Alyssa Grace…

Chapter 4

I returned to the US with intense fervor to find a home for this little girl.  I had a friend who was a publisher of the local newspaper, so I asked if he would do a story about her.  Choosing our local university’s homecoming weekend, when thousands would be in town for the big game, he ran the story of Alla, and her situation of needing a home.  We had 6 people contact us, one couple said they were very interested.  A few weeks went by, and the orphanage director and I were in touch, she was reminding me that Alla would soon turn 4, and she would be forced to move her to… Toraz… just the mere thought of that, made me sick to my stomach.  But if she was moved, the likelihood that she would be adopted from there was slim to none, as the Dr. there was against adoption, he would rather children die on their homeland, then be given any quality of life in another country.  We actually gave him the nickname, Dr. Death, for his complete emotionless demeander concerning the welfare of the ‘patients’ at his facility. 

After a few days, the couple called me, explaining that they felt Alla’s medical condition was too much for them to take on, and they were declining to move forward.  I can remember, assuring her that God had someone in mind to adoption this girl, and I would not give up; though after getting off the phone I silently wept for this child, praying God would reveal the special couple to adopt her. 

After months without success, the director tearfully told us she would be forced to move her to Toraz.  Since we had been there, and it was a horrid place, where children are left in their ‘waste’, fed terrible food, and are not able to ever leave, we decided to talk as a family about the situation.  Our other 4 children knew her, and as a family we prayed over this little girls future.  But this time, God pressed upon our hearts to adopt her,  making the family decision to move forward with the adoption.  We called the orphanage director and giving her the news, she was elated, sharing, she would do her best to ‘hide’ Alla from the inspector, until we could get there.  We quickly put our dossier together in 3 weeks, getting all approvals, leaving for Ukraine the 3rd week of December.  Upon arriving, we  boarded the 15 hours train to the city of Donetsk, in Eastern Ukraine.  Arriving on the 24th, we visited with our (hope to be) daughter.  Since Alla understood adoption, other families had come to ‘see’ her, we asked to visit with her in the office of the director instead of the ‘playroom’, which adoptive parents would go to visit with a child to see if they thought the child would be a good fit for their family.  For many children that room is a place of rejection, and we didn’t want that for Alla.  The director granted our request, and we met with Alla in her office.  Talking with her, she was hesitant to say much, but we specifically asked HER if she wanted a ‘mom and dad…and a big family?’, staring at us, as though she was ‘sizing us up.’ She replied, ‘yes, I want a family,’  and said, ‘I’m ready to go.’  Thinking that we were leaving right then.  We explained that we could not go ‘yet’, as there was paperwork.  She had heard that before, as 6 previous families came to meet her (in the play room), but ‘never returned’ for her.  Despite the remainder of the visit going very well, when we prepared to depart, her face was sullen as she walked off with the caregiver, deflated.   

The next day, was Christmas (2002), and we arrived to the facility mid-morning.  We anxiously waited in the visitation room, and as our daughter rounded the corner her face broke out the biggest smile, and she came running into our arms screaming, “my mama is here, my papa is here!!!”  Then proceeded to tell everyone in the room, over and over that ‘we were her family, and we came for HER.’  There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, and it was the best Christmas gift!

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