Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 8 - It is Finished

Dominick and I did a lot of soul searching last night. I was up at 3:00 AM and he wasn't far behind me. As you can imagine, we have been torn up about the situation we are dealing with here, and it requires a wisdom we aren't sure we have. We also have really kept the dialogue going with the boys. The truth is, there are some pretty insightful little hearts residing in those small bodies, and we feel strongly we are all in this together, that Team LaJoy exists because of that very reason.

After much heartache, we came to the only conclusion that made sense considering all that we have been through. It will no doubt be an unpopular one with some, but this is not a popularity contest, this is life.

We made the decision to end our visitations with the girls, we will not be adopting them.

Every single one of us felt this was hopeless, that we are powerless to change the ultimate outcome, and that this is quite simply not going to work. Our interpreter/coordinator who has been there for every visit agreed as well, and is actually angry at the response we have been getting from Angela.

These are not bad girls, and I continue to reinforce that with the boys and in our minds...along with the fact that we are not a bad family even though we have suffered a terrible loss which feels like a rejection. But it is not a rejection of us, it is a rejection of a new and scary life. Gives one a much greater respect for the courage Kenny had to take that step with us, doesn't it?

We had an appointment at 4:00 PM today at the orphanage to meet with the Director's Assistant to discuss the situation. We spoke for awhile, and of course, I tried unsuccessfully to hold back the tears. We explained that Angela refuses to engage with us, that she won't look at us, speak with us, or have anything to do with us. We said we have tried all we can think of and it is obvious she doesn't want to go with us, regardless of her saying she would allow it. We are grateful that there was no attempt to dissuade us, and it was obvious that this woman felt very, very badly about the situation. We also said that we felt we had made progress with Olesya and she would have eventually fit in nicely, but that she was very much led by her sister and when around her shut down as well. We apologized and the Assistant said not to apologize, that SHE felt very badly as she understood the time, the cost, and the distance involved in this and then she acknowledged that she also knew how much emotion was invested as well.

She then went on to say it was obvious we had a very warm and loving family, and she was very sorry this wasn't working...that many children would jump at the chance to join us. She asked if we wanted to speak to the girls ourselves, or if we wanted her to do it. We said we would gladly talk to them but we didn't know how the staff preferred for it to be handled. She said she was going to go speak with the girls and would be back. We waited a few minutes and in she comes with Angela and Olesya. Angela sits at a table near the Assistant and hangs her head about as low as a child could hang it. Olesya elects to sit across the room near us and the interpreter, an act which in itself spoke volumes.

The Assistant speaks at length to the girls and questions Angela in depth. Angela admitted that part of her wanted to go, and part of her wanted to stay. The Director said essentially that this was not a time for games, that Angela had to realize this would be forever and could not be changed like a visit for a week...that she would never come back if she made the decision. We appreciated that she didn't sugar coat things and was as honest as we would have been if speaking at that moment. We also explained that having gone through it with Kenny, we understood how challenging it would be for them, and it was most important that they wanted a family...not just to come to America...because they would need their family to help them when it was hard. We added our comments that we wanted Angela to know that deciding to remain behind did not make her a bad person, that we truly wanted what was best for her and if this felt like home to her now, then we understood and she could be honest. We also said that her honesty wouldn't hurt us, but her treatment of us this past week did.

The Director said that Olesya still wanted to come with us but Angela did not, which we already knew. When asked how they felt about that, Olesya said that she wanted to go but didn't want to leave Angela. We explained that we would not want them separated anyway (although had there been a strong indication on their part that this was what they wanted we would have considered it, I guess). We explained that we cared about them very much, and we did not want to force something on them that they didn't want.

Angela sat there whispering answers, chin in her chest. I do believe that part of her wanted to go, some small innocent part that remembers the desires of her more childlike heart. But the larger part has settled in and gave up on the hope of having a family. She did what any one of us would do, she created a home for herself, she toughened up...she survived. It is what they all do. We were told years ago that around 12 or so they all become different children if they remain behind...the hope is gone and they realize they are in this for the long haul so they better figure out how to remain in it and not be crushed by their circumstances. It was this knowledge that had me growing more and more concerned as the months...then the years...passed as we worked our way ever so slowly through the government red tape. Dominick reminded me several times over the past couple of days "You were right all along, Cindy. You repeatedly said this could happen and you kept saying it wasn't a fairy knew this was taking too long and what could happen because of it, and sadly it did."

Somehow though, one would think that 11 years old wasn't too old to salvage. Some have done so successfully, but with willing and curious participants.

I was proven correct when Irina got in the car later and spoke to me after talking alone with the girls in the hallway for several minutes. Angela said exactly that, telling her "I wish they had come 2 years ago, I was really ready then...and I did want to be adopted then."

The hardest part of today, of this entire week, the part that truly made me gently lose it is when the girls left the room when we were finished, and we were all quietly getting our coats and gloves on, and Olesya comes back in and makes a beeline for me, and hugs me for all it is worth. I tried...oh, how I tried not to cry...but the tears fell despite my best efforts as I whispered "I love you" in Russian and we stood there for the longest time, clinging to one another and to what might have been. This unprompted display of true affection showed me that my instincts all week were correct about Olesya, that given the chance without the influence and fear of offending Angela, she would have bonded easily and fit in our family really well. No mother and daughter could have felt more, and I think at that moment Dominick and I looked at one another and truly understood who the biggest loser is in all of this. She turned and quickly went out the door, never looking back.

Sometimes being a loving parent means knowing when to let go. I discovered that today earlier in my parenting career than most ever do.

And I can't even type these words without crying...

We left and it was a very quiet car on the 5 minute drive back to our apartment. The boys had sat quietly in the back of the room as all of this was going on, being respectful of the seriousness of the moment and not really understanding all that was discussed in hushed tones. But they knew walking in the orphanage what was going to occur, and we had prepared them ahead of time that we didn't know if we would even see the girls or how this would work out. I was so extremely proud of them and their behavior, they have carried themselves so well over the past week or so, and looking at them and what their hearts are like has helped more than I can explain as Dominick and I have both felt as if we were incompetent and unlovable as we tried repeatedly this week to "crack through the ice" as Kenny so aptly put it.

We get inside the apartment and Dominick and I sit alone in the kitchen for awhile, talking, me crying a little, both of us feeling terribly beaten down. Broken is the only word for it. We then went into the living room to talk with the boys, take a reading on how they were feeling, explain once again that this had nothing to do with them at all and everything to do with what institutionalization does to children and how fear can cause someone to be afraid to grab hold of a love.

Kenny started to cry, he was terribly disappointed and crawled up on my lap burying his head in my shoulder. Of all three boys, he knows what they passed up and what their life is like. He said he was worried about their future, and wished they had made another choice but also realized that they couldn't go with us if they really didn't want to. Joshie sat on the floor rolling and re-rolling his blankie, and when asked how he was feeling he said "really sad, I wanted sisters.". Matthew was his usual quieter self and at first I though he was fairly unemotional until he looked up and I saw the look in his eyes. Matthew expressed deep sorrow as he had hoped he would be gaining a companion in Angela, someone more mature and closer to his developmental level, and he said he feels he is missing out on that now.

We talked there for an hour, sharing what we all felt, how awful this was, what our dreams had been...and what was the worst part of this week. Joshie replied first to that one saying "Right now, talking right now about what happened at the orphanage today was the worst part.". Kenny said it was the girls not smiling or looking at them. Matthew said "When we were bowling and I tried to "high five" Angela and she walked by like I wasn't even there, it really hurt my feelings.".

We explored what love really is, why each of us thought God brought us here only to have this happen...and none of us really came up with an answer to that one. I imagine we may never know why, there were so many ways permanent road blocks could have been erected and yet weren't. As we looked back on it, Dominick and I were trying to see if we missed God's leading in this somehow, if we pushed when we should have stopped. The fact is that other than the typical red tape frustration that made this much longer than usual, there really wasn't anything yelling STOP at us, as all the speed bumps were just that, speed bumps and not road blocks. Everything smoothed over fairly easily each time, we didn't do anything to really push it other than wait or collect another document.

Then we broached the next subject, what do we do now? We have kicked the idea around the past couple of days as we have felt where this was headed, and even made an inquiry at their orphanage today. Should we look at other children? Would THAT be pushing it? Should we just go home and call our family done? What yesterday sounded like a good go ahead and open our hearts to the possibility that the girls were merely to lead us here for another child or children...tonight seems impossible to consider. We are all so scared of being hurt again, of being rejected by another child. Each of us said that in different ways. A couple of days ago when we threw out the theoretical question each of the boys was enthusiastic in their response that they thought we should at least try. Tonight, it feels more like throwing ourselves under a train. Matthew was firmly all for it, saying he thought it would be such a waste to come this far and done so much to get here to walk away without at least checking. That is where Dominick and I were a couple of days ago as we pondered what we might do. Joshie said no, but later over dinner talked about if we bring home a brother, and I asked him if he had changed his mind and he said "Yes, I think we should look.". Kenny really, really wants a sister or two, and is heartbroken over the girls not coming but he too is feeling the pain of taking the risk.

I used how we are all feeling now as an example of how the girls must have felt about us, and talked about how easy it is to give in to those fears and not be willing to give love a chance. I pointed this out even though at this very moment I can't imagine going through the process with an open heart to discover if there is another child meant for us here. The bad part of it is that we don't have the luxury of time to reflect and heal, we are here for a limited time frame and are extremely conscious of the gift of this trip here...but at the same time we don't want to waste that if the opportunity presents itself to find a child whom we really were meant to parent. On a better day, we realize we have the capacity to love many children, would actually love to have more, and all of us Matthew put it, "room in our hearts" for more. We have spent 2 1/2 years getting here, spent tens of thousands of dollars that were given us for the purpose of adopting, and we are open to God's will in our lives. Although we originally said we were here to adopt these specific children and would just go home otherwise, I had an epiphany of sorts a couple of days ago when I realized I was telling God which children I was willing to parent rather than doing as we had always done and as I had years ago promised...stand willing to parent whichever child God chooses to present us a gift. And I realized that we had no choice but to at least make the attempt to search out a heart that is willing to connect with ours.

Tonight, that is harder to imagine. As Dominick said, tomorrow is another day. I might be able to wake up and imagine it. I actually hold out little hope as despite the fact the orphanages are full, a large number of children are not legally available and parental rights are not terminated. We also only have immigration approval for up to 3 girls ages 5 - 13 but our homestudy written back when we started all of this indicates Joshua needs to remain the youngest, as we felt then was wisest. He has grown so much since then and has actually requested a younger sibling now, and we feel it could work well. But we don't know the logistics and timing of changing such things for court, how difficult it might be...if we even want to as that might be pushing what was not meant to be as well.

We are still trying to discern God's voice in all of this, and none of us seems to be hearing it well.

And Dominick is right, tomorrow dawns a new day. Perhaps it will be clear to us what we should do then. Maybe that will be hop on the next plane and go home to lick our wounds, heal, and take apart a pretty girlie bedroom that contained such joy and hope for a future we will be denied.

Maybe we will find there is someone here we are being led to, boy or girl, healthy or with correctable issues, who is open to being in a family.

Regardless of what tomorrow brings, the pain will not leave easily, it will linger for years. The questions of God might never be answered, and if anyone has a clue what all this was for I'd sure love to hear from you as for the life of me I can't figure it out and it seems utterly pointless. Why??? Did we do everything we felt was right to do? Did we ignore something along the way? Did we push when we should have pulled back?

Is there a single positive thing to come from this. I don't see it. Maybe it is there, but I sure can't find it. Maybe you can help.

I also know there are many of you who are of the opinion we should have pressed them harder, brought them home as long as we could have gotten a "yes" out of them in court and hoped for the best. I am not denying that we might have had a happily ever after. We also might not have, and that was a risk I wasn't willing to take. Call me a loser, call me over protective, call me a quitter. All might be good labels. Our gut instinct screamed out at us not to press, not to move forward, that this was serious and we would be making a mistake. We came here with the desire to offer love, not bring out anger. We came here not to save a child but to build our family. I am not the world's best mother, and I don't think we could have made it with Angela. I do know there are some who could have. But we looked at each other and realized that even if we had been childless going into this we would not have wanted to take her home. That pretty much summed it up for us and made our decision easy.

We are still at a place of relative peace with this, we feel we made the right decision for us given our life circumstances and our limited parenting skills. We are not trained therapeutic parents.

More importantly, we feel we made the right decision for Angela. Like it or not, she is at a place of peace with her life the way it is as well. After much debate about how much we should be trying to convince her, we realized we needed to do the same thing with her that we always do with the boys, respect her opinion and listen to what she did not have the ability to tell us with words but communicated with her actions.

Did we make the right decision for Olesya? Ahhh...that one is the tough one and I can not say yes to that. But in this situation we have no control over that, we can not separate them, we are at the mercy of a system we have to work within.

I will sadly be forced to forever wonder...

I will never feel as if we did enough. Of that I am certain.

So we see what tomorrow brings. Pray for us, for guidance and certainty in all we do. If there is a child who is supposed to be ours, let us find them. If we are to go home, let that be clear.

We are still intact, though terribly bruised. We remain Team LaJoy, we fought a good fight.

We see what tomorrow brings.


Anonymous said...

You are in our thoughts and hearts. Vegas

Kara said...

Oh Cindy,
And in the end, that is all each of us can wish we have done--fought the good fight. I don't think anyone can deny that Team LaJoy always does that. It is easy for most at home to judge what you should or should not do; but those of us who are in similar shoes to yours know that you are right--you have to fight for your family. And, you all have done so in the best possible way. I think in the end you did this not only for the girls, but largely for your boys. You ARE their parents, and that is what they need you to do--protect and guide them as you always have. Some may think this is the easy road, but you and I both know there is no easy road in this situation. You have simply done your best and that is what God asks of us. So many prayers and hugs for peace are coming your way.

Kathy W said...


I couldn't figure out how to say it in a comment yesterday. So I am so glad you said it for me. God put you in the place you are in for a reason. He did not promise Angela would be coming home, however.

Give yourselves a day to heal, and then find out the reason. She may be waiting there for you. If so she would be the right child. Or it could just be that you needed to experience this to know it is not right for you.

Remember that you said to me that my referral in Kyrgyzstan may not actually be my child. That I got a referral did not mean I would for sure get to bring him home. But I needed to follow my heart. I did, to my little girl who is now 7 months old and adopted domestically.

You were right then. If God's only reason was to allow you to end the dream, that will become apparent, but... for the child who could leave there... I hope that's not all He wanted for you. You have a lot of love to give and there is a child in that building who wants to be loved.

Kathy W

Kelly said...

Dear LaJoy's,

I have been following your blog for years and am SO sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how difficult this is. My only thought is that IF God somehow used these girls to lead you to another child, how will you know unless you at least explore this with the orphanage and Irina? What will bring the greatest sense of peace to you - to get on the plane home tomorrow or open your hearts one more time to inquire of other available children? You are such an amazing family and I have drawn such inspiration and strength from you. My prayers are with you. Peace. Kelly

Anonymous said...

My heart hurts for you all. Part of me thinks you should take them and hope for the best. Maybe if they would have been your only children that would have been an option. But with 3 well adjusted sons to consider I think you made the right decision. I know you'll feel the loss of what might have been forever, but time and your faith will heal you and in time you'll feel peace with the way things worked out with Olesya and Angela.

Anonymous said...

No one can truly judge your decisions. They are your own, based on your family's needs. Any decision you made is the right decision as long as you all put a lot of thought and feeling into it - and it's obvious you have.

Only one thing you wrote I'd have to disagree with. You said that you both realized Olesya was the biggest loser in all of this. It was Angela too, and just as much. Unfortunately, because of all the time they had you wait, you never got to see the moment Angela may have lost her hope, or her desire for a different life.

The five of you have each other, and I'm sure will make some good decisions in the days ahead about your family. Take care and best to all of you.

dan said...

So sad to hear this of this ending. I so resonated with your comment that you are in this process to build a family - not merely to save children. That has been repeated to us during our adoption process and guided many decisions. We pray for wisdom and direction if there are other little ones there for you all to parent and bring home. - kristy

traceylynndel said...

Praying for your family...God will indeed heal the pain. I will also pray for God to lead you in your decisions. May you sleep peacefully and awake to a new day full of hope despite the pain that will no doubt remain.

Barbara said...

Team Lajoy,

You are all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Please take the time to reflect and maybe God brought you there for other reasons even though you came with open hearts for these 2 girls. You have to think also keep in mind the 3 well adjusted boys you have and I think it is so wonderful how they are so involved as so many parents would not consider their thoughts as you and Dom have. You will be directed in the right path as you have shown great patience throughout this very long journey. Stay strong there is a world out there pulling behind all of Team LaJoy.


Raynola said...

My heart is aching for you and your family, as I read your post I shed tears and wish that you were here so that I could hug and extend comfort to you and maybe draw some out for myself.

Only you can know what is best for you, the same holds true for Angela, you are very strong for respecting the late fact. To me this speaks volumes about how much you really do love them. I wonder if they are just now realizing this or is it will hit them (Angela) in the distant future.

I encourage you to keep an open heart to all possiblities. Please know that you ARE a very GOOD FAMILY, you are GOOD PARENTS and you are LOVED.

Raynola and Family

Kim said...

I am so very sorry for your pain. You have done what you feel is right for YOUR family and you are the ONLY ones qualified to do that. Know that for each person who disagrees with your decision, there plenty of us who stand firmly behind you.

I pray for peace and healing of your hearts. I pray for the girls and their future.

I think perhaps (as you search for reason) that perhaps this glimmer into what love and family is, might serve, at least O, well in the future. That she will carry that feeling with her into adulthood and that it will help her to know how to love her own children when that time comes.

I honestly do believe (not think, but BELIEVE) there is a purpose for you being there. I hope that it is to give the gift of family to a child or children.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lajoy Family,
I truly believe that God has a reason for everything, both the good and the bad, and that God's plans supersede our own. I think God is hard at work in all of this sadness. I'm praying for all 5 of you while you're in mourning.

God Bless You All,
Nancy (blog lurker)

Calico Sky said...

No one can possibly know what it must have felt like and how much you must have known the end was here, so there is no judgement. I feel you have shown such grace, determination and strength. I will be praying for you all.


Becki Stone said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I wish I had words to make this easier for you. Hang in there! Hugs
“The Will of God will never lead you Where the Grace of God cannot keep you.” St. Therese

Anonymous said...

Continuing to pray here, Cindy, and my heart is breaking for you.
Perhaps a better way to put that is that, through your experiences, I am feeling again how my heart was already broken. As you know or might remember, we lost the referral of the little girl we planned to adopt three days before traveling to Kazakhstan. We thought we were going to get Aidana. We went and brought home Alia.
And yes, we feel God led us to our daughter Alia. That, through the heartbreaking experience of loving a child only to discover that she was terminally ill and therefore unadoptable, we received the daughter that God intended for us. It was the only way we could have found her.
Why did the experience have to be so heartbreaking? I don't know. But I do know that we have the daughter we were meant to have and care for and love, and I also have the hope of meeting my other daughter - the one I carried in my heart for so long - when we're in heaven. And I believe with all my soul, that when I meet Aidana in heaven, she will be dancing.
As you also know and possibly remember is that we later adopted our son from the US foster care system. He was nearly 11. And for 18 months, we held our arms out and tried to pull him into our family. It never happened. What did happen was that, in order for him to get the help he severely needed, we had to give up our rights. And for that process to occur, we had to say we couldn't do it. We had to give up our hopes and our dreams for him. And in saying we couldn't care for a child that we brought into our home and loved, we went through years of questioning ourselves. Our ability to parent. I had to let another child go, with only the hope of meeting him again in a new and perfect life.
And our children saw us in these failures. Yet, our family has prevailed.
I guess I'm writing all of this to say that I do understand, in some ways, what you're going through. My advice, having been in somewhat of a similar situation? I guess it would be to follow your hearts regarding adopting other children. Look for that peace that will come over you and guide you. I remember that - being at peace with going for one child and bringing home another. It was such a strong peace that made no sense, but it was there.
Whatever happens, allow yourselves to grieve the loss of the girls. Allow yourselves to cry, to wish, to wonder and to hold them in your hearts forever. Because you will, anyway, in one way or another. Feel it, but don't beat yourselves up with it. You are wonderful parents and you are Godly people. If there's anything that can come from me sharing my experience with you, having met you years ago and still having pictures of our two little Kazakh cuties - baby Matthew and baby Alia together -I hope it is comfort.
May God's peace be with all of you. May you be clear of His plan. Whether there's a child there that you are meant to bring home or not, may He reveal that with peace.

Andrea said...

Life is full of unanswered questions for all of us. It is the human condition - "What if?"
For the most part, we do the best we can with our heads and hearts and live this complex thing called human life as people come and go in life's journey. "Answers" may not come for a long time, if ever. That doesn't stop us from forging on. In your case, time was a curse but it will also be part of your healing.
You have come so far - hopefully there is a child or children there now - the last stone yet unturned. Either way that's the one question that you will have an answer to before you go home - will someone occupy those rooms or not.
Hang in there - it will all work out for the best.

Anonymous said...

Cindy I think you and the guys are doing a wonderful job with a very difficult situation.

At least you have some sort of closure with the girls now. It is not like you left them years ago and never tried.

You did try. You all tried with everything you had. You tried for years.

God gave us free will. He also sets us up for all sorts of sweet heart oportunities and sometimes we (as the girls) pass because we are just too afraid or cling to a wrong belief. I would guess those moments are devastating to him to.

I would check and see if God did have a golden child up his sleeve for you (he certainly did for me), It may be a wonderful child & a good fit, if not it is just another miserable day in a long line of rotten days) but if no child easily appeared I would get my wonderful little boys and make the best out of the remainder of the trip.


julievilardo said...

Team LaJoy
I am so sorry! I had to walk away multiple time while reading your post just so I would not break down. I cannot imagine how hard this is on you. My heart breaks for you and for O. I hate to think of guilt and remorse A will have to deal with through life because of this. What a tough learning experience...hopefully she is truly strong enough or gets enough help to get through it.

I am thrilled that you are open to seeing if there is another Team LaJoy member there that you were not previously aware of. You are an awesome family with plenty of love to share. I am sorry A wasn't open to your love but who knows God may have some other little girls ready and waiting for you.

We will continue to pray for you guys.


Anonymous said...

I can't imagine having to make the decisions you've had to make in the circumstances you've had to make them, and then adding the need to decide what to do now...I'm so, so sorry.
This was you a couple of days ago, "Tanya who is in their family group was the only other child around and she smiled shyly at me, then walked down the hall slowly, alone…throwing a glance over her shoulder over and over again. I know she was wishing she could go with us and if things were different..." I know, you were only talking about a ballgame that day....

Anonymous said...

Hi all LaJoy,

I'll keep praying for all of you and even for the girls you lost.

I'll also hope for you to open your hearts for another sib. group of 2 girls, or just 1, but for that room not to remain empty when all of you have space in our lives and hearts for sisters and daughters and much love to give.

I admire you strength, and keep praying for you to find peace with your decision and specially with Angela's sad choice.

You'll be in our prayers tonight, as you have been every night for the past week.

God bless you and help you through this sorrow.


Matt and Pam Bean said...

Lajoy Family,

Sometimes God's plans are clearer when our perceptions/expectations are removed from the prayer that we have been crying out. He will make it clear to you all even if it is a step at a time for your "safety."

The saying it is always darkest before dawn, seems to be a theme that is coming to mind at the moment. And towards the end of your post, you were coming around to the basic advice that you have given my family and I about adoption. Don't put "anything" in a box and order it up. You don't know how many times I have had to repeat that to myself throughout our process just to get me through. The advice truly works, but it is hard to live through.

This must be the closest emotional place to a miscarriage and you must grieve over it. However, you are still standing with an incrediebly strong family intact, who are open hearted enough to love freely. Embrace that strong quality, seek wisdom and guidance, and know that GOD IS SO BIG THAT HE CAN TAKE ANYTHING BAD AND MAKE IT GOOD. I pray that your family will be restored and it will be given back what has been stolen from it seven times over. Claim it.

As, I am writing you the word guidance has spoken to me. I believe He has broken it down to GOD and I DANCE. Let Him lead you and wisk you around the dance floor of life. As long as He is in control of the dance, He will steer you clear of any obstacles in the way.

We love you all and will continue to pray for the situation!

The Beans

Mala said...

You may or may not remember that a family (a few families actually) had traveled to meet Beck. He reacted so poorly towards them that they made the same decision that you have had to make. In that decision, they found "THEIR" children and I found Beck.
Point is, EVERYTHING happens for a reason. There are no mistakes in life. YOU ARE STILL THERE FOR A REASON.

Heather said...

I'm so sorry Cindy. I'm still hoping that you all come back w/ sisters whomever they may be. You both are great parents and have the desire to parent more. It seems logical from this end of things that you should bring someone else home. However, my emotions are not raw right now like yours and your family's. I pray tomorrow allows you some clearer thoughts and a clear direction. Maybe, if you allow your heart to open again, your daughter will find her mom! But if you don't, you will go home w/ a perfectly great family intact. I'm praying for u all

smileysk8 said...

Our prayers are with you and your family. You have every right to grieve your loss of these 2 girls. You have loved them as daughters in your hearts for years. Now you have suffered the death of the dream of being their family. It's a mighty blow to suffer. I have no doubt Team LaJoy will get through this with God's help. I hope and pray there are children there that God (through the girls) lead you there to adopt. I know it will be harder for you guys to not guard your hearts meeting other children. How could you not guard your hearts after such heartache? But I pray for open hearts and open minds if/when you do meet other kids there to possibly consider. God bless you Team LaJoy! You are an awesome family and God is clearly with you.

Anonymous said...

You wrote, "Is there a single positive thing to come from this. I don't see it. Maybe it is there, but I sure can't find it. Maybe you can help."

Perhaps it is too early to talk of the good that has come out of this, but I see lots, and I am confident that, with time, you will too. Think about all your boys have learned from this episode—things both “good” and “bad” but all deeply rooted in living a life full of love and compassion, a life lived well beyond one’s own narrow desires. Think about the 100s of hearts that have been connected because you were willing to open yours. And I can’t help but think that it has made a difference to A and O that someone wanted them deeply.

None of this is to discount the grief you must be feeling now. Those girls have been in your hearts for a long time. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this is a “loss” similar to what one feels over the death of a loved one. I send you lots and lots of love.

qmiller said...


Anonymous said...

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

"In the world you will have trouble, but I leave you my peace,

That where I am, there you may also be."

- Rich Mullins, That Where I Am

The above is from another Coloradan's blog but so fitting for you. She said that often when satan can't get us he puts up a smoke screen to keep us from seeing the blessings around the corner in the hopes that we will be distracted. Here is praying that you will see clearly and with peace His will for your beautiful family. I hope that girly room will still be filled with laughter soon.
Teresa F.

Anonymous said...

Dear Cindy,
I'm praying for ALL of you -- including those you may yet end up adopting!

Kelly said...

Cindy (and family),
I am so very sorry for what you have been going through. I feel that I got to know your family pretty well while we were in Uralsk together 6 years ago, and you have such a big heart full of love for these children. I know that I haven't experienced the type of loss which has just happened to you, so I don't know exactly what you're going through. But, I hate the thought of you going home without the children who were truly meant to be yours (whoever they are!) I know that your new children will not be the girls that you thought they would be, but it would be such a shame to go home "empty-handed." You have so much love to offer and there just have to be other children who would LOVE to be a part of your family. I hope that you can find some other lucky children who will help you begin to heal. I don't know if any of these words will help, but please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

____________________ said...

This is Shannon, from Colorado, who wrote back and forth with you a few times a couple years ago and then dropped you - first off - sorry! I now have 5 kids and my email time is quite limited, so I kind of default decided I couldn't keep up correspondance with you, even though you were SO helpful to me as I started our adoption process (and we did finally bring our daughter home - a 22 month old from Ust - just got home on Dec. 4th, so YES, we are still jetlagged, but doing real well!). But, as I have had time I've followed your blog and enjoyed reading your candor and openness.

Also, I am, obviously, an adoptive parent, but I am also a sister to adopted children - many. All total, my mom adopted, hmmm, let's see she had 2 disruptions at first, 2 disruptions later (after my sisters spent 6 and 8 years in her home), and 2 kids who stayed in the home. Needless to say the chaos caused ME to leave home at age 14 (and move in with my dad - don't worry, I didn't become an orphan:).

Okay, so here's the deal - there are MANY good things about your situation now. I know you aren't seeing or feeling them at all and you probably would be weird if you did - you are all in mourning and also you are all SO tired - a horrible combination.

Good things (and I'm sorry if I repeat what others say - I don't have time to read all the comments) - your family is getting through this together and communicating well, Kenny is really seeing the good choice he made - something that will probably help a lot as he grows up and experiences some of the hard stuff life has to throw at him, you never forced anything on the girls and, obviously, you are not bringing them home to, possibly, cause chaos in your family and/or their lives, you will pray for them and never forget them - something the Lord will surely use for their benefit and the good of His Kingdom and, yes, possibly God has you there to adopt someone else, and, finally, you are sharing your experiences and feelings and reactions with the public and I'm guessing you are now or will in the future really help someone who is/will be going through a similar decision.

So I hope you are sleeping hard now as I really think you need sleep and to experience at least a few HOURS of mourning and saying "good-bye" in your hearts to Angela and Olesya before considering other children. Very logically speaking, your brains just can't deal with the idea of adopting someone else when they are on overdrive and overload right now. I would come up with a list of questions to give to your coordinator and have her go find some answers while you and the boys rest and heal for a day. The questions could be things such as:

--Are there other children within the parameters of our homestudy who are available for adoption here? If so, tell us about each of them.
--Can the time we spent with the girls be applied to bonding time with a new child/children so we don't have to be here so long (it may seem far fetched but I know some regions DO allow this) or, if not, could we get a court date for IMMEDIATELY after our bonding period is over (instead of 7-10 days later like normal)?

Asking these questions does not at all put you in a position in which you must bond with or adopt a different child. It just leaves the option open and gives you time to chill and emote whatever you need to.

So that's my advice....for what it's worth...most importantly, make sure you are eating and resting and taking care of yourselves. I don't think you missed God on this one - I think He is closer than you realize and you may find him in a way/place that you least expected Him. He is good and knows and loves you all. He can be trusted. I will be praying for you and following along.

Hilary Marquis said...

We love you guys and are praying for God's direction in what is to come. Your trip has a purpose. You might not know what that purpose is yet, but it is all in His plan. You are a wonderful family. Your love is the most unselfish kind I've ever wittnessed!

Paige said...

Cliche as it sounds, you're not really living unless your taking risks. Adoption is risky business, as you well know. What a blessing it is that you are sharing in this unique experience together as a family, making you all closer and stronger. You are absolutely exactly where God wants you to be. For what it's worth, you've made the right decision and tomorrow is another day, as Dominick so wisely pointed out. God does work in mysterious ways. Will keep you in my prayers. (I can still see you being a great mother to a daughter(s) as well.)

Meghan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meghan said...

Dear LaJoy family,

I was very saddened to learn the outcome of this part of your journey. I feel as though so much has changed with the girls in the one year since I last saw them and maybe I no longer know them. I thought then that the girls were so much more open and excited about the idea of adoption.

Loosing the girls in this manner must be heart wrenching, but I also must believe that you were meant to come to Petro for a reason and there are so many amazing kids at the school. My heart goes out to all of you.

J said...

My heart breaks for A and O. A big part of me hopes (even expects)for A to turn around now, as the reality of the permanency of the decision hits her. O and A's relationship will never be the same again.

I was forced to leave a 1 yr old boy in the orphanage 4 years ago. Your current pain, Lajoys, resonates unbearably in my guts still, I feel for you all. My dd was 7 at the time too, and was heartbroken.

We went on ....tried again....and adopted another child years later.

I have no idea why these painful twists happen to us .....I wish you enormous strength to go on, risk your hearts again, for that child/children who you are meant to meet. Go on bravely. GL. J.

Corinne said...

Just wanted to let you know your family is in our thoughts and prayers.I so admire how you and your family is dealing with this situation with such grace and courage.We pray for your guidance and direction.

Lindsay said...

I hope that when it says it is darkest before the dawn, but joy cometh in the morning, that it is right.

I can't begin to imagine what you are going thru. My heart breaks for you, the boys, Dominick and the girls. Even knowing you have made the right decision about whether or not you could parent Angela, or she would allow you to: it must be unimaginably painful.

Prayers are with you all.

Anonymous said...

I'm sooo hoping for a miracle now.


Kathy B. said...

Cindy, so sorry for the way your trip has turned out. But remember you have to do what is best for the children already in your home. I can speak from experience you can't make a child love you. I pray that God brings the right child/children into your life in time to adopt, if that is his plan. You were right to not force the issue with Angela. Our prayers are with you and your family right now. Kathy B.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Angela will have some sort of awakening, maybe she'll decide to risk her heart again, maybe you can find it in you hearts to forgive her.
Maybe you can adopt them after all...

Maybe there is hope and love after all.

Praying for love,

Anonymous said...

Maybe Angela will have an awakening now, maybe she'll risk to love again, maybe you can find it in your hearts to forgive her, maybe you can still be a family.

Maybe they belong with you after all.

Maybe love and joy can be found.

Betsy said...

I'm sure this decision was heartbreaking and feels surreal. Please know you have our prayerful support no matter what happens next - if you come home as your beautiful family of 5 or if God leads you to another child while in Kazakhstan. Our hearts go out to you as you struggle to find meaning in this valley. I will be praying that God will show you how He is working all things together for good!

Lawrenceville Dad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Antares - Laura & Apryl said...

My heart aches for you!
Love, Laura

Trey said...

Your family is in our prayers. God has sent you there, and has a purpose in your being there. Someday, whether it is soon or not, God will reveal his plan.

Carol said...

This is a heartbreaking situation, but I think you know in your heart you made the right one. You are NOT a quitter... you have done everything you can. You've given Angela every opportunity to join your family, but it wasn't in her heart to do so.

There is too much grief and sorrow right now to discern the reason for your journey... but I think you will gain clarity as the days go by.

Of course... each of you will grieve and heal in your own way... but I think the LaJoys have enough love and strength to bring home another child or children, if you decide that is the best thing to do. I'm sure you will make the right decision.

Peace to all of you.

Beth said...

LaJoy Family,

May you find peace in your decision and please know that you have much support from your blogging "family". Your family clearly has a lot of love to share and I know you will find just the right way to share it that fits and feels just right for your family.

Ohiomom2121 said...

Dear Cindy,
Please know that you have done everything asked of you. As have some others, there is a part of me that hopes Angela begs to try again in a day or so, but the real reason I wanted to post was that I had heard of people having amended home studies while out of the country to adjust acceptable ages. Your family would obviously do well with any age of child, and I would hate to see you limit yourselves if now you want to try a couple that might include one or both being younger than Josh. He is obviously secure enough in your love to be able to be an older brother (probably doesn't hurt that he sees those other Team LaJoy members enjoying older brother status so much!). And I know you know about the birth order mantra pushed by some social workers, so I would hate to see you overlook an opportunity based on paperwork fears. I would suggest laying out your problem and then see if there are any in your parameters but being willing to consider those outside it if the orphanage says they have ever seen a change in home study being done. Overnight mail gets to the hinterlands pretty fast these days, if your agency is nimble enough and someone could help w/ the apostille process! I know you still might not have enough time to do this, but at least I would encourage you that it does seem to have been done in some countries. I don't know if the whole registering with the country would nix that, so if I am hopelessly ignorant, please forgive.
Also, know that your willingness to blog about this is helping those behind you. Our lost referral has gone from 5 to nearly 9 and Azerbaijan shows no signs of opening adoptions. Should she be 12 or 13 when they do, b/c of your gracious posts I will be prepared in a most visceral way for all potential outcomes. I am definitely praying for you to find God's window! Sherry

minime0910 said...

Cindy and the rest of Team LaJoy!!! I am so sorry to hear about your struggles, but know that you have SO many people praying for you and thinking about you. Despite everything, I still believe that there are no accidents. God's plan will be revealed in his perfect timing and know that you are an awesome family and an inspiration to so many of us. "The world breaks us all. Eventually, some of us are stronger at the broken places." Stay strong, Team La Joy!!! Erin

Allison said...

My heart aches for you and the girls. I can't even imagine how gut-wrenching that decision must have been, but you are doing what is right for your family and for those girls and you can't do anymore than that. There is a reason for your journey and I have faith that God will reveal his purpose. In the meantime, I pray for peace and healing in your hearts.

Joan said...

It is better to love and lose than never to love at all." I cried through the whole story and am sad along with you.I pray a path will be shown, and for sure when you return home you will be welcomed by all those who love you all. God abides within you and between you and if you keep your hearts open, even in pain, joy will come sooner or later. Love you, Grammy Joan

Anonymous said...

Dear Cindy, I wish I was there to give you a big hug. My heart hurts right along with yours. Although we cannot know today what God has planned for tomorrow, we can know without a doubt that He is in control and He does have a plan for your family and for Angela and Olyesa. Tomorrow is a new day and God will grant you the wisdom to know the next step. That's all you need...just the next step. He has the whole plan. Your family's testimony speaks volumes to everyone involved. You are all in our prayers.
Debbie in VA

Maria said...

Ahh... Team LaJoy. My heart goes out to every single one of you. I reflected back to a time some 18 months ago when I was right where you are. Here's a link to the post "How Did I Get it All Wrong?" that I wrote about the same thing.

Another thing I wrote back then rings true for your situation now: "In this brokenness, however, we are held up and together by the God who met us in that room with the test results. He was with me in the car on the way there as I prayed to be able to accept anything they might find. He has held us when we cried. I spent the afternoon reading the Bring the Rain blog and sobbing with her loss and her worship of God through it all. God reminded me through the one hour drive back from the orphanage of the verse He shared with the me other day today: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. I have searched for His purpose in this and have found that the "missionary work" our family might have been called to do during this two week period was to love on a sick little girl. I read, again on the Bring the Rain blog of her realization that Either You Do or You Don't (trust in God). God talked to me about this on our trip back today and through tears I admitted I do. I will trust Him. It is my choice. Does it make our pain less -- no, not really, but it does help me accept something I can't understand at all. It doesn't mean I don't question, "Why?". I surely do. It means that no matter what the answer to that question, I have to believe in His authority and superiority in making decisions for our lives.

I know your faith -- all of you. I know God will lead you to the right decisions with regards to another referral or not. You will make the right decisions because you will hear what He leads you to do. Keep your hearts open to things you would never expect. God is like that! Know that NO ONE is judging you -- and if they are shame on them! Our job as friends is to support and love you through this. Know that is what I am doing.

{{{{ HUGS }}}}

wilisons said...

Team LaJoy,

My thoughts and prayers are with you during this tough time!

As I have said in past posts, I do believe you are Angela and Olesya's family, at least in your hearts. You traveled around the world to bring them home and in the end respected Angela's wish to remain in the home she knows. I am sure it is hard and heartbreaking for all involved, you, the boys, and the girls. I was forced to make a similar decision 6 years ago after coming home with my daughter I found out that her bio-brother was in the orphanage. I didn't learn about him until after a family had begun bonding with my daughter's bio-brother him. I had to choose to fight for him in court or allow him the peace he was finding. Although I never met Sasha in person, I felt his presence in our lives and not a day goes by that I don't think and wonder about him. Still, I let go because I couldn't imagine putting him or our family through bringing him home if his heart wasn't with us.

Good has come out of this entire situation. Your family has grown closer having faced this together. All of your boys have a new level of appreciation for the family they have. Angela and Olesya have also gained from this. They know people follow through, maybe it wasn't in the time that would have been best but they know you came. They know they are loved and cared about even if they were not able to accept that love fully. They have hope for the future and peace for the moment. I am sure this week will not soon be forgotten by these girls.

I hope that you all are able to look for a sister or sisters to fill the space in your hearts. Your family has so much to give! I fear that if you don't at least let yourself see if a child you could parent is ready and waiting to meet you then you will always wonder what if...

Take comfort in knowing that you are clear in your understanding of the child/ren you can parent and committed to remaining true to your heart. This is for the benefit of ALL involved. You are good people who want only the best for your children!


julie said...

Wishing peace and comfort for the Team's hurting hearts. Keep your eyes open; I've been following your family for a while now and would not be at all surprised if the reason for your trip becomes clear to you soon. Be good to yourselves and lean on each other.

lisatony said...

Team LaJoy,
We keep praying. I can't hold back the tears when I read your posts, and I know the Lord is with you right now, as I read your words.
Jesus, keep holding on! Give this beautiful family what they need right now. Amen-

Kimberly said...

Cindy - what an incredibly painful decision! You are all in my prayers as you continue to process the next steps! My heart is breaking for you guys!

Anonymous said...

Dear fellow blog readers,

It is incredible to read the words of encouragement, love, compassion -- and especially the words of faith from so many.

The LaJoys have given so much to those who needed help on the adoption road. I am glad we are all here together for them.

With love and prayers,

Peggy in Virginia

aultfamily said...

My heart is breaking for all 7 of you! This past summer my family of 4 was in Kaz for an adoption of 2 siblings. We came home empty handed. Though our situation was different in many ways, I will not go into the details here, but after spending 3 weeks in country - 2 of which were with the children, we did not have the strength that I see you having. There was no way emotionally we could have met with other children. Our heart wasn't in it. But, I cannot help to read your words and wonder if maybe we would have met someone else that God was leading us too. We'll never know, but for you, you are still there. You can go in with open eyes. Dig down deep and rest in the Lord as you see where He leads.

Blessings and Hugs,

Anonymous said...

Dear LaJoys-
As I read your post, I had many thoughts. But the most overwhelming was “What a tangible, human example of how God must feel when we choose a life without Him. To use the gift of free will to turn down the most amazing gift of all.” Yet I believe the gift of free will is one of the most powerful ones that God has granted us, with it’s ability to provide both great pain and great joy.
I will continue to pray for your family, and to pray for these two girls. May God continue to place people in your lives and theirs who will continue to guide you all on the path He has laid out for each and every one of you.

Maureen said...

I'm so sorry! You and your family continue to be in my prayers.

~ Maureen