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24 hours in vinnytsya

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We are heading back to Kiev.
It wasn’t Maddie.
She was a pretty little girl, with light brown hair, huge hazel eyes and a smile that lit up a room. She had on a yellow jumper with a pink sweater and flowers in her pigtails.
She proudly showed me her ‘La-la’ – a doll with bright yellow hair and one eye that didn’t open all the way.
She played with a stuffed ‘sabaka’ with Meshack and pretended to growl at him…all the while with a huge grin on her face.
She was firmly attached to her caregivers – to the point that it took a half an hour for her to hand me a doll.
And another 20 minutes for her to let me touch her.
But that didn’t bother us…it was a good sign.
She knows whom to trust.
She knows who takes care of her.
She knew we were strangers.
That’s miles ahead of where so many orphans are.
But when she turned and walked out of the room with her caregiver, we knew.
She wasn’t Maddie.
It wasn’t the physical issues. We knew from our SDA appointment that there would be some small signs of Cerebral Palsy.
We could have handled that.
Unfortunately, it was what wasn’t mentioned that has us turning around and going back.
My heart is breaking thinking of her. Knowing it is nothing she has done. Nothing she could help.
It all sits on Meshack and me.
We know she has more issues than we are able to handle...and that’s our problem.
Our fault.
If I could I would take her home in a minute.
But I can’t. I know my limitations.
Does that make me a bad person? – Just because I know what I am and am not capable of?
If so, so be it.
I admit I don’t have the patience of Job. I don’t have an unlimited source of energy.
And I don’t have what it takes to parent a special needs child.
At least not one with this many special needs.
If it were just the Cerebral Palsy I think I could do it. It wasn’t severe. She was able to walk and talk. She was able to run in her own cute, awkward little way.
But I don’t have it in me to parent a child for the rest of their natural life.
And that’s what it looks like she will require.
It’s the most difficult thing I have ever done.
A lot of tears went into this decision.
A lot of prayers….
And hours of lost sleep.
What we can’t figure out is why God had us meet her? (And I am still convinced it was of God. - There were too many coincidences to make it happenstance.)
Was it so another family could find their Maddie or Zoie or Claire?
Was it so we would open ourselves up to other forms of special needs?
Was it to bide our time until Maddie became available?
Or were we supposed to adopt her and we just missed out on one of the most special blessings on this earth.
We won’t know in this lifetime.
We won’t know until we stand before the Father to answer for this decision.
My peace comes in knowing it was a decision we made together.
We had one of the most clairvoyant moments of our marriage.
Absolute agreement, on every single issue.
That never happens.
So we have a peace about it.
But what we don’t know is, where we go from here.
We have no idea.
Meshack refuses to discuss it until we get back to Kiev.
He’s tired.
He’s angry.
He’s sad.
And he’s frustrated with the whole process.
Part of us just wants to pay the $400 change of date fee and jump on the next plane we can find and head straight back to our kids.
But the more reasonable, sensible side will take a serious look at going through this whole agonizing process again.
But how in the world can we do it?
How can we set ourselves up for this incredible disappointment again?
Because we know that out there somewhere is a little Maddie or ‘Matt’ie…just waiting for us to find him/her.
That’s how we’ve explained the process to our three sweethearts at home.
God helped us find them. In the midst of a former communist country, far from home, a little boy (girl) sat waiting for their mommy and daddy to find them.
And right now in the middle of Ukraine, in a babyhouse with a hundred other beautiful children, our Maddie/Mattie sits waiting.
We just need God to help us find her.

31 salty messages:

adoptedthree December 14, 2007 at 6:26 AM  

You made me cry.

This was not your Maddie, but somewhere in Ukraine your little one is still waiting..


Gail,  December 14, 2007 at 6:40 AM  

Tami and Meshack,
You are not bad people. You have made a very tough decision and did what is best for you and the little girl. I will pray that the family meant to be her's will find her and that you will find your Maddie.

JP December 14, 2007 at 6:42 AM  


No you are not bad. God has given you the wisdom to know what you and your family can handle. We made the decision to leave several orphans behind during our adoption in Lug'ansk (2001). The little Vanya (Ivan) that God had picked for us was perfect for our family.

God is writing your story and little Maddie's and they are about to intersect. One of my favorite things to remember is from a song - "When you can't see His Hand, Trust His Heart." I'll continue to pray.

Jane December 14, 2007 at 6:46 AM  

I am so sorry to hear about your setback. It is so hard to say no to a child, but you are right to acknowledge how much you can handle. We adopted our son while ignoring some misgivings and we are still not in the place I would like to be with him after almost 2 years. However, we are all committed to him and things get a little better every day. You will never know whether you make the right decision or not, but once you've made it, there's no point second guessing yourself. However, I believe that staying in Ukraine and hoping for another appointment right now makes a lot of sense to me. We found our children on December 22nd 2005, it was a wonderful Christmas present for us and hopefully Christmas 2007 will be good for you too.

Amy K-S crew December 14, 2007 at 7:01 AM  

I'm so sorry to hear she wasn't your Maddie, but God has a plan going on behind the scene we can't begin comprehend. You'll find her/him in God's perfect timing. You may have given a family the chance to find their "Maddie" by sharing your visit with this little one. We'll be praying.

Josh December 14, 2007 at 7:15 AM  

Hi Tami & Shad,
Your story breaks my heart, too. God is good, and he will guide you guys. As you said, we don't know why he had you meet this little girl, but it was surely for his ultimate glory and your ultimate growth. We will continue to pray for you for God's guidance, provision, and encouragement! May God richly bless you!

Josh & Tara Little

Nataliya December 14, 2007 at 7:28 AM  

I'm so sorry it wasn't Maddie... But I'm so happy that both of you made this decision together! It means that this is a right decision, and it wasn't time yet for you to meet Maddie or Mattie. I'm sure you'll get to meet your child very soon. Hang on there, my friend, just a little bit more.

Anonymous,  December 14, 2007 at 7:29 AM  

I have been keeping up with your blog and know exactly what you just went through. My husband and I were there in Oct/Nov 2005. The first referral, we felt the same way, we knew he wasn't ours. It was the hardest decision we ever made, after many tears and prayers. We went back to Kiev with the same thoughts. Our second appointment went about like the first. But before we went to go see the child our facilitator called the orphange. We said no again even before seeing the child. We new with his problems he wasn't ours. So then came appointment 3, which we were told would be our last. We almost had the attitude of just lets get this over with. Well this little boy of 4 and a half walked in the room. My husband and I just looked at each other and said, "He is our son!" It was an amazining feeling for us. We spent 6 weeks in Ukraine and it had it's ups and downs but now we look back and see our 6 and a half year old son in kindergarten and see how well he is doing and how he fits in perfectly....we wouldn't have changed anything. Just hang in there, say lots of prayers. What is supposed to happen will. We will be praying. Just follow your heart.

Mike & Tara December 14, 2007 at 7:31 AM  

Oh Tami. We are in tears over your pain but it was the right decision. You have to go with your feelings of what you can handle. We had to turn down files of the most precious children as we were not ready for their needs. We are sending a huge hug to you and Meshack and pray Maddie or Matt find you on your 2nd trip to the SDA.

Troy and Rachel December 14, 2007 at 8:24 AM  

Tami - First off I enjoyed your post on the train. I really like your style of writing.

Second - I am so sorry that you didn't find Maddie in the little girl you met. Your Maddie/Mattie does sit waiting for you and you will find her.

We are praying for you constantly and we'll be praying for the little girl as well.

Take care - Rachel

Anonymous,  December 14, 2007 at 8:30 AM  

I'm so sorry it wasn't her. :-( You must be so disappointed. I'm glad though that both of you were united in thought, and because of that you *did* make the right decision. You know yourselves, abilities, and limitations the best. Guilt is *never* the right reason for choosing a child. I'm praying for your strength, encouragement, wisdom, and the appointment and decisions to come. (((Hug of encouragement)))

Debbie December 14, 2007 at 8:30 AM  

Oh, the biggest hugs are coming your way!!! I will continue praying for you!

Courtney December 14, 2007 at 8:38 AM  

My heart hurts for you guys. We will keep praying for you as you make more decisions. Give us a call if you need to talk.

Nan and Dan December 14, 2007 at 9:28 AM  

so sorry you are having to go through this! We went through it almost 2 years ago and it is so hard, especially so far away from home and friends. I hope you find your way and know where you going next. Will be praying for you :)

Lindy December 14, 2007 at 9:29 AM  

Oh, that must have been SO disappointing! After waiting all those days, then to find out the little girl isn't Maddie after all...

Keep searching. Maddie/Mattie is out there somewhere.

Waitingonmyua2 December 14, 2007 at 10:14 AM  

Sweet Tami, I am so sorry you are experiencing this. But let me say this: NO ONE - and I mean NO BODY NO HOW has any right, any inkling, any idea, any advice about what you should or should not have done. And if they THINK they do, delete their comment and forget about it!

YOU know your limitations. YOU know your God and He knows you & your DH. I don't know why you met this little girl on your way to finding Maddie/Mattie. Only the Father knows that today, but I have a feeling He will reveal it to you over time.

Nine years ago, I had to meet another Alex(andria) and Anna. So much was kept from us. I couldn't understand why God would take us through that process then. I couldn't understand why we had to wait nine years and go to a country I would never have dreamed of traveling to, but I understand now.

I will always wonder about the other Alex and Anna, but I know they were not meant to be my children - however unfortunate for me, or for them, that may appear this side of Eternity.

Hang in there, kid. You are on a journey, and that is the one thing that is certain. I wish I could hug you and take away your tears. I am praying.

blessings, Beth

Leslie December 14, 2007 at 10:25 AM  

Oh, Tami. My heart aches for you and Meshack right now. I hurt over your pain and disappointment. But I'm so encouraged that you know to look towards God. There is a reason you made this side track. Every step of God is sure. Perhaps He will bless you to see its purpose in this life. Stay strong and keep your eyes on Him. Your child is waiting.

Kathy and Matt December 14, 2007 at 10:54 AM  

Oh my heart breaks for you right now! I cannot imagine (although I should prepare myself) going through what you've just gone through!

I commend you for knowing what you feel that you can handle as a parent, and you shouldn't feel badly about being honest in your assessment of that.

I'll be praying that God helps you both find peace as you move through the next steps, whatever they may be.

MoscowMom December 14, 2007 at 10:58 AM  

I'm so sorry for your heartbreak and I send you all the warm wishes I can to keep at it... Your Maddie is waiting... You two will be the perfect parents for her!

Susan & Truman December 14, 2007 at 11:58 AM  

Tami - I deeply admire your strength and your faith. Hang in there. I hope your next SDA appt. will come soon.

Kim December 14, 2007 at 1:03 PM  

Be at peace with your decision. You know what is right for your family. You will know your Maddie when you find her... she is still waiting for you.

Allison December 14, 2007 at 2:27 PM  

My heart is aching for you. Sending lots of prayers and hugs your way.
I can't imagine how hard this is for you, but your Maddie is out there waiting for you.

jessy December 14, 2007 at 6:09 PM  


I am so sorry things are going this way for you both. I echo the sentiments of the other commenters, but to be honest, I'm very concerned. Why did the SDA arrange for you to meet a child that was so severely handicapped? And I know she must have been or you would not have returned to Kiev without her. You have put enough of your heart here on this blog that I feel certain of that.
What assurance do you have they will not repeat this terrible process? I trying to be positive, honestly I am, but it is not in my nature. I'm very worried.

Rachael December 14, 2007 at 7:43 PM  

I hope you find you Maddie, and that something good comes of this turn of events. Sorry you are having such a hard time so far...

Carrie December 14, 2007 at 10:29 PM  

What a truly heartbreaking decision. My thoughts are with you right now and I hope you find peace with this difficult situation and have your child in your arms very soon.

The O'Haras December 14, 2007 at 11:44 PM  

My heart aches for you and I know it must be tearing you apart from the inside out. I know I shed tears for those kids whose lives we could not affect. I also though, think you made a wise decision. If you know your limits, even on the best of days you know they will be stretched beyond what you want. You don't have to be a Job, God gave us him as an example that He will not test us beyond what we can handle and that means giving us the wisdom to prevent things. Your Maddie is still there, allow God the time He needs to direct your hearts and minds. Know that your kids love you immensely and that is because you are great parents. Prayers for you all!

Is Eight Enough? December 14, 2007 at 11:47 PM  


I am so sorry this was not your Maddie! I am praying that God will give you peace in both of your hearts, and that He will quickly direct you in the direction you are to go!

Hang in there! It takes a lot of courage and faith to do what you are doing!

Tina in CT December 15, 2007 at 7:44 AM  

You are in my thoughts as I've been following your journey to find your daughter or son in the Ukraine. I am so sorry about what you both emmotionally went through this week but hope within the next few days, you will have another appointment. Somewhere a little child is there waiting for his or her parents.

E. December 15, 2007 at 2:41 PM  

Oh, I am so sorry for this heartbreak, but no, you are not bad people at all. We were seriously considering adopting a little boy with special needs, almost completley committed to it actually, then found out he had more things going on than we orginally knew about. A pediatrician friend gently pointed out that if we adopted him, not only would we be committing ourselves to physically caring for him for the rest of our lives, we would also be committing our other children to caring for him after we are gone. We have to know our limitations and proceed accordingly. It is difficult, I know, but it doesn't mean you are a bad person.

Christina December 15, 2007 at 11:12 PM  

What a hard, hard decision. I'm so sorry for how much it hurt all of you to go through this. Really God only knows the Why. But at the very least you will hold that little girl in your heart and prayers and maybe she really needed someone to be praying for her.
I pray you find your Maddie/Mattie soon.

Old DAN AND Little ANN December 17, 2007 at 10:35 AM  

I'm glad God gave you both agreement in your decisions. That is a great peace and affirmation that you are hearing from Him. I don't blame Meshack for wanting to 'check out' from the decisions for a time after such a hard decision. I can't even imagine. I don't know why God would allow this either. One reason may be that now you know of her exsistence as well as all of us and we can uphold her little life in prayer as God brings her to heart and mind in the years to come. It sounds like she made an impression on her and at least through prayer she will have a 'mama and daddy' and in so many ways there is nothing more meaningful that you could offer her in this world! Love to you both. Keep the faith. Fight the good fight. There is a exclamation point at the end of all these commas and dot, dot, dots! God bless!

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