Beauty From Ashes

March 9, 2010

I am sitting here in the stillness of my basement. My mom  is upstairs cooking dinner, my dad is washing the scabies off of our sheets, my husband and my son are running around upstairs exploring. It is a surreal moment. One that I still haven’t fully processed.

In fact, I have really not been able to process this entire month. It has been filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. One after the other. In this past week I have felt desperation like I’ve never known before.

The day before we were to leave to come home, Dima got his finger slammed in a big wooden door. He stood there crying with his finger bleeding, flat as a pancake, and fingernail nowhere to be found.

Between the fatigue of travel, the newness of parenthood, and the stress of being in a foreign country, my mind just went blank. What do I do? Who do I call? After our trip to a Russian hospital, Dima was fine, but in the moment I felt like “I can’t do this.”

Then we woke up at 3am to leave for the airport. The first leg was from Moscow to Frankfurt and Dima slept most of the trip. We were so thankful. Then came the 9 hours that I wish I could forget. Frankfurt to Chicago.

The first 30 minutes were fine, but the next 4 hours were indescribable. Dima screamed and cried non-stop. It was such a desperate feeling to know that I couldn’t explain to him that he was going to be ok and that we weren’t going to be on this plane forever. It was so hard not knowing how to soothe or comfort him and make him feel safe and secure.

Snacks didn’t work. Hugs didn’t work. Standing up didn’t work. Sitting down didn’t work. Laying down didn’t work. No toys. No books. No juice. No talking. No silence. Steve and I both had our own mini-meltdowns which brought me to the thought again, “I can’t do this.”

I looked at my poor little guys face – fear in his eyes, frustration in his cries and I just began to weep. Not in sadness towards him, but in sadness for him.

I tried to put myself in his shoes and all that he had been through over the last few days. I started thinking about all that he had been through over the last 2.5 years of his little life.

And as I stood there, holding him, rocking him back and forth in the bathroom gally of a Lufthansa airplane, God prompted into my heart, “You can do this. I have called you to this precious boy. I will equip you to be his mommy.”

It was there that I realized that this journey of adoption is not over. In fact, it has just begun. I was also reminded of how closely connected this journey is to the heart of God. How He has adopted us into His loving care.

Sometimes that is not an easy process. Sometimes we feel like we are led into unsafe places that feels scary and painful. But really, these times are just the airplane, taking us to a far better place than we could ever dream of.

I was reminded that sometimes the pain in our lives is necessary in order for us to be brought to better places. Not always easier places. But better, more fulfilling places.

Then there are those special moments, which far outnumber and surpass the moments of desperation. In the mornings I look over and see my little Dima sleeping so peacefully. I watch as his eyes begin to stir and then open. And then a huge smile spreads across his face. A smile that says, “you’re here…you’re still here.”

Then there are the times when he starts spontaneously singing, “Dima! Mama! Papa!” It leaves me in awe. He is such a beautiful, sweet, hilarious, smart little boy that God has allowed us to parent. I am in awe of how God could bring beauty from ashes. I am in awe of how He can so creatively give a father to the fatherless and a child to the childless. I am in awe of His goodness to us.

We are so grateful for each and every person who has walked this journey with us. I can’t even put into words the emotions we felt when we came down the escalator at the Cleveland airport to a sea of cheering family and friends, holding signs and balloons and gifts. It was as if the pain and the frustrations of the last 48 hours vanished.

I am positive that we could not have done this without the prayers and support of all of you. In my darkest and most lonely times along this journey, God would bring to mind different people who I knew were praying for me and standing in our corner and it would give me the strength to continue on.

I can’t wait for you to meet Dima. Feel free to call and I’d love to be able to set up a time for you to stop by! I’m sure he’d love to show you his room and his collection of plastic bags.


  • its amazing how much Dmitri has flourished in just a few days
  • we are slowly readjusting to the eastern time zone but sleep is still an issue for all three of us

Prayer Requests:

  • for attachment and bonding to happen effectively. That Dima would not need to be so independent, and rely on his mommy and daddy
  • for the other children in Dima’s playgroup, that they would soon be adopted too.

Until next Monday, love Kate & Steve

12 Responses to “Beauty From Ashes”

  1. kirsten said

    Christ in you is so beautiful. i LOVE your journey. i LOVE that it continues and i LOVE that i am blessed to get to follow it. this precious little boy has no idea how big this story is, and he doesn’t need to know because he is just a little boy, but we know. we know that God created this story before time began. we know He created you and steve for one another and, for dima. it is so amazing! i am so happy for you.

  2. Kate, Steve, and Dmitri,
    I have been following your blog for the past several months and it has been so amazing to watch God lay out this journey before you. I pray that God provides rest for you in the upcoming days and that He just continues to bless your precious family. My husband, Lance, and I are a young couple from East Texas and are in the process of adopting from Russia as well. Our paperwork should have arrived in Russia today actually. And we are so ready to be where you are- to finally see, hear, and hold our babies. God bless you and our prayers will continue for you! If you ever happen to find the time, I would love to email you regarding your experience and any encouragement and practical tips that you might have for this wonderful journey of adoption. or IN CHRIST, Summer and Lance Sims – Texas

  3. Margaret Cochran said

    You have written your story with such a beautiful gift of word pictures. I guess that plane ride was your last part of labor, the time that LaMaze says is “transition” when nothing really makes sense. It brought back memories of that stage of labor for me. So if anyone ever asks, you have given birth. God let you have this experience to know a little of what labor is like. I hate that you had to go through this but it is true what you say, God does bring us through it. This family He has made with you and your husband and this little chap would not be nearly so beautiful were it not for the ashes. Bless you for recognizing this, and for leaning on our Creator Designer to make you His own. I LOVE the photo of Dima with his passport. Oh, what a analogy of our own testimony, given a passport, freedom to travel to our promised land. Tasting it now, as I rejoice in your prayer support and the privilege of being a part of it. Rejoice, and again I say rejoice! You have a family that is a gift of tasting heaven on earth. Bless you all each and every one.

  4. Kacey said

    Yes, my friend, your journey has JUST begun. As I sit here in tears after once again reading your beautiful words, I am at peace. God’s plan has been carried out for all 3 of you. How miraculous. How simply divine! You are no doubt going to have many more days when you feel like you did on that plane. Utter desperation, sweat, tears, “I can’t do this” – welcome to parenthood. 🙂 Then the next moment (or next day, haha) he’ll kiss your cheek and your heart is refreshed. Now begins your true calling in life – being a Mama! Congratulations to all of you!!!

  5. Wendi said

    I loved reading your blog – it really gives me a sense for what we will soon encounter in two short months. Dima is very lucky to have such a wonderful mama and papa!! Thanks for all your guidance and wonderful words of wisdom – they mean the world to us.

  6. Mom said

    What a joy to watch you and Steve be such wonderful parents- Dima is a very blessed boy!

  7. Victoria said

    What a beautiful post – and son! He really is the cutest little thing! As I said before, our daughter was awful on all the plane rides home, and it was unbearable. I didn’t think I could take it one more second, and I looked up and it said we had 6 more hours to go! At the end, a man from first class came back – and I mean waaaay back to where my husband and I were sitting, and said he felt really sorry for me, but I had done a good job trying everything! I don’t know if I was more embarrassed or grateful for the kind words, but I just stood there with tears in my eyes. So believe me, you are not alone in the nightmare across the Atlantic! There has NEVER been a day like that again, thank goodness. Enjoy being home!

  8. Beth said

    Just yesterday I was listening to SCC’s song “Beauty from Ashes” and wrote in my journal for our baby about this topic. In adoption stories, there are so many things lost – turned to ashes – and it never ceases to amaze me how God can make them SO BEAUTIFUL again and again. I have been praying and will continue, for all three of you. I know that this isn’t easy, but God will not fail you!

  9. Kate, Welcome home! I love how honest you are with the emotions that become a part of this process. The journey has just begun. There will be a period of transition with great joy and great frustration. Some one told me to give it six months before forming an opinion about how things are going. I found this to be great advice. You will be great parents! The “tough days” are a normal part of parenting a toddler. I sure hope that we can get our independent, strong willed children together some day soon!

  10. Emily said

    Kate & Steve,

    I just discovered your blog and loved reading it. It’s made me cry tears of joy for you and little Dima. How amazing the way God has provided for you and for him! Thanks for sharing all the pictures and thoughts. I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to meet him when I get home!


  11. Melissa O'Brien said

    What a beautiful post. I have loved reading and hearing how God has blessed you both. Dima is wonderful and I will be praying for bonding between you all. He is so blessed to have you and steve as parents. Love seeing the pictures!
    I hope that we get to meet him someday.
    Love, Melissa O’Brien

  12. Adam Pittman said

    I can’t wait to meet your little guy. Thank you for sharing your story. What awesome insights God has given you into His plan.



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