After some quiet reflection, I realized that a lot of worry, hurt, anxiety and sadness suddenly disappeared on this day a year ago. I thought back to times full of fear that we would never get Lizzie registered, let alone adopted and home. They said it would never happen. They said that they would stand in the way. They told us that she was mentally ill and unstable. "They" were just a couple of orphanage workers and regional social workers. To add difficulty to the process, Lizzie's birth mom was in prison and you cannot terminate parental rights when a mother is in prison. Never mind that she was no longer in Lizzie's life and that Lizzie was a ward of the state. It seemed Lizzie would be lost forever and not adoptable at all. However, we would not give up, we kept praying, and we hired a terrific team in Kherson to get her registered and her one year international adoption clock started. We prayed, she prayed, and He heard! God made all of our dreams come true! Lizzie came home just that very next weekend! Home to her family, home forever!
A lot has happened in this past year. Lizzie is a sophomore in high school, a varsity cheerleader, a competition cheerleader, and she is making fabulous progress. Her ESL teacher feels she will no longer need her services after this year. Lizzie's grades are all in the 3.0 area and she was recently granted credit for her academics in Ukraine. this will enable her to skip the summer schools she would have attended over the next three years to graduate on time. Lizzie has determined that she wants to be a Lawyer and give back to those in need, perhaps even some work with orphans in Ukraine one day. She has had many firsts in the last year, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first family vacation (to the Bahamas, a place begged us to take her all these years).
Lizzie turned 16 last November and it was a special day as well, her first at home. She knew, also, that it was the day that she would no longer be adoptable. At 16, non-sibling tied orphans cannot be adopted by Americans. She got home with nine months to spare! Instead of the day being a sad, dreadful day for us all, it was the happiest birthday of her life!
Happy Valentines day to you all and to my family! Happy Gotcha day, Lizzie! We love you!
~ Tet'chka ~