Monday, June 30, 2014

Impressions from the first visit

It is a cold place.
The attempts at color highlight the dominant theme,
Soviet gray,
walls, stairs, hearts.
A man and his woman are abandoning their baby today.
Perhaps they have other errands; he seems in a hurry.
Down below I will meet my daughter.
Twelve years have passed since she was the subject of such a scene,
with her twin, though, "No information on father".
I am the first father she has had,
and she lies across my lap,
this sack of potatoes - if Fabergé made potatoes.
She is deformed,
the weight of others' sin has distorted her skull and jaw and life.
She seems to have spent years - a decade? - on her left side,
her ear folded and her legs crossed,
for so she now sits, hips twisted like the past of the orphanage.
Yet she turns her head,
her eyes like two brown sunflowers
following the sound of her name,
and catching my gaze and smile.
Her country grows many such flowers,
in field, garden, and orphanage.
And they are beautiful,
as God made them to be.

Musings jotted during travel

In a foreign country, you cannot pretend to understand the people around you.  In this way it is more honest than one's home.

As we age, our eyes grow dim while our ears and noses slowly enlarge.  There is a lesson about wisdom here.

To see both a cloud and its shadow from above is a mere pretence of objectivity.  One sun illumines us.

Overflying this country shows a variegated terrain of hills and valleys, wet and dry, grass and wood; a good place to work in the sun, see the vines grow, grapes, tomatoes, perhaps squash and kitchen gardens.  We are called to tend and keep, plant, water, and prune, souls as well as seeds.

At the Hotel Rost*v

As my inimitable interpreter put it: "It's not a good hotel, but at least it is a hotel, you know." 

Soviet charm with easy access to shops!  Who could ask for anything more?

He also said, after an inquiring visit to a disappointing smaller hotel: "There's no competition in this town."  He does have a degree in economics, after all.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

He's off!

Papa is now enroute to Ana's country!

Please keep him in your prayers as he travels.
Please pray that God would prepare Ana's heart to meet her tall American Papa... He's got a friendly face but he IS 6 feet 8 inches tall...
Please pray that all the details in country would go smoothly and that he would be able to return safely next week.

Thank you!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Traveling Soon...

Our pastor's wife asked me on Sunday "Are you nervous about the trip?"

This was an interesting question to me.  I'm not worried about the travel - you go places, there are people, hotels, restaurants, taxis, and maybe you need to double-check your Cyrillic before ordering or buying food, but I figure it won't be all that hard to travel.  (The families that adopt from Ukraine - my hat is off to them.  Living as an expat for a few months is daunting to me!)

So I said "No, not really".

But while I'm comfortable that I can travel reasonably well, I won't know my heart until I get there.  We are committed to adopting and loving Ana.  That's a decision we made a long time ago, and we are very glad to have emotional progress back (it's been 18 months of paper - the emotional progress gets stalled just about the same time a baby would be delivered, then Porgies actually WAS delivered, and then there's been a long time of "well, just keep doing the next form, update, whatever, and move forward where we can").  I'll be honest - I have not had much experience caring for special-needs kids (but then, I'd had NO experience being married prior to the wedding, and God preserves us to this day), so I just don't know myself in this regard all that well.

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."
(1 John 4:7-12)

And in light of this, I am certain that God can work His love for Ana through even weak, sinful people like Mama and myself.  I am certain that Jesus Christ can give me some of His infinite love to show to Ana next week.  I am certain that God will sustain and provide for us, though I don't know how it will all play out, and I can't expect it to be comfortable or pretty.  However, I am certain that it will be glorious, for:

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified."
(Romans 8:26-30)

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
(Philippians 1:6)

So please pray that God inevitable glory will shine through, that I will love Ana as Christ loves, and that Papa and Mama and the boys will:
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:4-7)

Even so, come Lord Jesus!
-Papa

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pictures for a book for Ana

Papa

Mama

Tater

Baby G, who isn't much of a baby. He is more aptly known as 'Small Porgies' or 'Porgies' for short :-)


Saturday, June 14, 2014

We have travel dates!

Now pour on the wisdom, folks!

Only Papa can go, how do we communicate while he is in the country?

Any advice for what to pack/what not to pack?

He will be traveling at the end of June/beginning of July. We appreciate your prayers!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Waiting

Dear Anastacia,

We are waiting right now.  We would very much like to come visit you, meet you, and know who you are.  We pray for you.  Your biggest brother reminds me if I forget sometimes (but I don't forget you).  God knows you, and God does not forget you.  God has plans for you, Ana, and for our whole family.  I don't know what those are, but I know they are wiser than I could ever imagine.

We are working on the new house - it should be the house you come home to, and we want to make it clean, snug, and welcoming for you.  Your brothers are growing fast.  I wonder how big they will be when you come home.  (I wonder how big you will be when you come home.)  You have very nice brothers, and they will help take care of you.

You also have the best Mama in the world, though you don't know that yet.  You will.

Your Papa wants to lead his family to Jesus, and that's the most exciting thing we have to tell you: Jesus loves you.  We will work on this one a lot.  Your brothers are learning it, too. Your Mama and Papa are still learning it.

We love you,
Papa