Last March our dear friends Pastor Sasha Skripak and his lovely wife Olya come to visit us from Ukraine. We have been working with orphans in Ukraine since 1999 but our paths never crossed with Sasha until about three years ago. We were introduced to Sasha by our friend Sandie Flannery. She was looking for an orphan ministry to connect with as I recall. Our friend Karen Feathers who runs UkraineSpecialNeedsOrphansFund told Sandie about us. The Feathers adopted with us when we adopted in Ukraine back in 2001. It really is a small world!
Sasha is a lot like my husband, a dreamer. He thinks big! He expects big things from God. Olya and I just hold on for the ride! We share the same vision for the orphans of Ukraine and are expanding our ministry with each other. They are coming to visit us again in one week! We are going to see the Torres family who are dispersed throughout the picture. We love Jo Ann and Ruben and their family. They have 11 children, 6 by birth and 5 adopted. It's nice to meet someone as crazy as we are! We went to our favorite mexican restaurant with the Torres family and others and took up the two biggest tables in the place. We also hope to see Sherry White again and her son Keegan when Sasha and Olya visit this time too. She is the cute blonde standing next to Pastor Nicholae from Almaz church in Ukraine. He and Pastor Sasha cofounded that church together. Keegan White is on the stairs holding some sweet baby while our daughter Emily is standing as close to him as she can. She liked that guy a lot! Sherry and Keegan came from Pa. to visit them as did the Torres clan. Two other families were here as well but left the day before the picture. Whew!
Our good friend Cindy Normandia must have been taking the picture but her mom is there holding baby Teresa, the youngest of the Skipak family. I am not in the picture for some reason. All the children seem to be. Anya is in the middle of the picture with her arms out like she's saying, "we're here. You can take the picture now" Or maybe she's giving us her blessing! She is the director that's for sure!
Our ministry is growing by leaps and bounds and we're so excited to see what God is doing. We have done two formal conferences now in Ukraine on the needs of children with disabilities. They have been a great source of hope for those in Ukraine who parent these special kids and have shed a light on just who these kids are and what they can do to those who work with them or want to work with them. We were so priviledged to work with many young adults from Almaz church at the last conference who came and volunteered their time and labor to make it all come together.
We are busy as well with fundraising for our international adoption as we have two girls waiting for us! They are 10 and 11 and look to be about 4 and 5. They both have Down Syndrome and they shine! If you would like to help us adopt these lovely children you can make your checks out to Father's Heart at 3808 Poplar Hill Rd., Suite D; Chesapeake, Va. 23321. Thank you!!!