Lifestyle

From Russia, with love

By JACI GOO

For the Mirror

It was in early August when my husband, Micah, and I met Ekaterina and Alexandr.

I saw an announcement in the St. Columba’s Sunday bulletin about International Adoption Services’ “Project Hope,” a program that brings Russian orphans to the United States with the hope of being adopted by families who host them. We decided to host a brother and sister.

We immediately fell in love with Ekaterina (Kate) and Alexandr (Sosha, a nickname for Alex). Kate is 14 and Sosha is 9. They are wonderful children and have brought so much happiness into our lives.

I will not forget the first day we had the children. They came with nothing but the clothing on their backs. When it was time for Sosha to bathe, Micah showed him how to use the shower. After he took his shower, which he enjoyed very much, Sosha took his shirt to the sink, where he was going to wash it by hand. I took him to the laundry room, where I showed him the washing machine. He let out a big scream and then he ran.

I thought I had scared him, but a few seconds later Sosha came back with his clothing and a huge smile on his face. it was the funniest thing. Sosha brings out the laughter in you.

Kate is a beautiful, responsible young lady. When we showed Kate her room, she was so excited. The next day she asked if she could clean it. Boy, how I wish my other children were like that.

Kate took everything out of the room, and I mean everything. She cleaned from top to bottom and asked if she could fix her room the way she wanted it. I told her to go ahead. It turned out beautiful. Of course, my husband lost his office.

On Aug. 20, I thought I was going to lose Kate and Sosha for good. I was told that if Micah and I could not come up with at least $10,800 by the next day, we would lose them to another family who had the money and wanted to adopt the children. I was so heartbroken. We couldn’t figure out how to come up with the money.

The next day, I told the children we could not keep them any more, and that another family wanted to adopt them. Kate was so upset. She didn’t want to hear anything about leaving. An interpreter explained that Micah and I loved them very much but that we did not have the money to keep them. Kate was still sad and angry. She said she didn’t want to leave, she wanted to stay with us. Kate, Sosha and I cried. They didn’t want to leave and I didn’t want to lose them.

I helped the children pack their things, which took a long time because Kate was stalling. We were to meet Anna, from the agency, at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. I prayed the whole way there, saying “‘God, if you want Micah and me to have these two wonderful children, please find a way for us to keep them.’” I also told God that if they were meant to be with the other family, I would do my best to understand. I wouldn’t like it, but would understand.

We walked with Anna and an interpreter to a meeting place where people were eating lunch. Kate, Sosha, the interpreter and I sat down on the grass. I asked the interpreter to tell Kate and Sosha that Micah and I loved them very much and that it was hurting us we were going to lose them. By then we were all crying.

At that point, a couple walked by who were invited to the zoo by the agency because they had been on the same plane coming from Russia as the children. They saw Kate, Sosha and I crying and asked Anna what was happening. Anna explained that we didn’t have the down payment to adopt the children and had to give them back to the agency, and that another family had the funds and wanted to adopt them.

The woman, Suellen, said, “‘I have one question: Do they love each other?” Anna relied, “Yes they do, very much, and that is why it is difficult to take them away.”

Suellen looked at her husband, Doug, and asked, “‘How much?’”

She wrote a check for $10,800 and told Anna to tell us we were a family. Anna was in shock; Suellen had to tell her again to move. Anna came over and told me we could keep the children. They were our children now.

I was shocked and excited. I could not believe it. Suellen ran over and gave me a great big hug and explained why she did what she did — she saw the love we all have for one another and could not see us apart.

Suellen and Doug are Micah’s and my angels. We asked them to be the children’s grandparents, which they were excited about, but asked if they could be aunt and uncle instead because they wanted to stay young. So now they are proud aunt and uncle to Kate and Sosha.

I am a blessed person. I now have what I have been praying for a long time — a family. Yes, Micah and I have children from a previous marriage, but everyone was off doing their own thing and did not have time to be a family. It is amazing how two children from across the globe can bring a family together and make it even bigger by adding two more wonderful people — Suellen and Doug. Micah and I truly are blessed.

Our journey is just beginning. We are still trying to come up with the rest of the money –– $23,000 to adopt the children. We have applied for several adoption grants.

After much praying, I decided to have an auction and raffle my diamond ring, a ring I always wanted and which took me several years to save for and that I’ve only had for a short time. But none of that matters now. My children are worth every penny and more. A ring is just a ring and my children are a blessing.

MORE ABOUT THE STORY

Jaci and Micah Goo of Federal Way, parishioners at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Kent, are adopting two orphans from Russia. After a three-week stay here last summer, the children returned to Russia, where the adoption process continues. The Goos plan to go there to pick them up by next summer and are raising money for adoption fees. Information on how to help with their fund-raising is available from the Goos at 529-1681 and from St. Columba’s at 854-9912 and info@saintcolumba.org

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