The Marvelous Journey Home is a heartwarming tale of the ups and downs surrounding international adoption. Discover the remarkable story of a father, a mother and their children coming together from across the globe to begin a new life together. The story, based on actual events, takes the reader through a rollercoaster of emotions as parents seek their child, who longs for the chance to have a family and travel to a faraway home. From orphanages in remote Russian villages, to Moscow and finally on to Amérika "the fairytale land," the reader is taken on a journey around the world, back home and eventually far beyond. Filled with hope and disappointment, love and loss, happiness and despair, The Marvelous Journey Home draws the reader along by their heartstrings to an unexpected destination. Home is found in distant places, peace is found in unlikely circumstances, and family is always what matters most.
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
Read an Excerpt
I Didn't Even Tell Her Goodbye
"Get up, Katya." Anastasia Lebedeva could be quite abrupt and emotionless. Ekaterina wished that she was more like Sofia. Sofia always cared how Katya felt, and went out of her way to make sure that she knew she was loved. Today, of all days, little Katya needed to be loved.
"You heard me, child. You know the rules here. Get out of your bed and make it this instant." Mrs. Lebedeva, like so many other Russian women, still went by her childhood nickname, Nastya. She briskly pulled the warm blankets down and Katya felt the cool draft which seemed ever-present, no matter how warm buildings got during the frigid Far East Russian winters. Katya turned her eyebrows down and wrinkled her forehead as much as she could. Her scowls were as intense as her smiles could be. She half groaned and half whined as she jerked the covers back up over her, and brusquely turned her back to Nastya.
"I won't ask you again, Katya. Get up." She pulled the blankets down again, grabbed Katya by the arm and firmly pulled her from the bed, standing her next to it.
Katya stood silently next to her bed, deepened her scowl, and wiped the sleep from her eyes as Nastya walked away. Slowly she pulled the blankets up over the bed and tucked them tightly into place. She walked around to the other side and pulled out all of the wrinkles. Nastya would settle for no less, and Katya didn't want to hear any more from her. Not today, anyway.
"Good morning, Zaichunook. How did you sleep?" The soft voice of Sofia Pavlova made Katya's heart warm; she loved it when Sofia called her by the popular Russian pet name "BabyBunny." But as a smile complete with dimples tugged at the corners of her mouth, she immediately pushed the smile and the feeling away. Not today.
"Let's wash your face and comb your hair," said the pleasant young woman. "You'll feel better after breakfast." Sofia quickly brushed through Katya's hair. It didn't take long. Her hair was short now, the way all childrens' hair was kept in the Russian orphanages. It wasn't ugly; Katya could never be ugly, but she did miss having her hair longer. Babushka, Grandmother, had always told her that she had the most beautiful hair of any child in the world. But that was no more. The orphanages were overloaded and understaffed and no one had the extra time to spend on something as frivolous as long hair on a child.
"What's the matter, Katya?" asked the soft motherly voice, "You always talk to me. Why so somber this morning?"
Katya burst into tears. "Why does Tanechka have to leave? I want her to stay here with me. She is my best friend in the whole world! Why does she have to leave?" Katya started to sob. "Why? Why?"
"I'm surprised, Katya. I thought that you would be happy for Tanechka." Sofia soaked the wash cloth with warm water and began to wash Katya's face. "Tanechka is happy and we should be happy for her too. You met her new mommy and poppy when they came here last month. They are such nice people. They have always wanted children and have prepared for years to make a good home. Tanechka will be well cared for. I needn't remind you either of how excited your friend is to begin her new life with her family in Amérika."
Katya had heard much of this faraway place called Amérika since entering the orphanage. Amérika had been the sworn enemy of Russia until less than a decade before Katya's birth. But now, people from Amérika came to the orphanage several times a month to adopt little Russian orphans to take back with them. Most of the mamas and papas from Amérika seemed to be very friendly. Often they would bring candy for the orphans, and usually they would leave some toys, books, or necessities as gifts for the children who remained in the orphanage when they returned to their fairytale land. Little Tatiana hadn't stopped talking about Amérika since her adoptive parents first visited, and though Katya was happy for her, the incessant talk of this land far away was beginning to get on her nerves.
"My new mommy said that there is an ice skating rink near our home in Chee-kah-go and my new poppy said that he will buy me my own ice skates so that I can learn to be an ice skater! I want to be a figure skater when I grow up," she had said dreamily as she spread out her arms and twirled in circles. Tanechka was so caught up in her new adventure that she couldn't possibly have seen how her excitement affected her friend, and Katya just wanted things to go back to the way they were before Tanechka's new parents arrived.
"Off you go, Zaichunook. It's time for breakfast."
"But why can't I go with Tanechka? Why can't Tanechka's new mommy and poppy be my mommy and poppy too? Why can't I go to Amérika with them?" Katya was no longer crying, but her face and eyes were still red and her voice was cracking.
"You know that it cannot be, Katya. The Bronsons are only qualified to adopt one child. Even if they wanted it differently, the documents are not in place. The court would never allow it. Now go. Eat your breakfast. Tell Tanechka goodbye." The thin young worker patted the child on the head and nudged her on her way.
Katya pulled her chair up to the table in her usual spot next to Tanechka. "Did you know that my new mommy and poppy are coming to get me today?" squealed the beautiful blonde five-year-old.
"Yes," came the short, abrupt reply. Katya's eyebrows turned down and pointed inward again.
"Mommy and Poppy are bringing me all new clothes for our trip home! On their last visit, Poppy promised to bring me a special present when he came back. Oh, I hope that he brings me ice skates! Katya, do you think that he's bringing me ice skates?"
"I don't know." The response was even more curt than the first, and the scowl deepened. Katya picked up her spoon and quietly poked at her porridge.
"We are going to go on an airplane to Moscow! We will see all of the beautiful places, the museums and the churches! Oh, I can't wait! I wonder if we'll see President Putin. Do you think that we'll see President Putin, Katya?"
Finally, it was more than Katya could take. "I don't know if you'll see President Putin!" she screamed. "I don't know if you'll get ice skates. I don't know and I don't care. I hate hearing about your new mama and papa, and I hate you!"
"Silence!" Nastya barked as she stomped toward the girls. "Katya, we'll have none of these tantrums. Return to your bed at once! You know the rules. Sit there with your hands on your lap and feet off the edge of the bed until you are told to do otherwise."
Katya wanted to push her chair to the floor and run from the room, but she dared not do it. Nastya was quite stern, and such behavior would certainly merit more severe punishment than a skipped meal and a short session of sitting on the edge of her bed. So she quietly stood up, slid her chair back under the table and walked briskly off to her bed as all the other children quietly returned to their porridge. All that is, except for Tanechka.
She remembered the day the social worker brought Katya to the orphanage. Katya had a cast on her arm and a big sore on her chest from a burn. Katya was afraid of everyone. Sofia had asked Tanechka if she would be her special friend and help her.
"Katya comes from a home where her mother beat her," Sofia had told her. "She has no friends and she is afraid." The tender caregiver held Tanechka's chin in her soft hand. "Will you be her friend?"
Tanechka, lonely for a friend herself, was eager to do it. She helped timid little Katya learn the ways of the orphanage. They ate together, played together, and slept in beds that were next to each other. The two children became each other's family. They were inseparable.
One day, several weeks later, the doctor came and removed the cast from Katya's arm. "Does your arm still hurt?" Tanechka had asked.
"No," came the reply. "But it itches really bad."
"Does the scar on your chest still hurt?"
"Not any more. But it used to hurt a lot. I would cry every time they changed the bandages. It felt like they were pulling off my skin." Katya shuddered at the memory.
"How did you get the burn?" Tanechka had asked.
Katya hesitated. Remembering seemed to make the large red scar on her chest throb.
"We hadn't eaten for two days, but Mama finally got some money so she bought some food and some vodka. Mama started cooking soup, but then she just sat at the table pouring the vodka into a glass and drinking it." Even though the girls had become best friends, Katya kept her eyes downcast as she told the story. "Mama fell asleep, and I was so hungry. I didn't want to make Mama angry by waking her, so I took the pan by the handle. But it was so heavy that it tipped over and spilled on my shoulder and chest."
Tanechka winced at the image in her mind.
"It hurt so bad that I screamed. Mama woke up and saw the soup all over the floor. She was angry because now we would have no food. When she hit me and I fell, I heard my arm crack."
Tanechka felt her eyes beginning to fill with tears as Katya's voice hushed almost to the point of a whisper.
"I couldn't stop crying. Mama said if I didn't stop, the police would come and take me away. But I couldn't stop; it hurt so bad."
Katya looked so little and small at that moment, small and afraid. Choking back her own emotions, Tanechka asked, "Did the policemen come?"
Silent now, Katya nodded.
There was nothing else to say, and so
Table of ContentsOne — I Didn't Even Tell Her Goodbye
Two — Never Lose Hope
Three — The Decision that Changed Lives
Four — The Adoption Agency
Five — Under Katya's Care
Six — Wrangling with the Sheriff's Office
Seven — The Referral
Eight — Predestined Heartbreak
Nine — A Change of Plans
Ten — Packing Up
Eleven — Rushing Off to Russia
Twelve — The Meeting
Thirteen — Nothing is Certain Until it Happens
Fourteen — The End of a Long Day
Fifteen — Tell Me about Your Mama
Sixteen — Orphans, Just Like Other Kids
Seventeen — Astonishing Revelation
Eighteen — Another Meeting
Nineteen — Goodbye, Luba
Twenty — More Fun and Games with the Orphans
Twenty—One — When the Snow Goes Away and the Flowers Come Up
Twenty—Two — In Between
Twenty—Three — Back Toward the Sunset
Twenty—Four — The Child is Obsessed!
Twenty—Five — All in the Same Boat Together
Twenty—Six — Their Day in Court
Twenty—Seven — One Last Night at the Orphanage
Twenty—Eight — And the Flowers Came Up
Twenty—Nine — Day One
Thirty — Groundhog Day
Thirty—One — Vladivostok, Farewell
Thirty—Two — To Moscow! To Moscow! To Moscow!
Thirty—Three — Pahká
Thirty—Four — Sun Go Amérika, Sehla Go Amérika
Thirty—Five — The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Thirty—Six — Calamity
Thirty—Seven — Reunited
Thirty—Eight — Peace
Thirty—Nine — The Marvelous Journey Home
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved the book. It was sad and it was exhilerating. It was awesome to actually meet John and his family. What and outstanding man, especially his patience. I just can't say how wonderful it was to read a book with history, love, patience, and clean. Thanks John
I have listened to the CD many times. I love the story of this family's adoption process ~ all of the ups and downs. This is a true story with names and some events changed to make it a fictional work. I esp loved getting to meet John at a local book store. It's good to get the "inside scoop" of this story. Katya's Journey is wonderful, too! I can't wait for the next "installment" of this story (John said he's working on another book). I hope that my journey to Russia to adopt my children will turn out marvelous as well!
oh my goodness what a wonderful book! and the music CD, Andrea, the girl that sings on it, is such a good singer i loved it!
I found this book a very easy read, and was able to get it read in about a total of 8 hours time. Reading of Katya's and Luba's journeys home to their 'Amerikan' family was a joy and treasure. My husband and I are researching Russia as a possible country of which to adopt and we received this book as a gift for Christmas. I really cannot wait for the next installment of Katya's journey. What a welcome and refreshing read!