Your prayers are working!

We can literally feel all of your prayers friends, and are so thankful to be of concern to you.  Our despair of yesterday morning turned to resolve that God's will is good and that He knows what He is doing, which then turned to an inexplicable peace.  None of this means that we know what the outcome will be of course, and nothing tremendously different (positive or negative) has happened...we are just at peace.  We are still weighing all the potential possibilities and coming to grips with each of them as a possible reality.  Our hopelessness has turned to hope though, and our weeping has turned to patient endurance.  I am confident that this is God's Spirit at work in us and through us as a result of your prayers.  You are amazing people, and we are so blessed to have you in our immediate context.  Thank you for all you are doing, both physically and in fighting spiritually with us.  It is a battle and praise God, he has already won it.  All of this makes it difficult to want to get too close to the girls (in our heads), so that disappointment will not be so great.  Christ did not do this, he loved deeply and completely - knowing pain and joy would result.  We are resolved to do the same.  We will continue to treat these girls like daughters (Jeff kissing heads and playing energetically, and Amy hugging and talking and sharing Dahlia) until we are told otherwise.  This is risky.  The closer my heart gets knit to theirs, the more shredded it will be if it must be left behind.  But this is the only way.  How can they choose to come with us if they experience reservation from us based on what could be?  So we will live each day for the day that it is, love them deeply, and continue to pray for our hearts desire to bring them both home - albeit to an open hand as far as the father is concerned.  As far as communicating with them - they are ours until we are told different. Jeff walked into the courtyard and spotted them in the window, calling to the "My Katya, My Karina" in the worst Russian they have probably ever heard.  They did not come out right away, but this didn't stop Jeff!  He went after them and sought them out.  Amy marveled at the father's heart in him, much like the heart of Jesus.  He doesn't wait for us to come to Him, because we never would.  He seeks us out and finds us and this is what Jeff did yesterday.  And this is how our afternoon yesterday began.

The girls were pretty much the same as they have been, playful and energetic, but at arm's length with affection.  They were a bit more engaging with Jeff than with Amy this time, although they were not completely detached from her.  At times, we wanted to see how they would react to us if we moved away from them.  As we were monkeying around together, they would wander off with friends or want to go off somewhere else.  Jeff would let them go and come sit back by mama.  Within 10-20 minutes both girls were close to us again and engaging Jeff playfully again.  I think this is their only love language at the moment, and we are happy to receive it.

A new caretaker was with the girls today (due to the issues of involvement from the other caregiver in supporting and aiding the harmfulness of  grandmother).  The new caregiver spoke very good english and we spent some time talking with her.  She thought that we would be doing the right thing by pressing forward and taking them from grandmother.  That they will miss her, but it is what's best.  She was very sympathetic toward us and was kind and gentle in speaking with us about the situation.  She also told us she would try to speak to the girls on our behalf to encourage them in the good things that await them after adoption.  She says that the distance we are seeing with the girls is because they are afraid.  Amy told her, "We are afraid too.  But have to both try.  Can you help them understand this?"  She agreed to our delight and are hopeful that this new and positive influence will help us along in gaining their trust.

As we were talking with her just before heading home for the evening, Katya was telling a friend something about 20 yds away on the steps...overhearing some of the conversation, I picked up on the word "papa".  I asked the caregiver if she had just referenced me that way, to which she smiled and nodded yes.  That was a precious moment at the end of the day.  The girls had to go in to eat and do whatever they do before bed...Jeff asked them for a hug, and received a willingness to be hugged (much like Anna does sometimes - laying her back into me to be hugged), a squeeze and a kiss on the head and off they went.

We return this morning at 10 to see the girls again.  We will also be meeting with the director at some point today to discuss the next steps and goals.  I see 4 possible roads (I'm sure God is smiling at my naivete, but I have to plan ahead a little bit)... (these are in no particular order in my mind)

   1.  We fold and come home pretty much immediately and do not push on with the adoption at all.  This would be to spare them and grandma any more emotional trauma.  Possibly would spare the directors and teachers any more conflict.
   2.  We push forward with the legal paperwork and complete the adoption - bringing them both home.  This one may be accompanied with much sorrow, and Karina might feel like we took her against her will maliciously.  It could be hard to overcome that with her.  This may or may not work legally as well.  They have both signed consent forms, and depending on the judge, either do or do not have to appear before them.  If they do not, then nothing more has to be said by the girls and the process would continue on.  If they do have to appear before the judge and then don't consent - well, there you go.
   3.  Katya is ready to go; Karina (up to this point) is hesitant and has even stated that she doesn't think she wants to go.  So, do they want to split up?  Does Katya want to come even if Karina stays?  Would the authorities allow the separation if this is their desire?  It may be that we come home with Katya only. This would be a hugely difficult thing to do, but given her medical status, we believe that we couldn't leave her behind and not get her the help she needs if that is something we could do.   The hope would be that she could later influence Karina to follow by paving the way and letting her know that our family is safe and preferable...
   4.  Somehow Karina is internally persuaded that this is what she wants.  Her desires change and anticipation outweighs fear, love overcomes and they both want truly want to come home with us.  This would be the best in our minds, and what we are praying toward ultimately.

God may have something completely different in mind.  We are mindful of these options and will walk according to the revelation we have today.  Sorry we didn't get this posted last night, but we needed to spend much time on the phone with our children and were so blessed ourselves to be able to do so.

Here are more pictures of the girls from today...

Hamming it up with the girls' sunglasses; they thought it was hilarious.

Amy always has a following of children around her where ever she goes.  We wonder why it isn't Katya and Karina more often - their caregiver told that they want to, but they are also afraid.  Our presence is more threatening to them than it is to the other children I guess - so they stay at arm's length while others hover.

Katya loves to ride Jeffs back, shoulders, and head...whatever height she can climb to.  She and Levi will get along great.

Sweet young man who hung out with Amy and the baby for a long time.  

They love taking pictures of us.  We tell them to go get other pictures, but they insist on taking pictures of us.  They love photography, or just playing with the camera.  Either way it brings joy, and we are glad to bring it.

Katya here is fairly close to mama (for her) and interested in what is going on around us.  This is encouraging.

Katya and papa at it again...she loves to climb all over him.  Who needs a gym when you have a monkey!

Karina finally stopped long enough to pose for a good picture.  She usually runs from it, or gives a very silly face...I was happy to capture this one.  She is a sweetheart - and I know very torn.

Katya's favorite place in the playground!

Playing together and pausing long enough for another child to take this picture of us, a sweet one for sure, and evidence to me that bonds are being built - hopefully stronger and stronger each day.

They have a wonderful mural on one of the little kids area walls.  Here are a couple of pictures of them.  There are many more, and will serve as great memories later.

More mural...

Looks like a happy child to me.

Amy's usual crowd.  Some of the faces change, but there is always a crowd around her.  The girl in the black shirt stayed by her side most of the day.  She seemed forlorn, but Amy got her to smile some here and there and really enjoyed loving on her.


  1. Dear Ones, I missed these past three posts for some reason and now I am sitting here in my California living room crying and praying for you amazing people! God will make it clear and the little bits of peace that I see threaded through these recent posts show that to be true. He is with you and the new facilitator is a huge answer to prayer! Thank you Father!
    will continue to pray and await your updates. You are not alone!

  2. Thanks so much :) We still have a long way to go, but are trusting for the best! Up and down, left and right....feeling like we are doing the right thing and then it seems to slip away from us. Your prayers are much, much appreciated!



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