Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sometimes It Makes Me Sad

The sun was setting as Isaac, Karina and I walked from camp towards our house...
"Daddy, there are children that no one comes to see."
"What do you mean?"
"The sick children. The ones that have diseases... no one talks to them about being adopted... no one says they will think about adopting them. Sometimes parents come to the orphanage to spend time with kids to see if they want to adopt them. People do not come to see the sick kids. The other kids make fun of them and tell them that no family would ever want them because they are sick. When the other kids laugh at them and tell them this, it makes them cry. Remember V? He cries a lot. He thinks no one will ever want him....
sometimes it makes me sad."

For the rest of our walk Karina looked at the ground... her demeanor was sad... after having a family for three and a half months she is beginning to realize what she has... and what the others do not...

She thinks about the classmates she left behind and asks us every once in a while, "Do you know if someone will go get them? They need a family."
We do not know what God has in store for Karina but is encouraging to see her thinking about the needs of others and asking us to help them.

Three and a half months... how the time has flown by. Karina's English studies continue to go well. She has two more hours and she will have completed all levels of Rosetta Stone's English. Her reading, handwriting and cursive studies are going well. There are some words that she asks us to explain in more detail but we almost never consult the Russian dictionary anymore. She has learned fast.

In the process of raising support for missions, we have traveled to eleven different churches since Karina has come home from Ukraine. She has seen a lot and met many people. Some people we have met are considering adoption and it is so encouraging and exciting to see families that are thinking about and praying about adopting an orphan. You are in our prayers.

Someone recently asked me these questions:
"How did you know it was time to proceed with the adoption?"
"When do you do what is best for the orphan or what is best for your family?"

Sheila and I have been thinking about and discussing these questions as we continue to learn how to live as a family that recently adopted a thirteen year old girl from Ukraine.
How did we know to proceed?

We saw the need: Karina. A girl without a family living in an orphanage. Her future looked bleak. The statistics show that over 60% of girls become prostitutes when they leave the orphanage. About 10% commit suicide before they turn 18. They have almost no skills to be able to live and work outside of the orphanage. Karina knew Jesus. Dear missionaries had told her the good news of what God has done for us. She did not own anything but one set of clothes, a purse and a Bible. She wanted one more thing... she wanted a family.

We saw our blessings. We had a family that loved one another and Jesus Christ. In Christ, we have all that we need and God has blessed us in so many ways.

We saw God's heart: "... to care for orphans and widows in their distress...."

We saw God's provision and promises. We did not have the resources but we knew that God owns everything and that he provides for his people to answer his call in their life.

We saw the need, our blessings, God's heart, God's provision and God's promises. We had dozens of questions and even some fears... but we took the first step... and the next... and the next... and now Karina has been home for over three months.

The second question, "When do you do what is best for the orphan or what is best for your family?" really made me think about what God did for us.
We need to make sure that we loving our spouse and children and raising them in the ways of the LORD.
Part of loving them and raising them includes reaching out to others in mercy.
Mercy... it is what God did for us when he sent Jesus.
Mercy... it is what Jesus did for those he met while on earth.
Mercy... it is one of the things God calls us to do for others.
We realize now that reaching out to Karina was good for her and for our family.

God has used this adoption to grow all of us... to show us how selfish we have been... to show us sins in our life that need to be uprooted... through the struggles that came from the adoption we have seen God change us... and that is so good. What was best for an orphan God used to be best for our family... they are one and the same.

Some people have confronted, challenged and questioned what we have done.
"Is this a wise thing for you to do?"
Some are concerned about the "dangers" of bringing an older child into our family and how that could have a bad impact on our family.
There seems to be a fear that if we are not in control from day one raising a child then it is not wise to bring that child into our family.
The God we serve is bigger than that.
The God we serve is a better daddy than I am.
The God we serve can raise a child for thirteen years and then bring her into our family and it "work" better than if I had raised that child for thirteen years.
Is it wise to bring an older child into our family?
Is it dangerous?

Is it wise to ignore the cry of those in need?
Is it dangerous to ignore God's call on your life?
We believe that God is in control of all things and that he is greater than we are.
We rest in him.

We recently took a family vacation. With summer camp approaching and all the traveling we had done, our family needed a break... so we went to the beach.
I wish you could have seen Karina laughing and playing in the ocean as the waves rolled in against her, see her catch a touchdown pass as we played football in the sand, scream with delight as fish and stingrays swam around her, see her catching crabs late at night, reading books beside her mom on the beach... doing things she had never done before.

Speaking of books... a dear friend gave Karina several books in Russian and Karina has read all of them. She told us that she had only read one book in her life... one book in thirteen years. In three months with us she has read seven. She loves to read. If anyone knows of a resource for good Russian books, please let us know. She reads them as fast as we get them to her.

One day at the beach Storey Grace and I were playing... tickling each other, tackling each other, laughing, running around... I noticed Karina was just staring at us... watching everything we did. Storey Grace got tired and laid down... Karina came over and said,
"I never played with my dad... I never did anything with my dad."
She leaned over and cried in our arms.

Later on we were walking on the beach. The boys were ahead of us, stopping occasionally to splash in the waves or tell us they found a jelly fish or some kind of animal. Storey Grace was holding my right hand. Karina was behind us. Eventually Karina walked up and put her hand in my left hand. Looking at Storey Grace she said, "I never held my dad's hand."
She held tightly for the rest of our walk.

As time goes on she sees more and more the things she never did and never had... and she sees more and more what she can do now and what she has now... and she thinks of her friends still in the orphanages and she says,
"...sometimes it makes me sad..."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Help For Two Families

Two families are on their way to Ukraine to adopt and they need help with money.  They are bringing these children into their home but need help.  Can you help them?
To find out more about them you can visit their blogs:

The Hoffmann Family blog is private but you can email them at to request to see their blog:

and Fumia Family blog can be see by clicking on this: