I'm not usually a person for secrets, but as far as public information goes there's a place I usually draw the line in telling everything and I have to say, there's been more going on behind the scenes in our adoption especially early on and up to our SDA appt than I have shared publicly. I wanted to take a quick minute and share with you the pieces of our journey that haven't yet been made public.
First off, throughout this process although we made only the adoption of Aleksa public knowledge initially, we were planning from early November to request a second referral once in Ukraine and to see what happens when we get there as far as whether we adopt two children or just Aleksa. Our reasoning for this was a combination of factors, the biggest being that it was such an uncertain thing and we didn't want to'announce' 2 children and face the questions if we came home with one. But in reality there was another reason as well and that is the mixed response to our adoption. The people we know both in person and on the WWW have had strong responses to our adoption both positively and negatively and the well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) comments pushed us to keep it private as well. With just one child it was enough- the reality is that those that would support us still would with two and those who opposed our decisions would do so even more. So why add fuel to the fire, especially when things were so unsure?
I'm sharing this with you now because I've had many comments of "wow, you went for one, came back with two!" Well, this isn't all true but I realize it really did seem that way. Micah is our extra little gift from God that we didn't know was there, but we are so blessed to have him!
Also, in early December you might remember this post which has a picture of little Daria (now Emma) and Brianna. Right after that came this post requesting prayer for decisions we had to make. Well, both of those posts referred to Mike's and my attempt to find out if it would be possible to adopt both Aleksa and Daria at the same time. We had already decided to attempt two adoptions but this would be much more difficult since they are on opposite sides of the country. In the end we were told that our entire dossier would have to be duplicated (with originals) and we knew we didn't have the time for that since we were hoping to travel in 4-6 weeks. We left it in God's hands but did not attempt both adoptions.
Someone asked me why we hadn't committed to Daria in the first place if we wanted her before we left. That in and of itself is a long story but the short version is that another family hoped to adopt her and did not. So she was not available when Mike and I were 'choosing' our child and she became available again later on in our process.
Once we were ready to go to Ukraine Andrea (director of Reece's Rainbow) sent me Daria's information at my request because if for some reason the SDA didn't allow us the referral for Aleksa we were going to request Daria. Our appointment went off fine and another family was 'waiting' for us to say that yes, we'd gotten Aleksa's referral and they immediately committed to Daria. Unfortunately they wouldn't be able to travel for several months and it was very unsure whether Daria would still be alive at that point since her transfer to Torez was imminent.
Of course the turn of events that next week wasn't anything we could have expected and we went back to the SDA with the blessing of the other family that has just committed to Daria to pursue her adoption. They knew as well as we did that she had very little time and they knew our love for her as well.
So the end result is that yes, we knew Daria before. Yes, we wanted her as soon as we saw her. No, she wasn't the second choice, but we wouldn't change our adoption plans mid-process and desert the child we were coming for. No, we didn't "give up" early on Aleksa knowing that we'd get Daria instead. Yes, we are glad that God worked all this how He did. And yes, I grieve Aleksa deeply.
Another little twist in all of this is that while pursuing Aleksa's adoption we did have another referral. We left the SDA with the intent to also adopt a 4 yr old little boy at a different orphanage. After getting his paperwork from the SDA we found out that the child that was unknown to us was not a new child after all though. It was the little boy that another family was coming to get in just a few months. This made for another difficult decision and we contacted the family through Andrea and asked their opinion on our adopting little Misha. With sadness but also great joy they told us to continue. We met Misha the morning that we were told that we would not be able to continue Aleksa's adoption. We took pictures, video, and all the while we weren't sure if he'd be ours or not.
By afternoon we had decided that God had a plan in our meeting Misha and that it was to give the information and photos to his new family and to walk away knowing that someone was coming for him. We closed out not one but two adoptions that day and returned to Kiev to wait an appointment at the SDA with heavy hearts but a joy that God had used us to give Misha's family more information about him and to begin a process in Aleksa's orphanage that might not otherwise have been started that might allow for MANY future adoptions from that institution.
Our journey hasn't been without bumps, bruises and a few complete nose dives, and it surely hasn't ended how we would have forseen it to be. But God is either in control or He's not, and I believe with all my heart that He has orchestrated all things to the glory of His Kingdom and that we are right where we are supposed to be right now.
Please pray for the angels still waiting for their families. For Sasha (Aleksa) and for Misha and all the other little ones that soon face the fate of institutionalization.