Sunday, November 29, 2009


When we left home, we had planned to visit with another family or two while here in the capital that are adopting through Reece’s Rainbow. It was in the plans, but truthfully it wasn’t that big a deal to me. It would be nice to meet other people that were going through and doing the same things we were doing, but I just thought of it the same as if I were meeting new people at home.

We left our apartment at 3 in the afternoon to go and get some food and to look around a little bit. It is so very easy to get lost around here! The signs are all in another language and the buildings aren’t different enough to me that I felt confident in finding our home again. So…since there are a lot of places to buy food on our street, we were just going to stay on it. We decided to head for the big building with the TGI Friday’s that we had been told about. Our driver/translator Nicholay had told us that there was a Ukrainian place near it that had good food and very good prices, so we thought we would try for that.

Down the street we walked, not sure of how things work around here and noticing the differences from home. Here, as I would imagine big cities at home are like too, the people are more aggressive with their crossing the street and with their driving around pedestrians. You kind of start to cross the street and have to watch for cars to make sure they are not coming at you. It’s a bit scary at first. Then, there is that they park on the sidewalk, so you have to be watching the whole time you are walking to make sure that people aren’t trying to leave a spot, or park in a spot on the sidewalk. I should mention they are very wide though. It’s not a narrow sidewalk like at home, so there is still room to walk.

Once we got to the street we needed to cross in order to get to the building we were going for…well, we had a problem. We couldn’t cross the street. They had some fence type barriers that are permanently up and no crosswalk. We figured we would just walk up to the next block and cross there. Nope. Couldn’t cross there either. And now we were getting off of our street and I was getting nervous about getting lost. I wanted to turn back and go the way we knew, but Tom thought it would be a good idea to walk around the block and then back to our street that way. So, we decided to go his way. Only problem is that it DIDN’T go back to our street and we were getting lost. We were lost.

Just as we were turning around to go back the way we had come from and retrace our steps, we got a phone call. It was Ellen who is here with her husband Andy adopting a little girl in a nearby location. They have been in Kiev for a few weeks and we had planned on meeting them. I had left her an e-mail earlier with our Ukrainian cell phone number and so she called to see if we wanted to meet up with them. “Where are you right now?” was her question. “Ummm…well, we don’t know. Kind of lost at the moment.” was my reply. “Sounds pretty normal.” she laughed.

Okay, well I guess that getting lost is part of finding where you are. You can learn the area better if you get lost I suppose. So, she was at a coffee shop and described a store that we had walked by. I told her we could look for it- and then I saw that it was at the end of the street we were on. Yeay! We were going to be unlost! I noticed a big coffee cup on a sign in front of me, but the store was on the other side of the street and I thought that it was on the same side as the store. So, as I walked by the big coffee cup I told her that we should find them in a minute. We wandered over and didn’t see a coffee shop. Tom said, “There was a coffee shop back there…” and I told him that I saw it too and had thought about asking her if she was in that one, but then didn’t. Funny enough, when we were back to it and about to walk in- Ellen calls us. “Are you just walking in?” (Thank goodness for blogs =D. It sure helps when you know what someone looks like when you are trying to find them.) They had been right next to us while we were talking on the phone.

We sat in the coffee shop for a few minutes with them and talked plenty. When you have been only around people that don’t speak words you can understand, with signs that you can’t read (remember we were in the airport in Germany for a long time too…though they do know English enough that you can get around just fine), well when you have been in that for awhile there is instant connection with people who speak your language and are from where you are from. There were no awkward silences, there was no uncomfortable meeting time, it was just like meeting friends. It was wonderful! It was such a blessing to have people here to show us around and tell us the little things we needed to know. Things that people who live here might not think to tell us since it’s just normal to them. Frank, who is adopting a little girl at the same orphanage as Ellen, came in a short time later. He has been here for nearly a month and his wife got to go home awhile ago. He is already through his 10 day waiting period and is in the stages of getting his daughter’s paperwork in line to bring her home. Frank introduced himself as our tour guide =D. When Andy and Ellen got here he showed them around and told them the little details and they seem to have built a nice friendship. We left the coffee shop in order to get a meal. We were no longer in fear of getting lost because we had friends who knew where we were. AND, it turns out that Frank’s apartment is just next door. His apartment is in the next building.

So…do you remember how we couldn’t cross the street? Well, it turns out that the big stairs that lead to underground are NOT for the metro…well, at least not JUST for the metro. They are stairs that lead you under the street to the other side. And guess what? These people have a whole mall under there with shops all over the place. You can walk around under a big section of the city where it is warm and safe from cars, then just surface when you get to where you want to go. Now, it would take awhile to learn when to come up and when to go down, but it’s very neat. So, we learned to cross the street. Thanks Frank, Andy, and Ellen =).

Our dinner was at an Italian place. Interestingly, if you ask for “English menu” when you walk in, lots of places have a menu in English that you can read. I was just looking at pictures until I looked down and realized that the word “soup” is totally an English word. I can read the menu? Ellen then explained asking for “English menu” when you come in. I doubt that it will be so easy in region, that they will have a menu we can read, but for now it’s helpful. I had spaghetti and Tom had another type of pasta that had a spicy red sauce. We sat for a long time with our new friends and talked in the smoke filled, but otherwise beautiful restaurant. Here you can sit for a long time and chat at the table and we are told they don’t bring you a bill until you ask for it. You can sit for hours just chatting and talking and they don’t care. Very different from home.

It was interesting. I wasn’t expecting it to be so easy meeting people that I had barely spoken with online. I wasn’t expecting it to be something that changed my whole outlook on our situation. I wasn’t expecting to feel like “friends” that fast. But that’s what it was like. That was the reality of the situation. I think it’s interesting how different reality is from the way we imagine things will be, and I expect that a lot of my pre-arrival thoughts will be different from reality during this trip.

Today I learned just how much God created us for community. I knew this before, that it is important for us to have other people in our lives and to have community, but I didn’t know it like this. Today I felt for the first time, this way, a bond over simple commonality. It didn’t matter what things they liked to do for fun, it didn’t matter what their employment was, whether they home school or public school, what style clothing they wore, how they vote, or what type of church they go to. It just mattered that we were connected by the simple things. We speak English, and we are American.

This got me thinking about our commonality in Christ and how it should be like this. It was meant to be like this. We can have different likes and dislikes, we can have different political views, and we can come from different backgrounds, but we should have a common bond that instantly makes us feel at home. We are ALL in a world that is not our own, longing for a home that we don’t even remember but we know is there. We are ALL in the same boat, we are ALL in a foreign land that has customs and ways that are not like our own. It is my prayer that I can grow this kind of love and attitude toward all those that are in my family in Christ through all times. It is my prayer that we will recognize that we don’t have permanent resident cards in this world, but that we are here on business. Our father’s business. Let us keep our minds on His work and remember the bond that we have with our brothers and sisters through Him and by Him.

Today I learned that such things are truly important.


  1. Oops... I didn't even think to tell you that in big cities in Europe they often have you cross under the street. Sorry about that!

    I'm so glad you were able to connect with other RR families. Praise God for his timing on each of your travels. And I loved the last paragraph... yes, a lesson we all need to learn to apply more.

    MISS YOU!!!!! Praying for you!

  2. Sounds like you had a very eventful and wonderful day. Hugs and kisses to both of you.

  3. I too was touched by your last paragraph...sums up the meaning of life pretty well.
    It is scary and fun exploring other countries (I have not done much of it mind you) and learning/observing the local customs. It really does show you how alike we really are when you can filter out the "noise" of culture and custom.
    Our basic humanity remains common world wide.
    Children are the best demonstrators of this... they do the same things, play the same way, everywhere on this planet. I love that!

  4. I am so glad you are there and safe and I LOVE that you met Ellen and Andy and Frank! This is such a small world isn't it? lol

    We're praying for you and the kids at home and the baby and Ana! I can't wait to hear how your meeting goes!

    Your family and her will always be so close to my heart. I know my staying up late trying to win MckMama's competition is nothing compared to all that you and your husband and family have done to bring Ana home or to help promote the light of the orphans but what a blessing it has been for me to see this entire process through your family.

    If I ever get tired and wonder if all the time put in is worth it I only have to remember you and Ana and I know there are so many more children getting their families for having followed your journey.

    And you are such a gifted writer, I love reading the things God is showing you through this! Thank you for sharing your heart and journey with all of us!

  5. SO true, Amberlyn! I know I need increased revelation of what you said - that I should not be COMFORTABLE in this world. I should be seeking out those that I have Christ in common with, and then living in community with them no matter what our PETTY little differences are. We, especially in the the American church, are WAY to comfortable with this home (the world) that actually is NOT our home! When tribulation comes, we will be forced into community with one another, but best to have that mindset BEFORE it gets here. Thank you for that word picture!

    Blessings to you all! :)

  6. Just wish I could give you a hug right now! And good luck, we will be praying for you and hopefully see you here with your sweet girl!

  7. How wonderful to meet with new friends to makea foreign city seem more at home! I'm sure you will have a good time and will always have a special bond!

    And I loved that last part of your post. Very inspiring. I will try to think about it and let it affect me and my way of meeting people.

    - I'm blogging for Nadya; to help her find a family-

  8. I loved reading about your city adventure! :) and, that last paragraph was so encouraging and challenging!