Sunday, October 14, 2012

3 Year Heart Anniversary for Zoya

3 years ago today, Zoya was recovering in a hospital in Ukraine, all alone, after an open heart surgery to repair a small ASD and a huge VSD. While I am eternally grateful for the director of her orphanage who pushed so hard to get her the needed surgery, I'm broken-hearted thinking she went through that without us.

After going through an open heart surgery with Mila, a whole new wave of complete sadness washed over me. When I first saw Mila after her open heart surgery, I was taken aback with how "sick" she looked. Once I gained enough composure to look at her again, a second wave washed over me and suddenly I felt as if I couldn't breathe because when I looked at her it hit me so hard that Zoya had been in that same position, all alone, without a mommy and daddy by her side. Tears poured out from my eyes as I ached seeing Mila so broken looking, and also grieved not being able to have been there for Zoya when she went through the same thing. Throughout Mila's somewhat difficult recovery, I thought often of Zoya. When I advocated for Mila, I was saddened that Zoya didn't have anyone to speak up for her needs. When Mila was in pain or discomfort and as I held her to comfort her, I ached thinking that Zoya, rather than finding comfort, likely found more distress and loneliness.  As I stayed by Mila's bedside, only leaving to use the restroom, I hurt for my Zoya-girl who didn't have a mama hovering over her during her recovery.  I can only pray that the Lord covered her during that time and sent angels to shield her.

I'll never be able to change the fact that we weren't there for her during that surgery. But I can surely change every single day since becoming her Mama! I thought about her surgery a lot today. As I looked at her I wondered if they really thought she'd survive, if they were just testing out their skills on an orphan, or if they were truly invested in saving her life. Knowing Zoya went through that pain and suffering without us certainly gives me a new perspective on her personality, post traumatic stress "stuff" and anxiety. Would she be just the same if she hadn't spent two years alone, going through traumatic things without a mama and papa? I still ask myself that question often out of curiosity, but it doesn't matter any more. She is our daughter, who we were born to love. We love her exactly as she is....happy days and tough days.

Tonight I'm thankful for the gift of Zoya, for her health, and for her beautiful personality. She is so vulnerable, so loving, so transparent, so born to share her spirit. Zoya hugged me a million times today. She stopped while she was playing just to smile at me and say "love you way more than you know" randomly, she helped me make cookies to celebrate Grandpa's birthday, she rocked her babies and sang "Baby Beluga," she loved on her sister, she giggled so hard while we tickled her....she took comfort in a lazy day at home knowing just how much she is loved and understanding that she is so very special to us. It was an amazing day to reflect on her sweet life, an an amazing day to remember how thankful we are for her healed heart and beautiful life!
A walk down memory lane of my sweet Zoya girl and I! 


  1. I feel the same way about Caroline having her surgery without anyone...two surgeries, actually. Our girls are fighters. :) Great post!

  2. Beautiful post! So glad the surgery was a success and that she's doing so well now but sorry to hear of her neglect and anxiety from past trauma. God put her in just the right home to heal and thrive :)

  3. I can so completely feel the love from these pictures. And yes, God most certainly sent angels to surround and comfort your sweet girl while she went through those tough days. And that was enough to sustain her until he sent YOU to her. He is good...all the time! Thankful for your obedience to him and thankful for his all-emcompassing grace and compassion!! Thank you, God, for sweet Zoya girl!!!! (((BIG HUGS)))!!

  4. Beautiful pictures! I started following your blog while you were working to bring Mila home so I hadn't seen any pictures of Zoya when she first came home. She is an adorable little girl (soon to be the big sister of 2!!)

  5. Can't believe I missed a few posts--but all caught up now lol! Happy 3rd anniversary, sweet Zoya! It was a pleasure to look back at the pictures your mama shared and to see how, even then there is such love and life in your eyes. Sarah, I can only imagine what it must be like to think of your Zoya going thru surgery alone but be assured that God stayed close. He did not fail her even when those around her at the time, did. You guys are such a gift to each other...the love that you share is apparent in the way she looks at you, in the trust the girls have in you and their daddy and the unbreakable bond you share. Clearly, both girls know they are safe and loved now and forever!