SARAH'S STORY, a true fairy tale, by Sarah's mom
In July, 1998, I was standing on a street in Istanbul when I felt as if an invisible hand had shoved me in the back. At the same moment I “heard” a loud shout that resonated within my being, but had not come from me. I looked around and noted the nearest person was half a block away, looking in a store window. It struck me that I had just been communicated with in a manner that seemed almost telepathic, and I was compelled to listen. It was immediately clear that I was being “directed” to a child who would appear later that year in one of the Ukrainian orphanages I had been working with since the previous January. I understood the “communicator” to be that child. Up until that time, I had never entertained any thoughts of having children, and really had no interest in raising children. Most clients I knew had agonized over the decision for quite awhile. I never hesitated for a moment, and the day after I returned to the U.S. I contacted a social worker to set up an interview and start the paperwork.
[left] Sarah at 6 months with orphanage director Ykaterina in Crimea, Ukraine
My documents were ready by mid-December and I made plans and plane reservations to fly to Ukraine on January 31, 1999. Throughout the Fall, I felt as if I was in a tide, being gently but firmly pulled to the East. In early January, I visited a friend, Kathy Cook, who performed a tarot reading. She seemed to already know what I was about to do, even before I told her. I said I was leaving January 31 and was planning on going to Odessa to adopt a child. I had everything worked out with my translator there to facilitate the adoption. Kathy said no, I would instead be going to a place that was southeast of Odessa on the map. She also said that the soul I was going to adopt had been looking for me, was someone with whom I had spent many lifetimes, and who was a very spiritually powerful being. She said the adoption would “happen very quickly -- within three months time”. I thought she was crazy, since adoption in Ukraine at the time took only 3-4 weeks. Surely, I would be home by end of February. She also advised that the child would not be shown to me; that I was going to have to look for the child, but not to be discouraged. I had no idea to what she was referring.
[left] Sarah in the USA at 6 months
Once at the orphanage, I looked at all seven children who were available, but saw no recognition of me in their eyes. I wasn’t sure what to do because there were no more children to look at, so I went ahead and started the paperwork to adopt a boy, Dima (Dmitri), 4 years old. He was a handsome child, who was sent to the orphanage by a judge at age 2. The decision to adopt him never felt right. Alarm bells were going off in my head. I knew in my gut there was something wrong with what I was doing. Dima was also telling me the same thing by his behavior – he was kind and sweet with everyone except me -- throwing things at me, and hitting me in the back of the head with a bat when the nurses were out of the room. I finally told the orphanage director to stop the adoption. Everyone was very disappointed -- this child was the favorite of all the caregivers. I didn’t care. It was the wrong child, and I knew it in my heart. I decided to return to the U.S. and had a flight out the next morning.
As I was leaving I asked the director if there might be any infant girls available within the next few months. She said no, but almost as an afterthought agreed to look through her files anyway. She thumbed through one of the large tomes which held each child’s information, saying, “no….no…” and shaking her head. After several minutes she stopped, said something to my translator in Russian, and then gestured, “Come with me”. We left her office and began walking down the hall. The weirdest feeling came over me – a growing sense of elation, and feeling as if I had finally come home after being on a very long journey. I could not explain why, but I knew my search was over. We reached a door that led into a hall with small glassed-in rooms on each side. The Director put her hand on the knob of the first door on the right. I couldn’t see into the room because it was dim, but I saw a vague image of a tiny little head with a pacifier sticking out of the mouth. The child could have been armless, legless, blind, and deaf, but I knew without ever looking at her that she was the one who reached out to me on that Istanbul street in 1998. Even before I entered the room, I told Ekaterina that was the child I had been seeking. I was told that the baby was born in Hospital #2, Simferopol, on December 5, 1998. No reason was listed by the mother for giving the child up. Allegedly unmarried, jobless, and poor, the mother was said to be 21 years old. The Director advised me that the child’s papers were not ready yet and that it would take approximately 2 months. I said I would go home and come back when everything was in order. I left the next day for the U.S.
Sarah at 5 years old
I arrived back in Ukraine in April and went to see Sarah the next day. As I entered the room, a child was crying in one of the three cribs in the room. My translator Natasha pointed to a crib against the wall and said, “Here she is.” I walked over and looked down at this little blue-eyed face staring back at me. She immediately stopped crying. After staring at each other for about 10 seconds, I finally said, “Hey, I’ve been looking for you. I hear you’ve been looking for me, too.” I gently placed my hand on her chest, whereupon she burst out laughing and grabbed my hand. She continued to laugh as I picked her up. She obviously knew who I was. We stayed for a little while, then left. Before leaving, I gave money to the nurses in the room who were caring for her, to make sure that she had enough milk. That was the last time I saw her until I picked her up an hour before we were to fly to Kiev.
There were endless paperwork delays on the US and Ukrainian side. Sarah's paperwork and mine got lost. I was in despair daily, but I never gave up hope. Finally we flew to Warsaw and picked up her visa, then flew back to the U.S. the following day, fortunately with no mishaps. Despite some of the problems, I would not hesitate to do it all over again. Every child is worth the effort.
Sarah at 10, 2009