Thursday, November 3, 2011

About love and sacrifice, about prayer, tears, and hope

 Hello, everyone,

Warning: This may be a depressing post with no pictures. Yet, it is a deep one, one that talks about love and sacrifice, about prayer, tears, and hope. Moreover, after having posted it on one group and having received not one single reply, I'm copying and pasting it into my blog--to see if someone reads it.

Jamie, one of the members of the Dream_Bulgaria group, had posted something that couldn't have been said in better terms: I'll quote her when she said that "God did a loaves and fishes miracle in our bank account." That's entirely true because each adoption is a miracle itself. In our case, every time it was a true miracle, although not miracles of unexepted cash outpourings from external sources, but miracles of love, sacrifices, and pulling together by the members of our own family. Those were miracles that brought Thomas, Nicholas, and Stephen home with no regret at all for the consequences. Only we know how very much my mother is suffering because of the loss of her eyesight and of all movement in her legs--something that could have been very easily prevented by cataracts and knee replacement surgeries. And she did have the means to have had those surgeries done privately even if Medi Care wanted to charge her $700 per month because she did not have the ten quarters of work in U.S. She did not hesitate to sacrifice her entire well-being for any more years she has ahead in order for her monies to go towards the adoption expenses, first from Haiti and then from Bulgaria, with two failed special needs adoptions from Russia and Uzbekistan in between, which, by the way, were even more expensive than the successful ones. My mother makes the Sign of the Cross every time she needs to transfer from her wheelchair to bed or vice versa, or to get in or out of the van--because of the pain, the difficulty, the fear of falling down every time. Yes, she is happy the way it is, and if she could go back in time, she would do it again with no hesitation. Before Catherine or I could help her by ourselves--but not any more. Now only Gerard and Warren can do it. And I assure all of you that when their time will come to apply for medical school, which is not that far ahead any more as now at 14 they are applying to college already, there will be no other candidates as deserving of admission as the twins are. What they are doing in helping their Grandma transfer from one place to another and in helping their younger brothers with everything, including homework, comfort, and personal hygiene is worth much more than all the achievement, all the volunteer work, and all the research experience they can have in their resumes.

Catherine contributed grad student loan monies she should have used for her own expenses and for which she is now obligated under her own name. She contributes her time, so that I don't need to spend one penny on child care at any time. The twins do the same, and do without many little things that are deemed "must haves" for teenagers these days.

The Catholic Church did help.

I must admit that despite having been raised not only to reach out to others but also to be humble, I always had a very hard time with that second part. Perhaps now God is trying to teach me to finally learn what my parents and grandparents always modeled for me and I refused to assimilate. They had much more than I do, but were humble at all times. Worst of all, my lack of humility is not even based upon my own merits, but upon what my family used to be. Yet, no matter how extremely difficult is for me to accept the fact that I needed (and need) help, I have the integrity to acknowledge it. More than once in my blog I posted about help received from the Catholic Church. I also feel I should disclose that last April, when after the moving expenses it seemed there would never be enough funds for a new homestudy (and not even for a new home), one of the quietest members of the Dream_Bulgaria group contacted me and offered some help. I hope she won't mind if I post her name: Tammy Groenendyk. I'm trying to finally apply to my daily life last week's Gospel: "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matthew 23:12). Perhaps now it's my turn to learn what I refused to assimilate from my family for so many years.

As most of you know, for the adoptions of Maximilian and Philip we (and I use the plural because it was a joint, unanimous decision) did not hesitate to move from one coast to the other, thinking that by doing it we'd be able to find a shortcut to the inflexible, arbitrary waiting time imposed by the homestudy agency in CA. It was a huge leap of faith, and somehow we made it through it, but not without stumbling upon more roadblocks than we could possibly anticipate. Although we do like RI, and would not like to go back to CA, these initial times are far from being easy. I'd like to clarify that although I've said that our family comes from a very privileged background, it was more in terms of birth than wealth, as our ancestors go back to the oldest Italian nobility--but there was never a real fortune. It was more the old-fashioned European image of the "impoverished aristocrat" about which many movies were made forty or fifty years ago. Now all family resources, which were not that sizable, are exhausted. In the past, even second- and third-degree relatives used to help each other--but nowadays almost nobody else remains in our line. Other relatives have passed away already or are too old. After me, my parents desperately tried to have more children, both biologically and through adoption, but nothing worked out. They wanted to be pioneers and adopt non-Caucasian children, but interracial adoptions were even illegal those days. They wanted to adopt children with special needs, and those children were not even available for adoption because they were considered "non-adoptable" to start with. They couldn't do it, but passed down that zeal to me. And actually, they did adopt in the end: my Mom gave up her own health and well-being for the sake of the adoptions, and the very next day after my Dad, who had gone to Heaven fifteen years ago, told me in a dream that he had gone in person to Haiti to solve a problem with the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, the problem was solved, and Thomas and Nicholas came home.

The fact that I'm not doing fundraisers may give the erroneous impression that I don't need any help. That's far from being true. The issue is that when you have a position with a fixed remuneration, fundraisers are the only ways to make the additional income that is needed. When you're self-employed, it appears easier to concentrate your efforts on trying to get some additional work rather than embarking in the almost unknown field of organizing some sort of fundraising event. Moreover, I'm not the kind of person who has friends all over the place to invite for the occasion.

I do have four books that I self-published, namely on inspirational poetry, inspirational fictional and non-fictional short stories, etiquette for children, and homeschooling--but I sent them to print a few years ago in a rush, and there are a few errata I need to correct, and a fe points I need to upgrade--and cannot find a few hours to do so. My books advocate for those great values I have been taught since early childhood, such as the sanctity of human life, equality, social justice, family, and the rights of the disabled, but I never got the IBSN number for any of them. I don't even find the point of having a talent for writing if I don't use it--but I spend ages on arid legal paperwork instead, and quite often I don't even find any sense in my practice of law. I'm not a great adoption attorney sending little ones home as Toni does. Quite often my clients are faced with abusive ICE officers and cold-hearted, unfair government attorneys and judges--and there is very little, if any, I can do to help them. Besides, I'm licensed in CA--not even in RI or MA yet. For immigration and tax law, if licensed in any state or territory, you can practice anywhere in U.S.--but it's not the same. Developing local networks takes a while. Ironically, I am also expecting some monies to come for sure--but not so soon. . . and my fear is whether or not they'll arrive soon enough for these adoptions.

I don't want to depress anyone. When I look at my children and see how very much they're blooming, I feel that there has to be a way in which God will help with the adoptions of Maximilian and Philip as well. Once again, I am truly convinced that the greatest blessing for Thomas, Nicholas, and Stephen (and, let's pray, for Maxmilian and Philip as well) is not having me as their mother, but having my mom as their grandma, and Catherine, Gerard, and Warren as their older siblings. When children are faced with unanimous unconditional love, they respond with love as well. Something changes inside them forever.

I'm sorry for the very long post. I don't know how I'm saying all this to people I have never even met in person before. Yet, most of the people who read my blog are moms who adopted children facing different challenges, with many of them being from Toni's Dream_Bulgaria list. Toni's admirable work brought together a group of people who share something in common--and I hope you will understand how I feel, how concerned I am--how terribly concerned we all are. Please keep these new adoptions in your prayers-and anything else you may be able to suggest or do will be appreciated more than words can say.

God bless everyone,

Lillian Godone-Maresca


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know people ARE reading this even if they are not commenting; I actually read soon after it was posted but did not comment (I seldom comment on things - more of a lurker).
I'll try to make a donation to your fund, but most likely it won't be until after the first of the year.

Blessedmom said...

I do apologize for not having read your kind comment any sooner. I really feel very badly accepting help. My family used to help others. My older children do help through volunteering. People with many fewer avenues open to them are sometimes better prepared to make money than I am. And the concern about making it for the adoptions does not help. I don't want you to feel like you have to do it if that's not easy for you. If you can do something, no amount is too small. If later on something works out the way I expect, I'll try to do something for you then. Maybe through RR I'll be able to know who you are, so as to at least thank you. God bless, Lillian


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