There were many key lessons for me in the adoption process – but one of the most important was learning to trust God completely. I had learned to successfully maneuver the corporate world and life by developing a good plan and working the plan. Contingency plans were even developed to handle surprises. The adoption journey simply proved to be bigger than my ability to deliver on my plan.
Those who knew me well realized that the Lord was getting ready to teach me more about Him through the adoption journey. I simply could not “manage” the adoption process no matter how well I planned and how organized I was. Only when I came to the “end of my plan” did I truly realize and begin to experience the power of prayer in my life. With nothing left but prayer – I realized I should have started there. As our family began to pray specifically, we saw God work in great ways and we began to experience peace in the midst of the arduous journey.
We had an uneventful flight arriving early on the October 14th, 2003 in Moscow. Our only opportunity for sightseeing, so we headed out on foot to see Moscow: Arobat St., the Kremlin and Red Square. Adrenalin was flowing as we anticipated the events of the week. We continually prayed the adoption proceedings would go smoothly and specifically that the 10-day waiting period to be waived so we could make it home before the end of October.
Early on the morning of October 14th, our facilitator and driver picked us up and drove us to the airport where we would catch our flight to Saratov – one step closer to becoming Aselya’s parents. The plane appeared to be a vintage Piedmont Airlines plane that had been retired 30 years earlier. Adding to the adventure, technical problems with the airplane kept us on the runway for over an hour. The gentleman seated next to us enjoyed a healthy breakfast: three snickers candy bars and several bottles of vodka as we waited to depart.
On the 15th we were excited to embark on the 3-hour journey through the Russian countryside to the orphanage and see Aselya. This time when we arrived things were different. After an unusually long wait a worker arrived with Aselya and within seconds we knew something was wrong. She was pale, sedated and looked miserable. The worker told us Aselya had a respiratory tract infection and the stomach bug. Aselya simply wanted to be left alone and sleep. It was particularly hard leaving her that day; our hearts were heavy. We desperately wanted to intervene and take care of Aselya. She needed proper medical care.
We could do nothing except pray.
This is not a comfortable place for me. I am a doer – I like to solve problems and find solutions. I work hard to avoid surprises or having to depend on others, but I was beginning to see a trend develop. Perhaps God wanted me to learn to trust Him, there was really no option, I couldn’t even speak the language and had no legal standing or authority regarding Aselya’s care.
The orphanage’s pediatrician, Dr. Uri, greeted us at the door on October 16th when we arrived to see Aselya. As Dr. Uri spoke, our interpreter told us to keep our coats on, as we would be walking down the street to the children’s hospital. Our hearts sank; we were very concerned.
As we walked in the cold drizzle to a cinderblock building, it dawned on us why we had to wait so long for Aselya to the day earlier.
If all goes as planned, the next time we hold her she will be a Dotson! Our prayers for the judge to waive the 10-day waiting period intensified, as we needed to get her to the United States for appropriate medical treatment.
We awoke early on Friday morning, October 17th, 2003, court day!
If you are in the midst of an adoption journey – or walking with someone who is; what are you praying for? What are you capturing in your prayer journal? If you are not praying specifically and recording God’s responses – you are missing out seeing God’s blessings.