Saturday, December 26, 2009

Meeting on Thursday December 24th

Have you ever watched someone's heart get ripped out of their body and then be the one left holding it? Let me tell you what it feels like... Your own feelings completely evaporate and you can only feel that person's pain. It shoots straight into your own heart and you are completely connected to their sadness and fear at that moment. It is the most intense feeling of empathy that you will ever experience.

This is what happened to us two days ago. We had to meet with Ruslan's brother and ask for permission to adopt Ruslan. He would not give his consent nor would he give us a reason for not giving it.

Our hearts were broken.

The meeting with Ruslan's brother was scheduled for 10 a.m.. We did the typical routine and all made it to the orphanage for 10. Brother was late.

We sat in the library with Ruslan and his best friends Sasha, Kiril, and Vadim for what seemed like a very long time. They did well with just an ipod and nothing else for over an hour.

Finally the people started filing into the library. Vitali the translator, Elana the Orphanage Attorney, Svetlana the children's services rep, and finally Ruslan's brother. Immediately He said that he wanted to talk with Ruslan alone. So they left and we waited. The mood was good.

They returned and- for some reason -it just didn't feel right. We made sure that everyone was on the same page and put things in writing before we planned the trip out...but imagine you are a 17 year old who has lived in an orphanage who just recently had been released to live on your own. When I was 17, the only decisions I ever made were relatively meaningless. I was never asked if I would agree to have my brother move away and live with other people whom I had never met and maybe never see him again (of course we expect Ruslan to stay in touch with his brothers). How would I know what to think?

I could see things slipping away. We were trying to make small talk and explain a plan to keep in contact. We wanted his information. He said he had none. There was something not right. All the officials started talking more seriously with the brother. I could make out a few words here and there. No one was talking to me and Cindy. Ruslan and his brother were not making eye contact.

I interrupted. "What's the problem?"

Vitali "His brother says he will not give his consent. He won't say why. He says his decision is final"

It's hard to explain how we felt in that moment.
Disbelief? Cheated? Mad? Sad?
It was one of the biggest moments I have ever been apart of.

What could we say? How could we turn things around? This was not what everyone was expecting.

We composed ourselves and pleaded to Andrei. He would not be losing a brother, but gaining a family. Andrei made eye contact and listened, but he was not changing his decision.

So what did this mean? The courts take all things into consideration. They would like everyone to be happy with any arrangement. Ultimately, it is Ruslan's decision to make. Ruslan's loyalties were with his brother and not with the new family he had known for a short time. Ruslan said he would not give his consent to be adopted. His decision, like his brother's, was final.

Andrei was going to their other brother's house to discuss the situation. He said that he would call Friday morning and give his final answer. It didn't sound promising.

End of meeting. Andrei left. Ruslan left. We went straight to the cab. The situation seemed hopeless and although we didn't talk about it I am sure Cindy was thinking about the same contingency plans that I was thinking about.

We went back to the apartment. We bought some Ukranian food and beer. There wasn't much that was said on Christmas Eve.


Anonymous said...

Dear Zenon, Cindy, and Voss,
I am keeping you in my prayers, that the adoption goes through smoothly. Thank you very much for sharing your journey with us. May all your dreams come true!
Love Martha K.

Anonymous said...

Even though we have been in contact with you by phone, and aware of what was going on, this blog (so well written) made me cry!
We know that things will get better, and the outcome will be a positive one. Love your photos! Ruslan definitely is destined to be Voss' older brother. Our love and prayers are with you. Mom and Dad