Saturday, October 31, 2009

God must have special plans for little Sasha...

Incredibly ALL the money has been raised for Sasha's adoption by the Norenes!! And her medical care is already being prepared for when she comes home. AND Jennifer has found a Christian University in Donestk to stay at and feels much safer and less alone. It blows my mind how people's hearts were moved to support this child's adoption in such an enormous and timely way. People who have never met Sasha or Jennifer or John were moved to donate generously. What an incredible blessing to see God provide.

Here is an update from Jennifer~

Good news! My computer is fixed! A kind man at the university has fixed the cord and provided the adaptor I needed. My adaptor was not working with my computer. So this is great news! I can skype now for free and not depend on cell phone for communication so much! My attorney is on her way to Kyiv to file papers, court on Thursday here in Donestk. Tonight Sasha was testing me with her behavior and we left on somewhat grumpy terms. When I was walking away from the orphanage, there she was in the window waving at me as if to say, "I am sorry Mama". You can imagine it is difficult to teach, reign in a very active bright little girl, when I can't speak her language...and she is pretty bright, so she wants to get away with everything (ravage my bag, eat all the candy, etc. teach ME Russian instead of learning English) Tomorrow we are going to start working on English we will need in the next few weeks as we prepare to travel to the US. Thanks for continued prayers, thank fully God has supplied ALL we need, even more. This is a huge blessing and testimony to step out in faith. I guess I was foolish to come without every need met, but my love for this little girl compelled me and I believe God met me in that. Matthew scriptures on DO NOT worry and one day's worries at a time, come to mind. Those were precious scriptures to me before this trip as well as Jeremiah where he speaks of God's faithfulness **despite setbacks**. Setbacks don't mean ANYTHING to God when you walk in His will. He has not abandoned us even when it looks like we are in the enemy's camp and the Light is turned off. The light is NOT off! God is faithful, He comes through! We are to really have child like trust in God. Foolish to the world for sure. (I wish I remembered this is a good day!) God even pushed me to see that worry is disobedience. We are to trust, no matter what. Tough words I know! I am overwhelmed when I think that not only has God supplied all we need here, but he has already begun supplying the BEST medical are the US has to offer through Family Life ministries connectinos who heard of our adoption. They also were responsible for hooking me up with Donestk University to stay - a secure Christian environment. All because of Grace Adoption Ministries. Aloha Ministries, and so many individuals who gave probably more then they could by faith. He is truly not interested in what we can acccomplish on our own but what He accomplishes through us if we will only trust Him! More tomorrow friends, many many thanks and hugs from Donestk, Ukraine! Jennifer

THANK YOU so much to each of you who have prayed and donated - both have been powerful in this time!! Keep praying and I will update about her process!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I want to share with you about an extremely urgent situation and ask for your prayers and for your assistance if you feel led to do so.

A mutual friend of ours, Camille's and Becca's (the three of us that started GRACE Adoption Ministry) is currently in Ukraine trying to adopt a precious little seven year old girl named Sasha. Sasha has rheumatoid arthritis due to a serious illness that she had when she was younger. She also has some type of heart condition. The current steroid medication that she is on is not being monitored well and has caused her to swell up quite a bit. She needs medical attention as well as a family. Our attorney, Natalia, who handled our adoption, met this child and promised Sasha that she would help her find a family. Natalia sent Sasha's picture to Camille who later sent it to the Norenes. John and Jennifer Norene of New Braunfels felt called to this child and committed to pursuing Sasha's adoption. However, they have, in this time of a very difficult economy, lost their jobs/business and had financial setbacks. They continued in faith to pursue Sasha's adoption and received the invitation to go to adopt her much quicker then they anticipated. They had to leave quickly because Sasha is being kept at the younger-child orphanage only for a short time and then will be moved to an invalid orphanage - which I can not even begin to describe the horrific stories I have heard about those places from missionaries who have visited them. To save money and so that John could continue in his new job, only Jennifer was able to travel, with faith that God would provide for her to adopt this child at each step. She left with only enough for a fraction of the adoption and many fundraising efforts still going on. It seemed as if several grants were only days away from coming in but apparently they have not. It is really a difficult situation. Our attorney is discounting her fees as well but there are many legal costs involved in an international adoption.

Basically, if Jennifer and John do not receive several thousand dollars within the next few days then they will not be able to take the next necessary steps to adopt Sasha. Jennifer is in Ukraine and has been spending time with her. Jennifer is struggling deeply with the uncertainty of it all, culture shock, and loneliness. Sasha does not have much hope as a disabled orphan in Ukraine if she is not adopted. She will soon be sent to an orphanage for invalids and it is a very hopeless, bleak outcome at these type of institutions. She is in need of $6500 at least to complete this adoption and I am not sure if that includes their tickets back home. Incredibly, just since emails went out about this tonight $3000 of that has been raised - in literally less than an hour.

I want you all to know that I do not do fundraising well - but I truly believe that Sasha's life is at stake and I have seen people come together in amazing ways to do what seems impossible. However, my intention is not to convince every reader to donate but to be aware of this and to pray and ask the Lord if He would have you help in some way. Perhaps it is to give and perhaps it is to pray. Jennifer, John and Sasha need both!

You can go to our ministry website and to the donate section. It will let you donate through paypal. Please send me an email too so that we know how much is being given and can immediately let Jennifer know due to the very time-sensitive issues and decisions that have to be made.
Here's Sasha...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy 11th Birthday Anastasiya Joy!!!

On Saturday, we celebrated sweet Anastasiya's 11th birthday!! It was such a special day and we just praise God for her life and that he made this precious child our daughter. We love who He created her to be and have been privileged to watch her grow and blossom this past year. We love you so much baby girl!!!

We woke up early Saturday morning and took her the cake that we had made. She was already awake, but knew she had to wait in bed so that we could 'wake her up' with the cake :) She has that tradition down!! It was such a fitting cake complete with horses of course...

This picture looks like the horse is jumping through flames.

Soon after that, we ate breakfast and opened presents. She loved every minute and just as she was opening the gift that her godmother, Alla, in Ukraine had sent, we received an email message from Alla. She was asking if we could call so that she could wish her a happy birthday.
We were able to 'see' Alla and some of Nastya's best friends via Skype. They were able to talk for quite awhile and it was very special to her that her friends were thinking about her. We enjoyed 'seeing' them as well!!! What a wonderful blessing Alla has been to my girls and to so many others who are in the orphanage. She is truly an angel to them and they feel such love from her.

Back to the present opening - Nastya had a bag in it with a little card that told her 'sang' the chicken dance and read that her surprise went 'peep, peep' and was awaiting in our bathroom. Yep she got baby chicks for her birthday! And according to her they were "the very best gift in the whole world!" She has been begging for us to start a coop and asked if she could pleaaaaasssee have it for her birthday but she was completely surprised.

Here she is with her peeps...

Yes - that is six chicks in my bathroom... They have now been moved to her room and will soon be moved out to the soon-to-be-built chicken coop. In the meantime - they might just be the most loved little chicks that ever existed.
Finally we had borscht for dinner. It again received the Ukrainians' stamp of approval. This time I did use a food processor for the veggies - way better plan!! We talked about our favorite things about Nastya ~

Allee - "That she is adventurous and loves the outdoors."
Jadon - "That she loves animals"
Katya - "That she is beautiful and such a good sister"
Ben - "That she always plays horses with me"
Zach - "That she was funny and kind hearted"
Stephanee - "That she is compassionate and tender hearted towards both animals and people who are hurting. And that she is always joyful and has such a positive outlook on life."
Those just barely scratch the surface of all the things that we love about our sweet girl. She brings so much joy and laughter and love to our family.
What a gift you are to us, Anastasiya Joy.
Happy Birthday Baby!

Officially One Year

One year ago today, we stood before a judge in Ukraine and he pronounced Kateryna Grace and Anastasiya Joy as our daughters. Wow!! How quickly the year has flown by but how it seems that they have always been our children. This year has not all been easy but the JOYS have far outweighed the trials and we stand in awe of what God has done. We plan to actually celebrate their one year adoption on November 2nd - the day we came home and were finally all a family. So be looking for many more thoughts as we get to that date. But I just had to mention this significant day... Thank you Lord. Great things you have done.

Friday, October 2, 2009

One Year Ago...

We were in Ukraine and had just recieved our referral at the SDA!! What a sweet time that was. Oh, how I am aching to go back. I am really begging Zach for us to figure out a way to go and visit the kids and to take the girls back for a little visit in the next year or two.

The nostalgia has been incredibly strong the past two days and I'm sure all month I will be reflecting back on our trip. It seems crazy to me though to think that our girls have not been here much, much longer.

More reflections soon...