Journey Through The Parks One Family's Adoption Journey

December 17, 2010

Adjusting and Connecting

Filed under: Home,Melinda's Thoughts — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Jon @ 3:01 pm

I realize I never posted that we actually arrived home…but once we were home things got very busy:)  The plane ride home was as you would expect a 9+ hour flight to be with a 17 month old who hardly knows us and who has never exeperienced as much stimulation as three plane rides and busy airports!  We endured it and promised Elliott he did not have to travel on long plane rides again anytime in the near future.  We did get a great USCIS agent in Washington D.C. when Elliott officially became a citizen.  We asked if there was any balloons or confetti and he laughed and said “no” but he would offer Elliott a high five if he didn;t look so darn tired:)

One of the biggest adjustments for me has actually been my lack of time.  Not that I did not expect this to be true, but after spending three weeks with mainly having one 3 hour appointment each day and no other chores or commitments, I have been rudely met with more responsibilities and adjustments than I really anticipated.  I am having to work harder than expected to keep Christ my focus and rely on His strength now that we are home.  I have found myself in constant prayer conversation giving Him praise for the million little blessings all day and asking for wisdom with Elliott, wisdom with Ryan, wisdom with Anna, wisdom…wisdom…wisdom.

Anna and Ryan are a wonderful big brother and big sisiter for Elliott.  They are anxious to help him, teach, him, hug him, etc…  Reconnecting with Anna and Ryan and finding our new rhythm as a family is my biggest priority each day and is a bit of a slow process.  Ryan, especially, is having some trouble reconnecting with me and letting his feelings out from all that has happened for three weeks.  His difficulties remind me how hard it is when I am away from God by not doing my bible study, neglecting my prayer life, or even not listening to praise music.  I am sure God mourns my silence much like I am mourning the struggles Ryan is having to reconnect with me.  The difference, of course, is that Ryan did not choose to be absent from me for three weeks.  When I neglect God, it is my choice whether or not I realize it at the time.

We are adjusting and I have written on my planner the date when we would have been home for 30 days.  I am not going to be too concerned with habits or adjustments until that 30 day mark.  Once we are at 30 days, I can focus on habits or patterns in sleeping, adjusting, attitudes, that may have crept in.  What I mean is, if the boys are waking each other up now while sharing a room, I am not going to think it will be that way forever..If Elliott screams every time he sees a car and thinks he has to get in, I am not going to think it will be that way forever.  I am going to ask for strength for each day and celebrate each day and then look for issues that need addressing after 30 days.  We are ALL adjusting to one another, to sharing rooms, to reconnecting for now.  We are going to hibernate and fall in love as a family again for as long as it takes.  If I seem to have gone silent or have disappeared from events and usual happeneings…you will know why!

December 10, 2010

We Are Ready to Travel for Home!!!

Hello, friends!

We finished up our final paperwork and got Elliott’s travel visa for our return trip home!  All of our requirements are finished.  We are so ready to begin our long flights home.  We are going to head to one final trip to the Ukrainian cafeteria after Elliott finishes his morning nap:)  We are prepareing our suitcases and are going to head to bed early since our driver will be picking us up at 3am to head to the airport.  We are still praying we will not be delayed due to heavy snow in Munich.  We are trusting that God has allowed the weather and He is guiding our steps, so we will certainly be where we need to be tomorrow ( we just pray we are on a plane).  Thinking through logisitics of flying such a long distance with Elliott has been challenging, but we are prepared as we can be with what we have available!

When we touch down in Washington, D.C. we will hand our sealed packet of information to the USCIS officer at the airport, and at that moment, Elliott will officially become a U.S. citizen.  I am sure there won’t be a big fanfare, but we will make our own big fanfare!

Elliott has been a real trouper since we got him Tuesday.  he has had so many “firsts” and has handled it far better than we expected.  I am ready to get back to our home where things are better equipped for a curious, fast crawling little boy!  I will really appreciate so many things when we get home that I had previously taken for granted.  One of those will be a “child-proofed” home!

We do not expect to have any internet access once we leave our apartment in Kiev to go to the airport.  We will have computer access again once we are home.  Please join us in prayer for God to open the door wide for our flights to be on time and for us to arrive home quickly.

Thanks for the prayers for Jon’s eye.  He got to speak with his eye doctor yesterday.  We were able to google the russian alphabet and translate the name of his eye drops ( thank goodness for Proper nouns!) and find the eye drops on a Google search so Jon could tell his eye doctor the name of the drops.  After some back and forth , his doctor was able to let him know he could both drops together.  He also has an eye appointment for Monday afternoon!  He has had some relief from the pain.  His eye is far from healed, but the relief from the extreme discomfort has been a blessing for him today.  We both pray the lengthy time in an airplane does not agitiate again beyond what he can ease with his drops.

With our very late arrival on Saturday night combined with jet lag and logistics for Elliott to sleep, etc…we will not actually see Anna and Ryan until Sunday.  Please be considerate if you happen to see either of them before Sunday and don’t mention our exact arrival day!  We will let them know we are getting in late Saturday, but we will finally get to see them on Sunday! We are ready to begin the process of bonding and adjusting as a family of five.  We have some reconnecting and connecting to do between all of us:)

We are overwhlemed by the connectedness we have felt while here.  We spoke with a few more families today at the Embassy.  One mom thought she would be here for 5-6 weeks and she has been here for a little over 3 months due to various glitches.  She and her three new children fly out for Paris tonight.  It was amazing to hear her story.  We have so much additional insights and blessings from God to share with everyone when we return.  There are so many things that are just too numerous to record each day.  I can say that I feel VERY privileged to have been on this adoption journey and feel so humbled as I have seen our awesome God more this trip than I could ever have imagined.

December 9, 2010

Med Clinic, U.S. Consulate … Busy Day!

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Jon @ 10:50 am

Hello, friends!

We have been on-the- go most of the day. It has been a whirlwind of going here and there.  Poor Elliott missed his morning nap today because of our appointments, and it occurred to me that he has never in his little life missed a morning nap!  His caregivers at the orphanage always put the children down for nap in the morning and then again in the afternoon.  I do not think Elliott knew what to make of how tired he was!!

We get to go to the Embassy tomorrow for our interview and for Elliott’s visa.  That is the last os our official appointments before we head out on Saturday morning.

We have been watching CNN World here in our Kiev apartment since that is an english-speaking channel.  They were just reporting on all the snow in Germany and the delayed and cancelled flights.  We are praying that we will not have cancelled flights in Munich and that our delays would be short-lived or not at all.

We met a couple of other families today at our appointments.  After talking with them and hearing their adoption journey here in the Ukraine, we realized again how much God orchestrated the events of our journey in a way that was perfect for our family.    It was so great to talk with them.  First, it was great just to speak english with them!  Secondly, though, it was wonderful to hear how God had worked in their adoption journey in a way they said was perfect for them.  One mom we spent some time talking wth while waiting at the clinic told us how she kept hearing God tell her about snow before they left to come here.  She said she told her friends before she left that she just knew there would be feet upon feet of snow.  When they arrived, however, they meet their new daughter and found out her name in Russian means snow!  The mom started crying about what a confirmation is was for her to know that God had chosen this little girl for their family and He was gracious enough to confirm it with the word snow!  That family is on our same flight from Kiev to Munich, so we get to enjoy talking with them for one more leg of our journey before we part ways.

Please join us in prayer for Jon’s eye.  As some of you know, Jon has been battling a recurring eye infection since July.  It has flared up again and he is in extreme pain.  He brought some prescription eye drops with him, but they do not seem to working this time.  The doctor at the clinic was very concerned about Jon before she examined Elliott and referred him to an opthamologist at the clinic who gave Jon two different prescriptions for his eye.  Our concern is whether he should take these drops in conjunction with the others he is already taken.  For now, he has decided to tough it out, if possible, until we are home.  His eye is somewhat swollen, very irritated, and is interfering with his ability to do any of the required paperwork or even to see to go to the store and get some water for us.  We both feel like his eye issue is spritiual warfare.  We have felt that way since it began in July and kept coming back.  Please pray for God’s healing and for a relief from the pain for Jon.  Also, pray for wisdom in taking the new medications.

We are growing more and more excited and ready to get home the closer it gets.  We cannot wait to get Elliott home and to get our whole family of five together.  We are so ready to hug and kiss Anna and Ryan as well!

Thanks for your prayers.

December 8, 2010

Back in Kiev!!

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Jon @ 8:30 am

Thankfully, we all survived the 10 hour overnight train ride back to Kiev last night.  Upon our arrival to our new apartment (you really appreciate traveling light when you move so many times in one trip!), Elliott got a good two hour nap, Jon got a good 1 hour nap, and I got to enjoy the LUXURY of a washing machine and did 2 “loads” of laundry already!!  We got a rare privilege this afternoon for lunch as well.  We got to eat lunch with a precious, beautiful missionary family, the Cliftons.  It was great to talk with their three children and to speak English with all of them!  I even got to enjoy a cheeseburger at the local TGI Fridays!

Elliott seems to be doing well as we learn his eating and sleeping patterns.  He’s tinier than we thought, now that we’ve gotten a good look at him.  We cannot wait to watch his growth take off during the next year.  We have our embassy and med clinic appointments tomorrow and then we return to the embassy on Friday.  We should be traveling home this weekend!  Please continue to join us in prayer over the next few days as we finish up and especially while we travel.  18 hours of travel with a 17-month old is challenging under any circumstances!  That’s all for now.  We’re going to let Elliott take a nap in here where the computer is.  Have a wonderful day!

Melinda, Jon and Elliott Parks

December 7, 2010

Elliott is With Us Now!

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Jon @ 7:24 am

What another whirlwind day!  We have been all over this region gathering various documents and signatures!  We got a new official birth certificate for Elliott, closed his bank account, and got his passport.  Elliot took his second car ride ever (his first being from the hospital where he was born to the orphanage.) He was very freaked out about getting in a car, but then he was so fascinated by the sights going by as we were driving, that he forgot how freaked out he was:)  He will experience his first train ride tonight as we go back to Kiev and then he will have his first airplane flight on Saturday…yes, Saturday! We have been cleared to book our return flights for Saturday.  We can hardly believe we  will be home just shy of three weeks after we left.  We really cannot believe that Elliott gets to come home with us.  Only a month ago we were not sure we would even be traveling before Christmas and we thought it was not even a possibility that Elliott would be able to come home with us in only one trip!  God has moved mountains in our lives.

As I type, Elliott is playing with Daddy in our hotel room.  Elliott has already heard Jon talk about the finer points of Eurpeon football as they bonded over some eurosports on the television.  He is a handful in this hotel room, so it is probably a good thing we are going to have an apartment in Kiev…a little less fancy:)  Elliott will enjoy his first dinner outside the orphanage tonight with us before we board our train at 8pm.  I can only imagine the next several days!

We are thrilled to be connected, however, with some local missionaries in Kiev..thanks, Melanie Lenow! We hope to meet with them if time permits!

Hopefully we will have internet in Kiev and we will be ablet o check in as usual.  Please pray for our last leg of travel…that we do not encounter flight cancellations or delays as well as Elliott’s peace and trust that he is safe with us.

Melinda

December 6, 2010

Elliott Peter Parks is Our Son Officially!!

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Jon @ 9:34 am

What an amazing afternoon!  I could not possibly explain our court experience here in this note except to say that I have not recently been so imidated in my life.  I kept thinking in my mind about Jesus when he said to Pilate that he has no authority but that which God has given to him.  I kept looking at the judge thinking that he has no authority in our case except that which God has given to him (John 19:11).  God orchestrated events in such a way that our judge today granted an immediate decision for us to be Elliott’s parents.  This was unlike either of my two previous deliveries in which I became a mommy again:)

We do not actually have Elliott tonight.  He will spend his last night in the orphanage tonight completely unaware of what has been decided in his life until we are able to go tomorrow and take him away from the orphanage forever.  Even then, we are not expecting him to be happy about leaving, in fact, we are fully expecting him to be upset when we get in a car and pull away from the only home he has ever known.  We’re completly comfortable with whatever emotion comes out from him because we do know that better things are coming for him in his life.  How true that is in my own life.  I think I know what is best and often for me that means sticking with what I am comfortable with and what I know, when in fact, God sees the full picture of His plan for my life, and I am sure He often is okay with my lack of understanding of His plan, but He does expect me to follow Him.  We are okay with Elliott’s reaction to leaving with us tomorrow, but we do expect him to find security in us…not in the events of his life right now…but in the fact that he trusts us and we are safe for him.  God is safe for me to trust anytime, regardless of what is happening in my life at any given time.

From here, we should be able to wrap up documents tomorrow and head back to Kiev on Tuesday night.  We will have a full day in Kiev with no appointments on Wednesday, and then should have our two appointments in Kiev on Thurdsday and Friday.  For now, we have been told we should be able to begin our flights back home on Saturday.  We will know more tomorrow and will clarify before we book our return flights.  We will likely book those on Wednesday!  My mind is spinning from all that has happened today, so I think I might cut my update a little shorter than usual!  Please give God thanks and glory for how He has worked in our adoption journey today and this entire trip.

One final thought for now…Jon checked and found that we “offically” began our adoption journey by registering with our agency last year on Dec. 9th.  We will be completely done with our process almost a year to the day from when we started…WOW!!!

Melinda

December 5, 2010

News About Court!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jon @ 11:46 am

Hello, friends!

Well, God is so amazing!  Of course, we know that, but we were shown his mighty provision again today.  We had been told on two different occassions by two different facilitators that we would not have court on Monday because Vital Records is closed.  Jon and I had been praying last week and all weekend that we would be able to leave this region and head back to Kiev by Tuesday night to begin paperwork and appointment requirements there before heading home.  Jon and I said a prayer that God would work out all of the details.  Right after our prayer, I called our facilitator.  She did not answer because she was trying to call us at the exact same time.  When I hung up the phone, I was able to answer her call.  She was calling to tell us that we have court on Monday!  We could hardly believe it!  Our court hearing will be at either 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. local time.  We will know for sure in the morning.  Having court on Monday will allow us to be at Vital Records first thing Tuesday morning to begin getting the paperwork from this region.  If we would have had court on Tuesday, it would have been a whole lot less likely to be able to wrap things up and head to Kiev on Tuesday night like we had hoped.  Although we still do not know for sure that things will be wrapped up on Tuesday, we do know for sure that God has orchestrated the court details for his perfect timing!  I’m sure I cannot convey in words how amazing all of these events have been for us.  We are in awe of God’s provision!

Daddy and Elliott Walking

Daddy and Elliott Walking

As for our visit with Elliott today … it was fun!  We got to be in the larger music hall once again.  The larger space allowed us a little more freedom.  Elliott got tons of practice walking and holding Jon’s hands as they made lap after lap around the large hall.  Elliott and I got to enjoy a little more dancing and singing room than we normally have in the other space.  Yesterday on the phone, Anna recommended that I sing “This is the Day” to Elliott since this is a song we like to sing a lot at home.  I took her recommendation and sang that with Elliott today, several times.  I also enjoyed singing and dancing to “Jesus Loves Me” and “Our God is an Awesome God.”  As I sang aloud in the large hall today, it occured to me that this might be the first time praise songs to Jesus and God have been sung in that hall.  It’s hard to say, because the Orthodox Church is so prevalent here.  Regardless, on this Sunday afternoon, Jesus and God were praised aloud with singing and dancing in the orphanage music hall!  It is very likely and possible that by the end of our court hearing tomorrow, Elliott will no longer be fatherless.  If we are awarded custody of Elliott as his new parents in court, Elliott will have a new earthly father.  Jon and I will both then be able to point Elliott to his Heavenly Father, who loves him even more than we do.  After the court hearing tomorrow, Jesus’ words to his disciples in John 14:18 might be true for Elliott when he said: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”  Jesus may come to Elliott by sending me and Jon here to get him.

While I am so excited to think about taking Elliott out of the orphanage forever, I am a little bit heartbroken as well.  Even when I think just about Elliott’s group, with 15 or so other children, I realize that they will still be left here as orphans.  I think about the sweet little girl who always smiles and peeks around the door to watch us play with Elliott in the hall.  Or the little boy who leaned as far as he could without falling over in order to catch a glimpse of us playing with Elliott.  Or I think about the other little girl who walked right out into the hallway and gently closed the door behind her, so proud of herself as she smiled and watched us play until a caregiver realized and shooed her back through the door.  I am overwhelmed when I think about the hundreds of children in Elliott’s orphanage alone.  His group is one of many, many groups at this one orphanage.  And of course, this orphanage is only one of many in the country and worldwide.  Elliott’s courthearing tomorrow will not give those orphans their own forever families.  I am comforted to know that God is the “Father of the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5) and that Jesus called “the least of these” His “brothers” (Matthew 25:40).  I do know for sure that our family will not forget these other sweet orphans that remain.  In our house, we will continue to pray specifically for Elliott’s group and orphanage that the children might know Jesus and might get their own forever families on Earth, just like Elliott did.

December 4, 2010

Update from Saturday!

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Jon @ 9:46 am

Hello!

First, I want to say how wonderful it has been to hear from so many friends about Elliott!  It helps us feel a little more connected–and it is just plain fun to celebrate Elliott with our friends and family!

We had a great visit today.  The weekends are much quieter at the orphanage and we do not have very many workers coming and going through the hallway/mudroom where we play each day.  Elliott was playful and ready to have some fun.  Since the weather has warmed up here a bit, we asked if we could take Elliott outside again, but we were told the doctor said we could not take him outside.  A little disappointing, but we must follow the rules.  They did say we could take him to the music hall to play with him.  We were a little excited for a change of scenery, but the music hall is a larger room that has very dirty and somewhat dangerous floors..not good for a little boy who gets around by crawling everywhere.  We enjoyed the larger space by doing some dancing with Elliott and some flying around the room!  We also got some good airport layover practice by playing with him while sitting in some chairs.  As is the case with any child about his age or younger, the never-ending game of drop the toy from the chair to the floor so mommy or daddy can pick it up was a favorite!!  He did pretty well playing in the chair with us with just a few toys, so I have at least some hope that we might be able to survive the ariport time ( naive hope, but hope none-the-less).  We decided to head back up to the hallway where Elliott could crawl around and we could play with more of the toys. Well, once again by about 2:30 he began to get so sleepy that he nearly fell asleep while I was holding him.  I told him he had to wait about 30 more minutes before falling asleep, but he apparently did not agree:)  Jon and I held hands and said a little prayer with Elliot, for Elliott, and when we were finishing, his eyes were closed and his thumb had dropped out of his mouth.  About that time, however, one of his caregivers came out and brought his food and drink so we could feed him.  We were so thrilled to be able to feed him, but also so conflicted since we knew he was tired!  He did perk up when he saw the food.  It was some sort of meat and rice mixed together into an oatmeal consistency.  He had a bottle of some type of juice as well.  He slowly ate bite after bite.  He was so tired he could hardly chew and swallow, but we were not sure of the expectations or if he would get any food again before tomorrow, so we felt like we had better try to encourage him to stay awake and eat!  It was wonderful to be able to meet his need and get to feed him, but also heartbreaking that he was so tired and really needed rest first before food.  We did tell him that when he was in our care, we would be able to better meet his needs since we would see the full picture of what his needs really are.  Even as it was, he did not finish the entire little cup of food they gave us to give him.  I am praying that his tummy is not hungry tonight and in the morning because of us.

Playing with Elliott in the Music Hall

Playing with Elliott in the Music Hall

I do know, however, that as much as I already love Elliott, I know God loves him more and has taken care of him his entire life.  For months, Jon, Anna, Ryan, and I have been praying that our children in the Ukraine were not scared, were getting loving care, were not going hungry, and were laughing and having some joy each day.  Jon and I talked several days ago about God had answered every one of our prayers!  Elliott does not seem scared at the orphanage, he is not going hungry, he is receiving loving care, and he is getting to laugh and have some joy with his caregivers!  My faith is so small sometimes.  I cannot get my mind around just how much God cares for the fatherless and the least of those on earth.  God will meet Elliott’s needs for us tonight and in the morning.  God may even be preparing Elliott to accept our care more readily when we get to be his sole providers and his forever family.  In much the same way, God provides for me each day.  I am in awe of God’s provision for me the longer I spend here.

Please continue to join us in prayer that the court decision on Tuesday would be favorable and that Elliott would be given to us and in our care by Tuesday night.  Pray  for the legal logistics to go in our favor so we would be able to head back to Kiev for our offical documents, etc…as early as Tuesday night or Wednesday.  Although spending some extra days in this region have given me more experiences to share with Elliott when he grows about his hometown, I am certainly ready to head back to Kiev and be one step closer to heading back home. I cannot wait to hug and kiss my other little ones, Anna and Ryan.  I am also anxious for our new family of five to begin the process of getting to know each other and bonding and adjusting.

One final observation for today..kids are kids no matter the region or language.  Earlier this week after it snowed, Jon and I were headed to a very early dinner and we came upon a handful of middle school girls and boys who gotten off the bus from school and were either waiting to catch the local bus home or waiting to go in and eat.  The boys were boisterous and were all making and throwing snowballs at each other and at the girls.  The girls were all huddled together giggling and making a pitiful attempt to make one snowball and toss it at the boys.  I almost laughed out loud as I realized that God created people who are similar in so many ways…regardless of language, culture, environment, etc…  It was a good reminder to me that every person I see was created especially by God for His glory and for His purposes!

Melinda

December 3, 2010

Friday’s Latest

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Jon @ 10:57 am

Hello, friends!  We had a fun visit with our little guy today.  We are not sure if the caregivers feel sorry for us or think we are less than “bright” but they had pity on us and our same few toys in the hall each day and they gave us 3 new toys to use while we were playing!  It was tons of fun for us.  Little Parks LOVED the one that was a dump truck.  It made plenty of sounds and played music.  It was a shape sorter in which each shape went through the hole in a different part of the truck.  Let me just say, our little guy spent nearly an hour just playing intently and trying to figure out how the shapes got in and how to get them out.  He was very involved in his playing today and was not very interested in much guidance either.  By the end of that little marathon playing time, though, he definitely knew how to get them in, how to take the driver out, and sometimes he remembered how to get the shapes back out again!  It was so wonderful for us to be able to be with him, but mostly for us to watch his little brain working hard and watch him as he kept working to figure it out.  I certainly take for granted how many times I get to see Anna or Ryan work hard at learning something new.  This was the most intense learning we’ve been privileged to watch him do.  He is so adorable about the music.  His caregivers had said through the translator when we first met him, that he loves music.  Today, each time I pressed the music button on the truck, he would begin to sway his little body while he worked on firguring it out.  I also had some fun today with mirroring he moves.  He was playing with a ring from some stacking rings they loaned us, and I copied exactly what he did with the ring.  It only took him an instant to catch on to the fact that I was mirroring him, and he began to laugh out loud each time I did what he did!  He loved it.

We can hardly believe we only got to meet him for the first time one week ago today.  It feels like we have known him forever.  Really, I feel as though I have studied his face, his smile, his mannerisms so much this past week that I could recreate them all in mind simply by closing my eyes.  With that said, we are doing a little countdown each day ( just the two of us) to when we are praying he will be declared our son.  We are down to only three more days of regular visits at the orphanage.  I am already prepared to break down in tears when we actually get to take him away from the orphanage and he gets to be in our care!!!!!  On that note, Jon and I have been selecting a few favorite pictures and few favorite short videos (about 30 sec each) to post and share once he is offically ours.  Just the excitement of choosing them and setting them aside is fun.

We got to spend about 2.5 hours this morning “touring” our region and the sites.  It was incredible the history here as well as the museums.  We have seen several artifacts today during our tour that were older than our entire country!  Even though we are here in winter with snow around and cold weather, our drive stopped and showed us several large fountains that are turned on during the summer months.  I could picture how beautiful this area is during that time.  I am glad we got to tour and that I can honestly tell my son in the future a little more about his hometown.

We also got to talk to our case manager by phone today (from the USA).  She said we have blessed with getting th youngest referral from Ukraine this entire year.  She could not believe we were able to get a referral of such a young son and that things have been moving along so quickly.  She said that we should be so thankful that God has poured his blessing on our case so far.  I whole-heartedly agree, but I thought it was interesting that she would say that to us.  She sees and manages all eastern european adoptions for our agency.  For her to say that made me keenly aware that I am not sure I even realize right now how much God is blessing our process.  What a great reminder–in case I needed another one!

December 2, 2010

Thursday’s Latest

Filed under: Melinda's Thoughts,Our Journey,Ukraine — Jon @ 9:17 am

Hello, friends!  First, let me say thank you for all of the wonderful birthday wishes!  It has been unlike any birthday I have ever had!  We did get to visit with our little Parks today for almost three hours.  He was very tired today from the beginning.  It makes me a little sad that we get to see him at a set time each day, regardless of whether or not that is a good time for him to see us on a particular day.  My thoughts today kept thinking about how wonderful it will be when we can actually meet his needs accordingly rather than trying to play with him and keep him awake when he so clearly needs a nap!  I want to be able to let him sleep when he really needs it and play when he is ready.  I did not realize how difficult it would be each day to give him back to the orphanage workers when we leave.  I want to just take him with us and that feeling only gets stronger each day.  He is receiving amazing care in general at the orphanage and especially compared to some other orphanage situations we know about over here, but it is still not a family.  He is still not getting the experience of one mommy and one daddy and one forever family meeting his needs.  I am so thankful he has not gone hungry and seems to get some loving care, but he still gets workers rotating on different shifts and an overcrowded setting.  My motherly instinct is in overdrive and it is a struggle each day as I pray for God to meet his needs while we are apart from him.

Please join us in specific prayer that in court on Tuesday they will waive the 10 day bonding period and will legally decide we can be his parents.  We are so anxious to have him in our care and are praying that God allow the court to decide in our favor and that we can take him out of the orphanage on Tuesday and begin the process of going to Kiev for official requirements and then coming home!   We are earnestly clinging to God and like Jacob when he wresteld with God in Genesis 32:22-31 ( v.26) we are not willing to let go of God until he blesses our court on Tuesday.  We are trusting His provision and His will completely as we continue to stay where He has brought us!

I cannot even put into words in such a brief note all of the lessons God has taught me in the last week and a half.  It is uncanny how much He has opened my eyes and changed my perspective.  My prayer now, is that I will continue to be as changed once I return home and return to some of my comforts and routine.

It has been a fantastic birthday full of adventure, love, mommy moments, and more sweet time with my incredible husband.  I am so blessed!

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