Open Arms

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

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday and Friday the abbreviated version

Thursday morning we packed for Kiev. It was an act of faith on our part, believing that we would be given the children's passports and leave Odessa. The children kept asking our plans, our itinerary. We kept trying to tell them we had no idea, only that we had plane tickets for Tuesday the 13th.

After a lunch of crab salad (the kids favorite), we all dressed in the best we had and piled into two taxis for our 2:30 meeting at the Regional Office. We arrived early and waited with a line of Ukrainian citizens who were also requesting permission for different items related to their properties. Our translator was with us, as was another translator Aloyna. Our names were called. We were third on the list.


Steve remained in the hall praying as Carol, the two translators and the children went into the meeting. The meeting was a total of 9 minutes. After waiting 30 minutes with no decision yet, we decided that Steve would go to the apartment with the children and meet up with a friend for supper, if Carol and the translator didn't return by then. We hoped we could get all of the documents and notaries that afternoon and leave no later than Friday lunchtime. Carol and Natalia waited a bit longer and saw that the officials had dismissed their meeting. Natalia went to speak with our contact. They were still deciding and maybe they could give us an answer by next week. Our hearts sunk. They were saying no decision. Natalia and I went outside. Natalia made several calls. She had an idea. All I can say is by 4 pm we were walking out of the passport office with 4 passports for the children. We called a taxi service to see if they had a van available to drive us to Kiev. The van could be at the apartment by 6pm.


Natalia and Carol raced to the apartment and told Steve and the kids to finishing packing and cancel dinner plans. We were leaving. Several friends came by the apartment, we ran around the corner and picked up hamburgers at McDondalds to have a rushed goodbye meal. Jenya also came by to say goodbye.


As we pulled out of the city, the kids waved goodbye to Odessa.



By midnight we were in Kiev in an apartment found by our facilitator. He would pick us up at 8 am to go for the kids medical exams and then to the Embassy for visas. We told the kids to "sleep fast".


The medical clinic in Kiev reminded us of maybe a clinic from the 1950 in the US. It was better than in Odessa with the dog running around though. The kids exams, blood test, x-rays and a few extra immunizations were completed by 11am. They told us to return at 2:30 to pick up the final results for the Embassy. We headed for the US Embassy and began working on all the paperwork for the Visas. By noon we left to make copies, eat lunch and pick up medical reports . The Embassy said to return at 2pm.


At 2pm Carol took all 4 kids to the Embassy, while Nadya (our translator in Kiev) went with Steve to the medical clinic. We thought all was well until Carol realized there were additional forms to fill out. She frantically finished those forms while she waited for Steve to return. We knew from the woman helping us that we had to finish the paperwork today, because the Embassy would be closed Monday for a holiday. If we didn't get the visas today we would not make our Tuesday morning flight of 6:45am.

The lady behind the glass called Carol's name. "There is a problem," she said. Nadya had called. Pasha had tested positive for TB as a small child and even though his most recent test last month was negitive the head doctor would not sign off on his medical release until he had a chest x-ray. They were told clinic only does x-rays on Monday. (never mind they had done one of Lyonya earlier in the day) Nayda talked with several people and finally convinced them to do the x-ray today.

Now 3:30, Steve and Nadya took a taxi to the Embassy. Steve got out and stayed to do his portion of the paperwork while Nadya took Pasha back to the clinic for the x-ray and hopefully a clean report. We began to pray.

Steve was interviewed for his portion of the process as the clock ticked. We asked what was closing time. They said 5:30, but they quit process at 5:00 to allow time to print things out. However, the gentleman handling our case was leaving early that day at 4:30. He arranged for another agent to handle our case. We prayed as the clock ticked. Nadya called. Pasha had a clean bill of health, but the were stuck in a traffic jam.

Pasha came running into the Embassy at 4:56 pm. We walked out of the Embassy with visas at 5:25 pm. That was a day! The Lord is never late.

So thankful we obeyed and left Odessa Thursday night. If we had waited until Friday to go to Kiev, we would have never made it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

In Kiev

Not sure where to begin. How do you share so many miracles? It will take us a few days to put even some of it down but we wanted to let you all know that we are coming home. All 6 of us. We are scheduled to fly out of Kiev at 6:45 am Monday morning and arrive in Columbia, SC at 8:45 pm Monday night.

Through many miracles, we received the visas at close of business today. We hope to have details posted tomorrow.

Thank you so much to everyone for your prayers and encouraging emails.

Praising Him,
Steve and Carol

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A prayer from Lysa TerKeurst of Encouragement for Today is exactly the prayer we would pray today. Thank you, God, for sending it.

Dear Lord, forgive me for always praying, God bless me. Give me the courage to sometimes pray, God inconvenience me... so that I might constantly be reminded to draw near to You. Interrupt me, Lord. Shake things up in me, Lord. Reveal what's in me that's not of You, Lord. Oh Lord, more than anything, I want more of You.

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

God uses all things to draw us closer to Him. It is always good...even if it doesn't feel good. He will work His good pleasure in His good timing. We will wait on Him.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Today we thought would be pick up a document, have a power of attorney drawn up, a simple day. The enemy threw us for a loop. Without going into too much technical detail, the property has two "arrests" attached to it. Basically that means it was seized by the government. We were successful in having one of the "arrests" removed today, but the other is still standing. It's a little difficult to explain simply what this means, but the bottom line is until this matter is handled or the Regional Office agrees to allow our power of attorney to handle it in our stead, they will not release the children's passports. Which means we cannot get the children out of the country until the Region Office signs off on this.

Tomorrow we have a meeting at 2:30 pm out time (7:30am EST) with the board of officials at that office. We plan to attend with all 4 of the children. So all of us (including our translator) will be present. The decision to allow the children to leave the country is in their hands. Please pray with us that God will show Himself mighty and they will sign the release we need to pick up the passports. There is nothing else we can humanly is all Him.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.


Rushing wind, blow through this temple,
Blowing out the dust within;
Come and breathe your breath upon me:
I've been born again.

Holy Spirit, I surrender; take me where you want to go.
Plant me by your living water,
Plant me deep so I can grow.

Jesus, you’re the one who sets my spirit free;
Use me, Lord; glorify your Holy Name through me.

Separate me from this world, Lord;
Sanctify my life for you.
Daily change me to your image,
Help me bear good fruit.

Ev'ry day you're drawing closer;
Trials come to test my faith.
But when all is said and done, Lord,
You know it's been worth the wait.

Jesus, you’re the one who set my spirit free;
Use me, Lord; glorify your Holy Name through me.

Rushing wind, blow through this temple,
Blowing out the dust within;
Come and breathe your breath upon me,
For I've been born again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday's Appointment

Things went great today. Better than expected. We were out and going from morning until evening, but all that was necessary was accomplished today. We ended up with one additional stop at a office that we were told would help our situation on Thursday, so of course we went there after lunch. Then we hand delivered all the documents from the morning to the office where the meeting is scheduled to be held on Thursday afternoon. We are so thankful for everyone's prayers and the Lord's mighty favor.

Please hang in there with us and continue to pray for Thursday. That is the big meeting where we should receive the final sign off on our documents. They do have the power to tell us to wait. We have complied with all they have requested and then some, so things should go well, but we cannot assume or take these things for granted. God holds in His hands the heart of kings. He alone can turn their hearts in favor toward us. Please continue to pray. We will try to keep everyone updated as quickly as possible.

The weekend was rather quiet and slow. We were all pretty restless and ready for the next thing. We felt stuck. Some friend invited us over for pizza, games, and cookies Saturday night. We were all so happy to have an invitation. It was late returning home so bedtime was a little rough but it was so worth the company!

Sunday the kids were excited to go back to church, though our friends there were sad for us, that we hadn't yet made it to Kiev. We've been saying goodbye for a while! The worship was so encouraging again this week. The message was in English translated into Russian! If I remember correctly the fellow preaching this week is from Poland and speaks Polish and English. Below are some snapshots of some of friends there.

Ania, our outstanding Sunday
morning translator

Monday, the kids were invited to a friends house to make candy houses. It was kind of hard to explain that the idea was to make them look like a traditional house, but then all they really know are big apartment buildings or ancient structures. So instead of a tradition house imaginations ran wild as you can see in the photos. We should have taken a picture of them in plastic bags being carried home on the city bus! (Note: Andrei has already eaten all his candy off of his house)

Pasha the detail man Lyonya made a Palmetto Tree

Galia used her new initials Andrei so proud
F.E. Faith Ellisor

The process..... milk in a bag...

For tonight we are really tired and heading to bed. A lot of you emailed. Thank you. We read every one. If we didn't answer, so sorry, we will try to finish in the morning. Everything in the apartment is quiet now except for the typing and the street sounds from outside our window. Good night,
Steve and Carol

PS. We haven't mentioned the children still waiting much lately. Please remember some of them tonight.

Val and little brother Vladik Edic

Val and Kostya