Jim’s “Orange Pumpkin”.
Trey’s Best Friend.
An entire family’s son that they do not have the honor to encounter day-to-day. Who know Chase was happily adopted at age 14 mos, from the orphanage where he was taken after being in the hospital for 3 mos. after his birth. He was in a rural Russian hospital for those 3 mos due to prematurity, bronchitis, and failure to thrive.
A family, a Mom, that was in desperate need and left her son in the care of the nurses.
I have always tried to paint a mental picture of her having/chosing to walk away from her son… I will never get it pictured properly but I honor her for that long walk…where she left part of her heart behind.
BUT! Now, Irina knows Chase IS THRIVING.
We hired a private investigator to find Chase’s birthparents 3 years ago. It took over a year. Record-keeping is not the same there as in our very organized nation.
But. Now she KNOWS. She has pictures. She has video. She has information on his interests, his talents, his love of Jesus.
Every one of Chase’s birthdays makes me feel, truly, connected to Irina.
To a woman that lives on a different continent, whose daily life is vastly different than mine, who lives in a different culture that is steeped in deep, deep history whereas I live in a relatively new nation that is still establishing and finding our balance.
I live in complete freedom, whereas Irina lives within a system of “supposed” freedom but one that is not practiced in actuality.
You are wondering if Chase minds if I talk to you all about his heritage.
No. Not at all.
He is proud of being adopted. He understands, to the extent a 15 yr old can (which is pretty deep), what Irina did for him and why….
He talks openly about “Miss Irina”, “Mr. Max”, and considers adoption as just one way God can construct a family.
I asked him, on the the 31st (his birthday), if he was thinking of Miss Irina.
He looked at me…sorta sheepishly…and said, “Not really Mom. Is that bad?”
My response, knowing he is 15 yrs old and thinks about video games more than food, said,”No babe. But I am and I wanted to remind you of how much I love her and am grateful to her because without her I would not have you.”
“You are right Mom.” …. and he’s back to doing whatever it was he was doing before I asked him Yep. He’s a teenager.
But, our goal has always been to keep his adoption (all the adoptions) an open topic. As easy to bring up as a “What’s for dinner” type question.
At this point, we see it playing out in all three of our kiddos who were brought to us via the journey of adoption. And within our ‘homemade’ kiddos. They have questions too.
We welcome any and all types of questions in regards to the adoption journeys we’ve traveled – first as just “Jim & Andre” and then it was “Jim, Andrea, Chase, Trey, and Zane” to get Tye home from China. And, finally (so far , it was “Jim, Andrea, Chase, Trey, Zane, and Tye” to get Aven home from Guatemala. It’s been a group effort
It is a beautiful thing. It allows a child to see a bigger world. A world where love abounds….a world where Moms and Dads go to extraordinary lengths to keep their children safe, fed, to be given opportunity, education, and to be so amazingly self-less as to allow someone else to raise their child.
I am daily amazed by you, my Chaser-Bean.
You can be discouraged and confused one minute and laughing hysterically shortly thereafter. You bounce back from setbacks or bad days unlike anyone else I have ever met.
I want your perseverance. I want that gigantic smile that you just cannot hold back.
Most of all, my son, I just want you. And, thanks to Miss Irina and Mr. Max….I have my wish.
I have you … a son that is independently focused on growing his relationship with God, who knows he struggles with Fetal Alcohol Effect but does not use it as an excuse for bad behavior or to not conquer something that is very hard for you (math!!). And you have found your God-Given talents and RAN with them! (music is one of ‘em!)
Tears are rolling down my face as I picture God forming you within the womb, giving you an extra dose of perseverance (because He knew you’d need it)..
…wiring your brain with the ability to heal and conquer FAE..
…piecing your heart together but apparently using larger than normal components because your heart, Chase, it fills a room within seconds….
God giving you a craving that is unlike others…a craving to be generous beyond your years – How many times have you asked me, “Need anything Mom?”, “You doin’ okay Mom?”…… God has never created another one like you my love.
It would be impossible to for there ever to be another “you”.
You are a young man that has fought, (even if we were dragging you through the fight sometimes….years 6-9 come to mind :) to become who YOU want to be…not who we are telling you to be, not who friends are telling you to be, but who YOU THINK YOU SHOULD BE.
I am amazed…my son…Irina’s son…God’s son….
Amazed at you and you, without any doubt, have made our entire family something that it could never have been without YOU.
When they handed you to me in a freezing, colorless orphanage in Rostov, Russia on January 17th, 1998… I knew I was holding an angel…My soul felt your angelic spirit the instant I touched you…I felt that, somehow, I had your birthmomma’s permission to take you into the folds of my arms, into the deepest places of my heart and to keep you safe, loved, and nurtured.
It turns out…. that Irina knew you were an angel too and wanted to let you soar.
You are soaring our Angel….. Beyond ALL expectations my… I mean OUR son ….. SOARING.
WE, Miss Irina, Mr. Max, Mom, Dad, your brothers, and your sister, … we love you and please use that love to change the world Angel.
With ALL of our LOVE….
Your Momma….and, by proxy, Miss Irina.