Finally! We've been sitting on this for over a week, and have permission to share it now...it's a boy! Isn't he just beautiful?
We are trying to adopt a just-turned 5 yr old boy named Alex (well, that's his alias) from Eastern Europe. Go take a look--this picture is from when he was four.
The reason some family hasn't scooped up Alex and given him a huge hug and a home is that Alex can't walk and is diagnosed with CP. The biggest sadness about Alex is that after (likely) four years of "kinda OK" orphanage life, he was transferred to a mental institution a few weeks ago (this is typical in this country, and we just found this out two weeks ago, just before committing to him). This is a huge step down in care in every case there, and some of these institutions have horrific living conditions. The whole system is basically a holdover from the Soviet Union, when parents with disabled infants were, perhaps not forced, but expected to institutionalize their children--and then those same kids were left to circumstances of incredible neglect to the point of death. Since the country has no real system of oversight for these institutions, the situations vary quite a bit from barely OK to pretty near unspeakable. So when we heard Alex had been transferred--basically, our heart broke, we prayed, and we committed (on his 5th birthday).
The GOOD news is that the facilitator that works with Reece's Rainbow in that country went to visit said institution this weekend for a social call (that's a small joke) to see if he would be allowed in and take pictures of Alex. He got in, met Alex and got a slew of pictures. One is the picture above. The facilitator said that the institution was "not too bad" by the country's standards. That is actually a really hopeful statement, since the range of options are so poor. But the reality is this is a basic care institution--people assigned there are expected to die there, eventually. No school for sure, and almost certainly no therapy for his CP (although he may not have gotten much or any at the orphanage either). Care is very basic at best. So--our intention was to move this as fast as we can. Although we're glad Alex isn't in the worst of all situations, he still needs out. We're still trying to move fast.
"Fast" means, at absolute best, an adoption in late February. The country doesn't set any appointments for adoption referrals from November through January. We can't get everything in within three weeks--the INS and other agencies simply won't play ball that fast. So. We do lots of paperwork and pray a lot until he's home.
Just so you know, we're trying to adopt Alex, but we do not have a formal referral--that is, Alex isn't officially promised to us. The connection on the Reece's Rainbow site means that we can fundraise to adopt this particular child, and others working through RR should choose another child. He could get adopted prior to us arriving there. But that is fairly rare--especially with "older" kids. If Alex has been adopted, we will thank God he is out of his particular situation, probably cry a little bit, and we'll adopt a different child.
Finally, the biggest request by far and the reason for the post. Please, we ask for your prayers. A lot could go wrong in this process (it's faster than many international adoptions, but more complicated in other ways). And as for Alex, I'm a lot less worried about Alex's CP than I am about what the institutionalization could do to him, and what orphanage life does to a child. Basically, I'm more concerned for his spirit than his body. We're asking everyone we know for 1. prayers of protection for Alex, 2. prayers for the caregivers, that they may see the children and adults there with humanity, and 3. prayers for a smooth and fast adoption process. And maybe a couple of prayers for sic (that is, spouse of the Ironic Catholic) and I--it's been an emotional rollercoaster. But God has been so good throughout this. I've really never been in such an obviously God-led situation in my life.
If you want to follow along, we're blogging through this at http://www.wdadoption.
In the midst of all this potential drama, we feel very blessed and happy that we may get to live with him. This is such a gift to us.
I am doing paperwork like mad, getting ready for a home study visit, and more. People have asked about money, and I will propose something tomorrow, if anyone wants to help. But for now, could you sing with us? Sing praise to the Lord, for He is good, His mercy endures forever!