Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kiev, Ukraine

One year ago today Eric, Carol, and I landed in Kiev, Ukraine.  We were finally in the same country as our Dima.  The flight from Frankfurt to Kiev was awful; the smells, the lack of space, lack of sleep, etc...  but as we began our descent and I heard the pilot speaking in Russian (yes, most people still speak Russian in the Ukraine) tears came to eyes.  We made it!  I couldn't get off of that plane fast enough!

As soon as we went through immigration I began to look for Niko, the man who I assumed would be our driver set up by Reece's Rainbow.  Instead, we were met by a tall, younger, man named Eugene.  He was holding a sign that had our last name and I walked right up to him.  Eric was taken back by my boldness but this momma was on a mission!  Eugene got us loaded into his car and then we drove around for what seemed like hours.  The traffic was unreal because 1.  It was a Friday evening and 2.  Yulia Tymoshenko, former Prime Minister of Ukraine, had been arrested and there was lots of protesting going on in Kiev.  But I savored every minute of driving around.  The sights, the sounds, and the many differences from the States.  I was loving it!

We eventually made it to our apartment which would be our home for the next several days.  We walked to a little grocery, exchanged currency, and bought sausage, cheese, crackers, and cherries for our first meal.  If I remember correctly we were in bed by 7:00 p.m. and slept for over 12 hours.  Ukraine is 7 hours ahead of the eastern United States so there was some jet lag to overcome.  It was not too bad, though.

Below are some videos from that day.  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

One Year Ago

One year ago today Eric, Carol, and I were about to arrive at the Atlanta airport to board a plane that would get us across the ocean to our new son, Dima.  I will never forget the anticipation I felt as we pulled into the parking lot; my heart was pounding, I was excited, nervous, happy, sad, and everything in between.  None of us had any idea what this adventure was going to be like.  Sure, we had followed so many journeys of other adoptive families, but one thing was for sure.  Every family has a different experience.  So we knew that God had an adventure just for us.

This time last year Dima was probably unaware of what was about to happen to him.  He probably woke up like any other ordinary day and played with his friends.  Little did that boy know that he had 3 people coming to rescue him, to ransom him out of a life that offered little to no hope for him.  And now, one year later Dima has overcome so much and is about to start second grade in a regular school just like his brothers!  He has had surgery to correct a myriad of minor health issues and is doing so much better.  Even though Dima is virtually deaf in his left ear and has little hearing in his right he has been able to learn a new language and communicate his needs to us.  He is learning to love, to trust, to be a part of a family, and he fully understands that he was adopted.  He is very proud of that fact.

Over the course of a year God has taken one little boy and changed the hearts and minds of many.  God worked on a family who was embedded in ministry and challenged their faith and trust Him.  So many times over the course of our adoption process we were brought to our knees both in anguish and in awe.  Only God could have made this adoption possible.

Throughout the adoption process and bringing Dima home we have been told that we are amazing people.  No.  Eric and I are nothing, really.  We just happen to love and serve an amazing God who can move mountains.  Eric and I were just willing to say, "Yes" to Him when He asked us to do something radical for His glory.  One year later none of us can imagine our lives without Dima and can hardly remember what it was like without him.  We have learned that if you trust God in all things (and trust me, I have by no means "arrived" in this lesson!) He makes it work out and you will be able to see His hand in it all.  It may not be easy, it may cause pain, it may not make sense, and you may come up against adamant opposition.  But the only voice you need to focus on is that of God's.

Over the course of the next several weeks I will repost videos from our adventure.  Sometimes I just cannot find the words to share what it is I want to convey.  But the vast amount of videos we took will give you a very realistic glimpse of what it is like to travel overseas to ransom a child with special needs.  It is also our family's sincere hope that by once again following our journey you will see that it is the journey of a lifetime.  We were even able to catch footage of receiving our SDA papers, our very first meeting of Dima, the many, many visits, the paper chases over in the Ukraine, and then of course Dima's actual exit form the orphanage.  Enjoy and be blessed!