...because we all have our motley moments!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Battle with the Russian Government

Our battle with the Russian government began on September 1, 2004, and lasted for more than a year. After over 100 sleepless nights, countless prayers for our relief, two trans-Atlantic flights, a threat of arrest and thousands of dollars in legal fees, we emerged from the small dark Russian courtroom victorious. We were finally parents!

Today, we are celebrating our Family Day. It has been three years since the adoption of our son was finalized in Astrakhan, Russia. Astrakhan is deep Russia. We went to Cancun on our honeymoon, so I thought I was prepared to travel to a foreign country. When our plane landed in Astrakhan, I immediately decided that Cancun doesn't count as a foreign country.

We traveled to Russia on a blind referral, meaning we did not know how old our child would be or if our child was a girl or boy. Thank goodness Prilosect was released over-the-counter that summer! Here is a picture of our first meeting.
We met our son shortly before his first birthday. Per Russian law at that time, we had to leave him in the orphanage in Russia and come back six weeks later to finalize the adoption. Most women say they forget the pains of childbirth soon after seeing their new baby, and the same is true about our adoption journey. It was a stress-filled, nerve racking, roller coaster ride, but now only the fond memories seem to linger. Our day in court was challenging, but my husband did great! He had to make a speech about why we wanted to adopt this child and how we planned to care for him. His speech was so thorough that the judge did not ask him any questions, and our case worker was so proud of him! Later that night we went out to celebrate with the other American couple adopting through our agency. They quickly became our new best friends, and are now like members of our family. The next day was like a fairy tale. We took flowers and beautiful cakes to the orphanage workers as we picked up our son. I love this photo (my son and husband are on the left). We are leaving the orphanage and never looking back!

Even though our adoption only took about 14 months, our journey to our son was seven years filled with bitterness, disappointment and anguish. I wanted a child so badly, yet was never able to conceive. Our son too had a long journey to get to us. He is a survivor and a fighter. In Russia, when a child is placed for adoption, they spend the first several weeks of their lives in a hospital in quarantine to be sure they are healthy. Our son then spent the next several months living in the orphanage sharing a crib with at least one other baby. Because of this, Family Day at our house is a giant celebration. Three wounded hearts were united as one to mend together into a loving family.


Donna said...

Pam, I am so happy for your sweet, hard-won family!!! This just brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

I love that you celebrate "Family Day." Every family should have a special day to celebrate their connectedness. So sweet!

Karly said...

Ok, I am literally sobbing right now! What an amazing story! Thank you for sharing it.

My sister and her husband leave on Wednesday to fly to Korea to get their little boy. It has been a long and painful journey for them as well. I am soooo happy for them and I cannot wait until they can celebrate family day. I also cannot wait until she reads this post, the timing is perfect.

Happy Family Day!! What a great thing to celebrate!

Liz said...

Happy Family Day, Pam! Your family is such a blessing. I am glad you all moved here.

Bryssy said...

That's so awesome, Pam! I was just about crying while my students finish their quiz. I love the picture of you and Alex. Just darling! I am so happy for you guys!

We celebrate our own Family Day on August 1 - it's the day RM officially adopted THE Princess & we found out we were expecting KOTJ!

Jason and Fawnda said...

What a great post! I was just thinking that the motley moms group was missing an adoptive family and here you are!

We leave Wednesday- that is less than 2 days from now- to Korea to get our son (I am the aforementioned sister of Karly). The journey has been tough for us but it has made us better people. I cannot wait to celebrate family day at our house. We only have to spend a week in Korea. The holidays are going to be so much fun this year! I can not wait to be a mom!

I cannot imagine packing for a bland referral! I am having a hard enough time packing for my son who I know is almost 9 months old.

We actually considered adopting from Russia but found that Korea fit our family better! .

You can check out my blog if you'd like!

Thanks so much for sharing


Teresa said...

Pam...we are so fortunate that you moved here! You are a great friend and your family is beautiful!

Happy family day!

Pam said...

Hi Fawnda, I will check out your blog. I am so happy for you. You will have the time of your life!!!! I have some close friends adopting from Korea now too, and it sounds like a great program. If we ever do it again, we would look into Korea. Good luck and savor every moment - even the difficult ones. It will all be worth it! You are in my prayers.

To all my other great new friends - thank you so much. Brissy - how cool is that for your family day. We are so happy to be here with all of you. Thanks again for welcoming us in!!

Jason and Fawnda said...

Although I am a little freaked out about the 14 hour plane ride home I know that it will be very good bonding time for our family!

Thanks for the post on my blog! I am always excited to meet another adoptive family friend!

I hope your family day is/was wonderful!


Pam said...

Hey Fawnda,

This is a spoiler for next week, but I am thinking about blogging about our plane ride home from Russia. You might not want to read it until later, but who am I kidding? Once you have that sweet little baby boy, we will be so old news :). Your trip is going to be awesome, and good or bad, all things will be part of your great memories. Good luck!

Janice said...


Happy Family Day to you, Charlie and Alex!!! He is such a sweet little boy. It's been awesome to see how God has worked in your lives these past several years.

We miss all of you here, but it looks like you have a great bunch of friends there, so at least I can rest easy knowing you are in good hands. :)

Rachel said...

Happy Family Day to your wonderful family! Thank you for sharing your story with us!

Amy said...

I just happened to stumble across your blog. I also adopted from Astrakhan (June 2007). How true it is that the stress filled journey seems to morph into fond memories when you return and settle home. We actually stayed in Astrakhan during our 10 day wait after court and then our 7 day wait after our Gotcha Day....talk about long!
Anyway, check out my blog. I have links to blogs of other families that are currently in the process of adopting through Astrkahn. Through following their journeys I find that I sort of relive my own.