Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Worth! Final goodbyes

Eulogy that I read as we put Dryden to rest.
Our sweet boy was loved beyond measure, I regret that we didn't find him sooner. I remember the day I first saw a video of him. I was on YouTube and I typed in Ukrainian orphans in the search bar. It was that day I clicked on a link that would change my life forever. Knowing the love i have for my own children It made it very difficult to imagine what could have happened to make a child deserve the conditions that I saw on my screen that day. I had no idea who he was, Where in Ukraine he was or if he was available for adoption. What I did know was that I was in the process to adopt a child from Ukraine and he gave me a drive that made me want to change the world, to never give up. It wasn't until 4 months later that I saw him listed for adoption on Reece's rainbow. I learned he had been available since birth and I instantly started advocating for his mama to see him, to find him and rescue that sweet boy from his misery. I begged, and pleaded and screamed for the world to see him like i did but no one was running. Over the next few months I begged more, cried, and tried my best to find him a family but it didn't take long for me to realize no one was coming. He had been waiting for almost 15 years, never held, barely fed. He was trapped in his crib, waiting the forever wait, and he only had one more birthday that could pass and then the next he would loose the chance forever.

When we submit to his country it was to adopt three children with special needs, but I couldn't rest. I started telling all my friends about a very special boy who I wanted to be a son. Many told us we were crazy to consider a child like him. The child I wanted had been bedridden his entire life. He couldn't talk, he couldn't sit up, he couldn't crawl, he couldn't walk and his country considered him so unworthy he was locked away in a crib to never be touched or loved, he was left to die alone. But we wanted him. Our love crossed oceans for a boy we had never met. And when no one else came, we did. We ran with arms wide open. When we got there the people of his country begged us not to adopt him, said he wasn't worthy, that he was deeply mentally handicapped and he couldn't be fixed. They told us to pick another child, a more deserving capable child. We said no. When we went to meet him they asked us if we wanted to change our mind. We said no. When we met him it was love at first sight. I reached out to stroke his cheek and he bit me so hard I didn't think he would let go, love hurts and in that very moment we decided it was us who would never let go. His body was covered in whip marks, cigarette burns, and his wrists were bruised and his arms covered in infected sores from bites. He was skin and bones, and although he was 14 he was the size of a 4 year old. The room smelt like rote and it felt like death and kids lay silent all around. They asked us if we still wanted him. We said yes. They said are you sure, we said yes, They told us that there was many more children not like him, worthy kids available and capable. We said he is the one. When we looked at him we saw our son, we saw a broken, damaged boy who had never felt what it was like to be loved. He deserved to be loved. He was hungry, starving really, and he had zero trust until the day we walked out those doors forever. It was the first time our son had ever been carried out those doors. What did he do when the cold air hit his cheeks? he laughed, and laughed, and laughed. It was three hours before his laugh turned into a cry. He knew he was free from hell on earth, somehow he knew. That day was one of the happiest in our entire life.

Over the next few months he started to learn to eat by spoon rather than only getting broth water in a bottle like they gave him in Ukraine. He learned to smile, it was such a beautiful smile. It didn't stop there. I remember the day I came home and Trevor was so excited to show me something. I couldn't wait.. That day for the first time I saw my son sit independently. The smile on Drydens face as my husband lifted his hands and let him go will be forever etched in my mind. Dryden was so proud. It wasn't long that seconds turned into minutes and he could tolerate longer times sitting up. A boy who had never sat up in his entire life, could sit, and it only took a month of care, I can imagine what could have been with a life time of care. It took many months for him to attach because he was so incredibly scared, he didn't know how to love or what it was. But I remember the day he became mine. The day he let go of fear and learned to trust. For the first time in his life he was free. Really free, and he knew it. It wasn't long that he was crawling, they said he never would, he proved them wrong. It took motivation and he had never had any freedom before but as his trust grew so did his freedom and so did he. We watched our child age 6 years in only 6 months and that alone blew our minds, but to see him grow in strength and love too, it left us speechless and our hearts full. Before we knew it, he could love, he loved all his siblings, And he gave that love to me. He watched every move I made and he even a few times called me mama, and even said papa a few times and he would constantly tell us hey. I remember the first time he let me hold him, and no i dont' mean pick him up, iImean really hold him, he rested his head on my shoulder and he unclenched his fists and put his hand on my cheek, in that moment i knew he was learning to be free, he was learning to love and he loved me, it filled my heart. From that moment his love only grew, his sadness turned into happiness, and his fear turned into trust. We watched a broken child start to mend. It was the best feeling. It was nothing short of amazing. He had a home, a family, and love. He was a brother, grandson, cousin and son. He was a boy who stole our heart. On May 16th our sweet boy spent his first birthday in a family, and it breaks our hearts to pieces it will be his last. Two days later broken wings learned to fly. He left the earth that had caused him so much pain, and he wasn't alone, he was loved. We loved him and so did so many others. His life with us was not filled with quantity but quality and we are honored, absolutely honored to be chosen to be his parents.
something I wrote the night we took him out of the orphanage forever.
As I lie here in the floor of the overnight train I'm filled with a joy that can only be described as magical. It is an odd kind of joy. I can hear my children breathing, grinding their teeth, and rocking back and forth. I'm not sure what hell's on earth they have been through but I know it stops here. They are not orphans anymore.
Covered in bruises and scars both physical and mental. They will take time to heal but they will start to heal. The smells alone in the older boys orphanage will be carved into my mind forever. you can smell the death in that place. you can see the darkness that haunts their every hour, minute, and second. Some are tucked away behind closed doors in dark rooms with no toys, sound or light. They are left to die alone. No love, no touch and not enough food to sustain a baby. Teenagers the size of toddlers and toddlers the size of babies will forever be etched in my mind. To know that each child that I chose was many that I left behind will haunt me until the day I die. Unwanted because their bodies have failed them and neglected because they are unwanted. This is not a place any child should be yet they are stuck in a system that doesn't care for them. My children managed to slip out the front door but most slip out the back door to an unmarked grave.
I have found diamonds in the rough. I will polish them and prove their value and worth. These kids amaze me.

This isn't how we wanted it to end, we wanted to spend forever with Dryden, we had so much more love to give, so much more life to show him, and many memories we wanted to share. I wanted to turn mountains into rainbows for him. Adoption is so beautifully difficult but for the first time in his life he felt safe enough to let go, and now he is truly free.
He is forever loved.



  1. He found love and peace. Thank you for giving him that. God blessed him with eternal happiness. May God bless all the Dryden's left to be found. And may you find some comfort in having had him to love.

  2. Are you still adopting the two girls? I see Stacie is still on Reece's rainbow and I can't find Reign. Hope all is well.