(This is part four of the series: The Tapestry of God)
Almost two years ago three children were found in a park in the southern part of Ukraine. They had seen their mother make bad choices for her and themselves, and ultimately waste her life away. The beautiful lives that called her "Mama" were taken from her. She lost them because of addictions she could not shake.
Vladislav, Anistasia and Maxim were sent to an orphanage in a village outside of Simferopol, Ukraine. There they would wait and not receive a visit from any relative for the next 18 months. They were outcasts. They were strangers. They were orphans.
We were peering through the fogged windows of a taxi as we made our way down a muddy road. The village showed signs of new life as homes were being pieced together brick by brick using tools not seen since the early 1900's. But one could also see remains of homes that had seen many years of transition in this country. People walking their goats and working their gardens squinted to focus in on the visitors coming into their village.
Our taxi passed through a large gated entrance protecting the inhabitants. Metal playgrounds mixed with tall trees bordered a wide sidewalk leading to the orphanage. In the center of the estate was a mansion dating back to the early 1800's where a wealthy family once governed the village. The broken windows mocked the rich history, a time before wars tore through this land.
We made our way through the dark, narrow halls of this orphanage to the director's office. She was pleasant, yet a strict protector of the children who call this place home. Three children were escorted to the office for us to meet. We spent a few minutes with them, communicating through our facilitator. We agreed to come back for a couple days to see if the children were right for us. But in our hearts we knew we were where God wanted us to be.
We spent the next week visiting with the children. The characteristic about these children that shined above the rest was the amount of smiles that frequented their faces. They were happy children. But there were times when we asked ourselves, "Is this what we are suppose to do?" We realized we were going through a crisis. It's only natural to go through a crisis of belief when following through with something God has told you to do. To get through this required faith and action. The prayers lifted up by hundreds of people helped us through this time.
In the meantime, our facilitator was working to get the right paperwork in the correct hands at the appropriate deadlines. Our schedule was moving right along, thanks again to the prayers of the saints back home. It was soon time for our court date, a meeting I will never forget.
Vladislav and Anistasia were dressed to look their best. All the children in the orphanage share clothes, but this special day was reserved for special clothes. Maxim stayed back, for he was not of age to stand before the judge. These two little ones made us very proud. The judge asked them if they wanted to have a new father and mother, a new life, a new name and to leave the past behind. During this encounter the parallels were leaping out of this story. We could only smile at the what God was showing us.
When someone puts their faith in Christ, they have to accept Him and confess Him. (Romans 10:9-10) When they do, they are agreeing to a new life, with a new name and to leave the past behind. They are no longer a stranger, an outcast...an orphan. They have a Father in Heaven who loves them and is preparing a place for them.
There are people back home helping us to prepare a place for these children who have confessed to the judge and accepted us as parents. They are getting to know their new father and mother. On the playground they cry out, "Mama, Papa". And they are answering to their new names.
Thank you for helping us celebrate the new lives of Lawson, Marion and Lincoln.
(Come back to our blog for: The Tapestry of God: Finding Our Way Home)