Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Mama for Galina: Celebrating Adoptions

A little blond left her place in line, skipped over to me and announced, I have a mama. With that, she rejoined the other children.
I had just arrived at the orphanage, home to 100-some abandoned little ones and was chatting with a caretaker of the oldest group. The children were lined up, waiting to go outside when the little cutie, probably not even 3, broke out of line to tell me her happy news. This was Galina, I soon learned, the little girl who was being adopted by a lovely family from southwestern Ohio.

It's every orphan's wish, you know, to have her own mama. And now Galina was going to have a mother and lots more ~ a daddy and an older brother too. Galina's adoptive mother, Emily, had tracked me down weeks earlier, connecting before she and her husband would come here to Rostov-on-Don to meet Galina. As per Russian adoption procedures, foreign adoptive parents make two visits. On the first visit, they meet the child; on the second, they complete legal and medical requirements and then take the child home. So then in early September when Emily and husband Chad made their first visit to Rostov, we were able to connect in person.

After Chad and Emily returned to the US, I stopped by the orphanage to meet Galina. Thanks to her time in the spotlight, Galina has become quite the cooperative poser! Here she is celebrating the end of nap time on her own little bed.

Galina's group watching some TV before heading outside to play. Can you pick out Galina?

Come mid-October, I was in the US and en route from Akron to Nashville, would be passing near the area where Chad and Emily live, so they invited me over for lunch. The family would be leaving days later for their second trip to Rostov. And big brother Benjamin, above, would be traveling with them!

Lucky me, by the time I returned to Rostov in early November, Chad and Emily were still in town, wrapping up their three weeks in Rostov. Here we are near Hotel Rostov heading out for pizza. In the photo, from left is Judy, Galina's bubbly new grandmother, Rostov friend Roma, Galina with her parents, Emily and Chad and her older brother Benjamin, plus Yours Truly.

How fun to celebrate together that Galina was part of this family. Benjamin had waited five years for a sister! Chad and Emily told me about Abigail, a beautiful little girl they lost at birth in 2006. So now every one is happy. And so grateful. And, at long last, Galina has a mama of her very own.

Adoptive parents are heroic! Over the years, dozens have come through Rostov and they're so impressive with their resourcefulness and high energy. They also can use financial help. Last I checked, parents who adopt from Russia spend something like $35,000 to get their child. And then they've got to feed and cloth the little character. If you long to be a part of an adoption, why not consider adopting an adoptive family? Just ask them how you could be of help ~ and consider writing out a check.

Pure and undefiled religion is this:
To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

(James 1:27)