When I saw this little girl’s face, I stared at it in shock. The little girl in the photo is not Emily, but I have rarely seen two little girls who look more alike. She was an 18-month-old at the time of picture. Tom snapped it in Varna, Bulgaria by the Black Sea at an orphanage there. He had been on an aid mission to an orphanage in Popovo and went to Varna to see this little girl who was available for adoption.
He spent the afternoon with her, and took many photos. He called me from his interpreter’s cell phone, and I remember his call that day, telling me what a beautiful child she was. She had a very sad background. We wanted very much to bring her home to our family, and I did my third international dossier which is a mound of paperwork, fingerprinting, INS filing, home study and a whole lot more.
But after 24 months of work, much, much longer than it was supposed to take, we were informed by the US Embassy in Sofia that all adoptions had been shut down indefinitely. (It turned out to be years before they reopened on a limited basis.) We knew it was over. I remember walking through the frozen food section at our grocery store with tears streaming down my face. It wasn’t for our family that I was crying. It was for the little girl we were going to name Christiana.
Those photos of her with Tom really haunted me. To have come so close to having a daddy like that, and to now have nobody broke my heart. I sadly gave the bin of little girls’ clothes we had bought to a crisis pregnancy center, and prayed that somehow that little girl would find a family.
We will never know what happened to this sweet child. Now over 10 years later, I look at Emily and am startled at the resemblance to the child in the photo. God’s plans for our family did not include that little girl at that time. He sent us another little girl ten years later, almost like an afterthought, when Tom and I were nearly like Sarah and Abraham age-wise.
I prayed for Christiana again after finding this picture. She would be around 11 years old now. I so hope that somebody loves her. There are so many millions of children who wait, yet the process keeps getting more costly and time consuming. It just seems wrong that there are families who want children, and children who need families, but connecting the two (especially in a timely manner) is so difficult.