Thursday, December 31, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
We have a Visa and we are headed home! Later this evening for you we will be picked up and our journey back home will begins. Our flight departs at 5:30 am our time, which means 9:30 pm your time.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Renee' and I are sitting in the office of a telephone company in Novograd Valenski, Ukraine, using wireless internet. We are in the middle of adopting three special needs boys from an orphanage here. Two of the boys have . Roman is high functioning, energetic and happy. Dimitri has serious mental retardation, failure to thrive, and though he is five years old, he is the size of a 1 year old. He has sores on his face, a distinct smell of death on him, and yells out if we try to do anything with him other than hold him. Because he has less ability to respond and learn, he naturally gets less attention and care from the orphanage workers in this world of limited resources. The harsh reality of the "survival of the fittest" principle is a life and death struggle that this little boy is losing fast. Our third boy Sasha, is a brilliant six year old who has Spina Bifida (the condition our son Josiah died from in 1996). He is like a learning sponge that can't get enough! He is happy and alert and thirsty for knowledge and experience. So with two of our boys, we get an immediate return on any investment we make. With Dimitri, there's not much immediate gratification. In fact, it's unknown when and if there will be a return at all. This is the kind of situation that makes the carnal, fallen, human reasoning think, "Why try? What's the point? What will this produce? What good will this do? Why not select a boy who has more potential? This looks like a lost cause.
Two days ago we drove for hours into the Ukrainian countryside to the village where Dimitri was born. We met with officials there and signed papers and answered their questions. We also went and saw Dimitri's house. The day had been long, we were still recovering from jet lag, I was beginning to really miss my six daughters at home and all the familiar things our fragile human hearts entangle themselves with in feeble attempts to feel secure. Sitting in the dark on our very long drive back to Novograd that night, the Holy Spirit began to whisper to my heart, and new understanding about redemption began to take shape.
I was thinking, "Man, adopting this little boy has been so much work. This is exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable… and it doesn't feel very rewarding right now." What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes? What if Dimitri doesn't improve at all? What if we get "nothing" out of this? Ahhh, there it was; that dark, fallen, unreedemed, selfish human love, rooted in the tree of the knowledge of "good and evil". The love the Greeks called "erao" love. The love where we treat someone as precious and treasured for what we can get out of it. This is unlike "agapeo" love, the God kind of love that treats someone as treasured and precious for their good, not for my good. It's when I love a person in order to meet their needs, having no expectation of them meeting any of my needs. At a whole new level, God is working His into my weak heart, and He's using little Dimitri to do it.
On the drive home that night, the Lord whispered in my ear, "This is Redemption. Derek, do you know how far I travelled to get you and bring you back? I had to be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick, damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.
My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can't even really appreciate or comprehend it, just like Dimitri will never comprehend or fully appreciate what is about to happen to him… but… he will live in the fruit of it. As his Daddy, I will never expect him to understand all of this or even to thank me. I just want to watch him live in the benefits of my love and experience the joys of being an heir in my family. This is how our heavenly "Papa" feels towards us.
Today, settle your busy heart down and rest in the benefits of redemption. Enjoy the fruits of His goodness, and stop trying to "pay Him back". You'll never get close you goofy little kid.
We got our passport today! As I got back on the taxi I couldn't help but cry, we are getting closer, we are going home, finally. This time the end is in sight!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Tomorrow I will be anxiously waiting to hear about the tax code. I won't lie, I feel physically ill because this has had us on the edge for almost a week.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I should let you all know that we have no tax code.
With her binky, I do think she finds comfort in it, and I am okay with her having it, when she is 4, and she understands English, we will wok on being done with it, for now, she needs it! And this is a new one I bought, the one we got from the orphanage was in rough shape, it was about to break into pieces.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Well, the tax code is not here yet. I just got an e-mail from our facilitator saying maybe tomorrow or Friday. This is not looking so good time wise, but, there is nothing we can do.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
What a wonderful day full of emotion. As Nina and I said goodbye, there were many tears. Tears from her favorite worker, who was struggling not to cry, she gave Nina a kiss and a hug, and as she walked away I saw in her face a broken heart, yet, happiness for this sweet girl. The doctor too was teary eyed, and as all the worker gathered around, I could not help but cry too.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Pray that we do get the tax code! Pray with us, then we can really get things moving!With God all things are possible, He can make this happen!
Tomorrow is a big day for us. Tomorrow is "gotcha day!"
In the morning I will go and get Nina's new birth certificate. Andy and I will be listed as her parents, her birth certificate will actually read "Nina Stumbo!"
After that, we are stopping by the tax office to check on the tax code. If we get it back, we can even apply for the passport later in the day.
From there we go to the orphanage and we get Nina!
Our translator told me she went to the orphanage today to get some pictures. She told me she got to see Nina.
"She looks differnt." She said
"What do you mean different?" I asked
"She looks different than last time I saw her, different form all the other kids"
"And why is that?"
"I can tell the difference, because she looked loved"
Yes, Nina is loved, she is loved! And that has made all the difference!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
This tax code is what keeps families here the longest. It can take a day, or weeks!
I thought we would apply for this on Tuesday, but they will try this tomorrow!
Pray, please pray!
-Pray that they are able to apply tomorrow
-Pray that the tax code is ready by Tuesday! Yes I am asking for something that is not likely, but it is not impossible! How great to pick up Nina and be able to go get her passport right away! Then we would for sure be home by Christmas!
So tonight will you pray for us? And tomorrow morning will you continue in your prayers?
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
When we first got to Ukraine, I found one of those sticker earings inside one of the books I had brought form home. I set it on the table and it stayed there until it was time to move to a different apartment. Every time I would look at it, I would think about Ellie.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Today we went to the American embassy to make sure that Andy signed all the documents that we will need before Nina and I go back home. Then tomorrow early in the morning, Andy will go back to the US.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Each time we have gotten to see Nina has been unique and different in many ways. We are getting to know each other and we work through shyness, a language barrier, and limited activities to do. Yet, we are getting to know each other, and we are really looking forward to seeing her tomorrow.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
We have a court date, it is on Thursday December 3rd at 12:30 (most of you will be sleeping!). This is where the judge will pronounce Nina to be our daughter, and she will become Nina Stumbo, what a crazy thought!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
It is 11:30 for us on Monday morning, I know most of you are sleeping.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
We are covered in prayer, we are showered in love. We know that as we travel and journey to get Nina, we have many people praying for us, lifting us up to the Father. His peace surrounds us, we are excited to go.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Girl, Born August 7, 2005
If Lera doesn't have a family committed to her adoption within the next few days, she will be sent to a mental institution where she will then be unadoptable and 'sentenced' to a crib for the rest of her life.
Here's a little about her: Lera is a gorgeous little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is 4 years old. She is quite high functioning, and doing very well. She has flat feet and a systolic heart murmur, but no major heart conditions. She is able to walk and climb, she eats by herself, dances, and understands and follows directions. She has also been transferred to the regular class, so she living and learning with her typical peers.
There's a grant of $1,000 available to the family that adopts her. It's so sad that she's run out of time. She is in RUSSIA and those are closed institutions. Here's the info about adopting from her region of Russia:
- 2 trips
- Both parents for first trip, about one week
- Both parents travel for 2nd trip, approximately 14 days (One parent may leave after the court proceedings are finalized, after about 5 days.)
- Total program and travel fees under $25k
- Fee includes a $1000 orphanage donation
- Only one child can be adopted at a time
- Married couples and single mothers may apply
Please pray for a family for Lera to come to her rescue quickly!! Are you that family?
And if you live close to us, we will help you raise the money!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I prayed that the right people would get the book. Some of you shared a little bit of your stories and I wish I could give you all a book...sigh...I only have two.
What I did was get all the names from the comments on a piece of paper, I tore them out and put them in a bowl. Ellie drew the names.
One of the winners I know how to get a hold of, the other one I do not. Please send me an e-mail so that I can get your address and mail you the book!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
1. Why did you write a book on the topic of serious childhood illness and the needs of parents of seriously ill children?
In 1982, our son was born with a serious birth defect. Immediately he was flown 700 miles away for life-saving surgery. He spent almost three weeks in neonatal intensive care. In the next five years, he had a total of seven surgeries and countless medical procedures. Because of the distances involved, we were uprooted from our family, church, support system and community. Even though our son recovered and our faith grew through the experience, I’ve never forgotten how isolated and alone we felt. When the ordeal began, I couldn’t find any books that offered the guidance and comfort I needed. For years I waited for someone to write a book for parents in similar circumstances, but no one did. Finally, I realized maybe God wanted me to do it.
2. When a child has serious illness or condition, the focus is on the child, but the parents must need support, too. What kind of support do they need?
They need logistical, financial, emotional, and most of all, spiritual support. The health care community is pretty good at helping parents negotiate the first two, but the last two require more resources than they can offer. My book and website, www.DifferentDream.com, provide parental support, but neither are substitutes for the presence of family, friends and church family. Parents need someone to sit beside them while they cry, someone to support them so they can support their sick children.
3. Friends and family often want to do something for the parents of a seriously ill child, but don’t know what to do or how to approach the parents. What suggestions do you have for them?
When offering help, be specific. Instead of saying, “Let me know what I can do to help,” say, “I’ll mow your lawn while you’re child’s sick,” or “I’ll organize meals three times a week and call with the schedule every Tuesday.” At www.DifferentDream.com, I’ve posted a three part blog series with a total of fifteen things to do for parents of sick children. The list isn’t inclusive, but it’s a great place to get ideas.
4. The outward changes in the lives of parents of very sick children are visible. But what internal changes do the parents experience? How does it affect them spiritually and emotionally?
Our culture promotes the belief that we can control every aspect of life. When a child becomes seriously ill, the delusion comes crashing down and parents begin asking questions. Why is this happening to us? How could a loving God allow children to suffer? Parents need to know their questions and feelings are normal. They need permission to question God and express their doubts. They need to know other parents have been where they are and how they survived. Otherwise, it’s very easy to blame God, to doubt the existence of a loving God, and to lose faith.
5. What about the rest of the family - siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? How are they changed? What support do they need?
One of the moms I interviewed for A Different Dream made an interesting observation. She said their daughter Beth’s struggle with cancer was hardest on the grandparents. The grandparents often felt like helpless onlookers, getting health updates secondhand, while the parents always knew what was happening and were actively involved in the treatment plan. I think that sense of helplessness afflicts all extended family members.
Siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins need to be reassured of how important their presence is to the parents. Encouraging extended family members to fill a more hands-on roll – serving as head a family prayer chain or official photographer, updating the Caring Bridge website for example – will also make them feel more like they’re doing something real.
6. One of the difficult realities of life is that not all children survive their illness. What if the unthinkable happens and a child dies? How can those parents work through their grief and recover?
Parents have to avoid isolating themselves. They have to let people in, tell them how they feel, and keep sharing as they walk through the long road of grief recovery. Certainly, if the parents are part of a church family, they should ask the pastor to help them find grief counseling. Compassionate Friends is a national organization for parents who have lost children. It has support groups all over the country. Hospice is another organization designed to help grieving families. The resources page at DifferentDream.com provides links to a number of organizations and some excellent books.
Also, parents need to realize that their healing will be slow. As one father in Different Dream said, “The grief process takes a long time. You have to allow it – instead of going after it – so let it wrap itself around you.”
7. If it’s hard to approach the parents of a seriously ill child, it’s doubly difficult to know what to say to parents who have lost a child. How do we approach them? What should and shouldn’t we say and do?
Never say, “I know how you feel,” unless you have lost a child in similar circumstances. Instead ask how you can pray for the family and make specific offers of help, like those mentioned earlier.
Also, be sure to use the child’s name when talking to grieving parents. For some reason, perhaps because we feel using a name will be too painful for the family, we shy away from using it. But every parent I spoke to said they loved to hear their child’s name. They loved to hear others tell stories about their children. So tell your stories if you have them, even if you cry while you do it.
Finally, periodically send notes or cards to the family for at least a year, especially on the child’s birthday and on the anniversary of the death. Tell them how you are praying for them and share your memories of their child. Parents need to be encouraged and remembered for months and years after the funeral.
8. If you could choose one statement of comfort or encouragement that readers come away with after reading A Different Dream, what would it be?
I want parents to know that no matter how deep their suffering and loss is, they are not alone. They don’t need to succumb to hopelessness because God understands exactly how they feel. His Son died on the cross, so He knows the pain of separation caused by the loss of a dearly loved child. He is with them, and He cares about them, especially when they feel most abandoned. They can trust Him to lead them through this hard time, until they find purpose and meaning in the different dream God has for their child.
Check out the book review at A Different Dream for My Child #2
Book trailer at A Different Dream for My Child#1
You can leave comments on any of these posts for a chance to win the book!