Speaking of new norm....that has been my main priority lately. If you all will recall we were planning on and prepared for older children and two boys and two girls but instead came home with four handsome young boys. This has meant redoing room arrangements, changing out closets and clothes and deciding who sits where at the dinner table. I have not been able to communicate with you all as much due to all of this but in all honesty I really needed this time for my family and to process all that happened while in Ukraine in addition to all the events that led up to the trip to Ukraine.
The boys are all adjusting so well to their home and family life. In all honesty I cannot believe we have not had to make any medical emergency runs or had any huge adjustment issues. Other than technical aspects such as who sits where in the van and dinner table, it is as if the boys have been with us for so long. This is so different than any other adoption experience we have had. I did have a ton of pictures to share with you but unfortunately those too were on my computer so any and all pictures you have seen are thanks in part to the many friends who have taken them. I do promise you that I will get some new ones taken and a whole post dedicated to the boys soon. Time seems to be spoken for these past few days so I will get on that soon.
As for how I am doing as so many people have pm's me to ask... that is a tough one to answer. On one hand my life is complete and perfect in all the ways I once dreamed of. I have what I consider to be MY perfect life. At the same time I have been processing the events of not only the 11 weeks in Ukraine but also the months of turmoil that led up to that time. I won't lie and say it is like when you are in labor and how you soon forget the pain of labor once you hold your child in your arms because that has not been the case. It was tough over in Ukraine. The toughest thing I can honestly say I have been through. I am not just speaking of the conflict that was happening all around the country but I am speaking of the loss my husband and I have had to come to grips with. You see we fought for, prayed for, planned for, and loved four beautiful children by the names of Catherine, Haven, Larson, and Jackson. But those children did not ever get to know the joy of being loved by a mommy and daddy. They are not enjoying the moments of playing in their backyard, going on outings with mom and dad, or being tucked in at night after having a bowl of ice cream. Instead, their lives were played with by the likes of those who think they lay claim to those children. Catherine is not sleeping under the beautiful warm, afghan made for her by a loving woman who prayed so hard for her. Larson is not hanging out at the Lego table with his brother Ethan building all sorts of creations. Haven is not playing dollies with her sister Reagan and whispering at night to each other. Jackson is not getting all of the therapy he deserves so that he can gain a level of independence. No. Instead they are all still languishing in the institution. This hurts me. It hurts my husband. God knows. He knows how much we love those children. He knows how very wrong the actions of Reece's Rainbow director and BOD and their facilitating team is. Our family and so many many of you fought hard to bring those four children home and into our family yet RR and their associates felt it was their "right" to determine if and how that would be. Our children were suddenly "not available to us once we were in country and that is a story upon which I cannot dwell but rather the story behind their grants not being disbursed and the attempt to silence our family is one that I shall bring to the forefront. Children's lives were played with and their futures left in shambles and that is something I will NOT stand for. I will not be silenced and my silence cannot and will not be bought at ANY price. I am not perfect but my love for those children is and that love is what will spur this declaration of my intolerance for the bullying and hypocritical actions of Reece's Rainbow and anyone else involved.
For those of you just catching up, the four children we have prayed for and worked so hard to bring home did not come home to our family. Not only were they not available to us but neither were their grants funds. Suddenly we were faced with the decision to adopt four other precious little ones. God knew the funds would come and how they would come. Trust became a major theme for me and hence my word for the year. I began focusing on that word as did Brian.
Our family chose to work with Grace Haven Ministries to raise the funds we would need for the boys. With the sudden turn of events we needed to raise what seemed to be an insurmountable amount of money. It seems like overnight the funds came in through friends, strangers, and anonymous people. Every time I turned on the computer the total of funds raised rose higher and higher. I personally felt defeated because I was not home raising that money in some fashion or another but so many of you reminded me of my word of the year. Listen, it was literally a miracle that those funds were raised! A MIRACLE!!
After a period of time it was brought to my attention that three of my boys had grants totaling over $8,000 through RR. Our attorney began communication with RR regarding the grants raised for MY BOYS but RR responded back with the fact that they now decided that they expect me to pay back one of the grants from our boys' Bulgarian adoption and then would give me the remaining funds but with stipulations attached. One of those stipulations was that I was to sign what is called a gag order which would prevent me from saying anything bad about RR or talking about anything with regards to them and this adoption. In other words all things I have shared about our experience with RR and our adoptions was to be taken down and I was to get others to do the same. We could not do that. Not when so many things were at stake and the main one being children. Our experience was ours to tell. Ours to share. We had shared facts and that was our right to. But not so much our right as our duty. Things were going on that were so wrong and to ignore it would make us just as guilty. No matter what amount of money we needed or that was available to us was going to have our morals compromised. We declined RR offer to release the boys' grants minus us paying back a grant (which was used to pay for our Bulgarian adoption facilitator's fees) and our signature stating we would no longer say anything about RR and what had happened to us.
Speaking for myself, I had never been so irate in my whole life to watch an organization I once so passionately supported utilize innocent children's grant funds to get back at someone who dared speak out against them. I was told that the reason RR decided to now demand repayment for the grant fund (even though they had not prior for over a year) was because I acted a bully towards them. Yes, it would have been easy on a whole lot of people to just take that money so that people did not have to work so hard to raise funds for us but then I could not look myself in the mirror. We were not going to take money and just let what was going on continue. We could have thought of ourselves and taken the money but that is not what any of this was about. It was and has always been about doing what is right and using funds that have been raised for children as a tool with which to silence those who dare speak out against RR is far from what is right.
I do not speak for others and their experiences even though I know there are many. I am speaking for my family and the experience we have had. So now my only questions are where did that $8,000 go and when will RR stop abusing families who seek truth and justice in adoptions?!