His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“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


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)

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Thursday, February 28, 2013


About 3 days ago, I came across a Linked In post related to Adoption.  It was so disturbing, I didn't know how to reply.  As more replies came in, I was even more disturbed.  WHY?  Because this post was written by a Social Worker who is supposed to be SUPPORTIVE of adoption!

So the gist of it was.....
She is irritated by people who have "fund raisers" to adopt children.  She said that they are trying to adopt white, newborns?    She also said that it was "ICKY", and people should only adopt if they can afford it.
She blabbered on about high costs of IA and that people are "buying children".....UGH!

She has not seen or looked into the families that I know of.... like Aaron, Hasya, Harper,
Alyssa, Alex, Dennis, and many, MANY more!  ALL who are basking in their parents' love.

I was so OFFENDED, I couldn't really reply in a nice way.  The reason for my offense? 
1. I know of NOBODY who has fund raised for a perfect, white newborn!
2. I know of NO "perfect, white" newborn available for IA.
3. She said people who don't have $$, shouldn't adopt.
4. She said that fund raising is ICKY.

The sad part..... several joined in and agreed. :(

We did not fund raise, but we WOULD HAVE, to make sure Erika came home.  Instead, another person, ANGEL payed for the costs of our adoption of Erika.

This social worker, I guess would rather she rotted in a Mental Institution for the rest of her life.

Sometimes, people don't think things through. 

I do not believe there is ANYTHING wrong with Fund Raising.  Numerous children come home because of it, including Alli!  Her 1st family fund raised, and I am GLAD they did, or she wouldn't be with us!

This lady ALSO did not think you should have a garage sale, or a pancake breakfast.  I guess, you are supposed to be independently wealthy!  As if, that were important.

All I know is, that there are SEVERAL people who have fund raised to bring little ones home, and those little ones are now in families that LOVE THEM! Isn't that what Adoption is all about?

And then the comments started coming in about adopting "American" and how they couldn't understand why anybody would "buy" a child from another country when you can get one here for free. 
I am so saddened by these comments.

Folks, PLEASE DO NOT JUDGE a person's decision to adopt from another country or Fund Raise for that adoption!
ALL CHILDREN need LOVE....and children do not know about borders......They need PARENTS!
We are all a part of the HUMAN RACE!
And the LORD USES MANY who are not called to adopt, to help those who ARE!

THAT IS PERFECTLY OK!!!! Except in the judgmental, short sighted, minds of some. :(

Erika's Fall, Mama's Worry

Mike asked if I could run some errands for him this afternoon which I LOVE to do. I like going for a little drive to pick up parts and just listen to the radio.

When I got home, to my SHOCK, I saw Erika LAYING by the large dumpster near the drive way.
She looked up at me and smiled.  Then I saw Alli and Mike fairly close by.....

He motioned for me to NOT get out of the car.  She was waving me by, like "Mom, I got this!"
I pulled up to Mike and rolled down the window.  He said, she fell and she wants to handle it all by herself.  I think we need to let her." 
I felt tears begin.... I HATE it, that things are so hard for her.  And she is such a good sport! For that I am so thankful.
She REALLY wants to do everything herself, and for the most part we let her....I mean, we did send her to Colorado to go Skiing... be still my heart!   But laying by the TRASH just hurt my heart!

So I waited in my car and Mike said, "Look in your rear view mirror"..... We both watched with Alli, as she GOT HERSELF UP!
She FIGURED OUT what to do and solved her problem by HERSELF!

We all shouted for joy and I honked the horn and waved!  

I still felt teary, but she didn't see it.  She saw me smile and wave and cheer her on, because that is what I'm supposed to do. 

But it still hurts.

Pulling In The Reigns

The last month I have been sloppy in my parenting, and allowing things to slide abit too much.  Trying to prepare for the conference, get some writing done, go to support group and bible study, had made me lazy on some things!

We typically have a  specific bedtime: 9:30, lights out.... We typically have specific meals that we spend TOGETHER, and I was letting some of those slide too much.... and honestly, things can happen so fast and digress so fast it is amazing! 
There wasn't anything particularly BAD going on, it was just more like "lazy".  Not only was MY room messy, chores weren't getting done as well as they should, I was not checking, and then, somebody who shall not be named began to sleep in her CLOTHES!  EEWWWW..... that is just not something we want to see.

SOOOOO,  Mike and I talked and said, "Time to pull in the reigns!"  That means, stop the direction you are going and get back on track!

We decided to make it fun.... I have this UNEDITED video to show.  We had a lot of fun with it.
We have been studying 2nd Kings for our devotions in the morning time, and we just finished reading about King Josiah.  He was told that the books of the law had been found and he gathered all of the people to listen to the books of the law.  After they had been read, he TORE his clothes out of distress, because they were so far away from where they were supposed to be... NOT following in the ways of the Lord!
We figured the girls would enjoy a reenactment with a twist..... "our own LAW". :)
I had no idea Daddy could be such a great actor! LOL
The interesting thing, was a few of them were NOT on board especially when we mentioned bedtimes or pj's...... but guess what!  After we turned off the camera, we all sat together and talked about the GOOD things about order..... and last night?  Everybody was in bed ON TIME, CLEAN, IN  PJ's.....AND everybody was UP ON TIME this a.m.!

Spring and Summer are coming quickly and we need to make the most of the sunshine! Planting season is upon us, and I know a particular little girl who WANTS to be a farmer! (This encouraged her to get up early this a.m.)

(you didn't see Erika in this because she was filming) :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Finding Joy In The Journey

I wrote yesterday about Adoption Fantasy vs. Adoption Reality. <---linked

Today, I'd like to follow up that post by sharing some personal experiences.  Aus and Co. commented on that post and hit the nail on the head!  Sometimes the "wheels fall off  the wagon for no apparent reason"..... and we are caught off guard.
I have two distinct stories to share from two different time periods in my life, so bear with me, as I am getting rather.... old. LOL
(This picture was taken at about 5 days old in 1981.  At 16 days old things got MUCH worse, and he was down to 2lbs. 14 oz.)

When our second son Timothy was born, I had never really entered the world of Special Needs children.  I never really KNEW anybody who had special needs as a child, except one little boy who was deaf.  I was far removed from the reality that God was about to PLUNGE ME INTO!
He had a DIFFERENT STORY for me!  It was a story of sorrow and suffering, but ONLY to bring about GREAT GOOD  and joy in my life. 
Just like Much Afraid in the allegorical book, "Hind's Feet on High Places", which I HIGHLY recommend, he gave me 2 friends.... "sorrow and suffering"....
ONLY when I LEARNED TO EMBRACE THEM, did I find that what God was REALLY trying to do in my life was bring me CLOSER to HIM and cause me GREAT JOY! GREATER than I could have EVER known, had I not walked that LONELY, SCARY PATH!

I say LONELY, because I walked it, very much ALONE. 
I was rather isolated, and there was not much support.  In fact, even one of my own parent questioned me as to whether I "ate right", blaming me  for my sons premature birth. 
We were poor, living with family, something I NEVER thought I'd have to do again.... and I was all of Twenty -Two! 
I felt, KNEW that everybody thought my life was a mess, and when I called the pastor of the church we were attending, I could sense his "uncomfortableness" with my questions.  It was like he couldn't wait to get off the phone, because I didn't fit into his "false theology". In fact, he never called me, offered words of comfort or even visited the hospital where I spent 5 hours a day and  4 hours a night, 7 days a week.

The DAY after our son had the massive Hemmhorrage that we were  told would kill him, after the gut wrenching talk with our Neonatologist, I was weak and trembling.  I had asked for a week to think, before we removed him from life support, and it was granted.  2 brain activity tests were to be done. I watched part of one of them. It was unbearable for me inside, but I wasn't allowed to fall apart.  I wasn't allowed to.
The next day, I did just that. I couldn't stop crying, so I stayed alone, and wept and cried out to the Lord, hugging my 2 year old son.  He had no idea what was going on in my heart.  But His comfort was palpable.
I stayed home from the hospital for the first time that day. I had been there EVERY DAY, day AND night to hold my son's hand, soothe him, make sure he heard my voice..... but I was told he was gone.
He was just a shell.

On the day I stayed home, at around 11:30 A.M. , I got a phone call. It was one of the female Neonatologists.  She was really a nice lady. She noticed I wasn't there.  When I came to the phone she asked me, "Why aren't you here?"  I burst into tears.  "I can't do it.  I can't come!"
I appreciated her REBUKE to me so very much.  It wasn't about me, it was about HIM!
She understood my pain, but walked me through it to the other side.... YOUR SON NEEDS YOU MORE THAN EVER NOW! resounded in my heart.   YES... HE DOES.... WHAT AM I THINKING!  There is no time to feel sorry or wallow in self pity.... MY SON NEEDS ME!
So, I pulled myself together, and drove to the hospital, full of fear, anxiety and loneliness, but at the same time, holding the very hand of God.

Those life lessons have molded and shaped me over the years through many more trials.

We have 2 choices in life.... Embrace it and walk with God, or Hide from it and be destroyed.  Why choose bitterness?  Why choose self pity? It is an AWFUL WASTE OF TIME!
I choose the first. It is much more exciting! :)

As Timothy miraculously survived, and God answered my personal prayers.... that he would KNOW he was alive and to WHOM he could worship, it was very apparent, that God had chosen for us to continue down the path of raising a very special child.
Tim was the ONLY child I knew who was "handicapped". 
It was that way for YEARS.  He was the only one at church. He was the only one who had Cerebral palsy.  He was the only one who had brain damage.
When he was 3, he attended a special needs pre school for a short time, and that was the first time I saw other children who had physical disabilities besides my own son.
2 more babies later, both born prematurely..... I found myself alone again.... I was already alone, but this time, ABANDONED alone.  I was now a single mother. Oh LORD how that hurt.
Had it not been for my precious Mama Dabba, my mother in law, I do not know what I would have done.  The Lord provided her in my life at the perfect time.  I love her so.
We went through surgeries and recoveries that were gut wrenching.  And eventually, my TIM began to walk.

All of my boys were in college or married.  In fact, we had 4 weddings and an adoption in 2 years time!
We had taken Miss Anna to a really fun party.  It was the Annual Reformation Party where there are all sorts of friends that we sometimes see only once a year, AT THAT PARTY!  She had been home for nearly a year, and was doing really well, except when she wasn't. LOL
She had looked forward to this event all week, and the day came.  Anna was not quite 6 years old.
That night, was so special.  I watched her run around with other little girls, playing HARD and just being a KID.  It was the first time I had ever seen her really RELAX and not be nervous.  She had a GREAT TIME!
The time came to go home, and she was ready.  We did the typical transition change. We are going to be leaving in 10 minutes, then 5, then 2, then it is time to leave.  She said her goodbyes to her new beloved friends and hopped in the car.
On the way home, she began to kick the back seats and scream, "I HATED IT! I DIDN'T LIKE THOSE PEOPLE!" "I DIDN'T LIKE MY FRIENDS!" "I HATED THAT PARTY!"

It caught us a little off guard.  As Aus and Co. would say, "The wheels fell off the wagon for no apparent reason!" 
BUT BACK UP..... THERE WAS A REASON!  And thankfully the Lord revealed this to us.
Our Anna had become VULNERABLE!  She had allowed her guard down and it scared her to death!
She was working VERY HARD, OVERLY HARD to put it back up.  But it wasn't working.
These times, when our children seem to be going 3 steps back...... they are getting ready to LUNGE forward.  We can either facilitate the 3 steps back by saying something ridiculous like, "because you kicked the seats you are in time out".......OR..... We can see what is really happening and nurture our children to wholeness!
We brought our little Anna into the house and immediately headed for the rocking chair. 
It was in that moment that we held her and listened and then spoke words of love into her.  "You DESERVE to have a party and have fun!  You deserved to have fun with your friends!  It was OK for you to run and laugh and play and I loved seeing you having so much fun!"

The result of that conversation?  Our little one collapsed into a pile of healing sobs.  "I really did like it mommy!"  "I really do like those people!" "I'm sorry!"
I know.  I know sweetie. It's ok.  I love you..... I LOVE YOU.....
I rocked her into a deep sleep, praying and singing over her.

Each of our children have had hard times, and come from very hard places in life.  It has been a special JOY, a DEEP ABIDING JOY to help them find the path.... and to embrace JOY in their journey... holding on to the Lord for LIFE.

I would not trade the hardships I have faced in this life for anything.... because through them, the LORD has brought me to a place of GREAT JOY in HIM.  HE is all that matters, and I trust that HE is the AUTHOR of my life.  HE is the great weaver, the great story teller, the GREAT I AM.
And it is for HIS GLORY that we live.

In the End, Sorrow and Suffering turn into Gladness and Joy!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Adoption Fantasy Vs. Adoption Reality

One need look no further than the MIRROR to see that we are ALL flawed Human Beings.

There are many who have answered the call to adoption either through prayer support, for those walking down the adoption path, through financial support, or actually adopting themselves.
We have had the great privilege of walking hand in hand with prayer supporters, financial supporters and then each other as we stepped out in faith to bring our children home.

It is a normal thing to "fantasize" about what your child is going to be like; dreaming of what their personality will be like, but  it becomes DANGEROUS, when you expect your fantasy to be REAL.

You may have fantasized  about a docile child and your child is hyperactive! You may have expected a child with long blonde hair and your child's head is shaved and her hair is dark brown. You may have expected a girly girl and gotten a tom boy, or a boy who is great in sports, but he prefers the violin! These are VERY SHALLOW thoughts, really, when it comes to bringing a child home, or even giving birth to a child.


There is NO TIME to dwell on the  "what if's"  when your child comes home with unexpected behaviors, illnesses, syndromes INCLUDING FAS, RAD, PTSD, ADHD, ODD, or any OTHER label your child can be given.... HONESTLY, the ONLY REASON to have these diagnosis, would be to help SECURE your UNDERSTANDING and COMPASSION so that you can PARENT YOUR CHILD, the CHILD GOD HAS GIVEN YOU, in the BEST WAY for THEM to SUCCEED!

Sometimes the path is HARD.... and sometimes NOT.  But there is JOY in the JOURNEY, no matter the path!  GOD FULFILLS HIS PURPOSES in our lives, weaving that Beautiful Tapestry of Life, sometimes with the fabric of tears, and sometimes with the fabric of great joy!
Sometimes that GREAT JOY comes from a child who learns, finally that they are loved, or for a child with learning disabilities, the first time they remember how to spell a word!
Sometimes joy comes when a child hugs you for REALLY REAL for the first time after, being home for years.....or when, like Erika, they call you, "My Precious Mother", "My Precious Father", from the first time they see you.
Sometimes that joy comes when your 2 year old sits up for the very first time, or when he walks without assistance for the first time at 8!  You get joy in just cheering him on!

There is NO TIME to waste in the "what if's"...... and IT IS A WASTE OF TIME!  It is also a mindset that will allow Bitterness to set into the heart, if we are not careful!

ALL CHILDREN are a blessing, and there are no perfect children! 

I would like to strongly appeal to those on the adoption journey;  ALL CHILDREN who come into your family through adoption are Special Needs Children!  And asking for a child with "minor, correctable issues" such as a cleft lip or pallet is only dealing with the physical! 
There is NOTHING MINOR, about being abandoned and living in an orphanage.  There is NOTHING MINOR about NEGLECT,  ABUSE and STARVATION, and it cannot be "corrected"!  The emotional scars of REJECTION are NOT MINOR, no matter HOW YOUNG your children come home.  Each little personality is DIFFERENT and they will handle those stresses differently!
Some will regress and be ANGRY. Some will be so fearful they cannot respond. Some will have behaviors that are downright BIZARRE, and some will come out of situations like that seemingly unscathed; but I would say that is the exception, rather than the rule!  It is up to us to LOVE OUR CHILDREN WITHOUT HOLDING BACK!
Don't WASTE years being angry because you don't think everything was disclosed to you!
You have the child that GOD HAS GIVEN YOU!  PARENT THEM! LOVE THEM!
TAKE GREAT JOY IN THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS! TAKE JOY IN THEIR BABY STEPS TOWARDS WHOLENESS..... REMOVE the PLANK from your eye, so you can see HOW to clearly remove the speck from your child's eye. 
Bitterness has NO place in the life of a parent.  It will only beget Bitterness!  PRESS ON! MOVE FORWARD! DON'T LOOK TO THE RIGHT OR THE LEFT, but KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE GOAL!  Bringing your child towards wholeness and healing!

Fantasy Land is a very dangerous place to live!

Questions and Answers

 At the end of both sessions that I taught over the weekend, I wanted to leave room for questions.
I am so GLAD that I did, because it helped me to think about those questions and also gave me a pulse for what is going on in other homes.

All of the questions were really great!  The ones that stuck out most, I would like to answer here.
There wasn't time for in depth answers or insights in just a few minutes time.

Question 1:

When parenting your adopted child, (according to emotional age or with great tenderness)  how does that go, when you have biological children in the home, who might say, "You never would have let me get away with that!)  ? 

Answer 1:  First off, you really CANNOT parent your children differently, as in having two different systems in your home.  Tenderness and unconditional love should be in place for all children.  When correcting a child, it should be private.  We do NOT discuss with one child, our discipline of another child and vice versa.  We ask our children to trust us, that we know what is best. 

If you are a family who has used physical punishment with your bio children, it may be a good idea to learn a different way BEFORE you bring your new children home.   I highly recommend the book "Heartfelt Discipline" by Clay Clarkson.  The newest version just came out this month. I do not know if it is being offered on Amazon yet, but you can get it from Whole Heart Ministries. 

I would also recommend that bio children or other children who may have been adopted and are already in the home,  feel like they are on the SAME team, BEFORE bringing home your new one. This is a FAMILY effort.  Explaining to them what to expect would be very helpful!

Question 2:

My 4 year old daughter, whom we are adopting through the foster care system has started to act out at school, and is hitting others. She is also having more meltdowns, but has not hit us at home.
What can we do?

Answer 2:

I would try to find out WHY the behavior is happening first.  Is she being bullied, or is she the bully?
Does she have a significant Anniversary time going on, that you may not know about? I would research that. 
Telling a child who hits, not to hit, is NOT enough!  They need to have tools given to them in order to change their behavior.
When our 3rd son Joseph was in kindergarten, he had a few issues with keeping his hands to himself.
His teacher and I discussed what we could do to help him and came up with a plan that we hoped would work for him. 
At home, I told him it was not ok to hit anybody when playing, even if HE was just playing or felt overwhelmed.   If he felt like he was going to hit somebody, he should put his hands in his pockets and then go and stand by his teacher RIGHT AWAY!  That would let his teacher know that he was struggling about about to hit.  She would then help him with whatever problem he had.
This method worked on the VERY FIRST DAY and we never had another hitting incident in school!

Question 3:
What about when you KNOW your child is manipulating you? (This was a little girl of 18 months)
Answer 3:
I do not think an 18 month old understands the complexities of manipulation.  They DO want what they want, and at this age, redirection is the best plan.
If they are wanting something they cannot have, you simply say, "not now" or "No" but let's do this!
And redirect them.
We cannot allow children to control us, but at the same time, we need to give our children what they need! They need those little love cups ALL filled up! When the love cup is full, manipulation goes away.

Question 4:
How do you keep out negative influences with your children as they are growing up and beginning to use more and more hand held divices like cell phones, facebook, computer, etc.

Answer 4:
That is the QUESTION  of the century for ALL parents for ALL children!
I would say it is impossible to keep bad influences away... so what we need to do is teach our children DISCERNMENT and SELF DISCIPLINE....  They need to learn the importance of responsible phone use, computer use, texting or Facebook.  Too much too soon is not a good idea. 
We keep our computer in the family room where everybody sees it. 
We have all passwords in a sealed envelope so if we ever felt the need to "snoop", we have the passwords.  No passwords? No computer. Period.
We have not come across the issue of somebody refusing a password though.
Our girls are not yet on facebook, but that is most likely coming soon.
They do not have phones either. They borrow ours if needed.
Teaching our children about the dangers of computer is very important, and not using it for internet is perfectly ok!  Especially for a child struggling with what they might find on there.

Question 5:
What about when your children come home and you didn't want "special needs" but when you get home, you find out they are both effected by FASD?

First off, EXPECT that your children will be Special Needs.  But when you are taken by surprise, as in this case, remember that many parents who give birth to children are surprised by "special needs".... Children are born with all kinds of syndromes or  diseases.  Parents are called to love their children.  Accept the children you have, and you may find a HUGE BLESSING in those special needs.  Learn how to parent a child who has FASD if what you are doing now isn't working.
Our children teach us more about life, and more about ourselves than I ever thought possible.
There is nothing that can be done to change what has happened.... but the direction you go from here, can decide if you are going to succeed or continue to feel angry.

A Sermon on Doubt

This was yesterday's sermon.  I am so thankful for our Pastor Justin's teaching!
If you click on the link it will take you to the sermon. 
It really is a must hear, based upon Luke 7:18-23. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Mike, the girlies and I headed to "The Together For Them" conference <---( link)in Houston Texas this weekend!
We had a fantastic time! 
Our friends, the Days, hosted us for  the weekend and we are SO THANKFUL for their generous hospitality!!!   It isn't easy hosting a family of SIX! ( I love Princess Laeh's glowing eyes) <<<--the dog. :)
On the way, we stopped at the "Sam Houston Memorial" and took in a little Texas History. :)

 The Conference started this a.m. at around 8:30 and went until 3:30 or 4:00.  We had a wonderful time.  Alex Krutov, Author of "Infinitely More"<--- link   was the key note speaker, and he was just precious! I wanted the girls to hear him speak. He was an orphan in Russia, adopted by Russian parents, ABUSED for 2 years by them, and then became a street kid.  He was then put in an asylum for  criminals, which he was NOT, drugged, and worse.... and finally made it out.  His story is one of TRAGEDY and TRIUMPH! A must read, or HEAR, if you ever get to hear him speak. He is just a wonderful young man, who has experienced the Mercy and GRACE of God.

 I did 2 sessions at this conference back to back... The Title was "Dare To Disciple".
 Erika was in there to take some pictures. :)
 I am so thankful to have had this opportunity!
The conference will be available online.
Thank you to ALL those who prayed for me and for the conference!

And as of tonight..... I have ZERO voice! LOL  Totally lost it and everybody around here has been thinking it is rather funny! Except for me! :)
 ONE MORE THING! Mike drove TO the Conference and Back and I am really thankful that he did!
I really felt supported all weekend. We are a good team! :)

MORE Pictures of Our Trip:

And here is a short video of Lydia, Sarah and Alli.....

So thankful for our friends the Days' for letting us invade their house! :)  It was really fun!

Friday, February 22, 2013

President's Day

 Class Presentations on President's Day were really fun.  The girls had to write a short few paragraphs on their favorite president and why he was their favorite. :)
For fun, the littles did their reports with quill pens and Ink. :)
They both worked very hard making that first LARGE old fashioned letter.

 Her Favorite President was Abraham Lincoln.
 I think Anna looks very distinguished in her new reading glasses!

 Sarah's favorite president was George Washington.

 Alli's favorite president was Abraham Lincoln.

Erika's favorite president was Abraham Lincoln also!

I would have to say mine is George Washington too.... or John Adams....I haven't been able to decide.

This weekend I will be speaking at the Together for Them Conference.   I'm looking forward to meeting some of you!
Now, if I can keep my voice, as it seems to be sounding a bit SCRATCHY...... that will be nice! LOL
Anna put together a slide show for me to put on my display table while Erika was away skiing in Colorado.  Thank you Anna for all that hard work!  Of course, she worked in a Justin Bieber song. LOL
So, here goes!  YIKES!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Ukrainian Bathroom Saga

In my previous post<---- link, I wrote about how God uses even our selfishness to bring about His purposes in our lives.  I mentioned that we used McDonald's for coffee and sometimes a bathroom, but there was a long story behind that. 

Here is that story! :)

When we picked Erika up from the orphanage, she still had her feet.  She was in braces that she could sort of walk in, but it was hard for her and she was in a lot of pain.  She would more like "slide" her feet in what she called "her bricks".  
These braces attached as high as her upper thigh, just below the buttocks.  They had straps and hinges, so you could let the tops down, but they only went to a 90ยบ angle.

Now, many of you who have been to Ukraine, know that public restrooms can consist of a porcelain hole in the ground.  It would be required that a person "squat"..... a position that I certainly have never been used to. LOL
And Miss Erika, who is unable to bend, hardly at all, CERTAINLY could not attain a position like that!

Back to the story:

We were in the Internet Cafe' near Victory Square.  It is upstairs and there was no elevator.  The handicapped are pretty much UNSEEN in this country. They are neatly tucked away in institutions out of the sight, minds and hearts of this nation. :(

We carried Erika upstairs with us and were enjoying writing to our relatives, when Erika got this look on her face and said, "Toilet"!  I'm really glad "Toilet" is the same in English and Russian! :)
But that look on her face convinced me this was urgent.  We asked her if she could wait, and the answer was "NYET!"
So, I took her to the bathroom at the internet cafe'.  It was a hole in the ground.  I struggled to try and help her over that hole but there was no way! And she said, "TOILET!" Even louder!
Ok, Ok!   I'll get you to a toilet!

So, I got her dressed again, and headed down the stairs with her.  There was a McDonald's about a Foot Ball field in length away..... I was walking as quickly as possible holding her in my arms.  She was small, but she was a bundle at 45 lbs!
It was so cold, and I was getting out of breath. We had to go up stairs into the McDonalds, and then Down a  flight of stairs to the bathroom...
There was a CODE that had to be typed in at the door, meaning you had to PURCHASE something or you couldn't use the bathroom, and oh the LINE!
A manager saw me coming back up the stairs and I must have been was terribly out of breath!
I managed to get out.... "TOILET!" 
Erika said it again! "TOILET!"
The manager quickly took us down the stairs and opened the door with the code for us..... Thank YOU Manager!
The door opened to a room FULL OF BEAUTIFUL TALL WOMEN all crowded around the mirror.... there was no room to fit in! 
Erika said, "TOILET!" 
It was like the red sea parting.... There was a stall open and we rushed in.....
I quickly got her undressed, coats off, braces pulled down...... and then..... AND THEN.......
There was this, tinkle, tinkle, tinkle..... "Spaciba!"  And a big smile. :)
I was thinking, " for all that effort can't you produce a little more?"
Nyet! It was just a tiny TINKLE???? 
So we finished up, and I carried her back up the flight of stairs and we sat on the steps of the McDonald's so I could catch my breath and not keel over from a heart attack. :)
After about 15 minutes, we went back to the Internet Cafe' and back up the other flight of stairs where Mike was happily typing away to his dad.  LOL
He looked at me and said, "Wow, what took so long!"

Monday, February 18, 2013

How God Uses Even Our Selfishness For HIs Purposes

I have wanted to share this since 2006 when I started this blog.  Our 2nd post <--- link  was all about our Trip to Ukraine.  It was more, just a series of emails.  The April 17th Email was written by Mike's Dad.  He said there was a story to tell, and I am going to tell that story today. 

We were sharing this with our Pastor Justin on Sunday and I remembered again, how God is so full of Grace and Mercy towards His children.

Mike, Erika and I were back in Kyiv on the last leg of our trip.  She had passed the American Embassy physical, and had her passport.  We had all of our adoption documents, but we were there a little longer than expected, and had to change our Air  Line Tickets.  We had one day to find the Delta Airlines office in Kyiv, but they had MOVED, and we couldn't read the door in Ukrainian that gave the new directions. 
We called the phone number feverishly, but nobody answered. Instead, we got a disconnect message. Or I think that is what we were getting.

Our translator was gone for  Easter Weekend.  We were quite comfortable when she wasn't with us, and in fact found it better for her time with us in Kyiv to be limited.  She was young and sweet, but made some errors in judgment that caused everybody struggles.  She kept purchasing gifts for Erika, and at one point had Mike carry all her luggage while she pushed Erika in the wheel chair.  Needless to say, we were a little stressed, and concerned and disappointed that her first Ice Cream cone didn't come from us, even though we had made a real request that it did.
I know this may sound silly, but we were being very careful with a very attention deprived, sensory deprived child, and we were on red alert trying to get her through without too much stimulation.
I was cooking most meals so we could just eat as a family, though we did meet with another family a few times and took walks.
Erika ENJOYED the sun and the sights. :)

I remember enjoying that Easter  Sunday morning SO MUCH, listening to the Church Bells going off all over the City, and standing on the balcony of our High Rise Apartment Building to remember the Resurrection of our Dear Lord.

After being pretty exhausted from a full day on Monday, longing for home, anxious to  be back with the girlies, I headed out to get some salsa, and ground pepper.  We were going to have scrambled eggs and toast, and I wanted some spice!  This was my "pre night shade" era where I could have SALSA!

However, Salsa is not a popular item in Ukraine.  IN fact, it was TERRIBLY expensive, so much so, that I could not justify the cost, so I decided to settle for ground pepper.
In the stores, you are not allowed to go behind the counter, you have to point for things, or say the correct word in Russian or Ukrainian. 
I waited in line and when I got to the counter I couldn't remember the word for pepper.  So, I said "salt' in Russian and then signaled "SALT....shaking  and ?? shaking my other hand hoping they would understand I wanted pepper."
She did! YEA!  But she gave me pepper corns, not ground.  So I explained with hand motions again.... doing the grinding motion. 
She got mad and kicked me out of line!  I was BOOTED!

So I went to the end of the line and tried again.  BOOTED AGAIN!
So I went to the end of the line and tried again!  I felt like I was going to cry, but sucked it up.
After all, I should have KNOWN that word, but I had left my book in the apartment.
The 3rd time, I purchased the peppercorns and figured I'd try to crush them myself.

When I got back, Erika was enjoying a luxurious bath and I started dinner.  But I couldn't get those pepper corns crused.  It was too hard and they kept shooting out from under the knife.

That is when MY window of tolerance shut and I began to cry.  Mike came in to find a hysterical wife saying, "I'M NOT COOKING ONE MORE MEAL!" "I'M NOT!"
I told him, "I want NACHOS and Jalapenos and SALSA!"  We had been SO GOOD not to go to McDonald's when there was all that wonderful Ukrainian food to be had! 
McDonald's was for coffee only, and the bathroom, but that is ANOTHER LONG STORY!<--Link

We knew there was a TGI FRIDAYS about 4 blocks from our Apartment, so we headed out.  When we arrived, the restaurant was FULL! There was no place to wait, especially with a wheel chair, but we insisted we would wait!

Then, this man's voice that was DISTINCTLY AMERICAN spoke up and said, "I'm at a table for 4 and I'm by myself, I'll move!" 
We said, "Don't Move, can we just join you?"  He said, "Sure!"
So we introduced ourselves, and he asked the obvious.... "Why are you in Ukraine!"
We explained to him why we were there, and told him all about the miracles that took place to even get there, and all the adventures we were having.

Erika entertained us with her new ability to Sing "Jesus Loves Me"..... every time she heard the word "Cheese", she'd break into song. LOL   (cheesus loves me) :)

We told him about my pepper nightmare and need for spice, and then told him we needed one more miracle.  As we explained to him our predicament about needing to change our Airline Tickets by the very next day, or we'd have to buy new ones, he was intrigued. 
"What airline are you with?"

We told him we were with Delta Airlines.   He got this huge smile on his face and said, "Well, it looks like your last miracle has taken place!"
"He then picked up his knapsack.... It said, "Delta Airlines" right on it!  He was the NEW DIRECTOR for Delta, and had been in Ukraine for 6 weeks, originally from Atlanta Georgia!

We couldn't believe it!  He pointed to a building across the street from the restaurant, and said, that is the new building. Sorry about the phones, nothing happens quickly here. LOL
And then, he said, when you come tomorrow, ask for me, I'll come out and make sure you are taken care of.
The next day, we did just that.  When he came out, he explained to the two ladies that were there what we needed.  They were so kind, and as they were looking for the best deal on tickets, both had little tears streaming down their faces; happy that Miss Erika was headed to her forever home.

I will never forget how God even used my own selfishness of not wanting to cook, to bless us so very much with one more confirmation that HE was in control, even to the point of the mean pepper lady who kept on kicking me out of line! :)
And we RESTED in HIM.

And then, about 4 hours into our second flight, my mind was numb staring at that airplane going across the sea.....:)
And I began to struggle with fear thinking, "We have no money! We have to start over after being out of business for the last 5 weeks....we now have 3 children!  Are we crazy??"
And as soon as I thought it, I confessed....."Lord, you know all things... If you can get us through Ukraine and back, while it is supposed to be closed, arrange for the details of our trip home, and provide all you have provided.....I'm SURE you will not abandon us!

When we finally made it home, it as very late.  We headed straight to bed and sort of went into hybernation.  Our ministry group  had decorated our home, filled it with food, and left all sorts of cards on the counter. 
At about 3:00 in the afternoon, I was opening cards and then found an envelope with $$.... a GIFT to us from those who love the Lord.  
And another thing was placed in my heart to remember God's Faithfulness to His Children.

And she really does love to dance. :)

Erika's Ski Trip

 Erika had a wonderful time! We were all very excited to pick her up at the airport after it was over.... We finished off her weekend by taking the family out to Chipotle, so we could just chill, sit and talk. :)

Oh MY! This girl has NO FEAR!  She went to the second highest drop off called Mary Jane and sledded down.

Here are some highlights of her trip!
 At the airport
 Take Off
 There were several staff members from Texas Scottish Rite hospital.
 Getting ready to go down.

 The cooks

 Y also goes to camp in the summer with Erika and Sarah
 Dr. Herring and his lovely wife Kathy.

 Erika and H.

 Colorado refrigerator Magnet! :)  Thank you!

You Are Still Holy