I think it goes without saying that, as you advance to the front lines of a battle, things become more difficult. That has certainly been the case as we have moved to the front lines of this adoption.
It has been a difficult week in the trenches of adoption. Truth be told, it has been a difficult year. But this last week really rattled me to the core. I arrived home from a trip to Shriner's in Philadelphia on the 8th, to an e-mail from our Bulgarian agency, informing us that Little Boy's birth mother had withdrawn her consent for adoption. We would not be able to bring him home. We were absolutely devastated by the news. It was the 11th hour (our dossier had been translated, authenticated and was ready to be submitted to the Ministry of Justice) and we were giddy with excitement to finally be moving to the next step of this process. The news that we would not be able to bring our little boy home was completely unexpected and it knocked us off of our feet.
Due to Hague laws, we may never know whether his mother took him home or if he is still in an orphanage, unadoptable and alone. That has been the hardest part. Not knowing. My hope is that his mother realized his ability despite his disability and she took him home to be with his family. But even if she did not, I have an overwhelming peace that Heavenly Father has a great mission and purpose for this Little Boy and there is no doubt in my mind that He is watching closely and lovingly over him.
We have asked our agency to keep us informed if he becomes available again as we would return for him in a heartbeat. Although we may never hold him in our arms, we will always hold him in our hearts and we are praying for him every single day.
Because our dossier had not been filed yet, the Ministry of Justice asked us if we would consider committing to another "third child." Our agency had just received the files of 16 new children and sent them for us to review. Maybe it was not coincidence that our dossier had not been able to be translated immediately upon receipt (it arrived in Bulgaria on November 30th, but translation was not complete until the first week of January) or that the Ministry of Justice was giving us the opportunity to consider another child this late in the game. There were several children that leapt off the page and immediately stole our hearts. I was ready to commit to bringing another child home, but, after much prayer and discussion, Richard felt that we should move forward to bring the girls home.
I was angry, hurt and confused. We were approved for three children, we had raised the money for three children, we had room for three children. How could we leave a child behind? I just couldn't accept that this was the Lord's will. I fought. . .hard. Then I learned a valuable lesson. Was it coincidence that our dossier had not been translated immediately, enabling us to commit to another child when we found out we would not be able to adopt LB? No, I don't believe it was. I think that the Lord had left the door open for us to choose. Richard (after much thought and prayer) felt strongly that we needed to focus on getting the girls home as quickly as possible. I agreed that we should, but how could we leave a child behind when we had been given the means to bring another child home? In frustration, I turned to the scriptures, hoping to find peace and answers. I was looking for a particular scripture as I thumbed through the New Testament, but what I kept stumbling across over and over were scriptures reminding me that "Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11). After stumbling across multiple scriptures with this theme, I realized that, what Heavenly Father's will really was for us, was that we move forward TOGETHER. Obviously He would support us in bringing another one of His children into our family if that was our decision and, of course, He would also support us if the decision was to move forward to bring our girls home. The most important thing is that we moved forward together. Once I had accepted that truth, I was at peace with our decision.
TOGETHER, we informed our agency to move forward with submitting our dossier. It was filed with the Ministry of Justice on Tuesday and we were informed that, if all was in order, our dossier should be reviewed on Friday and our official referrals for the girls would be issued. This had been the case with most of the other families with our agency, so we had no reason to believe that our dossier would not be reviewed on Friday (as long as the MOJ met to review it). By 10 am on Friday morning, I still had not heard from our agency and I knew that the news would not be what we had hoped. By 10:30 my fears were confirmed. The MOJ HAD met on Friday, but they had been unable to prepare our dossier in time for the meeting and still needed to update the girl's files, so our dossier had not been reviewed and the official referrals had not been issued. Another blow.
After "losing" three children and encountering delays (homestudy, USCIS, obtaining files, translation, submission, official referrals) at every step of this process, I was at my breaking point. How much more could I endure? I felt defeated. I just wanted to curl up in my bed and let the misery of the past week consume me.
Today, as I sat in church, I was reminded that, "If we allow them to, our trials will purify us rather than defeat us. They will teach us to have endurance, patience and charity" (Spencer W. Kimball). The last thing the enemy wants is for us to bring these girls home and he has certainly thrown some firey darts our way, but I CANNOT, I WILL NOT throw my hands up in defeat. I will endure, with patience, all of that is thrown at us, until I have those little girls in my arms because they deserve a loving home and family.
It has been a grueling week, one of the hardest of my life, but I have learned SO MUCH and I know that I am stronger because of the trials that we have faced.
We are on the front lines of this adoption my friends and victory is within our grasp. Please pray with us that our dossier will be reviewed this week and that our official referrals will be issued. Please pray that we will receive a travel date soon so that we can meet our girls and begin the final stages of this process. And please pray that we will be able to overcome any additional hurdles that are placed in our path to getting these little ones home. We appreciate your prayers more than we can express. We know that they are heard.
". . Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8)