Fifteen minutes from now marks three weeks since our plane touched down in Jackson with our Ukrainian daughter.
The past three weeks have been full.
Full of firsts for Karina... and for us as parents of a teenage daughter... from another country... who does not really speak our language... who has never really had parents.
Full of trying new things... Karina tried peanut butter today... and liked it... we have tried her Ukrainian salads... and liked them.
Full of language learning... Karina has finished level one of Rosetta Stone English with a score of 100%... and let's not really talk about how far I am in my Russian studies.
Full of laughs and silliness... Karina has told us many times... "You are so silly!"... she has brought us much joy.
Full of meeting new people... Karina said she needs a book with pictures and names of all the people she has met.
Full of trips to Wal-Mart... Karina loves these trips to Wal-Mart... with our four biological children, once we had the first, many things just passed on down to the others... but when you arrive as the first teenager in a home... with nothing but the clothes on your back and a purse... Wal-Mart comes in handy.
Full of prayer... for wisdom from God... and much more.
Full of teaching... Sheila is a great teacher to all five of our children... not just school work... how to clean the house... how to cook... how to relate to parents... how things work around the house... how to relate to brothers and sister... how to....
Full of love... from us to her... from her to us... love of siblings... love of family... love of relatives... love of the body of Christ... love of friends... love of those who have been supporting us and praying for us... love of those that helped make this adoption possible... love of Christ.
Full of attempting to communicate... "How do you say this?"... "I do not know how to say this."... using many hand signals and gestures... flipping through the English-Russian dictionary... drawing... it is really amazing how many tools can be used to communicate.
Full of catching up on many things and with many people.
Full of catching up on Karina's life... we sense an urgency in her to know us and learn from us... after 13 years of life she is finally learning what it means to belong to a family and love one another and learn from one another and serve one another.
Full of amazing wonder at the work God is doing.
Yes, the past three weeks have been full.
As we look back on the past several months and as we ponder where God has brought us and what he is doing... we do have one regret.
Do we regret the months and months where almost all of our time outside of work was spent on the adoption process?
Do we regret spending five weeks away from our biological children... in a foreign land?
Do we regret emptying out our savings?
Do we regret having to make the changes we needed to make to add a teenage daughter to our family?
Do we regret doing something that causes some people to call us "that weird family" or "crazy" or "unwise" and say things like... actually, never mind... those things are not worth repeating.
We have only one regret...
We regret that we did not hear the cry of the orphan before now... that we made excuses in the past as to why we could not care for those that God cares for.
We pray that we will not miss out on the fullness God has in store for us in the future.