Friday, March 7, 2008

We are Going Home

Our third referral is too sick to leave his groupa. This poor child cannot function outside his groupa. He is so mentally challenged that he cannot be considered for adoption. We were shown his file nonetheless.

We are done here and are returning home.

We sat in the hallway of the SDA until we were allowed to meet with the Director. We asked why we were shown files three different times of children that were so much worse then their files stated. We asked why we were not allowed to call the orphanage director during our third appointment. We were told that the SDA staff is too busy to keep the files current or accurate and that they rely upon the families to take the referrals and report back to the SDA about the childrens' status. This information isn't consistently added to the children's files.

We were told that it was illegal for us to have had our 3rd appointment. (Third appointments are not illegal.) We were asked if we were asking to have members of the SDA break the law by being allowed to see more files. Even though we reiterated numerous times that we were looking for a child with correctable health issues or a child that had the cognitive ability to function within a family unit and that the child or 2 children could be of either sex and up to 7 years old we were told that there are no files that would meet our criteria. The SDA Director told us that there are no healthy children under 8 or 10 years old. She said that she is working with the US Embassy to update their website to reflect this information. She said that Ukrainians do not abandon their children in orphanages if they are healthy. She said that prospective adoptees that want healthy children go to countries like China where children are abandoned for reasons other then health.

We did not receive nor did we think we would be offered an apology for being shown inaccurate and outdated files. It is our perception based on this conversation that the SDA has no interest in keeping the files current or accurate. It is our conclusion that there is no concern for adopting families traveling blindly to far away regions in their country based on wrong data. The excuse we were offered was that it was God's will that we did not find our child here. From our perspective the reason is that we are forced to make decisions on children with information that is completely inaccurate and outdated. Thankfully for many families the inaccuracies plays in their favor. For us the inaccurancies did not.

We did not fail the children of Ukraine. We see them being failed by their own government. I saw piles of files in every room we were in during the selection process. We are told by complete strangers in this process that when the SDA is called by orphanage directors or city inspectors the SDA has no record of the child, and that the files sit on desks of medical doctors who don't feel there is any need to expedite their updating. Based on dates given to us during our appointments, children are available for adoption months before they are ever shown to prospective adoptees.

It is so saddening and heartbreaking for the children. These children run to you, cry for you, gaze at you from afar because they so desperately want a Mama and a Papa to love them. We do not cry for ourselves. To try to make sense of it all is futile as there is no logic or humanity in it. We are going home and we know in our hearts that we did as much as we could for a child in Ukraine.


Kristen said...

How terribly sad.
You, your family, and the children of Ukraine, so mistreated by their government, will continue to be in my prayers.
I thank you for sharing your story, as we have felt called to adopt from Eastern Europe, as well.

Sondra said...

Rita, my heart breaks for you and for all the children. Safe return and I send a big hug your way for all of you.

Kathy & Matt said...

As you know, we grieve with you and Drew right now as you change course and evaluate alternative options for your family.

After reading your post, it is heartbreaking to hear the response you got from the SDA - both for your family and for all the children that match the broad parameters you requested. It just doesn't make sense.

You courage, perseverance, honesty and continued positive attitude are inpiring.

Thanks for sharing. Please email or call if or whenever you want to talk.

Dave said...

This is such sad news. I'm so sorry for you and for the Orphans in Ukraine. We are certainly praying for you to have peace, comfort, and rest, and to know where to go from here.

Tami said...

I'm so sorry you've had to go through this. You are right. Ukraine's system is terribly broken. It is so full of corruption and ineptness it's a miracle that ANY children get adopted out of there at all.
I want you to know, however, that through this process you have been an example of grace under pressure and courage in the face of adversity. You will be in our prayers during the coming days and weeks as you process what you've been through.
We're here if you need to talk this out. ((hugs))

jeannine said...

I'm so sorry that you had to go through all you did. It just doesn't seem fair and it isn't. I think of your journey so much and I hope that you and Drew find some comfort in knowing how hard you tried. Your ability to continue to persevere over this period of time has been admirable. We never know exactly what God has in store for us. Safe travels home and I'll call you after you're settled back at home.

Ruth said...

(((Rita))) I am so sorry to hear that it has not worked out for you to adopt from Ukraine. It makes me upset to think that there are children in those orphanages who NEED parents and you went over there trying to adopt one or two of them and yet that didn't happen for reasons that have nothing to do with you OR with the children. I just can't believe that there aren't ANY children in Ukraine that meet the parameters you guys had set. I pray the Lord will guide you in whatever future steps you might take to find a sibling for your son.

N & D said...

so sorry to hear it did not work out - I was so hoping it would have. There is absolutely nothing worse than coming home without a child :( I am so sad for you and your family.

christie said...

Drew and Rita, please, please email us any time. I'm so sorry for you and for all the children. :(

If anything, you have educated those going in your footsteps.

May the Lord heal your hurts and bring you peace.


rachel said...

dear rita,
i am so sorry. i think it is everyone's worst fear.
please know that many strangers feel your plight and hope that there will be a happy outcome for your family sometime soon.

warmest regards,

Steve Eimers said...

Drew and Rita,

I am so sorry for your loss and another child in Ukraine is failed by the SDA. I remember the sheer panic and the racing heart and all at the SDA. We were fortunate but for too many people who are willing to help a lost child the system is an abject FAILURE! The thing that makes me maddest is they (SDA) just don't seem to care. I hope and pray that after some time there is another place for you.

Steve Eimers

DoveFamily said...

Praying for you all during this difficult time.

The Schaffer Family said...

We just read your information and are so sorry to hear the bad news. We were frustrated with our SDA profiles as well but the persistency of our facilitator is what helped us find our daughters.

Our facilitator called the orphanage director and told her she remembered some sisters she seen when processing another family's adoption. The director gave the names and our facilitator went in and demanded the files. We met in the parking lot the next morning just prior to the opening of the SDA and received them.

You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Greg and Leah Schaffer

Christine said...

I am so sorry. This must be a very hard thing to have to face. Safe travels home.

Greta said...

Reading your post brought back so many memories and fears of our trip to Ukraine last year. I know this has happened to others and it is so sad when you know how many wonderful children are there waiting for parents just like you. It is unbelievable that the SDA had that response. So uncaring and unfeeling about what everyone goes through to get to the appointment and beyond... not to mention the lack of compassion for their own unwanted, unloved children.
Everything happens for a reason and that must be true in your case. The brighter day is right around the corner for your family.