Background: On August 27, 2013 at 4:30pm Ann received the call we had been waiting and praying for. Since our “dossier” was submitted on July 3, 2013 our family prayed for a miracle: for a referral before the end of August. We chose August specifically having been told things are at a standstill in July and August in Russia due holidays and vacations. The way God was answering our prayers – we believed He would answer this one as well.
Leslie Johnston, our America World Adoption Association Facilitator, excitedly share the news of our referral, with Ann. She indicated how unusual the referral was on three accounts: the timing in August, the speed in which it came – less than 60 days after our dossier was submitted, and the fact that the baby was a 12-month-old little girl. Leslie explained they had not had referrals for baby girls under the age of 3 in months. Leslie told Ann that she would be sending 3 pictures of the child and 1-½ pages of medical records – the extent of what was known of her condition. All the news however was not good – Leslie noted potential deformities that may preclude Aselya from ever having children of her own. She indicated that Aselya would need a “special family” one who would help her see and understand God’s goodness and grace despite the challenges she might face.
I arrived home as Ann was hanging up the phone with Leslie. Ann sent the kids out to play so she could share the good news with me. We immediately opened the e-mail to see the pictures and read the medical records. We were struck by this tiny dark skinned – dark hared little girl with big brown eyes. She was beautiful yet expressionless in all three photographs. We wanted to reach out, take her into our arms, love her and never let her go. Tears rolled down our cheeks as we were struck with a flood of emotions… pride as new parents, concern for Aselya, questions regarding why her mother had given her up. Above all we were humbled that we might be given the opportunity to give this child a family and hope and one day put a smile on her face. Our hearts were immediately captured.
The medical records raised more questions than they answered. Aselya was born eight weeks premature and weighed just over 4lbs at birth and had a long list of health concerns listed to include: mother had toxemia during pregnancy and “could drink alcohol,” child had delayed intrauterine development, hyperplastic variant, acute pneumonia, obstructive syndrome, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, hyperxcitablity syndrome, and a minor heart anomaly.
While I didn’t understand most of these terms, I did understand acute pneumonia and the fact that the child had been in and out of the hospital with reoccurring respiratory tract infections. In fact, Pfizer manufactured and I had sold the top selling pediatric antibiotic, Zithromax that treated these difficult infections. Note page 2 of the medical records.
Leslie suggested that we have a local pediatrician review the medical records and pray about our decision and let her know at the beginning of the week. Within 24 hours we had three top pediatric experts who specialize in reviewing the medical records of foreign children share their opinions. Nothing was conclusive except Ann and my realization that we were never guaranteed perfect health with our own children, why would we expect this to be different. Who were we to question God’s sovereignty? We had complete peace in in our hearts and decided to move forward on the adoption.
10 years ago today, September 24, 2003, Ann and I met our facilitator and interpreter in the hotel lobby to again make the three-hour trek to the orphanage to see Aselya, for the one-hour allotted visit. This time we brought a picture book the children had made, including pictures of them, and I brought a case of antibiotics (Zithromax) and over-the-counter medications to give to the orphanage’s medical director who were scheduled to meet with that day. Dr. Uri simply reviewed Aselya’s medical records with us to make sure we understood the “risk” of adopting Aselya and to answer any questions we had. I asked, through the interpreter, if he could use the antibiotics and supplies and he graciously nodded his head yes and shook my hand. Our visit ended with five minutes alone with Aselya to tell her good-bye. Against her preference, we hugged her and kissed her and prayed a prayer asking God to protect her until we could return for her. Leaving was extremely difficult, as we left part of our heart in the orphanage that day.
An upcoming blog will provide background surrounding the “alleged crime” that was committed on at the orphanage on this day that resulted in my subsequent termination and the Dotson vs. Pfizer trial that went to the US Supreme Court. Note the white bag on the piano at the right of the picture that contained the antibiotics and medical supplies. Additional details are provided in my book, Taking on Goliath.