Friday, April 15, 2011

How a heart-breaking revelation gave birth to a touching romance...

I'm delighted to host the talented Mona Risk today. She's written an intriguing post and I won't waste any more of your time with unnecessary intro. I know everyone knows Mona!

Adopting Foreign Babies

If you sort through magazines, you are sure to glimpse a picture of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and their brood of children, three natural and three adopted from Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam. I know a couple of young doctors who adopted a boy and then a girl from Russia ten years ago. Their children are healthy and fully adapted to the American way.

But I also heard horror stories about children adopted from Russia by delighted couples who later found out their new children were terribly sick, or suffering from AIDS or diabetes.

During one of my business trip to Belarus, I visited my driver’s wife, Oxana, at the hospital after she gave birth to their baby girl, Anastasia. Upon learning that local hospitals couldn’t afford to provide substantial meals to the patients and distributed only soup, bread and sausage for lunch and dinner, I went with the new dad to buy healthy food and vitamins for the new mother. She chose me to be her baby’s godmother.

One day, I was stunned to see her breastfeeding a different baby, and then another. During the week Oxana spent at the hospital after her delivery, the nurses brought her seven different babies to breastfeed. Yes, you read it right. Seven. She explained that these were babies abandoned by their single mothers. My heart broke at the sight of these babies who would soon be sent to overcrowded orphanages and I used that information in my novel.

In my new romance, Rx IN RUSSIAN, my heroine, the American Dr. Jillian, is faced with a terrible dilemma after she helps deliver a baby girl and the mother absconds leaving the baby behind.

Rx IN RUSSIAN is available at TWRP and Amazon in print and ebook.

An American Pediatrician

A Russian Surgeon

A woman who lost a son and her illusions about marriage and family.

A man with four adorable sons who badly need a mother

Can attraction and love overcome guilt, duty, and a clash of cultures?

 “Mona Risk writes heroes with heart, heroines with spunk in stories and settings that are simply unforgettable!" -- Roxanne St. Claire, Killer Curves, National Bestseller.


“Single mothers abandon their babies every day in Belarus.” The nurse raised her hand in a fatalistic gesture. “Last month, seven women delivered and ran away the next day leaving their newborns behind. A sad situation. Very frequent here. You will get used to it, Dr. Burton,” Olga said with a sigh.

“No, I won’t.” With a tremendous effort, Jillian controlled the quivering of her lips. A mother abandoning her child? Jillian strove to grapple with the situation, but a wave of bitterness welled in her heart. She would give anything to have her son back. In Haiti she’d forced herself to toughen up and remain neutral every time the Red Cross sent an abandoned baby to a shelter.

“What are you going to do?” Jillian asked Fyodor, who’d remained unusually quiet, his arms crossed, a piece of paper crumpled in his fist.

“Incredible.” His gaze flitted from the newborn to Jillian. He was upset, all right, but she couldn’t read his thoughts.

“Yes, it’s sad. Abandoning her infant to fate.”

“There is more.” Fyodor flapped the paper and cursed with barely restrained anger.

“What? I hope she didn’t leave a suicide note?” Bile rose in Jillian’s throat.

“No. She says she is giving you her daughter.” He scowled at the piece of paper scribbled with the plea he’d just translated.

“Excuse me?” Jillian squinted, sure she’d heard him wrong.

“That is what she has written here.” Fyodor waved the paper. “Dr. Burton. Natasha yours. Take to America.” Although he read slowly, pronouncing every syllable, the words refused to sink into Jillian’s befuddled mind.

Do you know couples who have adopted foreign babies? How are the parents and adopted children fairing?

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with passion.

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN winner of 2009 Best Romance Novel at Preditors & Editors and winner of 2009 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite.

Rx FOR TRUST, winner of 2010 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite and 2011 EPICON.

Rx IN RUSSIAN just released by TWRP

Learn more about Mona here:


  1. Thank you so much, Maeve, for having me on your beautiful blog.

  2. What a wonderfully generous thing for your friend to do. No matter what happened to those babies later in life, they benefitted from that initial warmth and closeness, not to mention all the healthy things passed on in mother's milk. Something about antibodies, or something like that, beneficial to the immune system throughout life.

  3. Wow Mona! You just stopped my heart with that one. I just started reading and Jillian is helping Fydor now to deliever the baby! Can't wait to read more!


  4. A couple I know adopted a little girl -- not from Russia, but from one of the other countries that used to be part of the USSR. The baby was 9 months old and in an orphanage, but she was healthy and everything went fine.

  5. We thought of adopting, but the costs were so high it was outta our league.
    Sad to hear this stuff, since I woulda given anything to have a child of our own to love.
    This one hits very close to home Mona...

  6. Liana, I didn't know about antibodies, but you are right, a mother's milk gives immunity to a baby.

  7. Steph, all I know was what Oxana told me, but I couldn't believe that a skiny woman size 2 or 0 like Oxana could have enough milk to breastfeed seven newborns. We bought her vitamins and later I brought them with me from the US when I traveled to Minsk. Her own baby was an adorable healthy baby girl.

  8. Thank you for sharing this post, Mona. A dear friend of mine and her husband adopted a little girl from Russa about ten years ago. They worked hard to acclimate her to the United States, but found out the child suffers from autism, and have really struggled over the past few years. My heart goes out to them, for their courage and strength, and to all the other wonderful parents who help these abandoned children. Well done!

  9. Hi Barbara, sadly the orphanages are overcrowded and Belarusians are too poor to adopt a child. I am glad your friends are enjoying their baby girl.

  10. Oh Mary, my heart goes to you. I have so much love in your heart. Imagine I met last Saturday a young woman who adopted a Russian baby and we chatted at length about adoption.

  11. Hi AJ, I have heard about many parents who discovered that the adopted baby turned out to have problems. A friend of mind adopted a baby girl who later was diagnozed with diabetis. She is sixteen now. Thanks to her adoptive parents she was treated and led an almost normal life in the states.

  12. I'm honored to have you on my blog, Mona, and your post really touched my heart! :-)

  13. Hi Mona,
    As you know, we are adoptive parents of a beautiful girl, now 16 years old, adopted from S. Korea. What many people don't know is that we were also on the waiting list for Russia at the same time. Russia came through first. Unfortunately, the papers were in Russian, but a Russian doctor friend translated the information on the child as "water on the brain". Sadly, we turned down this adoption down. I pray that this precious baby girl found a good home.
    On a better note, our S. Korean baby girl came through three weeks later.

  14. Josie, thank you for sharing your experience. I saw pictures of your beautiful adopted girl. She's so talented. You were lucky to have a Russian friend who could read the papers before going through a terrible experience.

  15. Lovely and heat warming post, girl! Your friend sounds like a wonderful person. One of my friends has kids of her own and adopted a sister and brother from Russia. All kids are loved and loving.

    However, a young man I tutored was born in the US to addict parents and he is bi-polar and into drugs himself. The parents raised him from infancy, but haven't been able to overcome his heritage.

  16. Mona, I had no idea. I'm stunned and moved. How very special your book is to build on such true life challenges. Your friend is an amazing lady.

  17. Mary, I guess it's a matter of luck with a good dose of love.

  18. Hi Beth, to tell you more about Oxana. I offered her husband a job in my lab. He was my driver in Minsk and had a degree in engineering, and I sponsored the family to come to the US. They spent two years but went back at the end of his contract with the lab. Oxana was a beautician. She gave me the best facials you can dream of.

  19. Oh my gosh - how truly sad. Poor babies. You are a special lady, Mona

  20. Hi PL, I am just reporting what I saw and I admire those who adopt children. It takes a lot of love and courage.

  21. Mona, your post broke my heart. My daughter would love to adopt but can't afford it, and here all these poor babies have no one to love and cuddle them. There's something wrong with this picture! But, of course, I still can't wait to read your book.

  22. Forgot to say my distant cousin adopted a little girl from Russia years ago and have been so happy/

  23. Caroline, I hope your daughter receives the right baby soon. Adoption should be free. I am glad your cousin enjoys her adopted girl. Thanks for stopping by.

  24. Hi Mona.
    A local author friend adopted a Russian baby about 8 or 10 years ago. It wasn't easy! I took two trips, and then a third to finally take the baby home. She's a beautiful little girl now, healthy, smart as a whip, the apple of her parents' eye. While her mom has black hair, her dad is blond. He could be the girl's blood father. I don't know how all orphans are treated in Russia or Belarus, as you mentioned, but this little girl was well adjusted even while in the orphanage. I'm afraid there are horrible situations for orphans, no matter the country, including the U.S.

  25. Joyce, thank you for that story. It breaks my heart to hear about abandoned babies. BTW the beautiful babies in the blog's pictures are my own granddaughter and grandson, the joy of my life. And the doctor holding the baby is my daughter who is a pediatrician. She's the one editing the medical scenes of my books.

  26. Great story! My daughter's best friend (aged 8) was actually adopted from Belarus when she was 18 months old. I understand from her parents she was one of the last adoptions done to the US from that country. They had to jump through incredible hoops to finally be able to bring her home. I often think of how different her life would have been if she had stayed over there. Now she is a happy, loving child with all the advantages and opportunities she would not have otherwise have had. She's very in tune with her heritage. When it's cold here she likes to say she doesn't feel it because she's a Russian bear :).

  27. Great photos and post Mona! Two of my closest girlfriends adopted their daughters from Guatemala. The girls are both a joy to their parents.

  28. I can't imagine anyone abandoning an infant either, but I can't imagine having no home, no insurance, and no food either. I enjoyed the excerpt, Mona. And I love your Jillian's heart for children. Her story really resonated with me.

    Hugs, Maggie

  29. Touching post, Mona. A nursing mother makes milk as needed, so the more she nurses, the more is available and when she weans, less is available. Amazing how we're made to adapt. But feeding 7 'stange' babies? That takes a big heart, I think.

    One of my former bosses adopted a foreign baby because she couldn't deal with the possibility of having the baby taken away again several months later as can happen with US adoptions. That needs to change. I don't know how they are now, since I moved, but she's a very loving person so my guess is they are all doing well.

  30. Kaily, I am so happy for that little Belarusian girl to be able to grow in the States. I wonder why they close the adoption procedure. Belarus is still a socialist country with the same president since the early nineties.

  31. Hello Mariposa, I bet your friends are delighted to have their lovely daughters.

  32. Hi Maggie, thank you for stopping by. In a future blog I will post the picture of the lovely and tiny Oxana who breastfed seven babies.

  33. Loraine you reminded us with one of the problem of adoption. To see a child you learn to love and consider yours taken away is the most horrible thing that can happen to an adoptive mother.