Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Me Vs. The Squatty Potty Adventures

This Ukraine trip I actually almost got all the way through this trip without using the “Squatty Potty”.  Me and the squatty potties never work out our differences.  One of our favorite things to do in the Zap region was go ice skating. At an older age I managed to get off the side walls and make use of my feet, ankles and legs muscles with cycling and running to actually do something other then hang onto the wall, fall or take a poor innocent person down with me.  So now I actually have my own hockey skates and can have some fun.  So the other night when we had Sergiy and Sasha we took them to the ice skating rink.  It was late at night and I had planned to bring the boys back the next day so I gathered I would save my energy for the next day to skate with them knowing my chances of not falling were slim to none.  So Oksana and I chilled out in the little cafeteria room and drank some coffee.  Well what comes in must come out.  So I go to use the room and I walk into this single stall and all I can think is “Oh no….the squatty potty”.  I just stood there staring at it for a good solid minute then looked down at my layers of clothes and jackets and made a plan of attack how to juggle the jacket, the sweatshirt, the 2 thermal shirts, the jeans, the running thermal pants, the belt, the purse, the hat on my head when everytime I look down it covers my eyes and I cannot see.  Holy crapola.  So I attempted this maneover with success at least so I thought.  I did my business and now I tried to get up.  My legs were pretty much stuck in the squatty position from my pants being tight around my calves with all the layers and as I prepared to lift myself for take off position the floor was so wet from all the ice skaters using the bathroom my boots could not grip.  Both feet went out from underneath me and both me feet hit the sidewalls.  Thank heavens for small stalls.  I braced and prepared mentally for my butt to be in the squatty potty!  Again thank heavens for sidewalls.  Once my boots hit the sidewalls I just stayed squatting and again the thought process went through my mind “how do I not fall in the potty”.  I look down and my belt it literally an inch from being in the bowl where everyones business goes.  Oh my……….so I said a little prayer and tucked my belt into my pants branced my hands on the wall and prayed I could stand.  LOL!  Oh how I love walls!  Mission complete. 

So the following day skating with the kids once again me verse the squatty potty.  This time mentally I was prepared I knew what I had to do and could at least have a better shot of success.  This time I had hockey skates on so I had to have a plan to slide more or hope for the best I would slide less.  The hockey skates were my advantage this time.  By golly I had grip.  It was the most successful squatty potty adventure I have had yet! 

Then the grand final’e.  Ya know I cannot leave Ukraine without a funny sense of humor from my Lord and Savior.  I gather ok heading back to America no more squatty potties…..WRONG!  We get to the Donesk airport hauling all our suitcases and it was a 3 hour drive and I had been holding it since about 30 minutes after we left.  With the idea of having to go so bad any sign at that point looked like a women to me on the door.  Didn’t think twice and yes you guessed I went into the mens bathroom.  I walk in pass the sinks…..pass urenals……straight to the stalls.  Yes it registered those were urenals.  But then again I was think ok in parts of Franch maybe Europe folks have those Bidet thingies so  ya know ladies could want to freshen up.  So I get into my tight little clean stall and look down….”Oh know, not again”.  I have not choice it is me and the squatty potty and I got 2.5 hours of holding it.  So as I am doing my business I hear a cough….that was a deep cough.  Oh know…..then I listen and I hear yes someone doing a number two.  Ok that could be a guy or girl.  Can’t gauge off of a person pooping.  Then I here footsteps and a luggage going by….I don’t hear heels.  Every women in Ukraine wears heels whether it be boots or just plain heels.  Then I hear footsetps coming back in…no freaking heels.  Then I hear another clearing of the throat.  Crap I am in the MEN’S bathroom.  OK Nicole do what you do and don’t look back, pray no one sees you.  What until it sounds empty in the bathroom, pass the now what you know is urenals and don’t look anyone in the eye like you normally do.  For goodness sakes you have handiwipes and have used them your hole trip so don’t even wash your hands just exit calm and smoothly like you intentionally went in there.  Goodness this is the 3rd time I have done this in my life by accident.  I got it under control.  So I wait to hear for a clearing.  I can hear what sounded like a man exiting and what sounded like a man finishing.  I waited for the hand dryer to stop drying the dudes hands and bolted out of the stall.  Of course as I was walking out here comes a staff worker at the airport in his fluorescent vest walking in.  I just smiled, held the door open for him and did not look back and kept on walking and then reached for my handiwipes!  I love handiwipes!  So at this point we are waiting for our flight and I know I am nearing the squatty potty time frame once again this time I will give myself enough time to make sure I enter the womens bathroom.  Oh boy! 

Note:  Went into correct bathroom and I will say this.  This bathroom although had proper toilets and seats the BOYS bathroom is MUCH cleaner!  Ladies we need to kick it up a couple knotches!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I do not expect anyone reading this to understand fully.  It is easy to snivel, complain, put down and even insult when you looking into ones life and the decisions they have made without walking in their shoes. 

For those of you that have been following our blog you may have felt called to pray for Sergiy, or us or even fault us, how can you give up this child.....  Not sure but the fact remains we know we did everything possible in our capabilities and skills to bring this young man home. 

Sergiy in his mind wanted family as every child does but the idea of the the effort it takes to be in one was far greater then what he wanted to commit to.  His absolute awesome commitment to his friends outweighed his desire for a family.  He reached out to friends right before we left saying he wanted us to come for him and he was sorry.  We talked to his teachers that have been nothing short of gracious and awesome to help him and us and they vouched he said was ready.  We went back to the school to go get him and our time, love and effort was still not enough for him. 

So I can write this as we prepare to head home to America knowing in my heart that we fought the good fight and loved this kid with our sleeves up and on our knees and we still will but afar for his future.  I called him my boomerang because he would leave and come back and leave and come back.  I so wish it could go differently.  Although in my heart I have peace and a clear conscience it still does not take away the pain.  I still have no idea why the Lord brought me here and we went through all this but I will wipe the dust and dirt off and get back up again and count each and every blessing he has given me on this trip.  I praise the Lord that our marriage stayed strong and steady during this roller coaster ride.   I praise the Lord that Joe was willing to not walk away and try one more time with Sergiy so we could leave again knowing we did all we could.  I praise the Lord for our awesome translator Oksana that has been on this ride with us and has fought alongside us.  She is incredible.  I praise God for all the awesome prayer warriors we had and have.  I praise the Lord for our absolutely amazing son Kolya at home.  We only appreciate him all the more and the young man that he is and will become.   I praise the Lord for all the awesome families I have met along the way.  Sergiy is loved far more then he will ever realize.  I praise the Lord for the air I breath.  I praise the Lord for all the awesome kids I met interviewing for New Horizons For Children.  Every single new child I interviewed I would take into the program.  They are each worth fighting for to give them a chance of hope, a future and family.  If anything this trip will only make me fight harder for the ones I know told me straight to my face I want little guy Maxim.  He looked me in the eyes and said I want out, I want a family.  The directors told me every day he comes to them and asks them if a family has come for him.  I asked him what were his 3 wishes....A family...America and a family in America.  The directors told me that they jokingly tell him that they already have a ticket purchased for him on stand-by.  They know he is ready to go.  During the interview he started to cry.  I gotta fight for Maxim and the other ones that told me they are ready for family.  They are all worth fighting for and giving them a chance of love, Christ and hope. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

YES He Is Coming Home!

Court is Monday at 10AM.  I will write soon!  Praise the Lord were bringing him home!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Saved by Grace but Greatly Fallen......

Where to begin....
When I sit here trying to figure out how to write this I drawl a blank with the sorrow I feel.  I actually think of our skateboarding ministries name FallenbutSaved.  We are greatly fallen right now but we are saved by Gods grace.  With that grace I am trusting in the Lord that he knows best even if it is and was not the outcome we had hoped for.  We knew before we came here to Ukraine for Sergiy we may very well not be returning with him.  But it was worth the gamble to us to come for him.  We new he was loyal as a lion to his friends which is a rare thing to find that worked for him to survive and worked against him to let a family into his life.  His family is the kids at his school, it is the only family he has known and you cannot fault him for that.  It has carried him all these years.

When we sat in the office after our arrival after he had been longing for us to come and he sat there not able to give us a "Yes" to come but he needed more time.  I knew right then he was not ready for this.  It has been a tug a war match since we arrived.  So many things have been thrown at us and Sergiy it is a blessing were all still standing at this point.  As mentioned before many are very personal things so I cannot go into detail for our respect for this young man and our family.  We all took each hit and tried to fight and stay up but the long and short of it was we could not let and we would not push for Sergiy to come home if it was not in his heart to be with us.  If we did we knew it would come back to bite us and he truly would not have his heart in this and he would not be happy.  So it became clear we needed to let go.  This has been like a death to me as I go through waves of emotions and grieving.  I can't even imagine how torn Sergiy is, he has never known family except through his friends.  Yesterday I found myself on the floor of a public bathroom in tears praying for God to give me peace and clarity in all this.  To see what he is trying to teach me, show me in all of this pain.  (thankfully it was a very clean bathroom and it even had a toilet and toilet seat!) Again I may never see or know why God put this young man on my heart and called us to host and prepare to adopt him, but he did.  I do not question it nor do I waiver in what I know God called us to do but I have to trust in him and not question God either but to just have faith that he is sovereign and has his reason in which I may not see now and I very well could not ever see.  I had a post a couple weeks back basically being questioned or informed that it is a bit reckless to come over here for Sergiy while still needing some funds for this trip.  And that we should have an emergency fund and yada yada.....I will say this, the Lord provided the funds at the very last minute as I trusted and knew he would.  If that lady were to ask me now knowing what I know now would I still gamble and come here for Sergiy knowing the outcome.  The answer is "Yes".  He was worth the gamble to come here in hopes to bring him home.

I ask that you continue to pray for Sergiy first and foremost.  Thankfully he knows his heavenly father but none of us can imagine what his thoughts and heart must be feeling.  I know he is torn as we are.  The idea of leaving his friends behind shattered him to the core.  Loyal as a Lion. 

Joe and I will be meeting with Pastor John this afternoon in hopes to develop a plan for him to work with the children in Sergiys orphanage to help prepare them for adoption and their families coming and the emotional journey they will go on in hopes to avoid what what we did.  To give these kids hope until their families come after hosting in hopes they do not fall into negative ways or habits or develop unhealthy relationships.  So basically they can have a spiritual counselor to guide them and keep them afloat and encourage them to hang in there. To teach them about trusting others.  To teach them English and prepare them for the America.  From the time Sergiy started to bond with us which was the last 2 days of hosting that bond was not strong enough for him by the time we came 4 weeks later to hang onto what we had.  The negative influences got to him.  He fell easily back into the crowd and distant from us.  So we want to avoid that in any possible way if we can for any other families.  So our prayer is that Pastor John will be allowed with the school's permission to start working with these soon to be adopted kids and they would be willing to let John speak into their lives and help them along the way to never give up hope.

The plan...we will be here until Friday to do New Horizon For Children interviews in a couple boarding schools then head back home to America.  I know I need to finish what I started and see this through.

In you, LORD my God, I put my trust.  -Psalm 25:1    


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Catching Up!

Hello All,

Again I cannot thank you all for all you many prayers that are felt daily.  I ask that you please keep them coming.  I cannot go into details but so many things have been thrown at us like curve balls and we are all under attack daily but the one thing remains, God is good and he is sovereign and he wants us to fight to become a family.  Our battle gear is on and each of us are ready to fight knowing God is our protection and armor.  Satan will stop at nothing and he has made it clear and for this I have found my prayer to God daily has gone to another depth to bring me closer to him. 

So we ask for your continued prayer for our boy and family.  We are blessed to have him with us for the weekend and we are so enjoying having his smiling face around, hearing his laughs and jokes and his girly scream. 

Joe's work was awesome and they have allowed him to work another week here so in hopes we can get our court date next week.  That is another prayer request that we will have our court next week so we can all get home.  We are all ready to be home.  Soon as I have the date I will let you all know! (:

Again thank you, thank you thank you for all your prayers and support!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Up Hill In The Snow For 5 Miles......

New Hope Ministry Team at Internet

Mummifying the kiddos!

Checkers competitions.  Yes that is my bandit boy on the end.

Joe & Sasha playing checkers

Awesome to see him smile!

Marko Polo on land!

More checkers......

The ladies getting their nails done!

Sergiy and Sasha playing a round

Sergiy and Papa...

Mom found her favorite squirrel at the mall!!!  Love this guy from Ice Age!

Frozen Dewberrys
Ok the joke you hear your parents say....I use to have to walk 5 miles up hill in the snow, through the trees....etc.  Well that was us today!

This morning we got to spend some time with some wonderful people from New Hope that is an outreach program here locally for the timing out kids and a month ago started working with the Vil'y 9th and 10th graders.  A good amount us packed out the centers van like a bunch of sardines and headed to the school this morning.  Today was a beautiful snow all day.  Not as cold today with the light snow all day.  Today Sergiy was a little more quiet and distant then yesterday.  We know this will go in waves so not anything abnormal.  I still hugged him non the less.  I could see he was tired.  He said he did not sleep last night.  I know he has a lot on his mind.  It was cool to watch the mission team in action.  The ladies painted the girls nails.  They brought in the 9th and 10th grade kiddos.  Then the boys learned to play strategy checkers by a competitive player.  Then also they toilet papered each other into mummies, played a mafia game and a type of marko polo game.  Then the lunch bell rang and the kids were gone before you could blink.  Not a one told the team thank you...they just bolted.  Then all the sudden one girl ran back in and came around and said thank you and hugged everyone.  That was awesome.  Then there was this little girl.....oh my goodness you just wanted to shove her in your suitcase.  She was a doll and after all the big kids left she came over and started to play checkers with some of the mission team.  She is 10 years old and has two brothers.  She is a real peach.  Oh my goodness.  The staff at the school once again was nothing short of kind to us and the mission team and VERY welcoming to them coming back to do more work with the kids.  It was great to take witness too.

Sergiy our kiddo was one of the heard of cattle that ran out without a word of anything.  They just ran like a bunch of Forrest Gumps!  LOL!  So Joe and I looked at each other and said OK, then let's join the team and head out.  We have no clue the school schedule and we don't know where Sergiy is at mentally with the adoption he has much to thank about and let's put the ball in his court for us to leave and he comes out from lunch and where not there.  Will he miss us or will he not?  Let's give him that to thank about should he come out and expect to see us sitting there.  Reverse physiology.  Sergiy is a very smart boy.  He is the type you only need to say something once and he will not forget.  He's a thinking man.  So we left with the team.  So we head out and we were told as a joke we are going to walk 5 miles in the snow through the woods.  Well.......the joke became reality!  One bus stop got passed because we missed the street to turn on when walking.  Then we got to another one that we thought was where one was and that was not the case.  So we ended up walking in the snow for about 2 miles looking for the bus stop.  So I got the real feel of Ukraine snow and cold.  Couldn't feel my lip, head, toes or hands.  It got hard to talk which is a good thing for me!  LOL!  Thank goodness I had my new handi dandi Ukraine scarf so I wrapped that sucker around my neck so I looked like I was being choked out by a Boa Constrictor.  LOL!  So we finally get to a train stop, go over the bridge and then wait for the bus.  We had good conversation,making jokes, talking about serving with the kiddos and I watched this dog board to death in a yard try to start eating the wood fencing.   Bus comes we hope on and get into the town of Zap, go to grab a bite to eat at this VERY good buffet cafe.  Killer Americano coffee!  We defrost so we can start to feel our limps!  We had a couple coffee and the second time I went back for a coffee this sweet girl handed me the coffee and looked me in the eye and said "God bless you" in English.  BLEW MY MIND.  I said thank you then walked to the cashier to pay.  Turned back around over to her and leaned over and said "God bless you too".  That really stuck with me.  No matter the outcome of this trip God wanted us here.  It just gave me a shot of joy to hear those words especially when you rarely hear them in our own country in the US.  So then Joe and I pocked around and found a killer knife store.  We bought the boys both their first pocket knives.  Mama found a couple two.  I am still working on Joe to let me get one.  I told him common I could be asking for diamonds and clothes but I ask for guns and knives.  You got a good deal right?  He just laughs at me.  I don't get it?  (:  So we pocked around in this cool mall and so far I have not found anything warm enough for my head that I brought from home.  So I got me a Ukrainian Beret and it is killer.  Thank goodness I got it because we found ourselves doing the whole repeat of 5 miles up hill in the snow and now add the dark!  Right before we left we needed to change currency and this adorable young lady was walking down the stairs and smiled really big and me and waved.  I smiled and waved back and thought she has got the wrong woman, I have not a clue who this girl was.  She then looked at me and pointed at the cafe.  I though the poo kid lost her marbles.  But it was me.  I stood there trying to figure it out then it dawned on me she was the girl from the cafe that said "God Bless You".  Joe and I went back to the cafe and she was heading home from work and we went in to get another coffee and say "Hi" to her.  She saw us and said "Americano".  I smiled and yes, thank you.  She talked to us a little bit and I took off my cross necklace I made before we went to adopt Kolya that was Ukraine colors and gave it to her.  She was very excited and I think I was more excited for her just knowing she is a ray of sunshine right when I needed it.  How awesome God is in his divine timing.  Before she left she found Joe and I am came and told us about herself and that she sings in the church choir.  She asked if I sang and I told her I break windows.  Her name was Lydia and she was so precious.  So we look forward and hope to see her more.  The food was very gooooooood to!!!!

We leave the mall in the dark and OOPS we head the wrong way home for about a miles and a half.  I told Joe ya know this just does not look right and it is dark and kinda creepy.  Everyone we asked did not even seem to know the "Billa" market we were talking about.  Finally this sweet older gal pointed us in the direction and turns out completely wrong and LONG way back.  So we high tailed it back knowing we had to keep moving to keep warm.  So we walked about 4 miles to finally arrive at our dear Billa market.  We walked around slow in the store so we could get the feeling in our feet back and lips.  I bought my pallet of small packages of handiwipes I can never find at home and my orange juice.  The clerks looked at me like I was nuts.  I love it!  Hey I love my handi wipes!  I always load up when I come here.

So we get home and relax and talk with Oksana our awesome in country translator.  I told Joe we should call our kiddo and put the ball in his court and ask him if he would like us to come tomorrow to his school.  Then we can get an idea where he is with us and the adoption.  Does he want us around or not.  Today Oksana talked to his teacher who again is very supportive of the adoption like all the other staff and said he has been talking about Joe and I non stop and how he is ready to go and has been counting down the days and now he is shell shocked.  Apparently Sergiy has a male mentor he talked to yesterday and he said the same thing and was shocked with the news that he didn't through out a "Yes" and run for the hills with us.  His teacher said they talked more yesterday he was tabling all the things I knew he would and was.  Not only leaving his friends but all his freedoms he has there at the school and the freedoms he will have on his own.  She said all the very smart kids this is very typical and always happens.  I have seen this pattern as well and I expected this prior to coming.  I knew this would be a lot for him and his whole world would be turned upside down and it is all happening so fast.  He is also popular at the school and very well liked.  He is one of the key players.  He likes that.  He will have to start over at home.  Granted you and I know he will have to do this again when he is on his own but he is in the now which is to be expected.  She said do you want to go home with them and he said yes I do and she said your yes yesterday was not too convincing even your mom was not convinced and that is why she wanted you to think it over.  He said he was ready and he told the social worker yes.  She laughed and said no one was convinced and she did not take it as a yes and that is why we are all meeting up again Monday.  She said Monday you got to let everyone know you are convinced with your yes.  She is a very good teacher and you can see he respects her.  She is also his PE coach and she loves him and cares about his well being.  He's a pretty blessed kid.  She said he is one of the very responsible kids in his class and helps teach with the other kids.  We saw that in him when we hosted him.  We asked if he would help Kolya with his math because we could see he is a brainac and he stepped up no problem.

So we make the call to ask if he wanted us to come tomorrow being his teachers told us we can come anytime and day we would like.  Joe talked with him for a minute and he was in very good spirits.  Then Oksana talked to him on our behalf and I could hear the energy of him on the other line.  The boy that we left at the airport and the boy that I talked to soon after he got back to Ukraine eagerly awaiting for us and openly telling us he loved us was on that phone.  I told her please tell him I love him.  And there were the precious words I did not expect to hear tell mama and papa I love them and can't wait to see them tomorrow.  Whew wee!  So I have not a clue nor expect anything for tomorrow and you never know what it will bring but we know he is battling this decision and it is a big one but we now know he wants us here right now no matter what he may show on the outside.  Oksana said there was a joy in him she had not heard yet, she said he was very excited.  So tomorrow at 2:30 we shall return to the school and love on this boy and let God do the work in our lives no matter the outcome.  To hear all his teachers and assistant director say he was a changed boy when he came back from you all.  He was respectful and had so much joy in him and just could not for you all to get here are words we will hang onto today, tomorrow and Monday.  We look back at our hosting photos and know what all we went through as a family and what all we came through as a family and we all left each other stronger and happier then when we started.  The joy in the boys was awesome. 

So please keep your prayers a coming!  They are felt and needed!  We have a long road ahead but we know we are focused on God and he is our grounding foundation in this and he know what is best for us all.  Many Blessings!

Friday, February 10, 2012

We Made It To Vil'y!

Grandma Sergiy wanted to make sure you saw his beautiful drawling.....

The masked banditos!  More like COLD banditos!

Joe, Sergiy, Sasha (The Cozza's family's soon to be son & Nicole)

Us and our boy!  Oops mom's eyes are closed!

Sergiy, Viktor and Joe playing Chess
 It was wonderful to make it to social services then the school and be greeted by so many friendly and smiling faces.  Once we were brought into the office we were greeted by a smiling face boy calling out "Mama" in his raspy Italian voice and came to me with a big hug grinning ear to ear.  Then a big hug for Papa.  The staff spoke of how he has been waiting for us and anxious for our arrival and how happy he was when we would call.  Again the teacher, directors, social worker manager and staff were incredible!  So it came down to "adoption" as we are all sitting there in the room and he had his friend Viktor there.   He wanted us to host him or adopt him.  I explained I interviewed Viktor before and because of his age he is a "Host Only" child but we can do all we can to try to find him a host family.  They asked if we would go outside and watch them do flips.  Both Viktor and Sergiy did amazing flips in the snow for us off hills and even a building roof.  Amazing athletes.  We all huddled back inside and it was clear Sergiy was distraught.  Our deal before Joe and I left was we were not going to talk Sergiy into being adopted.  If he did not want this then we would leave quietly.  Long story short he wants to come home with us, the school wants him to come home with us but the kids are his family and some are extra special to him more then others and with that he is torn about leaving them behind.  I cannot blame him when this is his family and all he has known.  We are asking him to leave everything he has known and trust us with his life when he has only known us for a short while compared to how long he has known the kids and staff at his school. Kids think about the "Now" and "Moment" verse the future outcome so I fully understand his struggle.  As he said yes to adoption I sat there staring about my boy knowing he is not settled with this answer.  I told him I need him to want to come and if he doesn't then we don't move forward.  We love him and want him to be with us but I don't want him living with regrets or "What if's".  So we all agreed for him to tell the social worker verbally Monday his answer because Papa has to go home so he can provide for the family, Monday is the deadline.  He understood fully.  He did sign on paper he wanted us to adopt but the verbal is the final move to start the paperwork rolling.

We knew prior to coming we had a good chance of this happening.  We were prepared mentally for this knowing full well this could very well but what we were faced with.  We knew there were several very important kids in his life that could shift his mind and for that he is struggling this desire to stay with them or come with us.  I would hate to be in his shoes.  I truly have no good feeling or bad feeling about this but either way but I know God put us on that plane here.  I told Joe before we left you no he could say "No" and Joe said like I mentioned in one of my previous posts "It is only money, it can be replaced".  So I knew with Joe saying this we had to get on the plane.  This was way out of the norm for him to say or act on.  It may be we bring our kiddo home.  It may be we meet up with the folks of New Hope and meet other folks in ministry, it may be I do all the interviews for NHFC and get to see these incredible kiddos.  It really could be any or all of these and I do not know the answer but God does and I find rest in that because it is all out of my control.  My only control is that I choose and can trust in the Lord and know he has it all figured out.  So after all this time spent talking about adoption, yes, no...etc. we decided to whip out chess and Viktor and Sergiy played several games against Joe.  Serious strategist game!  It was fun to watch the boys play.  Then Sergiy and I both had on turtles for our necks because neither of us do cold so we pretended we were bandits.  Then Sasha who the Cozza family soon to be son stopped in for a visit. It was great to see him.  Gave him lots of hugs on behalf of the family.  Poor kid looked at me like they were a virus too like Sergiy.  LOL!  But when we talked about his Mama and Papa he lit up and talked about how much he loved them and wants to help them with things.  Too awesome!  His krooked grin can light up a room.  It was time for lunch so the boys walked us to the car and as Sergiy was walking ahead of us with Sasha he looked at me and pointed at our car and I nodded yes.  Then he and Sasha walked on.  Sergiy stopped turned around looked and me and came back at me "Mama" with open arms.  I know my boy is torn and I am torn right there along with him.  He is a big boy and I need him to be Ok with whatever he chooses and pray he never looks back either way and kicks himself.  That is my prayer for him.  We support him no matter what it may be even if we leave minus a Dewberry. 

This morning John with Hope Ministries that just started working in Vil'y in the last 5 weeks was so generous to come pick us up this morning at the train station bright and early.  We had a delightful conversation and went out for coffee and breakfast.  Turns out tomorrow night they are having a concert and were going to join up with them, the school and kids to help out and have some fun.  So we are looking forward to the event bright and early tomorrow morning so there will be more to come!!!!

Thank you all for your continued prayers.

Bonka Bonka Train Adventure......

The Bonka Bonka Train To Zap.....

So we are off on the bonaca bonca train!  Natalia help us load up all our 6 bags and backpacks into her Corolla Toyota.  We were packed in!  Seatbelts who needs seatbelts we were moving as tight as it was.  We would need the jaws of life to just pry us out from under the suitcases.  We got to meet up with Tatiana Titova who we love and adore.  So good to see her smiling face and meet up with our translator Oksana.  She has been a delight!

So we board the train and the folks that check us in were wondering what we were doing with all these big luggage’s.  They said something in Russian and I shrugged and said I only speak English and then it was on.  Not sure what all they said but I obviously cracked them up with all my stuff!  I was laugh at worthy the luggage’s are above my waist these things are not joke and I can shove Kolya in one and Sergiy in the other and they would fit quiet nice. (:

Ok this one goes out to all you blondes out there.  Ok this time on the Bonca Bonca train there ain’t no sleeping.  Poor Oksana she is stuck with tweedle dee and dumb.  Joe gets settled and about an hour after the lights are out and we all attempt to sleep suddenly you hear change falling from the bunk.  Joe is moving and his blankets and clothes are falling and change is coming out of his pockets.  Then about 10 minutes later you here him saying”Chess”!  So now he is playing chess on his little notebook thingy I bought him for Christmas.  I start to dose off again and then I hear a bag crumbling and then crunching he is into my nuts.  The boys does not know how to be still or quiet.  Then I flip over and have two folks snoring in the cabin next to us and one of the folks snoring sounds like a  Ton Ton from Star Wars yelling out.  Holy Cow.  The snoring was so loud that my legs and legs just say where the sun does not shine was vibrating through the wall to my bunk.  Then you add all the train stops and lights.  Sleeping was obviously not in the agenda for me.  So I decide to go the bathroom thinking it gives me the chance to move around.  Here is my blonde moment.  I left the cabin, went to the bathroom came back to my cabin……….cabin…..or crap which cabin??  See I was in such a fog I neglected to see which cabin number I was in.  Can’t use the excuse it was in Russian.  The numbers were in Roman Numerals which I learned in 3rd grade.  So now I stand there not having a clue my cabin number, no jacket in the drafty hallway and I am the only one who speaks English only.  Oh boy.  So I realize hey I got a little seat attached to this wall I can make do.  I look at my watch and realize I have another 6 hours of train.  OK it will be a cold long train ride but I can look out the window and look at the beautiful countryside. So I grab the handrails and just enjoy the scenery in the dark.  The snow glowed it was beautiful.  Some houses had lights on and others not.  We passed villages, farms and even a boarding school and my heart sank thinking of all the kids with no mom’s and dad’s and if they do they are not with them as they should be.  I started thinking about how although I am lost in the hallway of a train at least I am somewhat warm and sheltered and over 100 have died here in Ukraine in the cold, even in their own homes losing electricity.  And this is only people accounted for and how many others are not like the kids that leave the boarding school and find the streets better then trade school.  As I am standing there in though a man comes out of the bathroom he grabs the rail and stands to the left of me for quiet a while just staring out the window like myself.  So much beauty even in the dark.  Then the thought comes to my mind if this happened in the cabin with Kolya he would come look for me that boy has mommy radar.  Joe well the plus is he is awake and crunching on those darn nuts!  So I was thinking I had a chance of being found by my prince without his white horse but his little nook computer.  Sure enough after about 30 minutes the door swings open and there is my man.  He came over and said whatcha doing.  I said waiting for you, I got lost.  He laughed and said I know.   Had a funny feeling you forgot the cab number.  Thank heavens my man was up eating those nuts! 

So now that neither of us can sleep I decided to write our adventure so far on the way to Zap!  My plan was to pretend I was asleep in order to fall asleep.  That didn’t work out so well.  So sleep who needs stink’n sleep!  (:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This Happens Everytime......

You know that saying you may find coming out of your mouth....everytime I do this............happens or everytime I come here..................happens.  Well mine is everytime I come to Ukraine door knobs fall off the doors in my apartments.  There is not ONE apartment I have stayed in that at least one door knob has not bailed off the door.  Even on our NHFC team trip we had a door knob that refused to stay in tact.  Funny thing is it always seems to be the bathroom or the private toilet door knob.  Most used???  So this is my everytime I come to Ukraine the door knobs start falling off!  Should I learn something from this?  Is there a message here?  Maybe the thing to learn is to always been a phillips or flat head screw driver to Ukraine?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Eagle Has Landed & We Are Off To A Fun-Filled Adventure Already!

First Blog!  Grab your coffee and doughnuts and here we go! 

So we board the Lufthansa plane and I pray for no one to sit in front of my that will recline and I am pinned like last time.  So God answered that prayer by no one reclining in my lap but we were asked if we would give up our seat to this family in front of us.  They did not speak English and I have no clue what was going on but it was clear they needed the extra row so we gave it up to them no problem to discover the place they moved us to was Alaska.  We went from a nice comfy warm private section of the plane to where if their was no ceiling in the plane there would have been ice-cycles hanging from my nose hair.  So my ultra-sensor jacket I bought everyone laughed that I got I got went on, my hair lined fuzzy hoody attached to it went on,  my columbia hat and my fuzzy wool gloves as well on and my snow boots never left my feet.  I looked like an Eskimo.  I noticed after about an hour more folks started to cover up and hunker down like me to then suddenly I noticed the cool air seemed to of kicked off.  Then I could come back to the tropics or at least what was close in my opinion.

So we arrive in Kiev and low and behold the big joke was we would cross paths with LeAnn and the team.  Funny thing is we did!  We get all our 6 bags after what appeared that 2 of them got lost.  Thank heavens they were seriously delayed but over 45 minutes they finally show up on the belt after being unloaded.  I told the lady in lost and found I find myself in this office everytime I fly here.  I was starting to think they had my name and photo in there to look for my luggage and all my pepetia butter.  Maybe I am the pepita butter smuggler or something.  We were greeted by the smiling face of Olexey.  It was so awesome to see him again.  And he took us to the rest of the team.  So we hung out for a few before they flew back.  The cool thing is all our bags made it through the security check the big joke was I was going to be held up for all that stinki'n peptia butter I haul everywhere and then the stuff I brought over for the kids and our friends the McCoys.  It looks like I was bringing in a knife with pot and toys to cover it up.  We actually were bringing a awesome knife for Mr. Alex from Chern for him as a gift and tea but ya know mixed in with kiddie toys and no label on the tea I was praying for no search!  Thank heavens it was so crowded I just showed them all in and prayed it was all clear!  We made it!

So the weather, oh the dreaded weather in which I was anticipating.  It actually is not that bad for below zero.  It is the snow level of Tahoe but yet the cold of shoot I don't know....Ukraine.  It is a crisp cold.  But if you are not use to it and any body parts are exposed oh yeah you will go numb in minutes.  Natalia was telling me last month I believe 110 people died and some of them were actually in houses.  But they just had a storm passed right before we came.  The sun has been out but it is still cold but manageable if you are covered.  The good news is so far I have not had to walk around like Randy from "A Christmas Story".  I actually am bundled but can move my limbs!  (:  So once we arrived I was so stinki'n tired I passed out on the sofa with my hat, jacket, gloves and boots on.  Finally I woke up and put my footsy pj's on and found my way to bed after then prying Joe off the sofa in his clothes and boots.  Let's put it this way the cold is so crisp that I had ice-cycles hanging off my nose hair practically and my eyes were watering so much that my vision was fuzzy.  So yeah it is cold.  Just a little. 

So the SDA~!  We made the appointment this morning and I tried to look as nice as possible in dress clothes.  Ok let's be honest I looked retarded.  I have running thermal pants on, dress black slacks, Sorrel webbed looking furry lined boots on that looked like I could hunt in water (which I can with these puppies!) and then a polar fleece turtle neck shirt, dress shirt over it, big ol'e puffy jacket, black and gray wool hat and snow gloves.  I was not the model of sophisticated by any means.  I think women felt sorry for me so they smiled at me verse giving me dirty looks.  I gave out lots of comments because shoot these ladies look classy even in the winter.  They can rock the high heeled boots and not skip a beat!  I am not a fashion girl but some of these gals put us American ladies to shame in their awesome winter jacket.  Even this lady in the SDA that smiled and took pitty on me (LOL!) had a beautiful leg length brown jacket on and I told her it was lovely.  Shoulda asked her where she got it! 
OK sorry so back to the appointment.  By the way Joe is a champ in all this.  Snow....what snow!  HE IS EATING ICE CREAM WALKING IN THE SNOW happy as can be.  The ladies at the grocery store laugh at him.  OK really now back to the we get in there and the gal giggles at us ready his file.  We go over what all she has on him and Joe and I about busted up.  Our response was "We know".  LOL!  I won't go into too many details for the privacy of our boy but long and short of it is which I know many of your moms can relate with your own biological kids we have our one son who we love and adore and he is the apple of my eye and when they talk about discipline and the best way is to do a "time in" well he is always doing a "time in" non stop, he is glued to me so I have to do time outs.  Then you have Sergiy who is timed out and I have to do "time ins".  So when I said my boys are polar opposites they are and I knew it from the time I spotted Sergiy.  So my Sergiy loves to learn schoolwork and is unmotivated at other things and would love to veg out and will avoid work by any means and be a loner in hopes you will not notice he is gone.   Then you have my Kolya who is stuck to you and won't leave your side and will help you with anything but when it comes to schoolwork he is thinking about butterflies and squirrels and will have this professor look on his face like he is really thinking when really he is zoning out about how pretty the colors are in the room.  LOL  Gosh I love my boys!  So lots of laughs were exchanged with the news that our boys would prefer to be a slaker.  We already figured that one out like on day 2.  But both our boys are smart as a whip and they both know their Lord and Savior and for that IT IS GOOD!!!!

So we decide to walk into town to find the pizza joint to eat at that we went to the the Macy family.  I was keeping an eye out for my friend the "Bird Man'.  Wasn't sure if I would see him out there in this cold.  I did see not him but another dude which I believe was the dude that called "Policia" when the dude put his hands on me back when we were adopting Kolya.  Poor birds they even have to work in the cold, such injustices for the birdies.  The only guys hanging out the in the square trying to make a buck was Garfield and some duck character.  Hey at least they could stay warm in their costumes!  So after getting lost in the tunnel and mall for an hour we finally found the Solo Pizza place.  Had a great lunch and then headed to the grocery.  Grabbed a coffee and as we were walking I was really trying to take in and figure out how the darn the girls walk in their heels and look pretty and never fall.  In our attempts into town shoot in my snow boots, ski pants, turtle neck warmer, ultra senor ski jacket, snow gloves I about feel 3 times.  I was basically snow sledding in my boots down the icy hill grabbing on to everything laughing because there was nothing else to do.  i knew if I went down it was going to hurt so I hung on for the ride.  There were groups of folks walking around us and it was I am sure most clear to them we were not from here.  Ya think?  Joe wearing his plaid shirt and jeans and very American jacket and not so tight jeans with no zippers.  AMERICANS were written all over us.  Thankfully we have no shame and that and just rock who we are.....we have issues and it is clear when you meet us.  So after my sledding adventure and lunch we head back up the hill and again after taking in the ladies and how they do it,  I decided to attempt to look like I knew what the darn I was doing walking about a mile uphill in my ski outfit and snow boots carrying a coffee and sweating up a freaking storm because of all my layers.  The cool thing again was no dirty looks did I get, I got the pitty smiles. I LOVE IT.  So I rock my swagger cruising up the hill trying to show that I can get my runway model swagger back from my teens days wearing snow boots holding my coffee.  All the while you hear the swishing of my snow pants every step I take and I am perspiring like I am in a the tropics wearing a thermal jacket.  I kept my chin up and walked with confidence all the way up and by golly I DID IT.  I looked like I knew what I was doing.  Really I didn't but at least I thought I did and that is what matters!  I have not ran in a couple months so I am toning my muscles.  I just need some wrist and ankle weights and I will be good to go. 

So then Joe decides to go back in town to grab some more groceries at the store where all his peeps are now!  Yes Joe has peeps!  He has become quiet the popular one now that he is rocking the Russian!  So he went to one grocery where they are not his peeps and he did not get everything he needed so he took the groceries and just shoved them in all his pockets and hand carried in his papertowels. He thought his peeps yelled at him and told him to leave and come back without all his stuff.  He came back to the apartment with his stuff and said they kicked me out.  I told him "Man these are your peeps, they would not do that".  So he went back and it turns out they did not kick him out they were trying to get him to put the stuff in the locker and that is one Russian word Joe did not learn.  So they showed him when he came back because they felt bad he left.  I told "See man I told you they were your peeps".  LOL!  So I know we are only on day 2 but the adventure has already been a blast.  We love it here and are looking forward to landing in Zap to meet all the folks we have been talking to and see our kiddo.  I know Sergiy is highly allergic to hugs but I told him to get ready cause I am going to nail him with them all the time.  He got a giggle out of that one.  I want to thank New Hope in Zap which I am so looking forward to meeting John and everything who has started an outreach to the kids in Vil'y to walk along side the kids and love on them, teach them about Christ and life skills that are timing out.  We so look forward to meeting and serving with them in our time there.

OK ya all tomorrow night we pick up our papers to see our boy and jump on the train to arrive in Zap Friday AM bright and early.    So there is more to come and I will post photos as I can! 

Again thank you for all your prayers!  They are felt daily and I ask ya to keep them coming!  I do want to say a thank you to one of my boys, Stephon at home.  He is one of my kiddos from the youth group we used to work with.  He is my prayer warrior.  Last night spiritually I was under attack.  Satan wants nothing more then for me to surrender to him and be filled with doubt.  I ain't haven it.  So Joe and I went into prayer last night fighting the enemy and this morning I awoke to an email from Stephon telling me that he felt I was under attack and he started praying for me.  He wrote a verse in Job to me to remind me God is on our side and his email was so encouraging to me and made me so proud of him and to know even God is using the youth in my life to help lift me up, so incredibly awesome.  So a big hug and lots of love to my man Stephon.  Incredible incredible young man for the Lord you are!
Then to follow it up I got an email from my boy Kolya at home and that can do nothing short of put a grin on my face.  He is having fun with Grandma and taking painting classes and painted apples today.  So we are looking forward when we can skype with him so we can see it. 

One more thank everyone that has been so incredibly gracious to help us meet the last remaining funds for this adoption.  God is just reminding me even though this is a BIG universe there is nothing to big for God.  But most of all how gracious people are to help one in need and give the glory to God in doing so.  This is the one thing I so appreciate about working with NHFC.  I see God and Satan on a daily basis working in the orphan ministry.  But the coolest thing I tell ya is to work alongside Christians in every aspect from NHFC families to people I meet along our adoption journey so willing to serve their Lord and Savior and when the crap hits the fan how they are fast to lift one another up, encourage you, dust off your pants for you and tell you to keep fighting and they are right there with you.  With hosting a child from another country you never know what obstacles may show up, like the child country denies the kids coming, the child is pulled from the program, the child goes into foster care so they can't be hosted.  But almost all of my families when I break this potentially damaging news to them they rise to the occasion and say "that's OK, God has another plan for us or that child".  I LOVE IT!  I tell ya I truly love it.  So thank you to everyone that is lifting us up in prayer and is helping us with the last bit of what we need to get Joe's return flight home and our flight home so I can bring my boy home next month!  Just on Friday $500.00 came in, in donations.  Just totally cool!!!!!  The emails I got were I am sorry it is not much.  But please no not much to you is everything to us.  So again we cannot thank you enough!!!!  I know the Lord will provide and he is providing right now our every need.  This just reassures us we are doing exactly what we are called to do no matter any outcome.  If he will bring us to it, he will bring us through it.  AMEN!!!!!   

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Praying For A One Last Miracle For Take Off!

Joe and I want to thank everyone that came to the silent auction we cannot thank you enough for your prayers and support! 

We are now down to two days and we are praying for a miracle, we leave Monday.  All your prayer warriors I ask for your help for prayers!!!!  Joe and I have drained all efforts to raise all the funds to bring Sergiy home.  With Ukraine laws changing with the new Ministry which was the SDA there is a longer delay for the adoption to be finalized.  With that Joe has to fly home to work and then fly back.  So we are incurring extra fees we did not with Kolya's adoption on top of the remaining funds we still needed to raise.  I will stay the whole time with Sergiy.  With this extra cost and what we are short we still need to raise or find under a rock (buried treasure) $4100.00 by Monday before we fly.  I have seen God do one miracle after another with completing this dossier for Sergiy which seemed like an IMPOSSIBLE timeframe and he made it happen.  I have seen miracles daily volunteering with New Horizons For Children.  So I have no choice but to put my complete 100% trust in God that he will provide the funds needed so we can fly our boy home.

This trip is turning out to be much more then just a mission to adopt our son, Sergiy.  I have been blessed to be able to do New Horizons For Children hosting interviews for kids for the upcoming summer hosting.  The incredible thing about doing these interviews is I will get to see Andriy the boy my sister Denise and her husband are adopting and will soon be my nephew who I love and adore.  I can't wait to see his smile! I will also be going back to Kolya's 1st boarding school of such incredible people I have come to love and see one of our closest friends children they are adopting and give them big hugs and tell them I will see them soon.  I will also get to visit Kolya's 2nd boarding school where we adopted him to visit his director an teachers who have also have become so dear to us.  Then lastly we will get to visit THE MR. ALEX.  Mr. Alex is also so dear to us.  He is a director of one of the boarding schools in Sergiy's region.  Joe and him became very close in his time here with us locally.  Joe would teach him English and Mr. Alex would teach him Russian.  If it weren't for Mr. Alex, Kolya may not be our son.  When the doo doo hit the fan Mr. Alex knew our hearts for Kolya and stepped in to help us and him.  Incredible and dear friend.  This trip my heart overflows with all that is being presented to us and the people so dear to us that we will get to see. 

So all your prayer warriors we ask for your help and if you don't pray this is a good time and it's never to late!  LOL!

We made our last call to Sergiy on Friday and he was tired, cold and ready to come home.  He specifically wanted to see his Grandma!  I love it!!!  

Many blessings and thank you!!!!!