Friday, June 8, 2007


Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Well, we are beginning preparations for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ashleigh and Neena will be coming home for both occasions. I can hardly wait! For those of you who have not heard, Ashleigh has been in Los Angeles since June 2006. Upon graduation from the University of Georgia with degrees in Communications and Psychology, cousin Kelly, producer extraordinaire, hooked her up with a dream interview at Touchstone Pictures. Ashleigh then closed the deal and landed a position in the Business Law department.

Momentary jump to the future....... (February 2007) Ashleigh was accepted to several Law Schools and has chosen to attend Emory University. Mom is thrilled, needless to say, that my social butterfly will be back in Georgia, for a few years anyway. Ashleigh will begin law school in August. Hollywood will not be the same!

Neena will be graduating from the University of Georgia with Honors in May 2007. Neena has also been accepted to the School of Dentistry at Louisville, KY , but because she loves her Dad, Adriana , Mom , Mark , brothers, sisters and family pets soooo much, she has made the more attractive choice of attending the Medical College of Georgia, School of Dentistry in Augusta where she will also be able to improve on her golf game for those long weekends she will be taking after becoming a Dentist. Smart Woman!

Jump back to November 2006............ I promise to be current soon.

Our adoption agency's sister non-profit provides a Hosting program for orphans in Ukraine. Hosting enables these children the opportunity to visit the United States and experience a different culture. This is a once in a lifetime chance for these children. Although the initial intention of hosting is not to have the child find an adoptive family, many of the children will find their Forever Families this way. So Mark and I received an invitation to host or help sponsor another family to host a child during the Christmas season. We read the brief biographies and viewed the photos of the children who were eligible to come to the U.S. . Again, most of us cannot help but be moved by their stories. So for the next few weeks we prayed and listened for a word or inspiration from God as to what He wanted us to do. Our primary concern in opposition to hosting was that WE did not wish to use funds that WE thought would interfere with our current process of adoption. Practical and prudent thinking? Yep, definitely! Wisdom and God's will, not so sure yet. OUR thoughts and OUR ways appeared too prevalent in the picture. So we continued praying, wrestling and resisting the obvious, there was a still loving whisper present that we both had been hearing all along, but were careful not to speak of it aloud just yet. Then, Theresa broke the silence with the suggestion she was certain would confirm that WE were right. "What would you think if we took an early distribution from our IRA to host a child?" I was certain that we may need to do this anyway at some point during our adoption, so was reluctant to do it now. Mark had the same thoughts. So we thought we must be doing the "right thing." That was that!

Over the next few days the two of us did not sleep well and when we compared notes at the end of the third day we decided to ask God again to help us know what HIS will was regarding the hosting and our financial pinch. After a wonderful, restful night both of us awoke with a renewed vision and great sense of peace. We must go forward with hosting a child. Abba Father, you are our provider!

We answered the invitation to be a Host family but found it difficult to choose which child we thought God wanted us to be part of our family for 3 weeks. They are all so precious. Although I would have had a great time entertaining a little girl and doing all of the girly kind of things I haven't gotten to indulge in since my 2 girls went off to university, we decided, a boy and Charlie and Nick would be a better match. Since the youngest boy was 8 years old and our Nick is 4 , I decided to choose a boy close to Charlie's age. Still, I agonized who to choose, as there were more children then host families. Some would be left behind, how could I know ? Would I make the right choice?

In the end we chose to host a 12 -year-old boy. He was physically very handsome and the single paragraph bio. described him as a "true orphan" whose birth parents had both died along with a list of many attributes anyone would be proud of. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, while I was out getting those last minute items I forgot to put on my grocery list, I got a call from the Director of the hosting program. " Theresa, there is a little problem." My heart skipped a beat and a rapid slide show of various scenarios whirled through my mind. "Yes", I hesitated, "What is it?" "Well, there is another family who wants to spend some time with Artyom (this was the young boy's name) so we would like to split his time between the two families." "He will spend the first half with you and the second half with them". He also told me we would now only be paying for 1/2 of the hosting fees and the other family would arrange to pick him up from Georgia as they lived in New Jersey. I asked if this other family was interested in adopting or if they were hosting to serve as an advocate family like we were. The director, Dan told me that the family was interested in possibly adopting Artyom but that they could not host him the entire time because of a prior commitment and conflict in their schedule. I was so happy that he may already have found his family, but I admit , a bit disappointed that we would not have him the whole time.

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and so much to be grateful for everyday! We learned this week that the dates we will be hosting Artyom have changed because the authorities in Ukraine would not allow the children's passports to be issued yet. So instead of the first of December they will be arriving at JFK on December 22nd. I will travel to New York to pick-up Artyom.

There has been something about me in the grocery store without a list this week. It is the day after learning of the date changes and I receive a call from the program director again. "Hi Theresa, I need to talk to you about another change." "Yes", I responded softly. "Since the dates that the children are coming have changed, the family that is sharing your hosting with Artyom wishes to host him the entire time" I did not realize how sensitive I had become with regards to these changes as I felt the warmth of my flushed face and tears begin to well. "o.k. ", a meek whimper squeaked out of my lips. Taking a deep breath I tried to respond in a grown-up 40-something way, whatever that is. In the moments that followed though my musings wandered on and I felt those special privileges and blessings a new parent receives had been stripped from me or worse yet, in the ugliness and weakness of my flesh, my birthright taken from me.

As I snapped back into my form and prayed for a Godly sensibility, I finally responded positively and inquired if there was another child that we could host that would not have been able to otherwise come. "Yes, of course," Dan replied. "Go onto the site and look at the kids again and let me know ASAP. " I cut my shopping trip short and rushed home to study their faces and hearts as if this mode of technology had a direct link to all of my questions. After commencing with my little online ritual, Mark and I chose to host the only other 12-year-old boy. We had been contemplating hosting him before we had chosen Artyom, so it made sense to us that this is what we would do. Believe me, this is not an easy decision, we wished we could have secured them all a home. When I phoned Dan and identified the boy we wanted to host and asked him what his name was, he informed me that it was also Artyom. God does have a sense of humor, doesn't he?

December 22nd, I can hardly believe I am here awaiting their smiling faces. All of the host families (some brought the whole crew) were in a huddle trying to inch our way to a better view, politely asking forgiveness from others also awaiting loved ones arriving from customs. We had to get into a proper position for this once in a lifetime photo opp.! Being of small stature can be either an advantage, you can squeeze into small spaces, or a curse, you cannot jump high enough. 2 hours passed as we waited, and waited, and waited..... (God is always making me wait these days, I do not recommend praying for patience unless you do not mind WAITING) "Here they come", the words skipped through the band of us. We were all waved over to a special holding area to eliminate confusion or the disappearance of a child. Now each family began the search through the group of excited and travel weary children for their special little one, and the cheerful and completely dedicated escorts made their rounds to each parent who were also anxious to get more details about their host child. The smiles and hugs were abundant at every glance around the room. Cameras flashing, paparazzi style. Then right there in front of me stood 2 young boys, smiling ear to ear and scanning the room for their family. One of them was a boy my friend was hosting and the other, well, he was mine. At that moment I can only use words that remain so minute to describe the feeling of overwhelming joy that filled my soul. A few weeks later when I tried to express to Mark what I'd felt when I laid my eyes on this child for the first time, I could only describe the same emotions that I had experienced at the birth of each of my children, as they were laid into my arms . Pure and from heaven alone, a rush of bliss like no other. This is what it means, I now know, to be "Born in our hearts."

Artyom and I fixed our eyes on one another and I called out his name. He gave me a darling boyish smile and approached me with a hug and a bag of handmade gifts for our family. In Ukraine artistic gifts are encouraged and nurtured. Artyom had created an elaborate image of a sparrow with an array of fine wooden pieces and mounted them on an old 45 record. I would have never known that until he turned it over and showed me. Wow! I was impressed. One of the escorts happens to also be our coordinator in Ukraine who is assisting us with our adoptions. We had not met in person, so I was anxious to introduce myself to her. After meeting with our coordinator we visited some with the other families and prepared to return to our homes either by car or flight. Before we left, I also met with the couple from New Jersey and their Artyom. We exchanged the story of how we both had chosen the same child to host. I've never had a doubt since that day, God's plan was what we were all experiencing.

Artyom and I returned home to Atlanta , on the last flight of the day on December 23rd (almost didn't get out of JFK for Christmas, a whole other Blog) a welcome committee of husband and children were there to receive us. As I have been composing this post for 4 hours now, or so I have just been informed by Charlie, I will continue tomorrow.

No comments: