I have struggled to write this post, because our journey to Max and Lena actually starts with another little boy in Eastern Europe – Riley.
When we first discussed committing to a child through Reece’s Rainbow, we hadn’t been considering adoption at all. We were in the middle of some other life changes, and it wasn’t even on our radar. One night I happened to follow a link to Reece’s Rainbow, and started looking at the waiting children. I had actually seen the site several times before, and thought it was a neat organization. It really didn’t impact my world, however, until I saw Riley’s picture.
From the moment I saw him, I felt like he was supposed to be part of our family. We spent several nights talking, but it was clear almost from the beginning that we were going to pursue adopting him. We started to work on our homestudy, and waited until we had the information we needed to commit to adopting him. The morning I emailed the director of Reece’s Rainbow to tell her we wanted to adopt him, I was so excited. But she emailed back to say that another family had just committed to him.
It was a very hard thing to hear. We had instantly fallen in love with him, and very much wanted to make him a part of our family. We felt a very strong sense of loss, and although we know we should feel happy anytime an orphan finds a family, it was hard for us to rejoice. Although we were extremely sad not to be able to be Riley’s family, we felt that adoption was still the right path for us. After a time of grieving and soul searching, we began to discuss committing to another child.
Several children, including Max and Lena, stood out to us, and it was a completely different process to look through pictures and ask ourselves if we were looking at our next child than it was to see Riley and instantly know. One night I was looking through a photolisting from Max and Lena’s home country, and came across some younger pictures of them than the ones listed on the Reece’s Rainbow site. Seeing those baby pictures is when my heart truly began to shift towards making them a part of our family.
The entire experience of finding, and losing, Riley was one of the harder things I have gone through in my life. However, without Riley, we never would have even considered adopting. We certainly wouldn’t be working towards adopting twins. And the research I did in regards to Riley’s medical needs prepared me to accept Max and Lena’s HIV diagnoses – something I wouldn’t have even considered, without all of the reading I did when I found out that Riley was diagnosed with HIV the night AFTER I fell in love with his picture.
As it turns out, Riley’s family found him because of another little girl in Eastern Europe – Vika.
I have wondered since the day we found out that another family had committed to Riley, why the process had to go this way for us. I still don’t know completely. But I do know that because we were considering Riley, more people have become aware of his story. My sadness from losing him has led me to reach out to people I never would have met, without him. People who would never have been aware of him are praying for him. Because of Vika, Riley has a family coming for him. Because of Riley, Max and Lena have a family coming for them. There is a chain of prayer and action that ripples out across continents. It doesn’t start here, and it doesn’t end here. And through all of that, we have found the children who are supposed to be a part of our family. Although there was sadness in how we came to find them, we feel a deep peace that they are the children for us.