From boarding school, to foster home, to institution back to a new boarding school and there was no one. Never a word, never a peep from any living relative or any potential family to actually adopt him. As he sat in the institution as a temp holding tank until he could transition into the new boarding school he was basically freaking out and did anyone come for him...no?? He started reaching far and wide to anyone to hear him please help me find a family. He was found through a loophole of friends being told I would advocate, fight tooth and nail for a child I knew that wanted a family. Through a couple weeks of communication getting to know this young man Denis says "Nicole I love you, will you adopt me". Do I believe him or do I think he is just throwing a line out and seeing who grabs? I reach to friends seeing is this being said to others....no one is hearing this from him except me. Every fear to the core of my body of losing yet another child surfaces and circles my head after recently losing my boys in Ukraine. I say I don't want to do this again God. I don't want to loose another one. I can't. I won't yet I know I had fallen in love with this boy and want to do everything in my power to protect him like my own children at home. I did not want to get on that plane in fear of rejection but Joe said go God said go and I cast aside all fears and plunged into the unknown.He walks in the room hugs me in disbelief and says "I did not think you would come for me". I reminded him I am a woman of my word I said I would and did. We both had talked about our fears of the other running but at that moment fears.....what fears.....all fears subsided. However there were flags but I was assured my concerns were not a concern. He had assests and there was distant family and it was important to make sure to secure this asset so no family shows to take it from him. My first thought when told about this this distant family and his asset was give this Aunt this asset she will want it. I was assured she was no threat or concern. Then told of a TB possible concern so Denis and I rush to Kyiv to get X-rays to make sure he is ok. Then a call from this distant Aunt that never called him before I show to adopt Denis says Denis are you sure you want to be adopted, are you sure you want her to be your mom? He responds smiling at me "yes". I asked him if I needed to be concerned and he assured me not at all she just wanted to make sure he was ok. The bonding was establishing, the connection and mother son relationship was forming as was the trust. The fear was subsiding we both had felt in that the other would run. I extended my stay in order to further this bond with not a threat in sight nor a fear of rejection from him all green light go. I was assured by his social worker (who was awesome by the way) and others this long distance kinda sorta Aunt was no threat to the adoption.BAM WHAM 4 days after getting home just waiting for our court date the communication with Denis I am losing with like I am a distant thing in his past, no answered calls, people answering his phone saying there is no Denis at this number, no email communication just darn dead. I am reaching to grab my boy back. Our adoption team was reaching and assured over and over again Denis wanted his Mama yet the communication like an umbilical cord attached to a child being miss carried there was no life on the other end of the child you are about to deliver and so badly want to hold in your arms alive, well and bring home is fading is losing life. Then I get the news his distant basically non related kinda sorta Aunt pulled him from the boarding school on day 4 after I left but yet is supportive of our adoption but meanwhile no one at the school, our adoption team nor me can get a hold if him. If there is contact there is an assurance he wants to be adopted to others but the lines are dry not a word is shared with us personally. I finally reach him and although he is saying yes I have been around the block I know this tone, demeor all to well I am losing him. I am on the phone trying to get the team and school on it to figure out what is going on with all his words saying yes to everyone but his actions and tones saying no no no. I have a flight on hold ready to board Christmas day if I need to. Then emails are coming in from his other friend demanding me up adopt him or move him next to Denis. Then being told by his friend Denis does not want to be adopted and he will tell you why so you need to call him. I grab the phone being told by the school and our team yes he wants me to adopt him then being emailed from his friend no he doesn't. Conflicting news like being in the hospital being told your baby can come to term but has a 50/50 chance of making it. You may deliver or miscarriage right at delivery. I choose deliver, I move forward that he is coming home he will make it taking the word he is personally giving the school and my facilitation team over a friend whom is making demands at me. I go to deliver and get my flight ready to go not knowing will I hold this baby boy or loose him and will I make it to delivery and board this plane Christmas Day to fly and....I lost him before take off. He did not make it. I sit here empty. Joe walks in the door and I fell in his arms and to weak to even wrap my arms around him crying saying I didn't want to do this, I didn't want to go (deliver), I didn't want to loose another one. The letter comes in Christmas Eve night.Hi Nicole. I want to apologize to you ... I decided to stay in Ukraine, because I have my family here that I did not know. I did not know what they are and, therefore, promised you that I will live with you. I have a dad, aunt, grandmother, great-grandfather, a younger brother. So I decided to stay in the family. I'm sorry that it happened ... Excuse me, I hope that we will remain friends. I wish you all the best. DenisI have mis-carried once again, the thought of what was, what could be has blown into the wind and will never be. I promised God when I felt I was losing Denis that no matter the turnout He will be gloried. I am a woman of my word God is glorified in this loss. I know Satan wants to destroy my hearts passion and desire for helping teens orphaned or not and destroy my will to fight. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN I am still standing and once again my fight has even strengthened more then the last loss. Satan will not defeat me. God us before me, beside, behind and within me. In every loss He is glorified.Why do I not give up or quit on these kids? God never made us any promises. He never made me any promises if I trusted Him again with my heart to adopt another child they would make it home. He never said that child he blesses you with in your tummy as you are carrying to term will make it to delivery but he wants you to love it non the less and stay focused on him and praise Him all the way through. He never said our birth or adopted children would grow up and be men and woman of character although you have high hopes in seeing your children live a life of serving Christ, happiness, love and reaching their hopes, dreams and goals. He never promises that will come to terms. He never promises adopting a child of any age, disorder or health issue will be successful health wise or that they make it home or survive their medical battle. But the matter is when it comes to being a parent God calls you to be a parent not like a salmon that migrates, mates and then dies never to return. God calls us to seek and care for the orphans and widows. HE CALLS! Yes HE CALLS ME, YOU, HE over there, SHE over there. He does not promise these children will grateful for the care and love you give them. He does not even promise you that they have an ability to function in a family. He does not promise you they will love you back, He does not promise you they will succeed in life, He does not promise you if you adopt a child they will come home with you but He makes it clear to make a move, to not be a pew pusher and do nothing. You do not need to be an adoptee family to honor this COMMANDMENT by God you can be a prayer warrior, a donor, a babysitter to help the family out that is adopting, adopt, do mission work serving with orphans or be a foster family. You could help make meals for the family left behind as the couple goes to adopt, you could help donate or hold a fundraiser for the adoptive family. There are so many things you can do to take part in this awesome commandment by God. I sit here and look at kids I know and knew some I have worked with and others not and their decisions in this world filled with selfishness, greed, anger, hatred, jealously, lust, fear, control, drugs, crime, alcohol, sex and it breaks my heart watching each generation fall to this more and more to this lifestyle the way of the world not the way of Christ but I am reminded in this do I just roll over, quit and give up on these kids wherever they are? Do I just turn away from it and ignore it and pretend I do not see if or do I come in and show them who Jesus is, show them love, kindness, good and real fun rocking it Jesus style and what it looks like with boundaries and structure? Yeah baby. It ain't about me it is about God, My Savior, My Lord, My Alpha & Omega....My all in all. I am battered, I am bruised but God be the glory. He took on way more then this for me and for you then I will ever endur. My battle is small compared to the weight of the world and sin he took up for us.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC617kE1maU
For every child that does not come home there are many that do! Denis was my loss but His gain, Christ's gain for I know Gods word does not go void. Denis knew to the last minute I would fight for him. I told him the only way I would not be on that plane for him was if he told me no. He had to stop me by telling me no don't come and I still was going to board a plane. I was sending Denis reminders as this photo below like we use to share to each other to keep his faith and stay strong and know I was coming for him.My facilitator spoke with me like a doctor breaking the news you lost your baby he said Nicole he came in with his newly found family and he's set in stone and he will write you a letter this evening with his family which was like having closure through the pain in burying your child. Denis had to do this because he knew I was an unstoppable force to fight for him. I know somewhere in Denis's life that will stand for something. He even told me he loved knowing I would defend and protect him as I did and showed him several times in Ukraine and he wanted that. I only hope that his family will be true to their word and love him as I do and care for him as I do and have what he should have always rightfully had. I called his family out and called the "kettle black" asking them where were they all these years through his transitions when he was only 3 measly hours from them all and suddenly they love him. Suddenly they want to care for him. Suddenly when I show up and there is an asset at hand in his name. This Mama just don't buy it! I have seen this scheme over and over again like a broken record. I pray that in an act of selfishness on his families part that because of me showing to adopt him it has and will turn Denis into one less orphan and their act of greed turns to a real relationship, a real love for him so it is not in vein and they will take him as their own and adopt him. That is our families prayer for Denis and his family. This has always been Gods battle, His orphans, Sergiy, Sasha, Sasha, Slavic, Denis, Kolya, Tania, Stopha for the ones that made it home and the ones that have not GOD IS STILL GLORIFIED! AMEN! Now pass the bread and let's gather together and find more of Gods children that want and need to come home to the arms of their family awaiting then with open arms as Christ does for us. God I am ready when you are to send me back to Ukraine for missions work! He never gave up on me and I have no right to give up on another. On Christmas Day I had to call the adoption team to confirm to pull the respirator on Denis as he was not longer with us he had made it clear to the school, our adoption team and myself. Bitter sweet on this day our Savior was born. We stalled a couple days to have our court documents pulled in case he may have changed his mind. More like hoped and prayed. Friends I knew reached out to him with no response. The lines were cut. His Aunt is getting legal custody of him. As we were hoping and waiting for a possible change I clung to this song listening to it literally over and over again and although Denis is not coming home this song still says it all.http://youtu.be/rk9Pj3ID0UE
We had promised Denis we would not have Christmas until he was home even if in February. With the news he was not coming home I had to do Christmas eve last minute Christmas prepping and shopping oh my. Here was our jimmy rigged Christmas decorating.We had planned Christmas day to make & deliver desserts for police, fire stations & local emergency hospital for the ones sacrificing to be with their families on this special day to keep us safe and care for us if in need. So we kept our word and delivered. It's about Christ in action through our actions.In great tradition in an effort to help the family laugh through the holidays Mama had to whip out some new camera sessions and make a total fool of herself to laugh instead of cry.Pretty girl by tree Mama thinking she is all pretty by the tree Another pretty girl leaning against the treeYes Mama hugging the darn treePretty Girl By American Flag Mama tangled in American Flag Pretty girl staring in window Mama stuck bending over looking in window Pretty girl with guns No way is this Mama rocking a bathing suit like that above but by golly I will rock the guns and I actually know how to shoot, no acting here. Lovely lady doing her yoga. Mama stuck trying to do yoga! Pretty lady smelling or about to eat the flower I am not sure which.Oh shoot this Mama is allergic to flowersPretty girl walking down the runway Mama breaking a ankle walking up the driveway Pretty girl "I think can't see her face" in the oven Mama burning her freaking hands with no mitts on Pretty girl pumping some weightsMama lifting her 20's.Who me issues??? YES!I know on the trip to meet and adopt Denis is was very much Godly orchestrated. I met some up with incredible people like my friends Traci & Joel from Project Hopeful, Mariana & Jim Peipon, Julia Nalle, Carla Dobrovits and a very special young man that I got to interview "Sheppard". This young man I met in the hospital on a very cold night as he was in there being treated for his HIV. Crazy thing is I had been asked by many for months to interview this boy with never getting the chance to do it then suddenly I am brought to him out of the blue to talk to with my dear friend Joel. He had lost hope and given up a family would ever come. It was written all over his face. I told him to hang on and made jokes that he needed to practice his American smile in the mirror. It broke the ice then I got to see this awesome kid come out as my dear friend Joel and I interviewed him. I am happy to report this young man was heavily laid upon the hearts of my dear friend the Fahringer family and they are adopting him! Glory be to God. Sheppard has a family! To help follow their journey and support them in prayer and funding please come see and read their story at : http://reecesrainbow.org/?s=sheppardIn the midst of losing Denis this song kept circling my mind after I never he was not returning. It says it all....it's all about you Jesus.
Our family once again wants to thank everyone for praying, supporting, fighting silently and verbally along side of us for this young man. He is and was so worth it. I know this loss is not in vain.