Thursday, June 22, 2006
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. - Matthew 7:7-8
Shame on me. How many things God has shown me in the last seven weeks, yet I continue to second guess His plans. God put Alex on my heart and so I wrote about him on the blog. When Dr. R e-mailed and asked me to put the word out about Alex needing a host family, I was already ahead of him. But what did I really expect to happen? After talking with Robert about Alex's plight, he unhesitatingly said, "Tell them to send Alex to us." Half of the time I think my sweet husband has tremendous faith, the other half I think he doesn't think things through. Shame on me.
I spoke with Dr. R and told him to send Alex with Kristina on the 21st. What's one more? The kids were excited about having another boy in the house for a few weeks; and I was excited about having such an incredible child to love thoroughly. When everything was said and done, I called my dear friend Kim to tell her we would be having one more this summer and to ask her to pray about working out the financial details. As I am walking her through the events that led to us choosing to bring Alex to Orlando, she says, "We'll take him."
I tried to talk her out of it. I insisted that she take some time, speak with her family, sleep on it. She calls me back a few minutes later with the same concrete declaration: "We'll take him." I don't know what shocks me more, my own lack of faith or God's patience with his doubting daughter. Pray for Kim and her family. Pray that the financials will be worked out for Alex. Pray for me. :)
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Alex was the first orphan I met when I arrived in Ukraine. As I walked through customs at the Odessa airport and passed through the double doors, Alex was standing there with a sheepish and sincere grin on his face. The first place we went from the airport was orphanage #5, Alex's home. As Dr. R showed me through dark corridors and up old staircases, Alex stayed a few steps behind watching and listening. I attempted to take his picture a few times that first day and involuntarily his head would bow when I focused my attentions on him. He is a sweet and quiet soul. In my attempt to find old pictures of Kristina online, I have come across pictures of Alex. Pictues that go far too far back in time. Pictures of him as a little boy living in the same orphanage. His big brown eyes have not changed in 12 years.
Last year he had the opportunity to come to American through the hosting program. Dr R told me the story of Alex's first few moments here in America. His host family picked him up from the airport and drove home. Alex cried sitting in the car and out of concern, the host family called an interpretor from the group to find out what was wrong. They quickly learned that Alex was crying because he was happy to be here. His time in America was a wonderful experience for him, but his host family was not able to or interested in adoption.
So why am I telling you this? Alex has the opportunity to come to America again. In fact he is coming on June 21st. The problem? He doesn't have a host family. He will stay with Dr. R or one of the Frontier Horizon staff through July 5th. If you know of anyone who is willing and able to host Alex this summer, please constact KT Bronson at Frontier Horizon (firstname.lastname@example.org). Many families host with no intention of adopting. The purpose of the program is to expose the children to the community, raise awareness of their situation, and provide the children with a "family" experience for a few short weeks. Ask God to move on Alex's behalf. Pray for him.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I think I'm nesting. I didn't realize it until Robert asked me why I was a whirlwind of activity in the two days I have had off since school let out. Yesterday I worked in the yard weeding, mowing, and pruning. No big deal; we're so busy during the school year that I don't get time to keep up with the yard. It was time our house didn't look deserted! But this morning I popped out of bed and went straight to the boys' room. I pulled everything out of their closets. Everything. Every toy, book, shoe, and article of clothing. It was a major purging (or exorcism). Three hours later we had four large bags of outgrown clothes and toys for the Bible Thrift Center. It felt good to do some spring cleaning. Then Hannah and I started on her room. As we went through her things, we unconsciously left a drawer empty here, some extra hangers and a closet shelf vacant there. Hannah came across a box of hair clips and bows that no longer work in her cropped summer haircut; but she tucked them away knowing Kristina's hair is a little longer.
So I started to make a list today of the things we can do with Kristina this summer. While we want to lavish her with all the experience her American summer allows, we also want to be practical. Staying in our home and riding in the SUV are going to a major change of scenery. While we plan to take some outings to the zoo, bowling, camping, swimming, 4th of July, etc., I also want her to become familiar with the day in and day out of the Landrum household. It will be fun to see things for the first time through her eyes. So what's your advice? Anything Kristina needs to see or do while she's here?
He has caused waters to burst forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert -Isaiah 35:6
Even through we have prayed for a child for some time, we truely didn't anticipate things unfolding in the manner in which they have. And now that God has set things in motion, I feel myself thinking "Whoa!". Everything has moved so quickly. It's all I can do to stand out of the way and watch Him bring things to pass. I have witnessed my students' faith in action. Complete strangers have offered assistance and ministered to a littel girl they have never met (thanks, Steve). People have given sacrificially to provide financially. I need to make it clear to anyone who has kept up with this story from the beginning that nothing has been accomplished through my strength. At every point, God has beat me to providing, devising, and bringing to pass the things necessary for this child to travel 12000 miles. Against all odds, she is coming. Today I testify that it is all due to God and His goodness.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Several of you have approached us with concerns and questions about our intention to have Kristina in our home. I thought I should address your concerns as I know you care for us and only want to insure our family's well being. You should know that adoption is not a new concept for our family. Robert and I have talked and prayed about this for years. Almost two years ago we included the children in our plan and they began praying as well. Its a topic of open discourse in our household. My trip to Ukraine was not the beginning spark, but the fanning of a small flame.
As exciting as this summer promises to be, we are aware of the challenges that lay ahead of us. We are inviting a seventh sinner into our already adept brood of sinners. And while she is a charming and sweet little girl, she is also a child that has felt hunger, fear, and abandonment in her young life. She will have issues due to the institutionalized life of the orphanage. She will take a plane ride for the first time in her life and spend 10 weeks in a foreign place with people who speak a foreign language. She is by far, the bravest person I know. There will be ups and downs as we adjust to each other. Pray for Kristina that her adjustment will be as painless as possible. Pray that God opens her heart to trust us and to understand that we love her.
This summer will be an extended experiment in pure religion. I can't look at Kristina and not think of God's redemptive plan for mankind. There is nothing this little girl has to offer us. And yet, I think that at one time I stood before God in the same way. Knowing that I had nothing to offer, He embraced me as His own daughter and made me an heir to His kingdom. Pray that she is a slightly less rebellious daughter than I have been to my Father. Pray that we will have the wisdom to "mother" and "father" her. Pray that the children will have an extra portion of graciousness and patience. Pray for this stranger.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
When my freshmen girls said they wanted to help bring Kristina here, I was thankful for their enthusiasm. But to be honest, I knew it would take quite some time and I was afraid they would become discouraged. They baked cookies and brownies, they emplored their fellow students, they made "Kristina's Angels" t-shirts, they organized a football fundraiser, and they prayed. And in one week, these girls have managed to rally the community, their families, and friends to raise $2300.00! I am humbled as God reminds me of Matthew 18:1-4
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4"Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
God continues to teach me through this experience . . .
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Today was my first day back helping with Sunday School; I work with the 3-5 year olds. I sat watching as Kitty taught the lesson and thought about the sweet children seated before her. This is the age range that I was sure I would adopt from. But seven days later, my mind returns to an eleven year old girl somewhere in Ukraine. People have asked me, "Why her?" And I must admit that I don't know why. Why her rather than the other hundreds of children who crossed my path? I did not choose her. I only know that God knitted my heart to hers in that short period of time. On Mother's Day I refect on the the mysterious nature of the bond between mother and child. I always thought it was the result of nine months of intimate contact. Most mothers feel an immediate connection because there are nine months of getting attached to the soul that is linked to you and dependant on you every moment of every day. But now that I have met Kristina, I understand what I think most adoptive parents know: a child does not have to grow under your heart in order to grow in your heart. I have lost track of the number of people that have said to me, "You have to adopt her!" Don't think I haven't tried to work through that in my mind. I am just trying to find a way to get her here this summer. Thank you for your encouaging words and your unfailing belief that she will come. Your faith gives me hope.