Today has been another hard day for our family . . . on top of the grief we feel with Katya as she mourns her lack of ability to effectively communicate, we have been in mourning with the orphans left behind in Russia who have had the doors closed to any possibility of their adoption by Americans. As we have a Russian born daughter, this feels close to home and very personal to us.
She has been mourning as well. At nearly 13, Kristina understands some what how much different her life would have been had she not come home to us. She was ALMOST not adopted, as we only found out about her urgent need for a family right around 2 weeks before Russian officials planned to declare her officially "Un-adoptable", remove her officially and permanently from the adoption registry, and then condemn her to a living death in a mental institution.
Our lovely, sweet, and talented daughter in a mental institution?! Unthinkable, you declare!
And yet, sadly, all too true. We have in our possession the paper that was signed by the panel of medical Drs who "examined" her, declaring her to be an "imbecile" and not worthy of a normal life, in their midguided and uneducated opinion. Signature, after signature, attesting to their determination of our daughter's lack of ability to function in life.
Here in the USA, Kristina has nearly every door open to her. We fully expect she will be able to live and function on her own as an adult. She has friends, maintains relationships, and has a loving and caring heart. She is persistent (remember who taught Katya how to ride bike?!), loves to organize and has lots of patience when working with children. People who know Kristina love her. Children love her, and Chad will tell you with great fervor that Kristina is his best friend!
Kristina hopes to work as an adult in some capacity with children, and has actually seriously contemplated returning to Russia some day to work in an orphanage as a loving and ethical care-giver to orphans. She loves her birth country, and takes pride in the fact that she has duel citizenship.Kristina loves all the good things about Russia, and enjoys being exposed to Russian cultural events, foods, clothing and customs. She would no more think of harming Russia than she would think of harming the USA. Her heart is broken that the doors that are open for her are now closed to so many children.
Yes, families from other countries can (thankfully) continue to adopt Russian orphans. However, sad reality is that many of the special needs orphans--the most needy of the needy--will be passed over because many countries do not encourage or allow their citizens to adopt children with a high level of special needs.
Many more children will languish and die due to this law. Children should never be political pawns, and it is the children who will be most hurt by this unless Russia makes sweeping and massive reforms for the better IMMEDIATELY in their orphan program.
We can't imagine our lives without Kristina . . . she is a great big sister to her two younger siblings, and a loving daughter! What if the doors had been cruelly slammed in her face?!
Pray for the children of Russia who will be hurt by this, and pray for a sweeping system of reform and change of attitudes of the general population towards orphans.
In the meantime, I'm going to hug my girlie a little harder and a little tighter, and thank God again for bringing her out of Russia to live in our home.
[All photos by Charity taken this week after our snow storm . . . Kristina's first 5.5 years were spent in Siberia and she still LOVES the cold and snow!]