Friday, February 15, 2008

02/14/2008 10:30pm Kramatorsk

Today was a nice day. A few weird twists and some fun stuff too. The weirdest sight we’ve seen yet since arriving in Ukraine, including seeing the back end of a dog (tail attached) for sale on the street side, we saw today.
On our way home from our morning visit with the kids we walked almost all the way to our apartment without anything unusual. But two doors down from our apartment building there was a small crowd gathered. In front of each building entrance there are two park benches. This specific entry the benches had no backs. On the park bench that we could see as we approached there was a board with a nice covering like a lacy tablecloth or something. It had flowers in a pretty vase and a little statue-like thing. A little unusual, but nothing all that disturbing. Then the group of people was gathered between the benches so we didn’t see the other park bench until passing a portion of the group. On the other park bench was another board much like the first with a cloth draped over it except on this one lay a dead body. Yes, a human being. The person was covered up to the chin with a blanket-like covering that was pretty. There was a pillow under the head. And no color whatsoever in the face. There is no question in my mind that this person was deceased. How’s that for something you don’t expect to run across on a park bench two doors down on your way home for lunch?
I think we’ve had enough weird circumstances while here in Ukraine to seriously write a book. Know what it would be called? “We didn’t sign up for this”. It would be a very good book too, I’d like you to know. Not because I wrote it (obviously- you’ve been reading my blog so you must realize by now that it wouldn’t sell!!) but because it would show the power of God in such a real way. That’s what I want to tell. And seriously, we didn’t sign up for this. We signed up for 2 weeks in Ukraine with another trip for 5 days. We signed up for a 5 yr old. One, a girl, that was walking and healthy. We signed up for a debt that would be paid off in about three years. We signed up for a very different experience.
But the greatest thing is, that this trip- all of it, seriously- has shown us time and time again that it’s not about us. And not only that, it’s shown us that what we THINK is best for us is so far from the truth. What God has is better.
Would we, 6 months ago, have signed up to come to Ukraine for 4-8 weeks? No. Would we have volunteered to come for a 5 yr old immobile child that needs major reconstructive open heart surgery immediately? No. Would we have come for two immobile children which will bring our count at home up to three immobile little ones, knowing that I have only 2 hands? No. Would we have volunteered to go meet two children that could never be ours and have to walk away from them both? No. Would we have known that God had a bigger plan for our lives? No. Would we have been blessed as incredibly with fingerprints of God’s goodness and grace in our lives? No. Would we have found the children that God had for our family? No. Would we have arrived late enough to get the blessing of a little boy that’s not been released for adoption very long? No. Would we have arrived early enough to keep a little girl from being transferred to Torez? No. Would we have had the financial blessings that He’s poured out on us in the midst of all of the turmoil? No. Would we have turned to Him in grief, fear, and uncertainty and heard His calm and quiet answers? No. There’s so much we didn’t sign up for, and there’s so much we would have missed out on!
Ok, done with that. Today we walked to an open air market as well and bought a few outfits for each of the kids. Another day soon we’ll get them some snowsuits when those shops are open. It was snowing today so there weren’t very many open. One of the other families that is here, Dave and Beverly, thought that they’d be bringing home someone a little smaller than their sweet Lillia, so they had an outfit that they’ve given us for Emma along with a bib and some formula. So today Mike and I went out with the intention of ending the day with 2 full outfits for each child (one to wear one to wash ). We did really well!
We bought another outer layer for Emma- a cute FUZZY outfit with pink pants and a white top. It has a little vest and hood that is really cute. We also bought a one-piece pajama with feet that is similar to those that we have in the US that are a thick t-shirt material to go under the other two outfits or to wear to sleep in.
We also found a thinner outfit for Micah to go under the other outfits or for sleeping and 2 outer layers. Both of his outer layers are one-piece sleeper type outfits. One is blue and fuzzy with dogs on it and a little had to match. The other is a white shirt and soft overalls that button closed. Both are very sweet!
One of the things I was disappointed about a little while back was that I wasn’t finding any really cute clothes for little ones anywhere and I didn’t want to have to bring the kids home wearing clothes that weren’t cute. I know it’s petty and stupid, but I wanted to be able to dress the kids up in sweet adorable clothes (for the first time- sorry, but most of the clothes they wear include drawstrings that come up and tie behind their neck over top of their t-shirts and it’s just not that cute!). I wasn’t finding anything. Not unless I went to somewhere that sold only name brand clothes and they were $15-25 per outfit! So I was ecstatic to find this little shop at the open market that had adorable little kid’s clothes. Our two new little ones will go home looking sweet and adorable regardless of their clothes but I’m so happy that I found ones that will help them look their best!
Oh yeah, and this morning one of the kids’ caretakers told us that Emma really likes the mobile and when they wind it up for her she watches it really carefully! Did I post that I bought mobiles for the kids’ cribs? Anyway, last night they put them in their beds and today commented on her watching. Micah- not so much- but Emma likes it. So I asked them how many other little ones they have in this area. They had no idea what I was talking about. I broke out the Russian-English dictionary and got “many” and “children” and a few hand gestures. They told me how old my kids are. Hmm… not working. So finally I found “how much” and children. I don’t think that was what I was going for! They looked at me like I was nuts. I think when I asked “how much” (skolka) they thought I meant MONEY! Anyway, I never did find out how many kids there are, but I was able to ask if I could give them 3 more mobiles as a gift for the other children and they said “da” (yes) and “spacibo” (thank you). So we bought three more mobiles at the open market and they were very happy to put them in the other babies’ cribs tonight!
I’m not sure what else they really need at the orphanage, and I know that a portion of our adoption money will be given as a gift to the orphanage, but at the very least we’re trying to fill a few of the needs that we see can change the way a little one spends their days. Blank walls or a mobile—hopefully that will make a difference! I was so happy to hear that the caretakers had wound it up to sing for Emma. They really do love those kids!


  1. Not sure if I missed this or not..but did they let you start feeding her more? Your court date is for the 18th? I can't wait for you to be home!!!

  2. AMEN.. what a wonderful path the Lord has directed you on!!! Memories you will have FOREVER!
    (some pretty funny and strange ones toooo).

  3. 3.5 weeks is a bit long to court but with a double second set of referals, you are doing pretty good! Monday the children will be legally yours forever and you will be just waiting out the final details, and will be home with those kiddos in just over 2 weeks! The light is appearing at the end of the tunnel!

  4. So, maybe you missed that really small fine print God added to the bottom of your adoption plan....but you have persevered and looked for Him each step of the way and that obedience is what He is rewarding you for with these 2 special blessings. Your story is definantly one worth sharing and I'm so glad that we've been lucky enough to follow along. We're still praying for your family!

  5. You must feel blessed to be invited to a "viewing" for your neighbor's deceased loved one...So glad God has helped you keep your sense of humor. We love your blog and are praying for your continued journey. For God so loved your little ones that he sent YOU to Ukraine to bring them home...(John 3:16 paraphrased) God Bless!

  6. Wow, Meredith. It is so mind-boggling to see the hand of God in the many details of your lives. And you know he hasn't just called you to this, he will walk every step of it with you. Faithful is He who has called you, who will also bring it to pass. My love and prayers are with you guys.