Failed adoption is something people don't talk about much. We celebrate when families are brought together through adoption for good reason, but for some, the process is a bit (a lot) less of a storybook tale.
I recently revisited my private Facebook group from our adoption process in 2015. It is full of love, hope, and a lot of waiting.
And then it makes a turn for uncertainty.
Our story of adoption began in 2014 and by early summer 2015, we were simply waiting for an invitation to travel to Latvia to take the next steps in our adoption - get our daughter!! But in a few short months, things started to unravel.
We had hosted Nadia twice. She visited us for 4 weeks in Winter 2014-2015 and then did extended hosting for 8 weeks in the summer of 2015.
Here is the story as we shared it:
Small update today on our status in Latvia. We received this from our attorney over there:
*MAI (CCAI) - the Orphans court wants to speak to the girl after returning from hosting. If the girl is positive about adoption, they ( Orphans Court) will take decision about foreign adoption.
Hoping this discussion takes place quickly so the court can make this decision - and thoughts and prayers with Nadja as she answers to the court. As much as she loves us and wants to be here, this is a very difficult decision. She is incredibly strong and brave - and thankfully we just had 8 weeks to affirm to her how much we love her and are on team Nadja.
We are officially to the point in this journey where hearts are feeling discouraged and fear and doubt are creeping in. When Nadja left to return to Latvia 8/2, I had very little doubt our adoption would be successful. Since her return, she has been having fun with her friends, but has been VERY quiet with us (We haven't heard from her at all this week - nor has she read the messages we've sent). Now I don't know WHAT to think about the 'odds.'
This is very "normal" for these kids as they've been abandoned, hurt, rejected more times than they can remember and it's a defense mechanism to pull away, but it's very stressful timing knowing her orphan court will be talking with her soon (or may have already) to ask her wishes about international adoption (her answer is the final say).
Please keep all four of us in your thoughts and prayers. We are all struggling in different ways.
Nadja: That she would have peace in knowing that we love her unconditionally and are ready for her to be home and that she would be encouraged about her future and not just make a decision for the "now" (it's hard to leave your friends and the whole world you've known.
Natalie: That she would be encouraged that her love and sacrifice is reciprocated. She doesn't have ANY contact with Nadja when Nadja is gone, so it's easy to feel discouraged.
Zane and me: That we would continue to embody the unconditional love we have for both girls ~ and would keep faith in this process.
I wish I had a cheerier update to offer, but we don't ..... Thank you to each of you for loving us and for the thoughts, prayers, sweet notes of encouragement, and understanding as we navigate this messy process.
Non-update September 1st.
We don't have anything significant to update. Today was Nadja's first day of 9th grade. She says it was good and she has the same teachers as last year. I'm not sure how good that is ~ she has a rocky relationship with some of them, but hopefully her time with them is short-lived.
Our communication has improved a bit with her. Messages are still very short, but she's checking in daily and seems to be trying to engage a little. She seems connected and hopeful to be here. We just keep reiterating that she is loved, wanted, and we will see her soon.
As for when that "soon" will be, we have begged for more information, and essentially, there is none. She has not been interviewed by her court yet and the short version of this is that it just hasn't happened. There is no legal delay that has been communicated, but they just haven't made it out to her orphanage to interview her.
Tomorrow will be one month since we've seen her and with no end in sight, we are sad for us, but incredibly sad for her. It is our hope and prayer that she will keep hope and will KNOW that she is loved and that we're coming for her ~ and that will keep her ready to say "yes" when they interview her.
As for life here, we just try to continue to LIVE the best we can with our life in a perpetual limbo. We continue with our jobs, Natalie's schooling, church, cattle, and time with family and friends. Our hearts ache, but holing up in the house doesn't make the process go any faster, unfortunately. Also, we DO still have much to be grateful for and to enjoy - including even having her to love and miss!
Nadja's 15th birthday is this Saturday. It would be incredible if we would have at least some movement by then. It's hard to know she'll be alone for yet another birthday, but we DID get to celebrate early with friends here and she just received a package from us yesterday. She wrote today, "box come yesterday, thank you very much, i love the present!" (It was a framed picture of the 4 of us that says "Family is the gift of forever." And I was able to order a chocolate cake to be delivered to her Saturday (Yay online!) ~ That should boost her spirits a bit!
Just a little bit longer. Thanks for standing with us all!
We need a miracle.
We received this from our agency:
I inquire to Latvia on your behalf, as to what Nadezda's thought are on adoption. Below is what I just received back:
"Nadezda is not sure if she wants to be adopted, she wants to finish her school year and then may be adopted.
She also visited her family, stayed with them for few days and there was some influence too.
She is confused about adoption, she still wants to be with her friends here.
Orphanage Director also has not been supportive of adoption generally but she is still nice and said she will speak to Nadezda again next week and then will let me know her answer."
We just got off the phone with our little Latvian. She was positive, upbeat, talkative, laughed, and finished the conversation with "I love you too." More than enough for all of us to keep hope that we will see her again!
Finally an end in sight. There is still much uncertainty regarding how this will go, but a decision will be made. We just hope, pray, and plead that Nadja is able to make a decision she has peace with. We love her so very much and truly just want what's best for her.
This is the email from our agency:
I have learned there is a court date hearing on 6 Oct where Orphans Court will discuss and will make decision about if her adoption will be in her best interests or not. ( we talked about this decision.. )
Nadezda will be giving her opinion too.
They tell me she is still going back and forth about it.. You and I have discussed this, so it’s not a surprise.
I would say just keep in touch with her, keep loving her, and we will see what the court does on October 6.
2 months ago, we said our goodbyes after an 8-week visit. I never imagined then that there would be so much uncertainty about her answer, but we also have always known that NOTHING in this process is guaranteed. We were well prepared for the possibilities, but when she was here, it just seemed so unlikely.
Her court meets in 4 days to make the adoption decision. She will give her opinion and has still been unsure. She continues to read messages from us (not always the case) and will give some short answers (again, not always the case). We just continue to reassure her that we love her unconditionally.
It is our hope and prayer that she will be able to go to the court with her heart and eyes wide open, make a definitive choice, and have complete peace with her decision.We likely won't hear how the meeting goes for a few days, but OF COURSE we will update as we hear. Again, MANY thanks to our friends and family who continue to support us in this very long journey.
Today is/was the orphan court's meeting to decide if Nadja is eligible for international adoption (we don't know what time the meeting was scheduled - it's almost 4pm there). This picture is poignant this morning. She likely has these feeling about both outcomes - the people there or us here.
She did not go to the court hearing today (was not taken from her orphanage 3 hrs away). She doesn't know why - or if there even was one. This news feels worse than a "no" right now. We were prepared for travel dates. We were prepared to receive a file on a different child. We were NOT prepared for more open-ended waiting.
The decision is in and the Latvian court has decided against our adoption. We don't know why or what transpired (did she say no? Was it something else?). Regardless, we are grateful to have been given the chance to love a child who otherwise didn't know it.
We aren't up for visits, calls, or messages today as we navigate our next steps in this journey.
This blog says pretty well how we all feel. Obviously not every piece fits our scenario but it is close enough.
Thank you all for your love and support the last 13 months!!!
In one phone call, it was over. Legally. But in our hearts, it was never about where she lived or what her last name was -- that was our daughter.
I sent her:
Oct 9, 2015, 2:19 PM
We just got the call that your adoption by us will not be happening. Please know how very much we love you.
We made a commitment to her long before it got to this point that we would love her forever. No matter what. And now it was time for us to put that forth into action. Our hearts were broken, our 12-year-old daughter's heart was broken. But the unconditional love remained.
I kept reaching out with almost daily messages - some were answered, some weren't. But the message was always the same:
You matter to us.
We care about you.
We love you.
We miss you.
There was also the delicate dance of trying to not guilt her or add to the anxieties I worried she had about disappointing us.
The irony is not lost on me that I learned the most about loving her unconditionally when our adoption had fallen apart - when the only thing left to do was love without expectation.