What a first weekend at home! Saturday was the deadline for everyone to have clothes and shoes for church. We had secured the boys clothes and shoes, the girls had clothes but we lacked both girls’ trips to the shoe store. Shopping for things for the younger boy with the two boys together works great but it works better to shop for the other three with that child alone. It is great one-on-one together time and they get to choose what they like without the influence of the others. A win-win!
Saturday I awoke Nicole for her trip to the shoe store that morning. She enjoyed finding flip flops and dress sandals for church and we had a good time together. We returned home for three of them to accompany Barney our small farm. They love this and had a great time there that afternoon.
The CHEK Home School Conference was this weekend and Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis was the keynote speaker. His topic for the 1:00 session was Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Questions from Genesis. Alex had asked us questions about Creation vs. Evolution for many weeks and with his strong English he was ready for this so he and I attended this session. He attended an additional one on the Revolutionary War with the two sons of a dear friend while she and I shopped the vendor area. Mr. Ham’s talk was excellent, Alex enjoyed and followed it well and is reading what we purchased at the conference.
Pavlina and I went for her shoe shopping trip that afternoon and she selected sandals for church as well.
That evening we were invited to dinner at our friends, who adopted 4 children from Ukraine 10 years ago. God used them to plant this seed in our hearts. It was a wonderful evening with our kids getting acquainted and enjoying riding horses, playing soccer and cornhole.
The evening culminated at their neighbor’s with a dessert potluck and fireworks. Great fun!!
Saturday was a full, wonderful day and a late night getting to bed. Sunday morning we woke them all for church and attended our ABF class, followed by worship where we sat with our friends from the night before. Having spent 3 months+ in a nation that vividly remembers 20 short years ago when every church was an underground church in hiding it was incredible to worship freely in our church and so good to be back. The kids did well and are very cooperative and compliant.
That afternoon one of the girls was struggling and shared her feelings of not feeling a part of the family and wanting to go back. She was gentle and apologetic. Not at all angry or volatile. It is a perfectly normal response to all things new and the loss of all things familiar. Our friends in Mississippi had shared with us that a counselor told them their daughter would want to go back. It is not an affront to the parents nor any indication of their adjustment, but a very normal response in grieving the loss of everything familiar and living in a new culture with a new language. No one could expect to feel a part of a family in this short time. We were thrilled that our daughter felt free to share her feelings openly with us. That said much about trust and her confidence that we would be respectful of her.
We returned to church last night for a special worship service. It was a night of worship, mostly music. God worked it out that we followed our friends into the parking lot. 🙂 We sat with them again and following the service she suggested that we go to the prayer room for prayer for our family during this time of transition. They asked for someone to pray with this group of people and a man volunteered. We entered a small room and told him our story and he told us that he was from a very difficult home, was stealing for food, etc. and was placed in a very bad foster home at age 6. He was later moved to a Christian foster home where he came to know Jesus. We stand in awe at how God orchestrates every minute of this journey. That was a powerful reminder that He is still walking each step just as He did in Ukraine and placing people who have a passion for this journey along our path. The season of being freed from bondage as orphans is past…the freeing into salvation in Christ and becoming a family is just beginning.
We continue to cherish your prayers as we move into our first full week. Lots of things are on our list needing doing…far more than we can do. We pray for wisdom to know what needs doing most and for the courage and strength to do the next thing. Our greatest desire is to love each of these children unconditionally and with all of our hearts and that they will see Jesus in us.