May 29, 2012

The Ukrainian Story

Ukraine.  The country that has slowly been creeping into my heart over the last few years.  Honestly, for the last year I have been torn about where to spend my time.  Uganda or Ukraine?  Uganda is so deeply buried inside of me.  I'm comfortable and I love it there.  It would seem like an easy choice to go back to that country.  BUT, there was always Ukraine.  The children, the language.  It intrigued me.  I went back and forth between the two countries for a long time.  Which way to go?  I didn't know.  When out of the blue, last fall I got a message on the internet.

"...Would you be willing to go with us to Ukraine??"

Hmmm.  I hear you God.  Many twists and turns--happy and sad moments and months later I was packing up and leaving home.  April 18th I said goodbye to my family and April 21st after some crazy travel days I landed in Kiev, Ukraine.
[street near our apartment in K.]

There is nothing more magical to me then having a front row seat on an adoption.  And that is exactly what I was doing.  An adopting family needed an extra pair of hands along for the ride.  I got to be those extra pair of hands.  

In the big city we went through the typical appointments and paperwork.  Did the usual walking-around-all-day-seeing-things-and-eating-borscht.  Nothing over the top exciting.  After a few days we boarded the night train headed for our region.  Once we arrived our days took on a routine of sorts.  I've heard other families describe it as the 'ground hog effect'.  That is so true.  

Though most of my days were spent dancing and reading books in the apartment with the two year old, I did get to sneak in visits to the orphanage.  The babies I met and loved on are forever ingrained in my heart.  They are precious children that so badly need someone to love them and fight for them.   I asked several people "Can I steal this baby?  I will grab it and jump in that car and drive away.  Is that OK?"  And the answer was always "Of course!".  There were days I was severely tempted to follow through with that plan!  Without a doubt the moments I got to spend with those babies are the highlight of my trip.
[around the corner from our apartment building in region]

It's crazy to me to think that I'm not there anymore.  How did a month go by so fast?  I can still see the apartment building and hear the people hanging around outside our window.  I can smell the city and taste the chocolate and ice cream.  I can see the babies in their strollers.  I can hear their giggles and see their smiles.  Believe me, at the time a month seemed like forever.  I was beyond ready to come home and hug my family.  But now that I am home and have been able to sleep in a real bed for a few nights, I'm sad that it is over.  I learned so much while there and we made so many memories.  Some good and some bad.  we could of done without the bad memories but like I said many times through out the trip, we will laugh about it someday.
The trip ended differently then we all would of liked.  I am home, but the adoption is not complete.  There is one less orphan in the world, but that precious child is not home yet!  I will not be sharing anymore details about the adoption, the family, or who the child is, until everyone is home safe and sound.  This trip was never about me.  It was always about that child.  About making sure that there would be one less lonely child in this world.  Because of that it became a secret trip.  Thankfully everyone came out on the other end of the trip alive.  Hallelujah praise the Lord!

I'm so thankful for this trip.  I'm thankful for protection.  I'm thankful for the [almost] complete adoption.  I'm thankful for the seeds that have planted.  I'm thankful for the doors that may be opened in the future.  I'm just all around thankful.

Besides, the extra stamps in my passport don't look to bad either. ;))


  1. And I am so thankful that you had yet another opportunity to make a difference. Don't stop making a matter where you are.

  2. I was close to what I was thinking...not you adopting but someone else ......I will pray for this family ......thank you for sharing can tell them that they are in my prayers.

  3. That's so exciting, Joanna! What an awesome experience for you! I'll be praying for the family! :)

  4. What an awesome opportunity! I bet it meant so much to the family to have you there!

  5. What an awesome trip and opportunity!! Can't wait to hear more and hear about some of the little ones you met!

  6. I'm the Gramma of the two year old child and the newly adopted baby....we are so very thankful for the loving care Joanna so willingly gave! She was a true blessing!

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