Today Karina starred in the St. Nicholas performance at the orphanage along with children from Karina's class and the fifth grade. Two boys played the accordian, several children recited Ukranian verses, some danced and Karina sang two songs. One of the songs Karina sang is about Ukraine - in the chorus she sings "Ukraine" but to me it sounds like "O Karina" - Sheila laughs when I say this and tells me, "She already has you wrapped around her finger." Of course she does...she is my daughter...why else would I learn to knit and watch part of High School Musical? Yes, it is her favorite movie so I watched it with her a few days ago. I am definitely learning what it is like for fathers of teenage daughters.
Karina's songs were beautiful. To me, she has the most wonderful singing voice I have ever heard.
And today, December 19, 2008, after 13 years, Karina's mom and dad (Sheila and I) were at her performance...it was the first time her parents had seen one of her musicals...I look forward to many more.
We had a bunch of roses waiting for her at the end.
A few of these children have parents coming to adopt them but most of the children in these pictures are waiting for someone to be their mom and dad.
They are all precious children and it has been great to spend time with them...they long for families. When they see us with Karina their eyes gaze at us as if begging us to help them. A couple of the girls watch every move Sheila makes and they follow her wherever she goes around the orphanage...watching Sheila and Karina...some of them have never known the love a mother has for a daughter.
Sheila and I brought flowers for all of the girls and candy for all the boys in the performance. Their reaction to the flowers was unbelief at first (that someone would give them flowers), excitement second and then many, many thank you's!
Grandma Lela told us more about Karina today. She said, "When I first met Karina, she was sad, quiet and afraid. No one had spent much time with her. No one had cared for her. And no one had loved her. I told her that I loved her and I saw life in her eyes so I decided to fight for Karina."
From that moment on it was Grandma Lela who gave Karina hugs, kisses and love.
It was Grandma Lela who would not take no for an answer and when Karina needed to see a doctor...she made sure that Karina saw a doctor.
It was Grandma Lela who shared Jesus with Karina and discipled her as much as she could.
It was Grandma Lela who prayed day after day after day that Karina would not only have a family but that she would have a Christian family.
"God sent me to fight for Karina." Grandma Lela said. "When no one cared about her, God sent me to love on her and pray for her. But it is not me. God did all the work. He changed Karina. God made Karina into a girl that is no longer sad, quiet or afraid. God gets all the glory for that and for bringing you here to be her family."
Lela said she could not sleep much last night so she spent the night on her knees praying that God would provide Christian families for "her kids".
God does get the glory and we praise him for his mighty work. We also thank you, Lela, for being willing to be the instrument he used to change a little orphan girl and bring glory to himself. Thank you for fighting for Karina.