Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Place to Belong

At first, I thought it was one of those annoying spam comments that end up on the blog periodically. You know, the ones that are in a foreign language and point you to some website selling t-shirts. Upon closer inspection, I saw Kristina's name and realized it was a message for her. It was a message from her best friend in the orphanage. A girl who was the closest thing to a sister Kristina has ever known. Karina's adoptive family is in Odessa to claim their daughter and they must have allowed Karina on the computer to send this message across cyberspace.

I knew Kristina would be ecstatic. She jumped up and down reading and re-reading the message on my cell phone. She wanted to get on the computer right away and post a message for Karina on the Nasekos' blog. We were due to youth group though, so I promised she could write as soon as we returned home. Holding me to my promise, she plopped down on her bed with the laptop and began to click away on the keyboard two hours later. She was so happy, I clicked a few pictures of her.

Periodically she'd look up and regale me with a memory of her time with Karina. The clicking on the keyboard became slower and the interruptions to share a memory with me became more frequent. Before I knew it, she was remembering things that made her shake as she spoke. She gripped the sides of the keyboard and her voice grew tense as she struggled to hide her feelings. In her mind's eye she was seeing old photos of her mother, the pigs her grandmother owned, and the first orphanage she lived in. Eyes downcast, she was remembering running away from the orphanage and navigating public transportation back to her father's house. She was seven years old. She was remembering the pain of feeling his anger upon finding her on his doorstep and then him escorting her back to the orphanage. He made sure she understood that the orphanage was her home. The orphanage was where she belonged.

My heart broke watching her relive these memories and share them with me afresh. Sensing my empathy to her pain, she set the computer to the side and made her way into my arms. I reminded her she would never wonder about home again. She would never question where she belonged. Her father had lost out by throwing her away. He had missed out on knowing a beautiful girl and we had been blessed to scoop her up and make her our own.

Kristina has moments where she cannot remember things from the past, even as recently as my first trip to Ukraine in 2006 where we met. She expends a great deal of energy suppressing a painful past. Tonight is the first time in six months that she has chosen to open up and talk. We don't push her to share; we know that things come when she is ready to talk. Please pray for our beautiful jewel of a child. We are so blessed to have her as part of our family.

God sets the lonely in families.
- Psalm 68:6

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mom, Look What I Can Do!!!

I blame Debbie and Tami for teaching me in the first place, but I have learned how to make my own blog headers (like the one above) and backgrounds!!! It's a good thing this is a three day weekend. Now I have time to play around and see what I can create. Robert hates the current pink layout. He thinks it looks like a 12 year old's blog. I think he's just jealous. After all, he did ask me if I could custom create one for him. I'm working on my fourth layout for Kristina's Story. He'll just have to wait!!!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Called Out

I am always fascinated by the locations that pop up daily on our blog's live traffic feed. We have visitors from all over the world! According to Jennifer, one of our adoption buddies, it's National Delurking Week. I've never done this, but I must admit I'm curious. If you're reading this, whether it's your first time stopping by or you're a regular visitor, leave me a comment. Introduce yourself or just say "hi". Did you find us through our website? Another blog? Adoption network? I'm curious to see who we're sharing blog space with!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Monday, January 05, 2009

What's Under the Porch?

When we first moved in to our rental in Mississippi, we quickly learned that the property came with a resident cat . . . and she wasn't alone. The gorgeous pale gray tabby was sweet and friendly with large black rimmed eyes. It wasn't hard to tell that she was a little large around the middle so the kids aptly dubbed her "Prego".
A few weeks after we arrived, six tiny kittens emerged from the shadows of the porch to find five surrogate "moms" in the kids. Chub Chub, Speedy, Cheetah, Jackie, Daredevil, and Minnie greeted the kids each afternoon as the school bus rumbled to a stop in front of the house. Homework was more palatable done on the floor of the porch as kittens chased each other around your shoes.
Books were easier to read when propped on the pile of kittens that clambered into your lap for a nap as soon as you sat down. We lost our beloved Jack cat when we first moved to MS, so the kittens presence has been a balm to sooth that loss. We've enjoyed having these little treats from under the porch!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I always made them in my mind, but rarely shared them. People tend to hold you to these things once you publicize them. "Hey, is that a chili dog you're eating? Weren't you going on a diet?" But maybe that's the point. Putting it out there obligates us somewhat to keeping them . . . or at least trying. So what's on my list this year?

1. More personal devotion time.
Do we all make this one? I'm determined to make it the priority it should be.

2. Specific devotion with the girls.
We're starting one of Dr. Kistler's publications John Angell Jones' Female Piety this week. I see the girls coming into their own as young women. They're at a cross roads with many issues and this book really provides the ground for conversation on modesty, godliness, and their future calling as Christian women.

3. More exercise
We have thoroughly enjoyed all the running and playing we've done over Christmas break. Unfortunately, we couldn't bring the bikes back to MS, but we did bring the football and basketball!

4.Raise orphan awareness
We've been so wrapped up in our moving experience in the last 6 months, that we haven't sought opportunities to share like we should. Our speaking engagement a few weeks back resulted in a phone call tonight. Several members would like to travel to Ukraine with us and minister to these children. Praise God.

5. Following a tighter budget
This one is a plain necessity!

6. More home cooked meals
This falls off the radar more than I'd like to admit. I think the secret is to plan ahead. I love using the crock pot. Any suggestions???

7. Writing
Yes, I'm saying I plan to blog more consistently. I really am. Really.

8.Actively seek God about adding to our family.
We're ready. We really are. Really.

I'm offically tagging:
Jen K.
Melissa E.

What's on your list this year? Even if I didn't tag you, feel free to play along; leave me a comment or shoot me an email letting me know so I can check out your blog! I promise, no comments if I see you with a chili dog in a few weeks!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Long Haul

On Friday we decided to test our ability to ride our old bike path: a 21 mile stretch. The wonderful phone Robert gave me for our anniversary has an amazing program that uses GPS to track and map our entire route, measuring miles traveled, time, elevation, calories burned etc. We just had to try it out! We started the path with high hopes, but by the time we reached the trail head roughly 3 miles from the house, we were beginning to wonder if we'd be able to endure the entire journey. Nevertheless, we pedaled on and made it to the 10.5 mile mark and our resting point before we knew it. We took a break and had a light lunch before braving our way back. The girls befriended two horses in a nearby pasture and spent some time cooing to the animals until they managed to entice one to the fence.

Our friend Ulyses met us and decided he would ride all the way back with us. Brave soul! It was perfect weather and we were able to chat and laugh on the way back. That made the going much easier. We were about a mile from the house when Kristina wiped out. She laughed it off though and was more upset about the dirt on her jeans than anything else. Such a girl!