Option 3?

Huh, Amy and I didn't really think that this one was the way it would go.  And even now, nothing has happened according to our expectations - and so I don't even pretend to think that this is final yet...but as of now, this evening, and in this moment - it would appear that we are bringing Katya home, and leaving Karina here.

We received a call at 3:20 this afternoon from Tonya who said that we would be meeting with the director and inspector in at 4pm to discuss what to do next.  They had been to grandma's house and it was time to figure out the next course of action.

We learned that they thought grandma's home was indeed very poor, but not unsuitable entirely for the girls.  They all thought it was best for them to come with us, but needed a final say from the girls.  After 20 minutes of their talking (I wish I knew more of what was said, Tonya summarizes too much for our liking!)  In a nutshell we were doing all the right things legally, and could proceed legally with both of them.  They wanted to be sure it was not going to be a problem for us later if possible and wanted resolution now rather than everything going sour at the end of the process and them wasting all of our time and money (kind of them).  They decided to call the girls in one more time...we thought, oh boy - more of the same...like didn't they hear us 5 hours ago...weren't we clear enough?!

We left the room at that point, not wanting to intimidate or influence.  They agreed that it would be better if we waited outside.  I think these things show them that we care for the girls and have their best interest in mind, and why they are all so on board with us in this thing.  The girls passed us in the entry way as we were leaving.   We had hoped to not bump into them, but oh well.

Outside we sat for at least 30-45 minutes.  Wondering what in the world was going on in there, and feeling fairly certain that nothing was different, so we would be on tomorrow evening's train.  Finally we see Karina coming out first - sobbing.  Then Katya - sobbing too.  Karina walked to a bench a little ways down from us and sat down, obscured by the trees.  Katya kept sobbing and walking all the way around the building, headed back to her room or some safe place presumably.

Tonya came out and said that during the course of the conversation the director and inspectors retrieved the truth of the matter from them both.  They both want to come.  They are both scared of grandma and pity leaving her alone.  Karina in particular so wants to say yes, but just cannot find it in herself to leave grandma behind.  So she wrote a letter of denial right then and there.  Katya on the other hand was excited and happy about the adoption and wanted to be adopted.  She also is a little concerned about leaving grandma and going against her, but is willing to risk it.  They asked Karina how she would feel about Katya leaving her behind...she replied that it would be fine.

Just before they left the room Katya began crying - not really sure why, except that the weight of her decision and all that it means for her is becoming reality.  I do not envy this child and the choice she is making - it is a brave choice and she is extremely strong to even come this far. I hope it sticks.  I fully expect she will doubt and oscillate...even after we are home, for a little while.  It will subside, and she will get the care she needs and deserves - then know she made the right choice.  As I explained to Gracie tonight on Skype, it's like trying to tell someone what something (like a tomato) tastes like.  Words cannot adequately convey the meaning like the experience of biting into it for the first time.  Katya is making a decision based on words that she has never experienced...and taking a bite out of something she must swallow, there won't be opportunity to spit it out or change her mind.  This is brave.  I pray for her courage to endure throughout this process.

We have observed that they don't seem that close relationally.  They are in the same grade and class, so do everything together, but they are not particularly protective or possessive of each other.  Grandma too, a couple of days ago had indicated that she was partial to Karina, saying that Katya will be fine to go but Karina must stay (and while the kids were both sitting with her).  I can only imagine how this made Katya feel.  We suspect and get the sense that Karina is favored, certainly by grandma, and maybe by others too.  This separation may be exactly what needs to happen in order for us to focus our full love and attention on Katya only within the context of family, rather than continuing a competition for affection and approval.

At this point, we are going to get signatures tomorrow on the required paperwork.  Tonya has to chase down one more piece of paper - a letter of separation (that allows the girls to be separated via adoption) from their home town.  She will go tomorrow to get it.  Grandmother will be notified of this and who knows, she may be glad to let Katya go and keep Karina, getting the child she prefers and allowing us to love Katya.  We hope this isn't a continuing battle with grandma, but we will see.

The children go to camp on Thursday and I wish they were going tomorrow.  This will put them about an hour and a half out of grandma's reach.  It will be good for them to have time to process and get away from the pressure, both grandma's and undoubtedly ours.  There they will have refuge from the process and the constant attention - which I'm sure they are not used to and be be getting tired of.  Not sure if we should visit tomorrow or not.  We feel like they need their space.  Katya has the things we have left her, the little treasures to remind her of us...we will release her to camp and away from grandma's influence and bring her in for the process when the time requires it.

We spoke with our Kiev facilitator Nastya (short for Anastasia).  She feels we are doing the right thing and is thankful for the fight in us to endure the bumps in the road.  She thinks it is best to take just one if we have too, especially the one who seems to be in greater need of love and attention and medicine.  It was a real encouragement to talk with her this afternoon about the situation and get her approval on what we are working towards.

We also thank God and see His hand at work as we were steered away from leaving on this evening's train.  If we had, we would have missed all of what took place this afternoon and likely on a flight by Friday.  We know God has a plan, we know it is good.  Whether we come home with anyone or not is still something I cannot confidently profess yet.  It appears that our work and our efforts here are not quite finished.  We will keep you updated of course.  Thank you all again, much love is felt and needed by each of you.  Your comments are encouraging, bring tears to our eyes as you weep with us and incite us to continue working hard for the glory of the Lord.


  1. wow what a turn of events! I was not expecting that either!! Your poor emotions must be shot! We will continue to pray for the right thing to be done and for a safe return for yall and 1, 2 or 0 extras...whatever God has in store. Stay strong, I know it must be hard. Love, Heather

  2. Amazing! I will continue to pray!

  3. Amy & Jeff....please know I love you both and you are in my prayers. Your decision is right, just and awesome in the way you are handling things and not forcing the girls to go. You know God is in control. That is the main thing. I wanted to encourage you by letting you know my friend Fred Nichols which you can find him on my FB page hosted two awesome young men through NHFC that were in the same orphanage as Kolya. They ran into the same thing. They went there for both the boys and one declined. After his brother left and time went on he realized what he let go of. Fred then returned for him. They have been home for 6 months with him in North Carolina. Fred and his wife are an awesome couple with huge hearts for kids like us. They are back here now in Lutugino adopting at the Bella orphanage a young lady. I am very excited for them. She is a sweetheart.

    So know that you have someone to talk to that has been been down your road should you want to reach out to them. I can connect you two should you want to. Just let me know!

    Love you both!!!

  4. Dear Ones,

    This must be the hardest thing you two have ever been through! My soul aches with you as you process and then get turned around again and again. Now the choices these girls make - amazing resolve from this little one.

    We'll be continuing to uphold you as you prepare for the next stages. I fully anticipate that this could work out for both of them, or for neither at this point. Keep living I Corinthians 15:58 - for "your labor is not in vain in the LORD."

    We love you -

    David & Carol

  5. I am so happy. This seems right I guess. I mean in the pictures you can tell a HUGE dif between the way the girls act with you. I know you want them both to come back but hey you are changing the life of one lucky little girl. I am so happy for you all. LOVE TO YOU, Amanda

  6. The story is not over Amy and Jeff. This may be just one of the many chapters, both good and bad, easy and hard. There may be a chance to return for her in later years. You just cannot know anything more than what is right for today. And you are totally doing what is right for today!
    Blessings on your family. I pray for supernatural rest and big chunks of peace right in the middle of chaos. God is good.

  7. Amy and Jeff, I'm so proud of you for answering God's call to 'go' and do His work. I can not imagine the roller coaster of emotions and pain each of you are having to endure. Please know that the Hinton family is praying for you and our hearts ache for you guys and those precious girls. Thank you for keeping all of us updated so we know how to pray. Stay strong in the LORD!



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