Sunday, October 31, 2010

Time falls back here too!

Today was a beautiful day outside and we took full advantage of getting to enjoy being outside. Marina loves sunglasses so we are currently at the mall enjoying a promised happy meal to Evan and watching skaters and children dressed in halloween costumes I do not recognize. My sister Tonja has a little girl Laurel who will be vying for the title of cat lover with both Evan and Marina. The pair spent the day chasing kittens around the playground, and having the very best kind of day. Marina has had a cold but is feeling better and for that we are grateful. Not too much to report but they do roll the clocks back here as well as in South Carolina, which I was suprised to find out. That is one thing that I would change about this world, though it is small, it drives me nuts that you can make the waking hours dark for longer in an already bleak season. How goofy is that??? I thought I would try to upload the video of Marina and Evan running to meet us from getting Marina from her groupa this morning. Evan was chosen to go get Marina and also therefore got to see her room and play room which he candidly reports on always hoping this uploads sometime today!! We tried for the longest time to watch the sermon from first baptist last week and that was to no avail...since it was on adoption I was very interested in this of course. May try to post the link here even though I cannot see it myself as the few seconds that did stream down looked really good. Will take the rest of the day off from posting unless anything earth shattering occurs, otherwise, enjoy Sunday and hope your last day of October.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ground hog day continues, and every day gets more fun!

This is Mel(adopting Timothy), I decided to guest post on Cathy's blog... ok, the computer is sitting on the table, and her and Tully are cooking dinner, so I just sat down and started typing. They have been so wonderful to let me come stay with them since my husband left to go home to be with our other kids. We are all in the same place in our process, so it's been a God-send having them here at the same time. God has been watching out for us for sure.

Back to me!My turn:) Yes, Mel is right on, God is looking out for us this season for sure. We just finished dinner and laughed and told all sorts of stories, have been talking non-stop since she got here, and have not even begun to run out of material. The next 9 days we wait through the court appointed wait time and then start the process for passports and birth certificates. Those take four more days, so that gives us another 2 1/2 weeks in country give or take a few days. We will get Marina most likely to come live with us next Wednesday the 10th and include a party at the orphanage if they will let us. This is both exciting and scary, since Marina's favorite past time now is to test her special needs parents and see what in the world we have in mind for her testing phases and sticking her tongue out and wagging her back side at us. She has some unique talents for sure! She also does not take no very well, unless it is being directed by an official member of the orphanage delivering it in smooth Russian lingo. I will definitely have to get some of those phrases before we leave! All I know is that someone needs prayed for, and I think it is probably us. Evan and Marina are a bit more bonded these days, they play together fairly well and I can see the teams being divided into an us against them fashion. This is scary. But fun at the same time. And then scary some more...

I am posting the photos from court looking out the window, and Marina's birth parents as well as just more candid shots of us at the orphanage. Oh!! I almost forgot to mention the mall tonight..Evan and Tully went to the mega game room and Mel and I went downstairs to watch some version of Ukraine's Got Talent! It was amazing. First uh, hard to describe but there were three grown men each harnessed with a life size puppet on poles on each side of them. When the men danced they moved the poles and it was like a can can line of dancers. Anyhow you won't be able to mentally grab that one but trust me when I say it was amazing. Next was three girls who were belly dancers with a candelabra on their heads, that was naturally lit (all 14 candles per girl). I won't even begin to tell you how long I think it will take to get the glitter off those gals, but it too, was very impressive. Joe Biden would have needed heart surgery and he has already commented on how beautiful the women are here! Well, enjoy the photos and will update more soon. No, I do not have pictures of the girls in candles...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Successful court day!

Wow, was today stressful! Both the Dellanos and us had court and we went first, taking a full hour and 15 minutes of drilling questions from both the prosecutor and the judge, then we were approved for adopting Marina. Evan was amazing. Of course Evan was also asleep though the entire proceeding...we are grateful for the coma of a nap that Jesus himself bestowed upon that child! What a day, but then we waited for John and Mel Dellanos to also be approved as Timothy's parents as well. We put on a shared mp3 and sat on the group W bench with various other cases still waiting to be heard...

Then the amazing happened. We were walking out of the courthouse and were able to meet Marina's birth parents. I would post the photos but we are at the mall rewarding Evan for behaving like a champ all day and Tully changed jackets walking out the door of the apartment, leaving the camera in jacket number the photos will lag behind.
Anyhow I cannot say enough for VIktoria and her husband. Our greatest day is so bitter sweet for them as they know they let their only child relocate nearly 7 thousand miles away for her own good. It is so similar to letting Caylyn relocate to Heaven for the good of her life, and it hurt more than anything I could breathe into words. So my heart hurts for these beautiful people as they make the hardest decision of their lives. I promised the very best for Marina and I promised to keep her mother and father in the know for all they will miss first hand. I assured her that the mileage was really not as far as it sounded, and several other promises too intense to write but our facilitator was crying by the time she translated so I know she said the right words. My heart is rejoicing in an exhale of hope as I inhale the tears for her mother who went through the trouble to carry her after trying for 7 years only to birth a child in a country of pure unacceptance. And that is our day in this amazing eastern european country where the sun shone like crazy as the wind turned a bit bitter. A direct reflection of our day...
Thanking GOD for Miracles, for here we are, the parents of yet another beautiful ray of sunshine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More new photos and so long to Babushka:)

Tomorrow is court day at 2:00 and that will put us one giant leap closer to our Marina. They call her Manya here and it seems so endearing when I hear them talk with her. My mom left yesterday afternoon, catching a train to Kiev at 5, getting into the airport at midnight and then a flight at 6:45 am to get home to Greenville Spartanburg airport around 6 44 this evening. She gains 7 hours and my head does not do time-math very well, so hopefully she will just sleep on the plane and not notice what her watch may be doing. We are all so grateful that she came on this trip with us, and Evan had someone to play with while we worked out some obstacles in our own journey. Anyhow it was sad to see her go yesterday but in the name of my poor father's heart, we bid her adieu and will see them all sooner than we can imagine! Time flies here for sure. You hardly get back from one visit before we get off to another. Then Evan starts in on going to the game room or off to a happy meal...and we are still fitting in school in between all our running around! We will start the Ukrainian language class I downloaded when they send me the windows version (somehow I got the Mac). Then we will be working hard! At least I will, I hate not being able to talk with Marina, even though we always get our point across. I just want to know what she is saying. I can't assess her language skills because I do not have any comparative sentences to use. Tully asked Evan what he thought of Marina yesterday, and after contemplating he came up with "She's cute". For a brother, that is commendable! The silly faces he is making in this post is where we told him Marina is older than he is (by 3 whole months). He went with his official coo koo face. We did tell him he would still always be her big brother and would look out for her. I have also seen her in action over a sack of toys and another kid, it may not be all that necessary. Today is a rainy day out side so we will take the dvd player and see how she likes curious george. We have been incredibly fortunate to have the kind of weather that we can play outside every day, and that has been a lot of fun. The kids decided to "rain leaves" right before they went in last night and man, were we all dirty! The leaves came from the sand box and in the hands of maybe 8 kids, and no one had the foresight to realize that handfuls of sand would accommodate the leaves. Right as we were getting ready to separate from Marina, the kids all walked over to the big gates that leave the orphanage...and Marina decided she was simply LEAVING the compound. when she realized she had to stay after much wrestling and discussing with the teacher, she laid her head down on the railing in defeat and it broke my heart for her. She was pretty bent about not being able to leave and would not tell us good bye last night. More and more I long for the day she clears that gate for home. We are simply crazy for her.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Video of Marina's bossing ball game:)

Sitting at the mall on a Saturday night by the indoor skating rink in Dnipropetrovsk, hoping to upload this video. It is not a great quality and Tully and I were passing the video camera back and forth trying to capture it all. We think it is amazing how hard Marina was working to make us understand the rules, which we failed horribly at. I am surprised she was interested in working with us today but she was amazingly friendly and very funny today. She has the best laugh! Today we all played lots of different games on the playground with all the kids and then the "gram babushka" got on the merry go round and the mouths of all the children fell open...evidently not a lot of grown ups get on that thing. After seeing the color green on mom's face, well it would only be logical. I got a scarf that I really really liked the other day and today I put it on while we were on the playground and one of the kids busted out laughing and said something about my "babushka"scarf. Not sure I like it any more....:) The children here in Marina's place are so beautiful and bright eyed. I wish we could bring them all home. It is too easy to love them. Not sure why they are in an orphanage, but they need parents. And dentists I think. Anyhow will take photos of the groupa if we are allowed. Did I mention you should come get a child too? Do you realize if only ten percent of people who profess to be Christians would adopt a child, there would be no more orphans? On the other hand there are millions that need a home. And every single one who gets a home, is one less orphan. And one less orphan is the goal...remember that starfish story where the little girl is walking along and tossing beached starfish back into the ocean and a man comes along and asks why she is working so hard since she surely can't save them all? She picks one up and says, "I made a difference to this one". And I can't believe how grateful we are to be blessed by this little starfish of ours. You all are going to love her:) Peggy I will talk to anyone that will listen to our story so yes, I would come to sunday school and talk about this journey. Thank you for asking.

At the end of the day today Marina ran over to the goody bag and snagged the color book that was in there. She tucked it under her arm and marched off with her groupa. It was interesting to explain to Evan that she felt that she needed her very own color book for the first time in her life. He got better about it, but it did not sit well until I went over it one more time.

I do have one prayer request. Please, other than our court date, start building a hedge of prayers around Marina's journey home. I get no translator to help me and the flight will be very very long if she decides she does not want to be on it. I know we are nervous about this more than anything. The honor of getting past our court date on the 28th is that we have a ten day wait that will allow us to officially become Marina's parents on November 8th, which would be Orphan Sunday,the official day of acknowledging the call to arms to be aware. I had no idea that this was real. I wish you could be here too. It would change your life forever, and a lot of us need our worlds changed I believe.

I just realized that the video may not load because I am nearly out of battery charge. Ugh, if it does not load I will try again tomorrow. Ok the connection failed after an hour and a half--will maybe upload a 23 second video instead of a 4 minute one if I can, to get you by til tomorrow... sigh-battery has mere seconds left...

Friday, October 22, 2010

We have a court date!

October 28th at either 2 or 2:30. So we were approved here in this city as well and we are still moving forward!! It has gotten a bit chillier today, so it is the first day I have not sweated my behind off each time we walk in a building. The first visit today Marina spent with my mom and then we came at the end, just to change things up a bit. Marina did well but at one point got very stubborn and would not budge from sitting on the floor in front of the door so the staff finally had to haul Marina back to her room. Then we got there a few minutes later and she got to come back out, so we all went out side to the play ground, where you will find the best photos to date! For the second visit, just Tully and I went because Evan was taking a hard nap (more on lunch later but it delayed the nap long enough so that Evan slept right through the second visit and did not go at all)...Anyhow we went to play with Marina, and I think it was the hardest I have laughed since we have been here. Marina took us to the play ground and conjured up a game with the beach ball where Tully would sit on the merri go round, and I would stand in a very specific place and Marina would kick the ball to me, then I would go sit on the merry go round and it would be Tully's turn. seriously, Marina must think we are the two most special needs people she has ever met. She would fuss and fuss in Ukrainian and then finally get us by the hand and pull us to where we needed to be, according to her rules. If Tully delayed too long or did not stand in the right spot, then he would lose his turn and Marina would make him sit down. Finally she would just get so fed up with us she would sit on the beach ball and just look at us, like we were completely daft. Given that we cannot speak Ukrainian, we are certainly the ones who appear most disabled in our little family group! When she saw her group of friends walk by around 5:30 she was never so relieved to have her language barrier restored and threw us both kisses and hugs and skipped off to play with her current set of siblings, the other children. we do not interfere with this as we believe she will struggle immensely when we come home, even though it is the very absolute best thing that could happen for Marina given her options in about a year or so. In the mean time she can enjoy the best of both worlds.
So, as for lunch, we first walked through the open air market outside since the day was gorgeous and the 4 of us moseyed around checking out the skirts, both on the hangers and on the girls. It is hard not to admire both. These women are the most beautiful in the world so far that I have ever personally seen. I am not going to post any photos here, you can come over and adopt your own child or you can take my word for it. I would opt for choice number one. It is far more amazing than I can put into words. But I digress. Lunch I finally had to call in the cavalry and concede defeat that I could not find pictures of what I would LIKE to have for lunch because we were in some Ukrainian pub with no english menu and only photos of 10 different kinds of sausages fixed that many different ways. We decided to be brave and sit down and take our chances. It was the right choice.AFter calling our facilitator to speak with the waitress we were off and running and finally had our first bowl of Borscht here. If you like dill at all, you would have liked our lunch. It was amazing. (Bouquets of dill garnished our plates, in America we use sprigs, so I gathered it all up and stuck it in a baggie and brought it back for potato salad). Anyhow we had a wonderful time and then finally left the mall, to head back here. Evan and Gram had diverted to a dvd store, to get movies that play in the dvd player here in Ukraine. (ours were all out of region except for the 20 old black and white Alfred Hitchcock movies I brought.) Mom and I went back to the mall after 2nd visit today and took the little mini computer and the magic jack and she began calling folks, starting with my dad. She has only been able to call ME for the last week and that is probably not what she had in mind since I am right here. The only place the Magic jack works for now is at the mall with the free wifi since it is so strong there. Tully is elated as now he feels he can watch the eagles play if we go to the mall on sunday night. Nice to know what it would take for Tully to ask if we can go to the mall....duh, it would have to be a dang football game! So I have yacked and yacked here, maybe it is time to upload my family photos from the day. I will say that if I get to upload video clips I will post the one of her bossing me and Tully today. You can feel sorry for us then:) God has been most amazing and gracious to us this journey and we are very grateful for the prayers that have gotten us to this point.
Love, us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Today we submit to court!

You must forgive the sporadic updates, and lack of video. It is a sketchy connection on a good day and I spend more time logging on than I do writing. With that out of the way, I have a few minutes before my bathroom turn and wanted to update some pictures of Marina's current home and also we finally got to play on the playground out side. It had rained and was really really grey, not like a rainy grey but blended with smog or something that made it almost dark outside so I wondered that we would ever get out of playing in the lobby of the orphanage and getting onto that cool little playground. Then yesterday afternoon a warm wind blew a bit of sunshine through and suggested that outside would welcome us after all:) We were originally given the hours of 9-12 and 4-6 for visiting but they soon asked if we could come at 10:30 in the am instead since Marina has speech and snack and likes those very much:) of course we complied so we are not killing ourselves trying to get out the door in the morning now. Between visits yesterday we went to the "wally-mall", the giant megastore that makes every mall in America look crummy, and went to the famed Mcdonalds where you can indeed get raspberry pie instead of apple. Evan was delirious as their happy meals do indeed have toys. We then went to ELC, the kids store educational learning center. Marina has blown past anything I brought to entertain her. She works puzzles and threads beads with precision. The doctor at the orphanage conveyed that only Marina's speech is delayed and everything else is on a typical track. This I believe. Marina was much more warmed up to me yesterday and chose my lap and my help on the puzzle, though I have no idea what the difference was. She did fuss at Tully for trying to help her and her independence is commendable. I cannot say enough that this is the orphanage of dreams. The children are loved and well taken care of. For Marina it would have been the dream before the nightmare had someone not come for her.
Yesterday a major hurdle was cleared for us, the social worker has given us her approval. Today we all trudge to the judge and face another unknown adventure. We will be finished early Marina (facilitator) thinks but we will then go straight to the orphanage for our morning visit. We are unable to add another child to our journey at this time for various reasons so to say I am disappointed would be an understatement. It would have been so much easier to go through this jealousy thing with Evan one time and I feel that we will never have this chance again. I can say so much more but there is no point and we will focus on Marina and Evan and not those left behind.
The picture of the double doors and blue building is Marina's orphanage. I sure wish I could upload a video because her laughter is precious and she was sure generous with it on the play ground! She and Evan do really really well on the playground and they are getting more on balance with each other Evan is enjoying her more and realizes two on a see saw sure work better! Will post more when the internet is agreeable.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Marina is awesome!!

Where to start seems to be the hardest thing about this post, particularly since this will be my second post since I lost the first one. Marina is just the absolute coolest little kid! She is smart and funny and cute as a button! She has been known to take her play cell phone and high tale it to the grocery store. OF course she did not have permission to wander the aisles and yak away on the cell phone as she shopped and she sure gave the orphanage director a heart attack, but this is the sort of smart little independent thinker we have become ridiculously attached to in a few short hours. She was born at 7lbs 7 ounces but she sure has shot past that! She is solid as she can be, not overweight but heavy! She is an easy size 5/6 and a little shorter than Evan. She is assertive and takes charge of the games, telling everyone who to throw the ball to and where to sit and whose turn it is. So shy, NOT! She is most fond of Tully (papa) and when we got there the second time she ran and jumped straight to him first. It melts the heart. The pictures here on this connection take so long to upload and it is impossible to up load a video. I lost the last blog entry trying to upload the magic ball trick that Marina did. Once she saw Tully pretend to lose the ball and then have it magically appear, she was the next to do the trick. She is too funny and very very happy. When we first met her she was a little freaked out but she is over that part for sure! Wow, so much to say, it is hard to fit it into words. We are so incredibly fortunate to have been drawn our rainbow end to hers. Evan and her will be great friends in time, a little competitive for him right now, but this was to be expected. He is homesick too a little I think. But he likes Marina and makes sure everything he gets in his hands he gets in duplicate, one for him and one for her. He is certainly committed and is doing as well as to be expected with this sort of life change.
Tomorrow Tully and I make the rest of our biggest decisions here in Ukraine and we pray for clarity and peace to overcome any obstacles we face. We ask that you lift us in prayer as well. Will update more tomorrow. The internet connection here is not the high speed deluxe we had in Kiev so no videos or phone calls anymore:) But I was smart enough to buy unlimited email for one month! So you will hear all about this as long as I can get on line:) Thank you again for all who have become a part of this journey. We would not be here without you. As fortunate as Marina has been to end up in this orphanage (as of last May, when she was not even talking yet at age 4 when she was transferred here), it would never last for her but maybe two more years and with each passing year, she would have been a higher and higher risk for the institution, a crime for any child, and now that we love and hug and kiss her, especially for her. This was the right thing to do. I wish more people believed that for their own lives. This change is going to be good for us all...the beginning of the story where I know Cay is truly happy dancing for us all today. Surely she would be proud of how we have let love for her carry forward.

In about 3 hours...

We should be at the orphanage where Marina is. I cannot believe that as Shelly B. put it, the moment we have met hundreds of people to sign hundreds of papers and shed thousands of tears over, is here. Evan is so excited, he lights up at the mention of her name. We went to the store yesterday and he was already adding to the cart, One for me, one for for me, one for Marina. Chocolate and cookies and juice boxes. He is so sweet and is probably the most ready of all. Tully watched the Eagles last night but too bad for him we left that high speed internet in Kiev! Shelly Burman thank you for the air card for the computer. I would have been a mess if I had not had that to at least start the mime conversation with at the Kiyevstar internet store. We did have to walk back to the super mall again, hauling the computer with us. Long story short, we obviously now fixed that problem.
The neighborhoods here are unusual for our current understanding. The inside of the apartments we have seen are so amazing. Perhaps this is because the outside is so incredibly shot out. It looks like government housing...perhaps it is. But like the kind you would see in NYC in the Bronx. The playground is neat, as it has just been built I think. It is right beside an old metal one with hundreds of layers of paint, like the others we have pictures of. The kitchen here looks like Ikea, and is very fancy. Right now it has workmen in it and the nice landlady fixing something with the water or under the sink. We are fortunate to be here. I will try to upload photos later but the camera is in the kitchen right now and there are plenty of people in there already.

Marina (facilitator) is so amazing. She is smart and beautiful and very sweet. Usually all that does not come in one package. She said that little Marina looks like me. Probably why I think all that nice stuff about her haha! I actually am most fascinated that she can be so nice to us and walk so fast, all while wearing the tallest shoes I have seen.
We still have some major hurdles to overcome. For one, I thought we would be able to see baby Anna before making a decision but Serge told us yesterday that we cannot. Personally that is ok by me, but we are still having some discussion here about what we are to do. Please pray for discernment and wisdom. Tully has some logical concerns and I tend to live more by daily faith. Both have their merits when blended, and both have their faults. Again, this is a serious time for us if you could wrap our decision in prayers.
We will also meet Marina's mother this afternoon as well so there will be a lot of bawling I feel sure. I get a lump in my throat every time I even try to picture this really happening.
I am waiting on coffee to be ready so this post is all over the place and if it were a writing project would likely just be handed back for editing, or rewriting. I am also so excited to get ready to go see her. Today she turns from a paper doll into a real live child. One I hope the judge deems ours.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Packing to head for Dnipropetrovsk

Wow this was a quick first few days! We are packing up to relocate via train at 4:45 am tomorrow! our train leaves at 6:58 and the driver has to make two trips to get both the Dellanos and us to the train station on time, so we get to be first! The cars here are little and our bags are not, so it is a tight squeeze to get everyone and everything in the car. We really did not bring a lot-one bag and one carry on, but times that by 4 people and it looks like we relocated permanently! We are all getting really excited to see Marina, and we get to see her the afternoon on Monday, not sure what time. OF course will update photos as soon as we can! In the meantime, the Dellanos and us all met the Westbrooks from Colorado this afternoon for lunch, and they brought their two little munchkins with them. Their girls are Victoria and Anna, and not sure who is who. They are both under 2 years old by a couple months but not sure by how much, 22 months was the oldest I think. There are also posts of our apartment here in Kiev, at 60 dollars a night. Mom and I shared the cost of a curling iron today when we saw one for 275 hryvnas which is equal to about 35.00 and we were delighted to get to find that at the front of the trip! Children's clothes are a fortune here and quality is not great. Maybe I have just looked in the wrong places? There is a really neat underground mall here, and you access it by taking what looks like subway stairs down underground. This also gets you across the street without getting run over. Tully and I have been amazed that we have not seen one ant or one squirrel. A few dogs and one cat but that's it. The lack of bugs is weird. We have not gotten to see the Independence Square except for driving to and from the SDA but it is impressive...we were usually sitting in good old fashioned city traffic. We are going to finish out all that is in the fridge tonight so we will have omelets for dinner and try to figure out how to sleep for a few minutes before getting up at 3:45. No point in getting up earlier, I am not cooking and we are almost packed. Another day and another fine adventure heading our way! It is a huge help having another family here because we can share what we know with each other. It is also nice that we really enjoy our time together and both hope we are close in proximity for our journey south. It is also nice to have mom here and we all have a little more variety in our day by all of us being here. I would do it again this way if I had to decide again. Evan has been great and Tully is behaving as well:) Since I get to update the story, well you just have to take my word on how I am doing. And I am doing fabulously!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A bonus video of walking around Kiev.

This was friday afternoon before SDA referral pick up. This nice little jazz band was playing on the street and we thought it was really fun to listen to them. This is alot like NYC but maybe more like Philadelphia on a modeling runway steroid. Everyone here is either handsome, beautiful or exceptionally stylish. No chunky girls unless they are well over 50. Enjoy!

Kiev Day 4!

Ok for all you who are worried about us, the general concensus here is that Kiev is really cool. The city is quaint and charming and has a certain air of posh and beauty that is not familiar to me in America. It is not better, but maybe different in a really good way. Maybe we expected the worst and I think it is way better than what i expected. We feel safe and enjoy the challenge of making our way around in survival mode. I am sure we amuse the people at the deli, they no longer are rolling their eyes at us but trying to help us. Yes, in 4 days we have come a long way. Today we received our referral paperwork and leave Kiev on Sunday 7 a.m. and head to Dnipropetrovsk. You can google that city but I recommend cut and paste rather than spelling it yourself. We bought a second phone today for mom so we could communicate when we are not all together. It was a whole 40 bucks and I think money well spent. Anyhow the photos are of various things we do around the city. Alot of the stores say no cameras so we abide the best we can. Tully is doing laundry and we just had a great dinner in this evening. Evan is playing Legos and Mom is cleaning and rearranging the apartment...who is surprised?? yeah, no one. So we are having a nice relaxing night in....ask any questions if you have any. Like "does the hair clippers blow up when you plug them in with a converter...? answer "most definitely". We will meet Marina Monday afternoon. It seems so amazing to us. We all are very very excited! Pray for our dreams to be real.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The rest of the photos I was uploading yesterday...

This is at the pizza place that Evan found. Not only could he locate a big toy store but found his way into a pizza shop that had english subtitles on the menu. What a superior scout he is! He & my mom hamming it up for food:) Later at TGIF he met a precious little girl and they hit it off despite language barriers. Give two kids each a balloon and language becomes secondary to just having fun! And finally, walking home from TGIF at night. I forget how beautiful city lights are....we missed dinner because we did not know what time everyone was meeting and I missed it by a country mile. The other families met at 5:30. I think we had just about finished lunch by then. Perhaps we can try again at the end of the trip and meet fams coming in!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day one in Kiev

A view of the market in down town Kiev. I would love to add more photos but it all just locked up. Will work on adding more!

Landed safely

Once again, the least likely to succeed has made it to the pinnacle with the army of heaven making a way:) I got to meet another adoptive set of parents in Frankfurt. Mel and John, and she and her husband were easy to spot in Frankfurt since they were hauling a stroller around with no kid in it yet!:)
I did not know it was possible to be this tired and still be conscious. Dinner tomorrow night at TGIF and enough groceries to feed a small army. Oh yeah that army would be us. I ventured out to find food like a foraging squirrel and in the mean time Mel was getting first class service from Nico! HA! Now I see how this works...of course Nico showed up right after we got back from grocery shopping and he took shopping. Not wanting to hurt his feelings (translate: Need to know what we already bought...") we went right back out to go tour the 'hood. We have wired the tv to the dvd player so all is well. we have internet so all is well. Oh yeah, and the magic jack works amazing from here so my mom is calling everyone she knows. Apartment is large and pretty cool. But it is time to head for bed and get my beautiful self back in order since the competition is so stiff here to look fabulous!!! Oh and Shelly Burman, they took my matches OUT OF MY SUITCASE and left me a note signed by someone in international security. Can't wait for more adventures. I am sure there will be plenty.
By the way, for anyone else traveling, the groceries sell salt and sugar in the same area of the shelf...there are three boxes of salt in the cabinet in the apartment. We are not the first to fall for this sales technique but did taste it before loading up oatmeal with it. Yes, it was salt. It is a reminder I think that we are salt and light, and not to forget it. I laugh and think that sugar would have been a nice reminder for us to be sweet:)
Will update more later but tomorrow we receive our referrals and we need a ton of prayer for that time at the state department of adoption.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Setting sail to a new world....

I wonder that God has such a sense of humor that He cuts us free on our discovery adventure on Columbus day. Seriously, can you just here Him elbowing Jesus saying I wonder if she'll notice?
And I do. I feel as if we don't really even know what we are setting off to discover. This is the one part of the journey that I have no idea the joys and battles we will face. There is only so much imagination in this brain, and it has exhausted its resources as of this morning. One step at a time, one mountain moved after another. God has proven to be mightier than my faith even, which has been very paltry at times. Every single donation and every saved dime has been allotted and we are completely covered with our known needs. We have just enough checks from work coming in while we are gone to cover our bills. There are still mountains to be relocated but I rest in Romans 8:31. If God is for us who can be against us? That means all of us. He did not fight this for me, he fought this for the children that need a mother and a father. I am not afraid as we head into the middle of this story. I am humbled that God believes in us enough to send us and work through us. We too, are orphans, and he sent a Rescuer for us as well. We lived in a darkness that we did not know was as dark as it was. Until Hope showed up. And the darkness fell away from our lives. Still human, still fallen, but no longer orphans. We have been rescued. May we go with the lesson that we have been taught as we sail on His very own wings today, the wings of obedience.

This probably started out my own personal war. To bring home a child to compensate for the lack of chaos that rang silent in our house after Caylyn passed on. But the need has shown itself not to be about me. Or Tully. Or even Evan. It is about being the vessel of Love that God has molded us into, and broken us to trust Him, so that the light shines through all the cracks of our own weaknesses. Sometimes a voice inside hisses about how I do NOT have to go back into the world of Down syndrome since I was released from its membership. And I know that voice is satan himself. Because I reflect back and there is nothing about Caylyn's life that would make me feel that way...except the leukemia maybe, and that is not relegated only to DS. And honestly, through the battle with Leukemia, I learned that God is waaay closer than we want to believe. I know when I am most broken, God is most close. The more I learn about the needs of the children we are called to go see this week, the more I know He is my strength and my fortress. And once we have seen, we will be responsible, because faith without deeds is dead. The song Albertine by Brooke Fraser has been on a running loop in my head for days now, with those same words if you want to hear music to that line of wisdom. (it is in the tunes player below).
So I know that although we know nothing about how this trip will go, we will go with open heart, open arms, and a willingness to hear Him above all else. I ask that you pray for us to maintain that direction the entire time we are there. Not safe travels or any of that sort of random stuff that would be nice to have of course, but to really know His voice, and to not be afraid to answer Him. I think this is about far more than bringing out orphans. We are light and salt, and we are being sent out as warriors in a crazy war.
The next post will be from Kiev. And I will start posting pictures at some point that will make my droning on a lot more interesting:)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Can anyone say Amen? Like real LOUD???

Ok, So it has been a few days, and several thousand emotions crashing into each other. None more prevalent than any others, but just a myriad of them all. I have also had a difficult time talking in a straight line. But this post is a direct amazing thank you to the God who always turns out bigger than my imagination. We have received all funds to complete our trip. In less than a week.
I got this in my email box today and it is so perfect to say thanks with...
Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others...for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” -Albert Einstein
Wow, who knew Albert Einstein was so smart??

We leave Monday afternoon and arrive in Kiev on Tuesday. Our SDA appointment for referrals is on Thursday. That sums up what I actually do know about our trip. The rest of the details is in the adventure to come. Pray fervently that God moves mountains and hearts for His will to be done. I already know it will be, but it doesn't hurt to have a cheering squad. And I am sure we would love to continue the hedge of protection that is surrounding us as we face this life changing opportunity.
Thank you thank you thank you to every person who has made this possible for us even to consider going. Starting with our beautiful daughter Caylyn and right up to you, who are reading this and making this journey with us.