Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hope-filled goodbyes

Today we had to say goodbye...for now.  We made the tough decision yesterday to return home until court.  We thought we would receive a court date sooner than we are now anticipating due to a variety of circumstances, none of which are bad.  Just simply the road of adoption.  A road on which you quickly discover you really are not the driver, you're just a passenger in the back seat in a strange town where the language is unfamiliar and where street signs aren't always legible.  But it's okay, it's called adventure and sometimes when you peer down a side street and think, "Oh, I sure hope we're not going that way," that's precisely the turn you'll end up taking.  And then it all works out better than you could have planned, even if your plan included avoiding potholes the size of small lakes.  This adoption is one crazy ride...and ironically I think driving (or rather, riding) in Ukraine represents adoption all too well.  And ours has really been a smooth ride.  But there are still times when you feel life flashing before your very eyes.  So you quickly learn to close them.  Sometimes darkness is better.  Trusting is better.  Not easier, but better.

So we will head home beginning at 1:30am tomorrow morning when Sergey picks us up to drive us to the airport at Boryspil.  Once we have secured a court date we will make plans to return.  Once we've passed court, Adam will return home again and I will stay with the kids until we have acquired birth certificates, passports, etc. in preparation for them to become American citizens!

But today...

Today we visited the orphanage for just over an hour.  We met with Maria whom Alla had already informed of our plan.  The kids, too, had been told, but we did not know how they handled the news.  We were told they took it well, but at that point hadn't seen them to know for certain ourselves that they were okay.

After a brief discussion with Maria, we were isolated to our favorite room and the kids joined eagerly entered moments later.  We had prepared a sort of goodie bag for each of them complete with chips, orange juice, an apple, some Nutella and gum.  For an hour we played and enjoyed one another.  It was a true blessing.

Max asked when we would return to Ukraine, trying to better understand the "plan."  This process has got to be just as confusing to them as it is to us.  He was also very disappointed that we were allowed only an hour together.  We were given the hour of 11:30am-12:30pm to spend with them so at 11:45am when he asked if we were staying until 7:00pm, my heart sank more than a little.  Sweet boy just wants our "family" to be together, even if it means countless rounds of boring Uno.

At the end of the hour, we heard the door handle turn and in walked Yelena.  I was thankful to see her face because I knew she wouldn't rush us out of there, but allow us a few moments to say goodbye to the kids.  And she did.  We hugged each of them several times, shared many "I love you"s and reminded them we would be back as soon as possible.

But one thing made this goodbye beautiful.


We got to see it today in our kids' eyes.

In their eyes is a light, a sparkle, that I've not seen before.  Especially in Kate.  This is the girl that fell apart when I left her at the airport after summer hosting and the same little girl I had to leave again in January.  Today was different.  Today she was a confident girl who knows her Mom and Dad are not leaving her there to stay.  He shares that confidence knowing that we will be back in Ukraine just as soon as we possibly can.

They wait with confident expectation...of this I am sure.  Is there sadness?  Is there disappointment?  Most definitely.  But above all else they have allowed themselves to hope in what they know, to believe with certainty that we will return.

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end...

Hebrews 6:11

Today we walked away from the orphanage grounds with our own sense of hope, assured of our decision to return home and thankful for two orphans who have forever changed our lives.


The kids presented me with this notebook they received at school just a few days ago.  This one's a keeper.

The words printed on the front could not be more true with one exception...
we have entered into one another's worlds and love is both given and received.

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