Saturday, June 27, 2009

Coming Full Circle...My Heart Overflows!

Well it's been a bit busy and more posts with beautiful pics (compliments of my talented photographer sister) from our beach trip will soon be coming on the other blog. But for now I just have to post about the hosting trip and about what it has meant to our family and to our girls.

Three weeks ago we stood in the airport and hugged and cried as we again saw the familiar faces of the precious children we had told goodbye just seven months ago. What an amazing way for God to answer our cries for them by bringing so many of them right here to Texas!!! We continue to pray for them as they walk through the joys and trials of hosting.

But what struck me the most was how incredibly far our girls had come. I didn't realize what had happened in our hearts and in theirs until I stood in the same place where we first met our daughters and watched other families joyfully but awkwardly welcome them for the summer. Spending time with these families and trying to encourage those who are struggling with varying issues has reminded me of the sometimes intense struggles that we faced during the early months. But oh how quickly I had forgotten and how quickly our sweet girls have grown in so many ways.

For one, here is a picture of Katya writing a welcome sign for one little boy who is here.

For another, my girls have repeatedly had the opportunity to translate for families both in person and on the phone. They have the privilege of helping others who are experiencing some of the same fears and struggles that they went through only a short time ago. And they delight to do so. I have had the privilege of seeing their compassionate hearts for their friends and classmates as they have desired to help those who are having a harder time and have initiated the most heartfelt prayers for them. Not to mention just the sheer joy of being in the company of their closest friend who is more like a sister. And would you believe that my very dear friend is pursuing this girl's adoption?!? Truly, who but God?!? And if you saw this child with this family you would wonder how it is that they have not always been together. Oh pray that God smooths the road to bring her to where she belongs incredibly fast. What joy to be a part of this.

I see also how Katya and Nastya also recognize how much they have grown. Tonight, I was talking late with all three of my daughters and somehow we were discussing things like stealing and lying and immodesty. All things that we had to teach them. I told them a story from my childhood about how I had lied and cheated on a grade to earn a reward and about how burdened I felt until I was finally caught and I repented. They both shared things that they had done wrong both in Ukraine and here. I asked them when they understood that it was wrong to steal or lie and Nastya shyly said, "Well kind of but not really until we started doing bible study with school here in America." Then Katya told me that she had to tell me something (very small) that she felt guilty about and asked me to forgive her. Oh so incredible that she is getting it. Praise the Lord for all He is doing in our hearts and in theirs. I pray that He will move in the hearts of each of these families who are hosting and in the hearts of the orphans that they have in their care for the summer. I pray that miracles will be done in their hearts.

This time is a clear reminder to me of how hard things were for awhile - and ironic that I had already forgotten so much of it - but how quickly it has passed :). Adoption is hard at times and it is scary, but the joy is immeasurably worth any of the trials.

God truly is creating beauty from ashes.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Amazing Events Occuring...

This picture was taken just before we left. It was the last time we took a walk with these kids to buy them icecream and just talk and show them as best we could that they are precious.
7 months ago we left the Zhytomyr Internot with our daughters and we all cried. We cried and mourned because despite the fact that this was such a joyous occasion to take our daughters as ours forever, we left behind sweet children whom we had come to care for deeply. And our daughters left friends who were really more like sisters. It was the hardest goodbye we have ever had. We prayed fervently for these children and we vowed that we would not forget as they tearfully asked as we left in the taxi that day. One of the girls whom we had come to know and love would not talk to us anymore because the sadness of more children leaving but it not being her, was too much to bear. My heart still aches more than I can bear when I dare to really go back there.

But today we rejoice!

Because on a plane right now are 13 children from Zhytomyr headed to America. And 10 of those are coming to Texas to families in our community, many of whom are our very good friends. It is quite the story how this hosting trip came together and the agony that it has taken our wonderful coordinator and my good friend, Becca, but in the end 13 children will be spending the entire summer with families. Only God knows where it will lead for each of these families and children, but we have seen Him at work to bring this trip together and to raise up these families for these children. So to Him be the glory!!
Vika, Tanya, Galina, Yulia, Leeza, Nikita, and all the others - we will see you tomorrow!!! And we will brush up on our Ukrainian and do a lot of swimming and Uno and playing!!

What a summer it will be :)