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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

8 years ago this summer...

a group called Kidsave International did a good thing, bringing a group of 15 children from an orphanage in the Republic of Kazakhstan to three different states in the US. They were coming to the US for a summer of fun, placed with families who would show them a good time.  At the very least, the kids would have experiences in a new country, live in a home for at least a little while and maybe even find a forever family. Some of the children went to Ohio, some to Michigan, and another group to Boston.

My husband, only child, and I were there when the five children from Kazakhstan stepped off a plane in Boston in the company of their orphanage caregiver in 2003. After several miscarriages, it was clear that expanding our family beyond our one child would take more than biology so we opened our hearts and took a leap of faith. Even though we didn't speak a word of Russian and we'd never heard of Kazakhstan before, we agreed to host the only girl from this group of 5 for a summer visit. That decision changed the course of our lives forever...and we weren't the only ones who were changed...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

On the first night Tanya spent in her home, she looked like this:

She was exhausted and scared and still managed to be as sassy as any 6 year old could ever be. We knew right away that she belonged in our family...and we started the paper chase for her adoption before she even finished her summer visit with us. It was hard to let her go back to Kazakhstan at the end of the summer but we knew (prayed) that we'd see her again in a few months, just as soon as our adoption petition was approved.

We were confident that the other kids who came to the US with Tanya would be adopted, too. They were 4 of the cutest boys you'd ever find anywhere on the planet and their host families clearly wanted to adopt them...so no problem. right? Well, not so much...but again, I'm ahead of myself. This pic shows Tanya with our Kate and two of the wickedly cute boys she came to the US with...Aniyar and Madiyar...who are now are sons. Sadly, the other two boys who traveled to the US never returned...but 3 of the 5 kids who came to Boston for that summer visit did get their forever family and it was us. (As if that weren't enough, we also met and adopted another of Tanya's groupmates, an 8 year old boy named Max, bringing our number of KZ kids to 4...plus the girl who desperately wanted a sister who started it all, our Kate.)

There's more to this story of the larger group of Kidsave kids, our own children, and their friends from KZ...it's what I'll be writing about in the next few days. Stay tuned....I'm thinking you won't want to miss a thing. I know I'm glad I haven't.

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