Monday, November 26, 2012

Part 2: Continued!

Mia hugging on dad!

Emma looking cute with Mom!

We are back in "U"! We have been here just over a week trying to complete the adoption of our girls that we told you all about earlier in the year. We filed with the court today and will hopefully find out something of a date tomorrow.

The girls are absolutely amazing! Over the weekend we spent quite a bit of time with them. During the week we get to see them for about two hours each evening. 

Hopefully we'll have more news tomorrow!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Prayer needed today!

As of today we do not have a court date. Our facilitator is flying in Tuesday morning to meet with the Judge and request that we have court on Wednesday if at all possible!

Here is what we need prayer for:

1) That when our facilitator arrives she has with her the last document we need to have the hearing.

2) That God will move and prepare everything that is needed so that the Judge will say yes to court on Wednesday.

We are growing tired of being here. Our children miss us and we miss them! Our girls aren't doing well with us being gone so long. And our dear friend Traci has really gone above and beyond in caring for them since we have been gone.

The minute the hearing is over Diana will be heading home and I will stay to finish up the process.

Peace and Love!

Shane & Diana

Friday, May 25, 2012

Part 2: Aliona and Nastya

The second part of our journey is Aliona (14) and Nastya (10), they are sisters. We have known about these girls for about 1 1/2 years. We learned about them while following a friends blog of their adoption journey. Heidi and Felix were advocating for them because the girls told them they wanted a family. Diana and I talked about them over a few days and had decided that we would like to adopt them. But when we inquired again about them we were told another family had committed to them. Oddly and as God would have it, right before we were leaving for Ukraine we learned that they were still available. So when were re-directed from our original plan, they immediately came to mind.

I was talking with Felix last week and he said, "You usually know your on the right path when the way is easy or easier". The details are to long to post, but i can tell you it was amazing how easy the path was to these girls.

"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:30

Because of the law, the children are not available for international adopt yet. We are waiting to find out the exact date they are available. We think it is in September. We will be back for them the second they are available to bring them home.

Nastya is cute, silly and extremely loving!

AGAPE held an event for all the orphans in Kherson. They did a play that was the most powerful play i had ever seen. My friend Andriy and I sat next to each other and we were both crying.  On the other side of me, for the entire three hours was Nastya snuggled up to my side. 

I wasn't sure what they were laughing about. But this is my favorite picture of them. I love seeing the happiness in their faces.


I LOVE this picture!

It will be a tough time for us being away from them for the next few months. The day after we left them i think i had the worst day since we have been here. I missed them very much!

Peace and Love...Shane!

Lakshmi Sabrina Lewis

So, now that we have asked her if she would like to be a part of our family, and she has said yes. we would like to introduce you to, the soon to be...Lakshmi Sabrina Lewis!

Lakshmi will turn 16 this coming August. As a part of out outreach program at the transition home Anya began to get to know Lakshmi. She says that Lakshmi is a rare exception to most of the children she works with in the orphanages. So, when things started to go a different direction, Anya told us about Lakshmi. Anya told us that each evening Lakshmi and herself would talk on the phone, usually about the Bible. At the end of each call Anya would ask Lakshmi what she wanted to pray for, her answer was always the same, she wanted a family!

Lakshmi had been hosted 3 times by families in the US. The last time was about 5 years ago. She has had a few opportunities to be adopted, but always declined because she thought her mother would come back for her one day. At some point she said she realized that her mother was never coming back for her. She then had regret set in, since she had turned down families in the past. She continued to pray, but confessed to Anya that she was losing hope. Her 16th birthday was fast approaching, and she knew that after she turned 16 she would no longer be adoptable.

Then stepped in the Holy Spirit and directed us to her! I spent time looking at her pictures before we met her in search of some attachment to her. I felt it a little but not in a major way. That is, until the first time i seen her in person. Immediately i felt like she was mine.

So, that past few days we have been traveling all over Donetsk filing the necessary paperwork to adopt her. We are hoping to hear today when we will have the court date. After the court date Diana will be heading home while i stay behind and finish up the paperwork.

Sorry about the "just the facts" kind of post. I'm a bit tired from the past few days.

As promised, there is in fact more to our adoption story! I will blog more about it later and give you the entire story later. For now we'd like to inform you that we will also be bringing home two other girls. They are sisters ages 10 and 14. It really is an amazing journey that brought this all full circle. But there is a bit of sad news. They won't be coming home until after September. Friends of ours advocated for these girls and about 18 months worked to get them registered for adoption. Because of the laws here, the girls are not available for International adoption until sometime in September. We are waiting to hear the exact date.

Going to take a nap now!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

God's plan...Decision made!

We have been down but never out in this adventure. Peace always comes from faith in the Father and His plan. It is absolutely easier to say that, than to live it. But we have tried to stay very close to Him through all of this and trust in His Love and direction. We have tried as much as possible to resist our own flawed passions and stay in tune to those little pushes and pulls of direction from the Father. I believe we have a final decision!

We could have thrown in the towel and gone back home. Trust me, it would have been much easier that way! We were tired of being away from home and we miss our kids dearly. But we also felt strongly that God was not finished with us here. That He had a plan that He wanted us to see through. We decided to stay a little longer and see through what we felt God had revealed to us. I believe we have a final decision!


We can't share her info and picture because we haven't asked her the final question yet. We leave the city we are in on Saturday and head back to Kiev. Monday morning we have our appointment at the State Department of Adoption office where we will request a referral to go visit what we hope to be our  daughter. We have a tear jerking story to tell you all about her, but that will have to wait also.


But this is only a part of the entire story and final plan. Unfortunately, part two will have to wait also. So in closing, STAY TUNED!

Love, Shane & Diana

Sunday, May 13, 2012

So we danced!

The first part of the Father/Daughter dance was a blur as i was so focused on keeping in step. We practiced the waltz before hand for an entire 10 minutes. After the first 30 second i settled down we we just danced and talked. She was so happy yet so stressed about the day and that the details were perfect. I hope in time she learns to just enjoy life and let the details work themselves out.

We shopped for that dress for nearly half a day, and even then she wasn't sure it was the right one. As you can see, it was the perfect dress!

This is the last picture we took as a group. The rest of our time with them was great! We played, goofed around and laughed. After the ceremony ended we all went back to the orphanage. Diana and I told the kids again how much they are in our hearts and how much we enjoyed being with them.

That evening we took Masha out for a celebration dinner. She thanks us several times for help make her day special.

The next day we boarded a train heading for Donetsk. We have a transition home there that we needed to visit. The train ride was a time of quiet reflextion. We absolutely trust God and that He has a plan in all of this. We had been telling people we were totally fine with the decision the children made, but in our hearts we missed them. We do believe the right decision was made, but human feelings and love are what they are.

These children belong to God! It is only ours to care for them wherever He has them.

I guess someone knew we could use a little uplifting because this is what we seen when we pulled into the station. The girls stay at our transition home. Olya (holding the baby) is our house mother, Zulfia (behind the suitcase) is our first resident and the mother of the baby and Kristina is with Campus Crusades for Christ and helps in our home. This is our first time meeting them all face to face. They are so filled with the loving spirit of Christ!

Then we arrived at the home to find this!

We are continuing to seek God's purpose for us here.

Stay Tuned!

Shane & Diana

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Final answer!

We took two days away from the orphanage to give the kids some space and time to think. We returned to the orphanage last night. Immediately as we walked through the gate we seen Artiom and he and I started whistling back and forth. It is just something we started out of the blue. He is such a funny and great kid!

We had the blessing of an interpreter there that evening so we asked the kids to come in for a chat. We told them that we wanted to talk about their final decision about being adopted. We also told them that no matter what their decision is, nothing changes between us. They are still in our hearts and we will still care about them as we did before. For those that don't know, we go back almost two years with these kids. We hung out with them, played with them and advocated and raised funds to keep them in this orphanage.

Masha made it clear to us that she wanted to go. But in order for us to adopt her, because she will turn 18 in July, her siblings have to agree to be adopted as well. When we posed the question to the other children, the remaining four said they were very happy here and would like to stay in Ukraine. They said they were hesitant to tell us before because they didn't want to hurt our feelings. We told them that from the beginning we only wanted what is best for them. The original problem hasn't been solved though. The orphanage is in dire need of financial support. So, as soon as we return to the US we will get back to trying to raise funds to keep these children in the home that they love.

Because Masha wants to come with us, we told her that if she wanted we would try to bring her to the US to attend School. We told her that this would mean that some day, when she has finished her education, she would have to return to Ukraine. But that she would still be ours forever and we would be her family that she would depend on forever. That put a big smile on her face! Also, this morning i am heading to the School to practice a dance. Masha asked me if i would dance with her at her graduation celebration Saturday during the Father/Daughter dance.

We also wanted to say that after our meeting with the kids we had a great time just hanging with them and playing around. It was really like it was before they became stressed out about being adopted. They are absolutely amazing kids! It was so nice to have them at ease and to just be able to enjoy the time with them.

So, Saturday evening we will attend Masha's ceremony, afterwards we will take her for a celebration dinner. After that, we will spend the night with our friends apartment in Kharkiv and board a train after Church on Sunday heading for Donetsk.

Stay Tuned! :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's anybody's guess

There is not much to update. Everything is still kind of the same as last reported. The children are kind of going on with business as usual. They play around with us when we are all in the same place. But they don't really seek us out. I know that is kind of confusing because they knew we were coming for them. It is a long story that i can't free speak about right now. But a big part of this is that it is all becoming real for them now. And, as i wrote about previously, they are not a typical orphan. These children have been loved most all of their lives. They are exceptional kids! They are so far from the norm when it comes to comparing them to most orphans.

We have a translator coming tonight and we are going to have a Q&A with them. I hope afterward we will know better where everything stands.

We are having a new experience that we had only previously heard our other friends talk about. When we adopted the girls Alexi was already 15 and mostly independent. We missed him. But this time is different because this time we left Alexi and our four Princesses behind, and we miss them all terribly!. So, now we know what it is like and what our other friends had told us about. When i'm at home my lap is rarely not occupied. There is always at least one or two of the girls sitting on me. When i watch TV in my room there is usually one or three sitting or laying on my back. I'm really missing that right now. But God's will is first. He brought us here for a purpose and we'll see it through.

I can't say thank you enough to all those that have gathered around us to help! Traci Heim is caring for the girls while we are gone. We have never worried even for a second! She is an awesome Mama and a seasoned adopter. She understands orphans and is a God send! Our Church family has been behind and around us from the beginning. We can't thank you all enough for all you have done and continue to do!

Shane & Diana

Friday, May 4, 2012

We are in the region

Okay, so the mystery is solved, camping in Ukraine is just like Camping in the US. We arrived in the region late the Sunday. Then we woke up early Monday morning and headed out. We first walked about a 1/2 mile down the road and caught a train to the city, then another train for about an hour. Then we had to walk about two miles to the camp site. I suggested that we walk half way and camp, and then do the other half the next day. I only received laughter in response. I wonder if they thought i was kidding?

Juliana's (The Orphanage director) Husband Vova is amazing at cooking on an open fire. I think he spent the entire day cooking. there were about 20 of us on the first day and i think 8 departed the next morning. About 5 of the older children had other obligations and didn't go with us. When we weren't sure what camping in Ukraine was we asked our friend Alex, and said "If there are boys with you it surely involves a soccer ball". He was so right. I played more soccer in two days than i had in the past ten years. It was a great time and i'm glad for the experience.

Masha is graduating High School. This past Thursday was a small celebration at the school. All the girls were dressed in traditional clothing with bows in their hair like Masha is in this picture. Although we didn't understand all that was going on, it appeared to be a ceremony where the teachers and others gave rememberences of the past year and advice for the future. There were times that everyone was tearing up. Next Saturday is the big party where Masha dresses up in a nice dress. She wanted to have her hair done with flowers, so we are going this morning to set the appointment to have this done for next Saturday morning.

Now an update on the progress. We originally thought we would have our first appointment at the SDA on the 1st or 2nd of May. But it seems there have been some changes in the process and so we are still waiting to hear of our appointment. Not how we would have planned it, but maybe for the best. We are finding the children a little distant so bonding time is probably for the best. I know, it is different for an orphan to be distant to an adoptive parent. But as i seen from the very first day we met them, these children are different. They were raised in an orphanage that is much more like a family than anything else. They get love, hugs and kisses on a regular basis. This is Christ in his Holy Dwelling! So, if i had to put myself in their mindset i would imagine they are conflicted because they have it pretty good here. Truth be told, if there were better financial support and the threat of the orphanage having to close not always looming overhead, I believe they would rather just stay here. It is kind of sad when you think about it. These children have what so many others do not, yet lack of funding puts them in a position to have to choose between two families.

Please keep praying for Gods hand and direction in all of this!

Love, Shane & Diana

Saturday, April 28, 2012

We made it to Kiev!

Our plane touched down about 4:30pm local time yesterday in Kiev. Normally we would catch the overnight train to the region, but due to the holiday there were no tickets available. So, we stayed the night and are catching a bus at 7:30am.

Shane & Diana

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Going Camping!

We fly out tomorrow evening! We will arrive in Ukraine about 5pm (local time) Saturday. Then Sunday morning we board a bus for an 8 hour ride to the region where our kids are.

Next Monday and Tuesday is a National Holiday in Ukraine. It is their Labor Day. So, yesterday we received word that Monday morning our kids are heading out to the country on an overnight camping trip. We were invited to go and we are quite excited about it. We have no idea what "camping" in Ukraine means so it could be an adventure! We'll update you all ASAP.

P.S. The high today in the region where the kids are was 80 F)!

Shane & Diana

Saturday, April 21, 2012

We are almost outta here!

We are leaving for Ukraine next Friday. We haven't been given our appointment date yet, but we are told it will be around the 1st. So, we are heading out to spend a day or so with the kids before the process begins.

Shane & Diana

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dossier submitted!

Our Dossier was sent to Ukraine about two weeks ago and has been submitted to the government. It is now for us to just wait to hear of our appointment date. There have been some developments of which i will blog about next.

Prayer is needed for God's guidance and provision!

Shane & Diana

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dossier nearly complete!

I stink at blogging anyway, but now that i'm in battle mode it is tough to find the time to post.

So, just a quick update for all of you that follow and pray us through the process. Thanks to our Church family, good friends and extended Church (Thanks to Homewood Church) family, we are nearly funded. I haven't had time to sit down and put a pencil to everything again, but we are close enough that we are sending our Dossier.

The other great news I want to share with you is...The Dossier is nearly complete. I'm waiting for one paper coming from out of state. All the others papers are ready to be notarized and apostilled. I hope to ship the monster out next week.

Until next post, take care friends!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Can anything good come?

"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?"- John 1:46
When i was thinking of that verse, the though came to mind, "How much good"? As we were going through the motions of the planning of this fundraising dinner, it became more and more apparent to me that this dinner was no just about us and bringing our kids home from Eastern Europe. God was working out many other plans in and through this event. I take comfort in knowing some and knowing there are so many more that I do not know. A few people i met had been curious about our Church and will possibly now be coming to a service. There were several people that had considered adoption who are now connected with people that will love them through the process. As Sheryl Sprague keeps reminding me, people were given the opportunity to serve. And many new friends were made! Go GOD!!!

We had so many volunteers people though we started the dinner early!

It was a time for families!

We were reminded of the generosity of the world!

Good friends served the Lord side by side!

New friends were made! And Traci performed magic with her hands! ;)

It would never be possible to Thank everyone adequately. You all are amazing and an immeasurable blessing!

We are now seasoned enough at the adoption process to know that when we are in the battle, feeling weary and in need of affirmation, God bring us what we need! Yes, we need funds ($5200 was raised...Praise God!), but we also needed to see the love of friends gathered around us. It was an added blessing to see a small part of all the other plans God was working through this event.

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”- John 13:35


Thursday, February 2, 2012

His Will...His Bill!

It is a saying that i first heard from a missionary friend named Michele Perry ( Accepting God's direction, she traveled to Sudan to start and Orphanage. She arrived in Yei, Sudan, a place she had never been before, alone and with about $200 in her pocket. The next day she signed a lease on a building of which she had no idea where the rent money was coming from. But because of her faith in our ever loving Father, she simply said, "His will...His Bill"!

Michele has a faith that i admire. She is an inspiration to me and the marker of where i hope my faith will be some day. But today, I can only explain my faith as being hot, warm and cold. I know that God will not send me on a journey and neglect to light the path or provide the tools. But there are those days when it seems like nothing is happening and i start to question and worry.

A week ago i was in just such a place. We have our USCIS approval, the dossier is a piece of cake, it looked like things were coming together except we have less than $2000 of the $50,000 we need to go get our kids and were without idea of where it would come from...Ugh!

For our 2010 Adoption in addition to a grant and some donations, we emptied our savings, cashed in our 401k's and took out loans. With our tax return we paid back some of the loans, and gave back through mission work with orphans in Ukraine. So, when we decided we would adopt again we were absolutely starting from zero and further back than we were on the first adoption.

Doing nothing was not an option so we reached out to our Church. Before we knew it, we had a date locked in to hold a Spaghetti dinner. Now, we have never done a spaghetti dinner and had no idea even where to start. We were confident that left to ourselves to pull this off it would likely not turn out well. God knew that to, so he sent us Sheryl Sprague to take charge. Sheryl has leadership experience and a huge heart for serving the Lord. Before we knew it the event was taking form. Many of our friends and Church family had come forward to volunteer and it is absolutely amazing to see that we are not in this alone!

Thank You to everyone that has come along side of us! Your love has brought us peace!

Shane & Diana

Monday, January 9, 2012


We received word today that our I-171H is on it's way to us. This was the first major hurdle!

We now have to come up with the funds. We think if we can get the funds we can have them home by March!

Please pray!

Shane & Diana