For new readers of my blog or people who are trying to catch up in the continuing soap opera that is my life, LOL, let me give some basic facts.
My blog is called The Crab Chronicles because everyone in my house [except my mother] was born in July. We are all Cancerians, so this is literally a chronicle of crabs!
I am a paralegal and a writer, and I have two adopted children. I spent 20+ years desperately seeking Mr. Right, and then I turned 40. At that point I gave up. Then God, in his wisdom, planted an idea in my head.
In the summer of 2002, a friend told me he was going to Russia as part of a choir, to sing Handel's Messiah in Khabarovsk, a town in Siberia. He talked me into going with the choir, because they were desperately short of sopranos (women with high voices, not mobsters, LOL). I had sung in choirs a lot, and sung professionally, so I knew the music would be fun and a challenge. We sang with the Khabarovsk symphony. The people there had never heard the music, and the group's leaders felt like it was a good evangelism opportunity. Programs telling the story were printed in Russian and English.
I went mainly just because I wanted to see Russia and have an adventure.
One night, when we had been there about a week, I had a dream that I was in an orphanage and a tiny blonde girl came up to me and held up her arms for me to pick her up. I reached down, and the dream ended. I woke up confused. The little girl was my daughter, I knew it. I went downstairs to breakfast and was told our evening's concert was canceled and we could go sing at an orphanage. I was really startled.
When we got to the orphanage later that day, the bus doors opened and a little figure flew across the snow and appeared in the door, looking inside for me. She found my face and smiled. It was the child from my dream. I felt God's presence and I was in awe. When I left that night, after talking and taking her photo, I cried and cried, knowing I was leaving my child there. I had never considered international adoption before, but I knew that I had to try to adopt her.
[Above, outside the courthouse right after the adoption hearing, November 14, 2004]
After more than 18 months I finally succeeded in adopting my daughter, Alesia. She was 13. I had thought she was about 7 when I met her, she was so tiny and emaciated.
I endured a lot of criticism for adopting a 13 year old Russian orphan. I prayed a lot. I cried a lot. I broke off a romantic relationship because my boyfriend didn't want kids. I knew in my heart it was my mission to adopt my girl. After countless paperwork snags, I brought her home in December of 2004.
Alesia has been a challenge, but she is the light of my life. She is beautiful and sweet, and funny. She loves animals. She is graceful, and neat. We've had ups and downs, I will admit. There have been tough days. She didn't understand about living in a family, and I didn't understand about being a Russian orphan. We've both worked hard to have a good relationship.
In 2005, my mother and I decided to buy a house together. Mom was a widow and was ready to leave the huge empty house she had in Augusta. I didn't want her in a retirement place far away, and she wanted to be near us, and help me. So we have our house, and we have forged an even closer bond, and we are a family again, me and Mother and Alesia and Michael.
[Alesia, Granny, and out dog Coco, shortly after moving into our house]
Michael, my son, came home from Kazakhstan in May 2007. He was 10 years old. He is missing his right hand from a frostbite accident. He was attacked and beaten by a group of boys, and left for dead when he was 5. His alcoholic birthmother didn't get help for him until it was almost too late, and his hand had to be amputated. He is from northern Kazakhstan, which used to be part of Siberia.
Michael was in the orphanage only a short time when his caretakers did everything possible to get him adopted. I saw his photo on the Adoption Ark website only a matter of months after he had gotten to the orphanage. I looked at his little scowling face [which reminded me of my brother] and asked God to tell me if he was my son. I looked again, and noticed he was born in July 1996, the same month my father died. There was my sign.
About 6 months after seeing his photo, I was able to raise the money to start the adoption, and a year later, Michael came home.
[Mike and Alesia doing dishes, just a few days after he came home in 2007.]
Michael and his Granny shortly after he came home.
Michael is a very smart boy, very sweet, very funny. He is very affectionate. He helps around the house. He cheerfully accepts that he is the only boy in a house with three mamas - me, Alesia, and Granny. Even our dog Coco is a girl.
Having a little brother has really matured Alesia. She adores him, even though they have the normal sibling type squabbles on occasion.
Once I gave up my desperate quest for a husband and family, God provided a way for me to have a family. Maybe someday I will find a husband, but I am not looking. I have enough on my plate, now.
I have a great faith in God, but I am not out to convert anyone. I would hope I can inspire people to consider adopting older kids, from here or abroad. I hope I can inspire tolerance for families that are a bit different than the "norm."
As of summer 2014, Alesia has moved out and is living on her own, but she stays in touch.
Michael is 18 and getting ready to start college in the fall. He loves his car, videogames, skateboarding, tennis, and our new furbaby, Lola.
Thanks for reading.