Friday, December 11, 2009

Tears of Joy... Tears of Sorrow

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven; a time to breakdown, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh." - Ecclisiastes 3

We have laughed with the girls playing basketball and acting out action verbs like... jump, run, walk, catch and throw. One day we made a flutaphone and Pat's hat into makeshift "bat" and "ball." We took turns pitching, catching and hitting. Olya took a turn pitching to Papa and Pat started making the silliest faces and wiggling his butt at "homeplate" while taking practice swings with his flutish bat. Olya started laughing SO hard she literally fell on her pint-sized butt!

Then there have been times of tears...tears in Kiev and tears in Kotovsk. Together we have wept while praying, talking and reading out loud. We were both moved to tears while visiting the Monument of Hunger. There were tears of JOY, the day we finally got to meet Sasha and Olya! (Debbie remembers asking her roommates, back when she was single, to pray for her, because she never cried. She wanted to feel things more deeply and be stirred to the point of tears. God heard that prayer back in 1984 and must have said to Himself... it's only a matter of time!) God definitely seems to be softening our hearts and increasing His compassion within us. Our most recent "waterfall" experience was in the office of Ludmilla, the Executive Director of the orphanage. As she told us the story of our daughters early years... a story laced with gross neglect and rejection we were deeply saddened. (In an attempt to honor our daughters privacy, we are withholding certain details of their history.) But, honestly this new knowledge has already been helpful to deepen our desire to serve as Mama & Papa and strenghthen our commitment to see them thru the tougher stuff of life.

Today we took the girls, with Zhenya and went shoe/boot shopping! Oh my... (that committment I just mentioned...? already tested!) they were overwhelmed by all the choices... they wanted toys and hair clips and Sasha wanted black shiny high heels and when we went to eat, they ate and ate! On our way back to the hotel, they wanted to stop for candy and chips. While in our hotel, they split a banana, ate a big cookie and had TWO BOWLS OF CEREAL! (The good news is that they seem to love bread and cereal...just like their brothers back home! We keep asking ourselves, "Where could they possibly put that much food?" Zhenya said this is completely normal, that orphans tend to hoard food.) So back to the shoe shopping. We had to set limits and price shop... Sasha and Olya's first introduction to Papa and Mama's version of "generousity within the budget."

After this somewhat exhausing shopping trip and lunch venture we headed back to the hotel and Zhenya was off to work on the birth certificate issues. Debbie built some great memories curling the girls hair for the first time. And, then something WONDERFUL and UNUSUAL happened... Sasha decided that she wanted to clean and straighten our hotel room. Wait a minute... as Debbie pinches herself and asks Pat, "Did you ask her to clean?" Pat said, "No!" Debbie asked again, "Did you command or suggest that she clean up?" "Double negative," Pat replied. Then the angel choir started singing the Halleluia Chorus as Mama watched her beloved daugher make her bed, fluff pillows, wash dishes and CLEAN ALL THREE SHELVES, and straighten each nicknack and napkin! (Babushka Holley soak this in... Auntie Beth stop your toothy grinning and give me a "high five!" Ha!)