The summer is almost over and I am soon going back to work and our precious Karina will return to Ukraine the end of August. Even though she says she wants to stay on one hand on the other she just can't seem to leave Babushka (grandmother) I should now title my blog Triumphs and Trials which I may later on down the road. As I told you I would I will share the trials later but for now I need to share the times we spent with Karina this summer. There were truly magical moments, she brought such joy and happiness and our bonds grew even deeper.
We were able to do some really fun things but the best was a trip to the mountains that the girls and I took. Unfortunately dad had to work and the other kids couldn't go for various reasons. Some very dear friends of ours (thank you Martha and Glenn) invited us to their mountain retreat for some much needed restoration, rest and relaxation. They spoiled us and it was over a week of horseback riding, bike riding, mountain trails where the most beautiful wild flowers grew (thank you Lord for the beauty of your creations), dinner in little cabin restaurants, jewelry making ( Karina made a lovely necklace for her grandmother), there was country western line dancing run by a young christian couple who were such a shining example to the girls there were people from 8 to 80 doing the boot scoot boogie. They went swimming (not mom, only the Ukrainian princesses could handle that cold water) After all I shiver when it is 90 degrees outside, but they were in their element in the cold mountain air. The girls love their Martha and Glenn, they are like family and they did everything they could to make our stay fantastic. We always try to teach our kids to help and leave a place immaculate when we have been there. I love the girls attitudes as they were so sweet and helpful. I was able to spend a lot of time in the bible with them. We have bible verses we memorize each week and on Sunday night we say them to each other and see who can get them perfect but more importantly how they can be used throughout the week. We been studying 2 Timothy 2:23-24 about quarreling and we were memorizing it. We were walking the trail looking at wild flowers and Julia and Alesa got into a small tiff. Very unusual they hardly ever exchange words. Immediately I used our bible verse and we had a discussion right there on the trail and we never had another quarrel the rest of our trip.
For me one of the most beautiful moments were when we were invited to go to this church in the mountains. The hearts of the people shone like stars in the night sky. They gathered together and worshipped God with complete abandon. That night the Lord wrapped his loving arms around me as I raised my arms to him, and I cried for all the children that need to truly know God and to be healed because of pasts that continue to come back to try and claim them. I asked God to forgive me for the times I have failed him. Right there in that little church I was so close to him and I knew he held me in his loving and forgiving arms. Later after that church we attended another one where the majority of the population were elderly folks. They were singing hymns at the request of members of the congregation. The girls went up and asked if we could sing America the Beautiful. After the service a lady came up to them and said we have been watching you all and you give hope to us for the younger generation and for America. Other than the Lord's approval you can't get a better compliment than one like that from someone with age and wisdom.
Karina finds hearts in every day things we were walking down the mountain trail and she saw this rock in the shape of a heart and wanted to take a picture and give it to me. She also wrote me these notes I will put a picture up but they aren't very good. The first one says:
Hi mom I love you You very good mom You best best forever I very much want to stay in America. (She wrote this by herself)
Next note says:
Thanks mom You hes (has) pretty pedgames (she meant Pajamas) and feis,nails ( fingernails) I love her use of commas) hear (she meant hair) You very butifuol very-very (beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder lol) I love you my littee pony, littee
I cracked up when I was trying to read and she was slipping these notes to me. Remember if you are thinking of adopting you will never ever have personal space again especially if they are girls. Going to the bathroom alone is a treat. If I am out of the room for more than 5 minutes they come looking for me. "MOM WHERE ARE YOU?" "On the toilet!" "Oh, OK I was looking for you"
No kidding!! Then they wait right outside until I re-emerge. We rarely let them watch TV but if I need to go to the restroom I turn it on and sneak off that usually works.
We are sad about Karina returning this may be the last time we will ever spend with her. I can't talk anymore about it because it makes me sad and she still has two more weeks to be ours. I will share her beautiful nature with you through the pictures. I have to tell you a friend of ours who lives in the same town that Karina's orphanage is in came to visit us for a few days. She was amazed at the transformation of Karina she said she could hardly believe it was the same girl. Karina has a harder edge at the orphanage and has been in some trouble for things. When she came and picked up Tanya's plate from the table for her and was so polite Tanya said it was like seeing a different girl. We saw that side of her when she was with her grandmother, but in order to survive the orphanage she has to have a tougher persona but while she is here she can be the sweet child she is at heart.
Thank you God for the time you have given us!