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!
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.
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
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!
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!
*Warning: God is at work on my ungrateful heart. Reading this post might open your eyes to how God might be working on yours, too!*
I have given some thought over the past several months to how I might answer my children when, one day, he or she asks why they were an orphan in the Ukraine. Thinking about that eminent question has caused me to realize like never before that God alone is the answer to the question as to why I was allowed to be born as a little girl in America to an affluent (compared to the world’s population) family who loved me and treated me well. I had no choice in that matter and nothing in my own strength allowed me the privilege to be born in the United State to a loving family. I could have born with the exact same talents and could have been given the same gifts and been born in China as a little girl. My life would likely look very different than it does now. I could have just as easily been born in the Ukraine to a mother who gave me up as an orphan to live in a state run orphanage. The only difference is God.
I am not sure I will ever know or my children will ever know why God chose us to be born into different circumstances (at least we won’t know this side of heaven, and we probably won’t care once we’re in heaven!). I am so honored, humbled, and grateful, however, that because I was born into this country into a loving family with all of the rights and privileges including schooling, nourishment, and spiritual development that go along with my upbringing, that I will be able to answer my child that at least one part of God’s plan for me being born into my circumstances have allowed me to answer his or her questions about why he was born into his.
As we continue to prepare to bring home our children, we continue to find opportunities to use the talents God has given us. Our church, WCRBC, is having a Women’s Expo on Saturday, September 11th from 9-noon. I am participating in this event and will be selling items with all proceeds going towards our adoption. If you have been seeking an opportunity to partner with us to bring our children home, here is a unique chance. I am having a Sewing Party this coming Tuesday at my house from 7:30 until around 10ish to finish sewing some items for the Expo. I would love to have local ladies join me. Bring a sewing machine if you have one…only very basic sewing skills are needed for this project. If you have a willingness but no machine, you can come and cut fabric or iron fusible fleece for me! Just let me know if you can make it. I am praying for God to bring a large number of women to help on Tuesday.
I encourage you to take a minute and watch the next short video clip about children from hard places. From everything I understand about the orphange conditions in the Ukraine, I cannot imagine I am going to easily want to maintain as much continuity and familiarity for our children as suggested. I am sure my desire as their mother will be to try to swifly move them into feeling a new familiarity. This video, however, reminded me to think about the children’s losses through their eyes. When they first come home, to them, it may seem as if everything familiar (no matter how bad) has been removed or taken from them. Familiar smells, familiar foods, familiar language, familiar music, familiar faces. They are going to be thrown head first into a new culture with new grown-ups and kids whom they have never seen before. Even as an adult who knows Christ, that would be hard for me to transition easily and without some sort of resistance. I am so humbled to get even just a small glimpse of the sacrifice Christ made by leaving a sinless heaven where there is no pain, death, or evil in order to come to earth for me. What a rotten place earth must have looked like to Jesus. I can imagine that the orphanage may look like a rotten place to me, but to my children in the Ukraine, it may be the only stable familiar thing they have ever known.
“Monroe WILL be transferred in just six months time. That’s how long a family has to get to him. The institution he will be moved to is known to be one of the worst in the country. There is no way sweet Monroe can survive there. Absolutely no way.”
To read the whole story from the blog No Greater Joy Mom click here.
During the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard from two different people about a group that is bringing Ukrainian orphans to the U.S. this summer and is in need of host families. The group is called “Red Line United” and here’s a snapshot of what this group is doing:
“In Summer 2010, we will be bringing 10-20 children from Jonkoi orphanage in southern Ukraine to spend three weeks living with families in the Raleigh, NC. These orphans will be ages 9-14, an age where it is difficult to impossible to find adoptive familes. The program’s main goal is to expose children to families that may be interested in adoption, and we need your help to find families!”
If you are at all interested in adoption or if you have a heart for providing three-week foster homes for these children, or if you just want to help this organization in their work, click here to learn more about how you can get involved: http://www.redlineunited.org
As a side note, I recently found a link to a blog run by one of my former high school teachers, Bill Finley, and his wife about their adoption experience. They adopted a little girl from — you guessed it — the Ukraine! And what makes it even more special — they adopted after having hosted the girl through a program similar to the Red Line United program. Here’s a link to their story: http://www.finleylifetothefull.com It is truly amazing what God can do when one family agrees to step up and help make a difference! Are you being asked to help? Why not prayerfully ask God to speak to you today about it?