Dead Village

03/14/2012 23:40

Hey guys, this is Bill again.  Wow!!!  What a day!!!  I don't think I have ever experienced a day like today.  Never have I experienced such extreme joy and sadness in the same day.  Today we received the final approval for the adoption of our new son Viktor William DeFrees.  We are so excited and relieved to have the final approval.  Thank you so much for all the prayers and words of encouragement during this ordeal.  We can definitely feel them as we have been fighting an incredible spiritual battle.  Our son, Trent, sent me a text today that said "I'm so happy God is answering our prayers.  The prayers have been overflowing here in the States from all our friends and even people we don't know.  We'll continue to lift you guys up.  God will never set anything that you can't handle!".  Amen!!  Thanks Son!!

After we went to court to get the final adoption documents, we stopped at the market to buy food for Viktor's mother.  He has talked about wanting to take food to her and visit with her for a couple of weeks.  I really struggled with this as his mother has not visited or tried to contact him in 7 years.  I didn't understand why he wanted to see her so badly.  The next stop was a courthouse in the region which governs Viktor's village (a 2.5 hour drive) to get his new birth certificate with his name change and showing us as his parents.  This took about an hour and a half.  Then off to Viktor's village to see his mother.  We drove for about another hour or so on terrible roads/trails covered with mud, ice and snow.  There were potholes big enough to lose a small child in.  We arrived in the "Dead Village" at dusk.  I was not prepared for what I saw and what happened there.
After years of being involved in ministering to orphans, I could never understand how a parent could send their child to live in an orphanage.  I would do anything to keep my child.  How could it be better for a child to be raised in an orphanage than by his own mother?  Tonight God showed me how in the Dead Village.  When we arrived the first structure we saw was Victor's first house.  It looked like it was hit by a bomb and was barely standing.  We then drove past a building where he first went to school.  He said there are no children in the village and that they are all in orphanages.  WOW!!!  We saw a few more houses and they were in very bad shape.  There were no grocery stores, shops, convenience stores or office buildings.  Just these old dilapidated houses in the middle of nowhere.  I was shocked at what I saw.
When we arrived at Viktor's mother's house, he asked us to stay in the van as he wanted to take the food in by himself.  It was dark now and I noticed that the house was dark and told Pam and Dana that there was no electricity.  They didn't have running water and there was a shack behind the house that was the bathroom.  How could this be in the 21st century?  I had heard of living conditions like these, but had never seen it first hand.  Viktor came back to the van after about 15 minutes and asked if we could give his mother 40 grivna to pay the electric bill.  That's $5!!!  He brought the bill to me to show me how much it was.  I didn't even look at it.  He did this because each time we buy groceries or eat out I always save the receipt to track our expenses.  
I gave him the money and he went and he gave it to his mother who was now standing at the gate.  He got back in the van and I was in tears.  I then reached into my pocket and gave him the rest of the money I had in my pocket which was only 200 grivna ($25) and motioned for him to give it to her.  She started bawling like we had given her a million dollars.  Then she hugged him and swayed back and forth with him in her arms.  She held him for what seemed like several minutes.  She didn't say a word, but she held him like she knew she would never see him again.
I hated being in the Dead Village tonight, but I needed to see it.  God revealed so many things to me in the Dead Village tonight.  He reminded me how truly blessed I am!!  My children have not grown up in an orphanage.  Most importantly, He let me see my new son's loving heart as he demonstrated God's unconditional love for his mother even though she abandoned him 7 years ago. I now understand the true love of a mother who cannot provide for her son.  What pain and anguish a parent must feel to be in that position.  To feel so helpless and have no other option than to put their child in an orphanage.  It's a terrible life to be raised in an orphanage, but even worse to be raised in the Dead Village.
The road to the village from the first village. The road TO the village was even worse and was half way covered with snow.
Viktor's first home (on left)  Brick building is his first school.Viktor's mom's house.