|Victoria, the first child we committed to, who was taken into foster care in Russia and made ineligible for adoption.|
|Beautiful Dasha girl. Stuck in an orphanage because of the Russian adoption ban.|
|Cooper Haolei, who passed away August 16, 2013.|
Because it never feels right to stick a Dasha update at the end of a Milo post, I haven't written much about her in the months since he's been home. That doesn't mean, though, that she hasn't been in my heart and mind constantly since. It's a balancing act, I tell you. Losing Dasha has impressed upon me even more how very absolutely lucky and blessed I am to call four children my own. I don't want to miss a moment of their lives grieving. Because even though she's not here with us, they are. In the quiet moments when kids are at school or napping or after the house is peaceful and everyone is safely tucked in their beds at night, though, the sorrow washes over me like a wave. I've decided it's impossible to explain to others just how I feel for Dasha, so my grief has become very, very personal. I hardly ever talk about it. If you knew me in real life, you might even think I've forgotten about her. It just compounds my pain, you see, when my soul-wrenching sorrow is swept under the rug with a, "You need to move on with your life," or a, "I guess it wasn't God's plan. At least you have Milo home!"
Because yes, I'm forever grateful for Milo, but having him here absolutely and positively does not lessen the pain that Dasha is not here. They are two completely different people, and Dasha is still in an orphanage. She still has no family. She does, thankfully, has a loving orphanage director who is doing her best to make sure Dasha is taken care of for the time being. Aside from Dasha, she is the one person in the world that I'd love to wrap my arms around and sob thanks to. But alas, an orphanage is no substitution for a family. And the real kicker? What happens in less than 8 months when Dasha turns four? She will inevitably be transferred. The dreaded mental institution is so very near.
I have been going over our time with Dasha very thoroughly over the past month or so as we continue our European Court of Human Rights case. We had to respond to Russia's response, and we needed to make sure every detail was accurate. Opening files I haven't opened in so long caused many nights of trauma. Even now, 21 months later, the grief is so very raw. Reviewing all my journal entries, blog entries, the pictures of the time we spent together, and video we took of her only confirms just how magical our connection was. From the very moment I saw her, I knew in my heart she was meant to be my daughter. The love I felt and feel for her was no different than the love I felt when each of my other children was placed in my arms for the first time. Instant, immediate, true and forever love.
I checked the Russian database two days ago, and oh my stars! An updated picture!!! Only the second update in 21 months!
I can't even explain how much these updated pictures mean to me, yet how much they wreck me. Commence the sobbing so hard I couldn't breathe. Puffy eyes for days. She looks amazing. Beautiful, happy, strong, and is such a big girl! I love this child more than I can even fathom. All I want is for her to continue to grow and be happy. All I want for her is a family. I know of a Russian man who takes pictures of orphans to advocate for them. I tried to hire him to fly to Dasha's region to take professional pictures of her so she could be posted on all the Russian adoption advocacy sites. He called her orphanage director, and sadly she declined. She said it would be against the law for him to come take pictures of the orphans without permission and approval. I feel like every effort to find her a family has been thwarted. It makes me so, so sad.
I have tried to let it all go. I've tried saying to myself that there's nothing I can do and I really do just need to forget about her and move on. There's something telling me my work for her is not done, though. There's something more I need to do for her. Until she is safely and happily in a family, I just don't see how I can walk away. Would I walk away from any of my other children if they needed me?? No, I would not. I would do whatever was within my power to do, and I would continue doing it until they no longer needed me. I have very little hope that I'll ever be able to parent Dasha (at least in this life), but that doesn't mean I've lost all hope that she can have a wonderful life. I have a few more plans I am going to try. In the meantime, I continue to pray and beg for her safety. I ask that angels surround her and protect her. I ask that she is happy and healthy, and, most importantly, I ask that she knows how very, very loved she is. Until something changes, that's all I've got. My prayers, my crazy ideas, and my faith that this girl still has big things to accomplish in her life.