A sign, a sign!

Today started with a trip to the girls' school  to visit but also to have Katya and Karina sign letters that say that they agree to being adopted.  When we first arrived, it was clear that Karina had been crying and she was still torn over leaving Babushka.  Not only did this tear our hearts out, but it made us question whether or not we should even be here.  How can we move this child so far away from her grandmother?  We have again come to the conclusion that Babushka will never be able to care for them and instead of allowing them to be homeless one day, we need to work through the grieving process with them and hope that one day they will agree that this move was best for them.  What a hard spot to be in!

Another issue we had today was dealing with the intense preoccupation that the kids all have with our electronic devices:  the i-phone, the i-pad and the camera.  Instead of really connecting with the kids one-on-one, they were staring at machines most of the day and interacting with us much less than we would like.  So we unplugged and left all of the stuff behind in our apartment and brought frisbees and the card game UNO to play instead.  Katya was pretty ticked off about it at first, but she recovered and later we had a great time playing together with the girls and many of their friends.

The highlight of the day is shown in these photos:

We had an attorney meet with us, paperwork in hand for the girls to sign saying that they agree to be adopted.  The readily and joyfully signed!  After the tears over Babushka and the anger over no i-pad today, this was a great surprise to us, but one that we are obviously very happy about.

After this Jeff and I went out to a fabulous lunch with our facilitator, Tonya.  We have been staying in her apartment while she has stayed with her mother, but she does not live very close to the girls' school and we have had to have a driver take us everywhere we need to go for all the paper chasing and girls' visiting.  This has been getting very expensive so Tonya arranged for us to stay in the missionary quarters at the local Bible Society house.  It is located a short walk from the school and a lovely downtown area and is perfect!  The Bible House staff have been super gracious and are charging very little for our stay.  We have a large room with a bathroom, a beautiful balcony, a sitting area and a kitchen for our time here.  We'll see about taking pictures tomorrow.  Jeff and Dahlia are passed out as I write, so no pics until they wake up!

Speaking of Dahlia, she was again the Belle of the Ball today as we visited the school.  I don't care how old or how tough and teenager-y the kids are, the ooh and ahh over this precious baby!  The are absolutely fascinated with her feet.  Each and every person sees her and holds her feet and says "Malinkiye!" which I know means "small" but it must also mean "cute" because, what else would you say about a baby?
This handsome fella was one of the few people that she was happy with for very long.  It is amazing to see the longing in the faces of each and every child when they see her.  They just want to hold and cuddle her and love on her.  She is safe and easy to love and they just pour it all out on her.  Even the staff who are pleasant but a little stand-offish were passing her around and smiling from ear to ear when our facilitator was holding her so I could pay frisbee with the kids.  She is truly our little goodwill ambassador.

The kids here are just precious.  I want to tell you all about them because they have my heart in their hands.  Katya and Karina have been a bit reserved and distant with us.  They are happy to play and have fun, but very hesitant to really talk to us or show more than a split second's affection with us.  They have really taken to Jeff but are slower warming up to Dahlia and I but that is changing bit by bit.  They began calling for me today whereas yesterday they did not.  "Emmy, Emmy!" is what they would call out when they wanted to throw the frisbee to me.  I am hoping that "Mama" will be my name one day, but one step at a time!

The other kids are a hugely different story.  I get many, many hugs and hand-holding and request for walks around the campus.  We play UNO and frisbee and try talking in my broken Russian and their broken English.  It's limited to numbers and colors (very good for UNO) and "harasho" ("good" or "OK"), "sdravoytze" (a very complicated "hello") and "das vadanya" (goodbye).  Below are pictures of them.  I would take so many of them home, they are such little treasures.  I'll be praying for families for them.  They are blessings and it would be sad for parents to miss out on these little blessings.  I think mentioning names would be a no-no so I will refrain from doing that.

This sweet young lady (left) is looking through our family photo book that we brought for our court date.  The SDA, the Inspector's office, the staff at the school and all the kids all thoroughly enjoyed looking at the pictures of our family and had huge smiles on their faces as they watched our family grow through pictures.  I highly recommend any adopting family to do this.  It bypasses the language barrier and helps people to know who you are without your having to know a word of their language.  This is turned out to be the single most important thing we did in preparing to come here.

Jeff playing checkers on the i-pad with the kids in the gathering room area.

This beautiful girl was such a sweetheart and she just loved Dahlia.  I don't know how she didn't get chosen for hosting.  She has an adorable younger brother who I met as well.  Just precious kids.

Another member of the Dahlia fan club!

 This great guy has a forever family in the making!  What a blessing he will be to them :)

Extreme closeup!!!

One of my favorite little spitfires!  Lots of hugs to give, but can hold her own.

I took a walk with this cutie and she showed me around the beautiful rose garden in the courtyard as she held my hand.  She so wanted to communicate with me.  I so wish I knew the language better!

Another little sweetheart who is never too far away and loves to be hugged. 

Another cutie pie!  She has a little boo boo under her lip.  They use some kind of blue stuff for injuries here.

I just love this little guy on the left.  Such a sweetheart and so wants to be loved.  I got to kiss his boo boos today (he got hit over the eye with a ball is the best I can figure out) and wipe the blood off his arms and legs with a baby wipe I had on hand.  Such a small thing to do for a child.  Every child should have a Mama to do such things for them.  Praying that he will have a loving family one day.  There is a soft spot in my heart for him.

You can see here how the kids just love Dahlia's hands and feet!  She is such a kid magnet.

Jeff and da boyz.  I don't think we have any pics of Jeff wrestling but these guys love to wrestle and beat up on him!  Jeff has always told me that this is how they show love and once again, I have to take his word on that one. Lotta love going on when he's around...

This sweet lil man asked Tonya today if he could be adopted too.  These kids think that she has the power to magically pull a family out of a hat and so they come to her requesting this.  I sure hope he got hosted and that he can find his forever family soon.  Such a pleasure to be around. 

I love this kid!  He works hard to annoy the snot out of you to get attention and then showers you with hugs.  Played a lot of frisbee with him today.  I may have to sneak him into my suitcase.

This kid needs to be in pictures!  Maybe this will lead to his big break...

Another member of the FODC (Friends of Dahlia Club)

Can you say personality plus?  Love this silly face.

Someone must coach these kids to not smile during photos.  They are all smiles sometimes and then "click" and the smiles go.  Another sweet girl.

Another handsome fella.

Did you hear me say how much fun these kids are?  They got a hold of our camera and took lots of silly pics.  Here's just one!

Another beautiful smile, lost to the camera's gaze!

And another silly face!

This little man is a cutie and such a gentle sweetheart.  Maybe he can go in my carry-on...

Another case of the disappearing camera smile.  What a sweet face, though!

Ah!  There's a hint of a smile!
Very high concentration of cute kids here, I'm telling ya!

Exhibit ZZZZ of the cute club...

Ok, have you had enough???  Well...

The final word on cute!

Well, maybe one more:
Ok, now I'm done.  Nuff said.  See ya's tomorry!


  1. So so great to see all these amazing little faces! Breaks my heart! Thanx for sharing them with us!

  2. Stop with the pics already - you'll have the entire orphanage emptied before you know it. Wait - maybe a few more?

    Praise the Lord for the Bible House apartment - that is the Body of Christ helping meet needs. Jeffrey, now aren't you glad you did that P90X, so you were ready to rumble with da boyz?

    So proud of you both - thanks for sharing as you are.

  3. Thanks Amy for the updates! Again you are in our prayers. Praise the Lord you all are focused on God and his plans for you and the girls. They are adorable. Kolya knows a lot of the kids in the photos from camps he has been to. It is so cool that you got to hang out with the young man today for his birthday, IIya. I know he got hosted winter and I was so excited to see on the NHFC Manifest he was being hosted to adopt. Too cool is that!!!!! So glad you are having a blessed time with the kids as Joe and I did. This who experience even the rough times has been nothing short of a blessing to us. We are heading to Kiev tomorrow. Kolyas Embassy appt. is at 9:30AM Tuesday and then were heading home. He is ready to go and counting down the days. I am ready to bring him home but oh how I am going to miss this place. Love you all!!!!



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