Thursday, November 10, 2011

An Anwered Prayer

This week we received Awesome Awesome news.

Since our last trip we have talked about getting Nastya into a Christian Foster Family in Transnistria. After the last update we decided to look more into what would need to be done to make this happen. We emailed Anna (Help the Children) with our thoughts. Its been a little over 2 weeks and God has answered this prayer.

Immediately Anna knew of a family that was currently fostering 2 other children Nastya's age and could possibly take 1 more. She contacted Dina and Anatoly (a pastor of a large church in Transnistria) and explained to them the situation of one day possibly being adopted by a couple in the United States; they had no reserves about meeting Nastya and took a trip to Popenki. The director informed Nastya's aunt, Alla (her only relative as well) about possibly being fostered. Although Alla has no rights to Nastya it was out of respect to include her in this decision especially after she was already under the impression that Nastya would be adopted. That day everyone met at a cafe and all agreed (Praise God) that this was in the best interest of Nastya. Nastya will spend this weekend with the family to get to know them. It will take about 2 months to complete paperwork and then she will be allowed to leave the orphanage and live with this family.

Pray for Nastya as she makes this transition. Pray for Dina and Anatoly as they take another child into their home. Thank you Lord for this precious family and for opening their hearts to one of your children yet again. Pray for Alla that she has peace and knows in her heart that she has allowed Nastya a better life than in an orphanage. Thank you Lord for Alla's change of heart towards adoption/foster care. We pray that through this all Nastya comes to know she is loved and most of all by Jesus! We pray that through all this and those who read this blog are touched and see your hand in it all. All for Your Glory! Lord, we reach out to you alone for guidance and to reveal our place in this child's life. Amen.

It's been a while! And a lot has happened!

Most of you already know that on July 12th we found out we are expecting. Yes, to answer your question, we were pleasantly surprised. I told you... A LOT has happened. We are so thrilled and can't wait for March 16th. And, by now we know that it is a GIRL!

So many of you have asked about Nastya and our plans to continue trying to adopt her. It is certainly still on our hearts and something we continue to pray about. We have had several exchanges with her since our trip that you can see below.

Here's some of whats happened over the past few months...

May 1 - ended our wait for the referral of a Moldovan child 0-5 years.

June 15 - spoke with Carolina Adoptions (another agency with a Moldovan program) about our situation and whether they would be willing to help us try and adopt from Transnistria.

July 18 - received our 1st update from Nastya since our trip. Here are some pictures and a letter from her...

August 12 Today is Nastya's 9th Birthday. Praying for her on this special day. Happy Birthday Nastya!

August 29 Today we were blessed with another update and pictures. For her birthday we put together a photo book and sent it to her. These are pictures from when she received our package.

October 20 - Today we received a letter and pictures from Nastya. In her letter she asked when we would come again. She told us she missed and loved us. Here are some of the pictures...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Since our trip...

Since our return...

We have decided to end our adoption process with our current agency for a child 0-5 years old. Things in Moldova are moving very slowly and agencies here in the U.S. will now have to be re-accredited. Not only is our paperwork pretty much just sitting in Moldova but a lot of the documents have expired and will need to be resubmitted. Our agency would not be able to resubmit our documents until they have been re-accredited. The accreditation process has not quite been established. At this point it looks like a process could be in place by late August. With all the uncertainty in Moldova we've decided to end the adoption process with our agency.

As far as Nastya goes...

We miss her so much! To us, she is already a part of our family. We are praying that God will reveal His plan for her. We will continue to be in her life by writing, visiting but most of all, praying for her. Of course we do not know the outcome of this intended adoption, however, we do know that for whatever reason, God has put this child into our lives. For now, we will have faith as we look for Him to reveal His plan.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I stared out the window of the plane pretty much the whole way from Moldova to Frankfurt. As we took off I could literally feel the distance between us and Nastya becoming greater. Staring off into the clouds I just prayed for strength -maybe God would really be able to hear me way up hear in the clouds. Why does it have to be so hard? Why do we have to go through this? Why cant we just bring her home and parent her? As my mind filled with these thoughts I remembered something I recently read..."Sometimes God likes to wet the wood (in this case, soak) before lighting it on fire. That way when it burns, all will know who did it."

When we were getting off the plane in Germany I overheard a man talking to someone in English. He had a southern accent so I asked him where he was from. He responded, "North Carolina". I asked him what he was doing in Moldova and he told me that he owned a business in Moldova and has worked in the country for years (I forget exactly how many). He then asked me what we were doing. I told him we were doing mission work and that my husband and I were trying to adopt from Transnistria. He knew of Transnistria and mentioned that he knew people whom he did work with there. He then proceeded to tell me that his business is to assist Moldovan students with getting visas to do work in the U.S. He said that he worked closely with the U.S. embassy in Chisinau (capital of Moldova) and has connections with people in immigration and visa processing. Then said, "Let me know if you need any help". My mouth was hanging open, I'm sure. I just shook my head and told him I would like to tell him more about our story. We met at the gate and talked for a while before boarding the plane to Atlanta.

Here is his website:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Good Bye

Popenki Friday

This morning we met with another legal expert. She is knowledgeable and willing to help us with the legal side of Transnistria.

Today was very windy so we decided to fly kites with the children. They had so much fun!

Nastya and Chris

In Transnistria they have a holiday called "Victory Day" -celebrating their independence from Moldova. The children in the orphanage participate in a march where each class competes. Each team/class comes up with their own uniform and they march around the court while they are judged.

Today we had to say goodbye to the children and Nastya. It was very hard to leave. The only way we were able was knowing Mason and Ryder were waiting for us at home -otherwise I think we would have stayed. The director got Nastya from her class and met us outside. We spent a few minutes saying goodbye and told her we loved her so much. We told her to do good in school and to not forget us. We told her she has 2 brothers that cant wait to meet her. We also told her that we would do everything we could to be her parents (since she already knew what was going on). She said that she would not forget us and she would wait.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Я тебя люблю (I Love You)

Popenki Thursday
Today the children did not have school so we were able to be with Nastya and her class all day.

We are grateful for all the time we had with her. When we arrived we took her class to the gym and played games/relays with the children while Mike and Chris worked on replacing light fixtures.

The children were so excited that we were back. Nastya was wearing the leggings we got for her – for the 2nd day. We spent a lot of time playing outside – the sidewalk chalk was a hit! Nastya wrote my name in Russian and drew a heart around it (1st time I cried)

Oleg and Marina met us this morning – so it was great to see them too. They will be with us tomorrow as well.

The orphanage prepared lunch for us today – it was very good.

The director offered to let us stay at the orphanage next time we come to visit. She was very appreciative of everything we were doing for the children. She allowed us to look at Nastya’s file and answered some of our questions. She told us that she was not against us adopting Nastya. She said she would miss her but that she needed a better future (2nd time I cried). She is a sweet lady.

Today Nastya asked me to take her home with me (3rd time I cried). I asked Anna to tell her that Chris and I are going to do everything we can. We told her that it could take a long time but we would not forget her and that we would keep in touch. I decided that it would be a good idea to learn “I love you” in Russian this morning. And so, I probably told her 50 times. I prayed over her and just watched her.

Of course she asked to play with my camera today and or course I let her. She took about 200 pictures. Every once in a while she would give it up to let another child take a picture of her and me.

She took me into her building and into her bedroom to see where she sleeps. When we got to the girls room she ran and grabbed her stuffed owl (we sent her 2 months ago). I was so happy to see that she got it and understood it was from our family. She showed me her bed and Betty prayed a sweet prayer over it (4th time I cried).

Her class wanted to show us a dance they learned…will post the video of Nastya dancing with her class soon.

She’s got Chris, Kari, Hello, and Goodbye down. Not bad after 3 days. Between her English, the little Russian we’ve learned and the hugs and kisses we are working it out!

She wanted to know if we would be back tomorrow. Tomorrow is our last day and we are going to have to say goodbye. Please continue to keep us all in your prayers. This is going to be hard.

Tonight we met with a legal expert in Transnistria (a friend of Mark’s). We met at her house and she was able to answer a lot of our questions. This would be a book in itself – so I’ll just say, she gave us much needed information.

Thank you for all the emails of encouragement and HOPE. God has been with us since we boarded the plane on April 29th and He’s not leaving - there’s no doubt.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Sun is Shining Down on us

Popenki Wednesday
When we arrived at Popenki this morning Nastya and her relatives were waiting in their car for us at the gate. We dropped the team off so they could start some of the projects while we went on a picnic with Nastya's family. We got into Alexander and Alla's (Nastya’s aunt and uncle) car and drove about 10 minutes to a grassy spot by the river.

Alexander wore a sweater that had an American flag on it and made sure we knew he wore it just for us (smile).

Once we were situated, Alexander unloaded a box of sticks from his car and built a fire for the chicken. Anna, Alla, Nastya and I sat on a blanket and looked at pictures of Nastya’s family. Alla showed us pictures of her family including Nastya’s mother (who died when she was 9 months old).

Chris taught Nastya how to use our camera (now she wants to be a photographer). She snapped a few pictures here and there and had everything on the camera figured out before we left. We picked flowers and Nastya demonstrated how to make a crown like the one she gave me the day before.

We learned that she loves to do crafts and work with her hands. You can give her just about anything and she’ll find something to make. For special occasions the orphanage allows a professional photographer to come to the orphanage and take pictures of the children. The children are allowed to dress up and get their pictures taken as many times as they like. Here are some of the pictures Alla gave us...

During our conversation we got the chance to ask the aunt and uncle what their plans were for the child. We did not want to bring the subject of adoption up without knowing that first – although I am sure they knew because they immediately told us they could not provide for her and give her a good future. Anna translated to us that they saw good in us and knew we had only good intentions for Nastya. They told us they would do all they could on their end to help us make this happen. We asked if Nastya would want this and Alla let us know they had already talked to her. She wants a family and likes us. I am sure Nastya understands as much as an 8 year old can about adoption. Since Nastya was informed of everything we asked that they tell her that this could take some time but we are going to do everything we can in the meantime. Alexander and Alla both want the best for Nastya and we can see that. I cannot put into words how it felt to hear them speak so highly of us.

As we were leaving Chris pointed out that the sun was shining down on our picnic. Alexander said, “God is with us”. And we looked at each other and in that moment knew, “YES HE IS!”

When we got back to the orphanage we spent time with the children for a few hours during their break. Betty and I made cross necklaces and Sang Jesus Love the Little Children. Chris and Mike drove to the nearest city, Ribnista to pick up more supplies for their projects. Anna and Kim made dolls with some of the smaller children. Before we knew it the children were back to their schedule and it was time for us to leave.

As we were getting ready to pack up, Nastya’s class walked past us on their way to the cafeteria. She ran and jumped into my arms and started telling me all her friend’s names. We were able to communicate as much as we needed. We walked together to the cafeteria. She pulled my arms down towards the ground like she wanted me to sit and motioned me to stay and wait for her to come back out. I was not sure how long she would be eating so I walked back over to the rest of the group. A few minutes later I turned around and saw her class walking towards us. She jumped into my arms again and we said goodbye. I told her I loved her very much. She didn’t need to understand English to know!