Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Boys Are Ours!!!

As of Monday at 3PM Ukrainian time, Sasha, Ethan, and Silas were declared “our children” by the Ukrainian court! It’s been a year of praying, paperwork, sweat, frustration, expectation and patience. The Lord gave us favor with one of the more difficult judges in this region. Usually there are two court dates that are required but because of the boys health conditions, we requested only one court date.

After the courts decree we went to see the boys for the last time on this trip. It was so sweet to hold them and know they were our boys. Renee and I looked at one another with tears in our eyes and said, “Wow!, 16 years of marriage and now 9 children!, this is intense!” It was also very hard to say goodbye to the boys. We feel so tied to them. They feel like ours. As a “kiss” from God, Ethan (formerly “Dimitri”) was more alive, smiling, and laughing than anytime we’ve seen him to this point. It was like something significant had happened to the boys spiritually. Someday I’ll ask the Lord about how this all works in the spirit realm. I believe at the moment of the courts decree, those boys entered our protection, spiritual blessings, and Godly heritage.

Thanks to all of you who have labored in prayer for us. This has truly been an intense fight in ways we have never experienced before. We needed your support and prayers and you were there. Thank you!

I will return around Jan 12 to get the boys new birth certificates, passports, and medical exams. Renee, my mom, and a friend
will join me around January 17th and we will pack up the boys and bring them home!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Court went well. The boys are officially Renee and Derek's!!!

Renee and Derek want to thank you for your prayers and support through this whole process. They are unable to post today. They only have this evening left in Ukraine and are headed to spent their last few hours with the boys and then will head back to their flat to pack for their flight home tomorrow.

Thank you all for you love and prayers.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Heading Back To Novograd

Igor and Derek

Sergi's daughter and in-laws

Sergi with his wife and daughter

Hi All,

Just wanted to remind you that tomorrow (Monday at 2PM) is our court date and we would love your prayers! We are getting ready to board the train in a few hours to head back to Novograd. There's a fresh snow that's fallen and everything is white here.
It's so beautiful!

God bless you all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We Are Relaxing In Kiev

Hi to all of you awesome family and friends,

As most of you know, we are in Kiev right now. Derek and I needed to get some time away together so on Thursday night we left Novograd with our facilitator, Sergi, who by the way is an absolutely amazing individual. He is a true gift from the Lord to us. He has gone beyond the call of duty so many times. We took a 3 hour drive to the city where Sergi and his family live and were able to meet his wife, his 3 year old daughter and his in-laws. On Friday, Sergi drove us around to a few different famous sights. We visited Hitler's eastern-most bunker in Vinniesya Ukraine. It was an elaborate underground labrynth of control rooms, baracks, and munitions storage, complete with private living quarters and a swimming pool.

On Friday night, Sergi's in-laws invited us to their flat for dinner. They went all out, cooking many amazing Ukrainian favs for us. They stuffed us until we were practically begging them to not give us anymore food. Their hospitality was incredible and we laughed and talked a lot together (with Sergi as our interpreter). Sergi found a nice flat for us to spend the night in. It came with hot water all day and night!

This morning Sergi drove us to the train station and got us on our train bound for Kiev. When we arrived, we were greeted by a friend of Sergi's who drove us to our flat in the city. After freshning up a bit, Derek and I were then met by another facilitator named Igor. He looks nothing like an Igor.... more like a young looking "Superman." He speaks English quite well and took us to a great coffee shop where we are sitting now, enjoying great jazz music and free internet! Yahoo! Nothing like a great cup of coffee and the ability to have contact with your family members and friends. I'm looking across the table at my wonderful husband, feeling butterflies in my tummy because I just love this man of mine. I am so blessed to have him in my life (just had to slip that in)!

We are going to explore the city tomorrow and then hop on the train back to Novograd tomorrow night to prepare to go to court on Monday. We would sure appreciate your continued prayers. I'm sure court will be an interesting experience, especially because we have a judge who was wondering if we were going to harvest the body parts of the three boys we are adopting.

Hey guys - Derek here interrupting for a minute ... Yes, folks, that's actually true. Not sure what this judge is thinking, or .... drinking. Our boys only have a few body parts that even function normally! And if someone was going to be diabolical and criminal enough to harvest children's organs, they sure wouldn't go through this cost & hassle to do it! If that's what we were up to, we'd register as the stupidest criminals in the history of the world! But ... just for safe measure I've decided to NOT WEAR my Viking helmet to court Monday and I'll be sure to wipe my mouth from the wild boar I will be chewing on for lunch that day. Haaarrrgh!!!!! .... now, back to Renee ...

We REALLY miss our family back home! Sending you more love than words could express........

Blessings and hugs to all of you! We will be checking emails tomorrow up until around 12PM Ukraine time if any of you need to get in touch with us.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Renee and Derek Update

Renee asked me to update you all and you know they were going to take a weekend trip into Kiev to do a little sight seeing! They don't expect to have internet, so she didn't want you to think they had just up and disappeared!

Their court day is Monday afternoon, but I think she mentioned that in an earlier post!

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Check Out This Smile!

We have been praying for Ethan, that the Lord would bring him out of his little shell. Check out this awesome miracle! We got an amazing smile out of him! Thanks for your prayers!

Our court date is on Monday at 2PM. Please pray that all goes well. Our facilitator told us that the judge that's been assigned to us asked him why we were adopting three special need's kids? The judge wanted to know if we were going to be harvesting their body parts? I can't begin to tell you some of the thinking that takes place with high officials here. It's bizzare.

We have met many wonderful Ukrainians here and have been blessed by their love and kindness to us. We are headed to Kiev this weekend for a little break. It's really cold here right now, but we've heard that it's pretty darn cold at home too! The sun hasn't been out for awhile. It gets light at 7:30AM here and pitch dark by 4:30PM.

God is on the throne! He is rich in love and mighty to save!

Love to you all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thanks For Praying!

Mommy with little Ethan, our precious little blessing from Jesus!

Derek and Sasha having a blast with Legos while the nurses look on :)

Silas, our little ray of Sunshine!

We want to thank all of you who have been praying for us! We are truly humbled by your support and love! Here are new pics of yesterday's visit with our boys! I'm so sorry but we are still only able to send a few pictures at a time. Hugs, blessings an love to you all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Walking Into The Unknown

Mama, hanging out with her little buddy, Silas! What a precious gift from Jesus!

Daddy taking little Silas to new heights!

Mommy and Silas in the room they've been hanging out in for two weeks with the boys! Quarters are tight but filled with lots of love!

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

This verse has a whole new depth of meaning for me after being in Ukraine for the last 2 weeks fighting, working, and waiting for our boys redemption. I looked at Renee last night and said, “You know, we really don’t know anything.” We couldn’t control which boys would end up being our sons. The Lord decided that for us. Why these three boys? Why not others? I have a few ideas but mostly, I don’t know. I don’t have to know. That’s the beauty of the mystery of faith. Only the Lord knows what these three little boys will do to our lives and to all those around us. Only He knows who they will become and what they are capable of. He has deep and purposeful reasons for joining us with these three little ones but He has hidden most of those reasons from us. It is God’s glory to conceal a matter, and our glory to search it out and discover it (Prov 25:2).

As humans, we don’t like the unknown. We hate not being in control. We despise having to be dependant. Yet, this is what most of life is like when we follow Jesus. Oh, you can shrink back and try to figure everything out and not make any moves until you do, but you’ll find yourself tied up in knots in the corner of fear, paralyzed and immobile. You’ll be in control, but in control of what? You’ll be in control of your own inactivity and stagnancy, the master of your own swamp.

If we want the life and adventure of God to flow through our lives, it requires faith. Faith is believing God will reward us when we diligently seek and obey Him, even when we have little understanding. Listen to God’s words, and obey. Don’t over-think His commands, don’t rationalize His ways, don’t break obedience into 1000 easy steps. If you do this, you will never get around to really obeying and taking a risk based upon His word. There is only one response that releases the wild life and adventure of the King of Kings …. LEAP!

Hear His word and leap into obedience with all your questions and fears. It’s terrifying. It’s wild. It’s exciting. It’s costly. But it’s LIVING! It’s only by leaping that we begin to search out and discover the treasures that our King has concealed. The thing I love about adoption is that there is no going back. Once you’re in, all the bridges are burned. You either struggle through it and find God, or you die, and for this wayward heart, that’s a good place to be. We’ve backed ourselves into a corner where the only way to survive is to wholeheartedly depend upon God …. Ahh, the beauty of simplicity.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Surprise Visit

Our little buddy came in to visit Aunt Ne'Ne' and Uncle Derek again yesterday. This is his third visit! Apparently all the little ones were in line for their haircuts and when Aiden was done, he just snuck over into their visiting room again! This time no one noticed his escape, and he was able to visit for about 20 minutes before someone came for him! Renee said he cried when they took him away. We're longing to hold our sweet, handsome boy in our arms, but we are so grateful that he has met his aunt and uncle! God is so good.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Great Day With Our Boys!

Yesterday was an amazing day! Our time with the boys was truly a gift from the Lord! We were very encouraged in our time with little Dimitri. I was holding him, stroking his face, praying and singing over him, asking the Lord to flood His body with life and with His presence. Right before we left, I took Dimitri's hand and he gripped his fingers around my finger and began rubbing my finger. I know that may seem like a small thing but for Dimitri it's not. He didn’t yell out when I held him facing away from me (so that he could see Derek and the boys). Normally if we don’t hold him facing us, he grunts and does his best to yell out. We felt the Lord’s sweet presence in the room with us. It was obvious that the boys were at a place of real peace. Thank you Jesus!

We drove to Roman’s village yesterday and that was wonderful! The inspector at the notary’s office was really kind to us. She knew little Roman’s family and was very happy that he would have a “chance at a good life.” Apparently Roman’s parents are very young and when little Roman was born they didn’t know what to do or how to care for him so they took him to the orphanage. Roman is a happy little guy with a smile that will melt your hearts! He loves music, as most all ds kids do. He loves to dance and clap his hands. I just can’t wait to have all our boys at home where we will be with them all the time. I know their spirit will thrive and grow in ways that only Jesus will fully know.

Sasha continues to be so drawn to electronics. He loved exploring Derek's computer which he accidentally dropped on the floor at one point. He is so precious and is a sponge, taking in everything! He will thrive when he gets home and has challenging toys that help him learn and explore!

I rode in a cart drawn by horses with a very sweet Ukrainian man. I was taking his picture and he asked me if I wanted to hop on his cart. Those of you who know me well, know that I’ll never pass up a moment to experience the culture of a land!

We stand in awe of Jesus’ love for us all. There is no way to completely express what we are feeling.... just experiencing the Lord very near to our hearts as we grow more in our understanding of His heart for the orphan.

I recommend that you read Meredith Cornish’s comment on our last post. What a beautiful story of encouragement and hope! Meredith, you left me in tears. We were so moved by what you shared with us about your children, your struggles and theirs. Our God is truly an awesome God. He teaches us so much about His love and His character through the broken and the weak. Thank you for encouraging us through your testimony of God’s goodness!

We have now chosen our boys names. Their new birth certificates will reflect those names. So, on our next posts you will see that we are referring to our boys by their new names, so, don't get confused! We haven't adopted any other children :).

Roman -> Silas Emmanuel - Dedicated to the God who is with us
Silas - “Dedicated to God
Emmanuel - “God with us”

Dimitri -> Ethan Patrick - Permanent, strong, mighty, ever flowing stream of nobility
Ethan – Permanent, strong, mighty, ever flowing stream
Patrick – “Noble” - St. Patrick was an orphan slave who went back to his land of captivity and brought the gospel.

Sasha -> Sasha Alexander - Defender of Men
Sasha – A derivative of Alexander
Alexander – ”Defender of Men” - Derek’s best friend, brother in law, and Sasha’s uncle is Alexander :-)

Thanks again for all of you who are faithfully praying! We felt your prayers in powerful ways as we went about our day yesterday! Thanks Annie and our awesome OJC intercession team back home. Your prayers are priceless and we love you guys!

Thanks so much to all of you who have left comments on our blog. It’s always encouraging to read your words of encouragement and love. We are honored to know you and to call you friends/family (even some of you whom we’ve never met face to face).

Love and hugs to you all!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Aiden Came to Visit

Derek and Renee were visiting their boys yesterday and for the 2nd time, our little Aiden walked in! This time they got a great picture for us! I'm still struggling to figure out how to make my blog private, so I'm posting it here to share the GOOD NEWS!

Isn't our boy beautiful!!

This totally made our day today! Imagine waking up to this sweet face in your inbox! I've been carrying his picture around all day.

I keep praying the orphanage will allow Derek and Renee to spend some time with Aiden soon. They're just patiently waiting to build trust with the orphanage workers.


Renee and I are sitting in the office of a telephone company in Novagrad Valenski, Ukraine; using wireless internet. We are in the middle of adopting three special needs boys from an orphanage here. Two of the boys have Down Syndrome. Roman is high functioning, energetic, and happy; Dimitri has serious mental retardation, failure to thrive, and though he is five years old, he is the size of a 1 yr old. He has sores on his face, a distinct smell of death on him, and yells out if we try to do anything with him other than hold him. Because he has less ability to respond and learn, he naturally gets less attention and care from the orphanage workers in this world of limited resources. The harsh reality of the “survival of the fittest” principle is a life and death struggle that this little boy is losing fast. Our third boy Sasha, is a brilliant six year old who has Spina Bifida (the condition our son Josiah died from in 1996). He is like a learning sponge that can’t get enough! He is happy and alert and thirsty for knowledge and experience. So with two of our boys we get an immediate return on any investment we make. With Dimitri, there’s not much immediate gratification. In fact, it’s unknown when and if there will be a return at all. This is the kind of situation that makes the carnal, fallen, human reasoning think, “Why try? What’s the point? What will this produce? What good will this do? Why not select a boy who has more “potential”? This looks like a lost cause”.

Two days ago we drove for hours into the Ukrainian countryside to the village where Dimitri was born. We met with officials there and signed papers and answered their questions. We also went and saw Dimitri’s house. The day had been long, we were still recovering from jet lag, I was beginning to really miss my six daughters at home and all the familiar things our fragile human hearts entangle themselves with in feeble attempts to feel secure. Sitting in the dark on our very long drive back to Novograd that night, the Holy Spirit began to whisper to my heart, and new understanding about redemption began to take shape.

I was thinking, “Man, adopting this little boy has been so much work. This is exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable ... and it doesn’t feel very rewarding right now.” What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes? What if Dimitri doesn’t improve at all? What if we get “nothing” out of this? … Ahhh, there it was; that dark, fallen, unreedemed, selfish human love, rooted in the tree of the knowledge of “good and evil”. The love the Greeks called “erao” love. The love where we treat someone as precious and treasured for what we can get out of it. This is unlike “agapeo” love, the God kind of love that treats someone as treasured and precious for their good, not for my good. It’s when I love a person in order to meet their needs, having no expectation of them meeting any of my needs. At a whole new level, God is working His kind of love into my weak heart, and He’s using little Dimitri to do it.

On the drive home that night, the Lord whispered in my ear, “This is Redemption. Derek, do you know how far I travelled to get you and bring you back? I had to be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick, damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.

My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can’t even really appreciate or comprehend it, just like Dimitri will never comprehend or fully appreciate what is about to happen to him … but … he will live in the fruit of it. As his Daddy, I will never expect him to understand all of this or even to thank me. I just want to watch him live in the benefits of my love and experience the joys of being an heir in my family. This is how our heavenly “Papa” feels towards us.

Today, settle your busy heart down and rest in the benefits of redemption. Enjoy the fruits of His goodness, and stop trying to “pay Him back”. You’ll never get close you goofy little kid.


Hello All!

The server at the Communications Center we are at today is not letting me post as many pics so I'm going to be putting just a couple pics on each post.

We had a good day with our boys yeterday but are very concerned about Dimitri. His breathing is labored and it sounds like he has a respitory infection. Again, please keep him in your prayers.

We have officially changed the boys names and will be posting that information soon. I don't have much time to post today.
We have to go to the orphanage in 5 minutes. Here are a few pictures of Dimitri. We'll try to post more tonight (morning for you).

We really feel the Lord's presence with us. This is truly a roller coaster ride. We'll share more later. The Lord is so good and so faithful and we know that His love endures! Thanks again to all of you who have been praying faithfully for us.

Love and blessings to you all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meet Sasha, Dimitri and Roman!!

We are so excited to be able to show you pictures of our three handsome boys! Their names are Sasha, Dimitri and Roman.
We will soon be changing Dimitri and Roman's name and will let you know as soon as we do. These boys are so precious! We
had a wonderful day today playing with them. Derek showed Sasha his laptop and Sasha entered a whole new world! He was pushing buttons faster than you could blink. We played some up tempo worship music on iTunes and Sasha was starting and stopping the music and giving quite a commentary in Ukrainian. Both he and Roman started dancing and moving to the music. Dimitri's eyes widened and he seemed curious. It will be awesome to immerse the boys in live worship at IHOP - they will come to a place of real life! Sasha was pushing so many buttons that he set Derek's computer clock back to 1969 and renamed a number of folders. When Derek pulled the computer away for a minute to try to salvage his "digital existance" Sasha became quite concerned and said, "Moosik Papa, moosik!" It was an awesome moment. We spent about 6 hours today driving to the small village where Dimitri was born and obtaining necessary approvals from regional and local inspectors. Rural Ukraine was like a journey into the past. It was amazing! Lots of old style bicycles, old Soviet cars, horses and carts, and really adorable children all bundled up cozy and looking toally hugable! Check back in the next 2 days or so for our next update. We have finally landed consistant internet access!

Little Dimitri is in real need of prayer right now. He is very weak and not very repsonsive. Please pray for strength while he waits to go to the U.S. where he will be able to receive much needed medical care. We are all praying for his healing, as well as our other precious boys. The Lord is good and so full of loving kindness. He is a good, good Father!

As you know, from Tracie's last post on our blog, we got to meet our "little nephew to be," Aiden! We were playing with our boys and he walked right in the door. The nurse confirmed that it was Aiden and our hearts were so excited. It was a definite
highlight of our day! We can't wait until we will be able to see him for more than just a moment and send pictures of his precious little face.

We will share more pictures in the next couple days and update you on our journey.

Special love sent to the Malone family! You are so precious! There are no words.......

Sasha and Papa having a nose to nose loving moment!

What a handsome boy!

Dimitri, our "Little Bird." Please pray for this little angel. He desperately needs life to flood his little body!

Mama enjoying her boys

Little blessings from Jesus!

Our Aiden

Some of you may know that we are adopting from the same orphanage as Derek and Renee. You can check out our blog for more information if this is news to you!

Derek and Renee hope to update the blog personally this afternoon, but in the mean time I had to tell you this! As Derek and Renee were visiting with their boys today in a private room, AIDEN WALKED RIGHT IN!!!!! It was like Jesus just send him that way to bless us all today! Still no picture, but we're getting closer!

I'm beaming! Aiden was walking well, seemed strong and healthy, and was just beautiful!
They report that at almost 3 yrs, he is just a bit smaller than our Elia Jane.Link

Dear Beloved Blog Stalkers,

I'll admit it, though I post on behalf of Derek and Renee, I too am stalking this blog for updates just like you! I'm not sure how many times I have checked this morning to see if they were able to post pictures yet, but it's bordering on insane!

Love you all.. thanks for praying.

Waiting and Stalking right along with you,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday Update

Just got off the phone (thanks to Skype) with Derek and Renee.
They had a great day visiting with the boys today!

They met with the inspector and the doctor and were asked lots of questions. Renee said their facilitator could hardly keep up with translating the questions. They couldn't believe the type of medical care we have available here for the boys. She relayed that they really care a great deal about the children and genuinely wanted to make sure they were able to care for the boys properly and knew the extent of their medical needs.

The had a great time playing with the boys. They took a little plastic disc shooting gun and showed Sasha how it worked. Derek shot it first to teach him how to use it and Sasha squealed with excitement. He thought it was so funny. When Sasha shot it for the first time, he ended up shooting the inspector in the head!! Sasha roared with laugher. Derek and Renee held their response back until they could see how the inspector reacted. She smiled and chuckled and took it well fortunately.

Derek played with Roman, tossed him up in the air and caught him, much to Roman's delight. After playing a bit, he snuggled into Derek's neck and just cuddled. Renee says he is just so sweet.

Dimitri sat on Renee's lap and just looked around and blinked a lot. She has named him her "little bird."

Their facilitator, Sergiy is wonderful. They say that he has kept them laughing with his stories and has been very kind and easy to work with. Derek had been very sick since arriving, and Sergiy recommended a remedy that he was sure would break Derek's fever and kick the cough. He advised Derek to pick up some Vietnamese Star Ointment, which he was to use a small amount in a pot of boiling water and breath in the vapors. He also recommended some hot mustard packs which are soaked in warm water and were put on his chest- he said it burns yoru chest like crazy. Sergiy said to do this, and that Derek would wake up feeling much better. Derek said, he went to bed and woke up feeling like a new man! I think he's bringing home a life time supply of Vietnamese Star Ointment!

They FOUND INTERNET at a pizza place where they had dinner today, so they will be able to post pictures and an update sometime while we are all asleep tonight! Look for their update in the morning. Oh, and the pizza place was great they said it used an open stone pizza oven and you could watch them cook.

My final note is that Derek was thrilled that while shopping for a few groceries today, he found a can of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Update from Derek and Renee

I just got off the phone with Derek and Renee. They do not have internet connection, but hope to soon. They will update us as soon as they can. In the mean time, here's my update based on our phone conversation.

Shortly after Derek and Renee arrived they found out that Misha had been moved to another orphanage and was no longer at the same orphanage with Sasha. This was quite a blow to their hearts, as they had already lost Mikey. Adopting from 2 separate orphanage would have added several months and would have cost quite a bit more money. After praying, they decided that they should keep their commitment to Sasha and look at the other little boys that were available at the orphanage.

When they were presented with profiles of children at SDA, they were only given profiles of 3 boys (as Derek noted in his previous post). Roman, age 2 has Down Syndrome and Dimitri is yrs old with Down Syndrome.

When they arrived at the orphanage yesterday, one of the care givers brought Sasha in to meet them.
Their facilitator, Konstantine said to Sasha, "Do you want a family, Sasha?"
Sasha replied, "Yes I do!"
Konstantine introduced him to Derek and Renee by said, "I want you to meet your new momma and poppa."
Sasha beamed at D and R and said, "My new momma is very beautiful."

Derek and Renee then spent some time playing with him and talking to him. They relay that he is incredibly smart, has a great laugh, and is very sweet. They say that he is like a learning sponge and just took everything in! They found out that Sasha has spina bifida low in his back, has a shunt, and is paralyzed from the waist down (as they already new). Finding out that Sasha has spina bifida has been very emotional. As many of you know their first son, Josiah was born with spina bifida and died at age 2 1/2.

Sasha sat on Derek's lap, played with his phone, took pictures of Konstantine, and kept touching Derek's face and hair. When another care giver came in with Roman and Dimitri, Sasha said to her, "Look who came for me, it's my momma!"

When the orphanage director stepped out of the room, Sasha said to him, "Well bye, I'm going to America now!"

Roman (age 2) is a an energetic, sweet little boy. Renee reports that he is a total ham, and is simply hilarious! He is walking with some assistance. Roman will also need heart surgery very soon when he returns to the US. You can be praying that their waiting period is waived due to Roman's imminent need for surgery, so that they can get him home and get him care right away.

Dimitri (age 5) has "failed to thrive" in the orphanage. Renee and Derek report that at age 5, he is about the size of a 7-9 month old baby. I know that's hard to wrap your head around. I'm still reeling from that report. Please pray for a miracle for this precious little boy.

Derek and Renee had a day or so to make their final decision about bring these boys home, and had some concerns about whether they could do this. There is a huge difference in the needs that Dimitri has and what they had prepared themselves for.

They were having their devotions this morning and were reading from Psalm 66:13, 14 and the Lord gripped their hearts, "I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you- vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke." Without a second thought, they knew that the Lord was reminding them of their promises to Him, and they have chosen to fulfill their vow to Him, as they care for these precious orphans and bring them into their home, and call them sons.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. Derek and Renee hope to post pictures as soon as they can find internet service somewhere.

Friday, December 5, 2008

We Made It!

We finally made it to Ukraine after 16 hours of traveling! YAY! It was so wonderful to walk around after sitting on planes for so long!

When we stepped off the plane, we waited in line for a very long time to get our passports stamped. After that we claimed our luggage, which all got here safely, and we were even waved on through customs!! That was a huge miracle!

We are staying in a children's home right now. It's run by two Christian American ladies who are friends of some of our friends in Florida. They own four buildings on a piece of property here. One is used for housing boys, another for girls. The third building is used as a school room and the fourth is the cafeteria. The children age in range from about 7 to 16. They are all orphaned kids that were pulled off the streets. What an awesome ministry! We have loved staying here!

Tomorrow we get to go and meet our boys! We are so excited! Our facilitator Konstantin has been amazing! He has worked very hard on our behalf! I'm hoping that we will have internet in the area where our boys are so I can post some pictures for
you all to see. It's a very small town but our facillitator is pretty sure there will be internet access somewhere. So, I'll send pictures in my next post if there is! Now, drum roll please, I have just talked Derek into blogging about some of our experiences today. As most of you know, he is NOT a blogger :). I'm sure this will be quite entertaining! Love to you all!

- Hey everybody! This is Derek interrupting. I'm not a blogger at all but Renee picked up an AK47 today from a Russian mob road side stand and is making me do it. She also has purchased two very sad Russian violin cd's from a street performer and is playing the music as I write. I feel like I'm trapped somewhere between the Godfather and Fivel. Wait ... nope, that was just a mouse running through the orphanage.

Today was quite an adventure! Renee and I jumped on a little van/bus and took it into the outskirts of Kiev to catch the subway into downtown. We had a little paper with instructions and a few Russian phrases on it like, "Where is the bathroom?", "I'll have more cabbage, thank you", and "Are you my mother?" Needless to say, we were successful in getting into downtown Kiev and back for under $2 and it was incredibly entertaining. The van was the size of an airport shuttle but with over 60 people "inconveniently" packed in (I counted). Renee and I stood out like sore thumbs because we were smiling. We really tried to get everyone to sing, "If you're happy and you know it" but they just wouldn't clap their hands! Guess if we'd broken into some good late eighties Def Leopard we would've gotten a response but I've had all those lyrics "surgically" removed from my memory by an IHOP healing room prayer team. We met our facilitator under a giant golden angel downtown ... things were "looking up". At 11:40 we arrived at the Central Adoption Authority building for our interview. We were in there for about an hour but interestingly never were asked one question, Darn it, I had my answer buzzer and "call a friend line" all ready to go ... all for nothing. About five women ran around diligently for about an hour looking through one large binder after another of children's pictures and profiles. In the end, they presented us with four children. Well, we came for three boys and only one picture was of a girl so, it made our selection pretty clear. God speaks like this to me ......... "Hey Derek - adopt 3 boys from Ukraine" ... "Ok Lord, we'll do it. Which ones should we get?" ... "Whichever ones you want to my son" ... "Ok, great - thanks God, can I see the options?" ... "Sure son, here's number one, here's number two, and here's number three. Which three would you like?" .... "Uhhhhhh, Lord, I'LL TAKE THOSE THREE!" ... "Good job son, you really can hear my voice clearly!" ... "Gee thanks PAPA". Hold on ... I'm tearing up cause this violin music is really really sad! Get back to you later.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Arrived Safely

Just thought I'd let you all know that Derek and Renee arrived safely in Ukraine.
That's about all of an update that I have at this point.

Thank you for your continued prayers. I know that they will give us a complete update as soon as they have internet access.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

And We're Off!

Hi Sweet Family and Friends,

Here's a picture of the Loux children (our children, John and Tracie's children and Heather and Alex's baby boy)! Just a little
reminder to you, Mom and Dad Loux. Soon, you will be the Grandparents of 15 children, once our new kiddos and John and Tracie's little Aiden are all officially adopted! Whoo Hoo!

We are at the airport getting ready to fly out. Our first stop is Atlanta, then on to Paris and off to Ukraine after that! Thanks to all of you for your prayers! We will keep you updated often!

Love and hugs,


Monday, December 1, 2008

The Adventure Begins!!!

Hello Everyone!

We got an official invitation last week to go to Ukraine to meet our boys! We were all so excited when we got the email! The kids were screaming with joy and we were just in shock! It seems like you wait, and wait, and wait, and then the day finally comes and you just can't believe it! It's an amazing feeling! We are all so excited!

As you know, an Italian family is in the process of adopting our precious little Makar. We know that the Lord is in control and although we will miss not getting to meet him and bring him home, we know there is another little boy that we will add to our family who will be the one the Lord has for us. We are thrilled that Makar has a home and family now! Yay!

We fly out of Kansas City at 10:30 Wednesday morning. Please keep us in your prayers. We are excited and nervous all at the same time. Our new friend, Meredith Cornish, has really helped us to know what Ukraine will be like. She and her husband adopted through RR in Ukraine. She gave us great tips and was amazing to talk to. Thanks so much Meredith!

We also want to thank Andrea for all her help with our adoptions! Andrea is amazing and so sweet! She is always so quick
to email us with answers to our thousand questions :). You're awesome Andrea and we pray that the Lord will continue to
bless all you put your hands to! You work tirelessly on behalf of so many precious angels who need families! You are a hero, for sure! I know there are many of you out there who feel the same way about Andrea!

We will be posting lots of pics and will keep all of you up to date on our daily activities in Ukraine! We are excited to share our story with those of you who have been following along on our adventure.

Sasha, Misha and our third surprise child, your new mommy and daddy are on the way! We can't wait to meet you little buddies!

God bless you all and thanks so much to those of you who have been so faithful to pray for us! Wow, that means so much!

New Blog

Derek and Renee have decided to keep the remainder of their adoption journey on a private blog. Thank you for following along with them and praying for them as they continue to walk towards bringing their boys home!

They received their official invitation to travel to Ukraine, just last week and will be flying to Ukraine on Wednesday morning. It has been quite a whirlwind for them as they prepare for all the last minute travel details.

Here's a note from Renee from an email this morning:
"Just wanted to make you aware that an Italian couple is at the orphanage that our boys are at. They just adopted our little Makar. This is hard on all of us. I had a gut feeling that this might happen with one of our boys. We know that God is in control though. He knows what's best for our family.

At this point, we will wait to choose our third child until we get to the orphanage. Please pray for us on our journey. We really need your prayer support.

We leave Wednesday morning at 10:30AM and arrive in Ukraine 16 hours later."

I will keep you updated as I receive further information and photos from Derek and Renee. Please pray for them! - Tracie