Thursday, June 17, 2010

3 Months Ago Today....

3 Months ago today we rolled off an 8 hour overnight train ride and hit the ground running full speed without having showered, changed, brushed our teeth, or slept much. We walked into Baby House #1 in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine without a clue how our lives were about to change. We had butterflies in our stomachs and couldn't believe we were about to meet our daughter for the very first time. The daughter we dreamt about for so long, the daughter God promised us was ours, the daughter we knew almost nothing about, the daughter we came to save, and the daughter who ultimately saved us.  We sat nervously in the director's office listening to all the information they had about our daughter. We listened intently, yet, had difficulty focusing because we knew at any moment they'd be bringing our daughter in and we would finally be seeing her face to face.

They ran down her medical records, but the words that stuck the most, and that I remember to this day...echoing in my ears, were, "Nobody has ever come to visit Zoya or asked about her." It was translated so quickly and in a jumble of other pieces of information that it almost sounded like it was supposed to be hidden amongst the other details. It was hard to hear. To know, that our daughter had sat alone in that orphanage for almost two years without a single soul visiting or caring or asking about her. While they were rambling off the details they knew about her 21 months of life, I saw a caregiver pop in the door with Zoya and pop back out so quickly that I only got about a half of a second glimpse. They shooed her out the door as they were not done talking with us about her. When I saw her for that half second it looked like she had red hair (as I had been imagining all along) and I definitely noticed the bowl haircut and the bright blue dress. After that I don't think I heard anything else they said.  I remember thinking, "she looks nothing like what I imagined" and "what the heck are we doing here, we have got to be absolutely crazy for doing this."  The other thing I remember the most about all the details they gave us was looking at the director while she was speaking to us in Russian and seeing something in her face that said she cared about Zoya, that she was happy we were there to take her away from that place. She said, "Zoya has potential." I remember thinking that if someone there could see her potential then she must be amazing.  About 5 more minutes in the hot gloomy office and our facilitator asked us if we'd like to meet Zoya after everything we heard. They were giving us a chance to say no, to not even meet her, to run away and never look back. We couldn't wait any longer and they walked in with her. 3 months ago today, we met our daughter, Zoya.

Looking back on that day today I remember seeing such a sweet, yet scared looking angel. The child I picture (and the child in these pictures) is not the same child I know today, not by a long shot. I look at these pictures and see nothing behind her beautiful blue eyes. I see no life, no happiness, nothing that shows me she's ever felt love or ever had much to look forward to. I felt excited, exhausted, exhilarated, and scared to death to know that God was entrusting this child to us.

It didn't take long before Zoya started hugging on me and she did not want to let go. I remember thinking that somehow she knew we were there to come and rescue her from her nightmare. We had prayed so hard for this and I remember as soon as I took her into my arms, sunlight just poured in through the windows (on a day that had been rainy and gloomy up until that point) and all of the scared feelings melted away. I knew when I held her that she needed me and I needed her. From that point on we could not live without one another.

Notice the sunlight and the director smiling off to the back right of the picture. And if you click and enlarge the picture you can see a glimpse of hope on Zoya's face.

None of us had a clue here how much our lives would change in 3 short months.

So glad we trusted and jumped.


  1. Zoya is so not the same little girl, it is amazing the transformation that has taken place in just 3 short months. It is just amazing to see all of the changes. Zoya what a blessing God truly has been in control and ensuring that everything happened with perfect timing.
    It breaks my heart to think of all the other children that are still waiting for their forever family.
    You took the leap of faith and look at all the blessing you have been giving by trusting.

    Thank you for sharing your journey, I love reading all of the great things that are happening everyday : )

    Hugs : )


  2. Look at how much your love for her and each other has changed this child's life and how much she has changed your's!!!!

  3. Looking at the pictures you can see how you all have changed from what was to what would be to what life is now.... it is so awesome!

    Truly it was meant to be.....


  4. I am so grateful you found Zoya!

    The word POTENTIAL is what jumps out at me in this post. I think of Zoya's profile pic/these pictures of the day you met her, and look at the photo now on your blog header (before & after being loved and valued)...and have chills thinking that this is the same little girl.

    We need to do a RR photo montage of before and after shots. I think we (adoptive parents) see "the after" in our minds when we see the profile shots. We imagine these children as the children they are destined to be, when they are safe at home in the arms of people who love and cherish them...

  5. That is not the same little girl. The first thing I noticed looking at these pictures was .... no smile! boy that has changed! I loved reading your entry about her smiles made me cry!

  6. Sarah, once again your words have left me with happy streaming tears. Your family is beautiful!!! And your story of your journey is so inspiring! Not only was it meant to be that Zoya would join your family but it was meant to be that you would reach so many people with your words. So many lives will be saved Thanks to all 3 of you!!!!!

  7. You and Shawn and Zoya have changed all of our got me crying again:-) I still remember how exciting it was to see those first photos...It has been an inspiration to witness this whole journey and Zoya's transformation with your love.
    Love to the three of you, Liz

  8. I am so touched by your family. Thank you for sharing and these photos are so beautiful, as are your hearts. anne

  9. We are so glad you trusted and jumped, too!!!

    What a wonderful blessing and encouragement your family continues to be to our family!!!

    We thank God that He perfectly put your family together!


  10. The change in her is amazing, she didn't have that sparkle in her eyes in Ukraine. Now she does! It's wonderful to see them grow and change and get that 'sparkle' in the love of family.

    She's such a little cutie :)

  11. Wow! Zoya looks like a different child now than she did in these pictures. A true testament to what love can do! In recent pictures, her face just radiates joy and you can tell she is one loved little girl!