if need be. I remember at lunch that day, where we were served pizza with peppers on it after asking for "pepperoni pizza", talking with the missionaries in KR who loved Liza and knew her personally and telling them that if we didn't get good news that day about Liza's parents we were planning to come back and adopt her in six months after bringing Sasha home. We would just have two little girls with Down syndrome to love!

Later that day after getting down again thinking about leaving Liza in Ukraine, even if it was only for another six months or however long it took to get her adoptable, I had the sudden thought that I should call Yulia. I knew that she was the facilitator who worked in Krivoy Rog for Serge's team almost exclusively and her number was already in our phone that the team had given us the day we had arrived. Hmmmm? Why hadn't I already thought of that?! So, I called Yulia and told her who I was and who we had come to adopt. She knew exactly what child I meant because Liza was one of her favorites from that orphanage and it had broken her heart to find out that she wasn' going to be able to be adopted. She had been busting her butt already looking for L's parents and was about to give up because, well, her boss told her we had chosen another child. Yep, Serge told her that we were giving up because we had chosen another child to adopt. Not that we wanted all options to be exhausted and then we were moving on, that we had given up. This did not make me happy.....

I still praise God to this day that I had that sudden urge to call Yulia. A woman I had never met and never spoken to. Never even exchanged so much as an email. Calling her wasn't an immediate end to our dilemma but it did set things back in motion. As soon as I told Yulia that we were not giving up until we had to she dove right back into the search and told me that she had already located Liza's dad and thought she might have a chance at funding mom too because as dad put it when told that mom had moved to Moscow, "That's sh**, she's right here in Krivoy Rog!"

I remember both of us crying at one point and Yulia saying that she was so glad that we weren't giving up. I also remember telling her that if it came to it we wanted to come back for Liza as soon as she WAS available for adoption. I remember her telling me that she would do everything she could for the next few hours that she had left in that day and would call me to let me know either way. I remember hanging up the phone with a renewed sense of hope that things would be alright. But, yet there was that picture of Sasha in the back of my mind. Because now, winning Liza meant Sasha losing her chance. 

Later that evening, a while after the time that I thought Yulia would call, she did. She called. I think you all know what her news was, right? She had found Liza's parents, they had signed all new paperwork that would allow Liza to be adopted, and everything was going to be ok after all. Except that now my heart knows of a little girl named Sasha in a region that Reece's Rainbow doesn't even work in who may never get another chance. 

Sasha's story isn't over yet, though. It's coming next.....

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