Sunday, December 29, 2013


Waiting isn't easy. It is actually harder than I ever imagined, sometimes, at night, there is such a weight in my chest that I feel physical pain across my shoulders, back, and chest. The stress of the last 4 weeks has been more than I believe I have ever experienced. 

Tomorrow we will try one last time to get our papers in to be filed before the holiday starts here. If we miss tomorrow, or there is another problem with a paper, we will have to re-evaluate our plan.... And I don't even want to think about what options will have to be on the table as far as our timeline. 

So far everyone that needs to help us tomorrow has said they would be willing to help, and that is apparently a big deal. Sometimes around the holidays, some people just kinda start to shut down and not want to deal with it until after... So, we hope. We pray. We try to relax and enjoy moments of peace and fun with our family complete. It's really pretty crazy.... Josiah and Lydia even sleep better when Lena is with us! 

Tonight, after church, we ate some quick dinner, and then got on the metro to head home. We were on the metro with another adoptive mom who is staying in the house with us, her daughter, and the couple that we live with... Who are the pastors of the church. 

I was walking out of the metro towards their car and Josiah was holding the hands of the pastor and his wife, walking between them...  I was holding Lydia, and Lena was laughing with the other adopted girl.... It was a moment that i could just sit back and watch. 

The only word that came to my mind was "blessed." 

In the middle of a country straining under the pressure of finding middle ground... In the middle of a nightmare of paperwork in an adoption process... With language and being complicated at best... We are staying in a home with people that feel like family... Who love on my kids... And my kids love them... 

We are blessed. 

Our relationship with Lena is progressing very well. We love her so much.... She responds to us very well, both in the fun moments, and in the moments of correction. She already takes care of Josiah and Lydia..... And also drives them crazy like a big sister should do. They do their share of frustrating her too when they wake her up in the mornings..... I sit back and smile :) 

We are blessed. 

We had a Christmas party here his weekend with other adoptive families... We had chocolate chip cookies, salads, chips and drinks, just like we would have had in the US.... The kids played (some on their electronics) we took photos in front of the Christmas tree... Just like you guys have been doing over the last month. 

We are blessed. 

We chose Lena's court dress today, and we went to buy her shoes to go with it tonight. She didn't pick anything like I would have chosen..... But isn't that typical for a teenager? :) (shoes have some awesome prices here! We got some fun ankle boots for her for about $8!!) 

I am blessed. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Worth it.

Looking at this blank page. 

Thoughts running over about the events going on in our process right now and what happened today.

Not sure how to even start. 

We are here. Indefinitely delayed. Beyond our control. Motives being questioned.

The country is in turmoil. As is my heart.

My daughter is waiting. So am I. 

Our family at home is celebrating. 

It just turned midnight. It is officially Christmas Eve. Doesn't feel like it.

We gave some gifts to kids tonight. 

To hear a 16 year old exclaim that her world was spinning because of a golden locket necklace.... Overwhelming.

To see two boys looking at their new watches like it was the only thing they ever wanted.

To hug the sweet girl that got a necklace, and smell the perfume being enjoyed by the 15 year old. 

To watch my own kids love on and be loved on by those who need love.

To observe my future daughter open a small doll and exclaim "klahs" ..... Meaning "cool!" Like it was one of the best gifts she has ever received.

It is more than I have words for. 

The tears flowed tonight. For many reasons. Awe. Fear. Amazement. Frustration. Beauty. Agony. 

Love. Tears flowed because of love. 

Do you have extra? 




I know some kids who need you. A precious boy, dear to my heart.... Who took Josiah in his arms to help him with a video game, and then later brought out his own remote controlled car.... Undoubtedly a prized possession.... None of them have many things of their own.... He Carefully Put the controller into the clumsy hands of a 3 year old, And patiently taught Josiah how to drive it.

A sweet girl that put extra bows and clips in Lydia's hair and carried her around calling her "Julia" all night. I didn't have the heart to tell her that was my name..... Lydia responded to her every time. Did she know? 

The kids that are at the orphanage that don't live in the flat with Lena.... We couldn't give them all gifts. there are just so many. 

They have names. Faces. Stories. Hearts. Lives. Hopes. Dreams. Passion. Excitements. Fears. 

What they don't have is one.thing.


Oh, some have parents living. But either unable or unwilling or unfit to keep them. 

I have intentionally tried to dance around the sob stories that would be an emotional effort to guilt people into adoption. No one should ever adopt for guilt. Or for rescue. Or for a cute story. For none of those things will help you even get through the process, much less then complication of the other side of the legal work. 

What will get you through is love. And ironically. That is what they need. 

It is not easy. As several have told us from the beginning. This is going to be complicated. And it is. But it is worth it. The hugs. The smiles. The love. It is worth it. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A weekend..... The waiting....

What a weekend. 

We are in the midst of some crazy delays that don't belong on a blog, but suffice it to say that the world around us is spinning and likely will cause us to have to wait until January for court, and that in itself has felt like a 400lb weight on my shoulders for about 72 hours now. 


We got to spend the weekend with Lena...... We picked her up Friday night after filling out appropriate paperwork, and got to cook dinner together, go to the mall Saturday, eat meals, carry kids, ride metros and buses, go to church, play wii, listen to music, watch movies...etc. Etc. What an awesome weekend as a family of five... Well. Six with Samantha. 

Speaking of Samantha, she has seriously been awesome. My kids love her. She loves my kids. Without her we would have been dragging them around town for all these meetings and trying to have sensible conversations through translators these days..... It would be 100times more stressful! Thank you Samantha! Now, if I could only convince her to stay longer :) hehehe...... 

Tonight at church, as we sat together... Knowing Lena didn't understand it all, but listening to the children's group do their Christmas program, singing songs, and listening to the sermon, I was absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude for the things God has done for us. I'm definitely not saying I haven't questioned him in our delays. My whole mile walk to the grocery store today was a carefully worded argument with God..... But tonight, my heart was filled with worship.... (Hearing the little girl playing Mary tell her co-actors to "come worship, now!" Helped also) my heart was grateful.... 

for the time with my family all together for the longest time since we started this adventure.... For you, the supporters and prayer warriors of this trust walk... For Ronnie, the one I lean on when this gets tough.... For Lena, who trusts us more than I can imagine.... For Josiah and Lydia, who love their new sister and really don't understand why she isn't with us all the time yet.... For Samantha.... For the home we are able to stay in with people who love God and minister to families fighting to love a child.... For the orphanage that Lena has been in, that this wasn't her first time in church, as they go every week!.... For the unbelievable amount of peace that we have, even while it feels like this Ukrainian world is spinning uncontrollably at times..... For Skype and FaceTime that allow us to connect with home at the moments it seems most necessary, and for Lena's first conversations with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins..... 

This journey has forced us to be in positions, both positive and negative, where we have absolutely no control. I can't take any credit for everything God has done here..... Nor can I do anything about the things that are causing us delays.... We are here for a reason.... We walk through the streets of revolution.... Sometimes wishing we could be a part of what we pray will be a good turning point for a beautiful country, praying that the country see Christ through this somehow..... Also, maybe selfishly, praying that the adoption process is never used as a tool for a power struggle. 

We go to appointments, praying as we walk in that the hearts are softened and papers are in order. We know that the peace we feel, especially in the evening, is because you are praying for us. I sometimes just pray that God will put us on someone's mind, because we don't know what else to pray for ourselves..... 

We listen to Josiah sing about Joshua and Jericho, we discuss Gideon, shadrach, meshach, abednego, and Daniel. We hold to promises of never leaving and never forsaking. We remember that God is  the one who places orphans in families. 

We sleep again, to wake up again, to go to another meeting, pray another desperate prayer, and try to make to next Friday having accomplished something more so that we are closer to bringing our girl home! 

Thank you..... Your prayers are holding us up. Every. Day. 

Please don't stop! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

SDA emotions.

I want to try to capture my emotions from today as compared to last Wednesday.

As I stood in the hallway Wednesday, December 4,  waiting, I felt like I was going to throw up. I was already a nervous wreck walking in. The truth is, the information they gave us didn't really shock me. You see, in my two pregnancy losses, I knew before I saw the doctor each time, that there was a problem. Now, in this adoption, I knew there was a problem. It's a mom thing, I guess. The knowing something is wrong with your kid before you officially know that something is wrong. That whole meeting is still a blur of emotions to me and I realized today that I have no memory of walking back down those stairs on Wednesday. The only memory I have of leaving that office was after we got further down the street and Our facilitator asked what we wanted to do next. My thought was that i wanted to cry..... I didn't want to be seen. But we had some stuff to give to some friends who are also here adopting, so, I realized I had to pull myself together so I could be presentable to people. There is a picture of us after lunch that day.... While I was trying to hide my anger, fear, frustration, etc., it is still quite evident in that photo that I was ready to beat someone. 

I realized today, while standing in that same hallway, waiting, that I didn't have that sick feeling. There was peace. I know it was because so many of you were praying. It was even evident to our facilitator who looked at me intently as we walked in and said "Julia, you look in better spirits today than when we waited last week." It was true. I felt better. I stood there, looking at the same map of Ukraine that I had stared at for about 30 minutes last week, but this week, I actually noted where Moldova, Belarus, Poland and Russia are in relation to Ukraine. I saw cities on the map that had just blurred 5 days earlier. I noticed the river running through the country and noted the Cyrillic spellings of landmarks. We talked about politics, about the current events in the city, we talked about a taxi to get home and the pizza we had eaten. We stood quietly waiting for a while (the couple in front of us had been late arriving and took a long time, so our 2:45 appointment turned into a 3:30 meeting) 

We still don't know why we needed to wait 5 days for this meeting. We may never know. The political situation here is definitely not improved over last Wednesday. I'm not sure how that will end. That is not the point. The point is that we know Christ is still on the throne. We know that he raises up kings. We know that he defends the fatherless and sets them in homes. We know that He has us here now for a reason. 

Your prayers are still much needed as we begin yet another paper chase tomorrow..... 

Our orphanage director told Lena tonight that he meeting went well and she was excited. It is still amazing to me that our countdown now can more accurately be measured in weeks instead of months..... 

Just as other info, we walked out of the meeting into a massive amount of snow falling! It was so beautiful! I had noted earlier that the city was pretty, but after the weight was gone, it was even more striking! With snow falling everywhere! And people walking quickly! Like a storybook. 

We walked about four blocks to a "tram" that rides down the mountain to the city. I couldn't get a picture due to there being rules around here about not taking people's pictures without permission..... And people being EVERYWHERE! With the chaos going on around here, I didn't want to risk getting yelled at, or worse....  It was kinda built like the big trams that ride down the mountains in gatlinburg, but it didn't go up in the air, it stayed on a track on the ground.... But went straight down the steep hill... Connected to both the train track and to a wire above the tram. As we started moving, I noticed that in the distance the snow was falling so hard that I could not see past about 100 yards away....the snow storm was where we were headed and It was a giant gray wall..... Like the end of the world:) about that time our facilitator noted to Ronnie that this tram was built over 100 years ago. So, we were going down a steep hill in a snow storm towards the end of the earth on a 100 year old tram.... But with the next necessary approval in our process fresh in my mind.,,, it was awesome! 

We got in a taxi and headed out of town to our home. I couldn't tell you if there were many protestors today mainly because I wasn't looking for them.... But also because I couldn't have seen that far away if I had wanted to. :) 

Keep praying for us, for her and for this country! There are definitely things that we miss from home, but we all have a list of things we love here too! (The food is awesome! Both traditional foods they cook, and the produce at the store.... It's real food!)