Christine asked, "How did you wind up getting both girls?"
When Mike and I were empty nesters, or near- empty nesters, we met our daughter Anna. She was a foster child here in the U.S. She asked us to be her parents. We were told she asks everybody that.... :) I'm sure she did. But it pricked our hearts. All children want parents, and to have a permanent family.
After prayer and paperwork, Anna came to our home. It was FAST. We didn't realize how fast until we became more aware of the adoption world.
After Anna had been home for about a year, she asked for a sister. We told her, "If God wants you to have a sister, he'll bring one."That is when we got the email about Sarah. Sarah is in the red sweater in the above picture. This was taken in Ukraine, before we knew her. When we contacted our social worker she was so excited... "I already had you picked!" 5 days later.... we had Sarah in our home.
Sarah was from Ukraine and came with an entire entourage of people. Papa Dima, Hal from the Pentagon, just to name a couple. :) She was 5 (almost 6) After being here just 3 days, we had phone calls and I looked at her and said, "Wow, for 5 years old, you sure do know some important people!" LOL
Sarah settled in just fine, and then began to open up abit about her life. She kept telling us about this little girl that was her best friend. They used to do hair together and she couldn't bend her arms, but she could do hair! And she was nice and not mean. And she wore funny shoes. And, she was worried when I left.... I hope she is ok..... etc.
So, I called those people back who called us, for information about who this little girl could be.
I saw a picture Sarah had brought with her, and the little girl in the picture had the saddest look on a child I had ever seen. In fact, it haunted me. I could not sleep.
( I took a picture of the picture I am talking about. Sorry it isn't clearer)The picture was taken on Sarah's goodbye day. Sarah was smiling and Erika was profoundly sad.
We were given a new picture, and I had it on the desktop of the computer for Sarah to see in the a.m. She was so funny when she saw it! It's her! How did you do that mommy? HOW? :)This is the picture Papa Dima sent to us.
Then, Anna and Sarah were both jumping up and down saying "Let's adopt her, let's adopt her!"
With the information I had, I found out she was available for adoption, but Mike and I couldn't possibly be the people to do this. After all, we already raised 4 boys, then 2 girls were here and we were after all, getting older! (I was still in my 40's lol)
So we asked around, sent emails, and let everybody we knew, know about this little girl. We were told she was very sweet and a "good girl" from Papa Dima. We were also told, she was too old to stay where she was, and would be going to a terrible place on the other side of Ukraine. It was a mental asylum.
No, Erika is not mentally ill; but there were no places for her to go.
We called our pastor and told him we were concerned for her. I blurted out, "We would do it, but it is impossible! Who has that kind of money?" He very wisely said, "With God, nothing is impossible!" He was so right!
A week later, an anonymous person came to us and asked us why we were not the ones adopting Erika? I let him know that it had to do with finances.
He said, "Is that all?" IS THAT ALL? That is quite a bit!
He said, "If you'll adopt her, I'll pay for it."
So, here we go, having NO CLUE, what we were doing, got a hold of Sarah's old agency and signed up. We payed our money and then adoptions shut down in Ukraine.
However, God was bigger than all that.
7 months later, they opened back up; but only for Special needs children, older children and for those who had already adopted Ukrainian children and FILLED OUT THEIR PAPERWORK~!
Though Sarah was Ukrainian, we adopted her domestically and we were not really obligated to do the paper work. We adopted her as an American Citizen. But we felt morally responsible to do so, even though she had only been with us for 6 weeks before the first report was due. Had we not done that..... I hate to think what could have happened.
God's hand was on Erika. She was supposed to leave the orphanage the VERY DAY our intent to adopt letter showed up on the director's desk, and he emailed us right away. "Are you sure you are going to adopt?"
Erika remembers her bags were packed and then she had to go back to the baby house and she was mad. She didn't know where she was going, but she was ready to get out of that place.
The Lord had her wait 7 long months. She was sad and abit depressed because she didn't understand what was happening.
She never imagined anybody would come for her, because nobody had before. She remembered crying again and again as children left with new parents. She had no one.
The whole Ukraine trip was one of the most amazing things of our lives. We savored every minute of it. I could not believe the conditions I was seeing. I could not believe so many beautiful children could be in such sad conditions. Their little faces are forever etched into our memories.
So in answer to your question:
The Lord paved the way for us to go and get her. He is the one who made it all possible.
We are all very aware of that, and in awe of it. It never gets old. :)
And we trust that He knows what is best for us, for the rest of our lives. Will our family grow?
If He wills it, we are open. :)
LIFE IS EXCITING!
and that sad, sad little girl, has become a confident happy young lady who is about to turn 12!!!!!
And somehow, this is about as close as I think I will get to the Eifel Tower. :)
“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)