Adopted from Petropavlavsk, Kazakhstan at age 11, Born in 1996
Tabitha’s story is tough. In fact, it has taken me over a year to reach the point of being able to write about it, and I am still struggling to find the words. Tabitha was originally adopted by another family. This family had considered adoption after hearing about the needs of orphans in their local church. They were originally drawn to Tabitha because she reminded them of one of their biological daughters.
The family traveled to adopt her from Petropavlavsk, Kazakhstan, and immediately started feeling like it was not going to work out, but they felt that they needed to proceed with her adoption and that maybe they would feel differently when they got home.
As the weeks passed, the family seemed to grow more and more distant from Tabitha rather than closer to her. In July of 2007, her first adopted mother began to call us. She knew of us because of our involvement with Family Life’s Hope for Orphans, and because of our advocacy for orphaned children.
For several weeks, we tried to encourage her original adoptive family to seek help in being able to better incorporate her into their family. They said they would try, but later said they did not feel like they wanted to pursue help because they were completely sure that she was not meant to be in their family.
Our daughter, Abigail, knew Tabitha because they were from the same orphanage in Kazakhstan. They were in different groups though, and Abigail had been home for over two years before Tabitha was adopted. Abigail could tell us a little bit about her, but her information was limited.
In late July, Tabitha stepped off a plane in College Station, Texas and she has been a part of our family ever since. In some ways the transition has been easy, but in other ways it has been so difficult. The scars that Tabitha carries may never heal completely, but we know that she is still a child of the Lord and we will do whatever we can to help her heal.
It has been interesting, yet sadly difficult to see how each child responds to their painful pasts. Tabitha was removed from her birthmother when she was 7 years old due to neglect, abuse and poverty and her birth mother’s alcohol abuse. For Tabitha, the disrupted adoption she experienced added additional baggage. It is our hope that she will allow herself to bond and attach to our family completely.
Tabitha does seem to really enjoy her time at the ranch. She has a horse named Beau, and a steer named JPact Lee. Beau has been started under saddle and Tabitha rides him at the ranch. Lee has experienced quite a bit of success in the show ring. Tabitha also does an excellent job at showmanship, and has won her age division several times.
As Tabitha’s English develops, she is looking forward to getting more involved with the TLBT and even participated in the Gold Merit Program at the 2009 TLBAA World Show. Tabitha has really struggled in school, but not because she doesn’t have the ability. She is very capable, but we are still trying to figure out what would motivate her to push herself in school. It is very frustrating, but we have hope that one day she will realize how important her education is and try harder to do well in school.
Our prayer for Tabitha is that she will one day completely accept the love of a forever family and find her place within our family unit, and that she will learn to get along well with others and learn the social skills she will need to adapt.