Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Train to Kyiv

Friday we had told some of the orphans that we would return on Saturday, so after lunch we began the walk to see them.

About half way to the orphanage Karina began to slow down and the look on her face was a look of fear.  We asked her what was wrong and she said she did not want to go back to the orphanage.  We talked for a few minutes and decided that since we told some of the kids we would return, we should see them at least for a few minutes.  Karina agreed but told us that she wanted this to be the last time she goes inside the place she has lived for the past seven years.

Inside she spent time with her best friend in the hallway.  Sheila and I found some of her former classmates locked in a room with no supervision.  After a while, a teacher came to unlock the door and we spent about 45 minutes playing and talking with these children that we were leaving behind.  It only took a few minutes before the boys wanted to wrestle with me.  They climbed all over me and tried to bring me to the ground.  We wrestled until all of us were tired and sweaty.  It was great.

Then Karina was ready to go.  Sheila and Karina went ahead while I threw the boys around a couple of more times... then I heard a boy yelling at Karina… I quickly went outside to find Karina behind her mother who had the look of a fierce woman ready to protect her child… the boy acted like he wanted to beat Karina up but the moment her dad looked at him he cowered towards a door and closed his mouth.  We walked towards the iron gate and Karina said, “I do not want to come back here.  It is not a good place.”

“You do not have to come here again, dear Karina.”

Sunday was a wonderful day of worship.  In the morning we worshiped with the Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian Church of Odessa.  It was a blessing to be with these Ukrainian Christians and see the missionary families again.  The missionaries in Odessa are doing a great work and we have grown to love them.  Please keep them in your prayers as they labor for the gospel.

After the service we ate lunch and walked through the park near the church.   We worshiped at the English service that evening and the missionaries and other English speakers were able to meet the former orphan that they had prayed for just a few weeks before.  Sinclair Ferguson preached the sermon (previously recorded) and it was quite encouraging and convicting.  He used a passage from Revelation 2 regarding the church at Pergamum – believers that have become worldly – they have compromised.  Some of his examples were people that want to be a Christian but they do not want to appear too radical – they want to go to church and confess Christ but they do not want to appear “crazy” before the world.  These are the people that Jesus says must repent or he will war against them.  Jesus wants all of us… he wants us to serve him whole-heartedly.  Forgive me, Lord for so often caring more about what this world thinks of me.


After the evening service we fellowshipped with some good friends that serve as missionaries in Odessa over delicious pizza.

Monday was the day that Karina wanted to talk about her life before the orphanage. 

She wants us to know her… and to love her.

We talked for hours Monday as she described her first five and a half years of life that she remembers so vividly... she was more kind to those who abused her than the social worker was... when she was through she said,

"But there are other children that had it worse than me." 

We shed tears... we held her... we promised not to hurt her.

She said, “I know you will not hurt me.”

She told us how many times she thought she would be adopted but was not for many different reasons.  She told us about Christmas 2007 when she was told she was going to visit America but when she walked out of the orphanage to get on the bus with the other children she was told she could not go.  She was so sad.  They did not tell her why… they just said, “You cannot go.”

She watched her friends ride away in the bus and she returned inside.

We told her God was saving her for us… we would not have met her if she had come in the winter instead of this past summer.

We asked if she thought we would really come for her when we told her that we wanted to adopt her many months ago.

“I knew you would.”


Tuesday we received the call that Karina’s passport might be ready.  We waited until the passport office opened after lunch and then went in.  I told Karina that we did not have a translator and she would have to talk to the government officials.  At first she was nervous but then she began talking to them and did a great job.  After a few minutes and a few different people… we were handed a passport that read Karina Ann Nasekos… this gave her permission to travel internationally… and was her ticket out of Odessa.

She literally leaped into the air over and over as we walked  down the street.

“I am leaving Odessa.  I go home!!!!”

To say she was excited is to understate the way she was feeling.


We packed our bags, said good bye to some friends and got on the train to Kyiv.  Smiling she looked out the window and said,

“Good bye Odessa!”

We asked her if she was sad at all to leave Odessa.

“No!!  I am happy to leave.  I go home!”


She smiled and giggled… we talked and drank tea together.

Then she fell asleep… with a smile on her face...

And the train sped across the snow covered land… on the way to Kyiv.


  1. Karina is so blessed to have you two as parents. I have been following your story and I am so happy for your family!

  2. What a relief to know she is safe now and in your care. Our prayers are with you and the final steps of your journey. Hurry home!

  3. oooohhhhhh..I recognize those beautiful peach curtains in the last pic!

    I am so happy that you are on the last leg of your journey.
    We will be praying for a safe, speedy trip HOME!
    Leslie G.

  4. How blessed we all are to be children of God. Karina looks so happy and we hope that Dasha will feel the same way. Let us know when you guys get home so we can talk with you. Safe travels home!

    David & Donna.

  5. Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow! Praise Him, all creatures here below! Praise Him, above, ye heavenly hosts! Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!!! We are so thankful you are on your way home with your beautiful daughter! Tell her that SaraCaroline and Parker are hoping she will be LIT on overnight 3 with them! We love y'all...we continue to pray. to God be the glory!

  6. Dealing with the emotions is probably the hardest part of this walk. Our Polina is only none, but withing a month she was telling us stories that broke my heart. Now we think of all the other children. I am glad she is home. God Bless -