Thursday, January 29, 2015
Yes! It really is me writing a blog post. I'm coming out of the fog of post-adoption, and feeling refreshed and rejuvenated by the Lord. So, what better thing to do than try to finish up some blogging about our time in Ukraine and the adoption of our wonderful new son?!
Andrew is doing great, and I can't wait to tell you more about this special boy, but first, I'd like to share some things that God has been showing me over the past few days.
It was Sunday morning and I was praying for our church body. As I prayed, the Lord kept bringing to mind the story of Esther.
Esther was a simple Jewish woman, who miraculously became queen. While she was queen, it came to her attention that a plot was being formed against the Jewish people, which would mean certain death for all of them. She therefore had a choice to make. She could keep her identity secret, or she could risk her own life for the sake of her people. Her cousin, Mordecai, explained, "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
For such a time as this.
The same could be said of each one of us: we were born for such a time as this. God formed you and He formed me at the very hour that our presence was needed most in this world. He chose us for this world, and the timing of that choice was not irrelevant. We may never need to make a decision that could mean the obliteration or salvation of a whole race of people, but we still have decisions to make. Ultimately (for both Esther and for us) the decision is whether or not we will choose to bring glory to the name of our precious God, no matter the cost.
On that particular morning, I knew that the decision, though not so obviously life-altering as Queen Esther's, was just as important. I was getting ready for worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Would I choose to worship him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength? Would I truly give myself, in a sacrifice of praise? That was choice that was set before me. It was simple, really. I was on this earth at this time and in this place for a reason, and that reason was to glorify my Creator God.
When I arrived at church a brother shared this scripture:
"As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen: 'Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!' But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' He answered, 'I tell you, if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!'" Luke 19:37-40
Friends, my heart was pierced...the very stones would cry out!!!
Not only did my precious Father share with me intimately about the purpose of my life that morning, but He let me know that if I did not choose that purpose, He would have to ask the stones to take my place. Oh God in Heaven, may it never be so! Don't let the stones take my place!
I want to be a worshiper.
I want to give God glory.
I want to fulfill my purpose in this time and in this place.
I was born for such a time as this.
And dear ones, you were born for such a time, as well.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
A few months ago, David and I were talking about options for middle names for our new son. I had been reading a number of books by Andrew Murray and was encouraged by his love for the Lord and his ability to share the heart of God with others. Also, Andrew (or Andre) was a name that fit in with our son's cultural background, so it seemed a good choice.
Without any prior knowledge of what we had been thinking, Yana mused out loud a few weeks later, "I think that Sergey's middle name should be Andrew, after Brother Andrew."
Wow. That felt like a confirmation that we should choose the name Andrew.
On the other hand, we also wanted to honor my dad, by using George as a middle name. Yet it ,wasn't only my earthly father who was named George; my spiritual father's name was George, as well. George Muller is one of my all-time heroes of the faith, and I loved the idea of naming my son after him.
We therefore had a bit of a dilemma that was not solved before our first trip to Ukraine. So when our regional facilitator, Yana, asked about Sergey's new legal name, we weren't sure how to respond. She asked Sergey what he thought, and he told her adamantly that he wanted a completely new name.
A new first name? That wasn't even on our radar. We questioned Yana about it and she inquired of Sergey again.
"I like Bruce Lee," he declared.
hmmmm....although I have nothing against Bruce Lee and even think that my youngest daughter looks a little bit like him, I wasn't about to give our new son a name that may cause him all sorts of grief in the future.
So, we asked him, "What about Andrew? Andrew George?"
"Yes! Andrew! I like Andrew George!" he replied.
So, in the space of about three minutes, our son had a new name.
Andrew George, our precious son, you have a rich heritage in your name. We pray that some day you will will grow to love each of these men and will follow closely in their footsteps. We believe that God arranged it so that you could share in all of their names. What a blessing it will be to see how God uses their legacies to influence your life!
Monday, October 20, 2014
After all of my fear during the week prior to meeting Sergey (see my post below), I couldn't have been more blown away by the beauty of our first meeting. Sergey was incredible. Honestly, my friends, we were immediately blessed by this boy.
Sergey walked into the director's office at the orphanage and immediately gave both David and me a hug. Then, he sat down between us with a shy, but joyful smile on his face. He told the director that he was quite sure that he wanted to be adopted by our family, and by evening he had even told David and I that he loved us. We had been sending Sergey letters and pictures and he was well-prepared and excited for our first visit.
Sergey's orphanage is right by the Black Sea, and each of the mornings that he was with us, he would go for a run along the beach.
One afternoon, while David, Sergey and I were playing Frisbee on the sand, Sergey called out, "Mama, look!" During his morning run, he had stopped and written "I love David and Sarah" in the sand. Oh, my heart!
On the day that we had to leave Ukraine, Sergey was quiet. We had our translator, Roman, ask him whether or not he was still sure that he wanted to be adopted. He told Roman that he was 100% sure that he wanted to be a part of our family. Then, he asked if he could talk with David and Roman alone.
It turns out that he wanted to make a plan with them to buy me this rose. Seriously folks, this boy is so sweet.
Meeting Sergey was an experience that went beyond all of our expectations. Now, we cannot wait to get back to Ukraine and have this boy in our family full-time!
Thank you, Jesus, for this precious young man. He is a delight! We are astounded with the intricate way that you lead us to Sergey. Thank you for the pleasure of meeting him and being given the opportunity to make him our son. You are good, Jesus!
I was weary.
After all of the months of planning and organizing we were finally on our way to Ukraine. But instead of being overwhelmed with joy, in my fatigue, I allowed fear and doubt to come in. It would take three trips to complete Sergey’s adoption. Who, in their right mind, flies three times to a country that is in the middle of a war, when they have six children at home? It’s was crazy, positively crazy.
On the plane to Amsterdam, I couldn’t sleep. A commercial airplane, on its way to Ukraine, had been shot down just a couple of months prior to this time. What would our children do if they lost both of us? I tried to distract myself with a movie. Dead Poets Society wasn’t exactly a wise choice.
When we arrived in Kiev, my spirit relaxed a bit. I had a couple of days of reprieve from my emotions, as David and I walked around the center, drinking in the beauty of the cathedrals and the parks. But on the night before our SDA appointment, sleep escaped me once again, and worry was set into my heart. A 16-year-old boy? What in the world could we possibly be thinking? In the desperation of the moment, I asked God if there was any chance of a way out. I’m sad to say that there was actually a part of me hoped for a way out.
Our appointment went smoothly, however, and despite my fears, we were truly grateful. After we received the official paperwork, we were surprised to find out that we would be leaving for Sergey’s orphanage at midnight. It was in the middle of this pothole-laden seven hour drive that the questions resurfaced. Could we really do this? How in the world would we be able to make this trip two more times? I was already exhausted and our children were missing us. Why did we come all the way to Ukraine anyway? There were plenty of children in the US who needed homes and it wouldn’t cost us thousands of dollars to adopt one of them.
The questions swirled around in my mind, causing panic to rise up in my heart.
But in that moment of fear, God intervened. He whispered to my heart…
“Dear one, didn’t you say that you wanted to be like me? This is what I do. I go to the ends of the earth to rescue the ones that I love. I will travel any road, climb any mountain, cross any sea to reach my beloved ones. I give everything that I have, all the love that is in me, to gather up my needy ones and carry them in my arms. It is good that this journey is long, because it gives you just a glimpse into how far I will go for my children. Will you join me in this willingly? Will you joyfully rescue this child, this precious one, this son whom I have chosen?
Daughter, I did it for you. Will you do this for Me?”
In a moment, I experienced complete peace and joy. Yes. I would do this willingly. Yes. I would go to the ends of the earth for this precious boy. Our dear Father had just shown me His beautiful heart and I found it irresistible. He had done it for me, and my friends, He did it for each one of you, as well.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
We've already been to Ukraine and back, and I haven't even updated our blog! There have been so many God-moments on this journey to Sergey (who asked to have his name changed to Andrew), that I want to be sure to have them recorded. I'll start with the long-awaited date...
It was nearing the end of September and though we hadn't yet received our SDA appointment date yet (in which we would officially get Sergey's referral), our facilitator assured us that it would be coming soon. Typically, families were getting two to four weeks notice in order to plan travel, but as I prayed, I had a strong impression that our SDA appointment would be on October 8th (which at that time was just over two weeks away). When I mentioned this to David, he was open, but thought that it was much more likely that we'd get an appointment on the 13th or later. I agreed that was a more reasonable possibility, but couldn't shake the thought that we would be meeting with the SDA on October 8th.
So, it wasn't too much of a surprise to me that on September 24th, we got this email from our facilitator: "I have in my hands your invitation for SDA appointment: October 8 at 9:00 AM. Congratulations!"
In and of itself, that would be a good story. God loves to give us little confirmations that He is in the midst of things. But beyond that, October 8th is significant date for us. On October 8th, 2000 David and I endured a painful miscarriage at 18 weeks. Following this miscarriage was a time of deep sadness and difficulty in my life. Every October 8th since that time, has been one of painful remembrance
And though the sadness of that day will never be fully resolved until heaven, our God is a redeeming God! Our Father was giving us new memories, life-giving memories, memories that reflected His kindness, His care and His presence. He is so good!
October 8th, 2014 was a great day and there were many other beautiful days on our journey to Ukraine. I will share more soon about all that God did, but for now I'll close with a picture of His redemption.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
God definitely has a sense of humor. When we were in the process of adopting Lily, I would say, "Well, I hope her birthday is not in September!" because we already had Adam's birthday on the 18th and David's birthday on the 26th. But, guess when Lily's birthday is? Yep. Sandwiched right between the two on the 20th.
On the weekend of the 20th-21st of September, Lily and Adam both had birthday celebrations this year.
Lily had a sleepover with some girls from church. They had a great time!
Adam had a football party...watching and playing!
These two...I adore them, more than words can say!