Open Arms

Open Arms
...caring for orphans and adoptive families...

Friday, September 18, 2009

God is on His Throne

Not the Friday we wanted, but God knows best. We will not have the children with us until Monday, but we have been given an exact time to meet at the orphanage to sign them out that morning. The children are disappointed, but satisfied that we have a countdown time.

Work has begun on the deed issues. Please pray about that for us. This can be costly and time consuming. We are praying for the Lord's protective hand on this situation. We have an appointment Tuesday morning to obtain new birth certificates and then we will be waiting on passports. If things go as it appears we could be in Kiev by the end of next week. We will see how things progress.

Weekend plans include a visit with Andrei in the morning, some shopping in the afternoon, a concert in a different park tomorrow night again by the city orchestra that Pasha's teacher, Sasha, plays with (he invited us today). Sunday morning we hope to attend the church nearby to say our goodbyes to these new friends. Sunday afternoon we plan to go to #4 to visit with the children and say our goodbyes to the other children. That evening we will move to the bigger apartment. We could try to squeeze into this one bedroom with the children, but we also have Natalia with us, so a two bedroom place will be much better for the 7 of us! :o) It should be a full weekend!

For now we will spend a quiet Friday evening. I think we will need the rest for tomorrow. Please pray the Lord will continue to cover us with His wings.Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
Carol and Steve

Thursday, September 17, 2009

He can...

As we said yesterday, this week we have spent a lot of time with Jenya. We haven't discussed it out loud, but we all know the time is drawing near for our departure.

Most afternoons we go to watch Lyonya and Pasha play basketball at #4. Lyonya loves playing basketball. Jenya proudly says he taught him!

AFTERNOON BASKETBALL (Pasha is in the green Mexico shirt and Lyonya is in the red and white stripe shirt)


Andrei is always excited to see us waiting to visit. He comes running down the long, steep flight of purple stairs to spend a little time with us before it would be time for him to go back inside for the evening meal.

Our evenings are enjoyable. One night we stop at a friends apartment to share dinner,visit and encourage each other a little before catching the bus downtown to spend a few hours with Jenya, another night we attend a small prayer meeting at another friends apartment. There is never enough time for all we want to do and see and experience. The time here is just seems to fly by.

We asked Jenya a lot of questions this week about the trade school he attends. As best we can understand with the language barriers, Jenya attends the trade school that is offered to orphans when they graduate. He is studying mechanics. We're told that most of the graduates never make it thru the school. It seems that they are taught some of the basics of their field, but if they want anything advanced there are additional fees. Of course they have no means of paying an additional fee. They receive a small stipend from the government if they stay in the program but that may or may not show up and then it is barely enough to survive. The school day last from early morning to six or seven in the evening so there is not much chance to work. It is a four year program. The living conditions in the dorms is pretty difficult. It's almost impossible for these orphans to break out of the cycle.

It's so difficult knowing these are our children and leaving them each night in the orphanage. Only a few more days...only a few more days....but what about the ones we will leave behind. Please pray with us for these children. They also need a hope and a future. They need His glory to fall on their young lives and transforms them into His own children. We might not be able to take them all home, but He can!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

During the wait....

Our Apartment

This week has been our waiting time. Things are pretty much rolling along.
We spend our days visiting the orphanages, (one one day, the other the next) and our evenings with Jenya or friends. Jenya has taken us sightseeing several more times and likes to show us the special spots in town.

Last night after a short walk through the city he took us to a Turkish kiosk to have a bite of baklava. We buy some each year at the Greek festival in Columbia, but we have to admit this stuff was amazing! It melts in your mouth.

Having spent 4 of the last 6 nights with Jenya I can't imagine how hard it will be for him when we leave. Please be praying for him as he makes this transition in life. He's a really special fellow.

Here are some photos from the last week to enjoy. We are still praying that the paperwork can be processed Friday and we can sign the children out of the orphanages. If not, it will be Monday. We will let you know how it goes. Trusting it will all be in His perfect timing.

Steve and Carol

Horse in the street.

Courtyard view from our apartment.

Galia sewed a pillow.

Hard Hugs from little girls at Andrei's orphanage.

This cute little girl wants to be a ballerina.

The carrots grow extra large here!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 5 of 10 day wait...

Sunday September 13, 2009

Friday we visited both #4 and #9 so we were pretty tired as we took the bus toward the apartment. We had a call from Lena to please stop by on our way since we would pass her apartment before we caught our second bus. When we arrived, we were so hot and tired. She was preparing dinner in hopes we would stay. That didn't take much convincing! Lena said she had something she wanted to share with us. The day before when we had gone shopping, she had cleaned some trash out of one of the pockets of a jacket we had purchased. Later that night when she got home she looked at the trash that she had stuffed into her own pocket. Some of it was trash, but one piece was a paper Euro. She was shocked. We had prayed for deals and this euro equaled about half of what we had spent at that second hand store. She wanted to give it back to us. God is so amazing at showing up in ways we would never expect.

Our picnic lunch with the children yesterday was nice and Southern. We had chicken salad sandwiches and sweet tea. The kids were happy and it was a pleasant afternoon. The children's Grandma had checked the children out of the internot for the weekend so they were planning to spend the evening with Jenya and Grandma.

We had been invited by Pasha's music teacher, Sasha, to a concert at the park around the corner from our apartment. Last week when we had asked if he would play us a sample of his music, he instead, invited us to hear the city orchestra Saturday evening. We didn't realize how different a concert in the park is here from at home. There was a large crowd, with many people dancing all along the front of the gazebo in the park. One little girl was especially cute. We waved to Sasha to let him know we were there.



This morning we awoke to no electricity and no internet. Every now and then the city turns things off. Not sure why, repairs maybe…who knows. After a very cold shower, we decided to visit Andrei in the morning and attend an English speaking church later in the afternoon. It worked out well, as we arrived at #9 in time to console Andrei after he had a run in with some of the other kids. It appears that once someone is “chosen” there is a lot of grief dished out. We encouraged Andrei that it will only be a few more days. In English, he said, “Andrei, Lyonya, Pasha, Galia, soon, Kiev, America!” We are all ready to be together. Please pray that the children can be signed out on Friday the 18th instead of having to wait until the following Monday.

It's been a tiring weekend so we will close for tonight. More details to come.