Friday, August 6, 2010

Guest Post: A Beautiful Word


This to me is a beautiful word.

It encompasses so much.

I am sure for some it has a negative connotation, but I can't help loving it and wanting to talk about it as much as possible.

I will start with a bit of background...

My name is Deanna and I live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I am married to Sean, the most incredible man ever (I am sure many say so about their husbands, but it's definitely true in my life).

We have two delightful daughters.  Liza is 12 (13 in a few short weeks, sigh) and Elina just turned 11.

Our family
Sean and I knew that we would adopt even before we were married.  We planned on having lots of babies and then plan to adopt.  God decided to change that a bit.

We were married in 1996 and had a miscarriage the following year.  We were devastated.  Ever since I was a little girl if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell you that I wanted to be a mom.  My dreams were dashed!  Little did I knew that God's dreams are bigger than mine.

I was scared to death to try for another baby, so I worked and Sean worked... and we pushed the thought of babies to the back of our mind.

In 2001 I traveled to Belarus without Sean for 2 weeks to work in a camp for Orphans.  This is when I fell in love with Eastern Europe and Orphan Ministry

It changed my life.  This was my first time away from Sean since we were married.  I was expecting to count the days until I was home again and be extremely home sick.  However, when I arrived in Belarus I felt like I was home.  I loved everything about it, but it was the children who stole my heart!  I went back home and Sean was a little surprised that I wasn't super excited to be home.  In fact I was home sick for Belarus.  I couldn't get back into my daily life.  I felt like I left a part of me there and Sean couldn't understand it.

The month I came home from Belarus I found out I was pregnant only to miscarry again at 14 weeks.  We were again devastated and felt like our dream of children wasn't going to happen.  The first time we lost a baby I wanted Sean to be my savior.  I clung to him and wouldn't let him leave my side.  I didn't cry out to God, I cried out to Sean.

This time was different.  I allowed God to be my Savior!  I felt like He was with me through it all.  On bed rest in pain shouldn't be peaceful, but I knew a peace that I couldn't explain.  It was during this time that I wondered if we should begin the adoption process.  Maybe God had plans for our family to come about in a different way.

Sean and I decided to go to Belarus together in 2002 and again in 2003.  We loved it.  We became different people.  We looked at life differently!  We knew that our life would have to involve orphan ministry, and what better ministry than having a little person leave the life of orphanages and come home with us!!!

In 2004 we didn't travel to Belarus for summer camp.  We heard from some local people that there was a group of orphans coming from Moscow to spend a few weeks in our area.  The goal was to bring Special Needs Orphans (5 years and older makes them special needs) to visit with families, return home to Moscow and maybe be adopted by these host families.

We couldn't wait to begin the paperwork to make this happen.  We did a mini home study, criminal checks, and a basic questionnaire about what type of child we were looking for.

We chose a girl and let the agency do the rest.  We waited and waited for the information.  If you adopt - you realize waiting in the name of the game.  Our agency called and asked if we would be open to a sibling group.  Hello?  I would have been happy with 5 children.  So we found out that the little girl we were getting was 7 years old and had a little sister who was 5.  Only the older child could come because they needed to be 6 years old to travel.

Needless to say, Liza came into our lives for 3 weeks in August of 2004 and we loved her instantly.  Love at first sight really does exist.  She called us Mama and Papa instantly.  It wasn't a perfect three weeks.  We all had to adjust and she wasn't used to having men around so her and Sean didn't click right away, but we knew she belonged with us...!

After the three weeks finished we contacted our agency and told them we wanted to pursue adoption.  This sent us to a whole other pile of paperwork.  So much paperwork, but so worth it.  We had interviews, home studies, and classes to get through.

So Liza came in August and we traveled to Moscow in April the following year.  We were able to visit with Liza and meet Elina.  It was wonderful.  Liza was still very shy with Sean, but Elina welcomed him with open arms.  I was so thankful.  We stayed with friends in Moscow and was surprised that the courts let the girls stay with us.  After 8 days we traveled back to America so Sean could work during our 10day mandatory wait for the girls.  If anything I learned a lot about waiting and even more about patience during this time.  It must be what birth parents feel like those last few days of waiting to meet your child.

So after what seemed like forever, we traveled back to bring our girls home!

We came home April 20th 2005.  This is our official 'Gotcha Day!'  We always do something fun to celebrate.

Girls with Grandma & Grandpa
Not many people told me what to expect those first few months.  I cried a lot.  The girls cried a lot.  I would lay in bed at night and tell Sean, " I think we've ruined our lives."  Truthfully, it was a horrible first 6 months.  The girls were with me all day, everyday.  I don't feel like I had anything in my life that could have prepared me for this.

And yet...slowly - things got better.  I remember the exact moments I knew that these were my children.  Forever.  And I loved them!  I loved being their mom.  Sean was an amazing and patient dad.  It took over 8 months for Liza to really trust enough to stay with him without me.  He was the image of God.  No matter how hard we try - He isn't going to leave us.

In 2007 we traveled back to Ukraine for a month to see how the girls would do being 'back.'  They had forgotten all of their Russian within 6 months so it was interesting to see them immersed in it again.  We knew that God was calling us overseas and we didn't want to rush things with them.  They loved Ukraine.  They were sad to leave.  We loved the life of ministry.  We went back in 2008 for 3 months and began home schooling.  This was a great option for us....being together all day has helped attachment more than anything else that I can think of.

So - here we are in 2010 - praying about doing it all over again.  Adoption!  Love it!  Not sure what it will look like this time..domestic/foreign/foster?  Only God knows!


Deanna is a
 Wife to Sean (love him more everyday!), 
mama to Liza (sounds like Leeza) (13) and Elina (sounds like Eleena) (11), 
teacher in our home school,
lover of 'real food,'
reader of anything and everything,
non-profit junkie,
daughter of the Most High,
coffee drinker,
city loving,
and more...

She blogs at The Story of Us.


Stace said...


The dB family said...

What a beautiful story! We're bringing home three girls, Lord willing, by Christmas. I'm glad you wrote that the first six months were difficult, but that it gets better. It gives me courage.

Thank you for sharing your story!


Kimberly said...

Love this!
I am so glad to know you story! I am so excited for you and hope you have good luck Deanna with whatever life brings this year! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...