Thursday, July 24, 2014


From Beth:

All that paperwork about killed me. I don't know what it was about the page after page after page to be signed, notarized, apostilled-- but I hated it! For some reason it stressed me out more than any other aspect of the adoption process.

I'll never forget calling my sweet friend Susan Hillis from the Apostille office in Atlanta in veritable hysterics. Poor Susan, I was crying so hard that she assumed I had been in a car wreck or something equally awful. But in reality I just needed to tell her how devastated I was that EVERY SINGLE DOCUMENT that I had painstakingly collected, and that had been meticulously notarized, was invalid. Those of you who have adopted internationally know the size of the pile of papers required. 

The idea that I would have to go back and do them all over again was crushing. It was:
A lot of work. 
A lot of stress. 
A lot of money. 

Now, 15 years later, my list of inconveniences, disappointments (some crushing and some just irritating), and prices paid in time, emotion and finance, has grown quite long of course. Mostly I don't think about my life, about our adoptions, about parenting, in these terms-- in terms of cost. 

But, every once in a while Stephen and I have been known to look at each other and say something like, "Wow, we really had no idea what we were getting into did we?!" Not out of regret at all, but more as a commentary on life, an acknowledgment that there have been prices to pay along the way.

Love is costly. 

We were going to adopt two other children. 

For a year we prayed every single day for Ivana and Yevgeny, a little 5 year old girl and 3 year old boy. We had their photo on our refrigerator and we thought for sure these were the children God had given us. 
We spent money. 
We spent time. 
We spent emotion. 

We spent with the joy that comes with Anticipation and Hope and Possibility!

I find myself tearing up with tender feelings and strong connection even after all these years seeing this photo again. Beautiful little treasures.

After a year of all of this spending the word got to their grandmother that these two little ones were going to be adopted to an American family. This grandmother, who had never visited her grandchildren before, must have come to a kind of awakening. She realized that this was not o.k. with her. She went to that orphanage and brought Ivana and Yevgeny home with her. 

When Stephen and I were told this news, we were devastated--completely shocked and confused, wondering how something we had been so sure of could turn out so differently from what we had "known."

I just know some of you reading this know EXACTLY what I am talking about. You have lived it. 

I will never forget driving in the car with Stephen praying about this, asking God what was going on? Had we completely missed Him? Were we even called to adopt? What did He want us to do? etc.

And then He spoke. In my spirit I heard God say, "Beth, if I had told you a year ago that I was going to use all that money you spent, all the time, all that prayer, all that love, all that pursuit.... to get Ivana and Yevgeny back into their birth family, would you have done it?" 

Who but the Lord can respond to a list of questions with a question and get away with it?! 
Who but the Lord can tuck into the folds of a question all the answers that I need?

A weight of peace fell on us. That is the way with Him. When He speaks, Life and Peace are released. 

We knew right away the answer to that question. Yes. Yes, of course Lord, we would totally have been willing to give all of that so that You could get these two treasures of yours out of that orphanage and into their home. 

It was totally worth it. 

What price would be too much for that?

When I think of that year of effort from the point of view of that question, and then when I consider all the prices we have paid over the years (from helping siblings adjust, to parenting virtual strangers, to countless therapy sessions, to dealing with addictions and rebellions, to the simple day-in-day-out realities of a large family....) from that perspective, I am absolutely convinced that there is no price that is actually too much for the opportunity to love. 

It is totally worth it. 


  1. Totally worth it! God sees the big picture. We do not. Our job is obedience. We are wise to leave the consequences to God. Thanks for sharing!

    1. So true Debbie. Exactly what you said!! We obey; we love. And we trust the rest to Him.

  2. In the moment a lost referral hurts eventually you remember we are not in control God is !
    We have been home 4 weeks with our son and daughter (our 3rd adoption) and I would do it again in a heart beat !!
    So yes, it is totally worth it !!

    1. How exciting-- home 4 weeks!! 3rd Adoption!!-- what a lovely family built by the Lord. Thanks for sharing your blog too. Blessings on you and your family.

  3. We encountered a similar experience. Thank you for sharing this fresh perspective on our story. I needed that!

    1. It is interesting how many people have a similar story isn't it?! It really helped me to remember and write out this story. It is so easy to forget the things God does in our lives. And so very good to remember.

  4. It was worth it to go love on our little one for 3 whole days but I still wish things would have turned out differently for her and others just like her. We all traveled to Russia and met children, several have Down syndrome, like the little girl we fell in love with. A lot of the children have been taken into homes or are back with birth families and that I can wrap my mind around. My struggle is with those left behind, like Natasha. Those who got to be loved on for 3 days and then left to a lifetime of institutionalization. I am still praying that one day God will reveal the big picture to us and help us understand. Until then I watch the video I made of our time together and pray that somehow the love she got to feel from us during our visits will help her know she is still loved. I also flew back to Russia in January to do news interviews and a documentary in hopes of changing things for the better for all the children still stuck in orphanages. Here is a link to our FB page documentary if you want to see my beautiful little girl. Thanks for sharing your story and reminding me that even if they didn't come home it was still worth it.

    1. Katrina, how very hard. I agree with you, your precious Natasha and the other treasured children need to be in families. I believe that is God's plan for every child. I will look at your Facebook page-- thanks so much for sharing it. The Lord showed me that nothing we could give/sacrifice/do would be too much for His purposes in saving these children, and I am sure that all your prayers and time spent He is using for Natasha's eternal good. And I can tell from what you shared that you are willing and ready to give far more as the Lord leads. May your heart be kept as you love this little one from such a distance. And may Natasha know the Love of her Father, His protection and provision, and may she brought home.