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.