Here is the story of TK, Kandidat of pedagogical sciences, for many years she worked in one of the Institutes on problems of education. We shall not use her full name, for reasons that you will be able to understand from the text.
“A baby is the greatest of gifts, which can only come from God can, because a child is- the fruit of the love of its parents”. I’ll write that in my journal of my children, a journal that I’ve written over the past seven years, ever since the birth of my first grandson. They’re not just words, but what I suffered, conceived, discovered, and understood … My son, my daughter, and I’ve been a mother now for 37 years.
Then, in 1984, when this story happened, I was 37-years-old, my husband was 38, and my son was 12. However, my husband did not lose the desire to have a second child. We had long wanted a girl (and, for some reason, were confident that we would certainly get a girl), we followed this cherished goal for a long time; the doctors were amazed at our persistence. Finally, the long-awaited second pregnancy occurred, and for over six months it proceeded smoothly, although I was often tired, however, that was not surprising, due to my age, and my heart murmur… But, on 7 January, I started to have a miscarriage, and the ambulance brought me to the maternity hospital, where I desperately wished to save my baby. I heard the doctors talking on the phone to my relatives that they would probably save me, but that they would probably lose the child. My strength was ebbing, but I didn’t give up trying. Finally, my daughter was born, which my husband and I had dreamed of for so long… She did not cry, and I immediately understood, I realised in my heart that it’s all over, what lies ahead is tragedy.
She weighed just 700 grammes (1 pound 9 ounces), but if that wasn’t bad enough, she didn’t start to breathe normally. All that day, the doctors fought for her life, but death won in the end. Receiving this terrible news, I cried all night, I wasn’t able to close my eyes. The tears just flowed, it was a torrent, a waterfall, although I still didn’t understand about confession and about faith, it washed away all my sins… then, exhausted, dying of despair, I stepped out and rushed towards God, and I said within myself, “If God exists, He will save me”. It was 05.00. Streams of tears continued to irrigate the already soaked-through-and-through hospital pillow, but inside a barely perceptible hope flickered… we can adopt an orphaned girl. I could think of nothing specific, but I already knew what I would do after returning home from the hospital. In the morning, I picked up the phone and called my husband. When he first heard my decision, he hesitated, rather taken aback in surprise by it all, but then he approved of it, too.
The ten days I spent in hospital after the death my daughter were unbearable. Can you imagine what it was like for me to see happy mothers having their babies brought to them several times a day for feeding? However, after my discharge from hospital, I went to see a girlfriend, who was a gynaecologist, and she said that a eight-day-old girl was born prematurely during her duty shift, and that the girl had been abandoned by her 22-year-old mother. I immediately said, “That’s our girl”.
In just two weeks, we had all the documents submitted. We feared that it would drown in bureaucratic red tape, which then, 25 years ago, in such cases, could drag on indefinitely! That was especially so, considering that my husband and I both suffered from serious diseases, and we feared that they would forbid the adoption for health reasons. Most of all, we were scared of problems stemming fro my husband’s hospitalisation for epilepsy. Nevertheless, again, a miracle happened. My husband made an appointment to see the chief doctor at the hospital and told him, “If we can’t adopt this little girl, my wife will die of grief”. That’s what he said! In response, the chief doctor signed the paper, stating a rather commonplace diagnosis. It was a victory for our baby daughter. In general, we found all the doors were open to the doctors, lawyers, and bureaucrats. We didn’t bribe any of them, except that when the adoption was complete, we gave them little mementos of our daughter in appreciation of their role in deciding her fate.
On 18 February, right on my husband’s birthday, we took away our precious “gift” from the children’s hospital, why, the frail little girl’s fingers were thin as a thread! She’d been waiting for us, her parents. It was a victory of God over death. When we arrived home with Vara, my mother-in-law, who lived with us, saw the baby, not for a moment doubting our story of twins, one girl died and the other for a while was nursing in the hospital. Vara, too, was born prematurely, and, therefore, looked very poorly, that only confirmed the version we invented for relatives and friends.
We had to fight for Vara’s life. I remember having received permission from the doctors (it was still winter!) to take her for a walk outside the house. My husband and I immediately went to the nearest church to our house. We went in and placed a candle in front of all of the icons one by one, because any one of them could watch over us. My heart was still unreasonable, it still did not know the faith, but I felt that God gave us a priceless and incomparable treasure on earth, our baby Vara, a bright and angelic soul…
Then, in those difficult days of “trial”, and, today, when my daughter is 25-years-old, and who recently became a mother herself, I’m sure of the assistance and protection of God and the Mother of God. Now, after two and a half decades, I find it hard to imagine how one could almost live for almost 40 years outside the Church, outside of communion with God. Thank God, thanks to the “Christmas Tale”, which so eerily began on 7 January 1984, but, by the grace of God, so happily concluded (or does it still last?), there was my most important meeting. Thank God in all things!
Once, I wrote:
Благодарю я, Господи, Тебя за все:
За солнце и луну,
За вечер и зарю,
За все Тебя благодарю.
Спасибо, Господи, за дождь и снег,
За то, что на земле живу,
Тебя за все благодарю.
Спасибо, Господи, и за судьбу, и за детей,
За свет из глаз, за стук сердец,
За все тебя благодарю.
Спасибо, Господи, что посылал Любовь.
Она вела к Тебе всегда.
Вела. Звала. Ждала.
Молитвой жизнь озарена.
I thank Thee, Lord, for everything:
For the sun and the moon,
For the evening and dawn,
For everything, I thank Thee.
I Thank Thee, Lord, for the rain and snow,
For the earth that I live on,
I thank Thee, Lord, for everything.
I thank Thee, Lord, for the future, and for the children,
For the light in their eyes, for the sound of their hearts,
I thank Thee, Lord, for everything.
Thank you, Lord, for sending love.
It always led to Thee.
Led. Encouraged. Waited.
A prayer life illuminated.
I Thank Thee, Lord!
12 January 2010