In April of 2010, a family in my church (Don and Dawn) did a presentation about hosting children from Ukraine, Russia and Latvia. It sounded like a good thing to do, but I knew I would be too old. I thought my brother might be interested so I talked with them to get information. I told Don I wished I could do it but knew I was too old. He said "no, you aren't." I replied that I was 60 years old.......He still said it didn't matter. I prayed and contemplated and then on April 25, Dawn prayed with me by the soda machine at church. She prayed that the resources would be made available and that I would know God's plan.
The following day I called New Horizons and told them I wanted to host a girl named Jana. Don had been advocating for her for a long time. Someone had already committed to host Jana. It was suggested that I consider another child. I said I wanted one of the older girls. Sight unseen, I committed to host S. I asked how old she was. The lady looked it up and replied that that was her 13th birthday, the day I first heard her precious name.
I started fundraising to be able to afford the $2500 fee. Don arranged an event, I had garage sales, sold jewelry, and begged. I raised every bit of the $2500. On June 26, 2011, at 12:01 a.m., I laid my eyes on the most beautiful child I had ever seen. She was timid and did not talk on the way from the airport. I thought she might not understand any English. After a while at home, we got out the computer, and with the help of Google Translate had a good conversation. As time went by, I learned that her English was quite good.
We had a wonderful five weeks together. She won my heart and within two weeks I knew God sent this exact child to me for a special reason. I prayed, talked with the pastor, and called the adoption agency to see what I needed to do. I had to wait until she returned to Latvia for someone to talk with her and see if she wanted to be adopted. She left on August 1, 2010. I watched her until she was no longer visible through the security gates. I felt like my heart had been yanked out of me. I told God that if he wants me to do this, he is going to have to make a way and that minute, I knew I was adopting that child with total reliance on God. I felt like I had stepped out of an airplane and was waiting for the parachute to open. No turning back now!
S and I talked on the phone and Skype nearly every day. I could not tell her about my adoption plans until she was talked to in Latvia. That was tough! She finally told me and that she had said "Yes!" I was back to raising money. The paperwork was mind boggling! Eventually my dossier was done and mailed. I wanted desperately to get her here for Christmas. She wanted that too. The people involved in the process were so good to us! They pressed it, and on December 8 I boarded a flight to Latvia with a court date of December 10.
I landed in Frankfurt, Germany to witness a major snow. Naturally my flight to Riga was cancelled. After several more cancelled flights I placed on a flight that would connect in Oslo. That flight was seriously delayed, but eventually, at 4 a.m., I arrived at my hotel in Riga. I had to meet the attorney at 9:00 a.m. so I only got about four hours of sleep.
We met with the orphan court which was all done in Latvian and very boring! I had no idea what was being said and I was suffering from no sleep and jet lag. Finally, at 6:00 p.m. We got to the hotel in Daugavpils and I got to hug my precious daughter.
We stayed in Daugavpils for ten days and on December 20 we went back to court at which time S was approved to stay with me until July 19, 2011, for the remaining adoption process.
We then went to the capital city of Riga to take care of business in the embassy and await our departure on December 24. My eye sight had been getting foggy, but when I woke up on December 21 there was a black area. I called my doctor in America who advised me to see a doctor as soon as possible. The next day I saw two doctors. The last one did a test on my eye and told me to go to America for surgery. My U. S. doctor told me to lay flat on my back until I got home. I tried to change flights but that was too close to Christmas! We left Riga as scheduled on December 24. We arrived in Frankfurt, Germany to learn that our flight was cancelled due to snow. We spent the night in a hotel in Germany and had Christmas eve dinner of turkey and dressing!
We finally arrived home on December 25 at 9 p.m. S had asked me not to decorate the tree until she got here. Friends had bought and put up our tree so it was waiting for us. We decorated the tree and opened gifts. She was so appreciative and really over stimulated. I did not think I had bought so much, but it was overwhelming to her. Finally we went to sleep and I thanked God for the wonderful Christmas gift of my daughter.