Friday, January 30, 2009

Greener Pastures

I get into these moods.

I intended to post about the joy of getting our court decree today, making it official that Valentina Grace Louise and Sergey Alan Gordon are our children forever. I have indescribable joy that 18 months of labor, prayer, and passion for 2 children we had never met, has come to this. Soon we will all go home to America, and leave this all behind.

Or will we?

I have unforgettable images etched in my mind, movie reels that play back when I don't expect them. A glimpse, a smell, a sound, brings it back.

How about our kids? How do they leave behind a significant portion of their lives? How do they forget the images, experiences, the emotions of life in the orphanage?

I will be leaving Ukraine different than when I came.

Because I have felt pain and humility at the orphanages that I have visited while in Ukraine. The gracious and loving children that do not deserve to be where they are. Even so, almost always able to share a smile. At least for now.

I think about the girl that was pushed off the steps by a boy, fell down on to her back onto the rough jagged concrete beneath, and ran limping around the building where no one could see her cry. Having no one to run to for comfort.

I think about the girl who looked at me and Mark longingly, speaking a thousand words with her sweet face, not once, but over and over.

I think about another American family here that made arrangements to remove their new son from the orphanage out of fear for his safety, because of jealous bullies.

I think about the 14 kids who unselfishly shared their Christmas candy with me, as they would lay it out on the floor, their treasure, every piece counted and recounted.

I think about the ones that would greet me with a smile and outstretched hand as I arrived, honestly glad to see me. The 14 kids that would come to me and say Thank you, in English, for the banana.

I think about the boy who suffered indescribably as he was set on fire by the other street kids as he slept. And yet, smiles when he sees me. And not just me.

I think about these jewels, hidden away from their society. Like discarded diamonds. Behind concrete walls and iron gates. People walking and driving by every day oblivious.

Hope keeps these children going. Hope that someday, someone will come for them. But it rarely happens at this age. Maybe today will be the day they're surprised by the visitor that wants them. Someone has come to take me out of here, to a better life! No, well then maybe tomorrow.

I question God, why don't you do something about this, and the King of Glory reminds me, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

I understand better, now, St. Francis,

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
And Amen. I will be leaving Ukraine different than when I came. In many ways.

All of the images were taken at Orphanage #4 in Odessa, January 28, 2009.


Julie said...

I love this post. <3

adopting2fromUkraine said...

You are so very right. We also came away from Ukraine changed forever. Your post has brought back so many memories. Especially the children sharing their Christmas candy. Children we had never met just walked up to us to give us a piece of their candy. The feeling is very hard to describe, but you've come very close.

Hope tomorrow brings good news.


Anonymous said...

I am crying as I too remember and read your latest blog - of the images of pictures in my mind of the children in Ukraine at the orphanages where our children have lived for the last 7 years of their life - without parents and family to love on them and encourage them and show them Jesus. As Alan has said, we will have all been changed because of this land we have lived in and fought for our children in - for them to come home where they belong - to come home to the home that God, long ago chose and set in place for them. "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your future and to give you a future and a hope" - a verse from Jeremiah 29:11 we all are so familiar with. They have another sibling, (Mark)and parents and extended family waiting for them to come. Alan, we are waiting for you all to join Mark and I at home where you all belong. God, in your mercy, come and join us here.


Anonymous said...

We are so inspired by your journey and our hearts are further opened to the many orphans in Ukraine. We are praying for the beginning of this new chapter in your lives and are excited to welcome these two precious children into the family. We have learned so much by following your blog...what an amazing journey that God has put before you!

Jill Nelson and family

Anonymous said...

Alan, again the plight of these children brings tears to our eyes. To see our daughter behind those iron bars waving in the window and to know that we are so close to bringing her home. What does Ukraine have in store for us? What memories will we have burned into our minds forever? What will our bio daughter Amber think of life in Ukraine? Will she think differently about being an American after seeing where her sister has been? Will she appreciate what she has?

We are so happy for your family and through your journey we feel so much more prepared. Thanks for loving our Dasha while she waits for us to come in one months time.

God bless!

David & Donna

Anonymous said...

that was a beautiful post.

AdoptionFamilyof4 said...

I've enjoyed following your adoption journey; and, this one was especially touching. Thanks! I look forward to seeing this "new" family of 5 all together soon.
In Christ's Love & Prayers,

Stephanie said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. Not only on this post, but each of them. God bless you for rescuing these precious children. I'll bet you've inspired someone to do the same.


MamaPoRuski said...

Congratulations on your court decree being done. No, we will never be the same,but that is all by design. Thank you for being the hands and feet as well as the voice of Jesus regarding these children! God Bless your journey home!

Anonymous said...

Amazing words....Amazing photos... Very touching...

-Vicki Thompson