Mia's Homecoming Video

At last I see the light

One Less Orphan: Mia's gotcha day

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Follow your heart, it knows the way

We have had some incredible experiences at church here. When you are thrown into another culture with no idea what anyone is saying and you feel so out of place and so lost, it is very comforting to know you can go to church and feel the same spirit of the Lord that you feel at home thousands of miles away. It doesn't matter what language you are hearing because the spirit is the same. The people are good people who love and serve God and it is an incredible experience to witness.
We have been able to attend the local branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Linkhere for the past 3 weeks and so today as we said goodbye to the missionaries and members who have helped us and been kind enough to translate for us during some of the meetings, we felt so much gratitude to our Heavenly Father for continuing to place people in our path to help us on this journey.
(we had to take some photos of Mia for her passport)

As we sat in this chapel today listening to the hymns in the native tongue, we were overcome with emotion. We knew the songs we were singing were "Lord I would Follow Thee" and "I know that my Redeemer Lives" because we sing them often at home, but to sit and listen to the beautiful music and to hear the message of these songs in the Russian language was incredible. The spirit bore witness to us that it doesn't matter where we are, or if we can understand the words, our Father in Heaven is still there. He still speaks to us and He knows our hearts.

As this was our last sunday here in this city, I felt such love come over me during these songs, as if Heavenly Father was saying "You are in the home stretch and I will not leave you. You are almost there"
My friend Heather, who has just recently been through this adoption experience sent me a message that explained exactly what I felt today and have felt many times throughout this journey. She said "Don't you just feel like Heavenly Father is wrapping His arms right around you and saying, "Thank you?" I love when he does this through human connection. "
He did this today at church...

He does it through each of you who have prayed for us, loved us, and supported us...

He does it through your sweet comments and words of encouragement....

He did it when we needed the funds for this adoption and people rallied together to make it possible....

He did it when we were unsure if we could take the leap of faith needed to save this little girl by placing people in our lives to help us to know that if we said yes the rest would work itself out,

He has wrapped His arms around us through the human connection of many, many, many people.....

All for one little girl and one big miracle.

We chose to follow the Lord's promptings in the beginning as we stepped out in faith to bring this little girl into our family and we were scared. We had no idea what was in store and no idea how we were going to accomplish such a thing, yet every step of the way we have felt our Father in Heaven reassurring us that if we just keep following Him it will be ok, and it has been. It has been more than ok, it has been amazing and it has been a true miracle. One that has forever changed us and I feel inadequate to be a part of. A miracle that part of me doesn't want to end, because it has been more life changing and incredible than words can express.

We wanted to give the caregivers at the orphanage a thank you note so we wrote what we wanted to say and then asked the missionaries here to translate it into Russian and put it in a card for them. They were working on it after church and we were talking to another missionary and this lady came up to us (she was not a member of this congregation and was attending with the missionaries to learn more about the church here) She told the missionary she wanted him to translate to us what she was saying. She had been told by the sister missionaries that we were here to adopt a child, so she asked us why we chose Ukraine, and why we chose this child. We told her about how our youngest daughter has down syndrome and so through the connections of the down syndrome community we found an orphan ministry that helps place children with special needs, we found Mia's picture and the Lord led us to this little girl.

She proceeded to say something, and the missionary got hesitant and said he didn't want to tell us what she was saying. We assured him that it was ok, we understood this culture's feeling about the children with special needs. So he went on to tell us that She said "why don't you take 2 healthy children home instead of this one handicapped child? You should take 2 healthy children and leave this child to lay by my parents (meaning leave her to die)"

On the one hand I wanted to retaliate with words of anger and defend my child and all other children with special needs, but on the other hand I felt so sad that this is really how this lady thinks. I was overcome by a peaceful feeling that assured me not to take this the wrong way, but to use it as a teaching moment and seeing this lady, I knew that she did not mean it as harmful as it sounds, she just lives in a culture where she can NOT fathom why we would do this and why it would be good for this child. She literally thinks it would be better for children with special needs to be left to die. It is so beyond my comprehension that she would feel this, but as we have learned it is how it is in this culture. I really felt like she was not being mean, she just simply did not understand any differently. She has no idea what these children have to offer and no idea that they are worth saving.

We told her "that our home and our country has many opportunities for these children and that she will live a full and happy life and that we felt very strongly that she was meant to be part of our family so we came specifically to find her and bring her home." I could see in her eyes that the spirit of the Lord was working on her heart and softening it and she then said "well than take one more child with you" We kindof laughed and said "we wish we could save them all, but right now this ONE child is who we can help and this one is meant to be in our family so we are taking her home" She pulled me close to her and kissed my cheek a couple times and said "spaceba, spaceba" (thank you, thank you) and she went and sat down.

We stood there for a few more minutes talking to the missionary and telling him that we understood why she would ask these things because it is so different here in her country with regards to special needs. He said "yeah, and this culture is much more blunt about their feelings"
We continued to talk and a few minutes later this same lady stood up from her seat and came over to me again. She had a different countenance about her this time and she pulled me and this missionary aside and asked him to translate.
She said "do you want more children?"
I kind of laughed because I thought she was trying to convince me that I needed to adopt more children here, like she had been telling me earlier, but before I could respond she went on to say, "I feel strongly to tell you that you will have another healthy child born to you. You will! Just keep trying and don't give up. You WILL have another healthy child born to you"

I didn't know what to say.... I was speechless.

As I teared up I tried to explain to this missionary to tell this lady that we indeed had been trying to have another biological child for the past 3 + years and that indeed we hoped to have that opportunity again. It was an incredible moment because this lady had no idea what we have gone through in the past few years...an ectopic pregnancy, multiple miscarriages, years of trying to get pregnant and then this past year to miscarry again at 14 weeks along.....she didn't know any of this.

She didn't know that we still hope that we get the chance again to add another child to our family through pregnancy. She didn't know any of this, but the Lord did. And He placed her in our path to remind us that He knows. He knows each of us and He knows the desires of our hearts. He was yet again reminding me that if we follow Him, we will be blessed. Even if it is not in the way that we think it will be.

When we were having all of these infertility trials, we did not realize that we were being prepared to find little Mia and to do what was necessary to bring her home.

Mia Kareen was the answer we didn't know we were looking for.


  1. So. Many. Miracles. I'm so grateful you have had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people there. What a tender mercy from Heavenly Father to place this sweet lady in your journey to bring Mia home. I can totally see why you don't want this journey to end with how many miracles you have seen and the wonderful opportunities you have experienced. I know they will continue long after you bring sweet Mia home.
    Love the pictures for the passport and the ones of her in the sunglasses are so dang cute.

  2. Oh, Kecia, I am sitting here crying my eyes out. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  3. Beautiful post to read on the Sabbath. I hope the missionaries are able to testify to this woman of the Holy Ghost. I love that she was able to follow a prompting from the spirit and give you a message that another baby is waiting for you,though she is not a member of the church and she does not know you. She felt the spirit today, and hopefully will be one step closer to recognizing the truthfulness of the gospel from what she felt today.
    Also, this post a beautiful message and testimony of the endless love of our Heavenly Father and that though our trials seem painful and so hard to bear that they indeed are for our good and to lead us closer to him. His blessing are now being poured out upon you for enduring through those painful years. Lucky Mia, to be such a tool in the hand of our Master, and lucky you for following the spirit.

  4. All I can think is . . . Amazing Grace.

  5. Love love love the heart shades!
    As I am looking at all these pictures I can see such a resemblance with Mia and both of you. People are always surprised that we adopted Lily; they say she looks so much like us. It's amazing to me how Heavenly Father knocks on our soul at just the right moment and says hey are you listening I have a wonderful journey for you.

  6. Wow!! I'm bawling right now. What a beautiful experience you had at church today!!! Thank you so much for sharing this journey with everyone! You and your husband are such great examples and so Christlike.... It has definitely helped me to strive to be a better person.
    Mia is beautiful and I'm so excited for what lies ahead for you and your family!!!

  7. Wow, Kecia! How wonderful!! I'm in tears too... can't wait to meet the three of y'all soon!! Praying for smooth sailing from here. Thanks for keeping us all up with your journey, you've been great at blogging and I love the faith-building experiences that you've shared. :)

  8. What an amazing experience! I know that the miracles will not cease, just because you are taking Mia home. They will continue, because that's how Heavenly Father works! He is always waiting to bless us in so many ways! Thank you for sharing these precious moments of your lives!

  9. miracle upon miracle upon miracle, when you stop and look back and finally see the path that you could never comprehend at the start of the journey, weave itself into your understanding as you reach you destination, you can only stand in awe and thank the Lord for all he is. I am so thrilled you shared your journey and your many miracles with us all. my heart aches for you with your trials whilst trying for a baby, I too have been there, with multiple miscarraiges and even my beautiful busby bill should have been a twin but i lost one of them! i too have known the shock of one of my beautiful baby's recieving a life changing diognosis and i too know the magic that extra extra special children bring. I too stand in utter sadness that entire cultures cannot see this magic but mostly i too stand in awe at your miracle. mia is BEAUTIFUL as are you and your husband. its a true privaleage to share you miracles and i just want to jump into the computer and hug you all xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  10. OH, my you sure know how to get the tears flowin', girl. And I feel honored to have been quoted on YOUR blog! What a beautiful day for you, filled with thank you hugs from God. I'm going to share this post!

  11. Wow. Amazing, isn't it? When I sat down to write Max's adoption story (it was such a quick process that I only got a tiny piece of it on the blog before we left), I was completely floored by things Heavenly Father put in place to make it happen, especially since we weren't even seeking a special needs adoption.

  12. I found your blog through Reece's Rainbow and have been so blessed reading it. We are just beginning our journey to Dmitry in Russia, also with Down Syndrome. Our story is similar to yours, 2 healthy pregnancies and babies (10 yr old son and 8 yr old daughter) and 2 losses (stillbirth at 25 weeks and miscarriage at 17 weeks). This post made me cry. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your journey and little Mia will us.

  13. Kecia...oh my goodness
    I am so sorry for your losses over the past 3 years.
    I am SO happy for the miracles that you are NOW experiencing & I am sure that those miracles WILL continue when you are home & the adoption complete & all 4 girls under 1 roof. Don't be sad when it's over because we all will still be here praying & wanting to see your family "grow" & flourish--
    much love & many prayers

  14. I have sat here pondering the first comment the lady made about why you weren't adopting 2 healthy children and I sometimes wonder if it is just the mindset of survival of the fittest for them. I think a lot of the time we think of them as being heartless because they cannot see the value of these precious little ones when in reality their hearts are probably hurting for all the children who will never get a chance at a family in their county. They do not see the horrible places the "special needs" children are sent but they do see the children who are "normal" who age out of the system only to lead horrible lives. So my guess is they really do think you are doing a disservices by adopting a child they think is already in a better place and leaving behind a child that will be let out into a horrible life.

    At least that is how I chose to look at it. But I am glad you were able to educate the woman on how the "special needs" children are deserving of a loving home too. My prayer is that someday the mentality will change over there. But right now, from what I have read from your experience, I think a lot of them are just fighting to survive themselves.

  15. It's a wonderful moment when you realize that you're failure to replenish the earth, a role we seem to be raised and taught is vital to fulfill your role as mother, has lead you down a miraculous path. That while you suffered, there was a purpose. Had you not suffered, had you conceived, you would probably not have found your daughter. A daughter that came to be part of your family is such a wonderful, special way. She will forever change your family. Your daughters will always remember the circumstances that brought her home and the experiences that make her their sister. Can't wait to meet this special child! Love you both!

  16. I will continue to pray for you and your family, and, of course, little Mia. She is truly a little angel!

  17. So amazing! What a beautiful gift from our Heavenly Father. So small but so big! Thanks for sharing. Praying for the rest of the journey to continue to go smoothly!

  18. What a beautiful experience. I love when the Lord so eloquently gives answers to prayers and gives hope. I got chills as I read what you wrote. I am so grateful you and your family are experiencing this miracle. It is evident the Lord is watching over all of you and that His hand is very much apart of your life. You are blessed.
    I get strength from what you write. Thank you for sharing!

  19. We just got home from a couple of days spent with our "little boys!" What precious moments! As I am catching up on your posts I missed while we were gone, I am so touched by the 'precious moments' that you are sharing with Mia Kareen as well as the missionaries and all your new found friends! The pictures are ADORABLE! We love you all! xoxoxo

  20. You handled that well, and I am sure she felt the spirit there in church, and realized more what our church is about.
    Also, loved the passport pics.

  21. what a beautiful post...many tears (again!) for you this morning! such an amazing story that you are allowing us all to be a part of. HE is definitely all around you...so many miracles.