Thursday, April 15, 2010

We Are The Truth!

We Are The Truth
Today is Adoption Blogger Day-part of the Joint Council of International Children's Services Call to Action- We are the Truth. Here is my story...

One year ago on April 17th 2009 Victoria Irina Rae Elbe became a member of my family. The judge ruled in my favor to adopt this beautiful little girl. I met Victoria in Sept. of the same year. I had to wait 6 month to return to court because her birth mother never filed appropriate paper work for her citizenship in Russia. Prior to meeting Victoria I had been given photos and medical information. Her eyes in her photos are what initially captured my attention and my heart. I was drawn to her.
I accepted the invitation to travel and meet her. I was ready to go in three weeks time. I met her and I was, in all honesty, scared. What if I could not meet her needs? Those thoughts just kept going over and over in my mind. Additionally, I criticized myself about being a single parent, and am I being fair to her…..maybe there was a couple that would be a better placement for her. As the week went on I fell in love with her and knew that I wanted to give her all of my heart and offer her a chance at a life outside of growing up in an orphanage. When the children turn 4 in Russia their placement changes and their chances of being adopted diminishes. 4 for her was not that far off.
While in Russia I learned that a family had come to meet her and considered adopting her but declined due to her health issues. On my second trip, I did find out it was more than just one family, actually there were a few that declined embracing her and bringing her into their families. Victoria had not had much stability as it was. She was with her birth mother until she was two. At that time she was removed from the home and placed in a hospital for 5 month…..yes, 5 months, due to severe neglect. She had all kinds of things going on. Furthermore, the day she was removed, she was wrapped in plastic and handled with gloves because of the filth and parasite infestations on her body. She had some other serious health issues going on and was gravely ill. After leaving the hospital, she was in the baby home for a year and then I met her. Just after I met her, actually the day I left, she was again placed in a sanatorium (health facility) to assist with her health issues. I am not kidding, if you met this child today you would ask yourself, “What health issues?” Home, here with me, she is a completely different little girl than the one I met in Russia. She was shy, timid, and quiet. She is now full of life, affectionate, carefree, and strong willed (which I have decided was what gave her the ability to survive). I love my daughter, she is my own. She is my family.

There is much talk, concern, and controversy about the psychological problems institutionalized children face; head banging, rocking, self soothing, food hoarding, etc…… along with adjustment and attachment problems. I have experienced some problems that could very well be related to the fact that she was institutionalized; sleeping, adjustment issues, food hoarding (terribly in the beginning), defiance, testing boundaries, etc….some of these we still work on, on a daily basis. Of course some are normal 4 year old behaviors.

I know that my love for her must be unyielding, the same as any other parent with a child. I can honestly say that Victoria is a very happy, loving, affectionate little girl. She loves life! We love her tremendously. My family and I all feel truly blessed to have her here, home, where she belongs. She really is amazing!