Our next door neighbor sent us off on our big trip to Kazakhstan with prayer—inside the airport express bus! He, along with all of our friends and family, had been waiting on pins and needles for news of our travel date. At the end of our destination waited the two angels that were the answers to our years of thought and prayer. Making the decision to parent two teenagers was not one we took lightly but with the love and support of our families, friends, and Nightlight we were finally on our way.
We arrived in Astana, Kazakhstan at 11:30PM, the airport seemed a lonely place and we only hoped that our tiny Russian vocabulary would get us through. The following day, after trying somewhat successfully to fend off jetlag, we were escorted to the orphanage that housed Alex and Julia. Kazakhstan in January was cold like we had never felt before, but inside the Detsky Dom we were met with a warmth that could melt the ice. We had wondered how our presence would be received there, but it quickly became evident that no thought was wasted on boarders. The main hope was to help the children find their forever families.
Over the weeks we visited, learned, laughed, ate, studied, and bonded with our children. They told us stories about their friends and jokes and songs they liked. They were three dimensional children that we could see and touch and hug, yet they were still like a dream. The bonding period and court date came and went so quickly and then it was time to leave and complete the first part of this journey. We had a traditional party to celebrate with all in their family group, some of whom would soon be leaving with their own new families. To leave our children and come back home to the States alone was a thought that hadn’t received nearly as much consideration, but we were comforted now knowing that we were all a real family.
We sometimes reflect on how many people asked why we adopted older children instead of a baby. While our reasons were sound and numerous, our prayer was for help to find the children that were meant to be ours. And that is exactly what happened. The other day a friend and fellow adoptive parent of older children asked how we felt about our decision to adopt teens. Our reply: No decision in all of our lives has brought more joy and enlightenment than coming together with Alex and Julia as a forever family.