We're settling into a new routine here in Kotovsk. Our days start with something simple to eat... a banana, cup of coffee, piece of bread or poppy seed kuchen and then Debbie goes down to a mini-lounge area to have some quiet time by herself,allowing Pat time to pray alone in our small room. Afterwards, we reconvene and share any insights we've gleaned from prayer and/or the Bible. We pray for our time at the orphanage and our boys back home, etc... and then Yuri, the taxi driver picks us up for our daily visit with Sasha and Olee. Our visits are different every single time... but always sweet and blessed with laughter and learning. We start with "skola" (school) and bring picture books and teach some vocabulary and practice what we learn... "stand up" and "sit down." Today we introduced... happy, sad, hug and kiss! We've played card games, done puzzles, take pictures, play hide-and-seek, done simple math equations, given gifts and smiled till our cheeks ache! We've met and filmed and photographed many of their friends and have fallen in love with two of Sasha's girlfriends... both named Tonya. Today we started praying for "forever families" for these two cuties and we were both overcome with tears and deep emotion at the thought! Life is good!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Final note to our sons - Tim I saw Olya, smile and point to your picture and giggle and say something to Sasha! Justin... all I can say is Makayla and Maggie need to scoot over! Jordan - you will never be the same! Jesse - hey buddy your gonna be a BIG brother and have a schoolmate cuz Sasha is in the 6th grade!
Thanks for all of your prayers back home! AND THANK YOU JESUS!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The name Kiev comes from a medieval legend about three brothers, Kie, Shchek and Khoriv, and their sister Lebid. By tradition they founded the city in the 5th century A.D. and in May 1982 the 1,500th anniversary of Kiev was celebrated. It was named Kiev in honor of the oldest brother, King Kie (Kyi, pronounced kiy, in Ukrainian). According to church tradition, the founding of a great city on that location had been predicted by the patron saint of Ukraine, Saint Andrew the Apostle, after he visited this land about 50 A.D. We found out that "Kiev" was the spelling used by all Ukrainian writers into the nineteenth century and by Taras Shevchenko, the greatest of Ukrainian poets and writers. (Also spelled, "Kyiv")
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I've been seeing sunflowers everywhere I go! In our first flat, we had a sunflower bedspread. Sunflowers are frequently found in their folk art. This year, before I traveled to the Ukraine, I started having a special attraction to sunflowers. It may sound funny to you... but they INSPIRE ME! Why? Well... every morning the sunflower is looking to the east, waiting for the sun to rise. It follows the sun across the sky all day long. It makes me think of the scripture in Hebrews 12 that reads..."fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." So in a very real way... I too want to be the Lord's SONflower, riveting my attention on HIM. (Of course I need lots of reminders to get my focus back on the Lord, so these constant "sunflower sightings" have been helpful!) When I found out that "sunflowers" were this nation's national flower I was thrilled!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Today we had our second appointment to look at children's files at the State Department of Adoption (SDA). They spent even more time with us then last time and let Zhenya go through several binders with us. So many children between the ages of 10 and 15 years old. Many younger children are being taken into foster homes, just like in the USA. We saw several girls that did not have any siblings and seemed very precious, but we held firm in wanting siblings. So after considerable deliberation we chose, two sisters... who recently turned 9 years and 12 years of age! We are quite sure they are small for their ages, so they'll seem and look more like 8 and 11 years old. So it was a BIG DAY. We feel like "veteran's..." veteran's in a "war" fighting to adopt two children! "Forward! Halt! Onward... Kneel & pray... Fight the good fight of Faith!"
And, all of you back home are lifting our arms and it all means alot to us both!
Good News! *There has been some news reports that the flu epidemic is lessening! Keep praying for God's mercy of healing to be poured out upon this country and that the political officials will reverse the ban and open the SDA and all the orphanages SOON! Yes and Amen! We cannot go and visit these two sisters until the ban is lifted! *Also, another praise report... Our church took up a generous collection of money to help us during this time. What a blessing because our trip is likely going to be weeks longer than anticipated. And, that is more time off without pay. SOooo, thanks to Covenant of Grace Church!
Pat is giving himself to studying the language... especially the written language. It helps as we walk about the city, the signs are starting to make more sense... since he's "cracked the code." SOooo, here's your first lesson:
Some Ukrainian consonants are the same as ours! Yeah! That's easy! For example: Our M, T and K are the same as theirs. Our "A, E, I and O" vowels are the same as theirs. BUT, they have some letters that look like our letters but "SAY" something different... their capital "B" says, "v" or "w" and their "P" says, "rrr." Plus, you have to memorize some completely new letters... like a circle with a line running thru the centor of the circle (see above) and that says, "f."
Question: Taking what you've learned so far... guess which sign reads, "Diplomat" and which one reads, "Cafe Bar??" Have fun!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Their calendar starts on Monday and the two days off per week are Thursday and Sunday.
The hot water is on the right side of the spigot and they wear their wedding bands on the right hand. I guess they're right and we're wrong!
Winter dress: Fancy coats with big fur collars and knee high boots are a FASHION must for the women. There are so many fancy boot shops it's hard to imagine they keep them all busy. The men wear lots of black or navy... and you could sum up the men's style with words such as "functional" and "simple."
Transportation: Lots of electric cable cars and cars from all over the world. Pat loves seeing so many variety of cars... Ukrainian, Russian, Czech, Romanian and lots of KIA'S! (boys... Dad got footage of a Kia Rio TAXI... front and back bumpers intact.) But, by far the most popular method of getting from point A to point B is walkin'!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The whirlwind hit into a brick wall!! Please pray with us! Please pray for us!
As you know, we traveled by train all nite last nite to meet the children. But, when we got
to Odessa the mayor had shut down the city. No schools, no national adoption, no international
adoptions. The FLU has hit the Ukraine and they are taking drastic measures! The State Dept.
of Adoption has stopped giving referrals to families seeking adoption until the threat of flu has
passed. The inspector of Odessa said, "No appointments at the orphanages!" Zhenya talked to the orphanage director and the regional supervisor. Found out that the children were in different orphanages.
We had been told they were in the same orphanage and that their health was good.
Only to find when we got there that the boy was hospitalized, and had more serious health
problems than we were lead to believe. The day before Zhenya was having great difficulty
contacting the orphanage director. (There are many good orphanages in the Ukraine but this
one seems not to be one of them. And, their files were not accurate. The 3 of us went back to our apartment and talked and talked and tried to discern what to do next. (Was this an obstacle to overcome or a door closing in front of us??)
We felt that God was blocking/stopping this particular referral. There were many blocks from many angles.
SOOOooo, where does that leave us? We are going to officially refuse that referral. We've travelled back to Kiev on bus. And, have decided to stay for another appt. next week, and look at new children's files. At that time we will see if the flu epidemic has settled at all. We need to be prepared to travel home at the end of next week... without any children. And, go back to the Ukraine to finish the process when the epidemic has settled down. We are choosing
to view this as a sovereignly closed door and that there are other children meant for us.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Today we met with Zhenya and a psychologist that works for the State Dept
of Adoption. It was surreal... a meeting we have imagined many times. The
worker did not speak english. We were shown or discussed 3 or 4 sister sets
and several brother/sister sets of siblings that were available for adoption.
But, we were most drawn to a brother/sister combination. They look sweet,
truly orphaned and they are from down in southern Ukraine, near the sea!
We will take a train ride starting tonite at 9 PM. (Sleep is overrated, right!?)
We will meet them tomorrow, if all goes well. Please pray for THEM, as they
may refuse us and that has happened before. The sister just turned 11, her
brother is 7 yrs old.
(I'm at the post office right now. Connectivity can be an issue. Can't gaurantee
how often I can update the blog. Please Pray for that as well. I love blogging
and letting you all share this adventure with us!)