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Adoption Quandary

It’s just finished raining as we exit the Kiev airport—the sun is out, the air scrubbed clean.  The director of the Ukrainian Adoption Program and his assistant have met us, and now we’re heaving all the luggage into the back of his Navigator.

As we pull out of the lot, the director turns to me.  “Tell me about zis child you ask us for.”  I’m confused.  I think he should have this information, but maybe this is the way he gets to know the parents.  I say, “Well, we know that a child can’t be let go until 14 months, so we’ve asked for a girl anywhere from 14 months to 3 years.”  He looks shocked, truly shocked.  “Zis is bad,” he says, his eyes wide.  “All your forms say ‘boy.’  You cannot change once you are here.  Zis is not how it works.  Maybe you think you can do zis—change your mind—but you cannot.  You get what you ask for on forms.”  Now it’s our turn to be shocked.  Thankfully, I have copies of all our paperwork in my carry-on.  I pull them out, flip to the Letter of Petition, and hand it forward to his assistant, whom I’m assuming can read as well as speak English.  She reads it, looks up at him, and says, “It says girl.  It says girl.”  The director waves his hand in a dismissive way.  “Zis is not our fault.  Maybe your agency back home make mistake.  Maybe someone translate wrong.”  I protest, saying we’ve seen all our paperwork, and it’s never said ‘boy.’  In fact, for four years now, it’s been all about a girl—for reasons we don’t go into.  That’s just what we had decided early on.  He shrugs again, his voice ramping up, “It is done now.  We have beautiful 16-month-old boy to show you.”  His assistant chimes in, “Yes, he’s so sweet.  When I saw you for the first time, I thought it’s going to be an excellent match!”

Something doesn’t feel right.  Later, when Dan and I talk, we find out that we each think the director is lying to us.  We are aware, by his hand gestures and eye movements and bullying comments that keep escalating, that he is not pleased, but we’re also aware of something deeper, that makes us believe we’re somehow being deceived.  We’re pretty sure he has certain people he works with, and maybe there are kickbacks—maybe not.  Maybe they bluff up front, because when they do come up with your request, you’re so grateful that you dish up more money.

We have only the experiences of the couples who went before us, and none of them have had these problems, so we’re flummoxed.

You have to understand, when you think girl and give that girl a name in your mind, and everything you are and do is for that daughter, you have to start thinking differently when you think you’re going to be getting someone different.  I mean, really, who are we to be picky?  But on the other hand, the whole thing is quite unsettling.  We are pawns in a bigger game—a game we don’t know the rules to.

We talk late into the night about all our options.  This is when we wish God would come sit with us and discuss His plans for our lives.  This is when it would be nice to hear directly from God, and fast.  But we don’t hear anything, or come to any one conclusion.  We simply know that we have to wait…and pray…and hope that on Monday, our appointment day at the main office, things will become clearer.

Did God want us to have a boy all along?  Did we have it all wrong from the get-go?  And why is it that what should be a happy experience has turned into a different and uncomfortable experience?

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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