Friday, December 28, 2012

Say It Ain't So

I am trying to understand why anyone would sign a bill to stop children from being adopted. An anonymous person left a comment on my blog stating. "I'm giving Russia the benefit of the doubt - they're taking legitimate steps to reform child welfare and protect their littlest and most vulnerable citizens! Russia does not HAVE to allow Americans to adopt their kids; it's a PRIVILEGE not a right. The USA has had ample warning this was in the pipeline!"

WHAT? Are you kidding me anonymous blogger. Protecting their littlest and most vulnerable citizens? Children are dying! Many who age out of the system take to the streets, become homeless, get involved in drugs and prostitution, then commit suicide because they have no protection! Children with special needs are placed in adult mental institutions when they reach the age of 4 or 5. What kind of protection are they given? They have to fend for themselves, and many die within in a year of being in an institution. You are right anonymous blogger, it is a privilege to adopt a child from another country including Russia, but if people were adopting their own children, protecting their most vulnerable citizens, we wouldn't be in this pickle now would we?

Just say it ain't so. Why is anyone denying children like Sara to have a family? Oh my heart is so heavy with sadness, confusion, and empathy. I especially feel heartbroken for those I know personally who may not get to see the light at the end of their adoption tunnel. I am still holding on to hope and trust that there is a greater plan. I trust that more good will come of this decision and somehow, some way these children and families will have what they have always dreamed of. My love for Sara is no different than the love I have for my other children. She was not born of my flesh but she was born of my heart! She would have been locked away in an adult instituition with no chance of survival and now she has a chance to live the life that she deserves. I am grateful that her country allowed us to adopt her. Tears for the many children who could have had the same chance but now can't. I pray that something will change. It has to! I pray that other families can feel the same blessings and have the privilege to adopt from afar! I will continue to pray that hearts will still be softened. Sara has blessed our lives in so many ways! How can you not look at this little face and deny that she is loved, chosen, and cherished? Please Lord, let others have the chance to feel the same.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Prayers For Putin

As you all know, I have a special place in my heart for adoption. Two of my most favorite people came into my life through adoption. Reece's Rainbow, the organization that advocates for children like my Sara has found homes for over 900 children. If it wasn't for this organization and the inspiration of many, we would have never found our lost princess. There are many children who are listed on Reece's Rainbow, many who live in Russia. These children are only a small number in comparison to the total number of orphans in Russia. In the past 20 years over 60,000 children from Russia alone, have been adopted by Americans. Putin, Russia's leader is about to sign a bill that will stop Americans from adopting from Russia. This bill has already passed, it just needs Putin's signature. He has been quoted as saying, "There is no reason not to sign." If this passes many, many children who would have had a chance, will be locked away. They will never know the love of a family. We have close friends right here in Utah who will be affected, many who have already met their child. Can you imagine meeting a child who you already consider your own, telling them and promising them that you are coming back, then not being able to follow through with that promise? It breaks my heart to think that this could happen. All because of a man and his tough guy "I'll show you" ego.

The adoption process is a long and complicated one. Many, many hours and tears are spent along the way, not to mention the money. In Russia it's even more complicated requiring 3-4 trips before you can bring your child home. Right now 46 children in Russia have already met their parents and the process to bring them home is almost complete. What a sad day it will be when they are told that they cannot go home! This number doesn't even count for the ones who have started the process and have committed to a child, possibly even met them too. Even though we only knew Sara from a picture, we knew that she was our daughter. Many others have done the same, they have seen a photograph and know that the child they see is the "one" and they are working hard to bring that child home. Or there are those like our friends, who have taken a huge leap of faith and have gone to Russia on a blind referral. Meaning they didn't know who they were going to meet or commit to until they got there. They never saw a pic, had no idea about this child but after meeting them, they know that this child is meant to be part of their family. It just doesn't make any sense that anyone would want this to stop. It's another situation when sweet, innocent children, thousands in this case, have to suffer because of the actions of one single coward. It's times like this when I feel hopeless. Like many, I want to help but don't know what I can do. Then I am reminded that the power of prayer is amazing! There IS something I can do and so can you. We can pray. Pray that Putin's heart will be softened and that he will think with his heart and not with his ego. Pray that these children will not suffer because of a silly political move. Pray that whatever the outcome may be, we will have an understanding and be able to accept why. Help us bridge the divide."The children must come first." For most kids in Russia because their own people do not adopt (especially children with special needs), we are their only hope. Some may aruge that children have died in American's care. But let me quote this fact from a friend, "In 20 years, 19 kids who were adopted from Russia have died in the US. 19 out of 60,000 adopted. More than that died in Russian institutions yesterday!!" Please share and pray. Everyone deserves the blessing of a family! These children don't have a voice, let us be their voice!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things!

If there is one thing I really miss about being in Ukraine, it's the time that I had to blog. It was really nice to be able to come back to the apartment with nothing else to do but blog. Life with 4 kids was busy and although I can honestly say that having one more isn't that much busier, blogging is always the thing that gets put on the back burner. It's about the only thing that's been on the burner lately, I haven't cooked a decent meal for my family in a while. So maybe I am busier than I thought, ha ha! Anyway, I have a lot of catch up to do blog post wise but in the meantime I am going to post any recent news, while I can. It's a bit overwhelming to play catch up on past events ( I still haven't posted pics or videos of our arrival home) so to save myself from more trouble, I shall write even if there are big gaps in our timeline. 

It is now 1:30 am on December 26th. Christmas has come and gone! Happy Christmas! We spent the day lounging in our jammies and did a little bit of nothing. Nothing if you don't count opening presents, eating breakfast, watching movies, playing with toys, taking naps, and having Christmas dinner. It was my kind of Christmas day. My parents moved to Midway this time last year. It's only an hour or so away but it requires driving up and down a canyon. For the past 10 years or so it has been a tradition that they come to our home for breakfast so this year we invited them to stay over night on Christmas Eve. I knew that they would enjoy being in our home to watch the children open presents. It has been a while since they have had small children. My mom and I figured out that the Christmas of 1995 was the last Christmas when we were all together but even then, we were older. My older brother and I both got married the following year. Anyway, they did come down and we all went to Temple Square to see the lights. It was snowing and the lights and the snow just glistened and glimmered. It was so beautiful and very magical! We even saw Santa Clause, the real deal! At one point my dad stopped to look at the temple and said that is wasn't very long ago when we were all inside having Liam, then Sara sealed to us. It was nice to stop for a minute and ponder the special events that have taken place this year. My heart was full of so much love for the temple and the memories we have there. It is a very special place and it has been a very special year for us! I am so happy that my parents, Mark's mum and brother were able to share these special moments with us.

All day long I couldn't help but hold Sara close to me, giving her lots of loves and kisses. I was filled with so much joy that she is here, part of our lives, part of our family. (It's still a bit surreal.)  Although technically this was her 2nd Christmas, I considered it her first. It was her first Christmas to experience the love and laughter, the warmth and feel of a home. She got many, many things as did my other children and I loved knowing that she deserves every little bit and more. In Ukraine they do not celebrate Christmas until January 7th, but even then I wonder if it is a special day for the babies who lay in an orphanage or if it is a day no different than the others. I am just grateful that Sara will now know that Christmas IS a special time of year! All day long Liam kept coming up to me giving me the biggest squeezes! I kept whispering to him too that he is loved and cherished. This was his 3rd Christmas with us but his first as an official Lutkin. As I watched and cuddled all of my children, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and gratitude for the opportunity I have to be a mother. I got a small glimpse of how Mary must have felt becoming a mother, the joy she must have felt as she looked down at her son, the Son of God. The Savior and my family are my greatest gifts! I have been blessed!

It broke my heart today as Kate and Beck learned that our "Elf" was going back to the North Pole. I allowed them both to hold him and give him a hug (before now they were not allowed to touch him or he would lose his magic). I figured since he was on his way back home, it wouldn't hurt. Kate was sobbing and saying that she loved him and was going to miss him. I have to admit, it made me cry. The magic of Christmas seems to pass so quickly and I too do not want it to end. I know that we can and should carry the spirit of Christmas in our hearts every day, but there is something special about Christmas day and the children with their sweet spirits on this day. I assured them that "Will Jingles" would be back next year and Beck said, "That's not very long, a year goes by fast Kate." Oh boy, did that just break my heart to know that he too notices that time just flies by! I want moments like today to last forever. I want my children to stay children forever! It's moments like today when Kate said, "This is the best Christmas ever!" that you wish would never end. It really was a great day!

There are so many pics that I want to post from today, but they'll have to come later, in a separate post. Instead I will post pics that we took on Sunday after church. It was a very frustrating photo op, trying to get everyone to smile and look at the camera at the same time. We originally took them outside but it was a bit chilly so there were not many smiles at all. I finally just sat them down on the couch and snapped away. It was still difficult to get everyone to look at the camera but you get what you get and you don't throw a fit, right? Mark assured me that one day they will all cooperate but today is not the day and for now we just need to do individual shots. More and more I am realizing that I just need to lower my expectations. They're all blog worthy pics regardless so enjoy. Mark, Cole, Beck, Kate, Liam, and Sara, these are a few of my favorite things!

 By the time we took Sara's individual pics inside, she was done. She even has her hands up to say, "I'm done, back away, no more." It may look like she's smiling, but she was fed up! Ha ha!


"When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad. I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad."
Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Takes My Breath Away

Definition for suffocating:
1. Die or cause to die from lack of air or inability to breathe.
2. Have or cause to have difficulty in breathing.
Now why on earth would I have the definition of "suffocating" to start a blog post? After reading this definition I have to wonder why am I still alive? Sounds crazy but when I think of all the sadness in the world, it is very suffocating. The orphan crisis, AIDS epidemic in Africa, child abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, starving children, shootings and killings, the list goes on. All of these things take my breath away.
After hearing and watching today's news about the shooting in CT, I cannot stop sobbing. I first heard of it just minutes before my kindergartner was about to get home from school. I couldn't help but hug him a little tighter when he stepped off the bus. No one ever expects to send their babies off to school and have them not return home. Unfortunately this happened today. 20 children did not come home from school today. 20 parents did not get to greet their child when they got home. 27 families have been changed forever. These news stories are stories that I shelter my own children from watching or hearing. I am so sad that these 600 plus children who attended this school were not offered that same protection. They lived this nightmare and my heart breaks for them. Over 600 children have witnessed firsthand the devastation of a coward.
I don't know why but when things like this happen little details swarm my head. I can't help but think that like me, many of these parents had probably finished their Christmas shopping. There are going to be many unopened presents this year and that thought just makes me tremble. I can't even fathom what these parents must be feeling. This holiday season will never be the same for these families. Ugh! I just pray that they will receive the peace needed to get them through this troubled time. I am reminded that although I am fearful, fear is the opposite of faith. I may not understand why these things happen but I have to trust that it's all in His plan. I also have to remember that there is still a lot of good in the world. One gift that I treasure is the gift of my Savior. His love can comfort, guide, and heal troubles hearts. I am so grateful for my own testimony of  Him and His love. Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert. As always, it was a night to remember and one of the verses of Hark the Herald Angels Sing sung by Alfie Boe is still echoing in my ear.
Hail the heav'n born Prince of Peace!
Hail the son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
He lives! His birth and death allow us all to be saved and have eternal life. There is no doubt in my mind that these children who lost their lives today will live again. I look forward to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and am sure that these beautiful children will be part of the angelic choir who will sing at His coming. They will rejoice and sing "Glory to the King!" I have a wish that God will speed His coming! I can't wait to have my breath taken away by something glorious and joyful! Prayers and hugs!