Monday, April 6, 2009

The Story of Oksana Faith

How to start this story? There in lies the challenge of this entry. I guess it starts with a little girl named Oksana.DSCN8081 A little girl now named Oksana Faith. The second part of her name is a testimony to her story- and a reminder to me of my own faith journey over the last few months. Faith- a word we can claim quite easily- but when tested we discover how strong it really is.

I first met Oksana over a year ago when we brought a group of children to the US. When it came time to plan the next year’s trip I insisted on brining no “repeat” children, but somehow Oksana won favor with someone and was selected to travel with the group yet again. On this trip Oksana became my right hand little girl.  Shoemaker Trip 08 232 She was my constant traveling companion and made a point of conveniently falling asleep on my lap on every long bus trip. On one of these trips, she looked up at me with her sparkling and yet pleading eyes and told me that she wanted me to adopt her- she told me that she wanted a family. I told her to find me a husband and it would be a done deal! 

Shoemaker Trip 08 330Upon returning to the host family that night I couldn’t get Oksana’s words out of my mind. I’ve had lots of orphaned kids tell me before that they want me to find them a family, but for some reason I felt determined that a family had to be found for Oksana specifically- a family that I knew. Then suddenly a family came to my mind…

I met Natasha Jones over a year ago after the production that the orphans did at my home church- Northshore in Bothell, WA. DSCN8017Natasha, who had emigrated from Eastern Ukraine sixteen years prior, approached me with her husband Erik and told me that God had been placing adoption on their hearts. After our initial conversation Natasha and Erik took some time to pray and within a month were on board to pursuing an adoption from Ukraine! By November of 2008 they had a completed dossier of documents submitted to the adoption authority in Kiev and were awaiting an appointment, and waiting to find out who their future child(ren) would be.

As soon as I started pondering possible families for Oksana- the Jones came to mind and within a couple email exchanges Erik and Natasha had confirmed their interest in adopting Oksana! This seemed way too easy! Perhaps I had matching making in my future….

Fast-forward…

February 25th 2009 Erik and Natasha have now arrived in Kiev and are hopeful about the opportunity to adopt Oksana. Enter road block number one. We receive a letter from the adoption center saying that Oksana is not available for International adoption on the Jones’ date of appointment. What Lord??? Did I speak too quickly? Why did I get this family’s hopes up when Oksana is not even available? Where are you in this? Where is my faith that you are sovereign in this situation?

2 days and a few dozen phone calls later, miracle number one: we are able to confirm that Oksana will be available for international adoption with in 2 weeks—if they can wait! Yes, they can wait! After 2 weeks of waiting, many museums and interesting excursions in Kiev, it is finally time to officially meet Kherson Orphanage- Jones Adoption 065Oksana and start this adoption!  They meet Oksana and I’m beginning to see the realization of the family I had prayed about for her. Oksana is thrilled about the idea of going to America and having Erik and Natasha for parents. This is actually going to happen!

Enter road block number two: Oksana has 4 brothers in foster care- about 3 hours away from the orphanage and all need to give permission for her to be adopted. After a few phone calls it is determined that the oldest brother will not allow his sister to be adopted! A formal council will convene with all the brothers for the situation to be decided. Hope for all at this point seems dwindling. What is happening Lord? Why have they come so far for this? Why did they meet Oksana if this is not going to happen? I know you can change the hearts of Kings but this seems to be impossible? And then a soft whisper… “Where is your faith?”

In moments of desperation like this- prayer seems like the only option—it seemed I had no place but my knees to fall. When I got the news of the impending council meeting that would determine Oksana’s future I was at a conference- so I gathered my two closest friends with me to pray…. “Jesus we ask for your mercy for Oksana, we ask that you will change the hearts of the council, we ask that you will change the hearts of her brothers. Lord, touch the heart of the oldest brother and let him see what is best for his sister. Change his heart Lord. Your will be done.”

More miracles

I waited expectantly by my phone the next day. Apprehensive to hear Natasha’s voice on the other end of the phone- knowing that the tone would give me an indication of the day’s events. Then finally the call…. “We got the letter we needed! They are letting us adopt her!” I hardly had words. “What happened?” Natasha went on to recount the day’s events moment by moment…. “Karen, you aren’t going to believe this, but Vitalik the oldest brother said that he had his mind made up- that he wasn’t going to give his agreement for Oksana to be adopted, but then last night he had a dream. In his dream a vision of Oksana appeared to him and he realized he had to do what would be best for Oksana- that if she wanted to go, he would let her! ”

Hanging up the phone I was left speechless. “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. (Acts 2:17)

Oh the things we learn on this journey of faith! God is still speaking- and he can change the heart of Kings and 17-year-old boys. I stand humbled and amazed.

Which brings me to today…..

Today is a day of celebration because Oksana officially becomes Oksana Faith Jones and will leave her life in the orphanage behind. Today begins a new journey. Not of happily ever after, but of forever…with a family. Today there is one less child orphaned in Ukraine. Today my faith has been multiplied. Thank you Oksana Faith for your story. Oksana’s name means “Praise be to God.” I couldn’t think of a better name!

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14 comments:

Cindy said...

How wonderful! To hear your stories about man's roadblocks be overrun by God's miracles is a real encouragement. We're asking God to miraculously cut through the red tape in our adoption adventure.

Where in Ukraine are you? We have a sister church and a good friend in Rivne.

Durr Family said...

Wow - way to bring tears to my eyes. What a beautiful girl and exciting story.

Amy said...

That's awesome.

Debbie said...

I have tears running down my cheeks. I have been following Natasha's blog, but your description of God's work to set sweet Oksana into a forever family just brings it all together. Слава Богу (slava Bogu)!

Natasha said...

Karen - I LOVE YOU!!! And I love our story and the way you wrote it. I hope you don't mind me "stealing" it. :)
Btw, you should be a writer!
Love you, my friend. Can't wait to see you on Thursday!
Natasha

Monique said...

God is truly faithful...as I read this with tears...it is such a blessing for another child to have a Forever Family....Thank you Karen for being instrumental in Oksana's life...and for being obedient to God's whispers to your spirit...

Much love...Monique

Amber Lont said...

I love you sweet friend and am celebrating with you today! What a wonderfully precious story!

Ashley Ciara said...

That is sooooo awesome!!!! Glad to hear it; definitely encouraging to see God moving and working in people! Also happy to hear so much happens with you in your life! That's fantastic!

Kelly said...

Praise the Lord!!! What an awesome testimony of God's active roll in our work!! You are precious! Thank you for sharing! Love you friend!

Tatyana said...

Thank you Karen for a beautiful story. Natasha is my sister and I've been praying for them from day one. I'm so excited to finally meet Oksana in person in about 2 wks. Our God is soooo good!
Tatyana

MamaPoRuski said...

It is always amazing to watch God work his good purpose in us, around us and THROUGH us! Thanks for all you do to serve others with the hands and feet of Jesus!

Deb said...

A beautiful story! Praise our God who sets the captives free and sets the lonely in families! It's a great reminder of how much God loves each child, each person!

Cathy said...

Our God is truly an Awesome God who can make a way when there seems to be no way. It is such a blessing to share in this miraculous event, and to see how God can bring amazing blessings to us as we step out in faith and obedience to what He has asked us to do. Thank you for listening to the Lord and partnering with Erik and Natasha on this journey of faith.

Annie said...

What a glorious story!!!