This is a guest post by 2 time performer Kendra Pinkelman. She is currently in DC campaigning to get the little boy she was set to adopt from Russia. We wanted to support Kendra and help her in any way we could. Here is her story:
A little over one year ago our family began a journey. Only we didn’t know how significant a journey at the time….
We were told by some friends about a program called “Journeys of Joy” that Friends of Russian Orphans ran each summer in Toledo, Ohio (www.fororphans.org) It consisted of orphan children coming to the US for 2 1/2 weeks and having a “camp experience” along with seeing what life within a family could be like. We thought this would be good for our children as they could see what it meant to truly have nothing and we selfishly thought about what we could do for whatever child we were paired with. Our family went through a mini-home study and decided what age and gender we most wanted to be matched with. I wanted a girl age 9 or 10. Interestingly, a few weeks later I received and email reading, “I would like to introduce you to the child you will be hosting this summer. His name is Eduard and he is 6 years old.” What?? No, that’s not what I ordered. Then a couple weeks following that email we saw Eduard’s picture and everything changed. You’ve heard of love at first sight? Well, it was kind of like that. But I was startled because I didn’t expect to care. It was for 2 weeks. No commitment. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
As the day Eduard would arrive crept closer we prepared our home for his arrival. We gathered clothes, as we were told the children came with very little. We bought gifts. We bought foods he was familiar with. We were trained in attachment issues and Russian language. We were ready. Then we met and it was like our family was complete. I never wanted another child. I certainly never thought I could care for or love a child that wasn’t my own flesh and blood. Those 2 1/2 weeks were some of the most emotional of my life. The day Eduard came my husband began telling everyone we were adopting him. I was thinking, “Wait! This was NOT part of my plan.” I was fighting so hard to not let this kid into my heart because I never expected it, and it overwhelmed me. Each day my husband would ask me if I was a yes or a no to adopt and I refused to answer. I said I would wait until Eduard left to decide.
The children leaving was awful. Our whole family was sad. I assumed Eduard was excited to get back to Russia, so I asked him and he slowly shook his head no. I then asked if he liked being here with us and he answered, “da!” That was all I needed to hear. There were tears when he left, but I knew we would see him again. We started the process to adopt the day he left and never looked back.
We were invited by the Russian government to come see Eduard the week of Thanksgiving after submitting all the proper paperwork and required documentation. We were so excited to get to tell him that we wanted him to be our son, our brother. It was a wonderful two days that we were able to spend with him. He seemed surprised we were there and happy to see us. We had fun together and cherished the short time we had. As our time came to an end, we told him we would be back in 2 months for court and then come again 1 month after that to bring him home to America. We watched him drive away in a little bus, face pressed against the frosty window and looking sad.
Who knew that 3 weeks later our plan would come to a grinding halt due to politics? Christmas was awful. New Years held no new promise or expectations. For us, we couldn’t understand how this child who came to us – literally – may now never become part of our family. It made no sense. But we weren’t going to give up hope. We still felt he would come and we still do and we will continue to fight until he is here with us.
Today I write this from Washington, D.C. where myself, along with many other families trapped in the same situation have come to meet with our government officials and offer some ideas for solutions to address concerns the Russian government has regarding their children being adopted to the US. There are over 230 families and 300 children who have met and bonded, but are no longer able to become families. If you read some statistics you will understand why we want these children here, not go mention that since we saw their faces they were ours. We love them and we aren’t going away. That’s our bottom line.
Sent from my iPhone