Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Week Into Our Journey

We got to see Zoya for about an hour this morning. It was so hot inside that we asked if we could take her outside. They asked the orphanage doctor who said yes. This poor babe…they bundled her up until she looked 3 times her own size! She already had thick tights on and socks and the famous blue dress again. They put the green boy’s sweat suit from yesterday on top of the stockings and dress outfit. Then they put another pair of heavy pants and a coat on top of that outfit. They put another pair of socks on and then a pair of shoes. They put her hood from the sweat suit up and then a hat on top of that and then her hood!! I felt so bad for her! It is probably about 60 degrees today, and sunny so it feels warmer. I heard they dress these kids warm, but sheesh…the poor thing looked like a stuffed turkey! So we took her outside and she didn’t really know what to think. I’m not sure her groupa goes outside much. It is so good to see that she has connections with a couple of the care takers…this is likely the reason she has been able to warm up to us so quickly. We are so thankful.

Anyways, we took her outside in a stroller for a bit. While we were outside we saw a couple mothers with their children…they must have walked from their house to the orphanage to play on the playgrounds. As we got within their view they started whispering and looking at Zoya with shocked looks on their faces. I couldn’t tell what they were saying until I heard, “syndrome down.” It hurt my heart…they were looking at our Zoya like she was a monster. I know it is different here and people aren’t exposed to others with Down Syndrome. But it just hurt to see people look right past her…not even see her, but see only “Down Syndrome.” I am not foolish enough to think that the same thing won’t happen from time to time at home, and maybe it will be less hurtful over time, but the expression on their faces will remain with me. Shawn carried her around and she fell asleep in his arms! We took her back inside and one of the workers seemed upset she was sleeping and SHOOK her pretty hard to wake her up and yelled loudly. Zoya still didn’t want to wake up…she was very tired it seemed. It takes A LOT to wake this girl up. She must take after her mama in that regard! They said she needs to eat first and then she can sleep. It seems that they are on a pretty strict schedule here. These pictures are right before she fell can see she looks sleepy!

Our Little Turkey!

She loves touching her Daddy's face.

Definitely a daddy's girl today!

My heart is heavy today. So many things to take in and process and I think today it is hitting me hard. Since we’ve been here we’ve only seen a few of the kids in Zoya’s groupa. We hadn’t seen any of the other kids until today. There were a lot of other groupas outside today while we were there. These children all appeared not to have special needs. We were outside when the door opened and we could see tiny bundled kids coming out the door. They spotted us and all came running over. One little girl ran over to me and hugged my knees so hard I almost fell over. She kept saying, “moma, moma” and looking up at me. I didn’t know how to respond and so I just said, “Zoya’s moma.” You would have thought we were celebrities…I guess to them a moma and papa would be like meeting a celebrity. It was so sad to see these kids want parents so badly. This specific group was around 3-4 years old. The groupa started walking away and the kids all followed, except for one little boy who was so teeny. He stood and looked at us and just cried. It was the saddest sight. They kept calling his name and it seemed he stood there forever just frozen. I can’t imagine his pain. He finally turned around and followed the rest of the group. The orphan crisis is REAL and children are suffering….living lives with nobody to love them, nothing to call their own, nobody to tuck them in and kiss them goodnight, nobody to make their boo-boos better, nobody to foster their talents, no loving arms of parents to hold them when they’re scared, no place in this world. It is heart wrenching to see. I know God has called us here, not only to become Zoya’s parents, but to have our eyes opened ever so widely to this devastating and all-too-real crisis. To hear about it is one thing, to see it is a whole different level of understanding. The question is what do we do now with this new perspective?

Some pictures of the orphanage:

This is the front of the orphanage.  This picture was taken right after we met Zoya for the first time!
The sun was streaming down and through the windows just like this picture!
I swear the sun was ONLY shining on this building.  Amazing God!

Please keep praying for Shawn, Zoya and I and this process.  We are praying that God would take any mountain that is in our way and cast it into the sea! We know he can! Specific prayers continue to be: to have a good judge assigned to our case, a quick court process without a need for any more documents or additional court dates, and continued positive bonding between ourselves and precious Zoya.  We appreciate all of you so much...all of your comments, emails, messages....they keep us going and we look forward to hearing from all of you :)


  1. It is one thing to understand the crisis with your head, another thing entirely to see it with your eyes and heart! I think Zoya needs a little brother soon :)
    Praying for a friendly judge and quick court date!

  2. Thank you for continuing to post. That little one will be so happy to get on a schedule that fits HER needs and not the needs of the caretakers!!

  3. Praying for more miracles for your family. I loved the pictures of your little stuffed turkey, no wonder she fell asleep I would have too. haha. She is definitely ready for a Pa winter. Take care and be blessed.

  4. Praying for you and for the other children there who are not as lucky as dear Zoya. Liz

  5. It must be impossibly hard to see all of those children in such need of love and understanding. I am thinking of getting my 3rd grade religious ed. class involved with them somehow. Care packages or other things that the orphanage might need. We can talk when you get back. this would be a great service project. It would be great for them to see children out there without mom's and dad's to love them and tuck them in at night, and be able to help in someway. Love and prayers. Kris

  6. Ugh, just know that those women don't understand what a blessing she is. It's sad, these kids are kept hidden away, which only ads to the stigma. It would do them well to see kids like Zoya playing and interacting with kids without ds. She's just like them, only with a little extra something!

  7. Simply Amazing and touching! Sad story! How can people just abandoned their own blood! Makes u want to save the world, or save these kids! You guys are in my prayers and really God is Amazing!!!!!!! i enjoy reading these message/blogs!

  8. Sarah, Shawn and Baby Zoya, your pics are absolutely beautiful. I can not get enough of your blog, Ed and I read and now my motherinlaw. our prayers are with you constantly that this process will be expedited and you will soon be back in Sunny Erie(it is sunny today) and about the same as there. Bless you all, and keep looking for the positive signs, you seem very good at reading God's signs to you. Love to you all, Debbie N

  9. Prayers going out to all of you today again. The bundling made me laugh as I think of all the kids who come to school on chilly days without even a jacket. No wonder the poor little gal was sleepy. Waiting to hear of more miracles for you.