Sometimes you plan for the big events if your life for months or even years. And sometimes they pop up over night and change everything. The journey that we have just begun fits into the latter category and may change our lives in ways none of us can predict right now. In some ways that’s very scary, but it’s also an amazing feeling to take a giant leap of faith and trust that God will come through for you.

Hands on Globe

Image By: .shock

Eighteen days ago I was feeding Kasia and reading some blogs when I came across a post that included short biographies about a couple orphans. Both were beautiful little girls with special needs, but one of them really stood out to me and I haven’t been able to get her out of my head. I kept being brought to tears thinking of what faced this little girl and wondering what we could do about it and why God seemed to be placing her on my heart. The child’s name is Grace, she is 3.5 years old and has spina bifida. She is in the Ukraine and will be moved out of the baby house and into a mental institution when she turns 4, not because she has any cognitive delays but because that is simply what happens to disabled children there. With medical help this child may be able to walk, but instead would be left in a crib for the rest of her life. Philip asked what I was doing and when I showed him I expected him to say that was sad and let it pass. Instead he said we should pray about her and see what God said. The first open door.

Over the next couple of weeks we spent time praying, emailing Reece’s Rainbow (the site she is listed through), talking to a social worker and learning as much as we could about the international adoption process and spina bifida. We expected to be told that we could not start the adoption process because Kasia is so young, but learned that restriction does not apply when adopting special needs children. Door #2 open. I wasn’t sure I was comfortable working with a small, unaccredited organization I had never heard of, but found out that Ukraine doesn’t require or even recognize accreditation and everyone I found who had worked with Reece’s Rainbow highly recommended them. Door #3. We had heard that foreign adoptions typically take anywhere from 12-24 months which would mean Grace would have long since been moved and would probably be beyond our reach. Again, the rules are different with special needs and we found out the whole process could happen in 6-8 months and Grace could be held for a short period if the orphanage knew a family was in the process of adopting her. Door #4.

As crazy as this all sounds we can’t deny that God is doing something right now and we believe our part in it is to be obedient to whatever he’s leading us into.  We can come up with a million reasons why we shouldn’t do this, but none of them seems to trump the fact that we feel God has brought this to our attention and without our action this little girl may be left to live a horrible life, all because it was inconvenient for us to bring her into our family. We are currently in a class at our church called Perspectives on World Missions and one of the main points both Philip and I have come away with so far is that God rarely sends a neon sign telling us what to do and when to do it. He may give us nudges, like a blog post or the inability to forget something we’ve seen, but then he waits to see if we’re going to act. As the saying goes, you can’t steer a parked car. Our prayer has been that as we take steps of faith in the direction we think he’s leading us that he would open and close the doors as he sees fit. We are continuing to pray, seek advice and guidance and start this journey. We meet with our social worker this Friday to start the home study and hope to get our paperwork in to Reece’s Rainbow very soon, hopefully this week, to officially commit to Grace.

Map Of Ukraine

Image By: Wikipedia

We still have many unanswered questions in this process and we hope that anyone reading this will be praying with us about them. At the top of the list right now are traveling details and finances. We would be required to travel to the Ukraine, without children, for 2.5 weeks and then either return to the US or stay there for about 2 weeks until the process could be finalized. At the end of this time one of us would have to be in the Ukraine to finish all the paperwork and court dates and return home with Grace. This whole process could take anywhere from 3-6 weeks. We had originally thought I would take Kasia and stay in country, but we’ve been highly discouraged from taking her there for many reasons including her safety. We have no idea how all the travel would work or where our kids will be staying during it. I really dislike the thought of having to wean Kasia early for this and I can’t even imagine being away from her while she’s so little, it will be hard enough being away from the older two. The other biggie is that this whole thing is estimated to cost just under $20,000. We don’t know where all that will come from at this time, but if this is God’s plan then we know it will show up some how.

So this is the beginning of our journey to adopt Grace…and no, it has not escaped our attention that God has a sense of humor in possibly giving us two daughters named Grace. I suppose it’s a good thing we really like the name!

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