There’s someone I’d like you to meet, and I’d like you to meet her today.
This is Sasha.
I first met Sasha a couple of years ago in the waiting room at the Clinic for Special Children. From the moment I met her, I was impressed with Sasha’s quiet dignity, and guessed her to be four or five years older than she actually was.
Sasha was helping take care of her little sister Ellianna during the doctor’s appointment. Spunky Ellianna has cerebral palsy and significant developmental delays.
Not long before, Sasha and her mom Stephanie had returned from the Philippines with little Avi, and they had brought her to the Clinic for some much-needed medical attention. Avi has cerebral palsy, was very malnourished, and has severe developmental delays.
Two years after coming home, just look how sweet Avi has flourished!
Many of you will recognize another one of Sasha’s younger sisters–
When we first saw her, Lina was Katie’s roommate on the top floor of Pleven. Lina has cerebral palsy and was profoundly malnourished and developmentally delayed.
Lina has been home for almost a year now. Will you look at the change in this child! Can you detect the mischievous glint in her eye?!
Now their family is working hard to bring home two more little girls, Olyvia and Rachele. They are still waiting in their orphanage beds, so all I have to show you now is their “before” pictures.
The way they are living now can scarcely be called living. They are so precious in the eyes of God, and I can hardly wait to see how He uses the nurturing love of their family to transform them.
Rachele has cerebral palsy and is very malnourished and severely developmentally delayed.
Olyvia has spina bifida, is very malnourished and has severe developmental delays.
“Wait a minute!” you might protest. “What does Sasha think of her parents adopting all these very needy children?”
There’s something you need to know about Sasha, and I want you to hear it the way I heard it.
In Sasha’s own words–
I was adopted from Russia at 17 months old. My birth mom was 16 years old.
I am so grateful for my family that God placed me in, words can’t even begin to describe how I feel. I know He has a plan for my life–one so much greater than I can even imagine right now! My dad always says, “God plucked you out of that orphanage for a reason, Sasha,” and I believe that is true. I believe He wants me to serve Him and to tell others my story.
Speaking of my dad, I thought I should share one more thing. A few months ago, my dad and I went to see the movie October Baby. It is about a girl who finds out she was adopted and the victim of a failed abortion. Just recently, we watched it again with my mom at home. It is a great movie, with a powerful story of forgiveness. However, my favorite scene is at the end.
Hannah is heading off to college, and she and her parents are saying their goodbyes. She turns and starts to walk away with her friend. Then, you see her look back over her shoulder, at her dad.
She runs back to him, and they wrap each other in a hug. She says, with tears and a smile on her face, “Thank you so much, Dad.”
He replies, “For what, sweetheart?” And Hannah says,
“For wanting me.”
Both times I have watched the movie, it moved me to tears. That part reminds me so much of my relationship with my own dad, and my love for him. I love him so much, and am so blessed that my Heavenly Father chose him to be my father here on Earth. And I’m so thankful he saw the potential in my life…
And Wanted Me.
Why did I want you to meet Sasha today?
Today holds a significance that most other people of Sasha’s age completely miss.
She turns 16 today.
There will be a celebration!
And she doesn’t take this celebration for granted.
She understands in a way that most of us never will…
…that if she had not been adopted, today would not be a day of celebration.
…that today would have marked the end of her last chance to live as a loved daughter.
…that today would mean that she’d lived through an entire childhood having never known what it is like to have parents and a home of her own.
…and that today, she would be sent out into the world to figure out how to survive without the foundational support of a stable, healthy, loving family underneath her.
Out of this profound and personal understanding, Sasha has a passion for other children who need the transforming love of a family of their own.
The closer she grew to her 16th birthday, the more burdened Sasha became for children who are very close to losing their last opportunity to be adopted.
And she has begun to speak up for them!
I’d love for many of you to visit Sasha’s blog, Hope for Isolde, pray for families for the older orphans she’s advocating for, and help her spread the word of their urgent need!
What does Sasha think about her parents adopting two more children with significant special needs?
Sasha, it’s a joyful thing to see your open heart toward God and your tender nurturing of your little sisters. It’s thrilling to see your passion ignite for the older orphans who are so often overlooked or rejected.
Whatever God has for you in the years ahead, I know this much–
It will be good, because He is good.
Happy 16th birthday!