THE POWER OF LOVE
By Connie Richardson
Written in Spring 2003
Recently, our family has experienced the great power of love. We recently adopted 3 beautiful children from Russia, ages 2, 3, and 4. This added to our beautiful family of 6 children, ages 2, 4, 7, 9, 10, and 12. Many people looked at us with dazed eyes and spouted off many questions of “why?” Our family could do nothing but reply with excitement about our adventure the lay ahead.
September 2003 we met 3 beautiful children in an orphanage in far east Russia. After 19 hours in a plane and 5 hours on a bus, we were able to turn our 2 dimensional photos into real children. We spent just 10 hours with these precious children over 2 days. Our goal was to share our love and desire to be their parents and pray that their hearts would receive. At the end of 2 short days we saw somber children begin to open up and receive. At our final visit we goodbye. As we parted, our quietest little girl came running back to us and didn’t want to let go. I had our interpreter promise her that “mama will be back.” It tore my heart as I left my babies. Love had softened their hearts, but love had also placed them in my heart.
We didn’t return to Russia for 4 long months. January 2003 we finally arrived to bring them home. We worried that they had forgotten us. We were so wrong. We were told of times when our children had misunderstood caregivers and thought we had returned. When they did not see us, they sobbed and cried. This broke our hearts. They were longing for us to return. They longed for the love and acceptance they had felt.
Our legal work and waiting period had finally passed and it was time to go home. As I made the trip home, these sweet children never looked back. They took hold of my hand and trudged the 27-hour journey through a new and foreign world. It was truly a miracle to me that they had endless trust in me, their mother. They never doubted, never feared, never resisted. They pushed forward as we journeyed “home.” Did they understand what “home” really meant? I was sure that they didn’t understand how their lives would change from all they had ever known, but in their hearts they were miraculously at peace. The only explanation I can formulate is that they knew in their hearts they were loved. They knew they had a family and off they were to find them.
Gratefully, we are all finally home. All 9 children and 2 parents are adjusting very well. We have challenges, of course, but as we strive to love more and more, each day our patience and ability to work with love increases. These beautiful children have never questioned our parental role. They seem to embrace it with hugs, kisses, and beautiful smiles. Our older children have developed love for their new siblings so quickly and the love is returned. This has been a beautiful miracle of love to witness as well.
All of our hearts are full of love and gratitude for these new children. What a wonderful experience that demonstrates “the more love you give away, the more you receive.” We are in another chapter of our journey as we unify and solidify our family relationships and continue to develop love and trust. I do not doubt that love will be our strongest glue.