Saturday, October 30, 2010

Getting to know the girls

As we wait for court, we visit the girls every day we can. They each are showing us more of their personalities each time we meet. They are truly great girls (not perfect, but we would love to have them as daughters if the Lord wills it.

Both girls draw, and are very good at it. The younger girl seems to like to be in motion a bit more. I have had to learn how to rough house with girls as they both seem to like to. I know how to rough around with my boys, but with girls? I think I have it mostly figured out right now (at least for now - I'm sure I have a lot more to learn). We have still been playing a lot of Go Fish and checkers, and the girls have taught us a new game using the checkers board that is a lot of fun. There is a ping-pong paddle and ball set in a local market that I think we will be buying and bring on the next visit. I don't think we can do to much damage with ping-pong balls, can we?

Both girls have been calling Sheri mama with an occasional Sheri mixed in. I have been called Hey, Dennis, James, Papa (only a few times), and we think Daddy (though it sounds like Dennis to me). I don't know where Dennis came from. I never thought of myself as a Dennis :) They are comfortable enough with us that we both get hugs at the beginning and end of the visit, and sometimes during the visit.

We are missing the boys a lot. We wish we had the ability to fly home during the waiting period, but the finances aren't there for that. We pray that court goes very well, that there are no appeals during the waiting period, and that the passports come quickly. We would love to be home by Thanksgiving.

I know that we have been comforted during this whole experience by our Father in heaven. This has been a great growing experience for both of us as we learn to trust Him fully (shouldn't we have already known that?). We want what He wants, and truly desire to bring Him glory.

We appreciate your prayers for favor with the court and all involved in the process. Pray for the documents to all be processed quickly, to include the passports. Please also pray for our boys while we are away from them. We do miss them so very much.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Court Date!!

We received our court date today! It will be in just over a week!!! This is great news. We appreciate all your prayers!

Monday, October 25, 2010

She Happened to Come

The Lord knows just what I need to read and when. As we wait on our court date, I allow the storm around us to drag me down now and then. But then:

http://www.truthforlife.org/resources/daily-devotionals/10/25/

Praise to our Lord, who cares so very much for us, though we are so undeserving.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Start of week four

This marks the fourth Sunday that we have been here, the start of our fourth week. We continue to meet with the girls for a few hours every day (as much as we are allowed) and try to come up with creative things to play.

Yesterday we played baseball, which was very interesting considering the fact that we meet with the girls in a classroom. We made sure that the ball (a hacky sack that Sheri crotched and filled with beans) went away from the breakables :).

We tossed the hacky sacks into a trash can from across the room. Sheri had her hair braided in many different ways. Funny, no one tried to braid mine :) We played some more Go Fish and Left, Right, Center, but we needed to find something else, so we wondered through a local open air market and found a 3 in 1 game board with checkers, chess, and backgammon. I think that will add a bit of a change of pace for today's visit.

We had some very delicious cabbage rolls for lunch yesterday. Sheri was not to excited about them, but they reminded me of food my Grandma used to cook. We have really only be eating one meal a day, lunch, and snacking for the others (this morning I splurged and had a banana AND an orange along with my instant coffee, which I did not find out until after I purchased was decaff.) Sheri had some instant oatmeal and chocolate milk. Dinners are generally just some bread and cracker type items (look like round pretzels, but taste a little like animal cookies) and a drink - soda, tea, or water. When we are more hungry for dinner, we have something very similar to Top Ramon. The kitchen in the apartment isn't really a kitchen. It has a sink, a fridge, and a electric pot for hot water. Nothing to cook with. I think we might try to make a salad soon - don't need to cook that.

The Lord continues to carry us. We miss our boys (not necessarily homesick, but we are missing family). It gives me a greater appreciation for missionaries who go to far off lands for years at a time to serve the Lord.

We appreciate your continued prayers as we wait for our court date. We do pray it will be very soon. Please also pray for our communication with the girls and for bonding.

God bless you all.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Such a sweet voice He has

I was very moved by this devotional today. I was greatly strengthened by the Lord when I read it. It is a reminder that His love for us, and His intimate knowledge of each and every one of us, goes beyond anything we can imagine. He knows our desires, for He put them there. As long as we focus on Him, seeking Him first, we shall not sink into the troubled water. When we do take our focus off of the Lord, and look at the trouble around us, we sink, only to be brought up by the strong, loving hand of our Saviour.

http://www.truthforlife.org/resources/daily-devotionals/10/21/

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 18 (or so)

We received the needed document for the referral this past Friday. We then traveled by overnight train to the region of the girls orphanage. We met them Monday and have since spent time with them everyday. We are able to see them for 2 hours a day during the week, and 3 hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

I must tell you that these girls are beautiful and very sweet. If the Lord will allow it, we would be very happy to have these girls be our daughters. They are quickly stealing our hearts. Their smiles are very warming, and the occasional hug keeps us going.

We will continue to visit them everyday that we are able, and wait as patiently as we can for word of when our court date might be. There are several mountains to move. I will tell you now, that if we end up with a court date soon, it is truly the hand of God, and He and He alone would be worthy of the praise. It is our prayer that the court date comes quickly, that we will have favor will all those involved in the decision, and that all the steps that come after receiving (Lord willing) the final court papers would move swiftly and smoothly.

We are missing our boys a lot. We talked on the phone last night with four of them. Our youngest was talking so well. He has grown up so much even in these short weeks. It is hard to miss his growth. I so much would like to play catch with my boys, or maybe just an impromptu wrestling match :) Though, as I get older, I'm not sure how well I will continue to withstand the onslaught of 6 boys! I hold my own so far, but the teenagers give me a run for my money. I think they hold back so as not to embarrass their Dad ;)

I love the food here. We have so far had no major problems with anything we have eaten, nor with any of the water. We do have some water bottles with built in filters, so that could be helping :) The area we are in the water is, well, lets just say when I make a cup of tea there is an extra "film" that quickly covers the top of the tea. Not sure what it is. We have been buying bottled water and maybe will try to look for something like a water pitcher with a filter (like a Brita).

Sheri has been crocheting all sorts of things. She made a camera case, face scrubber (works great), scarfs (2), hats (7), and several friendship bracelets for the girls. She is very talented and I am proud of her.

Sheri has managed to teach me Yahtzee. Let me tell you, that was no small task :) I am not to much a game player, though I love the family interaction that happens when we play games. We have been playing Go Fish and the dice game Left, Right, Center with the girls. It is lots of fun and maybe, just maybe, I will finally learn numbers in another language.

My heart goes out to N and S. We will always wonder how they are doing, and pray that they will come to know the Lord. They will always have places in our hearts.

We make our plans, but we know the Lord will direct our steps.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

second appointment

We got a call from our facilitator this morning as we were about to head out to a mall. We quickly changed clothes and went out to wait for the taxi to take us to the SDA. When we arrived we found out that it was nothing short of a miracle that we were able to have an appoinment today. Most other couples were getting their 2nd appointments scheduled for the 26th of October or even one month later. We thank you all for your prayers and we give all the glory to God who is sovereign over all things, even 2nd appointments at the SDA in Ukraine. We were shown two sibling sets of two girls. It was a very hard decision. One set had some errrors in the file that could cause some complications with paperwork. They also have siblings still here in Ukraine. We felt the Lord leading us to the other set of girls who have no siblings left here. They have younger siblings who have been adopted already. We hope to find where they went to. We are waitng in a coffee shop now. We have been blessed to meet another family from the Sacramento area and are chatting with them. Thank you God for fellow believers, and especially those who speak english!

We give praise to our Mighty God, the great I AM!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Waiting for the next referral

After an overnight bus ride back to Kiev, and a trip to a notary, documents have been submitted explaining that that N and S rejected us for adoption, and requesting a new referral. Sheri and I still believe we were led to adopt two girls. We will have to wait and see what the Lord has for us. Please pray for a quick second referral and that the region we would be going to would not be a hard one to work with. Adoption is certainly a spiritual battle. The war is raging behind the scenes. Please also pray that we would remain strong in the Lord and be sensitive to His will.

We miss our boys.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Untitled

On Thursday we saw the girls. They were not sure they want us to adopt them. Because of the expense of the drive and of the apartment rental, and the need to not be away from our boys and my work to long, we needed a for sure answer from them as soon as possible. They knew us, we knew them, and they just needed to decide.

On Friday morning we drove back over to the orphanage. Our facilitator went to speak with the girls. They said no, they did not want to be adopted by us. We were heart broken. We were sitting in the car waiting when our facilitator came back to tell us what they said. He also stated that we were to come back at 2:30pm to talk in person with the girls to make sure that they still did not want us to adopt them.

We went back at 2:30pm. After much talking, it came out that they were (or at least N was) worried about what their mother thought. They felt guilty for leaving her. They said if we spoke with their mom and she said it was ok for them to be adopted by us, they wanted to go with us. They answer yes enthusiastically three times in a row – it just depended on what their mother said.

Saturday morning we drove to the city were the girl’s mom lives. It took a long time to find the building she lives in. The car got stuck in a very large pothole (it is raining here right now and the driver could not see how deep the hole was – it was deep). I thought we were going to have to get out and push, but the card finally came lurching out of the hole and we drove on.

We found the building, got out of the car and met their mother outside the building. I could clearly see features from both N and S’s face. We also met one of their older sisters, and an older brother. Our facilitator talked at length with their mother. After many phones calls with N (she has a cell right now), the mother decided that she was going to leave it up to the girls. What ever they decided was ok with her. She wanted to make sure she would still be able to talk to them and get letters to them. She cried, and hugged us many times.

We drove off believing that we were adopting N and S, because the girls had told us if their mom is ok with it, then yes, they want to go with us. So we went to market to stock up a little on some food for the apartment thinking that we would be here for a few weeks.

But as we were driving back from the market, N called and said she did not want to go. She had called again and asked if we would come see her tomorrow. She wanted to see the picture of her mom we had taken. Our facilitator told her that we would probably not come (given their decision). N called again and told the facilitator that we are never to come back, and to get rid of her phone number and pictures. We love these girls, but as it stands now we will travel to Kiev for another referral, which will extend our stay here. Please keep praying for God's peace to fill us as we wait on Him.

My trust is in the Lord, not in men (or girls), or horses, or chariots, or anything else in this temporal world of ours. I trust that the Lord has called us to be here, and He has a plan only for our good. Perhaps what is good for us is to gain a new perspective on this life, to increase our love for our boys (we really, really miss them – we have never been away this long before and the journey has only begun), or maybe he has other children already picked out for us somewhere here in Eastern Europe.

Please do not think we are giving up on the girls, we love them so very very much. The only option is to leave them here. It breaks my heart to leave them here, but we will not bribe them, coerce them, or force them in any way. It is their decision to make. To be honest I am crying as I type this. It feels like I have just lost two children. But for God…He is the Great I AM! If He desires, for His own good pleasure for us to adopt a child(ren), then He will open the doors we are to go through, and close the ones we are not to walk through.

Praise to my God, for He alone is Holy. He alone is worthy of honor and praise, and He Alone can comfort this hurting heart.

Devotional http://www.truthforlife.org/resources/daily-devotionals/10/7/

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 5ish

We saw the girls Thursday, though only for a short time. We had a few minutes with N in the morning, saw her again out in the yard along with S prior to a 3pm meeting with them, and then only had about an hour. We could use all of your prayers. The are not sure they want us to adopt them. There's more to the story than that, but that is what I can share here for now.

We really need to know by tomorrow afternoon what they want so that we can decide how to proceed. God is in control, I know.

The Lord gave me a good nights sleep, and I woke up to His word, and then to worship music. This song played on my MP3 player:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g14QP6R1iAY


That is truly where I am at. I want all my plans to be broken, and to be fully obedient to His plans and will. I walked in the morning dew with my Lord while listening to that song.

I was then further reminded of who is in charge when I read this devotional that I received in my email: http://www.truthforlife.org/resources/daily-devotionals/10/7/

All I can say is that we serve a mighty and holy God, and that I want to serve Him for eternity.

We will return to the orphanage today. As I understand it, we will only be allowed one more hour. Please cover this situation in prayer. As I stated earlier, it has been strongly suggested that in the interest of time, the girls make a decision today.

For the first few days when we were in Kiev, we did not buy a lot of food as we did not think we could keep things cold that needed to stay cold on the trip to the region where we are now. We at out a few times, but other than that we ate our "emergency" food that we brought. Oatmeal, beef jerky, bread, almonds, and craisens. All in all we did not go hungry. Now that we are in region, we have started purchasing basic food items such as potatoes, onions, snickers bars :) , and oil to cook with. We will continue to buy little things here and there so that we can cook real meals in the apartment.

Whe did finally get to a little restaurant near the orphanage and had some real Ukrainian food. It was SO good. Our friends had made some Ukrainian dishes for us while the girls were at the house in April and I fell in love with it. We really need to learn how to cook like that.

Not to give you whiplash, but changing subjects here (sorry, this is my brain without coffee - actually, it is not much better with it ;) ). I was listening to a sermon the other day and the pastor was speaking about the Gospel (like he should have), and said something that turned on a light for me. He was talking about the criminal who hung on a cross next to Jesus, the one that Jesus told would be with Him in paradise. I don't remember the exact words, but it was something like, when asked why that man should get in to heaven, he would answer, "That man, that was hanging on the middle cross, said I could." Oh my, does the Gospel get any simpler than that? We complicate things so much these days. We speak in our own Christian language, and expect the lost to understand what we are saying. Brothers and sisters the Gospel is a deep mystery, and yet it is so simple. We are allowed into our Father's holy presence, because His Son said we could. He called, we answered (only because He gave us the desire and ability to), and on Christ and His word we stand, welcomed into the presence of the Father. i am not sure though that I will do much standing.




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 3

We had several friends who had trouble getting in, so I decided to make the blog public again. We will just be less "flowery" with the posts.

We had our SDA appointment today. It went well and we will pick up the required paperwork tomorrow afternoon and then travel to the region where the orphanage is. We are very excited to see the girls, and are missing our boys a lot. We just spoke with the boys via Skype. Our 7 year old asked if we were done yet. No dear, not yet. Our 3 year old would not talk. He gets shy now and then so I pray that is all it is.

We have gone window shopping and been to the market a few times to get some basic food. What an adventure. Is it mayonnaise or some other white sort of spread? um, is that pudding, yogurt or cheese? We are really not buying much in the way of food right now as we don't have a way to keep it cold on the trip to region. I look forward to finding a restaurant with some good Ukrainian food that we can afford. I very much enjoyed the food that our friends made for us while the girls were visiting and would like to have more :) We also look forward to making some of the delicious meals that we have seen other families make while here.

I knew I had not learned enough Russian before we came, but now I wonder if I learned anything at all. When the cashier at the market asked if I wanted bad (without pointing at it) I had no clue. It was not until she grabbed one to show me that I finally understood what she was asking. Maybe someday I will learn enough to actually be able to communicate intelligently.

I am still amazed that the Lord has chosen us to do this for Him.

Please keep us in your prayers. Specifically, we would like prayer for favor with the inspector, judge, director, really for anyone we come in contact with :) Pray that we our wise with our food purchases and such so that we do not run out of money before we run out of month :)

God bless you all.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

We made it.

Sorry for the long delay in posting - it was a crazy last few weeks. We had a great trip here with only a few delays that were almost totally made up for in the air. I made sure to sleep on the long leg so I hope that will help to avoid any jet lag. Sheri did not really sleep at all, so I am sure she will sleep really well tonight.

By the way, I highly recommend the VIP service when you fly in. It is well worth the money to have someone meet you in customs with a sign that has your name and then take you by the hand to get everything done and get you out of the airport.

Leaving the boys was hard. Not as hard as when we put the girls on the plane in April, but it was still hard. I suppose that is because we know the boys are all in good hands, and that Lord willing, we will see them again very soon :)

There are so many interesting things to look at on the drive from the airport. So many buildings with so much history and character (the drivers have a lot of character too, but that is a post all by itself ;)

The Lord continues to show me He is in control, and I will really need to keep that in mind during this whole process. He has opened my eyes more to who He is - I wish I could get it all down in words. I will sum it up this way: He created it all, and He holds it all together, and what He calls me to do is for His glory, not for mine.

I so much look forward to seeing the girls soon. I have no idea how they will react when they see us. Will they run up and hug us. Will they shy away? Will they cry? We should be prepared for anything.

I wanted to bring glory to God for an amazing thing He did recently. A fundraiser was done for a precious little girl who desperately needs a loving family on a blog we follow (http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/). After the request for funds was posted, this little girls grant fund went from around $400 to $20,000 in five days! That puts me on my knees in worship right there.

Our SDA appointment Tuesday. We appreciate all your prayers. Pray for favor will all the people we come in contact with, and that we would be able to show them Christ's love.