We have an appointment date! We have been waiting on God's timing and trusting in Him, but it has been so hard. Knowing and believing that He is in control of the timing of the appointment date and believing He has everything in His hands, is easy to say, but is hard to rest in. Yet, we did rest in this because we did (do) know that God is capable of more than we can think or imagine. He constantly reminds us of this. He continues to show us how He takes care of our Ukrainian son for us. Still, we just want so badly to be with so it just makes it so hard to wait. Well, the waiting is almost over. We decided we will not blog his name until he's adopted. We've heard of reasons why we shouldn't plus we agreed to it on documents. We have never used his whole name or said where he's from exactly, but we are going to stop using his name for now. So....I'll call him "Luke" for now.
Our appointment is on January 30th at 11:00!!! Right around the corner. We need to be in Kiev on the 29th, which is my birthday!! What a great way to spend my birthday! I will NOT mention which number this is....it's quite an interesting way to spend this one. :) We plan to be there on the 28th; we want nothing to go wrong with weather, flights, etc. Better to be there a day early, ya know? We will get our stamp of approval on the 30th. This gives us permission to come to Ukraine and travel to Odessa for the purpose of adoption. On the 31st, at 4:00 - 5:00PM we pick up our referral (our YES, you can adopt Luke) and then we can head to Odessa. At least, this is my understanding.
Odessa is 5 hours away and I know most people head there by train. By car or bus it is a 5 hour trip but by train it is 10 hours. We need to decide if we are going to show up at our friend's door in the middle of the night with all our luggage and excited voices or do we wait until morning. OR.... do we fly and get there than night or fly in the morning on Feb. 1. I have prices to check on when I'm done rambling here.I was thinking of going to the college to get Luke to play hookie when we got there, but we were adviced to encourage Luke to go to classes while we are there. This is the first adoption from the boarding school-from an orphan graduate in college- and we need to keep in "good relations" during the process so that everything goes smoothly. Plus, it will lay a good foundation for future adoptions. Dad-gum, I so wanted to be selfish.
While we are in Ukraine we will be asking God to open our eyes and give us wisdom on how He wants us to start His ministry in Ukraine. We feel He is calling us to minister to the orphans who have aged out and given up on college and have no where to go. We want to give them a place to live, a place of hope, a place to learn about the love of God, the love of family, and to learn how to thrive-not just survive. We have no idea how to do this but God is leading us to contacts to teach us.
Our daughter, Dana (who will be joining us in Ukraine after her soccer season is finished-she is an coach at SA Christian HS) and her best friend, Brooke, share this passion for the forgotten teenagers of Ukraine. These friends have always had a heart for teenage girls. The ministry they feel called to do in Ukraine focuses more specifically on the girls who are no longer in the orphanage. They have started a web page called https://isaiahoaks.wordpress.com/ and will be starting a non-profit organization to begin working on what God has called them to do.
God is preparing our family for something big-huge-bigger than big. We don't know what, but we are excited to be used by Him. We are anxious to see the next page of the story He has written.
Right now we are on the edge of our seats as He is teaching us and guiding us. God's grace and love overwhelms us.
We (when I say 'we' I mean all of us...you...me....us....) are adopted by the Father who loves us unconditionally. He sent His son to come and take us home and we are so unworthy.
We love Luke unconditionally. We know him from our previous years of going to Ukraine on our mission trips and we fell in love with him. For me, it was love at first sight. We are going to go get him to bring him home and we can't wait to get to know him more.
I might want to mention that it was love at first sight for all the kids. We all feel that way. When one goes to the orphanages, God's love just pours through you to these kids. The fatherless simply soak it up. They long for His love and acceptance. Their eyes look directly into yours and search them as if to ask, "Do you accept me? Do you love me?" And when you are willing to give love and acceptance, they cling to you and hang on you and drink it up. It's the best feeling in the world to give away God's love. There are several kids that sort of claim you as their own. There is an instant, special bond. Luke is one of those kids and so are others that I can not wait to see when I am back in my second home. I'll mention more of those teenagers while we are in Odessa, complete with pictures. Bill and Dana will want to see "their kids" as well so we will be visiting a few orphanages while we are there. We cannot contain our excitement!
Please keep us in prayer as we realize the enemy will be fighting us each step of the way. Orphans are very dear to God's heart. Fighting for orphans is something the enemy does not want believers to do.