Wednesday, May 10, 2006

From Russia with Love

I've done some things in my life that I'm not too proud of, but there are a few choices that stand out as stellar, that even I can look back on and say, "My god, you did know what the hell you were doing, after all." At the top of this list is our decision to adopt our daugher from Russia two-and-a-half years ago. My Eugenia (on the right) is a strong-willed, high-energy whirlwind, and there are many moments when she makes me want to gouge my own eyeballs with my knuckles because, hey, at least that's less painful than trying to figure out appropriate consequences for THIS PILE OF BURNED UP MATCHES ("Sissy has fire sticks under her pillow!") and Eugenia's confession that, no, she wasn't trying to burn down the drapes, SHE WAS TRYING TO BURN UP THE TV. (Of course she was.) But if there is one person on this planet who has made me grow more than any other, who has caused me to examine—closer than I ever expected possible—what it means to be a mother, a woman, and a human being, it's this beautiful, crazy-inducing, miracle girl.

Which is perhaps why I feel so calm about our decision to host a 14-year-old orphan from St. Petersburg this summer. There are the forseeable logistical questions: How will we communicate? Can we afford the hosting program? What will we do if the children don't get along? (Seems unlikely, but still.) Or—what if they DO get along swimmingly? (Self-employed folks like us don't qualify for the juicy $10K adoption tax credit.) But that's simply logistics. My heart, she says that we will all have a grand time. It will be a lovely summer, and it will be great fun to shower Olga with love and affection and knitting paraphernalia and Russian-language Harry Potter books. Of course, we'll all need to be careful with our hearts, and we are already preparing our kids to view Olga as a "visitor," because there are many variables and who knows yet what the future will bring. But whatever happens, we will grow. And we will get the chance to love, up close and personal, one more person in this world.

If you feel the nudge to support an international orphan hosting program but don't want to host a child yourself, please visit this donation site. Those who are so inclined can contribute specifically to Olga's visit, but you can also donate to the program in general.

Or for specific information on children you can host (I'm particularly struck by a beautiful, brilliant age 12-17 sibling group from Latvia that needs a host family in the next week and/or an adoptive family before the oldest girl turns 18 in January), email me and I can point you in the direction of more info. (UPDATE: The Latvian siblings found a host family for the summer program!)


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