How do you mourn a dying dream?

Note: I wrote this post this morning, published it and immediately took it down. I’ve floundered all day about whether or not I should share it, or simply pack it away. Maybe I’m oversharing. Maybe I’m talking too much about adoption stuff. When’s it gonna get funny around here again?! C’mon, lady! Talk more about roaches, or your husband dissing Target, or dudes manning the tables at Victoria’s Secret!


*big sigh*

I finally realized that this place – this little internet place – has become a great space for me to grieve and you guys are so freaking up for the challenge! (The challenge being my crazy emotional state, of course…) The fact is, it’s easier for me to unload my grief when I write it down, and you all have walked right next to us on this entire journey.

So here it is…

I pulled the dirty rubbermaid bin off the shelf today and opened it up. Filled with magazine articles, newspapers, scrapbooks and journals, the bin smells like history.

My history.

I dug through the old journals looking for a very specific book. It was the one I wrote in during my very first visit to Belarus and Russia as a fifteen year old. I wanted to feel the pages and read the words that the younger version of me looped in hapless teenage fashion nearly twenty years ago.

I wanted to see if maybe, just maybe, I had convinced myself of a lie all these years. Maybe I didn’t decide I wanted to adopt on that trip. Maybe I’ve worked up some sort of story in my mind that’s justified all these years of longing and desire.

I wanted to see if I was wrong.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find that journal. It’s somewhere in this house, but currently I don’t know where. But there were a stack of journals from the years following that first trip. Journals starting from the day I turned to sixteen to the day I birthed my first child. Pages and pages of history recorded.

I pulled out the oldest book and dusted it off. It begins on June 4, 1994 – my sixteenth birthday.

Most of the journal is slap your knee hilarious to read. Lord Almighty the angst I lived through in those days. They boys I liked, the confusion I felt. Most of my prayers centered around who I should go to Homecoming with and how to tell a boy I didn’t like him. *eye roll*

(Side note: Tia – please don’t become that girl. Stay oblivious to boys or, if you must notice them, just stick to trying to crush them at every competition.)

But then I came upon the one entry I feared I would find. Sixteen year old Kelli took a break from the perils of teendom and recorded a single, heartfelt plea:

Dear God. I love Russia. Can I go back there someday? Can I work with the orphans again?

That was it. That was all I found, but it was enough to remind me that I didn’t make this dream up. And as I flipped through the pages of the rest of the journals, the common theme followed me. A love for Russia and Ukraine. And prayers to someday adopt began to appear with regularity in the journals starting in 2000 – the year Lee and I got married.

The dream really was there a long time ago and today I am very, very slowly letting it go.

I don’t have anything to bury in the physical sense. I kind of wish I did. Would there be more closure if I placed this dream in the earth? I don’t know. Perhaps I will get to that point. Maybe I will do that eventually. Today I’m just coming to terms with it.

The very honest fact of the matter is this: Our Russian adoption is very, very unlikely to proceed. There are still diplomatic discussions taking place between our two countries, but Lee and I have come to a place where we must face reality.

I’m doing okay, really. I think I did most of my heavy mourning last week. This week I am simply…well, I’m sad (and a little bit foggy headed), but also hopeful. I am still very, very hopeful.

Thank you to so many of you who have been calling and writing. I really can’t explain to you what it means to me to be poured into the way you have encouraged me. One friend emailed last week and shared with me something I had never before considered. An excerpt from her email:

 The words “wait” and “hope” are often translated from the same Hebrew word.

Isaiah 40:31: “Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

The word “wait” there is qavah, which means “to look for, hope, expect… to wait or look eagerly for.”

May you, Lee, Sloan, Tia, and Landon take courage as you continue to wait and hope, because of the One on whom you are waiting and in whom your hope rests.

While it seems that my dreams of adopting from Russia are coming to an end, I’m not entirely sure my dreams of adopting a child are ending. I spoke with another dear friend yesterday who gave me the freedom to mourn this loss before immediately moving on.

Because this really is a loss. One doesn’t easily give up a lifelong dream. I am allowing myself the space needed to release this heartache before moving on. And in the meantime, we are researching our options and praying for a new revelation – a common dream.

The kids and I discussed this development yesterday and I was so concerned with how they might react. But they surprised me – especially Tia. After we talked about it, I stood at the table and brushed her hair. She is my child who locks things up inside so I wanted to pry a little to see what she was thinking.

“Are you okay with everything that’s going on with the adoption?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said with a nod.

“Good. If you want to talk about anything or have questions, let me know okay?”

“Okay.” She turned and locked eyes with me. “I’m just gonna wait for my little sister to come home…Hey Mom! Can I have some Nutella?”

You know how you mourn a dying dream? You lean on the faith of a child and you eat a little Nutella.

You can read more about our adoption journey here.