catching up blog
Warning: If you have been receiving e-mails, keeping you updated on things, then this is a repeat and I know you don’t want to re-read it! :) And remember, “Luke” is a pretend name. Also...this may be a bit choppy since I am taking parts from a few emails that have been going out.
I had mentioned before that there was a paper that the school needed to sign to basically give over rights for Luke to be adopted. They did not feel they had any papers telling them they had these rights and wanted some document to show them they had authority. There was no such paper so we asked for prayer. God heard our prayersand they signed the papers but added a little clause saying that they are signing it but they don't want to sign it. Bill and I signed a Petition to go to Court document. Along with that, Alyona turned in all the documents she has been working so hard on all this time.
I’ll skip a lot of what has been going on with the courts going back and forth and just let you know that the first court, which is in the Region of the school, denied our case last Friday. Alyona then had to submit our papers to the court that is in the region of Luke’s dorm. This court is also in the same Region as the orphanages so it was looking like it would be a done deal-no problem.
Monday night came and we got the bad news that the secretary of the judge called Alyona to tell her they were going to deny the case. Alyona spent the whole afternoon talking with the judge the next day, pleading for our case. During all this time I was posting Facebook status updates just asking for prayer. Everyone was so awesome by sending encouraging notes or even just clicking on “like” which tells me they are praying. I sent e-mails out so they could be quickly forwarded to all the prayer warriors at my work and to my family. I asked specifically for miracles and I asked for prayer for Alyona, who was on the very front line of the battle. This is a huge spiritual battle. We will not have a court date until after 2-28.
We’ve had some time with Luke and we’ve also been hanging out with another older boy I’ve known for 7 years. We’ve been witnessing to him and praying he will come to know the forgiving grace of Jesus. He came to church Wednesday night (he was sort of ... well... tricked into it) and he says he will come again this Sunday.
We took the boys to a mall last week that has arcade games along with bumper cars and bowling in it. We did the bumper cars and played some games together. That was a lot of fun! Then we all went bowling. Igor, my 6'5 or 6" Ukrainian "son", had never bowled before so Bill taught him how. Luke is really starting to bond with Bill. It's so cute. Bill calls him "my son" in Russian. Last night, Luke said, "my father" in English to Bill. This was after we were trying to Skype at the restaurant. We saw Dana on line so we tried to talk with Dana and my mom but we couldn't hear each other. Luke knows Dana already but we were telling him that was his "sistra" (sister) and "Babushka" (grandmother). He was so cute!
Igor had to take someone to the train station late that night so my friend who I’ve known for 7 years, Bill, and I had to walk Luke home from the restaurant. He has to be in his dorm by 10:00 pm and it was about 20 till and Igor was still not back, so we had to go out in the FREEEEEZING cold to walk him home. He wanted apples so we stopped at the store to buy about 10 apples. I'm sure he will have them all eaten by the time we see him today. Every time we buy him apples I think he'll have them for the week, but he eats them all that night! The walk was about 15 minutes and it was so cold. Luke and I had fun on the walk though. We sang about it being "Ochen" (very) cold and walked super fast. Then we hid behind a building and scared my friend and Bill - I almost got punched in the face. I got in trouble and was told to NEVER do that again! :)
Here is bits and pieces of the last email update I sent out this week:
We are loving our time that we are spending with him every day and we are seeing more of his personality. He is very smart and he has very strong opinions about children's rights, understandably so (he learns about them in his classes at "Lawyer College") and very strong feelings that the Ukrainian language being more "beautiful (a word he loves to say) than the Russian language. For every word he teaches us, he teaches it to us in both languages. :) He is doing very well on learning English. I have a translation app on my iPhone and we had a lot of fun talking into it the other night. Luke can be very silly and at times seems to have the maturity level of a 9 year old, but at other times, he seems extremely mature as he makes very good decisions, knows what's right and wrong, and speaks very openly about his faith in Jesus.
Saturday was an awesome day. Luke works in a group from school that does volunteer things for children. It’s a Children’s Right’s Organization. They went to an orphanage a few hours away and was going to be gone all day. Igor took Bill and me to a mall to wait at a food court (the same place we go with our team from SA Christian when we're there on mission trips). We waited for him to come back with a hand full of kids from orphanage #5 (one of the orphanages we minister to on or summer mission trips). He returned with my KOSTYA!! and 3 girls, Liza, Dasha, and Katia. Dasha and Katia are going to be adopted to Maryland. They're new parents have been in Odessa for a few weeks but left to go home. They are coming back soon so I guess they are working on their adoption process. They have 6kids. :) A young lady, Alla, also joined us for a little while. Alla and I keep in touch on FB through out the year. She sends my letters to Kostya and then sends me letters and pictures from him. A few other boys were invited to come but couldn’t for one reason or another. We'll try to go to the orphanage to visit
them all if we can. (Kostya doesn't smile in pictures because one of his teeth was knocked out this past summer :( )
After the kids had to leave to go back, Luke was back from his trip and also met us at the mall. He was starving so we fed him a huge dinner. He had a great time with the orphans and said they were very good kids. He video taped them and it was sad to see how many orphans were in this orphanage at this village. There must have been 60-100 little kids. So, so sad.
Sunday morning, Bill spoke at Oleg’s church. Bill gave a testimony of how we ended up here and how God called us to adopt by using a kid named Vlad, who I met in Ukraine several years ago. (THANK YOU VLAD!) : ) Of course, Vlad didn't know that God was using him to break Bill's heart. you never know when God is using you. You never know when God may be using your words to speak to someone. Igor translated for Bill while he shared.
A quartet sang during the service. I leaned over and whispered to Bill, "Is is strange that I know 2 people up there?" He said I knew 3, because I had met one of them at Oleg's house a few nights before. SO funny! So God! The one he was referring to was a young married mom--her husband runs the sound system. He loved Bill's talk and talked to him after church about how he felt that God was calling him to be a missionary. Two of the other people I knew that were singing are Facebook friends that I finally got to meet. Holly is one of them. She is a young lady who is a nurse and goes to clinics to minister to people in villages as others evangelize. She is an American and I found her on Facebook because she has pictures of Luke and his orphanage. She has a passion to begin a ministry to help girls choose life instead of abortions. The other lady is the pianist, who was also in pictures with Luke. Any pictures that I find from the orphanage, Luke is always with the adults who are there to minister. Also, at church, was my friend, Michael. I met Michael on my first trip to Ukraine. He was staying in the same place as our mission team. We all became instant friends with him and have visited with him on several trips. He and I met again at the mall last summer and he joined our team for dinner. He has been reaching out to my friend (the one I’ve known for 7 years) since this past summer as well.
We went to lunch at Oleg's house after church. An older lady, Deb, joined us, who is also American. Her husband teaches at a Bible Institute here and they also have a heart for the orphans. Holly and Michael (Misha) joined us as well. We had such an awesome day of fellowship and great food. Oleg passed around several photo albums for us to look through. I saw pictures of their wedding, his ministry, and lots and lots of pictures of Luke's orphanage. Oleg has known Luke for 5 years so there these adorable pictures of malinki Luke (little Luke). Luke was in the orchestra, and in Oleg and Lena's wedding album are pictures of the orchestra playing at his wedding. There are also pictures of the other boys from that orphanage standing there in their nice suits. Also present, were the elderly people at the Old Folks home where Oleg ministers. How cool is that? So awesome. I was so choked up seeing those hearts at his wedding. There were many pictures of Oleg and our boy together. Deb and Holly were also in some of the photos. As I looked around our table, I saw God's vessels. Vessels that He put in Luke's life all these years while he was an orphan. He had so many strong Christian people investing in his life, loving him, teaching him about God's love, showing him by being an example, hugging him, feeding him, bringing him clothes, helping him at his dorm at college, playing with him, bringing him into their homes, and just spending time with him. I just sat there, overwhelmed, and thanked God over and over for this. God cares so much for these children. So many feel forgotten but God has not forgotten them.
In the early evening, I received a phone call from a teenage boy who graduated from orphanage #4 last summer. His name is Andrey, he's 16 years old,and my family adores him. Andrey wanted to know where I was because he wanted to see us. He caught a "taxi" and ran for 10 minutes and met us at Oleg's house. Oleg and Lena were so sweet. They immediately got all the food back out and fed this boy who they knew had to be very hungry. We had a great visit with Andrey and I know we'll be getting together a lot with him..
Thank you again everyone for your prayers and encouragement. And thank you again, for taking care of our family at home. We love you all!!!!