In December we had to leave the orphanage each day at 5PM. Karina would follow us out of the building you see above and we would stop at the iron gate that closed the orphanage off from the outside. Beside this gate we would hold each other and we would pray for our girl. After our prayer it was hugs...kisses...goodbye...and we would walk through the gate and Karina would run back inside the orphanage.
Yesterday we made the 20 minute walk to the orphanage to meet with the social worker, inspector and an assistant to the director at 9AM.
Karina was called in...how good it was for us to see and hold her. We did not have a translator for this meeting so it was quite interesting when an argument broke out between two people...I eventually realized that they were arguing whether the papers they were filling out could be photocopied or copied by hand...the result after much back and forth was...copy by hand...we were relieved to find out that the entire argument was about that and not anything more significant.
We signed a few papers and then left the room to stand in the hallway...Dima, a sixteen year old boy that we have become friends with talked with us...Sasha, Karina's close friend came to tell Karina and us goodbye...a few minutes went by and we were given a sheet of paper that said Karina was free to go... no longer a resident of this orphanage.
We walked outside and another friend ran out to hug Karina and tell us goodbye.
Then Matthew, Sheila and Karina Nasekos walked to the iron gate that we had walked to many times in December...
only this time, we all walked through the iron gate...
... and kept walking. In the above picture Karina paused at the gate long enough for me to snap this picture... we were all so excited to go through that gate together.
What did Karina leave the orphanage with? Her parents and what you see in this picture...a coat, gloves, tennis shoes, the clothes she is wearing and a purse.
What is in the purse? Pajamas that Sheila gave her before we left in December, a notebook where she has some of her drawings, and contact information of her friends, a photo of one of her good friends, a pen and her Bible.
The above list was all the possessions she had. It is amazing to see her joy and excitement... her earthly possessions are so few...she has clothes on her back, she has her Bible, she has her parents.... we asked her if she had anything else...
"No...it is ok. It is all I need."
We hopped into a waiting car and it was off to the birth certificate office....more paperwork... then a birth certificate was issued - Name: Karina Ann Nasekos - Born: Odessa, Ukraine - Parents: Matthew and Sheila Nasekos.
Then lunch with Jay and Martha!!! How fun it was to see them again and their two boys!
Next we went to the passport office where Karina had her passport picture taken and we applied for her international passport so she can leave the country! There is at least a five day wait before we receive it.
There is so much more to write about...we will try to spend more time writing tomorrow. Today has been such a joyful day...a full day with our daughter. Through some of our meetings we have learned more of her past...how at five years and five months she first ran away from home to escape the abuse...how the state stepped in when they learned how much she was beaten...how the orphanage has been her shelter while she waited for the parents that would not beat her but love her and care for her...how she has waited seven years for us. Words and tears do not express the love and joy we feel towards Karina...today has been one of the best days of our lives... thirteen years after she was born, Karina has spent an entire day as Karina Ann Nasekos with her mom and dad. Many thoughts have gone through our minds today...one of those thoughts is how could a parent abuse and throw away a child? Karina is a precious girl...I am sorry for her biological parents...they have missed so much...I am thankful that God has given this precious treasure to us...
Dear God, thank you for this gift...and help us be good parents.