That is us…blessed beyond measure. We cannot tell you the joy of being with these four kids. They laugh, do silly things, stay positive and joyful even when we’ve worn them out and endure some tough emotional stuff as we move through this process toward home.
We had not intended to return to their orphanage but Nicole had to go the passport office for her original passport in her former name to be destroyed so we all returned at 9 am today. In Ukraine everyone receives a passport at age 16. That is their official identification. Their passport is required to do any kind of buying and selling or other official business. We were told this would take an hour…it took 6. But, it was a beautiful day and we enjoyed our last sit on the benches bordering the playground and a final round of volleyball with these precious kids, Anastasia, Anatoly and Natasha.
We arrived here 10 weeks ago today…amazing. In some ways, and on some days, it has felt like a lifetime but today it felt like a very short time ago we began to be introduced to these precious smiling faces who peered at us around corners. And today, they hugged us as they hugged our kids and told us how sad they were that we were all leaving. A piece of our hearts will remain at Prolisky as long as these friends of our children remain there.
Amazingly there were words of congratulations and thanks but not one tear. Not one…our kids seemed to enjoy the time there as guests…it was so obvious that it was different for them to return today and they marched out that gate with us with big smiles and headed to the bus stop for the journey home one last time.
We made a stop at Amstore to gather food for the train tomorrow night and then on home to prepare dinner. I am amazed at how these kids work together and love being a team in the kitchen. We will do all possible to never let that fade. They all jump in and prepare the meal and do all the clean-up and they have a great time doing it together. They each have their favorite part and do it well.
We laid out the plan for tomorrow and shared it with them over dessert. We will have a sleep-late morning in anticipation of a less than full night’s rest on the train. We will be finding everything we have moved into this apartment over the past 10 weeks and packing suitcases very carefully to have several that will not be needed next week and keep the repacking in Kyiv to a minimum. We have food to prepare for the 12 hour train trip along with the meals for the day so it will be a busy day.
We will leave at 6 pm in the DCU van for the train station with our friend, Nurlan, along to translate for us and get us on the correct train. Our train departs at 7:26 pm and arrives in Kiev at 7:30 am on Sunday morning. We hope to attend church with our friend on Sunday morning a few hours after we arrive. We’ll see what condition we are all in then!!
Thank you for journeying with us through this long and tedious nearly 13 weeks. It has been a life-changing journey and an awesome faith walk. We are still beyond amazed that we have FOUR kids we love beyond words sleeping on the other side of the wall each night. And the most indescribable thing is that it is as if it has always been and they have always been ours. Adoption is a phenomenal miracle. They are in no way strangers but our children…indescribable. As always, God prevailed and we are awed by His goodness in sending these four precious children to be ours. We pray for wisdom in the coming days, weeks and months as every breath we take is about loving them to Jesus and showing them the love of the family they’ve never known. My mother’s heart and instinct wants to hold and love on them as I would have if God had allowed them to be born to me but we give them lots of space and reach out but allow them to respond as they are comfortable. We are intentional about showing affection to them openly and often and they all respond with it in abundance. It gets sweeter by the day.
Our friends, Eric and Beth Yodis, American missionaries, came by tonight to bring a couple of books to share with us and brought journals for each of the children.
Eric talked with them in Russian and encouraged them to write in their journals the things they do not understand or find difficult. Then to go back in 3 months and reread those entries and see how they now understood those things. He talked to them about Jesus and prayed with us as a family. We are so grateful for so many who have come along side us and shared Jesus with us all and been the anchor we needed to endure the storm. Eric and Beth hosted Barney and I in their home for dinner the night after we returned from Kiev with Alex’s referral. It was such a tender time and it was incredible to share the story of God’s timing in his adoption. We are still awed by the story and share it every chance we get to give glory to God and how He is so intricately involved in every detail of our lives.
Our next post will be from Kyiv, one step closer to home. We cherish your prayers as we say goodbye to so many dear friends at DCU that we love dearly, for traveling mercies and for a sweet bonding time together as a family in Kyiv. We love you all and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.