Saturday, December 27, 2008

A beautiful Christmas and the countdown...  

This Christmas was an amazing time of celebration of everything my Abba Father has done for me and for all His children. The realization of the precious gift that His son is is even more real to us this year. When this world was in darkness and didn't even know it. When we were fatherless and didn't know what a father was, He worked to claim me as His. What an amazing Father...and amazing Daddy.

We are so blessed to be adopted by our Heavenly Daddy and are blessed to be able to adopt two new sons from Ukraine.

Early in the process, I asked Mary how long she thought it would take for us to feel like the boys were really our and how long it might take us to love them as our flesh and blood. Little did we realize that that would happen before we even met them or laid eyes on them (physically). God has opened our hearts and lives and has melded them to us. Little Matthew is already part of us as though we had conceived and given birth to him. That's incredible and unbelievable to someone who has not experienced it, but it's absolutely true.

When Jonathan was adopted by another family, as painful as that was, we knew God was doing something special. We are now trying to adopt a little boy named Misha. He was transferred from the orphanage where Matthew lives several months ago and is now living in a mental institution for the mentally handicapped. Once again, God has melded this little heart to ours. When we found out we wouldn't be adopting Jonathan, we began praying that God would give us another son or daughter and He immediately placed Misha on our hearts. We decided then and there that we wouldn't not grow so attached to Misha in the even that we would be unable to adopt him. Yeah...right. God has once again opened our hearts to love him. We are going to do everything possible to give him a new name and a new home and a new life.

God has done miraculous things so far and we expect even more amazing things from Him that we cannot at this point imagine.

The countdown is on for our February 16 date with the SDA in Ukraine. We are more than excited and hope the 7 weeks will FLY by as we know they will. We seem to have everything that we know that we need to do done and our bases covered as best we know how. My mom is coming here to stay with the kids for the entire time we're gone (we're staying until we bring the boys home). I've got people to fill in for me at church (I'm a worship pastor). God has provided money for our expenses. Most importantly...God has an amazing plan that He will carry out. We will wait and watch His Mighty Hand!

How can you pray for us now?
1. For God's continued grace in our lives and the lives of our new children as His hand continues to carry out His work.
2. That if we need more money, that He will provide it through whatever means He sees fit.
3. For our preparations to be complete and comprehensive before we leave.
4. That Matthew will be in the orphanage when we get there and that Misha will be available and the director of the institution where he is will show us favor and make it easy to adopt him.
5. That God would miraculously provided a large van for us. "You have not because you ask not."
6. Most of all, that throughout everything that has happened and will happen in this process, that God would GLORIFY HIMSELF and that His name would become even more well known because of what He will do!

Thank you for praying.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


We heard from our facilitator today and got our TRAVEL DATE!  We're going to Ukraine to get our boys!!!

Our date is February 16 so we will be leaving the USA on Friday, February 13 so we can be there and at least partially human by that time.  We are SO EXCITED!

One sadness is that the Loux family will be traveling 2 weeks before us and we won't all be together there...but we'll be there for at least 2 weeks together as our trips overlap.

Praise God for everything He has done so far.  Everything isn't exactly as we had or would plan it, but we TRUST HIS HAND and His plan!  We're so grateful He has included us in it.  Thank You, God.

Derek and Renee Loux come home tonight (they're on their way now) so say a quick prayer for them.  They had to leave their boys behind and will go back in a couple of weeks to pick them up.
Our friends the Wayne & Meghan Dickinson are almost through with their dossier so praise God for that!

Our friends John & Tracie Loux are in the final stretch to get ready to go so pray for them for final fund-raising and all the details to work out easily.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just Heard...  

We just heard from our facilitator that there is a GOOD PROBABILITY that we will be able to adopt Misha from the institution that he was transferred too!!!  That is SO EXCITING!

We've been gathering things that we need for the trip to the artic!  We bought each other waterproof shoes (really their boots) for Christmas.  I got a warm coat too for Christmas.  We bought a BULK PACK of hand warmers.  We heard throught the grapevine that once again, Ukraine hasn't paid Russia their natural gas bill and the heat/hot water is off in at least parts of the country.  We've also both got Under Armor underwear and shirts...  We're READY for cold.  But if God chooses to send a heat wave, that'll be cool too!

We've bought a few toys for the boys...coats for them, we knitted some hats for them, bought car seats, have their beds set up, working on quilts for them, made fleece throw blankets for them...  Sounds like we're excited, huh???

Praying for God's will and timing!

No news...  

Well... We're ready to buy our plane tickets and get to Ukraine.
But... We're still waiting on our travel date. Sigh. But we are glad
to have confirmation that it's coming!

We are praying that we will be able to rescue Misha from the
institution he was transerred to but we haven't heard any news about
that yet. You can pray with us about that. In the meantime, we are
having an addendum to our home study prepared to include both boys and
girls ages birth through seven with Down syndrome. OUR first choice
is Matthew, of course, and Misha but want to be prepared if God is goi
g to do something different.

We simply want what He wants. My "life verses" that my dad chose for
me when I was a child are Proverbs 3:5&6. Look it up. That's what
the Malones are doing. :-)

Peace and grace.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why We're Doing This #2  

We travelled back to Kiev wondering what God was up to.  Why did we feel that He had called us to adopt and have a feeling that there was no way we could ever really accomplish it?  Not being able to visit the baby home and the hopeless feeling because of the financial mountain that we would be facing, made us wonder if we even knew what God's voice sounds like.  Could we have missed Him or misunderstood Him? 

We were staying at a man's property in Kiev.  His name is Yuri and he has driven us all around Ukraine over the years.  He has begun construction of a "Guest House" and conference center on his land in Brovary (on the outskirts of Kiev).  We were staying there for the first time.  Later that night, we were all sitting around chatting and just relaxing after our hard day of travel.  Yuri told us (through interpreter) that he understood that we were thinking about adopting a child from Ukraine.  At that point doubts had crept in and we wondered "Would/could God really do this?"  He said, when we come to adopt, he wanted us to come and stay at his guest house and that our money wou
ld be no good (in other words for free).  At that moment, we realized that God had just handed us about $2,500-3,000 toward the adoption.  I was speechless.  He then said many encouraging and uplifting things and said that he had a friend who lived near him that was a lawyer who does international adoptions.  I thought, "Wow!  What a coincidence!" Ha!  It was God bringing confirmation, of course.  I told him that I'd like to communicate with him sometime, maybe get his email address...lo and behold he picked up his cell phone, dialed and handed me the phone.  A couple of seconds later I was talking to this guy (who spoke English).  He shared that we'd probably be able to have a child adopted around the first of the year (I thought, "Right!  You don't know what you're saying...we have tons of money to come up with!")   Later that night, a friend of ours from Ukraine (who was the project leader for "Gift of Adoption" in Ukraine (she worked for CBN)) said that she'd be glad to help with anything she could.  She had handled several international adoptions. 

Suddenly, what only a few hours ago seemed nearly impossible, seemed completely possible through the power of God.  Of course we believe and have faith, but there are times when doubts begin to overshadow what we know to be true.  We knew that God would be the one who would do it, but when we began to take ownership, we began to think it was imp

As it turns out, because of where we are adopting from, we won't be able to stay with Yuri very much of the time.  Our friend wasn't able to help us with any of the paperwork because our facilitator does all that as part of the fee paid to them.  And we aren't using the services of the attorney that we spoke with on the phone.  The point is...God proved to us in a matter of minutes that what He sets out to do, HE CAN and WILL do.  Without my knowledge, expertise or even help!!  (Don't get me wrong, we've worked hard...but it's been through God that all this has transpired!!!)

We were E-X-C-T-I-T-E-D when we got home.  We knew we had not only heard from the Lord, but also heard Him tell us that HE WOULD DO IT...NOT US!

The week we got home, we told a dear couple in our church about what God was doing and they gave us $2,500 toward the costs!  That week was also my 15 year anniversary at the church I serve as Minister of Music & Worship and there was a surprise reception party for our family.  The church didn't know about what God was doing yet, but they gave u
s over $2,000 in cash!  In the first week, God had supplied nearly $5,000!  Once the church found out what was going on in our lives, money began appearing on my desk in unmarked envelopes.  It was overwhelming what God was going.

In the mean time, the missionary who lives at the Yuri's guest house emailed me to tell me that she knew a missionary couple who had adopted and that they might know who could help us.  We emailed them and in just a matter of minutes, replied with the web address for Reeces Rainbow.  Mary and I began to look at the website immediately and were overwhelmed to find out that there was ministry that assisted with the adoption of children with Down syndrome from Ukraine.  Could God make His hand any clearer???  We emailed Andrea and almost immediately got a response from her.  She made us a page of kids that were adoptable and available.  We were overwhelmed with the decision.  Instead of struggling which child we would rescue, we felt like we were deciding with kids we were leaving behind.

Out of all the kids, there was a couple that we had zeroed in on.  One was a little guy named Dante.  He was tiny for his age (5 years old).  He reminded us of our own little Eli.  But we couldn't decide.  We emailed Andrea and in Andrea fashion, she replied immediately and asked us to consider two boys, Oleg and Dante.  Wait a minute!!!  We were ad
opting ONE child!!!  Mary and I were in bed (I had the laptop) and we were looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions again when Andrea emailed us and right then, we decided that indeed we would adopt two.  In that moment God opened our hearts to those two boys (one of which we already had our eye on and Oleg).  

So here we are...papers approved, expecting our exact travel date at any time (we'll be traveling in February 2009).  Even though God intervened and Dante has been adopted by another family, we are SO EXCITED to go get Oleg and another child of God's choosing!!!

It is amazing that God is allowing us to be part of His plan and that He is MAKING IT HAPPEN!!!  Four months ago, we never would have dreamed that He would have provided the money He has provided through grants and donations, never dreamed that our paper work would come together so quickly and that we'd be invited to travel so quickly.  He has done GREAT things...of course, God is capable of 
nothing less!!!

Thank you God for all You've done and all You will do!!!
Also...a great big THANK YOU to Andrea for answering all our stupid questions and helping us
 get things figured out and completed.  And a great big THANK YOU to Meredith for answering even more questions and helping us make sure our paperwork was perfect and for helping us through losing Dante.  And another big THANK YOU to Derek, Renee, John and Tracie Loux who are adopting from the same orphanage we are going to...having others on the journey with us makes it easier and even a bigger blessing!

To Matthew (Oleg) and our other child...  Daddy
 and Mommy LOVE you and we are coming to get you just as soon as we can!!!

Peace and Grace

Friday, December 12, 2008

Why We're Doing This #1  

Many people wonder why we are adopting...and why from Ukraine.  I began traveling to Ukraine to do mission work about 6 years ago.  I go 2-3 times a year so I've been lots of times.  The very first time I went, I didn't want to come home.  The people of Ukraine stole my heart and I just couldn't bear the thought of going home.  So from that moment, God had my attention and gave me a passion to go and serve there in whatever capacity He made available. 

About 3 years ago, I was coming back from Ukraine in March (now would be a good time to mention that is was FREEZING...but it has nothing to do with this post...just a fact...and that's why I have Under Armor for our trip in February) and felt a strong call of God.  I even had a "vision" of Mary and I and our future.  It was cloudy but it was strong.  During this trip, I had been made aware of the orphan crisis in Ukraine.  That was bad enough, but when I found out what happened to kids with special needs, all I could do was weep.  I sat in the kitchen of a friend in Vishneve and cried like a baby.  I couldn't even speak.  

Traveling home, I had an overnight layover in England.  I couldn't wait to get home and talk to Mary so I called her long distance from my hotel room (yes...crazy, I know, but I couldn't wait).  I told her we really needed to talk when I got home...maybe not the best thing to say to a woman when you don't intend to "spill the beans" right then.  Obviously, I was unable to leave it at that and told her that it had to do with our family and Ukraine.  Honestly, I was a bit worried about telling her what I thought I needed to tell her.  As it turned out, there was no reason for me to worry.  She responded on the phone that she felt that God was going to be making major changes in our lives and she wondered if we should adopt from Ukraine or maybe move there.  God had been preparing her heart while I was away and told her the same things He had told me.  

You see, my "vision" was of our family having a private home for Ukrainian orphans with Special Needs (and specifically Down syndrome).  I assumed that this would be in Ukraine.

I came home and we made plans for her to return to Ukraine with me in the Summer and we could stake out a place to live and meet with people about what kind of ministry we could have there.  We were met with shock and some skepticism, but people know us well enough to know that we will follow God wherever, whenever.  

We had a great trip to Ukraine and really felt God's call, specifically to Ukraine.  We just didn't know how.  So since we had said yes, we knew that we must just follow and go forward until He said keep going or stop or wait.  We began making plans to sell our home and find a place to rent that was much cheaper so we could pay off debt that we had from the major medical expenses from our son, Eli's surgery when he was 3 months old and a small amount of other debt.

We were thinking that God would move us to Ukraine by the following summer.  We talked to the kids and told them to pray with us about it.  They were excited to be able to follow us as we followed God.  We were pretty surprised by their response.  We thought it would be hard for them.  But it wasn't.  It amazed us and we thought, wow, this must be what God wanted from us.

We just kept going forward until one day God said, "Stop and wait on Me."  So we did.  We were confused, but we trusted God and left our "Yes!" on the table.  He had our answer, before we knew what He was really asking of us.

I continued to do ministry in Ukraine and Mary joined me on a couple of more trips.

FAST FORWARD...Spring of 2008.  Mary and I began to have strong desires to have more kids.  Some people would think that's a bit strange since we have 5 already.  We aren't able to have children due to some medical issues.  Mary even checked with her doctor to see if there was any chance and there wasn't.  I was a bit discouraged by that because we both had such a strong desire to have more children.  So we waited on God.

Summer came and we had a trip to Ukraine planned.  We asked God to give us an answer of some kind while we were in Ukraine and that He would give us a clearer vision.  We went with the full expectation that He would answer.  We were to be in country for 9 days.  As day 7 rolled around, we still had nothing.  We had met the purpose of our trip, but we didn't feel that we had heard from God in regards to His call.

On our way from Pochiv region to Kiev, we decided to stop at the special needs baby home in Vorzel.  Mary and I had visited it on one occasion and I had visited once on my own.  We wanted to take some toys to the kids there.  We had it in the back of our minds that maybe we were being called to adopt.  But we didn't see any rational way that it could happen.  But during the night before the drive, many of us in the group came down with a stomach virus.  Obviously, we knew that it would be wrong to go into the baby home with a stomach virus.  The poor kids had enough problems without a stomach virus to pass around.  We dropped the toys at the door and left.  Crushed that we had been unable to visit.  Wondering what God was up to.  We thought He wanted us to visit, people had donated money for the toys...had we missed Him altogether?

Part Two Coming Next...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We're Going to Ukraine!  

After everything we've been through over the last week, all the emotions, everything, it was SUCH A JOY and BLESSING to get our facilitator's emails saying that all our paperwork had passed and we'd get a travel date tomorrow (Friday).  I can hardly wait to wake up in the morning and check the email to see if we got our date so I can buy our plane tickets!  

We're SO EXCITED to go get Matthew (Oleg) and hopefully another child too.  We just have to pray and hope that there is another boy who has Down syndrome and is between 2-7 years old.  We were pretty specific in our home study because we planned on adopting Matthew (Oleg) and Jonathan (Dante/Dimitri).  We didn't realize the possibility of what could happen...

Looking for our date.  I'm too tired to chronicle much tonight, but tomorrow I'll begin posting some of the many things the Lord has done over the past few days and months.

Peace and Grace.

It's time for...  


We got word this morning that our paperwork was PASSED THROUGH AND WE ARE TRAVELING AT THE FIRST OF FEBRUARY 2009!!!!!!!!!!!  We'll get our exact date tomorrow!!

We are so THANKFUL to GOD for all He has done.  Yes ALL He has done.  Even the things that He did that we wouldn't have necessarily chosen to do ourselves. 
Tomorrow I'll chronicle some of the things God has done in our hearts over the last days and months.

The other part of the GREAT news is...  John and Tracie Loux will be going with us!!!!!  We are SO AMAZED that God worked this out!!!!! And THANKFUL!  Did I mention THANKFUL!!??

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kids are such a blessing!  

Our kids really had a hard time yesterday with the news about Jonathan (Dante). But last night during our family devotion time, we talked about Proverbs 3:5-6...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and
lean not on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him 
and He will direct your paths.

This is my life verse, chosen by my dad when I was very young. He wrote that in every card, book and Bible he ever gave me. What a legacy. But I digress...

The kids had good input on why it is so important to trust the Lord...especially in times when He does things that are hard or even impossible to understand.

During prayer time, I was amazed at their prayers. Over the last months, they have prayed for Jonathan and Matthew every night...that God would protect them, give us wisdom to know what to do, for our paperwork, for a speedy travel date, etc. But last night, our 7 year old started the prayer time and prayed asking God to get Jonathan home real quick so he can get well fast. One of our daughters prayed telling God how much she trusts Him. Our oldest son (14) finished out the kids part of prayer time and thanked God for giving Jonathan a family even if it wasn't ours and thanked Him for saving Jonathan's life. As hard as all this has been emotionally, I am so grateful that God has given us faith and that our children are ready to follow God even though it's sometimes so hard.

Seth, our 7 year old, kept asking yesterday to make sure that he was still going to have 2 new brothers even though one of them wasn't Jonathan. Of course we pray so!

Yesterday, it was my understanding that our home study limited us to 2 boys with Down syndrome ages 4-7. Because of the small age range and the fact that so many kids had been transferred from the orphanage we are hoping to adopt from, we wondered if there would be any left for us to adopt, but last night I reread it all again and realized that it actually states between 2 & 7 so that makes it more possible to find a son there. We were very thankful for that!

Peace and Grace.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thankfulness and Sorrow Meet...  

NOTE:  Before you read this post, please take note that all the families mentioned in this post have communicated with each other and we are ALL after the same thing...the perfect plan and will of our loving Father.

About a week ago, some new friends of our got news that one of the three boys they hoped to adopt in E. Europe had been adopted by a couple from another country.  The gut wrenching feeling that I had for the next couple of days because of the sorrow I knew they would be feeling is hard to describe.   They were trying to get ready to leave the country and grieving over the loss of the son they hoped to adopt.  

Mary and I talked about it a lot and began to get the nagging feeling that perhaps one or both of our boys may be moved from the orphanage before we had a chance to get there to get them.  We began making inquiries to find out what we could, all the while trusting God to carry us to His plan.

The couple made it to their destination and had their meeting with the court and at that time found out that another of the boys that they wanted to adopt had been moved out of the orphanage along with another 40 or so children.  While he was still adoptable from the place he had been sent, it would not be possible to adopt from both orphanages during the same trip/process so they made the choice to adopt the 1 remaining child and to accept 2 blind referrals.  Of course, they wondered how they would choose, until they were presented with the referrals.  There were only 2 other boys in the group to choose from, so that made it pretty easy.

As I was reading the update on their blog late afternoon yesterday, I was so excited that they had met all three of the boys the were to adopt and that they had gotten confirmation from the Lord that these were the ones for their family.

I re-read the blog post and this time was paying more attention to the details and names.  I realized that the name of one of the boys was the "formal" name for one of the boys that we hoped to adopt.  The details were similar to the boy we hoped to adopt (Jonathan).

Through some inquiries and ultimately a phone conversation, it became clear that what we feared had happened.  Little "Jonathan" had been chosen by another family.  Obviously, we are heart sick and will have to go through a grieving process.  The feelings and emotions are very strong at this point, but God will sort all that out in both families...He's faithful.

Understand that there are no hard feelings between our family and the family who is adopting J.  We will all meet up one of these days and share stories, tears, and laughter!!

Please pray for the this family.  Little "Jonathan" is VERY sick.  There is question whether he would have survived even until we got there.  This family is adopting 3 special needs children.  2 of these kids have severe medical issues that need immediate attention and treatment.  Mary and I are so THANKFUL to God and to the family who is rescuing him and will love him and care for him.  

We look forward to seeing what miraculous things the Lord does and we give Him THANKS and PRAISE.  You may ask how you can follow the scripture that says, "In everything, give thanks,"  when something like this has happened.  I don't have a good answer for that except that God has always proven Himself faithful.  God has always kept His promises.  God's ways are not my ways.  Everything God does is good.  Everything God does is right.  Our faith has found a resting place...the arms of our Loving Father.  We trust Him, we love Him, we THANK Him!!

Please pray for all the families involved and for the larger Reece's Rainbow family.  We're all in this together and when something like this happens (especially twice in a couple of weeks) it causes everyone a little anxiety to say the least. 

Just remember that God's plan will go forward and He will bring glory to Himself!  Praise Him!!

PS>>>>  The Malone Family and the John & Tracie Loux family hope to TRAVEL SOON!  Please pray for a speedy travel date for us to go get those boys!!

"I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him!"

Peace and Grace.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I'm waiting 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
And I am hopeful 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
Though it is painful 
But patiently, I will wait 

I will move ahead, bold and confident 
Takeing every step in obedience 
While I'm waiting 
I will serve You 
While I'm waiting 
I will worship 
While I'm waiting 
I will not faint 
I'll be running the race 
Even while I wait 

I'm waiting 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
And I am peaceful 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
Though it's not easy 
But faithfully, I will wait 
Yes, I will wait 
I will serve You while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting 
I will serve You while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting 
I will serve you while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

--John Waller

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December is doubtful...  

We heard from our facilitator today in Eastern Europe that it is doubtful that we will be travelling in December. We are glad to be with the kids for Christmas, but we are concerned that Matthew will be moved from the orphanage due to his age. A Reece's Rainbow friend of ours got to the country and the child they wanted to adopt had been moved out of the orphanage and had become un-adoptable.

God knows and He's in charge!

Peace and Grace.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Waiting and trusting...  

God we trust you.