Friday, April 3, 2015

The Orphanage

"A mother and fathers love knows no boundaries, not blood nor distance nor governments nor money. We will cross
oceans and move mountains to bring you home."

We arrived at 10 am at the orphanage with Nina, the SDA agent from the region, and Roman our facilitator. We walked down a hallway with freshly mopped floors and met the orphanage's lawyer and the secretary. Six adults stand in this room filled with stuffed animals all over the couch, in the cabinets and on top of the tables. Too many animals to count.
What have these toys seen, and how many tears have they felt? Forgotten children given comfort with these lifeless creatures. But from an outsider's view, the room felt uncomfortable and almost eerie.
 A place where orphans go to feel love.

Everyone spoke Ukrainian, Roman seeing the pure confusion on my face turns to me and says they are going to get the kids, they are at school.

School is a building that is attached to the orphanage, however everyone from town goes there as well.

The secretary leaves to go get Yana and Alex. We listen for foot steps, but nothing.
5 minutes slowly tick by and no one comes in.
Until this sweet girl with her greasy hair pulled back in a green rubber-band and a white jacket stands in the doorway.

She walks in and instantly hugs me. Thousands of eyes staring at us as we see, touch, hug each other for the first time in 7 months. The words "Yana-banana" fall out of my mouth as if she never left. I look at her and notice her need to hug me longer and longer.  She has her mom back, she is no longer the orphan that I sent her back to be.

I notice crusty dirt lines on the crease of her neck and the filth on her sleeves, I hold her tight and whisper "I missed you."

Alex, came in only a few minutes later, and his reaction was that of a typical 16 year old boy especially with so many people watching. He hugged me and I hugged him, but when watching the video I did notice that he closed his eyes. So sweet.

It felt so good to be with them and to hug them and tell them how much I missed them.

It felt so awkward with everyone there at first, but then it didn't matter. I have traveled so far to just be with them, and today that's exactly what I was able to do. Just be with them, and them with me. I was able to spend a short hour with them, as they showed me their rooms.

On Yana's bed was a folded sponge bob blanket that we had made together 8 months ago. I touched it and said "your kiki", she smiled and grabbed it.

I gave her a huge hug. I had prayed that every time she lay with that blanket God covered her with a feeling of belonging. So amazed to see it on her bed.

She had cut out pictures from magazines of horses, cats and a black lab that looked identical to lady. She had taped them to the wall so she could look at them in bed.

Alex's room was much simpler, except next to his desk was his drawing pad we had sent with him to Ukraine. More drawings filled the pages.  He is proud of his work, and stops me on a page to tell me that "this one took me 2 hours" or "this one not done."

He had made cartoon images of his 2 favorite soccer players. I ask if I can have them so I can frame them and put them in his room. His face beams, and he says yes!

Since all the kiddos were at school, I didn't get to see the reaction on their face when they got the goodie bags, but one younger boy, one I had heard many stories about, runs by devouring the mints we had put in them.

So... I know they are being enjoyed.  I also witnessed the joy in Yana and Alex's face when they took pride in laying a bag on each child's bed, a token from THEIR family.

Such an amazing thing to see them give to their friends (their only family up until this year). They went into each room and told me whose bed was whose. They would tell me he is crazy, or she my friend.

After the hour, we had to go to the bigger city next to town to do more paperwork and they were asked to write letters to the judge stating they wanted to be adopted. However we were able to come back around 5 and spend another few hours with them. All the kids were out of school but Alex and Yana just want to sit next to me on Alex's bed and talk.

Yana has lost most of her English, but Alex still knows a lot. It is obvious to me he has been practicing. He gets mad at me when I ask him a word in Ukrainian, one I use to know..."you know that", he tells me.

"I forget, can you teach me again."
I tell him I did learn to count to 5, and as I butcher the first 5 digits he smiles and corrects me.

I ask them if it is weird that they will call me mom now instead of Keem? Alex and Yana both look at Roman for clarification.

Alex simply looked at me, nodded, and said mama.

They stay in the room with me for 2 hours, all of Alex's friends go to soccer practice, but he stays.  Alex's friends kept coming into the room urging him to go play soccer, but he refused, choosing to stay with us, almost as though he was afraid I would disappear if he left the room. Yana was next to me the entire time, every so often she lifts her fingers from the bed spread to brush against my forearm. Reassuring herself this is actually happening. She rest her head on my shoulder and I take her hand.


During this time, we were able to take care of business too. In Ukraine the child's middle name is their father's name. Roman explains that it is customary to change their middle name. Adam and I agreed on 4 choices for each Yana and Alex to choose from. Names that meant something to us and our family...

The options for Alex were Alexander Joseph (family name), Alexander Joshua (biblical), Alexander Charles (family name), Alexander William (A friend, forever in our hearts).

He choose Alexander William.

The options for Yana were Yana Rose (family name), Yana Marcile (family name), Yana Annabelle (author), Yana Theresa (family name).

She choose Yana Marcile.

We also learned, Alex was born in a region farther away than we were originally told. Which means the third trip will extended by a couple of days due to traveling to that region to get the necessary documents to be able to bring him home forever. Which sadly enough also means additional costs, but it is worth it. All of this is, and I know God will provide.

I will see them everyday this week, even Monday before heading back to Kyiv. The director tells us we can come after 2:00, which is when school is over. I tell them I will be there at 2:00 and give them a big hug.

Such an amazing day.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. If you would like to help us with the remaining fees to bring these two deserving children home please click here.

"I will not leave you as orphans;
 I will come to you."
John 14:18


  1. I have read your blog ever since Alex and Yana visited last summer. I rejoiced when you decided to adopted.I have watched the video of kids hugging you 3 times today and cried each time good tears for you all.I will donate again.I can't wait for them to be home with your family once again !

    Inglis, Florida

    1. Thank you so much for all your support Janice.Our God is pretty amazing, I was overjoyed by seeing them and have loved every second since. Monday will be bitter sweet when I have to leave the Orphanage but I know that it will be only a few weeks until they are mine forever. Thank you for helping make it happened.

  2. This brought tears to my eyes as soon as I began reading! Thinking about you like crazy. Keep the posts coming. I love following along. You are amazing, and Alex and Yana are so lucky to have you and Adam. One step closer to having your family home!

    1. Holly, Thank you for praying. God knows I need it and they do too. I love getting to know their friends and where they have spent the last 10 years of their lives. I can not wait to take them home.
      You are amazing, thank you for all your support.