Our tenth grandchild should be arriving sometime in the next two months! We are as excited about our new grandson as you would be the arrival of any new baby in the family—only Oleg is not a baby but a fourteen year old orphan from the Ukraine. And now, at last, I can tell the happy news—he will be joined by our eleventh grandchild, a thirteen year old girl named Nastia! She, too, is an orphan in the Ukraine, with much the same background as Oleg’s—father died and mother took to drinking so heavily that the state stepped in and took away her parental rights and put the child in an orphanage.
Our daughter Julie and son-in-law David have long desired to adopt children, although the outcome today is very different than the one they initially envisioned. Their adoption journey started four and a half years ago as they sought to adopt babies and/or preschoolers from El Salvador. The government there, however, seemed to have no interest in placing kids in good homes and although they led prospective adoptive parents along for several years, that fact finally became obvious. The adoption agencies here in the US have finally given up on that country.
Meanwhile, little by little, the Lord changed David and Julie’s path to Ukraine and their hearts to desire older children who needed to be rescued from orphanages before they aged out of the system and became just another awful statistic. They are still hoping to have some kind of orphan ministry when David retires. That may mean simply adopting more children or working in a group home or orphanage either in the US or abroad. It will be interesting to see how He leads.
Oleg and Nastia will most likely arrive in the States sometime in April. David and Julie should be receiving their invitation from the Ukrainian government in the next couple weeks to go over there and complete the adoptions and then will have to stay four or five weeks through the entire process. In the meantime, they are buying new beds and making adjustments to welcome two more children into the family. I had to laugh the other day as Julie and I were discussing the kids’ birthdays. There will be a one month period this summer when they will have a 15 year old (Oleg), 14 year old (Benjamin), 13 year old (Nastia), and 12 year old (Joshua) in the house, as well as the “baby” of the family (Hannah) who will still be eight. Sounds like a happy houseful!
David and Julie have plenty of bedroom space, plenty of room around the table, and a big Suburban that will hold all seven of them—and most of all they have an abundance of love and patience and wisdom to manage a family like this! Can you imagine, though, trying to meld a family together where two of the children speak little to no English—and having to teach English as a second language as you homeschool all five children? Can you imagine suddenly having a teenage daughter, after having boys and a little girl? Imagine trying to learn to cook at least a little of a new cuisine so that your Ukrainian children don’t get too homesick. Imagine trying to honor the culture and traditions of their homeland while introducing them to an entirely new culture, history and life in their adoptive country. It won’t be easy, but then again, they won’t be doing it on their own. The same Lord who put it in their hearts to adopt internationally will show them and help them in the way they should go as they raise these children. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (I Thessalonians 5:24)
Sometimes the path the Lord leads us on seems long and convoluted with no end in sight. When we know it is His will, then we must persevere and endure. When the way is full of obstacles and pitfalls, we must trust. When we feel like quitting, we must be faithful, as He is faithful to us. When our strength is gone, we must lean on His strength. These last four and a half years for David and Julie have been difficult, but praise God, they have pressed on obeying and following the Lord. The coming months and years will most likely be challenging, as well. God’s way is rarely the easy way. When we “walk by faith,” that is exactly what it is—trusting Him for the wisdom, strength and courage to go on,; trusting Him to remove obstacles and open doors; trusting Him to uphold and sustain us on our journey through this wilderness we call life.
Just a few verses of Scripture to give you the courage and strength to go on in your own personal journey with Him:
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (II Corinthians 12:9)
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (II Corinthians 9:8)
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5, 6)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (I Corinthians 15:58)