One Step Closer…

My thoughts are more focused this week on our children in the Ukraine than in the past few weeks.  This Wed is our goal date for our Lifesong fundraising.  We have been so blessed thus far and are truly humbled by the generosity of close friends and family as well as casual acquaintances.  God has reveled himself and shown that He does in fact own the high heavens, the earth, and everything in it as He has given us some of His earthly money for our adoption.  Again, I say to myself, ” Who am I that anyone would donate so sacrificially in order for us to bring our children home?”  Quickly, though, I realize that I am asking the wrong question altogether.  I should be asking, “God, who am I that you have chosen to reveal yourself in part through my family?”  Then I realize that actually I should not spend my time asking such a question as this but instead should be spending my time praising God for exactly who He is and what He has chosen to do in His perfect timing!

Although this week is exciting for us as we see the balance on Wed from our 6 weeks or so of fundraising and sharing our story (don’t worry, money given to Lifesong on our behalf after Wed still goes to help our adoption:), this is just another summer week for our children.  Their lives have yet to be impacted by anyone’s generosity.  How amazing it will be when one day we sit down and let them know about the many loved ones who gave in order for them to be brought home with us.  I can only imagine that once they understand what God has done, they will be even more humbled and appreciative than we are.

Humbled…again!

Just recently I got the opportunity to be humbled…again.   God often has a way of humbling me at the most unexpected times and revelaing just how mighty and gracious He is while showing me how far I fall short.  During those times I realize just how wonderful God’s plans are in comparison to anything I could ever design for my life.  I wanted to share one of those times with you, since it relates to our adoption.

I recently got a lovely handwritten letter from this friend who has such a heart for Christ it is a pleasure to be with her.  As with many of us, she stays at home with her children and her family has very little money to spare.  Upon opening the letter, I found a $50 bill along with a note letting me know the money was for our adoption.  I was very grateful and humbled to see such a generous bill.  A few days later I got the chance to thank her and also let her know that we were accepted to begin fundraising support through Lifesong.  I let her know that I would love to offer her the opportunity to give directly to Lifesong and receive a tax deduction for her kind gift.  She simply said, “Thanks, Melinda, but just keep the cash.  You see that was my Christmas money and I felt like God was saying to give it to your family for your adoption.”  With tears in my eyes I quietly thanked her and lifted up a silent prayer to God, thanking Him for allowing me the privilege to humbly receive this sacrificial gift towards our adoption.  All I could think as I walked away was, “how did I spend my Christmas money?”

So … why adopt from Ukraine?

It’s a question we’ve heard quite a bit: why are you adopting from the Ukraine? We’re always glad to talk about it because it is part of our adoption story.  When we first were called to adopt, like most adopting families, we had to make a decision: domestic or international adoption.  While we know that there are many children in the U.S. that need a great family, we really felt led to consider international adoption.  I don’t know how else to say it other than God laid it in our heart to look overseas.

Of course, there are many countries and lots of orphanages to consider when you decide to adopt from another country and it can be a little overwhelming.  In doing our research, we came across resources such as Lifesong for Orphans (watch a great video here about Lifesong & adoption) and Show Hope (Steven Curtis Chapman’s organization) that helped us understand that one of the best things we could do would be to work with an adoption agency that would help us navigate the adoption waters.  After a careful review, we selected Christian World Adoption, which is based in Flat Rock, N.C. and Charleston S.C.  CWA works in specific countries around the world and they can help in identifying the country that is a potential best-fit for your adoption process.  So, initially, we elected to work with … Khazakhstan.  That’s right, Khazakhstan.  You know, that large country just south of Russia!  Yeah– we didn’t know much about it either.  But, we were impressed with their approach to adoption and the condition of their orphanages.  So, we started the process.  But then, we learned that CWA had not received any referrals in Khazakhstan for siblings (if you want to adopt two children, many Eastern European countries require that the children be siblings) in the past eight years of working there.  So, after further consultation with CWA, they advised us to look into their Ukraine program.  And for us, it was immediately a good fit.  There are so many children waiting to be adopted, CWA has processed several “sibling groups” in the recent past and the timetable to adopt from the Ukraine is about 8-10 months (compared to 4 years for China).  So, we decided to change our application from Khazakhstan to Ukraine and we were on our way.

In the months since that decision, we can definitely say that we’ve learned a lot about the Ukraine.  We even followed the presidential elections in the Ukraine (wow, that was different!) to keep tabs on the political climate within the country.  It’s strange how you can become so connected to a place that you’ve never been to.  But, when God tells you that two of your children currently live there, you really want to know all you can about the place where they live.

So, that’s how we came to our decision to adopt from the Ukraine.  We are very excited about travelling there.  And of course, we’re most excited about bringing home our children from there.

One last thing: if you’d like to get a sense of what it is like in a Ukrainian orphanage, watch this brief video.  Warning: you might want to get a tissue; it’s a little tough to watch.