The clock is on my Ukrainian phone that I purchased a year ago on the adoption trip. It came in so handy while working through the adoption process, it has returned twice with families adopting since we came home with Karina and will be returning next month with a family adopting. I am glad that the phone can be used to bless others.
It did not feel like a blessing when I realized I woke up four hours too early... but we will see how God uses the time.
At my last post we had not visited the orphanages yet... we have since visited the orphans twice; met with orphanage leadership; hopefully encouraged a runaway orphan; made plans to partner with and support a Christian Ukrainian non-profit ministry that is doing the orphan ministry we want to promote (we have observed and followed this ministry for over a year now and one of the goals of this trip was to finalize the partnership - more details later);
We are putting the team together now. Let me know if you will be joining us.
"What is life like for you now?"
"Are you doing well?"
"What adjustments have you had to make?"
"You smile so much and you look so happy. Why?"
"Do you like your families?"
"What problems have you had?"
"I see that they are taking care of you... they have not hurt you... they have not eaten you... you do not seem to be mistreated." Seriously, folks... this was one of the responses of seeing the girls.
They seemed very happy to see the girls. We let them know that one of the reasons we came was so that the girls could thank them. I hope to instill within all of my children a thankful heart. Even when circumstances seem bad, God's incomprehensible plan, his good plan, is being unfolded and we must thank him for the grace he sheds upon us, the people he uses to care for us, teach us, correct us and make us more like Christ. So we thanked these people for what they do and for the care they gave the girls. They seemed grateful... so grateful that I wondered how often they hear thank you from the lips of a former orphan.
"What are you doing? How are you doing? Why are you here?"
Everywhere the girls go there is a crowd of children around them staring at them, asking questions and listening with amazement at what the girls have to tell them.
I love my boys. God has blessed me with four incredible boys. Harrison, Isaac, Noah and Baby you are four of the greatest blessings in my life. I love you. I love spending time with you. I love bringing you on business trips, lunches, hunting trips. I love tickling you and tackling you. I love playing football with you. I love watching you play and swing and work and serve and help and just be boys. I love when you ask me to look at what you have done or watch you do something brave or just listen to what you have to say. I love receiving your gifts and your pictures to hang on the walls of my office. I love your personalities. I love everything about you.
There are boys that do not have what you have. There are boys that no father loves because there is no father or the father cares nothing for his child. One of the things that makes me mourn is the loss of parents that do not want their children. They miss so much. Children are a blessing and to the extent that we do not minister to children (our own or others) we miss so much of the blessing God has in store for us.
My boys... I thank you again for your sacrifice in letting us be apart for a while to spend time with boys that have no daddy.
The comments from them are the same as they were a year ago...
"I am a good boy. If I had a family I would be good."
"I pray every day for a mom and a dad."
"My birthday is coming. I am almost too old to be adopted. I do not know what is going to happen."
For my own children birthdays are great celebrations, wonderful milestones, a testimony of grace.
For an orphan a birthday is a reminder of the coming day when they will be sent to the streets...
A birthday brings them one year closer to a life of almost no hope...
A year closer to becoming a criminal...
A year closer to becoming a prostitute...
A year closer to living in the cold... searching trash cans for food, having hardly any skills to hold a job, a year closer to likely death.
It is hard to smile when talking about your birthday as an orphan. It is not a day of gifts (I have posted before about Karina's comment about gifts: "From whom, daddy?"). It is a day that marks the passage of time toward the streets.
So much more to say... I have a little while that I could sleep...
to be continued... thanks for your prayers... thanks for your support.