Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Be Still and Know that I am God

We have been back from Ukraine for a little over a month now, anxiously awaiting news of a court date.  When we left on November 13th, our facilitator, Alex, was working on getting another copy of Igor's birth certificate and some other official documents.  Those all needed to be turned in to the SDA to request a court date.  About 2 weeks ago we heard that the birth certificate and documents had been sent and should arrive at the SDA within days.  It had been our prayer that we might get a court date in early December so that Igor could be home by Christmas.  However, on Monday this week, we learned of yet another roadblock which will potentially cause several weeks delay.  One of the documents is missing from Igor's packet, and without that document, the SDA cannot give approval for a court date.  The paper that's missing is a form that Igor's biological mother signed in the hospital at his birth, relinquishing her parenting rights.  On Monday, Alex relayed to us what the options were in obtaining this document.

1.  Send someone back to his birth town to find it.  This is nearly impossible as this town is in one of the most volatile war zone areas.  You can't even pay people to go into this area.
2.  Forge it.  Not really an option because the SDA has the right to throw out our entire dossier and close this adoption if he does this.
3.  Talk to someone in parliament and try to recreate the document.  This seems like the best option, however this will take several weeks.  When the SDA receives this document and finally does give approval for a court date, the court date will be at least two weeks out.

When I heard this news on Monday, and realized we were now looking at maybe the end of January for a court date my heart sunk.  More WAITING!  Ugh!  I'm - so - tired - of - waiting!  I was a grump for the rest of the day.  Frustrated that Igor would not be home by Christmas, frustrated at all the bureaucracy delays, frustrated that a war had to happen right in the middle of our adoption.  I was not in the mood to hear all the reasons why I should trust and obey.  I just wanted to be mad for awhile.  Thankfully, God didn't let me stay there very long.  The very next morning in my bible reading time, God didn't waste any time at dealing with my bad attitude.  In Elisabeth Elliot's devotional, "Keep a Quiet Heart", this quote jumped off the page at me:

       "Be Quiet!  Why this anxious heed about thy tangled ways?  God knows them all, He
        giveth speed, and He allows delays."  EW
                   
                                            and this from the Psalms…

Psalm 40:1-3  "I waited patiently (NOT!) and He inclined to me and heard my cry.  He brought me up out of a pit of destruction, out of miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord….How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust!
Since I am afflicted and needy let the Lord be mindful of me.  You are my help and my deliverer;  Do not delay O my God!"

But, Lord?  Igor!  He's still stuck in that orphanage!  Is it not far better for him to be home with a family who loves him?


Be still and know that I am God.

Yes, but this is taking SO LONG!  And Igor is not getting any younger, and neither am I for that matter!

Be still and know that I am God.

Lord, you gave the Moore's a court date.  You gave the Pettus' a court date.  What about us???

Be still and know that I am God.

Ugh!  It hurts!  I'm tired of waiting!  I want my child!  How can this be good?

"Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.  I am your Hope, your Stronghold, your salvation, your Refuge.  Wait in silence for me.  Trust me at all times."  (Ps. 46, 62)

And so we continue to watch and wait for God to move mountains - to rescue this child and bring him home to us.  When God had realigned my wayward thoughts He brought me to the place where I could once again offer up a "sacrifice of praise."  What could I be thankful for in all of this?

- traveling in December would have been super difficult for Jim as December is one of the busiest months for his practice

- plane ticket prices are exorbitant this month

- we can now enjoy all the holiday celebrations with family and friends

- God is only good.  His ways are higher than mine and He is working in ways I can't begin to understand.

One year ago today we were at the RDU airport, waiting anxiously to meet a sweet Ukrainian boy whom we would host for 4 weeks.  Who knew that a year later we would still be waiting for that sweet Ukrainian boy?

Igor will now be spending Christmas at the orphanage and for those who are willing, there is a way to bring some Christmas joy to the children of Pishana.  Ukraine celebrates Christmas on January 7th.  Most of the orphanage staff will be on vacation over the holidays.  Many of the children have some family nearby that they spend the holidays with and others will be hosted by Americans.  But there are some, like Igor, who will have to spend Christmas at the orphanage.  Nasledie Heritage Foundation is sending 18-20 volunteers to put on a 3 day camp for these children and hopefully bring them some Christmas cheer.  They need about $800 to cover the costs of lodging and other expenses for this camp.  If you would like to donate you can click on Nasledie and follow the prompts for "Just Give" to donate online.  In the program section you should click "other" and write "Slavik and Alyona Puzanov - Pishana Camp".  If you mail a check it actually gets to them faster.  Checks can be mailed to:

                                             International Messengers
                                             P.O Box 618
                                             Clear Lake, IA 50428


Again, include with the check the information that the donation is for "Slavik and Alyona Puzanov - Pishana Camp."

"Through Him then, let us continually offer up a 
sacrifice of praise to God, 
that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."
Hebrews 13:15



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Back on American Soil

 

 As we sit here at JFK, awaiting our last flight of the day which will finally take us home, we find ourselves grateful for the little things...things that a week ago, we wouldn't have remembered to give thanks for...the ability to read the signs around us, understanding conversations that are floating across the air, the anticipation of sleeping in a large bed with comfortable pillows, driving on smooth roads.  Yet even as we are giddy with excitement at hugging our children at the airport, we have left a large part of our heart back in a vast country of rugged farmland and beautiful, historic cities.  A country that a week ago we knew very little about and had some fear and apprehension about the reception we might meet.  But now we find we have fallen in love with Ukraine and its people.  Our hearts break with them as they face an uncertain future. We had been cautioned that Americans were not well liked and we should be very careful, however, we encountered warm, kind people who did their best to assist these two inexperienced, ill-prepared Americans maneuver through the mysteries of a new culture.

Our trip back to Pishana on Wednesday was more difficult than we anticipated.    Our taxi driver picked us up at 5am.  The first three hours of the trip were on a fairly decent highway.  Each time we have traveled this highway in the last week we are struck by the feeling of entering a time machine and traveling back in time 100 years as soon as you leave the bustling metropolis of Kiev.  When you leave the city, all that you see along this highway are miles and miles of farmland and small villages.  The last hour of the trip requires us to leave the highway and travel on a country road, a road that is so full of potholes that I find myself looking at my watch every five minutes to see if the hour of torture on this road is nearly over.  Finally, when I thought I couldn't endure another second of being thrown back and forth we pulled into the city of Balta.  Here we met up with Svetlana, the facilitator who works in this area, and Marina, our translator for the day.  Svetlana informed us (through Marina) that we would be meeting with the Director of Social Services and she would travel with us to Pishana to observe our interaction with Igor.  However, the director had been called away briefly to deal with a problem in another local orphanage and we would need to wait for her.  Svetlana and Marina climbed into the car with us and Sasha (our driver) took us around the corner to the notary to drop off some documents to be notarized for our visit to Pishana.  This would take about an hour so we suggested to Svetlana and Marina that we go to the restaurant we had discovered on Saturday for coffee.  We were thankful that God had led us to this restaurant earlier as the only restaurant Svetlana knew of did not open until noon.  Yesterday was by far the coldest, grayest day we have experienced during our visit so we were thankful to find a warm place to sit.  We decided to go ahead and order food as we didn't know when we'd next get a chance to eat.  I'm so glad we did...it turned out that we had neither lunch nor dinner yesterday.  After an hour and a half we returned to the notary to sign the documents that had been prepared and then headed to the Department of Social Services to pick up the director.
 

  Svetlana went inside while the rest of us waited in the car for what we thought would be 5 minutes.  5 minutes turned into 15...turned into 30...60...2 hours!  At one point Jim and I got out of the car to stretch our legs and pace back and forth in the cold drizzling rain.  Finally, we heard word from Svetlana, that the director was fearful to allow us to have this visit because of the circumstances in Lugansk.  We were the first couple trying to move forward without official documents and she was fearful to allow us to procede.  I felt an oppressive weight on my chest as I was reminded once again of the intense battle we were facing and began to pray urgently that God would move the director's heart and allow us to visit.  Finally, after 3 hours of waiting, she sent out another representative to travel with us to Pishana.  The 6 of us squeezed into Sasha's car and we made the 30 minute drive to the orphanage.  We were greeted by many of the sweet, smiling boys we had enjoyed playing with on Saturday.  As we headed in to look for Igor and meet with the director of his school, I wondered how much he had been told of this visit.  I think he knew something about it, for he was a bit subdued and business like when I greeted him.  We were ushered into the director's office where we spent about 45 minutes meeting with her and several other representatives (not sure who they all were).  Most of the conversation flowed back and forth between Igor's director, Svetlana, and the Social Services representative.  Marina would translate for us here and there.  We had been warned by Alex, that we might receive a cool reception from the Pishana director, so we were so grateful to hear her kind words about us and about Igor.  She informed the social worker that we had hosted Igor and he had been very happy with us.  She said we have kept in communication with him and told of our recent visit to the school.  She praised Igor highly, as the most well-behaved, kind-hearted child they had received from Lugansk.  At one point they brought in a doctor who informed us that Igor was in good health.  Much of the conversation after that we did not understand.  About half way through the meeting, they brought Igor in and since there were no chairs left in the small office he sat on my lap.  The social worker and director asked him many questions, questions about our family, our interaction with him, why did he want to be adopted by us?  He told them he loved us very much and I was his "natural" mother.  That brought a chuckle from all of them.  They asked if he had any relatives or if anyone had ever come to visit him when he lived in Lugansk.  He told them no...no relatives...no one had ever visited him.  Then they asked us a number of questions...why did we want to adopt when we already had 4 children?  Did we realize how difficult this would be?  I hope our responses were adequate.  We were aware that it would be difficult but parenting is always challenging.  We felt blessed by God and wanted to share those blessings.  We tried to explain our own adoption by God and how that motivates us.  We talked of our love for Igor and how deeply our children loved him and wanted him to be their brother.  Finally, the director brought the meeting to a close.  We asked Marina if Igor was going to sign a document saying he wanted to be adopted by us.  Apparently, because of the uniqueness of our situation, this could not be done that day, but they assured us it would occur in a few days and we did not need to be present.  We were told later by Marina that the meeting had been very positive and the social worker observed positive interaction between Igor and us.  We were told we could stay as long as we wanted to visit with Igor.  However, by now it was nearing 4pm and we had a long trip back to Kiev and an early flight so our visit with him was brief.  We headed upstairs to a large open room with a couch and pulled out some snacks to share.  (Igor had skipped lunch also in order to be at the meeting with us)    We were surrounded almost immediately, by the same group of boys that greeted us on our arrival.  It was interesting to us that it was all boys who hung out with us.  I felt a little like Wendy from Peter Pan with the lost boys.  I looked around the room at all their sweet faces, some of them on the brink of manhood,  and my heart broke for them.  Who would be a mama and papa to these boys?  Who would come to rescue them and give them a future?  We had fun playing spoons together and then all too soon it was time to climb back in the taxi to drive back to Balta and then on to Kiev. 



We hugged Igor and assured him that we would be back as soon as we could.  Svetlana had done a very good job of explaining to Igor that our situation was unique because he is from Lugansk and this could take awhile.  He seemed to understand.  We all prayed together...surrounded by this group of boys.  Then they all trailed after us as we headed out to the car.  This time the tears were fewer because there was hope a return visit, a visit we hope will allow us to bring this boy home forever.
On this long journey home we have had time to reflect on all God has done for us this week.  When we left home 9 days ago, we had no idea  what we would face.  We didn't know how God would accomplish granting us a referral when no contact was made with the Irmino director.  We knew He had given us the opportunity to meet with the SDA and we were surrendered to whatever plans He had.  We are overwhelmed at God's goodness to us!  He has shown Himself strong in our lives.  A mighty warrior who fights our battles.  All we could do was pray and submit to Him and He fought for us.  He provided abundantly for our needs and moved mountains out of the way.  Even yesterday we learned from Alex,  a ruling had just been made on Tuesday in Odessa to allow the directors of the orphanages that have taken in Lugansk children to act as their legal guardians and make decisions for them.  If this ruling had not been made, the Pishana director would not have the authority to give approval of Igor's adoption.  This happened the day before our meeting....God's timing never ceases to amaze us!
We can never say thank you enough to all of you who have been praying with us through this journey.  Many of you we have never even met!  Keep it up!  The battle is not over yet.  Many more obstacles must be overcome.  The next challenge is to get another official copy of Igor's birth certificate made so that we can request a court date.  On Monday morning, the morning of our 2nd (or was it 3rd?) SDA appointment, my daily bible reading was in I Samuel 16-17, the story of David facing Goliath.  David's words to Saul as he prepared to face Goliath resonated with me.  He told him "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine."  David trusted in God's deliverance based on His previous work in David's life.  We have seen God act as a Mighty Warrior in our life and we can trust Him with the next battle.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Savior, He can move the mountains!!!

Savior, He can move the mountains...Our God is Mighty to Save, He is Mighty to Save!

Ephesians 3:20-21
   "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever!"

Psalm 145: 3-7
   "Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.  One generation shall praise Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts.  On the glorious splendor of Thy majesty and on Thy wonderful works I will meditate.  And men shall speak of the power of Thine awesome acts; and I will tell of Thy greatness.  They shall eagerly utter the memory of Thine abundant goodness, and shout joyfully of Thy righteousness."

Today we celebrate God for all He has accomplished thus far!  For His abundant goodness to us!  For His incomprehensible grace to us!  Today He moved the first of many mountains is bringing Igor home.  We were given the referral from the SDA office!



 
This was an almost impossible task.  One that only God could accomplish for us. 
We are so thankful for Alex who fought relentlessly for this referral for the Moore family and for us.  SDA appointments never last more than an hour.  If you combine the total time of the two days we spent at the SDA office...this took 7 hours.  7 hours of Alex arguing with the Deputy Minister.  Even when we left last night we did not know if she or the Director would sign for our referral.  But God moved them to sign and we know we can trust Him to clear away the rest of the obstacles if that is His will.

For those of you who are unsure of all the adoption terms.  Our dossier (large packet of forms which includes a home study and many other documents) was approved by Ukraine in May.  A referral is a direct match with a child.  We have now been officially matched with Igor and given permission to pursue adopting him.  The next step is to get the director's approval from Pishana and Igor's agreement to be adopted by us.  Then we will wait to be assigned a court date when he is legally declared to be our child.

Alex and Nastya have strongly cautioned us not to get our hopes up.  They told us that this adoption could get shut down at any point.  We are forging through new territory.  They have no idea how long it will take to get new copies of Igor's documents printed.  They told us Igor's director at Pishana could say "no".  The Deputy Minister will have to give approval for us to get a court date and she could say "no".  The judge in court could say "no".  So we will celebrate today's victory and we will trust God to accomplish His plan in His timing and in His way. 

We have hired a driver to pick us up at 5am tomorrow morning and take us back to Pishana (a 4 hour trip) There we will meet with the director of the orphanage and another facilitator in the area.  The director will need to give approval of the adoption and Igor will need to sign a paper agreeing to be adopted.  (We aren't worried about his answer!)  Please pray that through the translator we will be able to communicate with Igor the process that remains ahead of us.  Last time he expected us to take him home when we arrived.  We need him to understand that much of the process lies ahead of us, yet be able to rejoice in what God has done for him thus far.  We must return to Kiev tomorrow night as we plan to fly home Thursday morning. 

So we will continue to need the help of our prayer warriors!  The battle is not won yet.  I appreciated the words to this song, that Sue Lowe shared with me yesterday.

  In heavenly armour we'll enter the land
The battle belongs to the Lord
No weapon that's fashioned against us will stand
The battle belongs to the Lord
And we sing glory, honour
Power and strength to the Lord
We sing glory, honour
Power and strength to the Lord

When the power of darkness comes in like a flood
The battle belongs to the Lord
He's raised up a standard, the power of His blood
The battle belongs to the Lord

When your enemy presses in hard, do not fear
The battle belongs to the Lord
Take courage, my friend, your redemption is near
The battle belongs to the Lord

Monday, November 10, 2014

We are promised an answer in the morning

From Jim...

We are back in Kiev and had our second appointment at the SDA office earlier today.  We continue to hope for news that our official referral to adopt Igor will be granted.  (For you bottom line people, skip below to the statement in bold.)  Yesterday we travelled via cab and bus from Balta to Kiev.  We are thankful that Kimmie's back has held up well especially since prior to this trip sitting for a few minutes in the car  would get very painful.  Yesterday alone our travels had us sitting in car or bus at least 7 hours.  We had a great night of rest on a normal size bed and by noon today our internet connection was fixed so that after our SDA appointment we could get caught up on some work and connections.

There are some lessons that we continue to see over and over.  One of those lessons is that God is the one who is our strength and the one who fights and secures the battle.  The battle is not won by our strength.  Proverbs 21:1 says He turns the heart of the king as easily as directing water in his hand.  This morning we received two messages reminding us that God can make a way when there seems to be no way.  Kimmie was reading about David as he approached Saul about fighting Goliath when he said "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."  We went to the SDA office with notes of encouragement, strengthened by the knowledge of his saints praying, and thankful for being out of our comfort zone so as to notice first hand how God has provided in so many details on this trip. 

We both seemed to wrestle with how much to pray today.  We are reminded of God's instruction to pray illustrated in the parable of the woman who asked the king her request day after day until he finally granted the wish just to get rid of her.  When we arrived at the SDA office we had to wait for our appointment.  Kimmie wanted to walk around the building and pray whereas I felt God had confirmed He heard our prayers and it was time to wait and watch.  I wrestled with whether I was getting lazy in the discipline and work of prayer or whether God was putting me at rest.  Finally we went into the SDA office to realize that we would need to wait for another two hours before we would be taken in for our appointment.  The waiting room is pictured below. 

  
If we had not realized it before, we were reminded again that this is truly a case of the battle being the Lord's.  While our adoption facilitator and SDA staff debated our situation we waited in this room.  We see that if God grants favor on our request it can't be because of anything we have done.  For the final 45 minutes we were taken through the Deputy Minister's office to the office of her assistant.  There she prepared our file as if we were going to get our referral.  We got to see two pictures of Igor, one as a baby and one at age 2 or 3.  We understood her to read some of the Ukrainian law to her boss which detailed there being no obstruction to our referral.  We signed the official book requesting our referral and were told that we would have an answer tomorrow.  As we left our appointment we understand our petition will be placed on the desk of the SDA director for a decision in the morning.  So we lift up the prayer we have had since we arrived, that our referral for Igor will be granted and we will then be one step closer to his adoption.   While the process has been slow, we see one hurdle after another being cleared.  Our hope remains high and through the strength of our Lord and His people our faith remains secure.  If our referral is granted it will likely lead to a delay in our coming home as we will have more work to do in country.

Our prayer through all of this is that the name of the Lord be glorified above all else.  This desire was once reflected even in the construction of this city.  Our apartment in near St. Sophia Church.  It sits on a hill and the top was built to be the tallest point in the city to reflect the supremacy of God.  The city was also planned so that three glorious churches would surround a section of the town.  This reminds me that we cannot go in any direction where we cannot see and know God's love, His glory or the support of His people.  (Below is St. Andrews and St. Michael's church, two of the three churches mentioned referenced above.)  




Last night we were treated to being able to walk through this beautiful city for an hour before it turned dark and then met with two other couples going through the adoption process for a great dinner at an authentic Ukrainian restaurant.







  

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pishana

Yesterday, after 10 months of separation we finally saw our boy again.  He did not know we were coming with the team from Nasledie.  As the children streamed out of the school to greet the team, Jim and I hid behind a van and Laura grabbed Igor (and my phone) and led him over for a surprise...
video
(I'm so sorry!  It's sideways and I don't know how to fix it!)
 
Igor was so giddy with excitement!  He grabbed my hand and drug me over to the other children to introduce, "Kimmie, My Mama!"  He kept hugging us, as if to convince himself that this was not a dream.  A few minutes later we were ushered into the director's office for her to greet us and ask us a few questions.  We were thrilled to be able to deliver 120 hats and gloves for the children.  She was very grateful for them and we decided together that it would be best for the teachers to deliver them later in an orderly fashion.  If we tried to hand them out it would have been mass chaos...so I'm afraid we have no pictures of them receiving these.  But for all who donated, please know that the school was so grateful for your gift.  We had been a little uneasy, anticipating the director's reception, but she was very welcoming and gracious.  She gave us freedom to interact with Igor and the other children as much as we wanted.  When we finished with our meeting with the director, Igor immediately began asking us if we were taking him to America.  I was evasive in my answers, until we could grab Laura (to interpret) and find a quiet corner.  Then we had the very difficult job of telling an excited little boy that this was just a visit.  Igor did not react well.  As Laura tried to lovingly and patiently explain our situation, he began to withdraw and was very upset.  It was so painful to watch...How do you explain to a child the frustrating circumstances of not being able to get a referral simply because there are no hard copies of the paperwork???  Finally, I think he understood enough to know that we loved him and we were still fighting for him and we came because we wanted to see him even if we couldn't take him home right now.  We did not breath a word about the possibility of returning on Wednesday with a referral because we did not want to give him false hope. 
The team from Nasledie then did a two hour program with the children in the auditorium. 
 
After the team left we had about an hour alone with Igor to visit and share with him the gifts and clothing we brought.  Too soon the taxi arrived to take us to Balta, the nearest town with a hotel.  We assured Igor that we would return the next day for another visit and climbed into the taxi for a 30 minute jostling, stomach shaking ride to Balta.  You've never experienced a road with potholes until you drive on the backroads in Ukraine!  We were a little apprehensive of staying in a foreign city, where we didn't even know the alphabet, without an interpreter.  But God has been our amazing Provider continuously!!  When we arrived at the hotel, there was another tenant who spoke English and interpreted for the landlady.  When we walked next door to dinner, the waiter spoke very good English and has actually served with our facilitators as an interpreter for adoptions.  He was able to tell us about a restaurant in town that would be open for breakfast the next morning, and even drew us a map and gave us his cell number.  Although the bed in the hotel room is not much larger than twin size, there was a fan!  And for a couple who has gotten addicted to falling asleep with the sound of a fan, we were elated!
 
The next morning we set out with our little scrawled map to try and find breakfast.  We soon realized that two Americans, trying to find a restaurant in a strange Ukrainian town (even with our simple map) would be like finding a needle in a haystack!  I'll save you the long story and suffice it to say that by God's grace alone we finally found the restaurant he was referring to and enjoyed a delicious breakfast.  We then walked through a little market place and picked up a few things for lunch that day.
 


 
Soon it was time to head back to Pishana.  Our friendly (non-English speaking) taxi driver (Boris) showed up and we climbed back into his car for another roller coaster ride to the orphanage.  When we arrived we were greeted by lots of friendly children, but no Igor.  The children told us Igor was in school (on Saturday?) and took us up to his classroom. 
 
 Igor's classmates

 
Igor's teacher graciously dismissed him for the afternoon and we had a fabulous afternoon playing with him and the other children!
 









 
We even had a chance to see Igor's room:
 

 
And here is what happens when you let your camera loving boy get ahold of your Iphone...
 
 
All too soon it was time to say goodbye...I can't begin to describe how hard that was for all of us...but especially for Igor.  We held each other and prayed together, each of us beseeching our Father in our own language to please reunite us together soon.  Then we climbed back in the car with Boris, leaving our hearts and our boy at Pishana.  We were so very grateful that as we were leaving, Vanya, an older boy walked up and we were able to use the translator on the phone to ask him to help Igor as we left. 
 
Thank you for praying with us continuously through this journey.  We have felt so carried by the prayers of so many.  We are overwhelmed to tears every time we think of how many of you are praying with us and sharing this burden with us.
 




Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hope amidst delays


As I type we are on a very bumpy 6 hour bus ride to Odessa.  We will arrive sometime after midnight tonight at the apartment of our friend Laura from the Nasledie Heritage Foundation.  We knew it was imperative for us to get word out to family and friends of the day’s events, but contact has been challenging as we rarely have wifi to send out messages.  So while I’m more alert I’ll type out this blog and hope to post it at Laura’s apartment. 

Jim and I had a good night’s sleep and woke up refreshed with time to pray and spend time reading promises from God’s Word.  We felt a peace and were surrendered to whatever God had for us that morning.  We were picked up at 9:30 by one of our facilitators, Alex.  We then drove to the apartment of Wes and Janet Moore who are also here trying to adopt a Lugansk child.  Wes and Janet had an appointment for 10am and ours was set for 11am.  Jim and I were actually thankful to be second because we had recently read the story of Joshua fighting the battle of Jericho.  We had been hoping that God might give us the opportunity before our appointment to walk around the SDA building and pray and sing praise songs, asking God to work a wonder and tear down this “wall” that stood in our way.  God in his goodness gave us 30 minutes to do just that.  When Alex came back out with Wes and Janet we thought it was our turn to head in to face the SDA officer.  But he told Nastya (our other facilitator who had arrived to help us) and us that the officer had referred him to speak to the Deputy Minister of the SDA (2nd in charge) and we needed to wait for her to get out of a meeting.  So we all went across the street to a café to have lunch and wait.  About an hour later Alex got a phone call to come back, so we all headed back to the SDA…Wes, Janet and Alex to return upstairs and try to complete their appointment (now with the Deputy Minister) and Nastya, Jim and I into a waiting room.  Waiting room is a generous word, as it’s more like a narrow hallway with one couch.  For two hours we waited as Alex argued with the Deputy Minister.  We were told by Nastya that the argument was quite heated as Alex fought to get a referral for our children.  Jim and I sat on that couch and prayed, and read scripture, and prayed scripture…we truly felt a battle raging in the spiritual realm for these children.  If granted, these referrals will be the first two for children of the Lugansk region (one was granted about a month ago, but that was for a child of a trade school, so that’s a different scenario), and could break open the gates for these waiting families.  I don’t understand exactly what Alex and Nastya are trying to do in setting a new precedent, but we were in awe and overwhelmed with gratitude for these two and how hard they fight for the orphans of Ukraine.  I’m having Jim insert a few paragraphs here to try and explain what we are requesting.

During today’s meeting the officials were able to see that Igor’s birth certificate and the court order relinquishing any of his birth parent’s parental rights was recorded in the Ukraine computerized court records.  This is a real item of praise and celebration because we do not believe we will be able to recover the original documents.  We understand from a Ukrainian judge that these documents are reliable for legal proceedings however this is not usual protocol and creates a Catch-22.  If we have a referral we can request a replacement birth certificate.  Without the referral we have no authority to request the document.  Without the official birth certificate the SDA finds it difficult to grant the referral.  So where do we stand?  We were not granted our referral for Igor’s adoption today.  Instead a request is being sent to Igor’s new orphanage to submit the request for his original documentation.  We do not believe there are any of these original documents at his new orphanage but the Deputy Minister thought it necessary to submit a request in writing for these documents.  We have been granted another appointment with the Deputy Minister on Monday afternoon and if the DM will be willing to set a new precedent we could be granted a referral on Tuesday.  Lastly, we understand the officials considering our cause have to evaluate their own job security and safety.  In establishing new policy they do not want to put their position at risk.  In granting approval they do not wish to stir up potential personal retaliation from those sympathetic to the separatists in Eastern Ukraine who wish these kids only to remain in Eastern Ukraine.  Therefore, we pray God strengthens their courage and allows them to provide a way for Igor and for several other kids in the same position to find their forever families.  

When Alex came out of the Moore’s appointment and we all signed a petition requesting another appointment on Monday we had some quick decisions to make about what to do with these 3 days ahead of us.  If we are not granted favor on Monday and do not receive a referral we would not have time to head to Pishana to visit Igor before our flight on Wed.  Laura and a team from Nasledie are heading to Pishana tomorrow morning to do a program with the children.  We called Laura to see what we should do.  She said we needed to come tonight to her apartment in Odessa and travel with the team to Pishana tomorrow.  Alex assisted us in purchasing bus tickets online and told us we had purchased the last two tickets available.  He also told us that we would have to pay extra at the bus station for all 7 bags we were taking.  We rushed back to our apartment in Kiev to repack our bags and Alex and Alexsya (Nastya’s husband) drove us to the bus station.  God’s goodness to us continues as the check-in clerk did not charge us anything for our bags and there are two women on this bus who speak English and have been able to assist us. 

We will leave early tomorrow morning (around 7:30) with the team to head to Pishana.  Odessa is about 3 hours from Pishana.  We are unsure at this point if we will be able to stay near Pishana for the weekend and continue visiting with Igor after the team leaves or if we will need to head back with Laura and stay at her apartment again on Friday night.  Pishana is a very small village and there are no lodging houses there.  Balta is the closest town, 20 minutes away, but we will not have anyone with us who could translate for us or drive us back and forth.  We are taking one day at a time at this point.  For now, we are so thankful that Alex and Alexsya went out of their way to help us arrange this trip to Odessa. Thankful also that Laura has invited us to stay with her tonight and arranged for us to visit Igor tomorrow.   We are filled with anticipation and excitement as we think about hugging our sweet boy!

We need an army of prayer warriors to go to battle with us over the next few days.  We are asking for many of you to continue to pray fervently that God will move the heart of the Deputy Minister to grant this referral.  If we are given a referral on Tuesday, we will then travel back to Odessa on Wednesday to meet with Igor’s director and have Igor sign a paper that he wants to be adopted.  That means our flight plans will need to change.  Right now we are scheduled to fly home on Wed. morning. 

We have seen God’s hand of protection and provision in so many ways on this trip!  We continue to look with expectation for a display of His wonders.  As we were praying and reading through Psalms at the SDA this afternoon, this passage stood out to us:

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us, that Your way may be known on earth, Your saving power among all nations.  Let the people praise you, O God; let all the people praise you!”  Psalm 67:1-3

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tired, Thankful, and Nervous

Well, after 17 hours of travel we finally arrived in Ukraine around 5:30 (Ukrainian time).  It's now 10:30pm here and we've been up for 33 hours with a cat nap here or there, so this post will be brief.  (It just took my fatigued brain 5 minutes to calculate how many hours I've been awake)  We didn't want to go to bed tonight without leaving a post to let everyone know we are here safe and sound.  We have much to praise God for as we head to bed. 

1.  First of all, God waived the $285 baggage fee the airline was going to charge us for our extra bag!  We didn't think it was going to happen as the check-in agent didn't think he could do it with out a waiver code and after a long phone call with customer service, they said they couldn't give us one.  But the clerk asked a manager on duty and she gave him one, so we were cleared!  When we arrived in Paris, we had to go through security again and get our tickets issued for Kiev.  The agent couldn't understand why we had 7 bags and how it was possible that there was a waiver code on the charge, but allowed us to continue on with no fee.   

2.  When we arrived at JFK somehow we got directed to the wrong gate for our flight to Paris.  As we sat there for over an hour we wondered why the plane hadn't started boarding yet.  We figured the plane was late.  Just then we heard our names announced overhead telling us this was our final boarding call.  We sprinted through the airport with our carry-ons...and unbeknownst to me, mine was half open and stuff was flying out!  We made it to the gate by the skin of our teeth and some kind person ran after me to return my fleece that had fallen out.  It was several minutes before my heart settled down to a regular beat again!  Praise God we made it in time!

3.  At breakfast (or was that lunch??  my internal clock said 6am and the clock at the airport said noon)  the cashier almost overcharged us.  We would never have known, but he rerang the order for the correct price.

4.  Our flight to Kiev was not full so Jim and I had a row to ourselves and room to stretch out a little. 

5.  We are happily settled in a little apartment here, finally got some dinner at a quaint café around the corner  and we're headed to bed soon.

Tomorrow morning we have our appointment at 11am.  We have not spoken to our facilitators at all since we arrived.  We were picked up at the airport by one facilitator's wife.  As we look at the mountain we face tomorrow, humanly it seems insurmountable.  There is not a lot of hope at this point that anything can be done to grant us a referral.  Our hope is in God alone.  He can move this mountain if He chooses.  We continue to ask Him to do that, but also to help us trust Him to work out His perfect plan. 

As my heart fluctuates between fear and trust I am reminded of Isaiah 41:10, "Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Good night everyone!  Tomorrow is the big day!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ukraine! November 4th!!

I wasn't sure if I'd ever get to type those words…but it's true!  Today I purchased two airline tickets for Jim and I to fly to Kiev, Ukraine on November 4th!!  We have requested, and were granted, a second SDA appointment for November 6th.  While we are elated and ecstatic about seeing Igor in two short weeks, there is still much up in the air regarding our adoption.  Today we want to share with you praises for ways God has provided, urgent requests for prayer, and a way you can partner with us to provide for the children of the Pishana orphanage.

First, Thank you so much to those of you who were able to donate money to the Nasledie Heritage Foundation.  Through our combined efforts, $2500 was donated to purchase supplies for Igor's orphanage!!  Here is a link for you to see a picture of some of the items we purchased:  nasledie blog  You will need to scroll down that page to the posting from Friday, 10/17 to see an update on all the Nasledie ministry was able to purchase with your donations.  School supplies, cleaning products, hygiene items, pajamas, socks, sweatshirts….The director at Pishana was very grateful!   There is an ongoing need for supplies for these children so if you didn't get a chance to donate and still have a desire to do so you can go to this link:  donate to Pishana.  You will need to write "Slavik and Alyona Puzanov, supplies for Pishana orphanage" in the Program line in order for the money to be directed to the orphanage.

Because there are so many shortages in Ukraine right now due to the war, the Pishana orphanage will have very little heating oil this winter to run the heat.  Last Christmas, the junior class from our youth group made no-sew fleece blankets for Jim and I to take with us and give to Igor's orphanage.  Those blankets have been sitting in our attic as we waited on God's timing for our travel.  Now it seems those blankets are the perfect gift for the children of Pishana.  However, 12 blankets is not nearly enough to provide a blanket for all 110 children in the orphanage.  Laura, from the Nasledie Foundation, connected me with a woman in Iowa who has set about to collect enough fleece blankets for all 110 children.  Together, she and I are trying to recruit volunteers to make a fleece blanket so we can take these when we travel on November 4th.  The airline we are flying with allows us to take 3 (50lb.) bags each, so Jim and I would like to fill up those extra bags with these blankets and other supplies for Pishana.  I am asking you all to prayerfully consider making one of these blankets this next week.  They are SO easy to make and it would be a fun family project.  I would need to receive the blanket no later than November 3rd in order to take it with me.  Here is a link with directions on making the "no-sew fleece blanket".  You can also google "no-sew fleece blanket" and watch YouTube videos on how to make one.  All the directions give different sizes and measurements, so for our blankets you should purchase 1 1/2 yards (60in. wide) of a generic print fleece (to be used for a boy or girl) and 1 1/2 yards of a coordinating plain fleece.  Cut the corners at 4" squares and make the strips 4" by 1".   JoAnn Fabric in Cary is having a sale on fleece through tomorrow if you live local.   Please, please consider making one of these for the children!  We need as much help as we can get on this project.  If you work as a family, it will probably take an hour or less to tie together one of these blankets.

Most of all, we covet your prayers for us.  As I said, much is still up in the air regarding our adoption.  We do not have confirmation that Igor's paperwork has been moved.  If we arrive for our appointment on November 6th and his paperwork has not been moved, the SDA officer will not present Igor's file to us.  The director of his old orphanage in Irmino must transfer his paperwork for Igor to be eligible for adoption.  However, our facilitator in Ukraine has not been able to get in touch with this director.  Please pray that they will be able to make a connection in this next week.  You may wonder why we would request a second SDA appointment if Igor's paperwork was not moved.  Well, the documents in our dossier (large packet of documents we sent to Ukraine) begin to expire on December 20th.  When that happens, we will need to redo the entire dossier with a different adoption agency.  Because Ukraine recently adopted the Hague agreement, all adoptions from this point on will have to be done under a certified adoption agency.  We have been using a private consultant.  We have been grandfathered in, as long as the adoption is finished in December 2014.  So our adoption coordinator suggested we request a date in November that would allow us to finish the adoption before our documents begin to expire, with the hopes that the paperwork would get transferred in time.  So we are asking God to move this mountain.  To do a miracle.  If He doesn't, we are still grateful that we have this opportunity to visit our boy for a few days.

There are many logistics we need to take care of in the next week and a half.  Here are more specifics on how you can pray:

 - Praise God for all the supplies purchased for Pishana
- Praise God we are going to Ukraine!!!!!!!!  And will soon be able to hug our sweet boy!!! (I'm crying already at the thought of that)
- Praise God for very reasonable flight costs which include 3 checked bags each.
- Praise God we were granted an SDA appointment for November 6th
- Pray for coverage for Jim's practice.  It's very difficult to leave his practice during flu season.  Pray for his staff to be able to handle all the issues that will arise in Jim's absence.
- Pray that God will move Igor's paperwork and that we would be given a referral for Igor on November 6th
- Pray that we would be an encouragement to the children at Pishana orphanage
- Pray that enough blankets would be donated for Pishana
-Pray for Nick and Joyce Rundlett who will be staying with Ashley and Daniel and for Mat and Jenni Taft who will take care of Josiah while we are gone.
- Pray for safety for us as we travel.  Americans are not well liked in Ukraine.  Please pray for our protection.
-Pray that we will accept God's plan, however it unfolds.  Pray that we will know when to act….and when to wait and trust.

Our travel dates are Nov. 4-12.  We do not get to bring Igor home on this trip.  If we receive a referral for him, we will be assigned a court date 3-6 weeks later and we will travel back to Ukraine with the hopes of returning with our son.

May God get the glory, no matter what the "Glorious Unfolding" of His story may be….


Thursday, September 18, 2014

A way to help Igor!

Thank you to all of you who have joined us in prayer over the last two weeks.  After I posted last Tuesday, I wanted several times to go back and delete that posting.  I felt like I had been a little too "real" in expressing my emotions.  But I would be lying if all I expressed in this blog were statements of faith and assurance.  In reality, this journey has been full of ups and downs.  There are days when I am confident and peaceful and willing to accept whatever God's plan is in this story He's writing.  And there are days when I cry and beg and plead with God to please hurry up and bring Igor home because it just hurts too much.  It's those days that I cling to God and His promises and remind myself that this is all about God and His glory.  He is Sovereign.  He knows Igor's needs better than I do.  He is doing things I can't begin to understand.  So last week when I asked friends to join us in fasting and praying, I think God knew that request was for my sake.  As I fasted and prayed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, a sense of peace and trust returned to my heart.  I came to the point on Thursday where I was ready to hear whatever our facilitator in Ukraine told me in regards to Igor.  I held my palms upward to God and once again released my grip on Igor and my desire for God to bring him home.  I got to the point where I could pray the prayer that never fails..."Father, your will be done...not my will but yours be done."  When I got to that point,  I ended my fast and I wrote to Nastya to see if she could tell me if Igor was indeed permanently transferred and if she had been able to track down his paperwork.  Here is her reply:

Hello Kimmie, we don't know where their paperwork is but SDA is telling us that no adoptions can be completed before they make a decision considering these changes. Odessa regional authorities are telling us adoption could be completed but SDA is still not giving appointments for these children. We will continue to follow this situation and let you know when it clears. 


So that's where we are right now.  Continuing to watch and wait.  But, God has laid in our lap a way to help Igor and the Pishana orphanage where he's living.  And we want to recruit as many of you as we can to help as well!!  I wrote to my contact from the Nasledie Heritage Foundation (the ministry that posted a picture of Igor) to see if there was a need for supplies and if there was a way for us to give money to them so they could purchase supplies for Pishana Orphanage.  I will copy her reply, as it's easier than trying to summarize it:

 Thank you for your generous offer to help with providing things for the orphanage. Slavik Puzanov, the director of Nasledie Heritage Foundation, recently asked all of the directors of the orphanages we work in what their needs were now. He also contacted other organizations and people that he knew were helping because of the refugee situation. He has found that of the orphanages in our region that accepted the new children all have some additional support at this time except for the Pishana orphanage and the orphanage in Kilia. So we decided today that we would direct our funds towards these two orphanages.

She went on to say that Pishana now has 107 children.  They received 48 refugees at the end of August.  They need toiletries, clothing and school supplies for all these refugees as they have not been given any additional money to care for them.  To purchase all the supplies they need would cost several thousand dollars.  The Nasledie Foundation will be able to help with some of their needs but not all of them.  I know there are many of you who love Igor and pray for him daily.  Please pray over this opportunity to donate money to help take care of him and the other refugees at Pishana.  Your donation would be tax deductible and you would actually be participating in the fast that God desires in Isaiah 58...giving to the poor and needy.  The Nasledie Foundation plans to take these supplies to Pishana on October 18th.  So please take time to make your donations in the next week so they will receive the money before they begin to purchase supplies.

Here is information on how you can donate:
Any donation from you will be used to purchase these supplies. You can donate online https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=41-1652782 by following the link. Or you can send a check to International Messengers PO Box 618 Clear Lake, IA 50428.  Please send a note with your check noting that the funds should be used for Pishana orphanage supplies. Also, note that the funds should go to Slavik and Alyona Puzanov. If you donate online, you will need to make these notes in the program section.  If you do not make these notes your donation will not go to the Pishana Orphanage but will go in the ministry's general fund.  

If the above link does not work, go to http://nasledieukraine.blogspot.com/p/donate.html and follow the prompts to donate.  Don't forget to note Pishana and the directors names when you make your donation.  Let's work together to raise enough money to purchase all the supplies this orphanage needs as they care for these sweet orphans.  Because we will not see when you donate online we would love for you to drop us a quick note to let us know you are joining with us to help Pishana.  You don't need to tell us how much you donate.  We'd just love to know who is partnering with us in this.  Thank you!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fasting and Prayer

I have known for a couple days that I needed to update our blog to let our friends and family know of the latest developments with our adoption.  We have some things we are rejoicing over and other things we are continuing to agonize in prayer over.  So let me first share some good news with you.  Last Thursday our adoption coordinator called us to report that Igor had been permanently transferred to a new orphanage in the Odessa region.  At the end of the summer, all the children who had been moved from Lugansk to camps in the Odessa region were to be moved to new orphanages to start school.  We knew this was to be at the end of August sometime, but we weren't sure when.  For a couple weeks we tried to find out where Igor would be transferred to.  Finally, last Thursday, Tonya called to tell us the location of his new orphanage.  She said that he was legally under the guardianship of this new director.  When I asked if his paperwork had moved with him, she said that some of it has, but that the director was too busy with absorbing 70-80 new children into their orphanage and school was getting ready to start so she didn't have time to look through it.  Tonya told me to check back in a week and see if they knew anything else.  I was ecstatic at receiving this news!  This was the "impossible" that we had been praying for since the beginning of the summer.  At that time we were told that the only way our adoption could continue was if Igor was permanently transferred to another region and orphanage. That had never happened before as far as our facilitator in Ukraine knew and she held no hope for that to happen for us.  Praise God!  He had done the impossible!  As we were rejoicing over this news, the very next day we received another gift from God.  The friend I have referred to as Ashley, who also has a Lugansk child that is stuck in Ukraine, called me to tell me that a friend of hers discovered a ministry that was helping to move the children from the camps to their new orphanages.  When this friend of hers was scrolling through their website she came across a picture of Igor!!  Ashley referred me to the website which I immediately looked up and sure enough…there was his sweet smiling face!!
You can read about the ministry here.  If you go to the website and click on the blog button and scroll down you will find the picture of Igor!  This was such a God orchestrated find!  For this friend to "happen" to come across this ministry's website, and "happen" to peruse through the whole website, and "happen" to be friends with Ashley and be aware of Igor, and "happen" to tell her about this….There are no such things as coincidences!  So God, in a matter of two days, gave us assurance of Igor's location and safety.  He even let us "see" that he looked good and was in a good place.   So I sent an email off to this ministry right away to let them know that one of the children on their website was our child and to ask if they could assist us in any way with completing our adoption.  I did not hear back for a couple days and finally yesterday received a reply.  What I heard broke my heart even as I rejoiced at what God had done for Igor and for us in connecting us with this ministry.  Here is an excerpt from her letter:

     On August 29th, I was in Sergeevka and watched as the kids loaded the buses. I talked with many that loaded the Pishana bus, since I knew I would be seeing them the next day. Saturday, August 30th, I was with the team that went to the orphanage in Pishana and I met Igor. He asked me many times to find you and told me to search for you on Facebook. He said that he had been hosted and that you were coming to adopt him and that your name was Kimmie. He did not give a last name, so I wasn't sure it would ever be possible to find you. I was so happy when I got your email because I knew that he really was longing to hear from you.

What these kids are experiencing is really sad. They were taken from their orphanage and brought to a new place and are now being transferred again. I can't imagine being moved around like this as a child. Please pray for all the children in this situation.

Knowing that Igor was so anxious to find someone who could get word to us of his new location brought an agony I cannot describe to you.  Our child is half way around the world from us and he DESPERATELY wants his parents to know where he is so they can come and rescue him!  I praised God for allowing me to connect with this ministry while at the same time I felt completely powerless and hopeless, especially as I read her next paragraph:

Concerning the paperwork situation, it is our understanding that all paperwork for these kids is still in their original orphanages. The SDA will not grant appointments for these kids because they are still "located" in these eastern regions where it is not safe to travel. There was not a plan to transfer the documents because they were only to be here for the summer. As summer ended, they were sent to orphanages in the Odessa region because it is still not safe to send them back. The plan is still to take them back to their original orphanages and the places they are now are only temporary homes for them. But they say if the conflict continues the children could be permanently transferred. I cannot predict when the conflict will cease or when these areas would be safe enough to bring the kids back, but I can't imagine that it would be any time soon. Also, the amount of destruction of these areas is great and it may take time for things to be repaired and for the infrastructure to be restored.

What?  So he wasn't permanently transferred???  This is just another temporary location??  I can't tell you the frustration that welled up inside of me after reading this.  Fortunately, about that time I left to go grocery shopping so the car felt the full force of my anger, agony, sorrow, and frustration as I poured out my heart to God.  "Oh God!  Why don't you MOVE!!  Why can't you just rescue this little boy??  He needs us!!  We need him!!  What are you waiting for??"

Every different scenario and possible rescue began to flash across my mind…my cousin flies helicopters for the Navy…I'll just get him to take me over there to Lugansk and we'll march into that orphanage and get that paperwork ourselves.  If the authorities in Ukraine are going to keep dragging their feet then I'm just going to have to do this myself.  When I shared my intentions with Jim (I think he may have partially believed I was being serious) and he of course helped me to see what a ridiculous idea that was, I began to think of what I possibly could do.  And I felt God impressing on me…."Pray"…."Pray"…."Pray…and this time get serious about it."  I felt God laying on my heart to begin a fast on Tuesday that would last for the remainder of this week.  And so that's what I did.

Some of you know that we brought Josiah home this year and are once again homeschooling.  So today, in between my times of teaching him, I spent the day praying and studying scriptures on fasting.  I won't share all that I read on fasting because I really want to publish this blog today and ask you to join us in a fasting and prayer time for Igor.  When you have time check out Isaiah 58…it's a wonderful passage on fasting and what God considers an acceptable fast.  However, I want to share something from II Chronicles 20, because it correlates very closely to our situation.   Jehoshaphat was facing a great multitude…a huge army coming up against him and he was scared stiff.  So what did he do?  "he turned his attention to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast though out all Judah.  So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord."  That's what we need!  Counsel and help from the Lord.  

Jehoshaphat cries out, 
     "O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens?  And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations?  Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You….For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You."

And what happens?  As the King and his people humble themselves and fast and pray and admit their need and utter dependence on God alone, God steps in and does all the fighting for them.  He alone wins the battle.  The people begin to sing praises to God, and as they do, their enemies are ambushed by God and defeated.  Moab destroys the other armies that came up against Israel, and when they're done doing that, they destroy themselves.  What an Awesome God!!  And I was reminded of God's words in Matthew 19:26 once again…"With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  

So I want to ask if some of you would prayerfully consider joining us on either Wednesday, September 10th or Thursday, September 11th to fast and pray for Igor.  I say "prayerfully" because you need to ask God if this is something He wants you to do and if He says, "yes", then ask Him what that should look like in your life.  A complete fast for a day, a liquid diet, skipping one meal, skipping sweets…God will direct you.  Here are some things I am praying for that can help you as you pray over this situation:

1.  God himself, started this story in our lives.  He's the one who led Jim to begin this process last fall.  He's the one who chose Igor for us.  Pray that God would finish what He started.
2.  God in His sovereignty allowed this war to begin right in the middle of our adoption process.  Pray that God will continue to protect Igor.
3. Pray that God will move the mountains in such a way that brings Him all the glory.
4.  Pray that our family, Igor and many others would come to know God more intimately than we ever have before through this process.
5.  Pray for protection from spiritual attacks for our family…for they have been numerous lately, especially in the lives of my children.
6.  Pray that Igor has indeed been permanently transferred to a new orphanage.
7.  Pray that his paperwork has been or will be moved….SOON!
8.  Pray that our "eyes would stay on God" and that we would wait for Him to work out His plan.
9.  Pray for peace in the waiting time.
10.  Pray that God would be a father to Igor and comfort his hurting heart.

We would love to hear from you if you choose to join us this week.  Some day I hope we will be able to show Igor the names of all the people who "battled" for him in prayer.