Big Change of Plans…!
On Tuesday night of last week one of the coordinators from the host program called me. She was very upset. She said that Max’s director at the orphanage didn’t want him to come for hosting any longer.
She was crying because she knew how excited we were and she was just heartbroken for our family. This has happened to us (and only us!) multiple times now–our host kid cannot come at the last minute.
We had a Russian speaking friend call the orphanage director on the phone to get more first hand details. Since it was the middle of the night here it was morning in Ukraine.
Max’s orphanage director clearly loves him a lot. Some orphanage directors are terrible. She is not one of those.
She explained that his bio mom had suddenly begun showing up at the orphanage crying and begging to see Max. Max has been in the orphanage since he was a toddler because his mom was an alcoholic. Her parental rights are completely terminated and he is available for international adoption.
But his mom has now been sober for two years and regrets her past. The director said recently it was Max’s birthday, in September, and they planned him a birthday party at the orphanage. (See, great director–most kids don’t even know when their birthday is, let alone get a celebration.) She invited Max’s mom. His mom came. They had a wonderful time with her and Max has begun bonding with her.
I’m not sure what will happen since Max is HIV positive and requires a lot of extra medical care. His mother likely lives in poverty. While I would never want to deny him his mother, I also worry it will mean a shorter lifespan for him. But, it’s out of my control entirely.
So, where to go from here?
Initially I felt extremely sad. We were so excited about this sweet little boy. It seemed perfect.
We’re already fully funded to host, so we had two options. Either host another child this winter, or keep our money on hold until the summer and pick another child then, when there are more to choose from and it’s not so last minute.
The hosting group coordinator almost bought plane tickets on Tuesday morning, but didn’t go through with the transaction. If they had already paid for the tickets then part of our funding for Max would have been wasted since the tickets are non-transferrable and he can’t come. What a timely delay in the purchasing process…
The next morning the girls and I poured over available children on host listings with different agencies. We talked about so many of them, read their bios. Finally after two hours of looking at all of those sweet faces and feeling no particular attachment to any of them someone said…
What? No way.
I asked the kids if they would really want to host him again after the difficult summer.
Rosie said she was frustrated with him this summer, but she misses him and wants him back because he’s part of our family.
For better or worse.
I sent Tyler a message at work.
Tyler was thinking the same thing. Igor.
We can’t give up on him. We tried to give up on him, but it didn’t work out…he always comes back to us.
Igor has been on the host list with the other hosting group for several months and he was one of the only kids not chosen. I can’t tell you the way seeing his picture on that listing and seeing it shared on Facebook ate away at my soul. It just felt so wrong.
I’ve talked on the phone with a good friend who is a child psychologist in DC. (I have the best friends you all!) While Igor was here this summer we discussed his issues candidly on the phone. She knows quite a bit about attachment issues first hand. She has a younger brother who was adopted and has reactive attachment disorder, among other difficult diagnoses.
We’re not able to take Igor to a therapist here because of hosting rules. Ukraine doesn’t allow any kind of treatment like that for the kids, and it’s uninsured, and honestly too complicated for short term hosting anyway.
So, we’re hosting Igor again.
I feel very at peace about this. And excited. Did I mention that?? I can’t wait to kiss his cheeks again.
Here’s one more Igor related tale for you:
At the beginning of October a Ukrainian family came to adopt Igor at the orphanage.
Yes, we’re all thinking the same thing here: WHAT? How is that even possible!?
I don’t have the answer to that, only a guess. I’m wondering if his mother’s rights were recently terminated and the adoption-hating orphanage director didn’t tell anyone. If that’s the case…
The way it works is that children must be on the adoption registry available to Ukrainian families only for 14 months. After those months are up they are available for international adoption.
So depending on if/when the parental rights termination occurred, he could be available for international adoption at some point in the near future.
That’s an exciting and terrifying thought.
But back to the family who came to adopt him–They brought Igor gifts and had ten days to visit with him at the orphanage. I told Igor it was ok if he wanted to go with them, because at that point I wasn’t sure we were going to ever see him again or what would happen. I don’t want to ruin his chances of living with a nice Ukrainian family.
When the ten days were up Igor told them he would absolutely not be adopted. He said that he would only say yes to his American family.
That would be us.
At that point we had already committed to Max, and we were excited about that mild mannered, sweet little boy. We thought maybe Igor would be better off with another family.
It appears that God slammed the door shut on that plan.
We can’t get rid of this kid, regardless of the challenges. ;)
Now that he knows his mother has been lying to him, since she stole his whole suitcase and dumped him at the orphanage after summer hosting, I think maybe his purposefully contrary behavior will improve some because he was really not himself this summer.
We shall see.
Winter hosting is only four weeks, so if this is a horrible mistake then it’s not like the eleven long weeks of summer hosting.
I don’t think it’s a mistake though. I have such a great sense of peace about this decision.
He will be here December 15th. I haven’t talked to him on Skype recently, so I don’t think he knows for sure that we’re going to be hosting him this winter. That’s the sad thing about his world–nothing anyone promises him is true, until it actually happens. Seeing that we’re choosing him yet again will make his heart so happy.
I can’t wait to see the look on his face!
This is a picture taken at the orphanage after summer hosting, the one that’s with his bio for the host group. The caption said, “Even superheros need a family.”
By the way, Superman was adopted too…