She was a tiny little girl, just barely 4 years old. The first day we met her she had on too big clothing, shoes that were hanging together by threads (sandals that barely stayed on her feet), and a pony tail on top her her head, like a water spout.
Her eyes were filled with something - weariness?
I will never know exactly. As we sat in the directors office and listened to the list of "problems" on file I remember thinking "it will be okay...it will be okay."
If she had been born to us biologically it wouldn't have mattered what the diagnosis was. Didn't matter what terms medical professionals would saddle upon her. She is SO much more than the labels or limits the director tried to convince us was Sveta.
Sitting in that room I knew we would fight for her, for her to have the best possible life, future, and we would always be there for her.
What I didn't know is how deeply I would grow to love this little person.
How her grin and laugh would cause my heart to swell with emotion.
How naturally her little hand taking mine as we walk together would feel.
How the sound of her crying over anything would make my heart break.
How intently I would fight for her.
How every accomplishment would invoke an insane level of pride in her.
What I also didn't know is how difficult it would be coming home and adjusting with a little person who had never known love, trust, attachment or appropriate boundaries. Anyone who says adoption is easy or paints a glossy picture of perfection might not be painting the whole truth.
Adoption is born of pain and loss. No adoption comes without some level of heartache.
But adoption is also a gift, a blessing and Sveta is a true joy to our family. She is almost 8 now. She is beginning to ask questions about her "old house" and we temper our answers age appropriately.
We always want her to know of the beautiful place where she was born, of Ukraine's history, of her unique story.
And to embrace her story along with all of its beautiful intricacies.
No one person has a perfect story or perfect life.
We teach our children to embrace diversity and focus on the gift of grace that God has given us. Because while life is always going to be bring a level of heartache, when we focus on eternal truth and the gift of life together as a family, we have all we need in this life.
Her life is precious. Uniquely Sveta. Just as God created her, in His perfect image.
Sveta, almost four years home, 7 years old