Natasha and Maxim

Natasha and Maxim
Natasha 16 yrs and Maxim 12 yrs

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!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Our Trip

We have been having a great time at camp, getting to spend time with Natasha and Maxim and all of the other children. The Laudenslayers have also been a great blessing. It has been very nice getting to share this experience with someone else.We have now met many families who have hosted children in this camp. We are getting the awsome opportunity to reunite some of them. It was so wonderful to see the joy on all of their faces. Vanya is 16 and this was his last chance to be adopted. This family worked so hard to get this all done right in time to give him a forever family. I have put  the photo on my blog of him getting to talk with his new soon to be family in America. It was great to see the excitement they had in getting such a great surprise. It was so great for them and the others who have met their forever family, but it was hard not to think about those watching the excitement who did not have that opportunity to receive something so awesome. I pray that someday they have their eyes opened to know that they have a Father in heaven who will give them far more than anyone else hear on earth could ever do.

We have also met a very sweet college girl that is helping at this camp named Lily. Her picture is also here with Natasha. You could tell that Natasha really looked up to her and what a wonderful girl to look up to. We were very surprised to find out that she went to a Ukrainian Baptist Church here in Urkraine. We never thought we would meet someone with our beliefs here. She saw my "My Favorite Book Says We Are All Adopted" shirt and said"You are a believer?" We said, "Yes, very much so." I had also been wondering about this ring that Natasha was wearing, and I got to ask her. It said, Lord please save me and protect me. I was so glad that to hear that. We had no idea what it said. Natasha is such an awesome child. She has been so sweet to everyone, helping to take care things. God has truly blessed us with the children he has chosen for our family.

Also, we have been really blessed to meet many of the Ukrainian people. The place we are staying is very neat. They have truly tried real hard to make good out of bad. There are pretty flowers everywhere and every kind of fruit tree. The guy in charge of our apartment has been so gracious to us. This is a picture of the meal he cooked for us, and a picture of his child and two more of his friends and all of us. He cooked such an awesome meal. He grilled chicken, tomatoes, eggplant, onions,and bell peppers. It was one of our best meals. It was amazing how he and others see how truly blessed we are in the US. They acted like we were the greatest people in the world. It has really showed me how blessed we truly are. It was a truly unique experience, making conversation, or trying with people who don't speak your language. We had a great time anyway. I am thankful the Lord is broadening my horizons as they say.

Well, we only have 3 more full days here in Berdansk with the kids. Then we go back on Tues. for court, and then on to Kiev for one night, and then home. I miss my other 2 children so bad, I can't wait to squeeze them so tight, But I know that God has a plan to grow us all through this experience.Goodbye till next time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

So Much To Tell!

. .I have so much to tell I don't know where to begin. I don't want to forget to tell Maxim and Natasha's new names. We decided to give them my parents names and I know they are so thrilled. They are Natalia Caroline Spruell and Maxim Evan Spruell. We have not had a good chance to sit and talk about what they would like to be called yet. We gave them both the chance to decide themselves but they wanted us to. We told them about what we thought and they both liked them. We were very happy. Today we had such a great time playing with our children and then getting to play with many of the others also. Our hearts have been so touched to want to find many of these children homes. We met these two 16 year olds in the picture to the side. They were so sweet and were so excited to tell us about their trip with the hosting program to America. They showed us all their pictures. All I could think about was that they were 16 and about to be kicked out of the orphanage that they were at. They seemed to be such awsome kids. Since then I have found out that the blond is being adopted and I don't know about the other one yet. If anyone has ever thought about adopting, we have met so many wonderful children that seem like they could really go far just given the opportunity.             Tonight when we went to eat got to see more of the city. This is Ukraine's
vacation spot. The beach is here and we realized that it is like Panama City down there. It is wild. Theere have been many pictures that I have wanted to take but was afraid someone would get mad. There are people on side of the road selling fried fish. Yes, exactly what it sounds like. Fish hung upside down to dry out and people buy them and eat them. Sounds amazingly gross.            Before I close, I would like to thank the good Lord above for giving mee this opportunity. He is blessing me in ways unimaginable. I know He has a lot of work to do on me. It is still hard for me to truly imagine just what these children really must go through. I  want the Lord to give me that glance. I know that He has,  but I know that He has so much more to show. May God bless each of you and may we all be ready for all God has for us!

All of these little girls were so precious. They all need homes. Also the ones on the previous blog!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

By the time you get my prayer update you will probably have this update too. We are now back from the first part of our trip today. We get to return back at 4:30. Just look at the precious faces of these children. None of them have any parents. They all just walk around here and seem to take care of themselves. They have touched my heart is such a big way. God gave us a wonderful visit. Brad played Americanki football, they call it, with lots of the boys and some of the girls too. They loved it, even though soccor is their real love. It was something new for them. I sat and gave everyone the bracelets we sold to bring home Maxim and Natasha. They loved those too. Even though we could not speak their language the all crowded around us hopefully to experience God's love. I could have taken home everyone of them. I know that God has placed us here to take care of those who have no one to love them. It will be short now but I will give more info later. More photos are on my facebook page if you would like to see them. I praise the Lord for showing me that out of my comfort zone can be so awesome!

Please Pray For Us Today!

Yes, we had a beautiful day yesterday. Our facilitator who has made good friends with everyone talked the camp director into letting the children spend the day with us at the beach. This really seems unheard of to us. Many, many people never get to spend much time at all with there children when they come to adopt. We feel really, really blessed. She has said that we can spend time with them twice a day everyday, wow. And now is where my fears want to set in. It all looks so pretty and easy, but for me, it is not. As many of you know, I have stepped way out of my comfort zone. So far I have been very comforted by other Americans that are experiecing the same things we are and also by Alla, our facilitator, is so confident, takes care of everything for us, says all the right things to the children to comfort the children, and encourages them how to speak to us and call us mama and papa. Well, today we get to do it all alone. Just Brad and I going back to the camp by ourselves. Brad probably has no fears in this like I do. Why is something like this so scary to me? This whole journey is scary to me and has been from the beginning. It would be so much easier to go run and hide. This is just another time in my life when I have looked to other people other than God to be my guide. Today is the day I have no other choice. I have to turn to Him to be my strengh. Why can't we just see that we can't go a day without His strengh? Why do we try to do it on our own until we have to? I have known from the beginning that I could not do this and only He could, but I just keep on trying myself or just doing whatever whoever is with me says to do. I know this is not God's plan. I have never been a leader, always a follower, but God wants me to follow Him, not everyone else. You would think that as I got to be an adult that I would have grown out of this, evidently I have not. This is my prayer for you today. It is easy to go through your day and just survive. We want so bad to show Maxim and Natasha  and all the other children God's love today. Not just love, but God's supernatural love. We cannot do this on our own. This may seem so small, but it is not. It is huge to us! We do not have words to say to them to comfort them because they do not understand our language. Help us Lord! It is 10:30 in the morning here and 2:30 in the middle of the night there. You will not get my prayer request till after we have spent our time with them, but I know that we have many people praying for us and I know that they will somehow get there right when we need them. That is something only God can do also, but I know He will somehow do it. That is the amazing God we serve! Thank you in advance for your prayers, we need you!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Finally Getting To See The Children!

We have been through so much since I last wrote, but these pictures show the best part. So I will start with where we are now and retrace my steps back. First of all we have not been able to get internet for the past few days. This has driven us crazy. One because we have not been able to skype with Brady and Sarah Grace and two we have not been able to share with you all the excitement that has been happening in our lives. Today is Fri. and we got to see Maxim and Natasha for the first time yesterday. They are now at a summer camp in Berdansk. This camp is right on the ocean so we think they are having a good time. The excitement of waiting to see them was just about more than I could handle. It took a long time to round them up. Then finally Natasha walked in the door of this small room we were sitting in with the orphanage director, the camp director, and our facilitator Alla. I think we kind of took her by surprize, but then she had the biggest smile we had ever seen on her face. Alittle later Maxim came in, and the picture above show the two of them writing a letter to the courts saying that they wanted us to adopt them. It was an amazing feeling, seeing God's plan unfold and seeing Maxim come and hug Brad and tell him he loved him. It was like he felt safe. We have been so amazinly blessed. We did not get to spend much time with them though. We gave them a few gifts and had to leave.We are spending tonight and we spent last night in Chernigivska at their orphange. The orphanage director is a very nice man and has offered for us to stay here while getting all of the paper work done in this city.We have already got our court date scheduled for Aug. 16th. Just in time to leave and make our plain on the 18th. God has been so amazing. We give Him all the glory for the timely manner and ease to this process. He has sent us wonderful people who have worked so hard to help us. Our facilitator Alla, has been amazing. We met her as we got on the train Thurs. night. We spent 11 hours sleeping, or shall I say trying to sleep while riding. After having no sleep, we took a 2 hr. road trip on the bumpiest road  I have ever been on in my life. We needed dramimine both times. When we got to the orphanage we set out to get all the paperwork done and took a trip to see Maxim and Natasha. This took another hour. It is hard to explain how all of this got done in one day, but it did. Today we got to sleep in and Alla did alot more work for our adoption. She has worked so hard, constantly trying to get this done so that we will be able to go home on the day we planned. We are so thankful, God has put so many sweet, wonderful people in our path. Tomorrow we will return to Berdansk and get an apartment close to the camp. We should get to stay here for the rest of our time before court. The camp director has allowed us to spend some time with them each day, but we still don't know how much. We will get to travel with the Laudenslayer family as they get to visit the child they are adopting for the first time since their Christmas hosting. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Pleas pray for our safety and for us to show God's love to all the people we come in contact with. We do consider this a mission from God that we are on. We want to shine His light! Please pray also for the other families here adopting. They also wish so bad for things to go smoothly so they can return to their families.

You can look at more pictures on facebook. The new ones put on are of the orphanage. It is a big rock or brick building. Brad is playing basketball on their playground and all the pictures outside are around the orphange.

 Thank you all so much for youer love and support. Your the greatest!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We Made It!

Yes, we made it here finally. We had a very tiring flight but we got lots of good rest and today we were ready to go. The Lord has been with us every step of the way. Everthing has gone so smoothly, God has truly blessed this trip so far. From being worried about getting to our flight on time in Paris, we ended up gettting there 30 min. early. There wasn't all the questions we had expected at the airport in Kiev. We were also told to expect our luggage to be lost and it wasn't, praise the Lord! We definitly know our Heavenly Father is taking perfect care of us. We also had the big SDA appointment today which was so quick and easy. We did find out that Maxim and Natasha's mom died of being an alcoholic, like so many people here. It just seems like this is everyone's life. I was shocked today as I was asked if I wanted alcohol in my chocolate fondu. We didn't find out anything else that we didn't already know about them today. Natasha, one of our facilitators said we would learn more when we meet the orphanage director. She has been very good to us and helped us in everything. We also met two other families adopting. We have been waiting to meet the Laudenslayers which are adopting Maxim's friend Sasha. We had dinner with them tonight. It was nice getting to finally meet them after talking on the phone and through the internet for months. Today  we also got to walk around  and sight see in Kiev. As you see in the pictures above we have seen some very neat things. I will put the rest on Facebook if anyone wants to see more. Tomorrow afternoon we will pick up our referral and get on another plane to their region, which is some long word that starts with Zap. We will just call it that. Just keep praying for us and Maxim and Natasha. We will get to see them soon. We can't wait! We will let you know more soon. Love you all!