Over the past several months there has been a prayer request that has been uttered on my lips like a broken record. “Lord, let Roma and Natasha, and Nastia and Marina go home with their families. Please Lord, let them get out.”
It was a prayer uttered in faith, but behind it my heart wrestled with doubt- recognizing that with an ever changing climate in eastern Ukraine, nothing was a guarantee. After all, I’d just seen Crimea ‘annexed’ to Russia and adoptions close. So when things grew tense in the East...I grew nervous.
These 2 adoption stories are especially personal for me, as they are children that traveled to my home church with me last summer for hosting. Kids that I don’t think would have ever considered adoption by American families, had they not first hand experienced what family is like.
Roma and Natasha, two teens that once seemed so stoic and reserved came to life in the US and blossomed in their host family. At a farewell dinner at my church, Roma was asked what he had learned while he was in the US, his response was simple, yet carried with it deeper meaning, “I learned to smile here,” he said. I knew without a doubt that this kid belonged in this family, because I’d finally seen him come to life. I was overjoyed when I learned they were moving forward with the adoption of Roma and his sister, along with another family from my church adopting the sisters they had hosted.
So when the country went to chaos and war broke out in the east, not far from the kids' orphanage, we all became a little nervous and we all were on our knees a bit more. Never in my wildest dreams had I envisioned families from my hometown traveling to a war torn region to adopt children they had hosted. Not in my Ukraine.
The last 3 months of these families’ adoption journeys have been nothing short of a roller coaster—with one family having to travel to Slavyansk (the heart of the conflict) to do documents and the other having to cross the Russian border for a birth certificate. Prayers were uttered with greater urgency….Lord, see these children brought to safety, see these children brought home.
Over the last week I’ve seen these countless prayers answered.
Roma and Natasha became American citizens this weekend and Marina and Nastia will be headed that way with their family soon.
On Friday night I sat around a table with these 2 newly formed families and gratitude swelled in my heart. The tangible answers to those prayers were sitting in front of me. God is gracious and kind.
He places the lonely in families (psalm 68:6)
There are so many moments when I ask myself ‘what I’m doing in this country?’ But that night, sitting around the table, seeing smiles radiating on the faces of those 4 kids and the faces of committed parents, my doubts dissipated.
God had ordained this moment, and we were all exactly where he wanted us to be. A moment that was not in the 'game plan' for any of us a year prior-- yet here we all were, God intersecting our paths and writing a bigger story.
I don’t know the answer to why these 4 kids got out, and others remain in a region that is currently closed to foreign adoptions. But asking that question never seems to get me anywhere. Its a never ending circle.
Instead I’ll keep on living in the tension of the ‘why?’, and keep praying in faith for peace to come to eastern Ukraine and for God’s spirit of adoption to continue to pour out on this nation and around the world. Because as the Holy Spirit touches hearts, and the Church as a whole responds, more Natashas, Romas, Marinas and Nastias will also go home.
|Roma and Natasha's homecoming with their adoring brothers and sisters|