Through this adoption, we are able to trace God's tapestry and the beautiful picture being created. The overlapping pieces of our story is amazing. We are speechless at the love, provision and hope of God.
An image of hope was forming for our new little one as we talked about adoption with Cris and Karen Mahy, founders of Mercy's Hope. This ministry helps orphans in Ukraine through shoebox blessings for the children, winter coats and a summer camp. (www.mercyshope.org). This ministry does not assist with adoption. However, we received much insight from the Mahy's. Cris and Karen adopted a girl about six years ago. Through that process, Mercy's Hope was born.
We felt the Lord wanted to make this adoption not about us, but something bigger. He wanted more people to be impacted and educated. We started praying about bringing a team on a mission trip to Ukraine to minister to orphans and widows through Mercy's Hope. This would be a true James 1:27 kind of trip. So we started watching where God was working.
Soon after we began praying, Frank mentioned to a friend about going to Ukraine. They said they wanted to go, and before the conversation was over we had money for plane tickets for an entire mission trip team. More people caught the vision, and we received more funds and support. Our adoption was growing into something bigger. Our church family jumped on board and gave money to feed the widows. Praise the Lord.
Our Ukraine mission team arrived in early April 2011. We passed out boxes individually packed for children in orphanages around the city of Zolty Vody, Ukraine. We shared the Gospel to schools and delivered over 300 bags of food to widows. Some of our team taught in the local Bible College. It made a huge impact on the team. A couple from the team even went back this past summer to help with the summer camp. It was happening just like God planned. It was not completely about us bringing home a child, but about about refueling the engines of mission within people all around us.
While on the mission trip we met some amazing people getting their hands dirty in ministry. We were inspired with the way pastors were doing ministry. It was like walking into an Acts first-century church. Some of the members would walk for almost two hours just to get to church. We were embarrassed with our lack of passion for God's Word. These wonderful people became close friends, friends who are reading this blog with you.
We wanted to come back to this region for our adoption so we could do ministry with our new friends. We decided to petition for a little girl from one of the orphanages. We had some extra time on our last day in Ukraine and decided to take one more trip to the orphanage that housed this precious girl. When we arrived we found out her little brother (which no one knew about) had just arrived to the orphanage. It was his first day. We looked at each other and were like, "Alright, maybe this is not the right child". We were not thinking of two children...until we got back home.
Back at home the adoption process was speeding up. Deadlines were upon us. We felt we needed to bring these two children home. Then we received word that there was another sibling, an infant girl. Was God calling us to three? This was getting out of hand. Really God?
We adjusted our paperwork to include up to three children. We sent a petition to the adoption department in Ukraine for these children in Zotly Vody. If God wanted us to have three children, then He would let this work out.
After a lot of paperwork and extra meetings, we received word these three children were not available. We were disappointed, but relieved that God was not asking us to adopt three children.
Or was He?
(Come back to our blog for The Tapestry of God: Part Three)