Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A day at the beach


A cool sea breeze hits our face as the six of us pile out of the mini van. We each grab something from the trunk; a bag of snacks, beach toys, pop up tent, 10 dry clean towels. As we grab little hands, the cluster of us crosses the street to be beachside and we walk down the sidewalk. Thankful to have found a good street parking spot, we lug the beach *necessities down the hill.

The beach is crowded this Friday afternoon.
My family scurries across the hot sand to find a place to lay our blanket; dodging pop up tents, umbrellas, sand pails, and bodies we find the perfect area; just high enough away from the approaching tide.

We met my friend Ally's family at the beach and we all begin to settle in. That is until I hear, Ally's son, Vlad say "I just saw V!"

V is a child from Yana, Alex, and Vald's orphanage in Ukraine. He is being hosted this summer in Arizona, but came to visit LEGOLAND for the weekend, and since we are so close, we decided to meet up. We planned a beach day to get all the kiddos together.
During my first trip to the orphanage, V was by my side during the entire time, even more than my own kids. And when I was leaving, he grabbed my arm, and asked me to find him a family so he could come to America too.

V is a boy that was picked on constantly, for his weight and for his behavior. I remember before my court appointment, the lawyer pushing V at me and saying, take him too. Then having the caretakers around him laugh. His caretakers. The ones that are suppose to love him and take care of him. Laughing at him and mocking him. No child deserves this ridicule, but these are his protectors? Being an orphan is not a life that any of these children chose. They are the victims, but they are treated as the culprit.

We prayed for this boy to find a family.

Through a generous sponsor and an amazing family, V is being hosted for 10 weeks this summer!  He is with a loving mother and father who have two young foster children. God's amazing power.

"For truly I say to you, if you have faith like a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."
Matthew 17:20

And now, V was at the beach...

I grabbed Elliot's hand and ditch the rest of the kids and Adam to follow Vlad. I was so excited to see him.

We crossed back over the two lane road and turned the corner around the sandwich shop.

There he was standing next to the black pavement, swim shorts in hand heading to the bathroom to change. Vlad touched his shoulder and he turned around quickly. V just words were spoken. His eyes just looked at Vlad, trying to figure it all out...was he seeing a ghost?  Vlad has been absent from the orphanage for almost a year and a half.  Slowly, V's gaze, went to me. He didn't recognize me, that was until I raised my over-sized sunglasses on to the top of my head.
He looked at me completely puzzled. 

Then a small smerk of disbelief and hope-filled-eyes appeared on his face, "Sasha y Yana?" he asks...
"Da, they are here." I say 

I looked at Sheri (his host mama), "We didn't tell him, it is a surprise." she said to me.

Such an awesome surprise!

We spent the day rejoicing, relaxing, remembering and relishing in the goodness of the day.
Adam pushing V and Yana into the waves. The little ones becoming sand monsters and finding sand crabs. Riding boogie boards and building castles, playing and talking.

The older ones, walking up and down the beach, checking in with us every so often.

Between the three families, there were ten kiddos enjoying the beach. 
Six of those ten were abandoned. And you can't even tell which ones...
Six of ten of those kiddos were orphans. 
But not anymore, now they are wanted, now they are chosen, now they are loved.
The amazing power of love.
The amazing power of adoption, hosting, and changes lives.

After four hours at the beach, we decided to continue the reunion with dinner at my house. 

Their sun exposed faces laughed, gleamed and gobbled up delicious dinner. Yana and V laughing on the swings, jumping on the trampoline and chasing the dogs around the house. 

It was an amazing day. This is an amazing life.








  1. So is V's host family considering adoption?

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  3. I love the photo of Yana and V in the ocean!

    I think there is something so valuable in seeing orphanage friends happy and settled with their new families. It gave my daughter and her friend both a great deal of peace to see that. The orphanages are often full of horror stories about what happens after adoption. I think it relieved them both to see that the other was safe and loved.

    1. Right!!! I love the smile on her face as she catches the wave!
      It so true, and so many of the kiddos that were osted from their area want to be adopted now after seeing and talking to the ones that have found their forever families. Praying for all thise sweet friends, kinda wish I could take them all.