Sunday, April 4, 2010

There's No Place Like Home!....A New Perspective

Oh my....being home is so absolutely wonderfully amazing! The 2 straight days of travel were well worth is, but we are missing our girl like crazy already! I have lists everywhere, things I need to do, to buy, people to call, so much to do in the next 6 days! We are leaving back to Ukraine on Sunday, April 11th.  We will get into Ukraine on Monday, April 12th, take the night train back to Zoya's region and get there at 7am Tuesday morning, just in time to begin all of the "after court" paperwork.  Tuesday is the first day after the 10 day wait period that we are allowed to start paperwork.  We will likely be in her region until Sunday, possibly Monday.  We will then break her out of the orphanage and take her on the 8 hour night train back to Kiev and take 2 days to get a medical and do US Embassy and visa "stuff."  Hoping to be home with her April 22 or 23!! If anyone has any ideas for our airplane rides (totalling about 15 hours) for a very active 22 month old....PLEASE let me know :)

We came home to a very nice homecoming! Our wonderful friend Jen house and doggy sat for us while we were gone.  We are so lucky to have her! We came home to lots of yummy food (taco dip, pasta salad, cake), a cute little Easter Basket, a wonderfully CLEAN house, fresh flowers, and a bunch of other cute little "welcome home" touches. 

Our neighbors were so nice and took down our CHRISTMAS lights while we were gone.  Yah, we meant to get around to that, but we've been just a little busy...hehe.  They also made these cute banners and put them on our garage doors.  It really made us smile when we pulled into the driveway!
We have the best neighbors!!!

I have spent some time looking at our over 700 pictures and videos we took during our trip to Ukraine.  I cannot believe how much Zoya has changed from the first day we met her.  She is honestly a different child.  She is already becoming the child she was always meant to be.  I look at the videos from our first meeting and compare them to the videos of our most recent times together, and it makes me both happy and sad. 

Happy because I can see what a big difference love alone can make in the life of a child.  Happy because I can see her bond forming so strongly with us.  Happy because I know we've already made a huge difference in her life, and she in ours.  Happy because from this point on, the three of us are forever changed for the better. 

Sad because also floating in the back of my mind is the thought of all the millions of other orphans who will never become the children they were created to become because they will die before every knowing the love of parents.  Sad because thinking about how love is already transofrming Zoya also reminds me of how many of these orphans will never their true personalities will never be cultivated....Sad because they will never experience the joy that Zoya is already beginning to experience....Sad because the world will never have the opportunity to appreciate so many of these beautiful children.  Sad because our eyes have been ripped wide open and forced to realize that many of these orphans will go unnoticed, disregarded, overlooked, unseen, and at the end of all of that....they will go unchanged.

That is how this entire journey has been....bittersweet.  Although we had so many happy, blissful, exhilirating moments with Zoya in Ukraine, there are undertones of sadness, feelings of helplessness, and traces of heart-wrenching visions...flashbacks of neglected children whom the world will never even know exist.  I am still raw with emotion and trying to process all that we experienced.  I don't know what to do with this new perspective.  I don't know how to make this crisis better.  I don't know what to do to fix the problem.  I don't know how to save these children.  The worst feeling I've had of all is the overwhelming fear that I can't make this better, or fix the problem, or save these children.  What I can do is share our story and our experience and maybe open a few eyes to what is happening to these children across the world...but it doesn't seem like enough.  I know it is not enough.  Even with all of the joy and happiness we've experienced since we met Zoya, that gut-wrenching sick feeling will not leave...even when I close my doesn't go away.  The worst part of all is that these feeling I'm having don't even compare to the sadness and distress these orphans must feel day after day.  I asked God to give me His eyes during this trip and he has. Before we left I listened to this song over and over:
Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that i keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the one's forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

Sometimes, I'm ashamed to admit, that I wish I never saw what I saw because it was so much easier not knowing.  It is a heavy burden to carry.  Of course in the end, I feel priviledged that God thought enough of me to share the story of the orphans.  He thinks enough of me that I deserve to be blessed by being Zoya's moma and has planted a seed in me that will hopefully grow into something great.  God has a plan and has shown us these things for a reason.  Until He reveals His bigger plan to us, we will enjoy our ray of sunshine and marvel at the awesome things God has done in our lives, and in Zoya's.


  1. Glad you made it back ok! Let me know if I can help with anything. I will def. think of what we would do if dominic was on a long plane ride...yikes! we will brainstorm for you! hope to talk to you soon!
    Heather h

  2. I think of that song often and honestly I have prayed for God to take it back. Take His sight back and His hearing back because its too hard. But its not meant to be easy, we arent God. It isnt meant to be easy because then why would we need the Maker of the stars.

    You may not have changed the world but you changed the world for one child and that is enough. Following God is enough. Be proud of what you did. I know many lives will be changed forever because they have read your blog or will hear your story. Lives that you wont know are changed will be. Paul and I have decided after Faith comes home our next child will be a boy with DS, why...because of you, because of Zoya, because I never knew that I could do it until reading you doing it. Thank you. Thank you so much for opening up about your adoption and thank you for following what God ask of you and Shawn. It wont always be easy but you will always be blessed because you did what was ask.

    Praying for our babies tonight and every night. Be blessed.

  3. sarah and shawn-

    think of what God was able to accomplish with 'just' one person. how much He worked through one person. many of them didn't realize the huge impact they would have on the this day. (one did...but He was He was a bit set apart from the rest.) so while it might not seem or feel like you are changing the are indeed changing zoya's world, changing the perceptions of at least a few people in the ukraine, which can have an amazing impact down the road. (think the ripple effect a stone has on still water.)

    understandably it is and a bittersweet experience. your lives will be forever changed...and unlike some who have taken foreign mission get to bring home a daily reminder of that experience. :)

    that brandon heath song...that is a hefty prayer to pray. it is difficult to grasp what it might be like to see what God sees...and i think our finite minds subconsciously and inadvertently limit God to the way He must see...and then when He answers that prayer...whoa! it is far more eye opening, jaw dropping, gut wrenching than you ever fathomed.

    as far as travel ideas...have the air blowing on her? (will she fall asleep with some 'fresh' air?) something to suck on for sure...the pressure changes will probably not be too pleasant. benadryl? lol. some good quality 'barney' dvds! lol. (not really...but a movie might buy you some time.) business cards for the other travelers explaining what you are doing? ;) (might elicit some compassion rather than frustration) ummm...fine motor fun stuff? that's all i've got. maybe she'll just sleep??? :)

  4. Only God knows how He will continue to use your lives for His honor and glory. :) Me thinks He'll use you to bless and encourage (and maybe even challenge the thinking!) of many, many people - just like you're doing now!

    We'll continue to pray for your sweet family!


  5. By just going through this heart-wrenching process you are changing hearts - making an amazing difference! My husband and I decided to adopt Aaron after following the adoptions of a number of people we knew and also blogs of people we didn't know. I know that our choice to adopt Aaron has already had a huge impact and we haven't had the wonderful pleasure of making the first trip!! (still waiting for our 171H form)...
    So glad you are home... hope you can get some rest before you go back for the whirlwind second trip!! Will continue to pray for you!

  6. Just wanted to say that you may have changed many more things than you will ever know. The citizens of the Ukraine where Zoya is now will forever look at Down Syndrome children differently because of you both. Maybe more children will have brighter futures because you "started the ball rolling" as far as how they are seen. All you can do is hope and pray for that! Take care.

    Sue Moczulski

  7. Dear Momma Sarah and Daddy Shawn, You have changed the world and made it a better place for so many. Your blog has touched many and we have shared ino with even more. It is an avalanch you have started! God bless you both. Wanting to help you in some way, please make a list of what others can do for you and put me on it. I look forward to helping, Debbie N

  8. Love the garage! Very sweet. As far as making a difference...As your friend Sue said, you and Shawn have made a difference on how they will look at a child with DS. The happiness they saw in her eyes in your pictures you provided them. I always think on how Tom and I are going to do when we get Bryce and seeing the other children. We have 3 dogs we've rescued, one being 11 at the time b/c Tom said "whose going to adopt a dog at that age" and hence why we now have 3. LOL. Can't imagine seeing children without homes and parents to love on.But you've saved one and something tells me Zoya will not be the only one. Look forward to hearing from you if you get a chance via email, I know you're busy. Kim & Tom Baumann,
    Adopting Vanya #11