I know, I know. I promised a blog a day and then I fell off the face of the earth. I just couldn't think about it for a spell. I needed a break from "performing" for a few days. After Day Four, it was beginning to feel like I was continuing to pick at an sore over and over. Reliving every emotional detail at the end of the day was more than what I was ready to do. So, Brock and I went into somewhat of a survival mode. We woke up every morning only to lunge at our phones with the hope that maybe somewhere in Russia, while we slept, something was moving in this seemingly bottlenecked process. Every phone call throughout the day started with, "Hi-have you heard anything? Have you talked to anyone?" We prayed every night that somehow the next day would bring some sort of news. Some encouragement. Something that would tell us we were still on the right path. We've said that we would go until we heard, "no" and we still mean it, but how long were we supposed to go with no information?
Saturday night, Brock and I decided we would celebrate Valentine's Day. Just before the previews started rolling, I checked to make sure my phone was turned off and saw that I had missed a text message. "Hey...saw USA today news. Don't know all the details and u don't have to tell me. Just want u to know we're praying love you all"
I felt all the breath leave my lungs. What happened? I did a quick google search for USA Today and searched Russian adoptions. Praying against all reason that the search would yeild no results.
Russia to halt U.S. adoptions amid domestic violence claims.
As my eyes scanned the article, the words blurred together and my hands started shaking so badly I almost dropped my phone. A single woman in Pennslyvania who, after "disciplining" her adopted Russian four year old had been sentenced to 18 months in jail for burning the face and body of the little girl. The little girl had been hosptialized and the mother had received such a light sentence that Russia's Ministry of Foreign asked that Russian adoptions be suspended by US Nationals. I wanted to vomit. I wanted to tie a concrete block around that "mother's" neck and throw her in the ocean. I wanted to scream at the US judge who handed down such a light sentence. "Don't you know that you are supposed to protect that little girl? Make this woman pay for such evil! Where is the justice for this child?" Children are miracles. Each and every one of them are a precious gift and they deserve to be protected. And the actions of this woman and those like her and the woman from Tennesse who put her 7 year old on a plane to send him back to Russia ripple down and affect everyone. They affect us and Roman and all the other couples who are trying to adopt. They affect the rest of the lives of these little children. And in a land that is abundant with therapists and aid, how does this happen? I get the parents don't always make the right decisions. But to purposefully and willfully burn your child or to make the concious decision to put him on a plane by himself and ship him back is wretched.
I spent Sunday in tears. "What about...?" "What will happen...?" "Why did God....?" The questions tumbled around and around. And a verse kept coming to mind over and over and over and over. "Trust in the LORD with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight." Ok, LORD. You bind up the broken hearted. You will walk us through this. But, LORD, Roman needs a home. He needs a mommy and a daddy who adore him. Please, please, please Father, provide that for him. Even if it is not us, give him that. Don't let him grow up to the be one of the millions of orphans who take their own life when they are released from the orphange. Protect him from drugs, crime, prostitution. You love him more than we do. Please, LORD, our hearts will break, but save him.
On Monday morning we received an email from Andrei saying that, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can recommend a moratorium on US adoptions, there's is not the organization to actually implement it. As of right now, we are still just waiting. Officials in Russia are quite understandably upset concerning the news of these stories. In the meantime, we still have heard nothing from our judge and as of right now, she is still refusing to talk to anyone from the agency regarding Roman's adoption.
We have one small glimmer of hope however. On Thursday, February 9, Andrei met with an international adoption lawyer in St. Petersburg and after explaining our case to her, she believed that we had grounds to file an appeal regarding the lastest delay on the grounds that talking to the families who had refused Roman's referral had no bearing on this case. She mailed the appeal on Monday, and by God's Divine Grace, Monday was the last day the appeal could have been submitted. Since it was postmarked on Monday, we are told that it counts. This lawyer, also Irina (that makes three with whom we are connected!) will accompany us to the next court hearing in Murmansk. The judge has ten days to respond to the appeal.
That's all we know for now. In the meantime, we keep talking about Roman, dreaming about Roman, praying for Roman and planning for Roman. And every day we remind ourselves to just keep moving. My sister said it so beautifully. "Just remember, Ashley, you don't have to be strong. You just have to be dependent on the LORD." I will trust Him still.