Great Day - mostly! Rollercoaster takes another dive....

We started out with a great day with the girls, and our guest for the day Illya (pronounce Ill-ee-ya).  He is a child eagerly expecting his family soon, and had a birthday recently.  They contacted us and asked us to do something special for him, so we took him on our day out with the girls shopping, pizza for lunch, and a pair of new shoes (what he most needed by his own account).  We thoroughly enjoyed having Ilya with us today!  He is a wonderful young man and helped us tremendously in translating with the girls when our facilitator was not there.  I asked if he could spend more time with us to help with translation when Tonya cannot be there and she said it is up to him and we are hoping that he will.

So today was fun, we shopped for a few things for the girls, found a stroller for the baby that we are basically renting while here.  We purchased it used, with a guarantee that he would buy it back for 50% of the price when we return it.  Thought that was a fair deal, so we did it.  The girls enjoyed walking the shops and picking out a few things.  They found a new outfit that we got for them, and we also found out we can exchange their clothes every couple of days for new ones, and then bring them here to wash and go through a cycle like that.  I'm not sure how much we will be able to do it, since they will likely leave for camp - about an hour away from here - on Thursday.

During the restaurant stop, it got chilly and rainy - so the girls caught a cab, while Illya and I walked back with the stroller when the rain subsided a little bit.  While there though, they ate and ate...crepes and salad and a little pizza.  We spent the entire afternoon with the girls on our turf basically.  They got to come back to the missionary apartment we are staying at and we played some games outside, tasted honeysuckle (they didn't know how to do that), and played with all kinds of things inside the missionary house - all afternoon.  The house is perfect for such an occasion. There were rooms to hide in and a guitar to play, and everything is clean and in good repair.  We had clean water, a clean bathroom, an plenty of snacks and fun.  Plus we are surrounded by God's word here and can almost sense that.  We sat in a conference room and colored or lounged on the couch with ipad games.  It was really good.  They ate and ate and ate...everything in sight.  Peanuts, snickers, salami, cheese and bread.  They drank coffee, tried grapefruit juice (they wont do that again!) and generally had a good time.  They tried on the array of new clothes that we brought for them and really enjoyed doing that with Amy.  We both connected well with them all day and it was really a good thing that had us both confident and hopeful toward the end goal of adoption....

...then we found out that grandmother was at the school waiting on us to return.  She had been there all day and looked like she would wait it out successfully - since we had to have them back by 5pm.  We got there and had rumor confirmed through some of the children that she was indeed there.  It was high drama and the entire courtyard turned their heads to watch us walk by and to face Babushka for the first time.  We went straight for her, to introduce ourselves and try to talk with her.

She was very angry and began a heated discussion with our facilitator that only an eastern European woman could pull off.  She pulled the girls close to her and was telling them something, telling Tonya something, made little Karina a wreck of tears and me too.  When all this came to a bit of conclusion for the time being, in broken  Russian I told grandmother that I am sorry.  I bent down, kissed her hand, repeated it....told her that I love her (hand signs work well), and that I love Katya and Karina as well, and that I'm so sorry for all the fighting.  She will be forcing them to make a decision it seems, rather than sending them off with consent and blessing.  This makes us sad, and unsure of how to proceed - we do not want to be the other half of the puzzle that is putting them in a tough emotional place.

If they want us to fight for them, fight we will.  If they do not want to leave, then we will come home.  The uncertainty is in the discernment of which is right.  We know what they would be choosing, so do we choose it for them - even in the midst of pain and try to convince them to come with us and play the other half of the tug of war?  How can I ask a child to choose what they want ME to do? Yes it's their future, but they know nothing of it... it is a tremendous load on our hearts and minds to make this decision for them.

The grandmother is planning to file her own papers with the child protection services in Kherson and sue (or something) the orphanage director for letting this happen.  The most sad thing about Babushka is that she is unwilling to take the girls into her home and raise them herself but won't be taken in by anyone else.  When asked about them being on the street when they are 16, she said, "So?  It happens every day."  When asked about the illnesses they have and the medicine they will need, she  said, "The government will provide me money for this.  I can get the money."  I have heard about family members coming out the woodwork when they've been absent for years and all of the sudden show up and make grandiose promises that they cannot and will not keep and talking children out of adoption.  I just never thought it would happen to us.  We asked for there to be no question about their adopt-ability and their desire for adoption before we ever filed our I-600A on the states side.  And here now we have Babushka.  She wants to see them at her whim without any responsibility and be able to leave when she is done with them.  She seems so very selfish and manipulative but at the same time, I do understand her not wanting to be without her grandchildren close by.  Even sadder is that she has other grandchildren that she does not speak to and so Katya and Karina are all she has in the way of family.  And she is going to hold onto them, even for brief and sporadic visits at the orphanage, with a death grip.

We need clear instruction from God on this.  We have been asking Him, so now we will wait patiently and expectantly for the Lord to reveal His will, and we will trust in His unfailing love and faithfulness to cause all things to work together for good.  We will stand on the Rock, and confidently allow Him to break our hearts in this situation if it means we are more useful to Him somehow having gone through it.  We will praise Him and find our strength and refuge in Him alone.  These are difficult days ahead, leading up to a potential court date.  Not sure if it will be delayed or if it will happen at all.

For now, here are some pictures of the great day we had.  I didn't get pictures of grandmother or anything - it didn't seem appropriate at the time.  Maybe things will change and she will give them blessing and a goodbye.  A sweet parting picture is my heart's desire for them...if it is not also God's desire for them, I pray that my will and emotions will conform to His.

Love to all, thank you for being here with us as we walk this road.  We covet your prayers and support....tears fill my eyes even as I write this, but I know that He is always good.

Here is Katya in the outfit she picked out and is pushing Dahlia in the stroller.  She was so proud at being a "mama" for a little while and this was the first time she had shown any real interest in the baby.  So I was really pleased with this.  There is something on the camera lens, so some of the pictures are a bit blurry.  Isn't she a cutie?

A side street between the Bible House and the kids' boarding school.

Katya hamming it up once more.

K and K and the iphone.  We were so encouraged today when they got tired of the machines very early on and spent some quality time with us afterwards.

Amy and da girlz.

The girls had been wanting tunics with leggings and so we found these cute little outfits at the outside market.  Half of the stores were shoe stores.  Did I mention before that Ukrainians LOVE their shoes?

At the pizza place where we had fabulous pizza and salads and crepes.

Inside the pizza place while Amy drank a coffee as we waited for the rain to pass.

At the Bible House where we colored in coloring books and the girls whizzed through workbooks of mazes.
Our champion translator and assistant, Ilya :)

Amy watching Karina as she played "Stack the States" on the ipad.  She will soon know all the US states, their capitals and location on the map if she is not careful.  Such a little brainiac!

Pretty silhouette of Katya at the Bible House.

Karina now pushes Dahlia in the stroller as we make our way into the school yard once more.  We are greeted by all the other kids as we enter.  They come to say hello and to gawk at the unfolding drama as we make our way to face Babushka.


  1. Oh my goodness. My heart breaks for you right now bubby. Im praying all the time for everything to be clear. Hopefully we will speak soon! You are an amazing bother and an inspiration to all you come in contact with. Be strong but know we've got your back here on the home front and are constantly lifting you amy and the girls up! All my love!

  2. I can not image the heart ache on your part or the Grandmothers. (even the girls) I am very sorry. This is not out of the Lord's hands. I will continue to pray.

  3. I don't even know what to eyes are welled up with tears as I read this. The really hard part is that the girls really have no concept of understanding what their future holds if they stay and they really have no concept of understanding what their future holds if they go with you guys. Just know that we are praying for you, for the Babushka and for those precious girls. The Lord's way are not our ways...

  4. I am brokenhearted about this situation Jeff and Amy. I can not imagine what all of you are going through right now. I also don't know what to say but please know that I am praying for ALL of you, for God's will to be done and for Him to be glorified (which He is THROUGH YOU GUYS!!!). You two are amazing and you showed SO MUCH unconditional love to those precious kids in the orphanage. No matter what the outcome is, you have def. done God's work - GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU!!

  5. I am mostly numb with bouts of emotion and tears but holding up well. I am confident that the Lord's Will, will be done, that His ways are not ours, and that we are here for a reason. Even if it is not to bring these girls back with us. Can't imagine that, but it is certainly possible. We have been able to love on these great kids and Jeff has been sharing the gospel with Tonya, who is really searching spiritually. After some conversations, she told him, "I will need you for all of this" when he helped with some answers to her biblical questions. So by no mean is this a wasted trip. But it will be so very hard to walk if away if we are called to do that. PLEASE do continue to keep us in prayer. We love you so very much for standing with us day by day :)

  6. Oh Amy and Jeff...the twist and turns of this are heart wrenching and cliff hanging. You have a throng of friends back here that are covering you in prayer. You are in the right place right now spiritually and physically, whatever the outcome turns out to be. I will pray for babushka's heart and the softening of it.
    Thank you again so much for blogging and letting us know of the small details that we can pray for and give praise for. I will also pray that you have answers soon.

    In awe of it all,



Popular Posts

Our Family

Our Family
We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Subscribe via Email