I've been thinking back over the weekend's events and reflecting on the fact that something's missing. Robert graduated from seminary on Friday night and it was the perfect opportunity for a family photo. Even though no one blinked and everyone's zippers are in the full and upright position, I still take issue with this photo. She's not in it. Its hardly a family photo when a family member is missing. I printed a copy to send to Kristina along with pics of our biking adventure and Joshua's soccer playoffs; all events she should be present at. I can't wait until that voice in the back of my head ceases to announce every time she misses out on something our family experiences. Soon, very soon!
We are waiting on our I-171. That's it. Last piece of paper in this paper trail. Is it okay to pray for speedy mail delivery? Heck, I'm doing it anyway.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty . . - I Corinthians 1:27
I have said from the beginning that this experience was about more than one little girl. It would be enough if it was for her, but its about so much more. Our family, our friends, our faith, everything has been changed. I have seen God move in the hearts of many and mountains move as a result. Our journey is far from over and some would say the real work still lies ahead, but God is moving. Its a foolish joy that we have standing even in the midst of such odds. God is using a little girl, a little family, and our little faith to impact His kingdom. We're honored to be his vessels.
Thank you to those who have already prayed over the requests we published last night. We got our answer to one of them a few minutes ago. A call came informing us that the children in Kristina's orphanage would not be allowed to travel this summer larely due to the political situation. As always, we know there are no guarantees in this process. Although I am saddened by the news, I am confident that God's timing is in place and there is a reason that she shouldn't travel at this point. I am becoming more and more comfortable with acknowledging that I am in control of none of this. Thank you all for praying and please continue to lift the other requests up. Your prayers have brought us so far in this journey.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. - Lamentations 3:24
I received not one but two letters from Kristina today. How good it is to "hear" her voice through her letters. A family adopting from her orphanage sent me a few snapshots of her last week. She looks different than the child we sent back last August. She looks like the girl who walked off the plane and into our arms last June, emaciated and timid.
When we were preparing for her arrival last June, I resisted buying things until I knew what she would be bringing. Instead I chose one set of pajamas to get her through her first night. I remember laying the new nightgown on Hannah's bed a few days before Kristina's arrival. It continuously caught my eye as I passed the room. I wondered if she would like it, if it would fit her. Yesterday the same nightgown caught my eye in the store. It was a different color, but it was the same one. I walked past the rack wondering what size she would wear now, and then remembering the photos, backtracked and picked up one in the same size.
In discussing the logistics of finishing paperwork and waiting for an appointment that (best case scenario) may be late summer, but more likely will be fall, the possibility of hosting her again the summer has presented itself. The hosting fees will set us back a little in the adoption finances, but seeing the pictures confirms that it is the right decision. Three months of good nutrition, a safe environment, and loving people far outweighs the $2500 price tag. With an unstable political climate brewing in Ukraine, there are no guarantees. We must act on what opportunities present themselves. With that in mind, we have several specific prayer requests:
Pray the adoption system in Ukraine will weather the current political unrest and that families will continue to be allowed to go and seek these lost children
Pray that our paperwork will be complete and without error when it is submitted to Ukraine.
Pray for a travel appointment that fits into God's plan for our family
Pray for the final stretch of adoption finances
Pray that Kristina will be allowed to travel and spend the summer with us
I was in Ukraine a year ago today, taking in the new sights, smells, sounds. Adjusting nervously and excitedly to a foreign place. Little children pulled on my jacket and pleaded with me, "Mama! Click, click?" I obliged and took all the pictures I could, trying to capture everything lest I forget some piece of the world I was experiencing. As if I needed evidence of these beautiful creatures I was seeing, I tried to photograph each precious face to prove to others that they actually existed. I was standing outside the only McDonald's in the city watching a group of orphans enjoy hamburgers, darting from table to table giggling with each other in a rare outing, when she crossed my path. I was trying to be the photographer that is there but unnoticed. Staying off to the side quietly clicking frames of candid moments between the children, I saw only what was passing in front of my lens. In a flash, a blur of pink passed in front of me and then returned. I looked up from the camera to see a child step back and pause to smile at me. She stood still and I understood it to mean she wanted to be photographed. I obligingly took her picture and she scampered back to her friends. I didn't think anything of it at the time.
Throughout the rest of the week there she was, always in my path. I arrived two weeks after Kristina's 11th birthday last year. One day I will ask her if she wished for a family on that birthday. Did she dare to have a conversation with God and ask for the impossible? Even if she never spoke these words, He had a special gift for her. This was my first glimpse of the girl that would become my daughter, but God had known her from the foundation of the world and had chosen her for us.