180 degree change

Ok, I said no more until after the big meeting, unless noteworthy - Amy and I agree, that this next update fits the bill.  We arrived at the orphanage to a very different pair girls than what we had left the previous day.  Apparently, grandma spent a couple of hours with them and told them things that clearly set them against us.  As we approached the playground, Karina was the first to spot us...but she just ignored our presence.  She made her way to Katya, who also glanced quickly and then went back to playing without even a second look.  It was difficult to get that kind of rejection, and there was tension in the air for sure.  We still don't know what grandma said, may not ever - but she incited them to pull away from us dramatically - and they did.

God sent just the right amount of rain at just the right time...we all went into the dormitory area to find shelter.  There were 15 kids around Amy and I as we made our way to the building and they picked up Dahlia's stroller, with her in it, and hoisted her up the steps into the breezeway.  Katya and Karina had entered before us, and were still giving us the cold shoulder.  We sat downstairs and overheard two teachers talking about the situation (we can pick up very small pieces of conversation).  Ilya, our friend, told us that they were discussing that it would be good for the girls to go with us, and why all this drama from grandma.  It was good to hear they are for us and not against.

We took apples and trail mix with us today.  In the lobby, Amy handed out apples to all who wanted one...Katya and Karina were no-where to be seen; they took refuge in their room.  So I decided after 10 minutes or so to head up and seek them out.  Katya was hiding under her bed, and even after being discovered would not come out nor speak at all - as if she were invisible.  I didn't try to coax her...not one word.  I didn't see Karina anywhere, but figured she wasn't far away.  I left a blank-page art tablet and a small set of felt markers on their beds, with one apple each.  It was very quiet in the room and Katya was under her bed still while I was placing these things there for them.  I used the iphone and let the recorded voice say the phrase "this is a gift".  I then said good-bye and left the room.  It was very discouraging to be abandoned and rejected like that...grandma's words must have been very powerful.

The rain had stop by then, just a brief thundercloud...so we headed back out the playground area to hang out with the other kids and talk.  As we did, I called Tonya and let her know the situation and that it seemed things were turning for the worse.  She wasn't too worried and said we will all get together tomorrow in the meeting and sort it all out, but that she might place a call to the caregiver to see what she might be able to do (the same one from the hallway conversation above).

As we walked around the field on the crumbling and split track, I was ready to leave.  Angry and hurt, it was just time to go for me - what are we doing here anyway.  Thankfully Amy didn't agree or give into that desire and wanted to hang out with the other kids - so we did.  Maybe 15 minutes later, here come Katya, Karina, and the caregiver out to us - walking along the sidewalk in deep conversation (Katya was wearing the new clothes we bought for her).  Neither have worn the clothes we bought after returning - maybe they don't want to get them dirty or something...dunno.  We asked Ilya to tell her that we did not want her to be forcing the girls to be with us...if they did not want to be with us, they were free to go.

They stood there awkwardly and staring at the ground for a few minutes.  We tried a couple of ways to engage them, but got little response.  Finally they said hello and dawned a smirk.  I asked if they ate the apple from their bedroom, but I think they thought I was asking if they wanted another.  We didn't have any left, which seems like it was a good thing to disappoint her in this small way.  A few minutes later, I dug out the quart bag of trail-mix.  Karina received it gladly and sat down beside me.  She was so kind and generous with it - giving away handfuls to at least 6 or 7 other kiddos, and of course, her sister.  Katya digs the chocolate pieces first, then the peanuts and almonds, but didn't care for the raisins or cranberries.  Karina enjoyed all of it.

They settled into playing the U.S. states ipad game with Amy, first Katya and then Karina.  Or taking turns with others, taking pictures of each other and us.  We didn't break into the horse-play like we have on other days, but I held Dahlia so Amy could engage with them more.  Katya was sitting with Amy and showed her a chocolate covered hand from the mix.  She took a baby wipe from Amy and washed her hands and cleaned up.  A small bit of engagement that seemed huge after the rocky start.

After a couple of hours, it was time for all of the younger children to go eat lunch and take a nap.  I am pretty sure they said that they eat and then sleep - excellent idea, we are tired too.  So, as we walked around the corner of the building, we said our goodbyes and told the girls we would be back at 4pm to see them, to which we got favorable response.  I squeezed each of their hands and said goodbye, they smiled and returned the sentiment.  It was an amazing display of a 180.  We are thankful to the caretaker for caring and helping us through the circumstances, and to God for working in the hearts, and to food for speaking the universal love language!!  I think I will return with fresh cherries this afternoon!!

The caregiver told Amy "hara-shoa" (good) twice and nodded her head in approval, as if to say things went very well and this is good investment of time.  I'm so glad we did not leave during my spell of doubt and anger.

A few more pictures for you fans of the camera:

Its all about perspective - what a great reminder!

Dahlia's turn for a ride, not sure if Karina liked this or was playing along.

They love taking pictures of us...I don't mind the ones of Amy!

Ilya and the caretaker who was able to get the girls to come out to see us.  It is no exaggeration to say that they are both God-sends.  Ilya almost never leaves us and is able to communicate crucial things at crucial times, such as when we wanted to tell that girls that they did NOT have to come see us if they didn't want to, but we would be there if they wanted to stay.  I hope one day to know what the caregiver said to the girls to get them to come out, but whatever it was, it tipped the scales in our favor.

Amy playing with Katya on the ipad.

Friendly little man...we enjoy his company and he has the best smile.  Pretty cool biceps too, as you can see.

Here's my little buddy again!  We have long conversations...his in Russian, mine in English.  But it doesn't matter.  He is telling all about the world around us and I am happy as can be to listen to it all.

Words cannot adequately describe this little munchkin.  He begs, he demands, he pesters and he is always getting into things.  But I adore him!  A firm Daddy and a squeezy Mom are all he needs to get him in line.  He is just precious and full of smiles and hugs.

GQ baby!  This is another great kid that loves Dahlia and is usually nearby.  Great smile and personality too.

Had a a great time hanging out with this guy today too.  Using sign language, he told me that his mom had died and I'm pretty sure he was trying to tell me his dad was in prison.  He is wearing a New Horizons T-shirt!  He's the 2nd child I've seen wearing one.  Hope he got hosted this time around...

Katya took this picture... interest in Dahlia is a good thing - they have kept a distance from her.

Amy engaging with the children and we are glad our girls are in the mix.   We already love them immensely.

Bunch of posers.

Great picture of this sweetheart...she is very kind and gentle.  Sweet girl.

Katya and a friend.


  1. Just bring Katya's little friend above this home too. She is so cute. I would love to have her. Maybe someday! Earl is very into it now but we are just waiting til after this settle for us. LOVE you guys. Thank God for this wonderful day with the girls. Cant wait for your next post. The Wells Family

  2. Continuing to pray! Thank you for the pictures! These children are all so beautiful!

  3. I don't know if I can hold my breath any longer! What an amazing journey you both are on. .....all the emotions. Like you, I am waiting and praying for the meeting tomorrow. As you have so beautifully proven thus far, God is present in this situation no matter the outcome.

  4. oh Jeff & Amy, I am sitting here filled with so much emotion for you. God has you on such an amazing journey. These precious girls are treasures to Him and He will not leave them alone. Even as your hearts are feeling deep love, hurt, joy, confusion...God is unchanging. He knew these steps were necessary in this journey for you and your entire family...and He will carry you through. Isaiah 55:8-9 immediately comes to mind. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways." declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." I am praying for you and the girls and babushka. Soft & joyful hearts, big hugs, total trust and faith in our great big God! Amy, remember how we talked about God writing this huge story of mankind...and of our life being part of that amazing story. This chapter is all yours, McCoy family. God has the perfect answer and it will be His perfect plan coming together. Trusting God with you for the best outcome for all! (and hoping with all that I have that these two precious girls will soon be part of your sweet family!)Deep in prayer for you,
    Don & Kris Amann

  5. Thank you Amanda, Karen, Thea and Kris! Your messages are a lifeline in what can be a very lonely process. The curse from the Tower of Babel is very powerful. Not knowing the language is very isolating. Knowing that you are there and are praying for us and loving us is means more to us than words can convey. Please stay in touch as we walk through this process. Love you bunches :)



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