Natasha and Maxim

Natasha and Maxim
Natasha 16 yrs and Maxim 12 yrs

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So Much Hope!

I am so thankful that I can have a little glimpse into their future and see such hope. It is sometimes hard when your smack dab in hard circumstances to see. I have been praying that God would help me to see how their life has been. I cannot comprehend it even still, and I am bringing them home in 1 day. I am so thankful to have people to remind me, when they do strange things, that they have lived in an orphanage most of their lives. It is hard to remember sometimes. They like going places but not for very long. They want to go back home pretty quick. You can tell that they have never gone places before. Can you imagine being locked up in one place and never leaving. It is hard for me. They had never seen a grocery store, never rode in a car, naver done so many things we take for granted, or at least not that they can remember.

I am so thankful for our day today. It has been good. We have seen lots of smiles. That is always nice. We have not always had this. My new wonderful friend Lisa and her new son Alex(Sasha) are going home tomorrow, a day before us. I know we will be fine. The Lord has been right with me to comfort me through this journey here alone. He has sent me Lisa, which I have made a lifelong bond with. And He has definitly been ever so present with me, helping me every step of the way. Maxim and Alex have been so sweet today. They are planning there future. How precious is that. They said that when they got 18 they would go to college together. What an awesome thing that they would, more than likely, never got to experience. They have traded t-shirts and I am afraid it may not ever come off of him. You can tell that friends mean alot to them. That is really all they have ever had. I know that Brady will have a big impact in his life. Just the short time he was here they were already like brothers. I know that we all have a big roll to fill in each of there lives and only through God can we do this. We will be on our knees daily!

So glad to say we will be back in America on Friday at 4:00. My heart was so warmed to hear of the people who wanted to come to the airport to welcome them home. I just can't describe it. We have the best friends and church family that anyone could ever ask for. Thank you all for making a difference in these childrens life. I know they will always remember and feel so very special to see how many people care so much about them. You are sent by God! I love you all!

Monday, September 5, 2011

So Ready To Be Home!

You can't even imagine how much I miss my family and friends. I have realized since I have been so long without my family that they mean more to me than I ever imagined. Just one of the many things God is doing in my life.

 This is the hardest thing I have ever done. Being without Brad to guide me has been so hard. I really have no clue in what to do in many situations. I have been on my knees alot, knowing that is where God wants me in the first place. It is the best place to be. I am so thankful that the Lord has sent Lisa to me. She and I and our adopted children are all staying in the same apartment in Kiev. Can't really imagine what it would be like without her. I know that God did that. He sent just what I needed. He has given me all I have needed each time to make it through. I am so thankful and I know that no matter how hard this will be, He will continue to do this.

 I always knew from the very beginning that this would be a hard road. I knew God had called me to something I knew nothing about. I still don't. I walk each day by faith and I know that I will have to continue to do this. If you are a Christian God has called you to put your life to the side and do His work. He has called us as Christians to take care of the needy, poor and widows and orphans. These children have broken my heart. They are at the top of the list for needy. They just need someone to love them and guide them through this life. I know this in my heart but sometimes it is so hard to get in your mind. It is such a hard thing to imagine. We cannot put ourself in their shoes. We have no clue. I have always tried to block bad things out of my mind. Ignore them, try to act like they are not real, because I had no idea what to do about it. I believe that God wants us to see these things. He has placed me in this position and has called me into this service. I am not doing this because I want to do this. I am doing this because God has told us to do this. Every morning I read Psalm 121. I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. This is all I can do.

 Yes, they stayed in our home for 5 weeks but I can't begin to wrap my mind around where they have been and what they have been through. Please pray for them. This is a very hard thing for them. They were fine while we had a translator, but now I know at least me and Natasha both are so far out of our comfor zones. This time was needed for us to be on our own, but it is hard. All I can do is hug and sometimes that just doesn't feel right either. It is so amazing though, when God shows you those little glimpses into the His plan. He shows me that no matter how hard this is, that one day I will see the amazing work He did in all of our lives through this.

 To see Natasha smile is like the greatest gift ever. To see where she has been and then see where she is going. This was so emotional for me as we left the orphanage. I just saw how each of those children could walk out of that place and never be the same. If only God's people would answer His call. Please pray about this. Ask God how you can help these children. I was very saddened to find out that my little Misha was not on the list where he could be adopted. I tried to get his director to find out about him. He called him up to the front before we left and asked him right in front of me about his family. His mother had given up all parental rights to him, and his father, which hadn't ,was in prison. He asked him did he want to start the procedure to try to sever his fathers rights so that he would be able to be adopted if he had the opportunity. He said yes. They said that he had a grandmother that used to come and visit but hasn't in a long time. They said that this procedure would take about 18 months. He is now 13. By the time he is available he will be 15 and close to being sent out of the orphanage. I will do all I can to find him a home. He is so precious. At their 1st day of school celebration he walked up to me and Lisa and gave us each some of the flowers that they had. He is just such a little gentleman that just needs that chance. Please pray for him also.

 I know this is very long but I feel like I haven't had time to write much lately. I need to give Maxim and Natasha my time. But of course now everyone is in bed. Just alittle more and I let you go. Tomorrow we should find out if we will get their passports when we expected to. If we do, we should be having medical appointments and Embassy appts. on Wed. and Thurs., possibly all on Wed., which would be wonderful. This is what we are praying for. We are so ready to be home. I can't wait to see everyone. Love to all, Tracey

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Words can't explain my last few days

 Our surprise at the train station, Aunt, Cousin, Natasha, Me, Maxim, and Sister

 Saying good bye to Alex, orphanage director. What a sweet loving man. He said," I am giving my kids to you."

 Natasha's teacher

 Our breakfast at the orhanage!!!
How ever heard of noodles for breakfast?

 Saying goodbye to friends

 Maxim's bed in the orphanage

Maxim's  teacher

The first day of school is a huge event. Everyone dresses in their finest!  Little Dima that fell out of the tree at camp is the little boy with white hair, smiling real big. He is totally fine now.

Look at these two beautiful children. They had a part in the Ist day of school celebrations.

And these are ours, They joined in even thou they were leaving to go home to America!!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

At the Orphanage

Well, since Chicago I have been a much stronger person. The Lord has taken perfect care of me. I slept most of my flight to Dusseldorf, except for eating, and then again on the next flight to Kiev. It was very nice to see Natasha (my helper) at the airport waiting for me. She took me to stay at the Harmon's appartment while I waited to catch the train. They are adopting two 16 year old twin girls that were such a joy to spend time with.

The train ride was great. I took my Melatonin and slept like a baby. If Alla (my facillitator) had not been on the train with me I may not have woke up. After getting off the train at 6:50 in the morning the rest of our day was spent getting Maxim and Natasha's birth certificates. Then Alex (orphanage director) came to pick us up and take us on a two hour ride to Cherigivka  to the orphanage. I was expecting us to be here at least a week but now I am told maybe not. Please make this a matter of prayer. We would like to be home as soon as possible. We will get their passport tomorrow. They say that we will not be able to get one day passports because our children are healthy. They say it will be three working days, and of course they are closed on Mon. This would make us get them on Wed. or Thurs. Then we have two more days in Kiev to get other things done. Then we will be able to come home!!!!

I thought I would never get my internet working. The nice guy worked on in for 3 1/2 hours. I was so glad to have my communication with my family and friends. Last night and today have been great getting to spend time with the children. We have eat snacks, played cards and made videos. Hopefully I can make it work right and one of them will be on this post. Sweet little Misha showed up last night. I was so happy to see him. He is a very precious child and wants a family so desparately.

Once again I want to say that these children are God's heart. You can put the Gospel into action by showing these children His love. If you have wondered like me how your family can be on mission for God. He has commanded us right in His word to love and take care of the unwanted. So many orphans. It seems so hard to make a difference. If one childs life is changed it makes a difference.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

On My Way Back.....Just Me and Jesus!

Well, I am now going through what I knew would be my biggest fear. Along with all the others on this journey. I have never been one to do much of anything on my own. It seems as though I must have had someone always with me to guide me and help me make all of my decisions. I knew down deep in my heart when I said I was not going by myself on this trip that I would be. I knew God had much work to do on me in this area. I know I need to learn to lean on God to guide me and not everyone else and learn to let Him be stong in my weakness. Well, this time He is all I have, and I know I will find that He is all I need. I have spent most of this day trying hard to hold back the tears and much of the day trying just didn't work. First, Brad and the kids took me to the airport at 5:00 this morning. I had to fight the tears as we started down the road. When they had to leave me I couldn't hold it back. I have never done anything like this in my life. I have led a sweet little sheltered life. Of course I don't know how to do any of this so when I was checking in I failed to get my boarding pass. Brad and the kids left as I was about to go through security. Just when I thought I was on my way and could make it, they told me I didn't have it. So I had to go back and get it. I had to fight the tears back then. Then when I went back to get it the lady wasn't very nice and I started crying there, too. Maybe she didn't notice, I tried my best not to let her see me. Then when I got on the plane I sat there and tried so hard to hold them back but the tears came, I wiped them up quick as I could and went to the bathroom and let it flow. I know people wondered what in the world I was crying about sitting there all by myself. I am now in the airport in Chicago for a seven hour layover. I feel much better now. I am still scared but I have prayed with all my heart God's peace over this and I know He will take perfect care of me and my family while I am gone.

I miss church so much this morning. I know it was an awsome service. You have been in my prayers. Please pray for me to be strong, for God to give me His wisdom, and for Him to guide me as I parent my new children while I am here. It is so hard when you can't really communicate. Please pray that God's love would shine into their lives through me. I don't have a clue what I am doing, but God has called me to this and I just know I have to have faith and follow. I am following blindly! I am crying again, I better go! I love you all and thank you for all your prayers, I don't know what I would do without them!

I love you Brad, Brady and Sarah Grace! With all my heart!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We Are Now Officially A Family Of Six!

Yes, we are now officially a family of six! Our court day went just perfectly. God has been so amazing through this whole process. We have not had one issue so far to have to deal with. Our facilitator has been so wonderful. I don't know all of her duties, but we feel she has gone over and beyond them. She was not the one we were told we were getting, but God had another plan. Thank you Lord!

We are now back in Kiev to get ready to leave. We will be leaving bright and early in the morning. We can't wait to get home to see our children there and everyone else. We will definitely leave part of our hearts hear with these children. Hopefully we will be back someday. Before I leave you for the last time I do want to be an advocate for these children. We have many to share with you but this one inparticular has stolen our hearts completely. I told you about him last time but I would like to share with you his last words to us. Brad told him we would love for him to come to America. He said," And find me a family!" So excited, smiling from ear to ear. He said, in English, ' I'll be waiting." Talk about break your heart. We want to find this child a loving home so bad. We hope he will be on the host list for New Horizons. I am telling you this is an awesome child. Please help us find him a home! His name is Misha and he is 13 years old. Here is his picture above. He seems very smart and very personable. We really feel like he would be a huge blessing to you, as I know you would be to him!

I f you feel like God is calling you to this, don't let the money get in your way. We had none either, but we had God, and that is all you need!
See you soon. Home for a week and a half and then back for maybe 2 more weeks. We are hoping for a week and a half. Then we will all come home! Praise the Lord! Thank you for all of your prayers, we know they have been heard!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Last Day At Camp!

I was not prepared for the overwhelming feelings I felt last night as I realized that today would be our last day to spend with all of these precious children. I guess I didn't want to think about it, but as I started listening to Casting Crowns and Lauren Talley on my head phones before I went to bed, my tears began to flow. We have grown so attatched to many of these children. We have spent many hours just sitting and playing with them and getting to know them. Most of them are from Maxim and Natasha's orphanage. We have fallen in love with them all. They have all been waiting for us to come each day. I want them to find families so bad. But more than anything I want them to know that even though they do not have a father here on earth that they have a Heavenly Father that will never let them down.

 Misha is one little boy I have fallen in love with. He is 13 and he is always waiting on us. He is in alot of pictures with Brad. Our friends here, Dave and Lisa say that he looks just like Curt on the Sound of Music. He has sat right beside us studying the Russian/ English dictionary. He is doing great with his Engish. We are trying to get him and others on the hosting list for New Horizons. We love him. He would make someone a great son, and just in enough time to save him from the horrible life they are given when put out of the orphanage at age 16. Another little one in alot of our pictures is Dima. He is 8, and last night he fell out of a tree and on to the pavement on his head. They rushed him to a hospital and he is still there. He loved Brad so much. There has really not been a good way of finding out about him since we don't speak the language. Sometimes we have a translator and sometimes not. Anyway, it will be very hard to leave them. At least we know the life of love that Maxim and Natasha and Sasha have to look forward to. Our heart is to find a way to give the others this hope also. If you have ever thought about hosting or even if you have not, I can promise you that you would never be sorry you did. It is so amazing how New Horizons has started something so awesome in giving these kids a chance they would have never had. It has been so amazing to look around and see so many kids lives changing because they were hosted. There has only been 1 child so far from Maxim and Natasha's orphanage adopted and now there are about to be three. And then another family is on their way. It is so awsome to see what God is doing here. We are praying now that there will be an overload of childrens lives changed forever. Not to mention the families lives that are doing the hosting. I have spoken to many families while I have been here that have heard that we are here with there children they hosted this summer. The excitement on all faces envolved as we have allowed them to Skype on our computer has been so amazing. And also, so many of them are sharing their photos from America with us. We are literally seeing lives changed right before our eyes. God is so amazing. He just keeps on changing our lives more than we could ever think possible. Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus!

Please keep these children in your prayers. They are so very special to God and I know that He has a wonderful plan for each of their lives. New Horizons is getting ready to visit Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, and maybe others to interview for the winter hosting. Soon all the childrens pictures will be be up on their website who will be available for hosting. Will you change a child life and yours in the process? Much love to you all!