We spent the afternoon with our children yesterday saying goodbye to a brother and sister being adopted to Minnesota who left Prolisky to join their new family. It has been a joy to walk this journey with them. The tears flowed freely as they said goodbye but the huge smiles and hope on their faces as they walked through that gate into their new life was beyond words. We love you Alex, Katia, Rene’ and Brian!!
We have the plan for the coming week and shared it with our children. Our ten day wait is completed on Monday and we will be going to the notary (attorney) for the petition for their passports that morning. The court decree will come by Tuesday and then we get their new birth certificates, tax ID #s, and apply for their new passports. We will have one of them staying with us each day this week beginning on Monday evening to get some one-on-one time together.
We will leave Donetsk by train on Saturday night, June 11, for a 12 hour trip to Kiev. We will be in an apartment in Kiev until their passports are received, medical exams are done and we have had two US Embassy appointments for their visas. Our return date home is still uncertain but likely will be June 15-17.
We learned that most of the children in the orphanage are leaving for summer camp early Wednesday morning. We definitely wanted to include everyone in the older children’s groups in their goodbye party so scheduled it for Monday afternoon. It will feature a menu of fruit smoothies, ham and cheese sandwiches, cakes homemade by our missionary friend, Jim Parlow, and fruit juice. We had a great time going to the market with the kids yesterday afternoon to get all the supplies we could buy ahead. Strawberries are in season in Donetsk and the outdoor market is heavenly with the aroma of the fresh picked berries.
Last night our DCU friends, Karina and Alec gave their night to helping us get two full second class compartments (4 tickets per compartment) of train tickets for our trip to Kiev. What a precious gift of their time to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. It is an incredibly humbling experience to be in a place where you cannot do things for yourself that are so basic. We cannot navigate a website that is exclusively in Russian, get to the train station or talk to the attendant to order these tickets. We are totally dependent on others’ kindness…and it is the most precious place to be. It keeps us mindful that our sense of control in our environment at home is as equally dependent on Christ’s love and care for us. Thank you dear friends for going way beyond the extra mile to do this for us. You have shown Christ to us in so many ways and we are so thankful for you!!
We left this morning at 5:45 for our “visa renewal” trip to Rome. God has been so gracious to give us incredibly beautiful weather this entire trip and today was no exception. Our flight went well and our hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, is wonderful. Very quiet and so comfortable. We ventured out on the subway to a nearby mall, enjoyed pizza for dinner and gathered food for breakfast and lunch for the coming two days. As the day progressed we realized how totally exhausted we are. Rest and downtime are the main priorities of this trip before the whirlwind of the coming two weeks. We hope to travel into the city to see a few sights tomorrow before our return trip to Kiev and Donetsk on Sunday.
Thank you for your prayers and for “following us around” as my dear friend Cindy said in the comments. We are so thankful for your company on the journey. We are awed by the intensity and passion of this experience. It has been emotionally and physically draining. But we are so blessed and thankful to God for choosing us to be the parents of these precious young people. We pray without ceasing that we will do this well and finish strong. We cherish your prayers as we transition into being a family at home in the US.
While our experience here has definitely had its challenges, being home and finding our new normal will as well. But, we have no doubt, not one, that these four children are the children God has been preparing for our family for many years and we cannot wait until we are together and there are no more daily goodbyes and walks away from them and out that gate. What a sweet day that will be. It will be a tearful day as this has been their loving home for 8-11 years and the ties and relationships run very deep. They have been so blessed to be in this special place and we are forever grateful to the dear ladies who make it a wonderful home for them. But, we are counting the hours and minutes until we are all together and they are a part of our family; co-heirs, sons and daughters, loved beyond what they can imagine both by us and by the God who knew them before He formed them in their mother’s womb.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” Jeremiah 1:5