Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Official

3/29 A new day in history! Today we gained 3 more beautiful children, all at the same time. Praise the Lord, for He is Awesome. Headed into Kiev at 12:00 and stopped at the mall for lunch with the kids. They tried sushi! Gabriella liked it, and the boys said so-so. Then while the guys were exchanging money, the girls did some serious bonding while window shoppping. Actually, we have alot of the same tastes. Good stuff. Then over to the court early. Once there, a tall attractive lady comes over to Gayla, and introduces herself. I tell Gayla to tell her she has a great jacket, and then Gayla turns to me with a smile and says she speaks very well English. ok then. Turns out she is the prosecuter. Good thing I really did like her jacket right? We are ushered immediately into the small court room. The prosecuter comes in, the secretary, the shloozba lady, the director at the Ark, Gayla, and the 5 of us. The kids are asked to wait outside and the judge, a very attractive young, underline young, lady enters with 2 jurors. One is a young female and the other, well lets just say he was an older gentleman with a not so happy look on his face. The judge goes thru all the formalities of our names, addresses, dob, jobs, etc. After 20 min. of this, she looks at Steve and wants to know how you met these kids and why do you want to adopt them. I stand with him and answer some questions. Now this whole time, the older gentleman is practically shaking his head at us. I think I may have heard him growl too. Then the question of homeschooling comes. I take this one, and explain how and why we do this in America. Then just to solidify it, I mention the public schools are not so good. The man then replies, in perfect English might I add, I send my son to public school in New York. great. So an hour more of questions like how can you afford it, manage 6, and do your kids want them, we begin to wrap things up by hearing from all the other people in the room. They each stand up and say it is in the best interest of the kids that they be adopted. All except the judge and jury at this point. Oh, the man also asked if we homeschool due to our religious beliefs, and what kind of church do we go to. Looks like he read the file too.  Anywho, they then bring in the kids and ask them each indivdually if they like us, like America, what kind of food did they eat, do they like the food better in Ukraine or America, what do they call us and much more then I can remember right now. They answered all respectfully and seemed to even make them smile at the same time. Then the judge and jurors leave to discuss their verdict. The prosecuter and I converse, and she has a few more questions for me, but compliments too. She mentioned how the kids already look like us. We speak easily now, and she tells me not to worry they are for sure yours. Enter the judge and gang, and they officially read the verdict. Yes, the court recognizes and grants you full and sole custody of Gabriella, Nicolas and Marcus. Congratulations!

Volleyball vs. Paner Ball

3/28/11 After our 2 square meals, homework and computer time, and 4 haircuts later, we went outside to play some ball. Very fun. The kids wanted to play paner ball (?) and a few of us volleyball, so we compromised and played both. Actually the paner ball game is very fun. Nicolas is some player. He rushed in almost every time to save the ball. Nice to see him in action. Then 8:00 and my suitcase arrives - yah! Rushed upstairs and brushed my teeth. Good feeling. More tomorrow...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

They're Back

3/27/11 After 3 decent flights and a good sushi dinner in Detroit, we are greeted by our lovely daughter Gabriella and our close friend Barbara. Except for the sad fact that MY suitcase, carrying almost all the kids shoes and clothes bought for them by all the saints, was left in Amsterdam. It was not checked thru all the way to Kiev. Prayerfully, it will be delivered here tomorrow and the contents can be handed it. The weather is sunny and about 36. We arrived at 5:00pm and after a quick bite at McDonalds, we make it to the Ark. (Btw they even have good multigrain buns here.) Nicolas and Marcus had been waiting outside and came rushing to us as we pulled in.  So nice to back! After hugs and hello's, we had a heart to heart talk with Anya, their guardian and caregiver that has been here with them the longest. God totally used her to establish trust and an example of what family is supposed to look like. We are very thankful she has begun to fuse together some of their brokeness and rejections. It's the forerunners again Theo! I took notes on all her memories and will treasure it. It's neat how you can have a connection with an almost perfect stranger thousands of miles away from home. We are tied together forever in this process God calls us to.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Step Out

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What are we doing, Church? Maybe the questions we should be asking are what AREN’T we doing and WHY aren’t we doing it? I know we have heard the adoption speech so many times, but maybe that’s the problem. We’ve approached this topic with too much of a familiar attitude and we assume that someone else is taking care of it since we’ve heard it so many times.

In John 15:13-14, Jesus lays out a command to us:
“Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
I am beginning to think that we don’t have a grid for the reality of what will happen when abortion is made illegal in this nation. 4,000 babies are aborted every day in this nation. Where will they go when Roe v. Wade is overturned? The ending of abortion in the U.S. leaves 28,000 babies A WEEK who will need to be matched with families. We cannot pray the life prayer and not consider that God may be asking us to be the answer to our prayers. That day has to come to an end. RIGHT NOW. Seeing the end of abortion in this nation is going to take laying down our lives for the sake of another. It’s going to take us getting out of our comfort zones, giving of our finances, and trusting that God’s leadership is perfect even when taking a child into our home doesn’t make sense to our co-workers, friends, family, or fellow church members.
Lou Engle states in the opening scene of the documentary Justice Waiting:
“When you have set your face to go after God, He will disturb your peace. And if you’re willing to follow Him, the voice will come and the voice will mess up your materialistic dreams, the security of your home. He will send you on circuitous paths that you don’t understand; people will not understand you. You’ll have to make decisions to leave the familiar to go to a land that is totally unknown. But if you take the risk, you’ll find that God is on the other side of that still small voice telling you to step out into the world of crazy.”
Too many of us are relying on the wad of cash that we place in the offering plate passed around at church for the cause of adoption, thinking that we have fulfilled our duty of looking after orphans (James 1:27), and not enough of us are considering taking the road of “crazy” and filling out the paperwork for a home study. The cash is good, don’t get me wrong, but there is so much more that we can do!
In this nation, it is considered crazy to adopt a child when you already have four of your own. Who am I kidding? Having four kids will get you strange looks nowadays. Refusing to be given over to the idea of retirement and adopting or fostering a child (or children) at the age of 50 looks crazy. Taking in women that you don’t know into your home because they have no place to go since their family has rejected them due to their pregnancy looks noble, but still can be considered a little crazy since they’re a girl you met outside of a Planned Parenthood one day while doing side walk counseling.
It was never meant to be the responsibility of the homosexual community, the Muslim community, or the social justice community to save the orphan. It is the calling of the Church to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters, even the smallest of them. 1 John 3:17-18 states this heavy truth:
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth.”
Clean out the spare bedroom that you really don’t use anyway and open up the doors to your home for one mother or one child. Cut off the cable TV and forfeit the daily purchase of a latte in order to save some money to feed an extra mouth at the dinner table. Squash the lie that says the wait for having a child placed in your home will be too long. The wait WILL be long if you’re waiting for that perfect child with the perfect hair, eye color and the gender you desire. In reality, if you’re really about embracing the Father’s heart for the orphan, you will welcome a child in regardless of those things. And for the men reading this, we need you. So many of you are willing to wait in the freezing cold for Super Bowl tickets that cost hundreds of dollars, paint your face and belly the color of your favorite team, and tell the whole world about your team winning the big game, but when challenged with speaking up for the ones in the womb, it’s too crazy and controversial. Stand up, men! We need you to be the protectors that God created you to be. Read Malachi 4:6 and go from there.
Let’s stop putting so much stock into temporal, materialistic things that, as we saw this week with the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, can be swept away in an instant. Store up treasures in heaven by putting aside what you think are the dreams and desires of your heart and cloth yourself with the dream of the Father’s heart. He longs to save these children, and He wants us to be the instrument in His hand to do so.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thankgoodness For Skype

3/9/11 We fortunetly get to Skype with our kids. It's fun to see them and hear their voices. After a few minutes of checking in, our kids here promptly grab the notebook and start chatting away and walking them thru the house and even outside. They built a fort out back so they couldnt wait to show it to them. They are very excited to have them as siblings. Heidi usually mentions it daily. She cant wait to have a big sister. Although she has also asked if I can still have a baby. She wants to hold a new baby, all the time. But I'm not sure I could handle 7 kids! She'll have to settle with her baby dolls. Looking forward to going back to Ukraine. And surprised that I am looking foward to it. Seeing our kids again, and the generally slower pace. Wish Jane was there this time though. But thankfully Barbara, Debby and Gayla will be company. (And Nikka.) Please continue to pray for finances and most of all a smooth and speedy court hearing. The judge said all our paperwork is in order; so thats good. Just cant wait start life together!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Torn Between 2 Worlds

3/5/11 (SS) Well we're back in the states after a long hop, skip,and a leap over the pond. Strange... these times we live in, you can be in Ukraine, a world away at 9:00am in snow and cold, then get on a plane and by midnight your'e in another part of the world. Almost surreal. Anyway, we are home, and its nice to be back. Caroline and I are so, so thankful for all who helped take care of our three while we were away. You all put in some much of your time and hearts to help. Our three had such a hoilday, I feel they almost were dissapointed that we were home. I believe they sensed that school would be starting again. Many thank you's go out to all of you for your prayers, time and the love you shared. I must say that my heart was touched when we got home early Monday morning (1:00). The house was just he way Caroline loved to walk into it after a time away. Hats off to Angela, Rori and Lisa, well done.

So onto the news. Ukraine gov. appears to be trying to correct it's misguided ways, but we had figured our dates based on an earlier protocol. It seems that they have advanced to a computer system, choosing the Judge and court dates. We estimated that our court date would be end of Feb, but the Judge had informed us that she would not hear this case till end of March ( 29th ). That of course has changed our plan. Up until this little glitch, the process was moving uninterupted. Caroline and I were not going to stay another month waiting and she was home sick for our three in Florida. So, we made the decision to come back and work for the month, then return for the court date.
After the court date the children would be ours. There is a 10 day waiting time for the paper work to be processed. Caroline will come home directly after the court date, I will stay another 3 weeks to finish all the other doc's that have to be obtained.
That takes us to this: We need your help once more to raise 4200.00 for all the airfare tickets that will have to be changed. We both have missed alot of work time and are presently hussling to generate some cash flow to store away for the time I will be gone again. Please help us out by donating on the Help page on our blog site via Paypal, or give directly. Any and all help is appreciated and needed.
I get up around ­5-6 am to spend time with Pax (our dog) out in the front yard playing catch with her ball. This morning while out front, as the clouds were rolling away and the sun was peeking thru, I was brushed with the Spirit as I saw our new three home in this house. They had woken up early to be with their Poppy with hugs and appreciation for rescuing them and now starting to restore their hearts back to the Father. Such a joy rushed thru my soul.What a fine day it will be when they come home. . . Thank you my Lord, for your word and your promises are true. For His glory.