Adopting from Russia: One Family's Story

Ties That Bind

Our first weeks with Nastia were joyful beyond words. But we had some unfinished business...we had to find a way to adopt Vanya. We started calling Russia -- and calling, and calling. We asked many questions: Where was he? Did Vanya and Nastia know about each other? Can someone help us find him?

Then Nastia, who was learning English, began to fill in some of the blanks. Every time she saw a school bus she would call out, "Vanya." As her vocabulary increased, so did her prayers, asking God to bless "Vanya, Babushka, and the little dog." She told stories of Vanya climbing trees, Vanya laughing and playing with her. Is this true? I wondered. Where is this boy? Will he ever be ours?

Finally, we got results. A photo arrived -- and Vanya looked like one tough boy! His head was shaved, and his stare was blank and troubled. Oh no! I thought. This is not what I had envisioned. I wasn't about to change my mind, but I was scared.

The next nine months were anxious ones for me, like a pseudo pregnancy, full of excitement, questions, and doubts. I realized how na?ve and unprepared we had been when adopting Nastia. Could I handle the challenges of a second child who might have serious problems? Could I truly love a child who might reject me?

Peace came the day we left for Moscow. I left my fears behind. I was going to get my son.

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