Category Archives: Second Adoption

Valentine’s Day

My most memorable Valentine’s Day was 3 years ago. That day, I found myself in the very cold city of Moscow, where I met my youngest love.


I hardly even recognize that kid anymore. A shadow of who he really is. At one year old, smiles were hard to come by.

Quiet, observant, stoic. That’s how he seemed.

We didn’t see any bits of his personality until 3.5 months later, after our court trip, when we finally started to see his goofy and wild spirit come out.


Now, he’s the family wild spirit. He keeps everyone laughing.

A few mornings ago, he woke up sick. Normally, he wakes up smiling, chatty long before the rest of us are ready to hear a sound. On the dark, freezing winter mornings, I joke it’s the Russian in him, better adapted to the dark and the cold than the rest of us. But this morning, I turned the lights on, patted his back and then headed downstairs, knowing he’d get up when he was ready.

And when he did, he just cried and screamed. I picked him up and he started to calm down. A minute later, I tried to put him down again, so I could help Reed and Lena get ready, but the screaming started again quickly. All he wanted was to be held. So, held him I did. In the moments that are usually spent rushing around the house to get his siblings ready for school, we sat on the couch and he pressed his body into mine, positioning my arm around him like a seat belt. He relaxed and quieted.

Those moments of sitting on the couch, holding him, were sacred. I often wonder if I’m doing this parenting gig right. Maybe I’d be a better parent if I had more experience, if I was less busy, if I was just a more patient and gentle person, but you know what? In that moment, Gus would have settled for no one else. In that moment, I knew that I, with all of my flaws and imperfections, was enough for him. He felt loved and secure with me.

My heart keeps jumping to the host kids. The listings for many of the hosting groups are up, or will be soon. I read the little bits of their stories and I wish I could hug each one of them, tell them that someone cares. Parenting a teenager isn’t remotely the same as parenting a preschooler. But, when they’re sick or when they’re hurting, they still crave that love of a mom. They want someone to care and nurture them, too. Not the perfect family, but a flawed and imperfect family who loves them as they are. They all need someone to make them feel secure and cherished.

Maybe you’re that somebody?

Project 143 | New Horizons for Children | Children’s Cultural Connection | Frontier Horizon

A Gotcha Day Letter of Gratitude

Dear Mr. Putin, Mr. Astakov and Russian government,

A year ago today, I picked up my son from a baby house in Moscow.


It was one of the best days of my life– up there with my wedding day, the gotcha day of my 2 children from Ukraine, and a few other truly special days.

Thank you for the privilege of letting my husband and I parent him. Especially, thank you to the orphanage staff, the prosecutor and the judge, who agreed that we were right for him.

Thank you for letting him be a part of our family

He clung to me as we drove away from the orphanage.

Photo on 2012-11-08 at 16.35 #2
He’s rarely stopped clinging to me since.

Before I scooped him up that day, I thought that I knew him. Tiny, quiet, observant.

But, over the last year, we’ve also had the pleasure of seeing his spunk come out.


It’s been like watching the sunrise. Dawn starts slowly, then suddenly, the light starts to shine.

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Now, everything is illuminated.

He delights in his siblings.
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And his daddy.


We are so in love with this boy who we first met in your beautiful Moscow. And so thankful for him every day.

molly&gus flat2e

It has been such a pleasure to watch him grow and change over the last year.


Thank you, again, for one of the best gifts we’ve ever received. I hope that you will give other waiting children in Russia the same opportunity.

With love,



Do you ever meet someone who simultaneously amazes you and frightens you with their tenacity and strength? Meet my dear friend Gina.

This woman is fearless. Literally flying across the world, talking to anyone who will listen, to try to bring her daughter, Evie, home. I admire her so. One person who would listen was Sarah McCarthy, filmmaker. Sarah is working on an amazing documentary about Russian-American adoption.

I know sometimes it’s easier to just look away from the hard stuff, but I’m asking you to open your heart up for 5 minutes and 10 seconds, for Gina and her daughter Evie. Today is all about freedom, and let’s do everything we can to know that Evie may know freedom, too.

Check out the campaign here. 

One Year Ago

A year ago today, our voices and our legs shook in a Russian court room as we asked if Gus could join our family.

The memory of that day is a favorite of mine. After our court hearing, we went to the baby house and we met Gus. Yes, we’d visited him several times before– we met the laidback child, sedated by fear if not also sedated by medicine.


That day, we began to see the feisty wild child he really is.



Here are some recent photos which show him most accurately.


Playing in a bucket of water.


Someone stole his tricycle.


And he stole his sister’s sunglasses, with a messy after dinner face.


Learning to climb. Everything.


His usual dirty self.


In a calmer moment with one of his canine friends.

Playing in the rain.

And in a creek.

Happy court day to Gus, a feisty and fab addition to our family.