I have never before lost a child, and some may argue that I did not. I think that they are wrong. When you adopt you promise to love you child as if he was a biological child and that's what we did. We loved all our children from the moment that we knew that they would join our family. We planned and dreamed for them. We put together their bedroom and wondered how each child would add to the family. We found doctors and bought clothes. There are nine months of possibilities and potential to celebrate. The point is that the love and connections starts long before a child comes home to live with you. We did not hold back with Sweet Pea. In my mind she wasn't someone who would one day join the family. She was my child living far away.
So now we are mourning the loss of that piece of the mosaic. Our family will grow and will fit together, but it won't be the way I expected. The shape will always be different. I imagined Pookie and Sweet Pea being best friends and terrorizing the boys. I imagined the whole world opening up to her in ways that won't be available in Russia. Nothing could hold her back from a normal life here, so much there can. I won't see her smile or see her first steps
Tuesday night I laid down with the quilt my mom had made for Sweet Pea. It's a photo quilt with pictures of the family so that she could see us all the time between trips. I cried and prayed. I have no idea if she is healthy or sick. I don't know why someone would deem her unadoptable or if maybe someone in Russia wanted to adopt her. (Would that be wonderful?)
I feel so guilty, too. I feel as though I failed her. First of all, her chances of reaching her full potential are very limited in Russia. There are so many orphans and the system is heavily burdened. Many of the orphanages struggle to meet the basic needs of the children in their care, much less pay for very expensive prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation. (Just one leg can cost over $10,000 in the United States.She needs two and they would need to be replaced every year until she about 5 and then every other year thereafter.) Second, you don't just abandoned the people you love. You certainly don't say, "Too bad. so sad. Who else do you have?" But that is exactly what we have to do. Do we quit? No. We still feel like this is the path we are called to. Do we want more children? Yes. Are there still children in Russia who need families? Yes.
Ironically, Tuesday was the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Well, I guess She understands.