“Aren’t there enough orphans in the U.S.? Why do you need to bring an orphan from Ukraine over here?” This was the comment that was made to our children when they were raising money through a yard sale to fund Katya’s visit. It wasn’t the nicest thing to say to my kids, but it was a valid question. There are plenty of kids who have needs right here in our town. Why do we need to spend all this money and make such an effort to bring a little girl halfway across the world when we can go right up the street and “love our neighbor?”
Bringing Katya over doesn’t exclude our mandate to love our neighbors, so we’re not off the hook on that one. To this woman, I would simply say, “We had to.”
March 26 – April 3, 2008: Bill and I were in Ukraine for 10 days for a ministry trip with another couple from our church (www.evergreenchurch.com). We developed a “Sister Church” relationship with Salvation Church in Rivne, spoke at four marriage conferences, visited an orphanage, and I visited a women’s institution. We returned to the U.S. with a love for the people of Ukraine and a desire to take our whole family back during the summer of 2009.
April: During our personal quiet times with the Lord, Bill and I continued to reflect on what we had seen and experienced in Ukraine and ask God to continue to stir our hearts and use us to advance His kingdom, whatever that would mean.
May 6: While I was at Panera Bread working on a Mother’s Day talk for our church, an email came through Outlook. “Would you pray about this and pass it along to anyone who comes to mind ….” And then, the couple who hosted Katya at Christmas time laid out her story. Katya is a seven year old orphan whose mother abandoned her in the hospital as a 2-pound preemie and whose father contracted TB. Her grandmother raised her until she was six and then placed her in the orphanage. Odessa is allowing her to come to the U.S. one last time and she needs a host family who could possibly be her “forever family.” Without seeing her picture, my heart said “YES!”
May 7: Bill said, “Go for it!” That day we found out lots more information about Katya, spoke to Vinny at Frontier Horizon, talked to our children, and brought this possibility to the people we pray with weekly. One of the guys said, “Cindy, you’ll have to get a new license plate.” My plate says, “6XBLSD.” Well, on the way home from praying, a van passed us with this license plate, “7XBLESD.” 🙂
May 8-10: Through a yard sale put on by the kids, donations from friends and family, and our personal contribution ALL the money needed to bring Katya here for the summer trip was raised.
May 12: Check’s in the mail! Katya is coming!!!!
May 12-June 19: Research, finish school, week at the beach, preparing our home, but most importantly preparing our hearts to welcome Katya.
June 19: Katya arrives!
What we’re doing is not noble, or brave, or wonderful. We simply had to. It just was so right. So, why an orphan from Ukraine when there are so many needy children right here? I don’t know. All I know is that God has prepared us, stirred our hearts, paved the way, and He’s giving us more of Him that we could ask or imagine in the midst of it all. I don’t know why an orphan from Ukraine, but God does, and I trust Him.