Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It cuts deep...

Please don’t waste our time if you’re a blurker in for a quick skim. Do that with my last set of photos I posted instead. I don’t think you’ll get it unless you actually take the time to earnestly read this and I’m truly fine if you don’t.

Today I did a lot of thinking.
Inna, our coordinator, a few times, thought I was upset. But I wasn’t. That is too harsh a word, I was more ‘critically pensive’.
I was thinking about me, Christine, and the process, and much of our past thoughts that we’d expressed over the last few months to each other and to family and friends about Dennis and his condition.

I want to start this post with the sincerest of apologies to his birth mother, Strutska Taisia Mykolayivna. I know a lot of adopted children that thank their biological mothers for whatever circumstances that lead to their adoptive parents and I have faith same will prove true in this case.

Perhaps certainty is impossible (without the future genetic testing et al), but based on a long question and answer session with the English-speaking doctor here today, my time with Dennis thus far, and based on theories from California doctors, and my own personal research, I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that his condition is/was congenital. This doctor at medical center not only explicitly said this but also explicitly rejected even the possibility of the other leading theory.

I’m more than a bit embarrassed that I swallowed hook, line, and sinker the ‘tantalizing’ “born perfect then cut” story. Even the passport photographer asked the caretaker what happened to Denis and she, just yesterday, propagated again that ‘easy’ tale that I wish had never been told…

Come on people. Cuts or deep slices can happen. But they get stitched up and they heal. And they can leave ugly scars. But even with improper healing, they don’t cause half the issues this child has internally and externally. I can now rattle off a few of many named congenital “syndromes” that could plausibly explain my new son. But I won’t yet. I’m committed to discussing things with a greater confidence than I have been in the past and I hope we all will do same.

Again not upset or even accusing, just critically pensive again about if anyone ever thought the tale, when told, somehow makes Denis more sympathetic or adoptable???

In the spirit of integrity and truth, I’ll confess with plenty of shame, that that story had that effect on me! Maybe I didn’t want to adopt a “freak of nature”? Maybe birth defects like this were a bit out my league or out of my definition of “minor correctable” that I had thought we had on our home study?


Thank God that He’s changed me (yet again). (I stopped crying and can resume typing now). Thank God that He gave me lots of time alone this week with Dennis to be a loving father. He hugs me back so sweetly and already forgives me (Dennis pats MY back!).

I expect and the doctor warned that we’ll have a rough road ahead with Dennis. But it sure beats the easy road without him. Thanks for reading. I wanted to get this off my chest. Nearly 2am here. I better go pat that raised bottom and get to sleep myself.


Rachel said...

What an awesome God we have, and what a very blessed little boy you have. God makes no mistakes, although we often wonder why he allows certain things to happen. I can tell that he's teaching you guys a lot already, and I love reading about it. You guys are a blessing not only to Dennis and the rest of your family, but to your blog readers too. Thanks so much for sharing your lives with us.

Deanna said...

You both are amazing!!!

Glad you found out the truth!!

Many blessings...


Dolores said...

I rejoice in the fact that Dennis' birth mom does not have that guilt to add to her loss! I rejoice that God led you to Dennis! I rejoice in the fact that he will have a family to stand by him and love him through all he must endure. I rejoice that he has been loved so well already that he pats your back when you hold him! His life is a miracle.

Lou said...

Thank you for sharing such emotion. Your adoption story is amazing! This boy is as blessed to have you as you are to have him. Congratulations, and welcome to America, Dennis!

Mike and Christie said...

All I can say is PRAISE THE LORD you don't have that on Dennis's plate for him to have to swallow later!

I'm so glad you are getting to spend this special time with your new son.

He seems to have the most pleasant personality.:)

You cracked me up about the "sleeping with eyes wide open" remark. :) (previous post)

Forgive yourself.... WE ALL say things and assume things and when you are assuming truth from Ukraine, there should be a big grain of salt!

Our friend preached at our church a few weeks back and disclosed some VERY private info about Sarah's birth circumstances, that I am not totally convinced are true. If they are, there is nothing we could do about it, but I sure didn't want the entire church to know, and I'm sure GLAD sarah was in SS at the time. Whew!

Did they give the Restrictive Band Syndrome diagnosis?

I have pictures I can send of Sarah. She has restrictive band syndrome. Praise the LORD, if it was a fibrous Band around his face that it wasn't around his neck!
We praise the Lord every day that Sarah didn't have any around her neck. (it would have killed her)


When our bio son was born and had a massive brain hemmorage, and we were told he was brain dead, it was a surreal experience, maybe a little of what you are experiencing, finding out about your son's condition.
GOD will give you the grace to smile again and be PROUD, hold your head high and KNOW that Dennis is not junk, because God just doesn't make junk. :)
NOR does he make a mistake.

There is a plan, and it is exciting to see it unfold.
Hang on, it is going to be one heck of a ride!

kelly said...

Y'all Rock! what a great family you have. Prayers for a safe trip home!

WheresMyAngels said...

I'm so glad to hear that it was something he was born with. Because that will be alot easier on him, then thinking that someone did this to him (and that someone being his mother).

I'm also happy he is going to have such a big loving family!

Mindy said...

God put Dennis in the hands of your family for a reason. I'm so glad that everything has come together and you were able to find out the truth and now know in your heart so that you can answer Dennis's questions later on. He may have been born with some differences but the light of love casts no shadow.

Now that we no longer need to pray for the adoption to go smoothly, it's time to step up the prayers for safe travels, warm homecomings, and the gift of a beautiful little boy getting the chance to shine!

Kimmie said...

Read every word and praying that God does BIG things in all of you. I can already see His hand in your midst-He has your heart and this is the first place healing begins...a healing God intended, one you never even knew that was needed.

May God hold all of you close, so close that you hear His heart beating with LOVE for you (all).

blessings and my prayers for His touch for you (all);
mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Sue said...

We adopted our son under false ideas also - we think he's older than we were told, and doubt the whole story spun in Kazakhstan. It throws a person for a loop - ultimately, God has told us we're not as smart as we think we are, and He's happy to do the thinking for us. It's a place of peace!

Chelley said...

I am sorry for what they lead you to believe... But I am so thankful as well...

I think that some how God has been getting Dennis ready and your hearts ready to be your son!!

I will pray so hard that Dennis will have a full life in your family!! I know that you will do everything for him that will be needed...

Krissy said...

your heart your intentions thay are amamzing!
im so glad that God broght Dennis to you, regardless on how or why things happend to him
that dosent matter, hes a child who needs love and care no matter what, and he will get that from you. and i cant wait to see how he grows and dev now that he has a stimulating env.

Brandi said...

I love (again!) how real you guys are in blogging your journey. Oh what a relief.

I too am thankful for your new knowledge and how it helps to know that part of his heart. aaagh, why do people lie like that! What a gracious and wonderful God we serve in the midst!! Praise HIM!


Julie said...

I just love reading your blog! Dennis is just beautiful and I know it must give you so much peace to know the truth about his facial deformities. I found out that our son's severe plagio was caused by low amniotic fluid...not from laying on his back in his orphanage like originally thought. It's such an amazing feeling to know that no one is to blame...but to suddenly realize that blame should have never been part of the equation...that our children are absolutely perfect as they are...
By the way, our son sleeps with his eyes wide open, too! I still remember the first night with him..checking about 2000 times to see why he was still awake! :)

MyGirlElena said...

"I know a lot of adopted children that thank their biological mothers for whatever circumstances that lead to their adoptive parents..."

These are beautiful words I wish the whole world would understand. And I am sure Dennis will be thanking his birth mom for bringing you into his life. I know you love him just as he is and he knows (and will someday completely understand) it too.

God bless you!

Terri said...

What a truely amazing God we have!He is good! I am so glad you got this information and that you can start the healing process too!
God Bless!

The Peterson's said...

Well done good and faithful servants.

Stephanie said...

I read this many times. I think I "get it" and you are not the only ones who are being changed! I so happy that you found each other, one way or another. Thanks for sharing so honestly.

TylerandBrianne said...

Bless you!!!

Anonymous said...

I can hardly wait to see you change the phrase, "10 (soon to be 11)" to just plain "11."

Can hardly wait to see Dennis enjoying his new siblings.

So glad to have found your blog. What a precious family! Hope you'll make your blog into a book some day.

Atlanta, GA

Joy Portis said...

Thank you for being so transparent and allowing us the blessing of following you on this wonderful journey! Praise God, His ways are not our ways, and for that I am so thankful! Know that we are praying for you and sweet Dennis and rejoicing in the family God is creating! Your faith and humble spirits are inspiring!

Charissa said...

I'm so glad you all have each other.

Joy Rae said...

You both are awesome! I have really enjoyed reading your story thus far so thank you for sharing and being so open and honest.

You have an amazing family!

BoufMom9 said...

It is not only amazing to be along for this journey with you, but to be able to see God working His miracles every day.
He knew when you would be prepared for the truth and he waited until then to show you.
There is NOTHING that God does that isn't purposeful.
:) Debi

Leah said...

When you posted about the potential for amniotic banding, that made SO much more sense to me! Looking at his scars, the original stories just didn't fit, especially when it was found he had a cleft as well. I have a very good friend who lost a baby to amniotic banding around the skull. That baby had marks similar to Dennis' on his arms, neck and chest as well as missing several digits on one had with clear banding marks on them.

Anyway, God clearly had his reasons for allowing the original story. Maybe it was to get your attention. I, too, am glad that Dennis won't ever have to believe that he was intentionally harmed in any way. I've prayed for his mother in the past, and will continue to do so.

I can't wait till you get your boy home!

Narcissa said...

Thank you for sharing, John. An amazing journey for an amazing little boy whichever way you look at it.


Payne's said...

Congratulations again. You are amazing people! Dennis is so blessed to have you as parents! I promise to keep following as we begin our journey in Ukraine next month. We will keep you posted - just check our blog:


AZmomto8 said...

Bless your hearts, I am learning quickly that the stories we are told about our children pre-adoption should be taken with a grain of salt.

It does not make us love them any less knowing more fully their medical complications, yet there is a sense of bewlderment when we learn more of the truth. Why do people hesitate to tell the truth about these children?

Thank you for your honesty and your faith, God does so many miraculous things in our lives, and he did in Dennis' life, he found you both to be his parents.

DoveFamily said...

Thank you for being so honest about your emotions during this process. And thank you for being open and willing to follow God's calling! I know 13 people who are going to be so totally blessed with the changes to come, despite any challenges that might be included with them :)

Anonymous said...

You know the feeling of towering over your small child, behind him, and gently steering him through a crowd, protecting him all the way? I believe the Lord has been sheparding you through the process of bringing Dennis home in this way. I hope you can get past the tales you were told. Let's continue to pray for interventions and help for your dear family. You are to be stengthened and lifted up as an example of giving so much of yourselves to others. Blessings to you as you reunite as a family and continue on!
~Carla H.

Michelle said...

thats awesome. It means he has never experienced a truly traumatic injury and extreme pain at the hands of another. Thats GREAT news for his psyche. He is a beautiful kid, and I cant wait to se him grow under your care.

val said...

You had me crying at my desk! I am glad that the truth came out. Dennis is so lucky to have you guys as parents. He will have such a blessed life no matter what comes of the surgeries. He is beautiful!

As I try to teach my kids, it is what is inside that counts the most.

Give that little boy a bis squeeze from NJ!

Debbie said...

John, thank you for sharing. The Lord has blessed you, Christine, Dennis, and the rest of your family, and we are rejoicing with you!

Jill (& Bob) said...

I think life for Dennis will be so much easier knowing that he was born this way and his birth mother wanted a better life for him than she could have provided. Thank God for people like you, ready and willing to give him that better life.

Martha said...

I am learning along with you and you are an inspiration. No matter the cause, Dennis is deeply loved, and that is evident in your eyes.

Birth moms need our love and prayers too. Releasing a child is rarely an easy option and often done out of desperation.

Hollands said...

I hope I understood your post correctly. If so, I am relieved that this sweet boy likely hasn't gone through the horrific experience that we thought he did. And I'm so glad God placed him in your incredible, loving family. Dennis' hasn't had an easy life, nor will he, but now he has the hope of Christ!!! Thank you for letting God use you to bless this precious guy. I know you will be hugely blessed to have him in your family as well.

Anonymous said...

As soon as you said he had a cleft palate I thought, wow, that would be genetic but I didn't want to say anything in case I was wrong. Interesting doctors are commenting with the same info. I was thinking it was going to be so sad to have to explain to him his birthmother would do this to him. I think this is a better outcome in the long run because nothing is going to change who he is now with you.

living4him5 said...

Hello, I've been following your journey to Dennis and I just had to comment on this last post. My husband and I adopted a 3 year old, precious baby girl from China in November, 2007. She has a condition called "arthrogryprosis" it's severe contracture of the joints, any joints. Linzhi has it in her elbows, wrists and fingers. Before we were given her referral our agency told us her issues we VERY serious and she would probably be dependent on us for the rest of her or our lives. They stressed to us that two other families declined her because of her condition. OK, I thought bring it on! God is bigger than doctors, adoption agencies and even China...He can handle this. Like you, I thought at first. "But maybe it is too big for me"? We have two other kids I had to think about, etc... We just kept getting reassured from the Holy Spirit that this child was our baby. As the time went closer to us leaving for China, we met with a Doctor (a God send) that told us he felt hopeful for her future and given the right family and opportunities he felt she could work through her condition and have a wonderful life. Right there in his office it struck me. This is a child of God's. We are chosen to assist him in HIS plan for her. We are required to love, nurture, and prepare this child for her life beyond us. Dennis (and I write this through tears) is an angel from Heaven, God's child. God placed him in the arms of you and your wife because he was meant to be yours. I look at your beautiful, unique family and think...This is what it's all about. To love and honor each other and our kids as individuals and God's gifts. Dennis is going to knock your socks off, I guarantee it. Our Linzhi is beating all the negative odds that were placed on her from day one. She is independent, brilliant, funny and so very happy. I look forward to watching Dennis thrive in the care of you and your awesome wife.

Your sister in Christ,

My blog is private but if you would like to meet Linzhi and the gang, I can send you an invite through email @

Maria and Family said...

GOD has a wonderful plan for Dennis and your are both part of it! How wonderful :)

MMrussianadoption said...

what a deep meaningful post

Amy said...

I'm here via Kimmie and I just want to tell you congratulations on your precious addition to the family!

God's timing and plan is perfect! We adopted three siblings from here in the US. I cannot imagine my life without them, as I am sure you feel the sam eway about your little fellow!

I've bookmarked your page so I can follow this amazing journey you are on!

In His Love, Amy

~ Teresa ~ said...

O.K... I'm out of lurkdome... I have been reading your blog for a short time now, and wanted you to know that my prayers are with your family. I am looking forward to reading the words "our son is home". Thank you for sharing your personal story with all of us in blog land... You are an inspiration.
~ Teresa ~

Mike and Christie said...

We have a daughter with Arthrogryposis too! She is from Ukraine. We also have a daughter with restrictive band syndrome from Ukraie, a son with Cerebral Palsey, from home and a few others, here and there. :)

Michelle said...

I don't know you but I love you for sharing this! I love what you said about the rough road with him beating the easy road without him. Crying with you!

Carson's Mom said...

I am so thankful that you know the truth and it was NOT that his momma harmed him. That story broke my heart. I can't wait to watch how Dennis will thrive in a family. There may be struggles ahead, but the good will by far outweigh the bad. Congratulations on getting your new son home!


Marian said...

I am so glad that I chose to lurk today!

Dennis is truly a beautiful little boy, no matter how his family found him or what the cause of his facial differences and other banding/scarring might be. In fact his sweet little face is what caused me to find your blog and get excited about seeing him come home. I had seen a mention of him on another blog and fell in love at first glance. Yes, that is possible, because I have a wonderful daughter with the same types of facial differences and her spirit shines, just as you can see Dennis' shine in his sparkling eye and grin.

I am so glad that this sweet boy has found a wonderful family to share his life with and who will be just as equally blessed by his zest for life.

My daughter has a Tessier clafting of her face, lower jaw gumline, lip, sinus cavity and lachrymal canal. She is getting to go to Shriner's this next week to schedule her first surgery. We are excited, but we will miss her face, just as it is.

If, once you get settled down after returning home, ever want to know more about Tessier clefting, please feel free to contact me, via the email link in our blog.

Christine said...

Marian, please email me with your blog link. I would like to talk with you.

Anonymous said...

I found your blogs a short time ago and it's been such a blessing to read about this journey your amazing family is on. I totally agree with a previous commenter -- I'm SO glad you all have each other! He is one lucky (and super cute!!) little boy and you are a very lucky Mommy and Daddy. God IS good, all the time. :-)

Anonymous said...

Christine, it is OK to be happy about a wonderful thing you have done. Dennis is a delightful, sweet, little boy, and you know from having your other kids that you get back so much more then you could ever imagine; but getting Dennis took a huge effort, expense, and commitment on your part.

What ever happened, or how it happened, Dennis ended up falling through the cracks until you became aware of him and acted.

How many hundreds of people were aware and did not know what to do for him? (That would be me) Dennis was looking at a rather bleak, painful, and probably very short existence and now he has a great life with sisters and brothers and a nice mom & dad.

No one was visiting him, and checking to make sure he was OK. He was in a bad place. I know the people in the facility try, but it is a bad, bad, place for a baby. I have been to places like that I know what they are like. No mom was visiting him rubbing his back and holding his hand, until you traveled half way around the world.

You have so many kids and so much going on, but you were the one who stepped up to the plate and God gave you the grace to make it happen.

I have felt so happy all week reading your post. Don't let anything get you down.


Carol said...

I have been following your blog very closely as I have a heart for adoption. I am a single mom of a Guatemalan princess and I desire so strongly to adopt again, and again, and again! But then there are days when I wonder how I would ever manage even one more... ;) Your family is truly inspiring and I will continue to pray for you. People always say "Oh, Gracie is so blessed to have you." and other such statements, when I know, as I am sure you do too, God has blessed ME through adoption far more than I could have ever dreamed! ;)

May God bless all 13 of ya!

Joy said...

I am so glad to hear that what you though was the real story in fact is not. Please do not take this the wrong way but someone once told me that 'there is a butt for every chair'. Dennis fits into your family and that is where he belongs. This birth mother must have been so torn by having to place him in an orphanage. I am sure that she would love to know that he will be cared for by so many people who love him for who he is.

I think you may be amazed by what the medical community may be able to do for him. I have kept you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Kim said...

I just wanted to say Thank You for sharing your BEAUTIFUL family and your hearts with the blogsphere. I have been touched by you and your walk with God. I can't wait to see what and how HE grows you.....all of us through You further. :)

Annie said...

Christine. You are one lucky woman.

thatgirlblogs said...

It doesn't matter what caused the physical state Dennis finds himself in, what matters is his obviously precious soul. I am so amazed and praiseful that he has found your family. To watch your kids interact with high-fives and smiles makes my heart sing. As I write, my husband is in Ukraine boarding a train to Donetsk and then taxi to Mariupol to visit our new 9 year old son.