Missing Ukraine


Recently, I have found myself really missing Ukraine.  It seems that multiple nights a week I miss it and can’t help but want to go back.  It’s kind of a funny thing since while we were there we felt really trapped and stressed due to finances being tight, extreme cold, and cooped up kids.  I prayed the whole time we were there that God would give me a heart for the Ukrainian people and He truly answered those prayers.  I think about and pray for our Ukrainian friends daily and really miss them, even though we really hardly knew them!  (We are praying for you Yana and Sasha!!!)


I thought I would share a few pictures… one day we will share the full story of everything God did leading up to and during our time in Ukraine to bring Natalia home.  For now, I will reminisce with these images.



Entering into Kiev (Kyiv)... this eagle is incredible

Entering into Kiev (Kyiv)… this eagle is incredible

Andrew eating our first meal in Ukraine.  Apparently taking pictures in certain places is forbidden.  No one fussed at us.  Our guide was really nice and helped us order... we were starving!!!

Andrew eating our first meal in Ukraine. Apparently taking pictures in certain places is forbidden. No one fussed at us. Our guide was really nice and helped us order… we were starving!!!

Our second day in Kyiv was our SDA appointment.  Andrew and Catherine were exhausted and passed out in Serge's car.

Our second day in Kyiv was our SDA appointment. Andrew and Catherine were exhausted and passed out in Serge’s car.

Our first glimpse of our baby girl

Our first glimpse of our baby girl in her SDA pic

The living room of our first apartment in Kyiv... quaint apartment and would have been perfect if it didn't reek of cigarettes.

The living room of our first apartment in Kyiv… quaint apartment and would have been perfect if it didn’t reek of cigarettes.

Our guide, Eugene, took us to the Zoo...

Our guide, Eugene, took us to the Zoo…


Our last family pic as a family of 4

Here is Stephen at the Kyiv train station as we were heading out to Lugansk (Luhansk... either spelling is correct)

Here is Stephen at the Kyiv train station as we were heading out to Lugansk (Luhansk… either spelling is correct)

The kids were so excited to ride a train... this train was seriously lacking in cleanliness...  let's just leave it at that

The kids were so excited to ride a train… this train was seriously lacking in cleanliness… let’s just leave it at that

Our home for almost 6 weeks... in the BOB building.  :-)

Our home for almost 6 weeks… in the BOB building. :-)  Excuse the child in her skivvies

My side of the "bed"

My side of the “bed”

This shower was deceptive... it's beautiful but taking a shower was pure torture!!!  The water either scalded you or froze you... every 30 seconds...

This shower was deceptive… it’s beautiful but taking a shower was pure torture!!! The water either scalded you or froze you… every 30 seconds…

My first in person glimpse of Natalia.  She stole our hearts immediately!!!!

My first in person glimpse of Natalia. She stole our hearts immediately!!!!

Natalia with Stephen -- looking at the photo album of "home" we took for her

Natalia with Stephen — looking at the photo album of “home” we took for her

Buildings on the way to the orphanage

Buildings on the way to the orphanage

This picture hurts my heart.  The lady holding Natalia's hand was her favorite care giver.  They had this special relationship that I can only imagine was beautiful.  The lady standing behind them was so sweet and loving as well.  We saw her daily.  (This picture was taken maybe on our third visit)

This picture hurts my heart. The lady holding Natalia’s hand was her favorite care giver. They had this special relationship that I can only imagine was beautiful. The lady standing behind them was so sweet and loving as well. We saw her daily. (This picture was taken maybe on our third visit)

We should have realized then... she loves getting into stuff :-)

We should have realized then… she loves getting into stuff :-)

This was our Thanksgiving meal... it was VERY challenging cooking in our apartment.  This felt like gourmet!!! LOL

This was our Thanksgiving meal… it was VERY challenging cooking in our apartment. This felt like gourmet!!! LOL

Stephen, Natalia (with Daddy's phone... she was obsessed!), and myself

Stephen, Natalia (with Daddy’s phone… she was obsessed!), and myself

Very first sibling picture!

Very first sibling picture!

View from our apartment the night of our first real snow

View from our apartment the night of our first real snow

The next morning

The next morning

We celebrated Catherine's 6th birthday in Lugansk

We celebrated Catherine’s 6th birthday in Lugansk

The park was gorgeous after the snow!!!

The park was gorgeous after the snow!!!

My boys in the snow!

My boys in the snow!

The orphanage was decorated for Christmas... or maybe just for St. Nicholas Day

The orphanage was decorated for Christmas… or maybe just for St. Nicholas Day

Natalia and me on the day I took her to get her passport photo -- she was not really sure of everything that was going on.

Natalia and me on the day I took her to get her passport photo — she was not really sure of everything that was going on.

Natalia's groupa... her friends and her caregivers... she was VERY loved

Natalia’s groupa… her friends and her caregivers… she was VERY loved

her little bed

her little bed

Her first day with us!!!  She liked to clean... she had me fooled! ;-)

Her first day with us!!! She liked to clean… she had me fooled! ;-)

one of her first dinners with us... did I mention that food was a major challenge for us?!

one of her first dinners with us… did I mention that food was a major challenge for us?!

First family picture of The Foss Five!!!!  (Orphanage in the background)

First family picture of The Foss Five!!!! (Orphanage in the background)

Stephen and kids at the St. Nicholas Day celebration in the city center ... the tree in the back was HUGE and so beautiful!!!

Stephen and kids at the St. Nicholas Day celebration in the city center … the tree in the back was HUGE and so beautiful!!!

Our apartment in Kyiv the second go around... gorgeous, spacious... we were terrified it would cost a ton... nope!!!

Our apartment in Kyiv the second go around… gorgeous, spacious… we were terrified it would cost a ton… nope!!!

Natalia in the kitchen

Natalia in the kitchen

Somewhere over Europe... heading home...

Somewhere over Europe… heading home…


Well… those are a few of the many pictures we took.  (mostly in chronological order).  Please pray for Ukraine, for the people there and for Natalia’s birth family.  Please pray for God’s protection and for His church there.  Please also pray for our friends who live in Lugansk and for our missionary friends who have come home to the USA during this time of unrest.  Lugansk has had military takeover happen and we don’t know how everyone is faring.



Happy Thanksgiving!


Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!  Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into his presence with singing!  Know that the Lord, he is God!   It is he who made us, and we are his;  we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving,    and his courts with praise!  Give thanks to him; bless his name!  For the Lord is good;  his steadfast love endures forever,  and his faithfulness to all generations. ~ Psalm 100 (ESV)

This is my all time favorite Psalm.  I love it for it’s reminders (and I also love it because I have it memorized, thanks to region choir auditions my senior year, thus I can sing it with sweetness, even if I am off key!)

Today is a day we choose to give thanks.  I have felt myself (Christy) feeling down and just kind of blah the last few days here.  It has been overcast and cold and we have felt somewhat trapped by trying to keep everyone healthy and out of the cold.  Today, we woke up to a gorgeous blue sky, crisp cold air, and grateful hearts.  How blessed we are and how silly that I have been feeling down in the midst of all my blessings.  Oh but how much singing my favorite Psalm silently in my soul changed my mindset.  

We journeyed out to visit our sweetie today at the orphanage.  We get to see her every day.  There are two times available for us to visit, one in the morning and one in the afternoon/early evening.  We have chosen only to go in the mornings because it gets so dark here so early and the roads to the orphanage are quite treacherous.  (Taking a taxi is often quite frightening itself because of the way the drivers drive, so imagine on a dark road, full of van-sized potholes!) :-)  Our sweetie now calls us Mama and Papa and she calls Andrew by his family nickname, Bubba.  I don’t think she’s figured out Catherine’s name yet, but Catha has come out once.  (Catha Jaynes, aren’t you happy? hehehe)  She has been a little sick this week so we have kept inside during our visits and we feel like she’s getting  bored.  She enjoys seeing us and especially loves digging through my purse!  Poor thing, there is nothing interesting in there.  She does love my iphone.  Apparently the nannies at the orphanage are on theirs often because she knows exactly what it is and how to work it!!!!  

After our visit, we took the kids across town to the only McDonald’s here.  (it was a real treat for them to try to find tastes of home!)  We headed back home and then met up with a new friend who showed us a safe place to bank, then headed back home to warm our bones.  

So, many people have asked us a ton of questions that we would love to answer, but we can’t just yet.  We will say that our court date is Monday and we are praying all goes well.  We won’t be able to bring our sweetie “home” until after the ten day waiting period (that we are praying can be waived!!!).  I was wrong when I said before that paper work can be started during that wait.  We got clarification and nothing can be done until the 11th day.  That day would be on the 13th (a friday) and would start with driving to where she was born to get her birth certificate.  Then we work on getting her passport and then once we have that, we can go back to Kiev for our Embassy appointment, medical and visa processing for her.  

Speaking of Kiev, please be praying for resolution and peace there.  There is much unrest, although not terribly violent, as the President has decided not to continue in an agreement to be more of a part of the EU.  Many people here, particularly many university students, want the partnering with the EU and there have been protests pretty much nonstop for a week.  It’s interesting to watch local news (and Euronews).  Apparently there are protests going on in Latvia, Italy, and many other nearby countries.  Nice to know how sheltered we are by American media!  

Anyway, we pray you all have a blessed Thanksgiving and that you find the Peace and Joy of the Lord to be something that brings you to your knees in Thanks everyday!!!  Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…. 

Days of Rest


As I write, it’s Sunday afternoon in Ukraine.  We have taken yesterday and today to rest and not do much.  All the constant “on the go” was wearing us down.  I have made a few runs to the grocery, but that’s about it.  Yesterday’s weather was kind of dreary so it wasn’t too difficult for us to stay in, however today is clear and cold! :-)  I ran to the store for some tea and water and it was barely above freezing, so we decided to keep in and work on school work.  On my run to the grocery yesterday, I was really wishing I spoke Russian!  I’ve learned to maneuver in the store without looking so out of place, but when I went to check out yesterday, the girl at the register looked very somber.  She asked if I wanted a bag (standard… you are charged for a bag here) and then just scanned my items (also standard).  Her boss came over, said something to her, and she began to cry.  I asked her if she was ok and she just nodded, but I really just wanted to tell her that I would be praying for her and that someone cared.  Language barriers are tough, especially when you want to help someone!

We have visited our sweet one everyday this week, with the exception of yesterday and today due to the weekend.  Our facilitator called us today to check on us.  Apparently we had a miscommunication because Stephen and I both were under the impression we weren’t allowed on the weekend, but I guess that’s not the case.  So next weekend, we will be visiting for sure!  We are so thankful that our sweetie has been well loved and cared for during her stay.  She has some wonderful people with whom it will be hard to say goodbye.  There is one in particular that I am praying for because I can see their bond and it is quite sweet.  We did get to see all of the kids do a little practice for their St. Nicholas Day presentation.  It was incredibly sweet!!!  They were all dressed up and our little one was the sweetest little angel! :-)  Her face lights up and she gets so excited to see us when we go to get her.  There are so many sweet and beautiful children in her group.  There is one little boy I just want to scoop up and bring home, too!  He gets so excited to see me as well because I talk to him and mirror his excitement.  I truly pray that more people would realize that they CAN and SHOULD do this, because there are so many amazing children who need families to come for them!!!!!  They so desperately need it and want it!

As for details, we are waiting for our court date.  We expect it to be in a week, but are praying for a sooner opening so we can finish everything and be home sooner, hopefully before Christmas.  After court, there is a mandatory 10 day waiting period in which passports and birth certificates  will be processed and then after the 10 days, we can all five go to Kiev for our medical and visa processing.  We expect around a full two weeks after court before we can leave.

Prayer specifics:

1. Please pray for the other babies in our group… they so desperately need and want families.  Pray that God would open the hearts and minds of His people to come for them!!!
2.  Pray for our sweetie… that she would continue to become more comfortable with us and less overwhelmed by the change in her routine when we visit.  Please pray that she would continue to love and imitate Andrew and Catherine… she had the best day playing with them on Friday!!!
3.  For our rest and health… we are all still exhausted and worn down.  Please pray that we would find the physical rest we need and that we would stay as healthy as possible in this climate.
4.  For our friends who have helped us so much at home… those who are helping to care for our home and our kitties are a blessing to us and we are thankful for the extra stress they have added on to themselves by helping.  Please pray that they would find rest in the midst of their own chaos!
5.  Lastly, for our process… please pray that our court date would be moved up to this week!!!  Please pray for the judge, that they would see how much we already love her and they would be kind.  Please pray for our travel back to Kiev after the 10 day waiting period and for all of our embassy appointments to go smoothly as well.

We will update when we have something new :-)  Right now, there isn’t anything too exciting to share (that we can!!)! :-)

Much love,

Stephen, Christy, Andrew and Catherine

Trucking along…


We are settled into our apartment in our region and are enjoying the beauty around us and the ability to walk most places we need to go.

We took the kids to a toy store at the mall in our city today and it was just what they needed… Familiarity! We didn’t have room to pack toys so they have been desperately needing something other than electronics and us to play with. We have done very little school thus far because we have just been in constant transition until now, but our goal is to get back into our routine today!!! Catherine has been reading some and Doing her phonograms, but Andrew has just been too stressed to sit and focus. We think we have finally turned that corner and he is excited to do some work tomorrow! We miss our routine!!!!!

Many of you have been asking a lot of specifics that we haven’t answered yet. Please understand that for the sake of security and the end result of our trip, we are taking precautions to safeguard as much information as possible, including names of people, children, location, details, etc. When we feel it appropriate, we will share what we can.

We do want you to know that we have met and are in love. God created her for our family and we just adore her. We ask for prayers for health and wisdom in dealing with things we aren’t used to in that regard.

Specific prayer requests:
1. For her health and comfort with us. It’s very new and can be overwhelming
2. For all of our homesickness. Little things like hot showers, food we recognize, smiling faces… They are all luxuries we miss greatly. Andrew seems to be struggling the most, but he says he knows why we are here and that it is what is helping him get by. (Has God blessed us with that kid, or what?!)
3. For sleep!!! Stephen and I are both struggling to sleep well. We are so out of whack that it has been a great struggle.
4. For our health… We are all doing well so far (minus a few high blood sugars – but hey those happen everywhere, especially if you don’t know carb info on what you are eating!!!), but we want it to stay that way!
5. For paperwork to get where it needs to go quickly and for proceedings to be scheduled quickly so we can be home soon!!!
6. And lastly, but certainly not last in importance, that those who are reading our blog or following our updates can see how this entire process, (from the planting in our hearts, to the funding, to the little details of being here and the life ahead of us at home), has been designed and orchestrated by our Loving Father Who has called us to honor Him and bring Him glory. The natural and the world would say we are crazy and that we aren’t equipped for any of this, but He is the Jehovah-Jireh!!!! For what He has called us to do, He will provide. We walk in that faith knowing that He is good and that His plans for us have already been worked out!

We love you all and appreciate your prayers!!!

Days 3 through 6


DAYS 3 & 4

 Day 3, Thursday,  (SDA) appointment day.  Today we had our “official” appointment to get our referral at the Ministry.  We met the main facilitator, S, and got a kick out of him.  He lived in America for many years and considers himself American, but he is definitely a decent mix of both American and Ukrainian.  S, a short, plump little man, with seemingly mob-like contacts, was amazing with Andrew and Catherine.  He tried so hard to get Catherine to “break” her silence and he basically forced a pastry on Andrew, who happily obliged :-)

We arrived at the Ministry about an hour before our appointment and S and our guide/translator in Kiev, E, took us to this little pizza place across the street.  Catherine had a cheese pizza (seriously, the best pizza I’ve ever had!), Andrew had a blintz (super flat pancake!), and I had an espresso shot with cream that came with this amazing little truffle.  Stephen sipped on some bottled water.  (Crazy, it only came out to be about $6 for all of it!).  S explained how our appointment would go… very different than how we were originally told back home in the States.  He laughed with us and spoke some amazing words of wisdom. 

He began to lovingly speak of the kids in the orphanages and he said that he hates that agencies call only the children with medical  issues “Special needs”.  You could really see his heart as he told us that “all children in orphanages, who have been abandoned or lost their families, are special needs”.  Oh S, how much we agree with you!!!  He said that he didn’t worry about us and our contacts with our daughter because he knew we already had experience with young children (seeing as Andrew and Catherine were sitting with us) and he could see how we interacted with them.  It was a sweet moment. 

When it was time for our appointment, we went across the street to the Ministry and went up to a little room within a room.  The process was quick and then S hands us a picture of our adorable daughter.  She’s precious.  Absolutely precious!  We actually saw two pictures, one that was from when she was about a year old and then a recent one.  He asked if we wanted her, we said yes, and he asked which picture we wanted.  (I, of course, wanted both!) We took the newer picture and that was our appointment. 

As we were leaving, there were other families in various stages of their adoptions there.  A very young couple from Texas, an older couple from South Carolina, and another family from Kentucky that appeared to be adopting older girls from Crimea.  Everyone was very nice and laughed at S and his abruptness.  He came down and said to us “Why you still here.  You are done.  Get out!”  Sounds rude, but he is very sarcastic and he was being so at this time. 

When we left, we went back to the little pizza café and had some drinks while we waited to go back home. This was pretty much our day… but we walked out with a picture of a beautiful little girl who will very soon call us Mommy and Daddy! 

Day 4

Day 4, Friday, Intent letter.  Today was not very exciting.  We spent some time walking up and down the sidewalk in front of our apartment trying to get the lay of the land.  We went up a few blocks and found another little supermarket that had a larger selection than the one in our building.  We walked back home and left a bit later to get our letter of intent, the official documents stating that we are interested in meeting our daughter and giving us permission to do so.

In Ukraine, you cannot proceed with your adoption plans until you have met the child face to face at the orphanage, spoken to their director, and formally agreed to adopt.  We got our documents and our translator, E, went to work getting train tickets for us to go visit her. 

We spent the night repacking and tidying up.  That was pretty much it.



Day, 5, Saturday, Zoo and Train.  Today, E took us to the Kiev Zoo Park.  It was a dreary day, as they all seem to be in Kiev this time of year, but the zoo was exciting.  It was fairly empty and only cost about $15 for us all to go. 

The kids had a lot of fun seeing different types of animals that we don’t get to see at our zoo in Houston.  There were a lot of cattle type animals, from special cattle deer, to yaks, to bison.  While the conditions weren’t what we are used to, it was neat being able to be so close to the animals.  (Very 1970’s type zoo… with nothing newer or cleaner than that).  We got to see various types of Eagles, one of which was very vocal as we left him.  Actually, all of the animals were very vocal.  E even commented on that because usually they are pretty quiet.  Anyway, we saw many birds, a bunch of different turtles, including one that was bigger than us, and the kids favorite: the big cats.  One tiger meowed and cried at us almost non-stop (of course until I turned on the video mode on my camera!)  One tiger was fairly thin and looked pretty sick.  My heart broke for him.  In the lion den there was a beautiful male lion and three lionesses.  (These kids are so their momma’s with their love for cats!).  Speaking of cats, there were probably 10 or more strays just walking around the zoo.  That wouldn’t fly back at home.

When we left the zoo, we asked E and our cabby to take us to McDonalds.  Our poor kids have been eating cold ham sandwiches and cereal since we got here!  Not that I was excited to feed them McDonalds, but they needed some full and happy tummies!  I was surprised to find that the McDonalds here has a caprese salad on the menu.  Very nice, very nice indeed.  The kids ate chicken nuggets until they were stuffed and we piled back into the tiny taxi and headed home one last time.  We left the apartment and headed to the train station in yet another tiny taxi.  (I guess people don’t travel with kids here!).  E helped us get checked in on the train and said his goodbyes and we headed off into the afternoon sunset. 

As I’m typing this, we have been on the train for 15 hours.  We were expecting a 10 hour train ride, but this thing has taken us all over Eastern Ukraine!  The kids have been sleeping, so I think we will make it tomorrow without too much drama. The trains are old style sleeper cars, with carpets and window coverings from the 1960s.  Trust me, they smell like it too!  PEEEE YEWWWWWW!  The bathrooms are a germophobe’s (like me) worst nightmare.  They smell and are literally a toilet that is open to the ground under the train.  I’m quite thankful we have an ample supply of wet wipes with us!  I almost threw up on my second trip to the bathroom!  The kids have enjoyed the train ride.  If it weren’t so smelly, it wouldn’t be too bad.  Ah, the best part so far of the ride is the steaming cup of hot tea they brought us.  I am not usually a hot tea drinker, but this tea was superb!!! .  Well, we are basically in day 6 now, so I suppose I will write more once the day has started and we know a little more.  We expect to be in region around 10:36am.   More later… 

Day 6…

After 19 hours on the train, our translator and facilitator here in region came and got us off the train :-)  She is so sweet and it brought us a ton of comfort having her there since we weren’t even sure 100% we were in the right city!  (The train didn’t have any notifications and if it hadn’t been for Stephen’s iphone tracking our whereabouts, we wouldn’t have had a clue!  We did a crazy route all around Ukraine).  Anyway, she brought us to our apartment right in the heart of the city.  It’s beautiful!!!  We walked in and felt so much relief! We have a fridge (necessary for Andrew’s insulin), a full bedroom and bathroom, a table for doing school, a washing machine, a wardrobe…. It’s perfect.  Except, when we went to wash the stink off from the train, the shower (using a tank heater) went hot and cold every minute or two!  It was quite the shocker!  But, hey, I’ll take it!

We got a quick tour around the city’s center (which we are in the middle of) and then went to grab a bite to eat.  We found a great restaurant that was English friendly and even though the staff didn’t speak English, their menu was printed in both Russian and English and the manager gave the kids Ukrainian candy when we finished our meal.  

So, now we are just relaxing and I’m making the kids mac and cheese and looking forward to sleeping well tonight!  

(Andrew says “Amen to everything!”

Days 1 and 2 in Country


DAY 1:

As I type this, it is 6:22am in Kiev, Ukraine on Wednesday, Nov. 13 (10:22pm Tuesday, Houston time).  We left our house right at 7am on Monday and headed for the airport.  We got there early enough to get through security and have time for a cup of coffee for me and even for lunch for the kids before we boarded our first flight to Newark, NJ.  The kids were excited but a little scared once we got on the airplane.  It was a pretty smooth flight and we got to see all kinds of beautiful things along the way.  Catherine and I sat on the east side of the plane and we got to see mountains as we flew over Virginia.  Stephen and Andrew got to see the Statue of Liberty just moments before we landed.  (Andrew was very excited about that!)

We had a three hour layover in Newark which allowed us to eat again and stretch our legs a little before the long trek across the Atlantic.  The overseas flight was quite the interesting one!  There was a couple who had never learned about appropriate amounts of PDA and the woman actually stripped down to her skivvies mid-flight!  Catherine and I sat behind an elderly gentleman who passed gas the whole trip.  That being said, the kids did amazing on the flight and we were so thankful for the inflight movies!  We hit some scary turbulence the closer we got to the Arctic Ocean (Yes, we flew that far north!).  Luckily, the kids were asleep through most of that! 

We landed safely in Zurich, Switzerland and rushed from one plane to the next.  We actually ran into another family (in the bathroom) travelling from the US overseas dealing with Type 1 Diabetes.  The mom and I were swapping stories.  Our Swiss Air flight was comfy and fairly quick (about 2.5 hours).  Stephen and I were laughing because they of course passed a beverage cart, but then they also brought lunch, followed by a cigarette cart.  We have become so accustomed to smoking being a big no-no in public that we were shocked!!! Luckily, the flight attendant also brought a chocolate basket with free Swiss chocolate!!  (Sorry, I didn’t get enough to share!).  Catherine was having a difficult time when we boarded the plane (severely over tired) and the flight attendant brought little plane finger puppets, books and crayons for both kids.  It was superb customer service!

When we arrived in Kiev, we went through customs and were a little intimidated by the military man checking our passports.  (Well, I was anyway!)  After we grabbed our luggage, we were met by two members of our team who were all smiles and welcomed us warmly.  We squished into one team member’s car and headed into Kiev.  Our translator speaks perfect English and he was pointing out historical sites along the ride.  Kiev is an interesting mix of very old and beautiful, old and very run down, and new and very western.  When we arrived in downtown Kiev, traffic became very thick and honestly a little nerve wracking for us.  I promise I will never complain about Houston drivers ever again! :-)  I’m convinced that the road rules are more suggestions that are completely ignored than they are laws that are enforced.  I will say though that there were no honking of horns or rude gestures from anyone, but I’m so glad I’m not having to be the one behind the wheel!

Once we got settled into our apartment, the kids were starving so our translator took us to a traditional Ukrainian buffet to eat.  We tried borsch, a beet and root vegetable soup, and it was pretty good.  Andrew and Stephen were excited to see mashed potatoes and chicken, while Catherine and I were all about the bread and chocolate cake!  A huge slice of chocolate layer cake was only $1.50 US dollars.  I was really shocked at that.  Anyway, we took a taxi home from the restaurant and got in and got cleaned up.  Our apartment is actually pretty nice.  It’s a one bedroom with a full bathroom and kitchen.  The only negative is that it smells strongly of cigarettes, but we are guessing that is the norm over here.  Luckily, we brought our Febreeze! :-) We are still off on our internal clocks and everyone is sleeping now, except for me.  We were considering sightseeing in Kiev today, but I think we are preparing more to rest and recoup from the flight and time change.  The kids did so well, but they are completely exhausted. 

Our internet connection is limited as our wifi in the apartment isn’t working properly, but we will try to keep everyone updated as often as we can!  Please pray for our Ministry appointment tomorrow.  Our translator talked with our team and the team said that Andrew and Catherine CAN go with us after all to the appointment, so unless something changes, we are good there! :-)


DAY 2: Recovering 

No one slept well last night, but we tried hard to make up for it this morning.  Both kids passed out around the time I typed up Day 1.  Stephen and I have tried to sleep as we can and both took a decent nap this morning.  I’ve been fighting a migraine since we got here (I’m guessing combination of lack of sleep, hunger and dehydration on top of higher altitude and living in an apartment that smells strongly of cigarettes).  

Today we didn’t venture far from our apartment, just downstairs and around the building to the little market downstairs.  We grabbed bread, chips, milk, cereal and then were looking for some meat.  We used itranslate to find out how to say “Ham”, but obviously my Russian stinks.  The girl behind the counter laughed at me.  :-)  We figured it out though and we’ve eaten a few ham sandwiches today. I was also thankful for the caffeine in the Koka. (Coke).  I was sad there was no Kofe (coffee) downstairs except instant… no thanks, I’ll pass! 

Andrew’s diabetes has been a little bit of a challenge, but we have been winging it as much as possible and he’s doing well.  Healthy and no lows, so we will take that! :-) 

Tomorrow, we have our ministry appointment.  Our translator talked to other team members here and they said Andrew and Catherine can go with us!  What a blessing.  We were worried about that, but they seemed to think it was silly that they wouldn’t be allowed to come.  Who knows!  We’ll just go with it!  (God’s favor and grace for sure!)  We will hopefully leave our appointment with a picture and information on our little girl.  

Please pray for us that we would all get some great rest tonight and that we would be able to get over the jet lag.  Please pray for Andrew and Catherine tomorrow during our appointment, that they would be patient and well behaved, and that they will see the value of what we are doing and how God is orchestrating every step.  Please also pray for all of our health, that we would stay well and that we would all feel much better tomorrow morning!  Most importantly, we ask that God would use us here in some way to minister to others for His glory.  

We will try to update tomorrow!!!


And… We’re off…


Tomorrow morning we leave to go meet the precious child God chose for us long before we even thought of adopting.  God has shown Himself so mighty in all He has done through this process.  He stirred our hearts, directed us, led us through difficult times when Russia closed, led us to Ukraine and to our agency, provided the finances when externally it looked impossible, has kept our hearts from exploding with anticipation and insanity this past week during one of the most stressful week of our lives thus far, and we are walking this travel part of our journey that is full of so many unknowns with complete faith that He is sovereign and in control of every step.  This process has shown us that (me in particular) how much I try to rely on myself and not trust in Him as I should.  I rob Him of His glory each time I try to do it on my own, so, without sounding too cliche, I’m letting go and letting God.  :-)

Please pray for our journey and we will try to update whenever we can!