Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I was not ready!

Around 10:30 am, I drove into a Starbucks drive-thru.
"How are you? Can I take your order?"

Oh no, keep it together..."May I have..."I choked through the order and drove off with my nonfat latte without the lady realizing I was a hot mess. 

How are you? How are you?

How am I?


Picture message sent to Alex before he had to turn his phone on airplane mode

Everyone told me it will be hard when they leave. I thought I had my guard up. I thought I was prepared.

But I wasn't...I was not ready.

But, I felt ready. Suitcases and carry-on's packed. A gift bought for their director for allowing them to come. Clothes washed and folded and ready to wear on the plane. Teary eyed teenagers, sent to bed at 9:30 to be well rested for a long 23 hours of traveling.

But I was not ready, I was not ready to say goodbye. I was not ready to send them back to a country at war. To a place that they fear. Where they do not have a mommy to comfort them. To be orphans again. 

My 3 year old told Yana, "I go too, I go on the airplane too."
"No Elliot!  You no want to go Ukraine. Es bad, I no want to go, you stay here."
The kids opened their presents, as soon as they got up around 4:00am this morning.  Shutterfly hardback books, filled with memories for them to keep. They both escaped to their rooms for a moment, to privately remember each picture. Each day. How they felt.

I offered them breakfast and they both refused. They piled into the car. Yana and Elliot slept. Alex listen to music and Lily realizing what we were doing, asked questions, many many questions.
Does Yana have toys in Ukraine?
Who will feed Lady and Jezebel?
How long do they fly?
Can they buy gum?
She never asked if they were coming back, or if we'd see them again. Something I was waiting for. Maybe she didn't want to know the answer. Maybe she knew I don't know the answer. 

We arrived at the airport,  my brother was waiting with McDonald's in the arrival area next to his car with his engine running. He was now late for work because of us. We were late arriving to LAX, and when we first walked up he was noticeably irritated, but then he realized...Somethings are worth being late for, some people are worth saying goodbye to. 
He hugged both kids. Alex began to cry...
That's when I started to lose it. I stepped backwards to try to put on a tough front. The lump in my throat and the shallow breaths to stop myself. Can't cry yet.  

I was not ready!

I was not ready to send them back, still hoping for a miracle, as an hour ticked by. We were still waiting to check in. Thinking, this is sooooo God, waiting for the last minute so we can only give Him the glory. 
Waiting for something, anything.  Something amazing so the kids do not have to go. (People call it denial, I call it HOPE.)

Yana prayed "the plane broke" so she would not have to leave. She prayed that prayer every night this week. Would that be the case? Would they not have to leave. Please let that be the case.

There was a problem... 
The chaperone's passport did not match the name on the ticket. The ticket was spelled wrong. So we waited. We hung out. We laughed. We ate McDonald's. It's now 8:20am, and the small group of us start talking, their not going to make their plane? They depart at 9:10. A glimmer of hope for all of us. 

BUT,  that was not His plan. At 8:30 we were quickly following the other 3 families 15 yards in front of us to the escalators to help get them through security. We fell behind. We were the only family that had small children with us and we couldn't keep up. When we joined the group at the escalators, there was some confusion. They would not let us up to help them. 
This is it. Say goodbye.

My heart sunk. I began to weep. Alex and Lily too. We were all crying out loud, the heart wrenching, ugly face kinda crying. 

And we hugged each other. 

Yana would not look up at me.  She put up her wall. The one we knocked down over and over again this summer. The one she uses to push away all feeling, the good and the bad. It was up and she began to walk away from us, and this time we couldn't knock it down again. We both hugged her and so did the girls. "I love you Yanie" Elliot told her. Yana was the first up the escalator. She did not turn around, she only faced forward. 
She knows she is going to a place where she needs that wall, she is going to a place where there is nothing else to protect her. 

Alex cried, and he hugged me. He was so sad and showed every bit of it. In front of his friend, in front of his sister, he didn't care. 
I miss you, I  miss you. I love you. Keem, you my mom. 
I could not form words, I was crying so much.  He was the last one to go up the escalator, wiping his eyes under his new glasses. Waving and crying. 

I picked Lily up to comfort her.

I was not ready!

I was not ready to get down on my knees and hold my sobbing 5 year old because Alex and Yana were now out of sight, and she loves them too much.

I was not ready for the tears on the ride home and the 3 year olds questions, "Where is Alex?" noticing he is not in the seat next to her.
 "Alex went home to Ukraine." 
"I want him at my home." 
"Me too, baby."

It was hard. Really hard. 
My best friend sent me this scripture in a text message. It carried me today.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." 
Isaiah 55:9

God is bigger, His plan is bigger. This summer, God has taught me through Alex and Yana how to be more patient. How to always love and to forgive. How to be kind and to give to others.
 He has taught me to be a better person. To live for Him.

I didn't know I could love so deeply, so quickly. I didn't know my life would be changed so dramatically. 
I wasn't ready.

But I would do it again, in a heartbeat, I would do it again. Because it was all worth it. The love was worth the hurt. 
It always is. 


  1. So hard!
    Hold on tight and don't let go.

  2. Kimmy, this is Meghan Hein, Shannon sent me a link to your blog last night and I read it from start to finish! I am sitting here sobbing after reading this post. You and your family have been on my heart all summer. And today, I didn't even know what to pray. So much change, so much excitement, and so much heart-break now too for you guys this summer. All I can say is that we often see God working most when we look through the proverbial "rear view mirror." There has to be a purpose to why Alex and Yana had to go back to the Ukraine yesterday. Maybe God will use them to share the love you've given them to bring hope to others at their orphanage. Or maybe God will make it clear that Alex and Yana will come back to you guys again… Just know that in the mean time, while you wait for His plan to come to fruition… there are so many people lifting you guys up in prayer. Thank you for capturing all of the emotions and the ups and downs of your summer on this blog. It's a huge encouragement to me and to many others, I am sure. You are a beautiful family and I love seeing how God is working through you guys. It's amazing! So excited to be your neighbor at work this year. Let us know if you need anything at all. xo

  3. That picture of Alex hugging you is heartbreaking. Praying for you all!

    Keep your readers posted! And if you are able to have them back (for a visit or for good) I pledge all of my birthday money! : )

  4. Tears from eyes keep on falling...!

  5. Thanks for sharing this amazing journey! May God bless as you have opened your home and hearts to these precious children and may God keep Alex and Yana in the "palm of his hand:"