Tuesday, December 14, 2010



This is Peyton (not real name). He is 4 years old. He has beautiful brown eyes and dimples. He is HIV+ and healthy. It is important that a family is found for him soon because at five years of age he will be transferred to another institution. It is vital to adopt children out of this particular Eastern European country prior to the age of five because their risk of being placed into an institution that they cannot be released from is great. Currently Peyton resides in an attentive orphanage with an adoption friendly court system.
If you would like to be a FIG family for Peyton,or better yet his permenant family, please contact me at figs@projecthopeful.org . I will get you started right away.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I don't want insulation

I've been thinking a lot about insulation lately. No, we are not working on a home improvement project and I don't work at Menards. But in wracking my brains over why there is such an orphan crisis, HIV crisis, food crisis, homeless crisis, I've realized that it's an insulation problem.

Just what do I mean by that?

First, what does it mean to insulate?

Dictionary.com says:
Insulate
1. to prevent or reduce the transmission of electricity, heat, or sound to or from (a body, device, or region) by surrounding with a nonconducting material

2. to isolate or detach

this site goes on to give Word Origin & History

insulate

1538, "make into an island," from L. insulatus (see insular). Sense of "cause a person or thing to be detached from surroundings" is from 1785. Electrical/chemical sense of "block from electricity or heat" is from 1742. Insulation "insulating material" is from 1870.

I found this fascinating. It spoke exactly to what I think is the problem. Lets start with the second definition first. To isolate or detach:

It is estimated that there is a new HIV infected person every 5 seconds. Therefore we are looking at about 17,280 people daily contracting the virus.

16,000 people a day die from starvation in the world. That is over 6,000,000 per year on this planet.

There are over 132 million orphans according to www.unicef.org and other sources suggest closer to 143-163 million world wide

In 2005 an approximate 1 billion did not have suitable housing and 100 million had no housing whatsoever

That is a lot of people. Can you name one? One person experiencing any of these problems? See what I mean? The average American is isolated and detached from all of these problems.

How about the first definition: to prevent or reduce transmission of electricity, heat, or sound to or from (a body, device, or region) by surrounding with a nonconducting material. Or in this example: reduce transmission of awareness of the problem, compassion or consideration for the needy, or desire to change the status quo for those suffering from these situations.
We have been made into an island. We have become detached from our surroundings. We can't see beyond our own easily gained comfort. Cold? Turn up the heat. Hungry? Order a pizza. Bored? Numb your mind with one of many "reality" shows celebrating the mortifying egocentricity of countless people who are proud to flaunt their depravity. It must break God's heart that this is our "reality". I know it breaks mine.
So how do we overcome this detachment? This paralyzing sense of entitlement? This insulation?
It is going to be hard my friends. Especially for those of us who have managed to obey Jesus and do something. I don't think there is anything more difficult than adopting the second child when it was such a challenge to adopt the first. If you find yourself in this situation understand that most of your "support system" will indulge your "need" to help once, but don't go overboard now. Reject this, friend! Jesus gave His All. He paid it all. If we are His, our lives are not our own. We must pour out ourselves for him.
1 Corinthians 9:24
24(A)Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives (B)the prize? (C)Run in such a way that you may win.


Matthew 25:44-45
44"Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'
45"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'

Ephesians 4:1b
Therefore I urge you who have been chosen by God to live up to the life to which He called you to.

Tear off the insulation of this life. Stand naked and raw in the face of dire need and don't flinch. Don't stop working, shouting, crying, helping, until the work is done or He calls you home. Yearn for the words, "Well done my good and faithful servant..."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Exciting things

I am ready to share with you about the ministry opportunities that have opened up for me. As most of you know, I volunteer with Project HOPEFUL. Until now, it has been mostly on a fill in wherever needed basis. I am pleased to share with you that I now operate in a more official capacity.
I am the FIG Program Director. Also the Ukraine contact. That last bit speaks mostly to the fact that I am the one who has most recently been through the Ukraine process and in developing the FIG program, I have and am continuing to gather lots of Ukraine resources.
The more exciting news is the part of FIG director.

What is the FIG Program?

I'm glad you asked.

FIG stands for 'Family in the Gap'.
As a FIG member a person or family can choose one of two sponsorship programs.
First as a specific orphan advocate. For a year long time period, a person/family/group will choose one child from the waiting list and perform 4 core tasks.
first, PRAY.
Second, COMMIT.
Third, ADVOCATE.
Finally, FUND RAISE.

The second choice is to commit to be a Foster Family Sponsor on a yearly basis.
The core components are similar:
PRAY
COMMIT
DONATE

You can read more about the FIG program as well as the other programs that Project HOPEFUL operates.
If you would like more information about the program, please email me at figs@projecthopeful.org and I will send you an information packet.


You might also like to see the TRUTH PANDEMIC video here . It is full of excellent information about HIV and how it can and cannot be passed. Additionally, all of my children are in it and that's always a treat.
www.projecthopeful.org

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Encouragement for the timid

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”


I don't think there is anything I could add to this (nor should I). I encourage you to be strong and courageous, friends. If God is the source of our strength, if He is the author of our lives, how dare we not be?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Where does your faith really lie?

I have been a little quiet lately. I have a lot on my mind. Not to mention on my plate. Three months have passed since Dasha came home and a lot has happened in that time. The family is settling back into a routine and new ministry opportunities have opened up. I will be sharing about that shortly, but not quite yet. Until then, I have something else on my mind.

It has to do with faith.

Faith and obedience to do hard things.
Things that really, truly require us to place our faith firmly on our Heavenly Father.
A faith that seems to be lacking in all the places that it should be strongest.

I imagine this problem crops up in other areas, but as adoption seems to be my arena, I must admit, it seems to be a well where faith in our Father and an ear to obey his call has run dry.

Why do I say this? Because of the numerous stories I am told about families who have been cautioned, if not all out chided for considering a second or, dear God, not a third adoption (are you mad? when does it end?), and most distressing, dissuaded from hearing the call of adoption at all.

How is this manifest? With admonishments to "take care of your own children first" and then see what is left. When families are told they don't "need" any more children. You've done enough now. Worst of all, when they are told to "count the cost" of bringing home these "damaged" children. As if the children weren't even worthy of consideration, much less compassion.
Where does this lack of faith come from?
Certainly not from the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). This reasoning would have Jesus praising the two men who moved to the other side of the road to avoid the wounded traveler rather than commanding that we show the love of the Samaritan. Jesus didn't say, "Well done avoiding the unclean. Excellent job preserving the inheritance of the children already in your home. If you spent your money taking care of this unfortunate soul, the doctor's bills and hotel stay would really put a dent in the old retirement fund. Way to be prudent. Bravo!"
Also not found in the story of Elijah and the Widow (I Kings 17:8-16)
In this story the widow is told to make Elijah a loaf of bread. She has just told him that she only has enough left for one last meager meal, then they will die. In spite of this, she does what he says and the widow, her son, and Elijah are fed out of her flour and oil until the drought was over.
If that woman had asked for advice in today's world, she would have been told to take care of her son. He is her first obligation. You can't be expected to save everyone, you know. You're just one person.

WHERE IS OUR FAITH? WHEN WE ARE PLACED IN THESE SITUATIONS, IT IS SO THAT GOD CAN BE GLORIFIED. HOW CAN WE EVER SEE GOD'S MIRACULOUS PROVISION IF WE ARE NEVER IN A PLACE WHERE WE NEED IT?

FYI: The family that had been advised to care for the ones they already had at home, who bristled at this advice and rejected it, planned together last night to mail their paperwork as soon as they had the first amount needed. As I began writing this post, I received a call from her. While we spoke she was opening the mail. In it there just so happened to be a $500 check they didn't expect.

Be encouraged, friend. We serve an awesome God who will sustain us and support us and equip us with what we need to do what He wants us to do!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What it's all about

While I ment the last post to be hopeful, I think sometimes it is hard to see past the pain to the hope. What I wanted to say is that I no longer see the pain because of the hope.

This is an email I recieved recently. It was written by my friends the Oberhausers, who are in Ukraine right now. They have perfectly captured the essense of adoption and why the Holy Spirit insists that we adopt these children. How else could we fully understand the Father's love for us?
****************************************************
The day before yesterday, our adoption facilitator here in Nikolaev said a couple of things that reminded me what this whole adoption process is ultimately about. Her name is Sasha, and she was talking about the paperwork that should have been kept up-to-date for Vanya. For most orphans in Vanya's orphanage ("The Baby House" - an excellent facility), medical records, etc. are kept in good order so that if and when someone should come to adopt them, the process can go smoothly. In Vanya's case, however, many of the things that should have been kept tidy were not, and now Sasha really has her work cut out for her to get things ready for a court date. The reason Vanya's records have fallen into such disarray is the fact that he is blind and may have other special needs. Because of this, most people working with his case felt that his records did not need to be kept up-to-date, since there was practically no hope that he would ever be adopted.
Wow. No hope. This statement reminded me of Ephesians 2:12, where Paul describes our spiritual state apart from Christ:
"Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated...having no hope and without God in the world."
At one time, I was without hope. Before I knew Christ, I was trapped hopelessly in the Orphanage of Sin, with no power to remove myself from that state. If Vanya is not taken from the Baby House, he will eventually be transferred to an institution for special needs children, where his quality of life would be extremely poor, and his chances of ever being united to a family drop to almost zero. Similarly, if I had never come to be united with Christ, my eternal destiny would have been eternal separation from God in hell.
About a year ago or so, Reece's Rainbow (the adoption ministry from the States that we are working with) began advocating for special needs orphans in the Baby House. Since that time, a number of other "hopeless" orphans have been adopted into loving homes. This has been nothing short of amazing to those associated with these children here in Ukraine. Orphans like these are very undesirable to most Ukrainian families because of their inability to provide for their parents as they age. Shasha described it like this: "To us, it seems like you people are from another planet or something."
This statement stopped me in my tracks. It drove home the fact that in my previous state of lostness, I needed someone "from another planet or something" to come and rescue me. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world," (John 18:36) and he came to die on the cross to rescue me. Or as Paul puts it in Ephesians 1:3-6:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places {another planet or something}, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved."
Adoption is one of the clearest pictures of what happens in our salvation. We are blinded and without hope in our sin, powerless to escape our destiny. By no merit of ours, the Father chooses to save us by his sovereign, glorious grace, even when we shouldn't be desirable to him. And that's not even the whole story. Not only are we unable to get ourselves to God, we are enemies of God (see Romans 5:6-10). Talk about not deserving to be adopted.
Our adoption of Vanya (and every other earthly adoption) is simply a shadow of the much greater spiritual reality that takes place any time our Heavenly Father adopts a sinful human through faith in his Son Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 2:1-10). So this adoption is not just about us bringing home an unwanted orphan, but it is more ultimately about reflecting the greater truth that God brings home undeserving sinners. We had no hope. He came from "another planet or something" and chose us for adoption as sons. So please pray with us that Sasha and others will see this ultimate reality of adoption and that God will get all glory through this adoption.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How do you do it?

We read about loss every day. Children, parents, cousins, neighbors, friends, gone to cancer, old age, illness, accident. Somehow, in spite of it all, the bills keep coming, groceries keep needing to be replaced, paychecks must be earned, noses wiped, meals cooked, children tucked in, homework checked, laundry done. Life just keeps on going.

I always wondered how one lives with the anguish of loosing a child.

Then I miscarried.

Twice.

I heard stories of people loving and working for months, years, on adoption paperwork , meeting and spending time with the child, loving them, and then being denied the ability to bring their child home.

I wondered, just how do you live through a failed adoption?

Then I gave Anastasia a kiss, told her to have a great lunch, I would see her in a couple of hours.

I never saw her again.

Just how do you live with that?

Psalm 28:13
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.


Daily His grace is sufficient for me. I know that only He knows what is best, wants what is best, provides what is best.
To His glory, it is best for us to suffer these losses. If I did not believe this, I would surely despair. Frankly, I don't know how anyone lives outside of Christ without despair.

Psalm 28:13
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Friend, I have seen the goodness of the Lord. My prayer is that you do too.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Spring Sveta! (not mine, another one!)

Exciting things are happening all the time. As I shared dinner with a family who recently completed the adoption of their HIV+ daughter from Ukraine, and listened as they outlined the "crazy" plan to persue the adoption of another child who needs a family quickly, A facebook friend popped up with a question about a child they feel moved to adopt while in Ukraine adopting a little girl they have already committed to. She shared that they couldn't stop thinking about her and if they could secure an addtitional $12,000 in the next 12 days, (11 now), they would be able to bring her home too.

That's where you come in.
STEP 1:
click on the Project Hopeful donate button here on my blog.
STEP 2:
***VERY IMPORTANT!!! PUT SVETA'S NAME IN THE NOTE!!!***
STEP 3:
donate at least $5 for a chance to win the necklace and T-shirt.
feel free to be very generous!!

ALL PROCEEDS WILL DIRECTLY BENEFIT SVETA AND WILL BE IN A FUND FOR HER ADOPTION, REGARDLESS OF WEATHER OR NOT THIS FAMILY IS ABLE TO COMPLETE HER ADOPTION

HERE'S THE OFFER


This is SVETA!!!


Dawn Patterson used the Project Hopeful pendant and created this AWESOME necklace



....AAAAAAND....A PH T with a GREAT reminder!

This is your chance to look great and do something even greater! $5 donations to win:

FUNKY FISH Project HOPEFUL necklace/ Project HOPEFUL “It's not about me.” T-shirt

For addtional information about how this particular donation drive got started, visit http://twietconfetti.blogspot.com/



Help SPRING SVETA....

Friday, October 8, 2010

A single cup of water...

So often we set our sights on grand things and are discouraged. We hear about someone leaving everything and relocating to a third world country to be a missionary and instantly we think, "I could never do that."
We meet someone who downsized their lifestyle in order to give more to those who need it and we think, "I could never do that."
We know someone who adopted multiple children of different ages and health issues and say out loud, "I could never do that."
(yes, I know, this last one describes me. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this. If I had a dime for every time... I could pay for another adoption!)

Why do we always focus on what we can't do? Compare ourselves to someone else, become overwhelmed by the monumental shift it would take to make it happen, and write it off as something we could never do?
Do we really expect something so extreme from everybody? Would we really rather settle for nothing than to make an effort and miss such a high mark?

It is ok if you can "never do" something. It is not ok to never do ANYTHING.

Can't move to another country to be a missionary? Support one who can. Start talking to your neighbors. Pray for them. Rake the leaves of an elderly neighbor. Pull up their garbage cans, bake some cookies.

So you can't imagine downsizing your life. Downsize 1 thing. Eat out less. Reduce your cable, or cell phone, or grocery bill. Use the money to help someone else.

You don't have to adopt a child. Sponsor one, sponsor someone else's adoption, become a Safe Family, foster a child, become a big brother/sister. Volunteer in a children's program like Awana, or Champions or Girl/Boy scouts. Teach Sunday School. Run the Christmas program. There are too many children right here who need a positive influence, even if they do have parents, to write them off with "I could never..."

Maybe you could "never do that," but don't stop there. Follow it up with "but I could do ..."

From an excerpt off of Tom Davis' facebook post:

Don't underestimate the power of doing something, even when it seems insignificant. Don't think that your small gesture doesn't matter. Don't let the opportunity pass to make a difference in the life of someone today.

One of my favorite songs by Sara Groves ends with the phrase, "Like a single cup of water, how it matters."

Matthew 10:42
And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.

Every little bit matters.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Like the new look?

As you can see, my blog has been updated. It was really bad. In order to fix it, I got to do something really good!
A woman named Becky is earning funds for her adoption by updating blogs. you can read about her progress here www.bringinghomeezra.blogspot.com
For a small fee, she will update your blog as well!
Don't have a blog? No problem, you can donate some money anyway!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Something to think about

So now, dear friends, let me remind you..."As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work." There is much work to be done. More orphan children who need homes. More adoptive families who need support. More people who need to know the truth about God and His unfailing love. Please consider what the Lord would have you do.

I read this on the blog of a woman we met while in Ukraine. This is how she wrapped up a post. I love it. It is encouraging, thought provoking, and to the point. While clear that adoption is heavy on her heart, she doesn't pretend that it is the only way to show your obedience. The body has different parts and different jobs. Just like her, I would encourage you to consider just what exactly it is that Jesus is asking you to do, and I will be praying that you "get on the stick" as I like to say.
FYI, catching up on sleep, not so depressed and homelife is running much more smoothly. I just didn't think it would be very honest not to be transparent about what transition is really like, at least for me, anyway. It summed up the last 5 adoption transitions, so it's not like I didn't know what was coming. ;)
Praying for you all,
Traci

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Change, Change, Change

When a new child comes into your home, everything changes. It is exciting and fun and thrilling and delightful, and exhausting, and depressing and dismaying.

Yep, I said it.

Exhausting.
Depressing.
Dismaying.

And I am not even talking about your child's transition. I am talking about yours. Mine. The parent's.

I am Excited.
I am having fun.
I am thrilled.
I am delighted.

I am exhausted.
I am depressed.
I am dismayed.

I am excited about the change God had in mind for my family. I am having fun with our new daughter and all the ways she completes our family in a way we didn't even know there were deficiencies. I am thrilled that God chose us. That we get to serve Him in this way and that I get to be Dasha's mom. I am delighted with everything about our life, our home, our family, our heavenly Father.

But I am also exhausted. When your life changes, it is exhausting. All the old patterns and habbits get disrupted. Your old comfortable groove is gone and you have to take the time to carve out a new groove. Until that groove is nice and deep, plan on being very, very tired.

I am depressed. I miss the old. I miss snuggling in bed until long past the time I should get up on a Saturday morning. I miss all my old indulgent habbits that I no longer get to indulge in. I am depressed that all the idosycracies that my husband has are still there. When I feel like I don't have a handle on things, all the little things that I normally suck up, frustrate me more than usual. All the "good enough for now" things that I deal with, I no longer have any patience for. I am suddenly sick of "good enough for now" and my poor spouse is left feeling like his wife has disappeared and a banshee has replaced her. Yes, it is very selfish of me. That would be why I am dismayed.

I feel dismay that even after all the Holy Spirit brought me through, all my deep spiritual growth that I so value having experienced, I am just another Israellite complaining in the wilderness about food and water. All of a sudden, only perfection is good enough for me. You know, because I am so perfect.

Yep. Change is hard and discouraging and depressing. If you aren't careful, it can blind you to the beautiful transformation that God has planned for you. You can miss the delight, the thrill, the fun and the excitement of living in God's will and you can climb right out of His perfect peace.

Oh Lord,
guard my heart. Keep my eyes on you. Help me delight in your gifts and be broken over what breaks your heart. May I always be a vessel used in your work and please, keep me in your perfect peace.
Amen.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to cute pictures


This is how she fell asleep on the way home from a dinner meeting. Natrually, she sat at the head of the table.
If you look closely at the upper right hand corner, Hanna was squeezing into the picture. I didn't know that, she is supposed to be sitting back in her seatbelt! Silly girl.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A little off my usual topic

You know how cute Dasha is. As you may well guess, she is still the most amazing cutie. Seeing as that is not going to change any time soon, I thought I'd venture off onto a topic that has been on my heart for a little while. I hope this is recieved in the spirit it is written, and it is just my opinion. As much as I like to believe I am always right, I know that is not the case.
So this is just what has been rankling around in my head. What do you think? Am I off, or what?

Here goes:
During our Church service, my church prayed for my family before we left. I was and am very grateful for all the sustaining prayers then and while we were away. However, one aspect of the prayer left me bristling a little. It took me a bit to figure out what is was that didn't sit right with me. they prayed for our trip as we embarked on our ministry of adoption. So what's wrong with that?

Well, I guess I don't view the fact that we have adopted 6 children as my "ministry".

Adoption is simply how God has chosen to fill my quiver.
They are my children.
I parent them.
They are not a ministry.

Maybe I am wrong here, but here's how I see it.

I mean, do families with only birth children view their children as their ministry?
Does the husband come downstairs and say, "Honey, I've been going over the numbers, reviewing our ministry, and I think it's time we expand. Take a look at these projections and let me know what you think."

"OOOOh, this does look good. You're right. Come on, let's go and PUT A BABY IN ME!"

I am being purposefully silly here, but I think you get my point. Your children aren't a ministry.
They are family. My friends have always told me that they kind of got the itch for another child and went for it. Sometimes it was a bit of a suprise, but no one has ever said that as a ministry, they were deciding to have another child. Even within our own adoption dicisions, we never chose to adopt because it was a ministry move. Definately the Holy Spirit moved within us, showing us that there were children who needed a family and we were to be that family, but it was us saying yes to the blessing the Lord had for us. In acting in obedience to the Holy Spirit's guidance, we met the needs of orphans and our need to obey, but we didn't take on more ministry. While we all definately minister to our children, they aren't a ministry.

I am rambling, but continuing on:

There are aspects of adoption that fall under orphan care, no doubt. In fact, everything up until the judge says they are yours IS orphan care. After that, it is parenting the kids God blessed you with. I have 6 children by adoption in my home, but there aren't any orphans here.

Adoption agencies are ministries. Orphan advocacy groups are ministries. Adoption grant funds are ministries.
Me parenting my children is not a ministry.

I have issues about thinking that way. Ministries are not forever. You can scale back on your ministry. You can quit a ministry. You can turn it over to someone else. You can't do that with a family. If I were to view my children as a ministry it would imply that it was not quite permanent. That if I got tired, or sick or felt under appreciated, I could step out. With family, that is not an option.

I do have an adoption related ministry. Whenever I am asked to share our family's story and it inspires someone to action, every time someone asks me how to go about starting the adoption process, or asks for a referral of an agency, or asks for support or advice once their child is home, or I prepare a meal for when they get home, or get their mail, mow their lawn, watch their other children while they are gone, that's my ministry.

As for us and our 2 Russian, 3 Ethiopian, and 1 Ukrainian born children, well, they are my family.

Psalms 113:9 (new century version)
He gives children to the woman who has none and makes her a happy mother.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Heim family finally united


The Heim Family


All the friends who met us at the air port. All adoptive families ( in case you couldn't tell) and all helped out while I was away. Don't I have beautiful friends?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's time, it's time. Did she just say it's time?

(shout out to Vegie Tales)

Well, like the title says, IT'S TIME!!!!

I can harldy believe it. I have been here for 2 full months. It feels like a life time and also just a blink of an eye.

I miss my kids, my home, my husband. I spent half of this time with him, but I still miss him most. I miss my friends, sharing everyday life with them.

I am eager to experience this new family that God has forged. To watch Dasha grow into her new family, to be loved and to grow.

Oh Lord, that you would think of me so much that you would bless me with these trials and challenges and blessings.

I am amazed.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Exciting times

So, a lot has happened since my last post.
Tuesday was the day I got to pick up the princess. But first, we had a lot of running to do.
We left the apartment at 8am and started by going to the court and picking up the court decree. Then we went to the baby house to get her original birth certificate. Then we dropped off the paperwork needed for the adoption certificate. Next, we went to the office where they issue the new birth certificate listing Scott and I as parents. There was a minor problem here. The person in charge was on vacation and the underlings were reluctant to issue anything in her absence for fear of doing something wrong. I can appreciate that, but as it is a fairly self explanatory document, let’s get moving, ladies. Numerous stalls and calls later, this document was finally secured. Victory! As it was now the national lunch time, 1:00pm – 2:00 pm, we could not go pick up the adoption certificate, so we went to the HIV hospital to pick up enough medicine to last Dasha until we go to the doctor. As none of these offices are anywhere near each other, in fact, they are in 2 different vast towns, we were able to go back to the office to pick up the adoption certificate.
Back to the baby house we went, not to pick up Dasha yet, but to pick up a representative so I could close Dasha’s bank account and donate it to the baby house. It was now 4:00pm. At the bank we hit another snag. The bank wanted one of the documents notarized. Sprinkled amongst all the earlier stops were a number of notary visits. (Notary offices are EVERYWHERE!) Sasha looks a little stricken. “Wait right here!” she yells over her shoulder as she literally sprints out of the bank. At this point I have no idea what is wrong, but the baby house rep and I take a seat and wait. 15 minutes later, a winded Sasha dashes back in waiving a paper over her head. We reaproach the counter and the transaction proceeds as planned.
Now we could finally go back and pick up Dasha. The proper papers are signed, meds are quickly explained, and we are OUTTA THERE! It is 4:55pm.
Provided we could secure tickets, our train would depart at 7:20pm. Sasha turned to me and said, “Ok, now we pray.” I told her I had been praying all day. We were able to secure tickets and bolted back to the apartment to pick up the luggage and pay the landlord.
It was 6:30, I still needed to buy some food for dinner and Dasha’s meds were scheduled for 7:00pm with milk, and 8:00pm with food.
Again, the train was leaving at 7:20.
I bought 3 baked potatoes with garlic butter and cheese, 2 bananas and a big bottle of water. It was the best I could do. In my possession I already had a bag of shortbread cookies and 4 slices of cheese. This was dinner and breakfast.
We arrived in Kiev at 7:00am on the button, and the driver was waiting for us. He was supposed to take us to Sherry White’s apartment. She was leaving in the morning and I planned to take over where she left off. It is more centrally located, and the price was right. We verified that this was ok ahead of time.
Niko was definitely not taking me to Sherry’s apartment. Maybe we are going directly to the Embassy medical? He parked the car and popped the trunk. Nope. It was an apartment located up a steep and winding road, buried where no Tinley Park girl would ever find it. I quickly told him that I was not staying here, please take me to Sherry’s, and he did.
That night there were 3 adult women, an 11 year old boy, and 4 freshly adopted children in this small apartment. 2 women and 3 children vacated the premises at 3:00am, and now it’s just Andy, Dasha and I.
Yesterday we had her medical exam and today we had the first of 2 embassy appointments. I get her Visa tomorrow and I have seats on a flight leaving Monday.
Why am I not leaving on Saturday, you ask? Because there are no seats available Monday, that’s why!
Interestingly enough, even though we were back at square one on July 14th, a month after we left, August 9th is the day I had a ticket to come home from the start.

Here is where I planned to show you darling pictures of Dasha on the train, but as I am paying for internet access by the minute now, I will wait until I have access to someone else's wifi.
PLease forgive me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Observations

It is interesting to live for a time in a different country. As much as people are the same, they are also very very different.
For example:

A fifteen passenger bus/van can easily hold thirty-one people if they are willing to sardine a little.

While sitting on said sardined bus/van you become intimately acquainted with women who don't shave their pits, and occasionally, men that do. I found that last bit refreshing.

A man, wearing white pants and tight white tanktop, holding a white man-bag (think bowling bag), and bleached cornrows can still be rather masculine.

As much dirt as is here on the roads (you've seen my feet), people wear a lot of white and manage to keep it clean. Meanwhile, I am wearing dirt-brown capris most of the time and stain them regularly.

Final observation:

Dasha sure is one cute girlie!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The giggler

Andy loves to make Dasha laugh on the swing.
video

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Story time

Today we read a book together. Andy thinks it's too shakey, but I think it's precious. She does this every time we read this book. I love it.
video

Monday, July 26, 2010

more of the cutie

Andy and I had a great day with Dasha. Here are some pictures and the cutest video of Dasha yelling... something to her little friends across the way. The other little Dasha and Olivia wanted over where we were in the worst way.


video

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shoe school

Since I don't get to visit Dasha on the weekends, I have no new cute photos to share. So, I thought I would have an impromptu class on proper footwear for those of you set to come to Ukraine soon.

Here goes.

Ladies, I don't care what kind of cute shoes you brought for the trip. I don't care what looks good with your court outfit. I don't care if you are a shoe snob. When you pack for Ukraine, get yourself some shoes like this:



Not like this:



Again, this:



Not this:


This:


Not this:


No flip flops, no strappies, no thongs, no spikes, no low heels, no high heels, no mid heels, no heels of any kind, no wedgies, no espadrilles, no gladiators, no fake Crocks, no high-tops, no shoes without support, no shoes unless they are for sport. In short, get yourself some very good WALKING SHOES!

In case you missed it, I recommend these, made by LandsEnd:


Of course, wearing shoes of this type bring about a whole other problem,


(this is my foot after a soak and scrub with a pumice stone, brush, and file followed by lotion. Lots of lotion.)

but nothing an excellent pedicure won't remedy once you get home!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dasha needs no introduction, presenting...Daria Heim

Court went off without a hitch. At approximately 3:00 this afternoon, Daria officially became a Heim.
Here are some precious pictures of the princess today.




Thursday, July 22, 2010

She is so sweet I'm getting a sugar toothache


video

There really is nothing else to say. She is the cutest little girl and I have been blessed beyond measure.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

She's still cute!

today I went to visit Dasha all by my self. I got on bus 24 which took me to the bus depot. Then I got on bus 19. I watched for the court house because I get off the bus on the next stop, then I walk about a mile to the orphanage.
I did it! No problem.
Here are some more delightful pictures of Dasha. (are there any other kind?)


Looking for the cookies.


Arm deep in the cookie bag!





Her dress had a tag today. I was not expecting to se this!


Ok, so someone tell me that Gap clothes run big!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The cookie monster

videoThe girl can pack it in! She probably had 15 cookies beyond the ones she ate in this clip. My girlfriend, Jean, keeps asking me her size. I told her 2t, but she might fit 18mos. It has been sooooooo long since I had a child this size that I really have no idea. Her clothes are no help because she keeps wearing the cutest little home made dresses.
What size is European shoe size 21?
Anyone else adopting one of these angels from #33 between the ages of 1 and 3, they are all the same size. I am serious. They are the TINIEST little people!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Darling Dasha





In order to get to Dasha, I take bus 24 to the bus depot and then I get on bus 19. After 5 stops, I exit the bus, usually hitting my head on an overhead bar or the doorway, and then I walk about a half mile to the orphanage. Today, she was already outside with her groupa. She and I were allowed to go to a nearby playground, where the nannies could see me, and we got to swing and play. I brought her some animal crackers and she drank most of my water. She enjoys sitting on my lap and looking at books and she LOVES to swing. Big hint for someone to get on Scott to build a small swingset before we get home.
When I hold her, she wraps her arms around my neck and presses her cheek into mine. She was so happy to see me and I was thrilled to be with her.
More tomorrow...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Charles Spurgeon has more to share

I hope this encourages you this morning as much as it did me.

Morning devotion for July 19:

The Lord our God has shown us His glory. Deuteronomy 5:24

God's great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory. Any aim less than this would be uworthy of Himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man's eye is not single in its focus; he always has a side glance toward his own honor, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted. And this is the reason why He often brings His people into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of thier own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when He comes to work their deliverance. he whose life is one even and smooth path will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying and hence but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks know but little of the God of tempests; but they who are "doing business on the great waters" see "His wondrous works in the deep." Among the huge waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man. Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: It is this that has given you your experience of God's greatness and loving kindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: Your trials have been the crevice of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance that continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction you have been qualified for the outshinings of His glory in His wonderful dealings with you.


Dear friend, where ever you are, whatever struggles you are mired in, cling to the Father, who loves you and desires great things for you.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Joke's on me

So. Daria's name really is Daria. I thought it was really Dasha, and it is. Dasha is the nickname for Daria. That was never made clear to me until yesterday when we said what her official name was to be. Anyway, here is a brief clip of Dasha being a good little mommy to her new baby doll.
video

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Joy comes in the morning... or the afternoon, depending

What we have known for a while, but can now officially say is...

We have accepted a new referral. It wasn't official until today so I felt I should wait. Of course I recently realized that others were more optomistic (Andrea at Reece's Rainbow), so if you knew where to look, you would have had the heads up.

God sure does have a sense of humor. Scott actually said that she was too young and it took about 5 days for God to soften us up into total submission. It is a great place to be no matter how much it hurts getting there.
Anyway, her real name is not Daria! I am waiting until after court to tell you! Na Na Na Na Na Na! she will be 3 at the end of October.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Every body dance, now!

Ok, so I know you guys are all hoping to hear some news, and I hope to give you some soon, but until then, enjoy this scene from Independance Square, or as we like to call it, The Fountain Steps.
video

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The beginnings of true submission

Thank you dear friends for washing us in a flood of your prayers. They have been a source of comfort that we cannot quantify.
Please know that while we have sorrow, we do not have any fear and we know that we are following God's will. I like to be in control and know exactly what the plan is. I think of the passage James 4:13-17:

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say , "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

How does that apply? God has sent us on a mission. I pridefully believed I knew what it was. I knew some, but just like I always do, I took over and believed I was directing every step. The Lord knows what is going to happen and the steps ittakes to get there. I left no room for His real plans. We were then faced with a choice: Do we embrace God's will and trust Him when we cannot see the way, or do we continue to push for what had become OUR PLAN?
This is a very humbling position to be in. With eventual contrite hearts, we repented and we submit to the Will of the Father. We are in the center of many many unknowns. With God's help, I am resisting the urge to commandeer these next days and weeks, and rest in God's peace. Comfortable in the knowledge that we are where He wants us. Not only that, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Nastia is in His hands. How could I question that? While it is not what I would have willed, I could not dare question God's wisdom. He knows we love her, but how much greater is the love our Father has for her?

From the Charles Spurgeon devotional I read this morning:

"Seeing that we have such a God to trust, let us rest upon Him with all our weight: let us resolutely drive out all unbelief and endeavor to get rid of doubts and fears, which spoil our comfort, since there is no excuse for fear when God is the foundation of our trust. A loving parent would be sorely grieved if his child could not trust him: and how ungenerous, how unkind is our conduct when we put so little confidence in our heavenly Father, who has never failed us and who never will."

I have asked this before on this blog: Who is your Father? Don't you trust Him?"
I stand before you asking this of myself.

God is my Father. I will not fear.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Difficult news

It is with a heavy heart that I report that due to insurmountable events beyond our control, we are being denied the opportunity to adopt Nastia.
It is so odd. We always knew that there was a chance we would not be able to adopt her, but we always thought that we would know that at the SDA appointment. That for some unknown reason, we would be referred a different child. Never in our wildest dreams (nightmares) did we think we would find out we couldn't adopt her after spending a week visiting twice a day, hugging, kissing, playing, falling deeper and deeper in love. It boggles our minds.
Even in this seeming tragedy, we find comfort. Nastia is healthy. healthier than we ever imagined. She is happy, smart, clever, bright. As far as orphanage institutions go, hers is very equipped. For now, these are good thlngs that we can cling to.
While we don't know what God's plan is, we choose joy. Joy in our Father, who's plans are perfect. We rejoice that He loves us and has a plan. That while in this world, there will be trouble, but we know that He has overcome the world.
Through our tears, we press on.
As you can imagine, I am reluctant to share day by day what will be happening, but know that when we have certain news, I will reveal what our future has become.
Please, continue to pray for us. Pray for Rich and Bridget who have to shepherd our children through this distressing news without us.
We thank our Father that we know with certainty that we are in His hands.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No go

We didn't pass court today. The judge called it a pretrial. We go back on the 6th. A number of things came up. Please pray that all is resolved by then. That's all I'm at liberty to say right now.
Also, there was somehow a question with the homestudy again so CIS has not yet given the approval. Please pray for quick resolution for this problem. I thought it had been resolved already. Clearly I was wrong.
Nastia, as always, is a delight. We are deeper in love with her every day.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

We got a connection today!



No connection yesterday, but we are on today. Before yesterday's update, a brief word about the mosquitos.
Yes, mosquitos. They absolutely LOVE me. We camp regularly and I don't get this many bites a season. I currently have 8 fresh bites on my right leg alone. And that's with bug spray!
In Twilight terms, I am Bella to their Edward. It seems my blood is their own personal brand of heroin. I am not kidding. We think Scott may have gotten one bite, but I think he is just trying to make me feel better.
It is maddness.
So when you come here to pick up your child, and you know you will be, bring bug repellant!!!



We are back at our favorite internet restaurant. Well, the only internet restaurant.
Things are going well. Nastia continues to be a delight. She is happy to see us. She is engaging and happy. While it is a long time to be here, the twice daily visits can only benefit her transition to us. We bring the same toys, holding some back in our room for the move to Kiev as well as the plane ride home.
We have had lots of excitement. The judge we were assigned to was going on vacation so we were given a court date of July 15th. This date was not going to work. (Understatement of the year. Scott leaves for home on the 8th.) We petitioned to be assigned to a new judge due to the obvious extenuating circumstances, and after a tense hour, it was granted. We still had some concern because we had not been given a date and were told to call at 2pm. The court offices were closing at 2 and Monday was a holiday. If we didn't hear by 2, we wouldn't know until Tuesday, and we were hoping for a Wednesday the 30th court date. We spent about 2.5-3 hours at this very restaurant, using the interenet and waiting to hear. Just shy of 2pm Sasha called the office and we were granted a court date on the 30th. We were so happy.
Now we wait for Wednesday and continue our visits with Nastia. We are praying for some miracles to happen in court and would value your prayers in this area. Have no fear, we are not worried about passing, we are just hoping for a truncated stay.
As always, we value your prayers and hope you are as entranced with Nastia's story as we are.

Friday, June 25, 2010

We got on line!!!



Today is Friday. We continue struggling to get any internet service. I am typing this in a very nice hotel that offers WiFi. They need to reset their system but we are unable to suggest this. I was able to post something I had typed ahead of time and then it went out. I don't know if you got 1 picture or two, but either way, it is obvious how cute she is.
We have visited her for 3 days now. The first visit for an hour went well and she was very excited to spend time with us. Durring the second visit we got to see a little more of her personality. We played with balloons and bubbles and we gave her a doll. We also read some books. Her favorite toy by far was a ball. It is clear and has little tiny colored balls inside it that swirl around when it rolls around. Her squeals of delight were awesome to hear. When it was time to leave she was clearly disturbed that we were packing up. She decided that if the visit was going to end it would end on her terms. She picked up her doll and started walking to the building without us. We were left trailing behind, jogging to catch up. When she got to the door she became very upset. It was locked. I watched the realization wash over here. If we were obviously leaving, she didn't belong with us and if the door back to her world were locked, where did she belong?
Big sobs and rolling tears burst forth. It was more than she could comprehend. I was able to hold her and carry her back down to a bench outside while Scott went in search of her group. It took about 5 minutes for him to locate them and come back to us. In the mean time, I was able to comfort her and she sat on my lap while we waited. We reunited her with her group and left for the afternoon.
The next day she was again delighted to see us and as we repeat the pattern, it is obvious to her that we aren't going anywhere and that we are there for HER. In Ethiopia, the children were welcome to come and spend time with any family who came to the orphanage, reguardless if they were the ones being visited. Here it is not that way. They don't want the children to get their hopes up. The children look over the hedge or across the playground with such desire in their eyes that it breaks my heart. If we pass them on the walkway they reach out their hands and eyes for the slightest touch or smallest smile given just to them. It is so little that we are able to give to them. A furtive touch, a wink and a smile, but most importantly, constant prayers that more families will step forward embrace them.
I know that the judge will ask why we want to adopt a child with HIV. Why her? I can only reply that every child deserves a family. Her health status doesn't preclude her from needing and wanting a home. We can't be every child's famliy, but by God's grace and the court's permission, we can be hers.
Thank you so much for your prayers while we are here. Being in Kiev was like being in Chicago. Now being here in Slaviansk region, we are truly back in time. The pace is slower, life is more simple. You buy food for a day, maybe two. The children pick cherries off the trees to eat with lunch and dinner, the hotel turns the water off in the afternoon. Our hotel has a fabulous menu. Most items are not available, but the items we do order are gourmet and served with pride.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How it's going. Finally.


It is a little challenging getting an internet connection so it's been a few days. I wrote this yesterday.

The driver came, we made our train, and our daughter had been moved to another orphanage so the ride was only 12 hours instead of 14, we were picked up at the village station and we were brought to meet our daughter.
She wasn't there.
No worries, she was just out receiving routine blood work. We did some paperwork and came back to meet her.
We only got to spend about 10 minutes with her that first day, but oh, how precious they were. She is quite the character. Besides the 4 of us, Scott, Sveta, our facilitator and I, there were 5 of the official orphanage people standing around watching. She had a bashful grin and held her head down, but she look up through her eyelashes with the biggest smile and the deepest dimples. We gave her a sucker, which went over big, and pulled out some bubbles. She realized right away that they were for her. She sidled up to Scott, gently reached out her hand, took the bubbles, and giggling, skittered back over to her teacher. That's the entirety of our first visit, but that's all it took. WE ARE IN LOVE!
The rest of the day was full of driving and paperwork and waiting for the paperwork to be finished. We spent nearly 10 hours in and out of the car doing these things. While we got to sleep on the train, our facilitator, Sasha, took the bus for nearly as many hours to meet us at the train, and she was the one who had to make sure all the paper work was correct. She also had to find us decent housing. We ended up in a hotel instead of an apartment. We don't have internet, but the price is fantastic and there is an excellent restaurant attached. This was the location of our next big adventure.
Because we knew Sasha was so tired, we didn't want to bother her just to help us with dinner. We brought our Russian/English dictionary along and figured, how hard can it be? Well, a little more difficult than we imagined. We are pretty sure the menus are in Ukrainian, not Russian. None of the words matched up. Our waiter, bless his heart, is so cute. I'm sure he thinks he is a tough guy, we've seen him in army boots and camo pants and a no-sleeved t-shirt for the band RUSH (written in Russian, of course), but in spite of all that, he is super sweet. He was so earnest to help us figure out what to order. He knew about 4 words in English and all we can say is thank you, but he flipped through our dictionary and we settled on a meal. We shared 1/2 a chicken and ordered 3 different kinds of potatoes. (Can’t go wrong with potatoes, and boy, were they delicious!) Naturally Sasha showed up after that, but we were satisfied with how things were going so far. She told us what everything on the menu was and we wrote down all the things we like. Problem solved.
We collapsed into bed, eager to get up the next day to go see Nastia. This is the nick name for Anastasia, and what everyone calls her. It's pronounced like NA-stia. So cute!
We get to see her twice a day. For 1 hour before lunch, and for 2 hours starting at 4:00 pm. Now I can tell you what she is really like:
She is truly a delight. Sharp as a tack. Quite obviously smart and funny and comfortable with herself. She is only a little shy, just enough to let us know that she is discerning about who she goes to. She is happy to see us and likes the different surprises we have to share. So far we have played with balloons and a ballerina doll. She has also seen the picture album we made her showing the family, house, and pets. We call ourselves Mama and Papa, and she is starting to make the connection. Yesterday she asked if we were going to come back to see her and if she could go with us. The other children realize what is going on and are happy for her. You can see that they hope it will be their turn next. How I pray that more families will come and welcome these precious children into their hearts. They are beautiful, and yearning and deserving of a family.
We took many pictures, she is quite the ham for the camera, and she also figured out right away how to charm the camera from Papa! She is thrilled to see herself in the screen.
When our hour was up, we brought her back to her caregiver. She has her own locker where she immediately placed her shoes, and she ran to talk to her friends. Quickly though, she turned, ran back, and gave Sveta a hug. So sweet.
We now know which bus to take, #7, 4 stops and then we get off and walk to the orphanage. We will make this afternoon trip alone. I think we will do fine.
Here are some pictures of our visit this morning.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

quick update

Ok, so here's what's happening:
On Thursday, a revised and DCFS approved homestudy was sent to CIS. Another copy was given to my friend Melinda, who took it downtown for an appostille, then she FedExed it to Ukraine. We expect it Wednesday. There was some additional concern about the way that document was notarized, but we have been assured that it should be acceptable. That is the best reassurance I can get, so we're going with it.
The driver is here.
Gotta go!
Baby here we come

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blessings and Challenges

Every adoption is filled with blessings and challenges. We are blessed to obey God and have the honor to parent the children He has chosen for us. We are challenged to rest in His peace when we don't understand delays and seeming missteps that hamper progress in our minds. You have followed as I waited for my homestudy, for my i171h approval, and most recently, my SDA appointment.
These milestones were eventually reached and the day for travel finally arrived. Our dear friends, Tim and Cindy Allen were able to travel with us and we had a fabulous breakfast at the Cracker Barrel with the children we were leaving behind, the Kocis family, who would be watching them, and my friend Jean and her 3 kids. We were quite the crew.
We got back to the house 20 minutes before our limo was scheduled to arrive. There was a message on the answering machine. It was my Reece's Rainbow representative informing me we had a problem, please call. It turns out our homestudy contained an inacuracy that not only needed to be corrected, but this caused our i171h to be invalid as well. We needed a homestudy correction, which would require new DCFS approval as well as an adjusted i171h. The homestudy would need to be submitted to DCFS, who would have to issue an approval letter. The homestudy would need to recieve an appostille from the downtown Chicago office and then Fedexed to Ukraine. Shipping takes 4-6 days and we need to recieve it prior to court, which we believe might be the 25th. The homestudy, along with the approval letter, would need to be resubmitted to USCIS so they can issue a new visa approval.
How do I do this in the next 20 minutes?
I called my homestudy agency and explained exactly what needed to be done. I called DCFS and explained to them what had happened and what needed to be done. I emailed USCIS and told them what had happened and what we needed them to do as well.
Jean and Bridget quickly morphed from the friends who were saying goodby and watching my children to my correction team. This team now includes Melinda, who is the friend who will be doing all the downtown work.
The limo arrived and we left.
The flights were uneventful, very minor turbulance and a 2 hour delay in Frankfurt, nothing too bad. We ushered the Allens through customs and left them in the hands of their driver.
Our driver, Nickoli, escorted us to our appartment and we collapsed. We did not yet have internet access. Shout out to Blackberry and Verizon. I have no idea what we will be paying in roaming fees, but I was able to continue to stay in contact with my team and push for some key calls to be made for me. It is my understanding that Thursday my corrected and approved homestudy will be in Melinda's hands. It will be hand delivered to USCIS in Chicago and on a FedEx plane by Friday evening.
Meanwhile, we had our SDA appointment and got to see more pictures of our precious daughter. These pictures were close-ups and revealed the most beautiful blue eyes!. Pray for our baby, she has aged out of the baby house and has been moved to another location. We are assured that she is in a nice place. Change is always difficult and I hope she is doing well.
The woman in the SDA office asked why we would adopt a child with HIV. We explained why and that we were honored to do it, and she asked if we could please find more families who would come and give these children hope and a family.
She also said that the previous day she had an appointment with a family with 14 adopted children, so our 6 were really not so many, would she be seeing us again?
We told her we knew we only had 6 and that we were working on it and we hope to incourage more families to come to Ukraine for these precious children.
For some reason the orphanage is closed this Friday, and is always closed Saturday and Sunday, so we will stay in our appartment in Kiev until Sunday night. We will take a night train 14 hours to the town where Bianca is and meet her on Monday. I had hoped to see her sooner, but am not anxious about it in any way.

It has been precious to watch Sveta here in the appartment. I told her it is exactly like the appartments we stayed in while in Russia and everyone we have encountered speaks Russian. Starting in Frankfurt, the airline personel spoke to her in Russian assuming that she spoke Russian because of how she looks. She is old enough to appreciate this trip, but young enough to pretend she lives here. She is living out a glimpse of what her life could have been. These days are invaluable for her and I thank God for this opportunity.
That's all for now, and since we have a little time on our hands, we may get ticktets to the opera or the circus. Sveta is very excited about that.
More later,
Traci

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Leaving soon

We have a ritual here at the Heim house. As the day of our trip comes closer, I call or text Cindy Allen and say,
"Five Days!"
"Four Days!"
"Three Days!"
"Two Days!"
and finally we are poised to scream:
ONE DAY!!!

I can't believe we are finally breathing down the neck of one day.
I woke up yesterday morning and realized that my baby doesn't have a doll of her own. Andy and I went to Target to get her one. I nearly started crying as I debated between 2 dolls and decided that she can have them both!!

Please pray for us. Pray for me. I have never been away from my family for more than a weekend. I am not scared, in fact, I am eager, I feel like God has made a date with me and He and I will be spending a lot of time together talking and planning.
My dear friend Bridget is taking the bulk of childcare while I am gone and I really appreciate it. In the past, we have only left for a week at a time, we could leave a little money and pick up where we left off. Scott will be gone for nearly a month and I will be gone for 2. I had to make a folder to hold bills and payment, insurance information, money, baseball schedules, emergency back up numbers of friends willing to help out in a pinch, etc. I have titled it "Bridget's folder of all things Heim."
I think I hit the high spots, but she will email and skype with questions.
So, starting at midnight,
"One Day!"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A little perspective

When you adopt a child, there is always that uncomfortable moment when that four letter word "cost", comes up.
How much did she "cost".
Any you gently explain that you didn't spend your first hours with your child with a bottle of goo-gone in one hand while briskly rubbing the price tag sticky off with the other.
But, why does it cost so much? These kids have nothing, why are they charging you?
Completely forgetting all of the very reasonable places the money is really spent.
Air line tickets
finger prints
FedEx
Homestudy
government papers
government papers
government papers
foreign government papers
foreign government papers
foreign government papers
court costs
foreign court costs
hotel
and at the bottom of the list- orphanage fee (this helps keep the orphanage running for the million other children still waiting.

And still people don't understand it.

I read this on a blog today, she took if from someone else's blog, and I have blatantly snatched it from hers.
No matter, it perfectly puts the cost into perspective.

A wise person once told us as we were lamenting the cost, that we were not “buying children”, that we could not look at it that way. We had to look at the cost of adoption as “ransom.”
Think about it. Anyone of us would give up everything we had if one of our children currently in our home were held for ransom. We would pay whatever it took. Family would join in, friends would join in, strangers would line up to help. No one would think “well that kid deserves being held for ransom because of XYZ” … the thought is terrifying.

Look at adoption costs the same way. You are potentially stealing the future away from these children. But in a good way. There is a child being born in the US right now who needs a family so they do not grow up without hope! There is a child living in an orphanage where they share a 10x12 room with 15 other children at night who needs your help! There is an HIV positive child in a far away land who if they could only make it to the US would live a long and happy life because of all the breakthrough medicine. There is an older child that once they are aged out of the system will surely be forced into prostitution! Pay the ransom for these children, please … I humbly beg of you."


I would add that this goes hand in hand with the true "cost" of adoption- our lives for hers.
Jesus paid the ransom for us, and we must pay the ransom for these children.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I have a date!!!

It is official! My very wonderful Ukraine team, Meredith, McKenna and Chris, not to mention Andrea Roberts, all emailed me on this holiday to tell me that my SDA appointment date is June 17th. Not only that, but I sent an email to Golden Rule Travel just to let them know I would need to order tickets, expecting to be contacted tomorrow, but a super nice lady named Shawnna emailed me for some information and eventually called me.
I have already purchased tickets!
On a holiday!
When the office is closed!
She was worried that with only 2 weeks before the flight seats would be difficult to secure so she did it today!
And even on top of that, we will be leaving on the same flight with my dear friends Tim and Cindy Allen, who are adopting 8 year old Irena!
Seriously!
Every sentence needs an exclamation point!
I AM THAT EXCITED!!!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I have awesome friends, but first, a little house keeping

I have received news that the family who were trying to adopt the 3 girls, 15,11 and 5, are unable to bring them home. I have not been told why, and my heart is still breaking for these girls. I thank you for your love, prayer and generosity for these girls who desperately need a home.
If you think you might know of a family, please contact me. They would need to move fast! It would be difficult but not impossible to do. I know who my Father is, and he can move mountains.

Moving on, I just want to share with you what awesome friends I have. This weekend, Bridget and Cindy threw a surprise adoption shower for me.
I
HAD
NO
IDEA

Really, I hadn't showered and I was wearing a hat to hide my bed head. I was overwhelmed. The joy and generosity from all the ladies there blew me away! Well, actually, there was one man there, Shane Lewis, you are a very comfortable person. He had no problem being immersed in so much estrogen. You my friend, are brave. I didn't notice if you cried.
I was showered with children's books and gift cards.
So beautiful.
Unlike me.
Seriously.
A hat.
I bought it for airplane head. I guess it works for bed head too. I just really would have taken a shower.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

If the Gospel really is Adoption

This was said at CAFO. Adoption is not the gospel, but the gospel is adoption. That is a beautiful sentiment.

Is it true?

Is the gospel adoption?

Let's see. What is the gospel?

In a previous post I said the gospel was:

Through the death and resurection of Jesus, we have been adopted into God's family. THAT'S THE GOSPEL.

Here are the dictionary results for gospel and redeem according to the theological definition of each.

Gospel:
(theology) The proclamation of the redemption preached by Jesus and the Apostles, which is the central content of Christian revelation.

redeem:
(Theology) to deliver from sin and its consequences by means of a sacrifice offered for the sinner.

So can we agree that Jesus redeemed us through his DEATH.

Literally HIS life for OURS.

So how do we apply this concept to our adoptions? To us as adoptive parents? If we really believe that The Holy Spirit has "called" us to the adoption of our children, then literally, these adoptions are OUR lives for those of our children. The DEATH of our lives, a sacrifice offered to redeem these children.

Our old lives are gone. They no longer exist. they have been sacrificed to redeem our children.
We don't get it back.
It has been forfeit for the needs of our children.

This is what we have done by saying YES to the Holy Spirit's call.

DO WE REALLY UNDERSTAND THIS?

We hear an aweful lot about how really we are the ones who have been blessed and saved, (to include my own voice) and it is true. I have been immeasurably blessed by the adoptions of my children.
Unfortunately it seems such focus has been put on the residual blessings reaped from adoption, that the true cost is never evaluated.
Well, at least not until we look around and we realize that HEY, where are all of MY residual blessings. I'm not seeing any, and actually, this is really not great. In fact, it's kind of horrifying!

I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS!!!!

I don't feel safe in my own home. He doesn't love me, much less appreciate me. True, her life was a full on horror prior to living with me, but I've chosen her. I've redeemed her. I have given him a better life. I can't possibly stave the tide of limitless need.
If this is how it is going to be, I take it back.
I won't pay the price.

Is this our gospel?

Jesus begged for the cup to be passed from him, but submitted His will to that of His Father.
This is what has redeemed us.

What has redeemed our children?
Our life if it doesn't hurt too much.
If it doesn't cost too much.
As long as the blessings out weigh the stresses, I am in.
I hear you Lord. I will do what you say as long as you provide enough money that I don't have to sacrifice what I already have.
If I am blessed with smooth transitions and children who fill my love tank.

This is not what I want to base my obedience on.
I can do nothing.
Only the Holy Spirit in me achieves anything of value. Unless he redeems our children through us, there will be no redemption.

I stand on the brink of another adoption. Some may say the "riskiest one yet".

I know her name.
I know her birthdate.
I know she has HIV.
I know nothing else.

The Holy Spirit has impressed upon us the need to be her family. He is not just asking for our time and our money. He is seeking once again to redeem a child;
our lives for hers.

I do not know what the future holds.
Will she love us?
Is she autistic?
Will she have reactive attachment disorder?
Will she be out of control?
Will she die?

Do I really understand that this is what it means to give up our lives for hers? That I am saying "YES" to these unknowns.
With HIS help we are embracing all of it, knowing that there is not promise of any blessing from this act of obedience other than the hope that one day we will here these words: Well done good and faithful servant!
(Matthew 25:23)


Oh Lord, give us strength.