Journey Through The Parks One Family's Adoption Journey

November 30, 2010

Update from Tuesday

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Jon @ 12:54 pm

We wanted to send out another quick update!  Our visit today was the best yet.  He smiled when he saw us and engaged in playing with us very quickly.  He also “babbled” much more than any other day–he just says his sounds and looks at us and then smiles.  He and Jon got a little snuggle time today as well.  He is quickly learning how fun and adventurous daddy is as he got flown around the tiny room like an airplane and got several rides on Daddy’s shoulders!  The more comfortable he gets, the more adventurous he gets as well.  We spent much of our visit today chasing him as he crawled toward the door just laughing and looking for Jon to come and grab him and move him away.  He is still not at all sure about being outside.  He acts very differently when we take him outside.  We took him out again today for about 10 minutes and he just looked scared the entire time.  He did not smile and did not seem to enjoy it.  Once we got to the little hallway where we usually play, though, he was all smiles.  He has also “learned” about the few toys we brought.  He can do the stacking with the pots and seems to grow tired of them more quickly…so we introduced an empty water bottle–every child’s dream toy.  Like every other child we know, he loves it!

We signed a few more papers for the lawyer today.  We still do not know anything yet about our court date, but are praying each day that the details fall into place for a Friday court date.  We would love for you to join us in that prayer.

We watched a great teaching today on financial stewardship and it was a good reminder for us.  How blessed we are to be able to be in God’s word and hear sound teaching so far away!  We hope to listen to the sermon from WCRBC sometime tomorrow as well.

Well, we are about to watch our nightly movie here and do some laundry in the sink!  We will update again tomorrow.

November 29, 2010

Latest From the Ukraine!

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Jon @ 12:51 pm

We thought we should give the latest from our neck of the woods!  We had another great visit with our little Parks today.  He smiled today when his caregivers brought him out to play with us.  At one point, he also just easily crawled up into my lap!  I was so excited.  He is laughing more and even babblling a bit while he plays with us.  His brain is working so hard each visit, though.  I cannot imagine all the new things he is processing for each 3 hour visit.  Today, 30 minutes before our time with him was up, he just crawled into my lap, sucked his thumb for about 30 seconds, and then fell asleep.  Jon and I looked at each other and thought “Oh, no.  They will not be happy if he sleeps now!”  My heart, however, just wanted to watch him sleeping so peacefully right there in my lap.  The end result, however, was that one of the one of the ladies came out and saw him sleeping and took him to lay him down, which ended our visit about 30 minutes early.  Even though I know for now that was best, I almost cried that we lost the 30 minutes with him today.  I am looking forward to letting him catch a nap on me sometime in the near future when he “officially” becomes our son.

As for other news and notes, I have somewhat successfully done laundry in our bathroom sink, eaten twice now at the local Ukrainian cafeteria, and can very successfully purchase water -no gas- at the supermarket on the first try!  Believe me, after a few unsuccessful purchases of seltzer water, this is quite amazing.

One other unexpected thing is all of the stray dogs here.  They are dogs just wandering around everywhere.  We hear them barking all night and see them wandering around along the streets.  For the first time in my life, I can actually better understand the Lady and the Tramp movie.  I realize that was not set in the Ukraine, but the dog issue must be very similar.

Finally, thanks to all who loaned us some dvd’s.  We have watched one each night so far.  It feels alittle like the movie Groundhog day for us after a few days with the same schedule, scenery, etc… but we are enjoying our nightly date night with a movie each night!

Once we have our court date completed, we will be free to share our exact region, our little guy’s official new name, and even some photos and videos.  Until the court declares him a part of our family, however, we are not able to share those things.  I will at least share that he has bright blue eyes like his big sister.  The two of them will be quite a pair in our family with those crystal clear blue eyes!

November 28, 2010

The Lord is My Shepherd

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Jon @ 4:16 am

Psalm 23 is well known.  I can remember memorizing in VBS as a child when I was in second grade.  I remember the craft we did with Psalm 23.  I have heard that Psalm and have “known” most of my life.  Until this week, however, I have never really understood it.  I have not been around sheep and do not have much experience at all with sheep.  From what i have been told, sheep are very dumb.  Lovable, but dumb.  Sheep have no spcial talents ( guarding, herding, tricks, speed, etc) and are dumb and lovable.  I would not have described myself as dumb but lovable until this week.  Throughout the week I have been able to understand much better how much the Lord is my shepherd.  I am in a country where I do not understand the language, am unable to tell anyone where I am staying or how to get back there, am unable to read signs or listen to the PA to understnad which train is my train and where I am to go.  Literally, I am dumb, but lovable, sheep over here.  I have to be led to water, led to food, led to my hotel for rest, led to the orphanage, etc…I am simply following directions and wandering as various wonderful people are leading me everywhere I need to go.  If they leave me, though, I am completely helpless.  How true this is of me in relation to God.  I am completely helpless and need to rely solely on the Lord to lead me on his path.  I am so thankful for realizing how much of a dumb sheep I am.  I just hate that it took another country before I realized it!

November 26, 2010

Latest Update!

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Jon @ 1:20 am

We just have a minute for a quick update!  Our appointment went so well yesterday.  We felt God’s complete peace about it all–although quite an experience!  We got last minute permission yesterday to travel instead of having to wait until Monday, so we hopped an overnight train ( 10 hours) to our new city and arrived this morning.  We have a full day of visiting the orphanage, socail worker, notary, etc… but we do at least have internet in our room in our new city.  We are thrilled to meet our little guy (18 months) later today.  We are fine with God making our family a family of five instead of six…for now.

November 24, 2010

Prayer Guide for Our First Week Away

Filed under: Our Journey — Jon @ 12:33 pm

Hello, friends!

Here are some specific daily things we would love for you to pray for us this coming week.  We cannot wait to keep you updated on our adventure.  Only God could send us on this much of an adventure!

November 22—Pray for Anna and Ryan as they transition to staying with the Councilmans while we are gone.  Pray for Ryan to understand what is happening.  Pray for our flights that things will go smoothly as we depart and begin our journey.  Pray for us to be submissive to God’s will throughout this entire trip.

November 23– Pray for our flights as we arrive in Kiev late afternoon Ukraine time.  Pray for our customs in the airport as well as other details to be smooth and safe.  Pray that we would be so full of the Holy Spirit that all those we encounter would sense the spirit in us and seek to know God more.

November 24– Pray for us as we recover from jet lag and prepare for our early morning appointment on Thursday.  Pray for us to have appropriate opportunities to demonstrate or share God’s love in this country.

November 25—Pray for our 9am SDA appointment.  Pray that they will have two children available for us to adopt.  Pray for our first referral to be our children so we do not have to wait and do a second or third referral.  Pray that Serge Zevlever will be our translator for our SDA appointment. Pray that God’s will be done during this phase of our journey.  Pray for the Councilmans and for Anna and Ryan as we celebrate apart from them.

November 26-Pray for us as we travel by car, train, or plane (depending on the region of our orphanage) to meet our children for the first time.  Pray that their hearts will be prepared for a family and they will know we are their parents.  Pray that the children are indeed adoptable without any relatives coming at the last minute to hinder the adoption.  Pray for God to be glorified in all of the little details that unfold each day.  Pray for our unity and protection as well as for our spiritual habits while we are far away.

November 27—Pray that we have good relations with the orphanage workers.  Pray that we are able to shine the love of God in every encounter we have with our children and the other children as well as with the workers, our driver, etc…

November 28- Pray for Jon and I to have unity this entire trip.  Pray for our protection from any wedge Satan might try to drive between us throughout this journey.  Pray for God to be glorified in every human encounter we have each day.

November 29—Pray for Anna and Ryan as they have never been apart from us for longer than a week until this trip.  Pray that they are sure of our return and are a blessing to the Councilmans (especially Mary) during the day instead of a burden!

In Christ,

Melinda

November 15, 2010

We Need Your Prayers

Filed under: Our Journey,Ukraine — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jon @ 4:25 pm

As we shared last Monday, we are very excited that we finally received confirmation of our travel date to the Ukraine to meet with the State Department of Adoption officials. Since then, we’ve been busily making travel arrangements and doing all of the things that have to be done to pick up and fly half-way around the world.  We are excited to let you know that we’re traveling to Ukraine next Monday, Nov. 22.  It will be a long trip to get there, but one we believe well worth it.

With that said, we’ve also learned of some troubling news since that time. It appears that the Ukrainian parliament is considering legislation that would put a moratorium on all adoptions in the Ukraine by countries that do not have a bilateral agreement in place on adoptions. We don’t know the reasoning behind this legislation, but we do know that it has passed its first reading.  It must be read and voted on a second time and ultimately signed into law by their president. You can read the U.S. State Department notice here.

Here’s where we need your help: we need you to pray specifically that God will stop this legislation dead in its tracks or will delay it long enough for us to get to the Ukraine, process our adoption and bring home the children. We know that we serve a mighty and powerful God that is bigger than any scheme of man. If He wants these children to be adopted, we know that it can be worked out. However, we need — we beg you– to please join us in praying for this situation to be resolved. The Ukrainian parliament is meeting this week, so the need for prayer is urgent and pressing right now.

This does not diminish our excitement or deter us in any way. We still believe in God’s call for our family to adopt and we will continue to follow him in obedience. Thank you for standing with us and please– pray right now and every day this week that this legislation is stopped.

Updated: this post was updated at 6:47 p.m. to include the link to the State Department notice

November 9, 2010

What next???

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Tags: , , , — Melinda @ 8:22 pm

Well, since receiving our SDA appointment date yesterday, our heads have been spinning.  The more we think through our travel and discuss what needs to be done, the more I realize we actually have more unknowns now than before.  Here are a few examples of some of the questions we’ve gotten since yesterday:

How long will you be there?  ( we have no true idea.  Anywhere from 13 days to 3 weeks depending on numerous factors outside of our control.  In fact, we have to book our return flight making sure we can easily change our plane tickets to accommodate a different date and possibly two additional passengers!)

Will you bring the children home when you come? ( we have no idea.  Whether or not we are able to bring the children home after this one trip depends on numerous factors outside of our control.  We may not even know for a week or longer once in the Ukraine if we will be coming home with our children this trip or not.)

Wow!  We do not know when in December we will be home.  We do not know if we will celebrate Christmas this year with four children at our house or two.  We do not know if we will have girls or boys or both from the Ukraine.  We do not have any idea how old they might be ( of course they will be between 1-4 years).  Other than the fact that we will be sitting in the SDA in Kiev on Thanksgiving morning at 9am, we just don’t know.

The more that sinks in, the more joyful I am that none of the additional details depends on me or my strength.  I cannot even imagine if the many details were on my shoulders to manage or even to decide.  How grateful I am to have a mighty, loving God who already knows the answers to every unknown that keeps coming into my mind.  I am able to peacefully (okay…somewhat peacefully:) rest and let go of any anxiety or burden I feel for the details.  God knows every answer to my many questions and has lovingly blessed us and reminded us of His power with the mere fact that we are traveling so soon and that our appointment is on Thanksgiving Day.  He is reassuring us how much He loves us and how He plans to prosper us ( in love) and not to harm us. 

If you are worrying or stressing about the unknowns in your life, no matter how great or small, I encourage you to get into God’s word and remember How mighty He is and remember His provision–you will be blessed as you remember who God is in your life!

November 8, 2010

We’ve Got an Adoption Review Appointment!

Filed under: Our Journey,Ukraine — Tags: , , , , , , — Jon @ 12:59 pm

Just a brief post to let everyone know that we heard from our agency this morning that we have an appointment to meet with officials at the Ukrainian State Department of Adoption! Our appointment is on November 25 and yes, you guessed it, that is Thanksgiving day! Obviously, this news is fresh to us, so we don’t have a lot of details right now, but we hope to have more later today and when we do, we’ll be sure to post here to keep you informed. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support in getting us to this point. We’re getting very close to bringing them home very soon!

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