Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Buddy Ruslan~Part 1

Ruslan has been on this blog since I opened it . . . and he was on my previous blog as well. The fact is that Ruslan has been waiting for a family for a very long time.

Way back in 2007 Ruslan was waiting. Our family was in the process of our first international adoption from Eastern Europe. Even though we were only planning to adopt one child--"Sasha"--

we went ahead and got approved by our caseworker and from USCIS for two little boys with Down syndrome "just in case." I'm not sure I even told anyone locally we were approved for two.

The day came for our appointment with the ministry of adoption in the capital city. We got Sasha's referral, no problem. And then we were offered the referral for a second boy from the same orphanage. He was described as a "good" boy. He had Down syndrome. He was basically healthy except he was Hepatitis B positive. His name was Ruslan.

I was frightened by the diagnosis of Hepatitis B. I didn't know much about it except that it was somehow connected to the liver and was blood-born. I was afraid it might endanger our four other children--who each had ADHD and were always doing something impulsive. What if they had an open cut and touched his blood and got infected with the virus? (I totally forgot they had all been immunized for Hep B.) And honestly I don't think we were feeling overly brave anyway. We did not have personal experience with Down syndrome itself and had already received so much flack for our decision to adopt even one little guy. We turned down Ruslan's referral.

We went to the orphanage in a small town not far from the capital.

and were smitten by the most adorable blue-eyed, shaggy haired little man we could imagine.

We named him Caleb Alexander. We were not allowed to see any of the other children. We were not allowed to see the bedrooms, or play rooms or dining room or anything. We walked outside by ourselves. We had most of our visits in a non-child-friendly room that looked like an office of sorts where the workers could sit, use the phone, and keep records on the children.

I wonder now if it was because we had turned down Ruslan's referral? Maybe the workers were afraid we would run into him along the way. I really don't know.

On February 26, 2008--just over four years ago!--Caleb and I touched down on U.S. soil and he immediately became a U.S. citizen.

. . . But Ruslan was still waiting . . .

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