Home Sweet Home
Home sweet Home
We declared our last day in Kiev as an official “Viktor Day”. Viktor loved this idea. We told him the night before and he had plans ready for us the next day. We were all glad that the day started off with a day of sleeping in late and even a rest/nap time. We were all exhausted. The morning started off with a very beautiful, heavy (BUT COLD) snow, which I think made us even more tired.
When we were on our way to lunch (you guessed it-McDonalds) it was still snowing and very wet out. We passed by an old lady who was lying on the ground on a piece of cardboard. She was on her knees but laying over them on to her stomach with her shaky hands reaching out in front of her, holding a cup. She had on a worn coat and gloves and just looked so cold. There are beggars everywhere you look in Ukraine. I know they are in America too, but right now I’m “in” Ukraine. There are so many old ladies who are standing there, with their little cups. Some, you can tell, are perfectly fit and can work, but most are crippled or practically folded in half and very old. It’s so sad. As we were sitting at McDonalds, we were all thinking about that lady without knowing the other was thinking about her. I can’t remember who spoke up first but I said I was thinking about the parable of the Good Samaritan but that we weren’t being the good Samaritan. We were the ones who walked right past her. We talked about options; what to do, where could we take her for the night, how could we help her. As far as we know, there are no shelters and if so, we have no idea where. When we left Mcy D’s, Bill gave Viktor money to put in the cup since Viktor likes to give to the poor. Viktor felt uneasy about it this time. He said it was because he was in Kiev. Maybe it was because she looked so pitiful. We all walked up to her and she didn’t look up….she just laid there, shaking. I started to take off my coat to put on her but Dana said she would give hers since I borrowed my coat from a friend and Dana had bought a new coat while in Ukraine. She also gave her gloves. The lady never looked up and we walked away. Viktor stood there smiling and looked like he couldn’t believe that we just did that. I don’t tell this story to say that we did something great. I tell it because I feel like we don’t do enough. There is so much to do.
Bill and I were back there later to meet a friend and the lady was gone. A half hour later she was back, without the coat, without the gloves, laying there shaking. Our friend told us it’s a business and they actually buy their places on the street to beg. We didn’t regret doing what we felt God telling us to do. Maybe she felt God’s love. Maybe it was just for Viktor. Maybe it was for someone walking by. Maybe it was just for us. We are always so overwhelmed with the hurt there. Bill keeps asking how much are we supposed to do? He says, God says to do this for the least of these. How much? It’s everywhere. It’s overwhelming. The point of this story? Hmmmm..I’m not sure. It’s just something that happened and left a big impression on us. Maybe God hasn’t finished telling us yet.
On the plane, Viktor said good-bye to Ukraine with a huge smile on his face. Then he said good-bye to Germany. He was so excited to be in America when we got to Washington. Washington immigration was a little scary for him and he was daddy’s boy again. He didn’t like flying at all but the closer he got to his new home, the more excited he got. It has been such a blessing to us to see him so relaxed and so happy. On the last plane home Viktor could hardly sit still but finally fell asleep in the last hour.
We made sure Viktor understood that there would be a whole lot of people to welcome him at the airport. We told him there would be lots of hugs and lots of photos. He was nervous about it but excited. We couldn’t wait to see our kids and hug their necks! Hugs were everywhere and people were holding up banners and posters. Viktor was being hugged and introduced to everyone. He handled everything so well. I noticed him wiping away tears once but he was all smiles. He was home.
This banner has a picture of padlocks on it. So cool. It says "Welcome home". This is the DeFrees family!
We got to our house late at night and showed him around. He loved his new room and before he went to bed, he hung up his Ukrainian flag that we gave him for his birthday. The next morning he hung up birthday cards and all his airport posters and banners.
Dana took Viktor to SA Christian School, where David was participating in a track meet and Mike was coaching. They stopped for Chick-fil-A on the way (YEA! He likes it!!!) and as they were driving, Viktor had his head out the window saying, “Beautiful! No trash!” He is loving the 80 degrees weather and so are we! He even got a little sunburned at the track meet. He got to meet a lot of people and I’m sure he was overwhelmed with it all, but he handled it great.
He is handling being part of the family very well for his first 2 days. It still catches me off guard for a split second when I see him walk into the room. I’m like, oh my gosh! Viktor’s in my house! I just can’t stop thanking God for bringing our boy to us. I can hardly believe he’s here. On the airplane, I would just look at him at see that little boy from 4 years ago and sit there in disbelief that he was finally coming home with us. God is so good.