I am not talking about another adoption this time. We have nine and the inn is full!! In just ten days until we leave for Ukraine for our annual missions trip! So much to be done. We are busy making plans for our few days in Znemenka. We are going to do a camp for the special needs kids in the Level Four we've been working in since we first saw it in 2002.
What a sight met our eyes that day. We were in Kiev to adopt our Vanya aka Philip at the baby house. I asked the question, "where will they go when they age out?" Our driver was willing to drive us the five hours to the village of Znemenka where even the pastor who met us at the orphanage wouldn't go inside.
I've written about it often because the images have never left me. The kids languishing in their beds with only rags for diapers. The "fish soup" that smelled to high heaven and the bottles propped up to kids mouths who were trying so hard to drink this foul brew. When they choked because it went down too fast the bottles (which were old vodka bottles with homemade nipples) were taken away. The bare bulbs hanging from wires in the ceiling....it was all so appalling to me. I cried for a half and hour when we left. And that's why we go back. We couldn't leave it the way we found it.
God has directed our steps on every trip and allowed miraculous things to happen. We were able to put in their first playground in 2005 and have been able to bring many teams there and call attention to this place. The director, Tatiana, is still the same loving woman who does everything she can to get support for this orphanage. She has done wonders.
The orphanage will always hold a special place in our hearts. We have watched the kids grow up there. The first adoption was as recent as summer 2012. Most people adopt from the baby houses and the kids in "Tatiana's Place" are anywhere from 5 to 30. We were adoption number three when we got Marina Joy. We got Molly in 2013 and there is another girl that will be adopted from there soon. I remembered when Tatiana asked me if I thought anyone would ever adopt her kids way back in 2002. At the time I couldn't imagine it but now it is happening. Praise God!
After we do camp in Znemenka we will travel to Kiev to do our fourth conference. Tatiana will be one of the speakers along with many other Ukrainian doctors, pastors and teachers who have done ground breaking work in Ukraine for the special needs population there. It will be Ukrainians showing Ukrainians how to make a difference. It will give hope to a large group of people who are hopeless.
They come from all over hoping to find help in their isolation and they find others just like them who can help guide them in their wilderness. They bring their special needs children and we provide child care and coffee breaks and pizza!
We have many volunteers who come each year to help us with the technology, the childcare, the refreshments and interpretation. When I tell you we are doing a conference I do not mean we are just going to Ukraine to speak somewhere. In fact this year we will probably not even get to speak as there are so many Ukrainians who are eager to share their knowledge.
What we have to do is pay for the marketing, the university we use, the refreshments, the translators, the speakers housing and transportation if necessary and of course PIZZA for everyone!!! We pay our friends who are setting all this up for us and doing all the groundwork and this all comes to a pretty penny. We believe this conference is the culmination of the work we have done in Ukraine all these years. We are hoping to find a home for a Respite Resource Center in Kiev and people to begin this work in country. It's a dream, a big one, but we have a big God. He specializes in miracles and we need plenty! Please consider helping us as we go to help these dear people who need hope. There is a Father's Heart button on this blog that you can use to give a donation. Please help us be His hands and feet today! God bless you all!