Apr 30, 2011

Heartbroken

I had a very heartbreaking conversation with my grandma today, which left me with thinking, a lot. Now, my grandma is the sweetest person in my family. She has never said an unkind word to me, and has been a HUGE help in many ways. She never forgets to call and celebrates the slightest achievements in our lives. She is the only relative that has said that they are proud of me.

She is also a Christian. So, when I casually mentioned to her that my friend Kim(about whom she was asking, because she knows how dear Kim is to me)and her husband are still working on their adoption.

"Oh, were they unable to have one of their own?"
Pretty standard question for majority of people, actually. Those who do not know.
"No, that is what they want to do."
"I guess to each their own. Are they at least..they are not adopting a "black one" are they?"
"Yes they are adopting from Ethiopia."
"IDIOCY!What are they thinking?!"

I felt as if I was slapped across the face. Not even that, across my very soul. A "black one"! My future nephew, the one I am waiting for eagerly, the one that God prepared to be a sweet boy, a son of my sister in Christ! A "Black one"?! I could feel the anger rising up, but I tried to calmly explain:

"I don't think it matters what color their son will be."
"Oh, but don't they know about the awful diseases they can bring with them?"
"Not more than anything that a child from another country might bring with them as well."
"I don't understand why they have to do it from "there"."
"God put in on their hearts to adopt from Africa." - I heard a stumble in her voice. But she picked up her argument again.

"There are so many children here, homeless, without parents, living on the streets, so many!Why not take care of our own, in our country."
"To them they are their own."
"But you know, "they are different", their culture, they are not like us."


To myself I only though, like WHO gramma? Like "us" - the poor immigrant family from fallen communist Russia, working out way to being able to fit in a new culture? Really? Of all people, you would be the one to say "they are not like us"? Like WHO? Like another human being that will have a chance to live a life full of opportunities? A child that will be raised in a Christian home. A child that will LIVE?

"Because to them, they are all "ours"."

"Well, it just seems like its the latest fad, to adopt the black ones."

That's where I felt the hurricane in my heart well up and smash across the phone:
"A FAD? Do you have any idea how expensive it is? How much waiting and how much stress is involved? Not only that, but to be constantly told how you are stupid for doing this, how you should NOT be doing this by your friends and family? A FAD?"

"Well, all the celebrities seems to be adopting from all these countries"

"I don't know what celebrities are doing, but I know of dozens of adopting family. They are regular families, living with normal means like you and me. There is nothing FAD about this."

She changed the topic after that, but in my heart, this conversation left a gap, a scar. I am hurt and disappointed. I don't want to judge her, because she doesn't know. She does not see. It really sucks to be disappointed in someone you respect so much. I am also hurt for my friend, who probably have heard worse. Or maybe people just whisper venom behind their backs. But I know that God looks down and smiles. Because He has a plan. He has a little couple of warriors to be part of it through it all.

I pray for my family to know Christ. Not to believe in "some vague power", or a spirit somewhere out there, or some vague God for whom to light a candle. But KNOW Him. To wake up and rejoice at the every new opportunity, new chance to be a part of His story. To be a part of something extraordinary.

Apr 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Thankful. I have so much to be thankful for. Today, I would like to thank the Lord for my dad. He is not really my dad, but my husband’s dad, but he is the only real dad I’ve known.

My biological father left us when I was about 5. I have never asked about him at all. My mom tells me that he was a heavy drinker, so I am thankful that she made a decision to divorce him. I met him later, when I was about 11, but I don’t really remember the meeting. Like the previous 5 years, that time with him was quite unmemorable. I found him even later, when I was in my 20s, but even then – he rejected me. I’ve had no cards, no letters, no phone calls from my biological father since he left.

I’ve had two step fathers, both of whom abused me. After my second step father, I vowed to never call another man “father” again.

But then my husband’s dad came into my life. A reserved man, with a keen sense of humor, and knowledge just about anything in the world. He is not the kind who would do the hugging and kissing and telling “I love you!” kind. And that’s a good thing, as I am not comfortable with that. But he is the kind of a man who had a real hard life, yet all his life he has been about giving to other people. If it was not for him, we would not have our house, or things working in it. Me and my husband don’t know which end of a hammer to use. Well, I do, but you know..out of solidarity with hubby, I won’t be changing lightbulbs. :P

After a while I started calling him dad. Not because he gave me presents (although he did), but because he was there for us. Not with words, but when we needed him most – he was ready to drop everything and be there for us. Sometimes I forget that he is not really my dad, and people look at me strange when I saw “my and my husband’s dad”, but I really feel like I “adopted” him as my own. Or maybe he did me.

So, I might have not known what its like to have a father growing up, but I sure do now. And I am thankful that I have my earthly dad.

Please visit From the Heart for more thankful stories!

Project: Party for Anika!

What a beautiful name, for a beautiful girl.



If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might know that God performs miracles every day. Big and small.
The latest boy, Vanya, who is like Anika is HIV positive found a family. After all the waiting and hoping, God finally introduced him to his family. And we had a privilege of being a part of his journey home.
God made it happen. We were lucky to be there and be a tiny part of it. Now its Anika’s turn. Her family is out there. This precious little girl is waiting, and as always God is calling us to be a part of it. Through prayer and through generous sacrifice.
I will be blunt about it. We all know that adoption costs money. And God provides money, when the person says “Yes”. We don’t make this miracle happen. God does. However, we are called to be charitable to OUR sake. For making this choice to sacrifice out cup of Starbucks coffee, or a pack of cigarettes, or a new mascara, or even a box of cereal (that we can go without), in order to help someone bring their child home.
So lets come together, and participate in God’s miracle of bringing this child home. Please donate 1, 5, 10, 20$ to help the parents with the adoption fund. Did you know that money is the first thing that turns people away from adoption?
Are you ready to be part of something great? Please visit Moments with Love, to see her awesome fundraising idea! A "stay-in party"! Basically, throw a party, invite some friends, have them bring 20$ each specifically for Anika's fund donation.

I think I will do a face-painting party for my "mommy" friends. The kids love it, and I don't mind getting more practice, but more importantly, hopefully that will get some more funds for Annika's adoption.

You can also donate directly to Annika's fund here.

And, as always, I beg you to pray. On behalf of this little girl. On behalf of her family that do not know her yet (or they might, just not ready to say “yes”). Let her be known and brought to You first, Lord.

Apr 26, 2011

Easter African Quilt Fundaiser

I am back from vacation, everyone, and I am ready to get back into the fray of things. Well, maybe not just yet, but I am totally ready to share with you all this awesome adoption quilt fundraiser, which my best friend and sister is a part of.

Please visit her at Journey to JT and with a small and easily-made donation, get a chance to win this:



The fundraiser is ran by One Less Orphan blog, and they are also doing a side giveaway for Family Values wall plaques. My biffle has one of those, and they are totally awesome!

Apr 20, 2011

What do you do in these cases?

Gosh, in many ways I am such a social clam, meaning that when confronted with anything social, or requiring to know a particular etiquette, like a clam I retreat in my shell and hide out , until the new situation resolves itself.

Well, I don't know if this is the "right" thing to do, blog-wise, but I am just so flattered and excited to not to say something. So, I'm just going to come out and say it: I've been featured on Undeserving Grace blog as a Blog of the week!

Tara - thank you so much for choosing me, you have no idea how flattered I am. Really, I never imagined to even have readers!

Everyone, please take time out to visit Tara and her awesome blog. Thank you!

I need to break your heart...

Imagine you were growing up in a happy family. Your parents were perfect - a big, clean house. Plenty to eat, Stylish, clean clothes. Your parents were paragons of virtue - kind, God-fearing people, who devoted their lives to raising you in the faith. They devoted their lives to you, caring for you, providing for you, shielding you from all that's wicked, and hurtful, and painful.

You grew up to be a stable, able, faithful and wonderful person. But one day you find out that all this time you had a brother. A brother who was not born like you, a brother who had a terrible disease. A painful existence - every day filled with suffering. Your parents, out of love for you, never told you about him. They hid him away in a faraway place. He never knew he had a brother either, and spent his life - lonely, abandoned.

Your parents did not want to you feel this pain that they felt for their son. They could not leave a scar on your perfect life because your brother was suffering - why should you? Why should you carry this burden of knowing, unable to help?

Now close your eyes, and think. Would you rather have known or never known about this? Would you have rather continued to live your life, surrounded by love and everyday struggle like anyone else? Or would you reach out to your brother?

God adores us. But he does not seem to shield us from suffering. From seeing suffering. Not just looking at it, but SEEING it. Feeling it in the deepest parts of our hearts.
There is a video that I have been trying to get someone very dear to me to get to watch. Many of you have probably seen it already. He would not watch that video, because it will break his heart.

I want it to break his heart, like it broke mine. Why? Because God wanted to break my heart and he did. I was blind, but now I see, and I cannot live the same. Therefore I must carry on with this gift that I was given.

We all have a choice - a wonderful, free gift that God has given us - a choice. We can choose now to close our eyes and not be heartbroken and never change anything about our lives. Be content and safe and with our hearts safely tucked under our rib-cages.

Or we can take our heart and give it to God and let him do with it as he pleases. "Its yours. Please break it for what Your heart breaks. Makes me see what you see."

Apr 18, 2011

Urgent help and prayer request!

Friends,

I have learned now that nothing happens on accident. Good or bad, somehow God ends up using the circumstances to work His plan. This evening, I (by accident you might think) I came across a story on a news. Story from another state and city - Chicago. A family of 12, parents and 10 children. A child playing with lighter. Fire broke out in their apartment and took the lives of 3 small children.

You can read the harrowing story here.


3 little caskets, and hundreds of broken hearts left behind. If anyone has lived through a house fire, or knows someone who has, their lives become "before" and "after" the fire. That terrible tragedy always remains etched in their lives. To loose 3 precious little ones.

Friends, we do not have to stand by. There is a lot that we can do. The family, left not only bereft in the worst way, but also penniless. They need virtually everything - clothes, kitchen stuff, bathroom, beds, furniture. Everything.

A man, a stranger, who watched the report of this tragedy on the news, stepped up and helped them with the funeral costs. Lets be a part of community that helps them rebuild their lives as well.

Lets not stand by and watch someone's lives fall apart. Donations of items and money can be sent to the family through the Calahan Funeral home.

I am assuming that the donations can also be sent to the local church, where the last goodbyes were said to the children (Alpha Temple Baptist Church, 6701 S. Emerald Av.Chicago)

And most of all, please pray for the major healing and God's plan to be worked out in the most wonderful way, as even amidst such pain and loss, His light shines bright.

Amazing weekend


I feel so blessed. what a perfect weekend - perfect weather, perfect blue sky, sunshine. My son, coming home safe (albeit with a tummy ache) from his first baseball game.

I went to a restaurant, for my friend's Birthday celebration, and realized that I actually do know a lot of people here. I must admit, that I often struggle with being lonely. Its not something I will admit in public, but on a blog, I guess its a fair deal.

Yesterday, I had a glimpse of what it might feel like when someone has friends. I do have friends, amazing friends, but living in a different state from them - most of the time I feel so lonely. Its amazing how much I took for granted to have a best friend (whom I get to see in just a few days! Squeel!).

And I have trouble making new friends. I get along with people well, I have a lot of acquittance, and we spend time. But I really don't have anyone that I WANT to spend time with, not like my best friend Kimmi. So yesterday, sitting at this awesome little restaurant, in a cute area of the town, surrounded by all this sunshine and blue skies and people talking - I almost felt like one of the normal people who goes out, has friends, has girlfriends to chat with, shop with.

Being without friends sucks, no matter what age you are. But I'm thankful for just a few brief hours like these, where I can pretend that I have all that. :)

Apr 16, 2011

What is awesome?


Knowing celebrities is awesome. I'm not talking about people like Snookie or Paris or even Charlie Sheen. Honestly, I find them must less interesting than the celebrities of the world that counts - God's world.

I think one of such celebrities is Christie, our fellow bloggers from Compass in my Heart. You don't have to dig through dozens of posts to see how much her heart breaks for the needy children (and adults) in Africa. The cool thing about Christie is that got up, one day, and decided to do something about the situation.

I really believe that her and her husband's (congratulations!) names are known in the Heavens. God knows each one of our names, our hearts, and even each hair that is on our head at any time. But what if people like that are also known among His angels? What is they talk about them, and rejoice with God, as they lay down their life to live in JOY (while brokenhearted for God)?

I really believe that is the case. I just wanted to take time out to tell you about Christie, George, their AMAZING story so far, their ministry - her blog about ministering in Africa, and also share with you all their new site: Ekubo Ministries.

I am especially glad to introduce the site, as my best friend and sister Kim of J2T blog has designed it. She is a talented web designer, so if you have a site that you need designing, or known someone who is looking for someone - I would suggest looking her up.

So, I just wanted to share about how excited I am to know so many celebrities of the Kingdom. They might not even know it, but I truly believe that the angels whisper about them, talk about the great and small victories that they are a part of, and that God himself smiles when they wake up each morning and jump back into the battle.

Apr 15, 2011

URGENT: Vanya needs our prayers

From No greater Joy Mom:

We desperately need a family for Vanya as soon as possible. Many people have inquired about adopting him. But things have changed and we URGENTLY need a family who is paperwork ready--one who has already done their home study and has USCIS approval. We need a family who can get to him quickly.



While I am not at liberty to give any details, I can tell you that Vanya's situation has turned into a critical need for prayer. He needs a paperwork-ready family to commit to him in the next few days...before it is too late.

Time is running out.

Do you know of a family who is already adopting a child from Ukr*ine? Do you know of someone who is traveling to adopt a child from there soon and may consider adding this precious boy to their adoption? Either a family who is already adopting, or a family who has all their paperwork ready and has been waiting on the Lord to show them the right child.

Friends, we urgently need your help....PLEASE spread Vanya's story on blogs, social networks, and adoption discussion groups. We absolutely have to find his family soon. The finances are not an issue--God has provided them. Now all we need is the right family--one who will say, "Here am I, Lord, send me!"

With all my heart I believe that Vanya's family is out there. Why? Because I believe that God has provided in a miraculous way for this boy to come home. I believe in miracles in 2011! I do.

Please stand with us in prayer over the next few days...trusting that Vanya's family will come forward. How desperately he needs them now.

Pray, body of Christ! Pray without ceasing. Pray until Vanya is rescued and safely in the arms of those who love him.

Thank you for helping us today. Thank you for praying and bringing this boy before the Father. Thank you for trusting with us. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.

"If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matt 17:20.

"MOUNTAIN BE MOVED!"

Any family who thinks they may be able to get to Vanya quickly, and would like more information, please contact Chris Malone at the Eli Project as soon as possible.

You can read Vanya's full story right here.

Apr 14, 2011

Enough Said

Re-posted from the wonderful Amy.

Apr 13, 2011

Won't you please think of Rowan?


My friends, a little boy,called Rowan, whom I had on my prayer wall for a while now has been very sick for all of his life. I have not seen any updates from his mommy for a while now, and the last one did not sound very good.
Something, or Someone is telling me that he needs our prayer. His family needs our prayers as well. Please include this sweet little child of God in your prayers. He already knows of God, and has faith in things unseen, even despite having spent all his life struggling with sickness and hospitals and procedures and pain.

Father, please hold him close. I hope he is still with us, I dare not to ask his mother - she most likely has a lot going on. I always must pray for the healing, but it is Your will, and sometimes the answer is no.

Please father, send us news. Let us know. In your name we pray.
Amen.

God's spring cleaning

I don't think I've ever been able to see such an amazing perspective about God, if I did not have the privilege of being a mother. I was thinking about this particular thing the other day, driving on my way to my chorus practice. Driving is my time with Him. I feel happy and free to sing, to think. And this is what I feel He shares with me on that particular day.

Whenever I start doing any housework - washing dishes, or the floors - my little 4- year old son comes running. He hears me drag that heavy pale out in the kitchen and goes grabbing for his sponge. Now, I must admit, most of the time I tell him that I don't need his help. He insists. I ask him to just let me do it quick, but he is already got his sponge into the water and ready to rub the floor with it.

He makes a terrible mess, leaves large puddles, gets in the way, and generally does the opposite of cleaning. But he is so desperate to just be with me, do the same thing I do, feel useful, strong, needed. I usually end up conceding and just cleaning up what he messed up- later on, but he is happy - he helped mommy!

As I was thinking on that, two things came to me:

1) (and this is the amazing things that God manages to do - to constantly rewire me to think differently, to see things in a totally different light.) You see, when I saw someone starting an adoption fundraiser, or go out to the mission, or start a charity drive, I would think - How amazing is it, we have started doing this under God's guidance. God's work is being done now that we FINALLY started being his hands and feet.

But wait a minute. What if..what if its the other way around? God has already started the work. He already put things in motion. He already started the cleaning. And we are the children that are running towards His bucket with our little dirty sponges, and making all sort of a mess, and splashing it all around and leaving big puddles. And he LETS US to be part of his Spring cleaning. He rejoices that His children are doing something productive, something that makes His heart rejoice. Something that has to be done and will be done - one way or another.

We just get to be a part of it.

2) Faith like a child. These few words been coming to my head and my heart a lot lately. To have a faith like a child. What a concept. To have all wisdom in the world or to have a simple, child-like unyielding and all-consuming passion for Him? To fun towards His cleaning bucket and rejoice in being able to spend time with Him, right where He is most visible?


I must remember that every time my son runs to my bucket, before shooing him away. There will come a time when he no longer will want my time. But hopefully, he will want to give that attention to God. That's a mother's prayer - help me be a better parent, help me be more like You, Father.

Apr 10, 2011

New Design!

Yes, I decided to change the look once more. I really do get used to something and feel like I need to spruce it up. There are so many colors, and if I stick to just one, I feel like I'm not giving the others a chance to shine.

Hopefully you all like the scheme. It feels like summer outside, so I wanted something warm and summery. :)

Apr 8, 2011

Fill in the blanks Friday


1. Something that makes me a great friend is, Is that ...hmm...I have no idea, to be honest. :P

2. I am trying to maximize my output, but minimize my input. Basically, I have a shopping problem.

3. I am not that afraid of flying as I used to be.

4. If I had to describe myself in 3 words, they would be unsure (of my own abilities about anything), scared (of I don't even know what!), loved.


5. Something I'm really cheap about is
Beauty products. I despise the fact that I feel like I NEED to buy them, and when I do I feel so guilty.

6. Something I'm willing to splurge on is VEGETABLES! (and dried fish).

7. I would trade The years spent wasted playing online games, on years spent making friends and being there for my family.


Please join The little things we do for more!

Apr 6, 2011

Call to pray updated!



Dear friends, please don't forget to visit my prayer wall, as a new little one was added on to it. The latest boy joining us is: Vanya, a sweet, precious creature, that, despite the pain and rejection he already endured in his short life, still believes in a miracle - home.

Kiril's adoption big giveaway!

Hey all!
So, you have probably heard me and others talking of Kiril - an amazingly special little boy, who's adoption started an historical even in God's Kingdom (Yes, the story is not over yet!). Kiril's battle is not over, and his family desperately needs help, as they are appealing the decision of the judge to deny them bringing their boy home.

For those of you, who are not familiar with his story, please visit his family's blog: Our eyes opened.

His family is also hosting a HUGE giveaway for the next 7 days, in order to raise additional funds to over the incurred costs of the appeal and trips to EE. Prizes include:


AND!



But wait, there is MORE! The best prize of all:


A mother holding her baby boy - safe. Loved. Home. 10$ gets you into the drawing. Please consider helping this family and this boy.

Apr 4, 2011

Home...

What a culture shock..Spending only a week in a faraway land, but a land of very stark, barren beauty, and dropping into a full-spring Georgia. Colors, flowers, trees everywhere!

Meanwhile, across the world, I got a chance to see this:


And this!



And some of this:


Iceland, the proud yet fragile ice princess. So beautiful, so strange, like a totally different world. I am quite tired, jet lagged, but happy that I got a chance to see something other than this continent.

However, there is a possibility that I might go to Israel sometime this year. Thinking that I might be standing in the church on the site of Christ's crucifixion, or touching the waters of the sea of Galilee - it really takes my breath away. Then, maybe I can even touch Africa's soil as well. Never thought of myself as a traveler, but I think I got the taste of it, and now I want more.

Apr 1, 2011

Mother

I was walking past this building yesterday and came across a statue, hidden in the bushes for the most part. Pretty small, hard to spot from the side walk. I came around, to see it closer, and my throat closed up.



A mother, holding her child so close, as he or she is part of her own flesh. Bending, shielding from the world. As one, in love. I stared at it, and saw in the mother the families of Kirill, Evan and Baby Jane, as well as my sister Kim, who is struggling with her adoption. Perhaps it was due to me thinking and praying lots for the two families, but I would like to think that God chose this piece of metal or rock to whisper this to me.

Today, what joyous news, baby Evan is coming home. The same judge, the same orphanage.Also with Down Syndrome. She is coming home. Spared. Bought out of life of oblivion. Miracle-granting Father, how wondrous are You!

Could it be that the mountain was moved! Yes, the heart melted? Yes, it seems so, history made? YES!

Don't you see, my friends, perhaps if the judge could see that these children are worth to be loved, to be fought and suffered for, she will tell another, perhaps more mothers will take them home, or not abandon them at all.

Praising, always, on my knees, so thankful.
Please continue my friends. We are standing in a midst of a battle. And it has been won by God. We are to continue praying and be faithful. Always.

Home, soon.

Traveling is fun, after all. I really been enjoying my morning walks to work - with a chance to spot something interesting and head off in that direction. I was afraid of getting lost, but the city is actually very easy to navigate. All of the roads seem to lead to one or two main ones.

The architecture is amazing - every building is beautiful in its own way, and they are all unique. Very gothic-victorian looking for the most part.


I also must say that I have yet to have a bad meal here. I was actually surprised by a large quantity of various non-Icelandic restaurants (like Thai, Indian), and in such a large concentration in the downtown area. Coffee shops are pretty much every few steps, and they are open very late.
The rest of the stores, unfortunately, close very early, so I try to hurry after work to see what I can before the closing time.
I was totally wrong about the only church int he city, as I have found at least 3 other ones, and I am sure that there are more. The ones that I found, appear to be Catholic/Lutheran. I even sat in on a Catholic mass, but being neither Catholic nor able to understand Icelandic, it was very confusing. I am pretty sure I failed mass.
But I had a nice quiet time with the Lord anyway, and I think that it what counts anyway.

Oh! Today, on the way to work, I spotted some of the nuns, going somewhere out of the church. Based on their clothing, they looked like the nuns from Mother Teresa's order (the white with blue lines under the dark hood thing). I so wanted to ask them, but I didn't know if you are allowed to come up and talk to nuns. Like, is it appropriate to talk to them? I normally won't do it to a regular person on the street that I don't know.

Anyway. Will be home soon, God\s willing. Missing my family, and my country.

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