Monday, March 30, 2009

Two Months: More Laughs, More Tears and a Baptism

Today marks two months since Karina landed with us in Jackson, MS.
This journey continues to be full of laughs and tears.  It is one of the most joyous and one of the toughest things we have ever done.

Everyday Karina learns about living with her new family... 
and about living with silly boys that like to pretend that they are the green Incredible Hulk...

And like to get real muddy.

Everyday there is something we just do not understand...

Her English comprehension continues to improve with each passing day but there are still plenty of times when we do not know what the other is saying.
A few days ago Karina was told not to do something... but she did it anyway... there was a confrontation... there was confusion... there was frustration... there was tears...
"Mamma... I not understand what you say.  I not want to disobey... sometimes I not understand what you say... I sorry mamma."
"I'm sorry too, Karina.  Sometimes I do not understand what you are saying either."
I pulled out the Russian/English dictionary and we learned the word patience... much about this journey involves patience with one another.

Everyday there is something new to do...

Storey Grace needed a bath... she really needed a bath.  I turned the water on, she got in the tub and in walked Karina.  I turned to Karina and said,
"Oh, thank you Karina for bathing Storey Grace for me.  Thank you so much!"
"Daddy", replied Karina, "I cannot bathe her.  I never do that... I do not know how to do that... I have never done that."
"Do you bathe yourself?" I asked.
"Then you know how to bathe your sister."
She looked at Storey Grace, who was so excited that her sister was going to bathe her, and started the process of cleaning a very dirty little sister.
The two had a great time... Karina helping and caring for her little sister... and Storey Grace looking up to her big sister.  
There was lots of bubbles and giggles and splashing.
After the bath, Storey Grace looked up and said,
"See Karina, you can do it!"

Everyday we learn more about life in the orphanage...

"In orphanage, they use us to learn how to do things."
"They practice on you?"
"What do they do?"
"Well, people that want to cut hair will come to orphanage and practice on the orphans."
"Did you like that?"
"No, daddy!  They always mess our hair up!"

Everyday people embrace Karina...

We continue to be humbled and amazed at how so many people have reached out to welcome Karina.  Thank you for your emails and notes and gifts and food and clothes and parties!  Karina is out right now with her mom getting some much needed items with those gift cards.
One thing Karina misses is her friends from Ukraine.  Thank you for embracing her in friendship.
Parker, thanks for wanting to be a friend to Karina.
SaraCaroline, thanks for the emails... she will write you soon... she can speak easier than she can write.

Everyday we grow in grace...

Karina loves Jesus and it becomes more evident to us every day that she is growing in God's grace.  She was interviewed last week by an elder and pastor of our church and shared her testimony of faith in Jesus and her desire to join the church.
This Sunday, April 5, at the 5:50PM service at First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Karina will make a public profession of faith and be baptized!  We welcome anyone that wants to witness her baptism to join us at First Pres. Sunday night.


  1. Oh I can't wait to meet her :) I wish we were closer because we would definitely come Sunday night!

  2. Hey guys! I love the first picture, Karina is so cute.
    Say hi to her from me. God bless you my friends.

  3. WOW - Karina looks so grown up and I love her new haircut! She is so beautiful...inside and out.

    I would love to come Sun night. I will be helping minister downtown to the homeless and I am not sure if I will make it back in time. But, I will certainly do my best to get there. It would be an honor to be there.

  4. The pictures of the boys . . . I'm cracking up! You guys are just a riot! Now I want to be green and muddy too.

  5. Hi you guys! I'm gald to hear that things are going pretty well all things considering. Each thing you learn will make it easier on us when Dasha comes home in a few weeks. We've had the same experience of Dasha not understanding and know how that feels. Can't wait to catch-up!

  6. Sorry I hope that this is not out of line but in accordance with Russian tradition Karina was probably baptized as an infant and thus shouldn't be baptized again. Have you checked? In Orthodox Christianity we have a special service of adoption for children who are entering forever families post adoption, I don't have the Russian version but you can read it in English here:
    I point this out only because I know that many US Protestant's have very little exposure to Orthodoxy and often don't realize. May your family be a blessing to the world. Please forgive me, Lord Have Mercy.
    With Love in Christ-

  7. Hey, guys! PLEASE call us when you get down here. We would love to get together. Any idea when you will be free? 601-307-9415

  8. I am so excited about all the exciting things happening over there at your home. Love the pictures. If you ever need someone to translate our girls would love to. Our email is gmnealey at yahoo dot com. We are in Cali.

    Praise God that she has made a choice as a young adult that truly understands what it means to be baptized. Praise God. I will be praying as she learns who God is and how much he loves her. :D