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Adoption Journey: No Hope of a 2-Year-Old

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In the eighth installment of her emotional journey, Tracy gives up her dream of adopting a 2-year-old daughter and makes the long journey to meet a 9-year-old.

April 25, 2008

I can't effing believe this is really happening. We are sitting in the director's office. Instead of his real name, let's just call him "The Devil." He is a raving lunatic. The odd thing is that he's young and handsome. He's also angry and seems paranoid. John and I look at each other like, Holy hell, what is going on here?

Our translator is saying something about Olga's older brother who comes to see her. What? A brother? We then learn that if she has a brother who still visits, they will have to ask his permission to clear her for adoption. What? Permission? We were sent here by the adoption center in Kyiv who told us this child is ready for adoption. We just traveled 24 hours by train and more than three hours in a goddamned death cab to get to this godforsaken place in the middle of absolutely NOWHERE to listen to this raving asshole only to find out they have to get permission from an 18-year-old brother?

I remain calm on the outside and politely ask what I think to be the two most important questions that no one has yet addressed:

"Does she want to be adopted?"
"Does she know we are here?"

"I don't know" and "no" are the devil's respective answers.

I'm furious, but I breathe. We ask if we may see her outside in the sunshine so that we can be gentle and just meet her -- maybe play a game with her. The devil denies the request. Instead, he calls for her caregiver and asks her to bring Olga to the office.

John and I grip hands and, moments later, a little girl walks in. We squeeze each other's hands. I feel my heart breaking. This must be so intimidating for her. She is as beautiful as she is scared. She is tiny and dressed like she just stepped off the pages of Orphan Vogue. Rad little boots with colorful, striped tights, and an adorable little skirt. She is a gypsy, so she is dark. Her hair is up in a high, floppy ponytail.

The devil wastes no time and begins barraging her with questions in a tone completely inappropriate for a child. We have no idea what he's saying, and there is no translation -- no one wants her to be more scared than she already is. I can't stand the way he's speaking to her. I want to slap him across the face.

She leaves. Some ranting goes on. I ask again, more fervently, "Does she want to be adopted?!"

He brings little Olga back in. She looks at him. He asks her a question. John and I see her lower lip start to quiver. She drops her face and looks at the ground. She is about to break down. Her little body is shaking. Without hesitating, John says, "STOP." He says very clearly to the translator, who then translates to the devil, "She's scared to death. Obviously she didn't know we were coming. We will not terrorize this child. Please tell him to let her leave right now." He does, and she is gone.

After more ranting in his office, John and I gather our things. We are not willing to make a deal with the devil, let alone re-traumatize a child who is not ready to be adopted. It is clear, through all we've seen and heard, that there is something terribly wrong here.

I have a special doll I brought for our little girl. As we leave, I see her caregiver. Through our translator, I ask that she please give Olga the doll. She deserves it more than anyone I know.

We get back in the death cab headed for Odessa. We will take another 24-hour train ride back to Kyiv, and then a 20-hour trip back to Los Angeles.

Almost four years later, we are officially done with Ukraine

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9 comments so far | Post a comment now
Robynn May 7, 2009, 6:42 AM

My heart breaks for your story. But even more, I am so upset for the children you have seen in the Ukraine. They have obviously become money makers for local governments and officals. Without a bribe, you won’t even get to see a healthy child, much less adopt one. And apparently some of the children in the orphanages still have family in the area that are just unable to care for them. You did the right thing with Olga. You and your husband have good instincts and caring hearts and I am hoping that your story has a happy ending. Thank you for sharing.

Stella  May 7, 2009, 10:32 AM
Anonymous May 7, 2009, 2:32 PM

Even though I know how this ends my heart breaks just hearing it again.

littlepeapie May 7, 2009, 3:41 PM

I check for your updates each Thursday. I hate that you’ve been through all of this…I will remember you in my prayers.

ame i. May 7, 2009, 11:28 PM

My dear God, how can anyone treat a child like that?

Sara Jane - IN Parent May 7, 2009, 11:35 PM

I have been following this story from week one and with each brief article brings more heartache. How many couples have gone through this trauma. And expense. This is just sad! Children deserve a good home no matter what country they are from. If a parent is willing to become so they should be so.

smoore May 8, 2009, 9:52 PM

language - I don’t think I read such language not even in the love and sex section. “GD” realy?

KW May 13, 2009, 8:01 PM

This story is amazing. Thank you for sharing your intimate thoughts and feelings, even when you’re being judged. And kudos for having the guts to stand up for Olga. I can’t wait to see how your story ends!

Wedqsamg June 23, 2009, 9:15 PM

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