Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Writing this is hard.
I'll be honest.  I'm in the middle of packing and preparing for my trip and it would be so easy to just not type out these words. 
Rob saw the news first early this morning and told me as I was getting dress.  I cried out to him and went downstairs with the heaviest of hearts.
Safely out of Crim*ea.  Finally in a family.  Days from touching down on U.S. soil. 
He ran away.
I'm going to share Janice's words because this is her story to share:
From Janice this morning:
"In a very unfortunate turn of events I am sad to report that we will not be bringing Emir/Nathaniel home with us. He has made the decision to stay here in Ukra*ne instead. We always knew that him changing his mind was a big possibility, it always is with older children, but especially with him because of his uncertainty from the beginning and saying no to adoption the first time. It is a huge decision for these children to be given the responsibility of making, especially when they have always been told what to do and have no experience in choosing anything, certainly not their life's future.

In the end, he was unwilling to leave all that was familiar to him- his friends, his language, his sister- to venture into the unknown in America. He was very torn, he wanted a future badly and had plans, but he was too scared to leave Ukra*ne behind. I understand this, and we empathize with him, but at the same time we are very disappointed and angry with him that he didn't make this decision sooner. He was confident through court, and even up until last Saturday night as we discussed his future in the US, talking about the college he hoped to attend, musical instruments he wanted to learn to play, etc. Then Sunday it seems the fear crept in.

I just wish we had known about his uncertainties sooner, not after so much time and money graciously donated by others, was spent. That pains me. That is where the anger comes in. All the favors given, the effort out forth for the sake of giving him the love of a family and a future. Because of that, it is hard not to feel deceived and used even while I have sympathy for him, at his young age, having to grapple with all these decisions. I really don't think he has any clue how much effort went into this whole process.

So to everyone who had the best of intentions and the kindest and most giving of hearts, I say thank you and I am sorry. We were all hoping that this adoption would have a good outcome, that he was being honest when he told us his greatest dream was to have a family and come to the US for a future. We hoped this desire would be enough to propel him forward. I apologize to all of you who so graciously donated your time, energy and funds so quickly and without a second thought, so that we could return to adopt him before his time was up.

I pray for him now, returning to Crim*a, where there is so much unrest and so little hope for him in the future. I pray in time that he does not come to regret his decision. I pray as well that he stays safe, not only in the midst of the upheaval there, but also because he is about to turn 16 on March 31st and soon thereafter will no longer have the protection of the orphanage. His time there will be up.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us so selflessly during this adoption. All I can say now is that we tried, and we tried hard. I am glad for that at least, that there are no lingering "what-ifs" in our minds. We did all that we could.

I am also glad to know that he said our family was not the reason he didn't want to go. It wasn't us or anything we did. That at least is reassuring. It was simply that he couldn't bear to leave it all behind.

So please pray for him and his heart, and his future. That is all we can do now. At some point I will write about the different events of the past few days and tell more of the story, but for now this is enough.

Thank you all for you love and support you have shown to our family and towards him. We are grateful."
He said no.
He ran.
It isn't the first older child we have advocated for who has said no.  Back in December Denis also said no.  Nicole was getting ready to board the plane for court when he told her not to come back. 
It knocked me off my feet because I met the boy.  I saw him with Nicole.  I know he wanted to be adopted.  But in the end - he too said no.
I am grieved today.
Grieved that Janice is sitting in a room across the ocean with one less son in her family.  Grieved that he turned down an amazing family and an amazing life. 
Grieved because I asked you to give and you gave.  So freely.  So generously.  For one boy who begged for a family and then changed his mind.  For another boy.  Same story.
Grieved at the loss for both of these families.  Grieved at the future that looms ahead for these boys.
But if I had to do it over again... would I?  Would I yell for them?  Would I tell you?  Would I give you the opportunity to give?  Would I lay down the need knowing that they could.. they might.. they just may say no... Would I do it again?
How could I not?  How could I just walk away when some do choose to say yes?  How could I not hope that the child would reach out and grab the Love that is being offered?  Recognizing that the gift they are being given is just a window - a tiny picture - into the gift we are offered through Christ.  The gift of adoption by the Lord of the Universe.  The opportunity to be called Sons and Daughters.  The rescue from a sin-scarred broken world into a hope and a future that is eternal.  Freely offered.  Freely given. So often denied. 
We look at Emir and we grieve.  Shake our heads.  Want to speak wisdom into his ears.  We want him to see - really see - what he is giving up.  He has no money.  No family except a sister who BEGGED him to go.  He has nothing.  He returned to a war zone and is now a child in no-man's land.  He ran back to his trash-heap world.  Believing that it is safer and better than what is freely being offered. He ran from the chance to be a son.  Forever a son.  Yes. I  grieve.  I grieve that he said no.  I grieve because I see too many turn from the Love of a Savior back to their trash heaps that look so pleasing and so safe. It's a window.  A window that causes me to look and ponder and wonder. 
Would I yell for him again? Yes. 
I would.
Because of the God who yelled for me.  Called me from my trash heap.  Because He doesn't give up when this one and then that one and then all those say no. Because He keeps extending Love and Grace to us.  Because He is a God who lavishes His love on us.  Forgiveness.  The right to be called His Son.  His daughter. 
Adoption.  God's adoption.
It's what drives me.
It's why I yell.  Adoption is messy and dirty and oh so very risky.  Adoption opens the way for rejection.  But when grasped.  Taken.  Accepted.  Received.  How beautiful.  How amazing.
Emir said no.
That breaks my heart.
But today Sergey is out and free and safe in his family's arms.
And because of him and so many many others I am just going to keep on yelling and praying.
I can't stop.
Even though the pain sears into my soul.
There is a risk.  A cost.  No guarantee that when I yell for a child or a family that the happily ever after will happen.  But to not yell ... to not cry out ... to not at least try with all my heart ... that would be even worse.
Because we would all miss out on the wonder and the joy and the thrill of seeing babes tucked safely in their Mama's arms.
Because I am a child of the King.  Safe in His grasp.
Because for so many - adoption is so much better than the alternative!


  1. Sending up prayers & then more prayers for everybody.

  2. Reading things like this pains me SO MUCH. I feel sad for the families, for the children who make a choice that we know will likely never lead to a fruitful life. I wonder if we get a glimpse of how Jesus must feel for those who reject Him. Even though He knows who will reject Him....there must always be pain.

  3. I had come back severall time to the picture of him on uour last post... he didn't look happy at all. I wondred why...
    Now I understand. :(

  4. My heart and head are searching to understand...I've asked our son, adopted at 15, home nearly 3 years and thriving in his new life. WHY? Why would he say no?

    He's terrified is the answer. The fear is gripping and Emir struggled with doubt that he could learn a new language and of the unknown. He had no idea what this would look like and doubted that he could succeed. He's been told he's stupid and can't do anything for so many years he believes it. Even though he 'knew' the rumors told to every orphan about why they are being adopted were untrue they fed the doubt and fear.

    Loyalty...he could not bear to leave his sister and friends behind. There are also still strong teachings of loyalty to country reminiscent of communist propaganda that make it hard to break away.

    He has wanted this more than anything in the world for 6 years, but when reality was real and imminent...he panicked. He didn't believe he could do it....he couldn't take the risk...he couldn't leave all that was familiar and those he loved.

    Our hearts ache...we've loved and pursued this boy for 4.5 years...but he knows that we and the Rowe's care and love him...that he is worth fighting and sacrificing for. We pray God will sow the seeds of love and redemption deeply into his heart and he will see Jesus in the Rowe's selfless willingness to risk it all for him...just as Jesus did for each of us. We will always pray...and hope we can embrace him in heaven one day and see that God had a plan for him in his country.


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!


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