June Happened.

Hello July!

What in the world? June was a tornado. It was a tornado of awesomeness and craziness and life-changingness. But yeah, it was definitely a tornado.

Recap:

May 31: Our sweet Sara left after a month of massage and intern-training. We miss you Saramama!

June 7: We celebrated our kids’ completion of one year of Ukrainian school and our precious Seth’s birthday at a water park in Kyiv. Yay!

June 10: We moved to the Wide Awake Homestead! MONUMENTAL DAY.

June 11: Tara and Christiana arrived! Tara and Christiana are both American girls who came to bless our boys and our team. Their presence was so refreshing. They served and smiled and brought every one of us so much joy. Internet friendships can turn out to be real-life awesome!

June 12-16: Tara and Christiana started going to Romaniv with our team and interns, getting to know the boys. Addy went to a day camp at school and made new friends. ūüôā

June 17: The team from Hands of Hope arrived! Hands of Hope is our wonderful partner in Indiana. They have poured much love and support into Romaniv and Wide Awake over many years. They came to help with a Romaniv Day Camp that was put on by Mission to Ukraine and Wide Awake. They also brought an awesome builder with them who served us by building a deck at the Homestead!!!!

June 19: Day Camp begins and a team of medical professionals from Germany arrived to help at the camp and observe our team.

June 22: Sydney, an American friend and long-time Wide Awake supporter was “in the neighborhood” and arrived to visit, help, and see all the craziness we are up to. ALSO a crazy awesome American arrived to begin the in-country process of adopting our sweet Stephan!!! His presence was just the hugest encouragement to our team. We were so blessed to see him open his heart to Stephan and say YES to what God has for his family. Just wow.

June 23: Final day of Day Camp! Hands of Hope threw our team a party and it was awesome. They encouraged us and blessed us all. Our hearts needed it.

June 24: Hands of Hope headed home.

June 25: Our church had a beautiful baptism and picnic at the river. All our German friends and American friends joined in and it was just a really special day.

June 26: The German team provided a training for our interns after observing their work over the past week. Their insight and wisdom, how they saw the boys and the work with fresh eyes was invaluable. They challenged us and pushed us in new ways.  A little pushing can hurt, but when done in love it can foster so much growth. We really so appreciated their hearts and hard work!

June 27: The German team did more training for the interns, and then a training for our team. So much good stuff!!

June 28: Good bye German team! Thank you!! Please come again. ūüôā

June 29: Good bye dear Tara, Christiana and Sydney. Your wide open hearts and contagious laughter will be greatly missed. Come again!

So there you have it. Tornado.

It was quite the balance of scheduling and transportation and feeding, but the goodness far outweighed any stress that came along with it. I mean, all those wonderful people came because they love our boys and they believe in the vision of what we are doing here. They believe in God’s dream and they see the incredible worth of our boys. They gave up their vacation time and spent a lot of money to come pour into our boys, our family, and our team. We are forever grateful and super humbled by their giving.

I know I promised you a walk-through of the Homestead and I haven’t forgotten. With all the craziness of June we really haven’t gotten a chance to settle at all, and speaking of tornados…well, you get the idea. I’d like to tidy up a bit before sharing with you. ūüėČ Hopefully this week I’ll have something to show you. Thank you for your patience!

Now for pics.

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Camp theme for the Isolation Hall: “Fun in the Sun and Shade”

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We had stations for each of the 5 senses. For some boys every station became the “taste” station. Ha!

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Thank you Barry and Tom for all your hard work on the deck!

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Americans at work, picking Colorado bugs off our potatoes. Welcome to Ukraine. hehe

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Village life is gross sometimes. 

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The German team arrived! (plus Ava, not pictured)

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Thanks Hands of Hope for the great party!

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Sweet Friends. Thank you for refreshing my soul!

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Taking a break from training ūüôā

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I can’t believe they finished the deck! Photos will follow in the next post.

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Team training: Respect, appreciation, safety

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So much love entered the Romaniv gates over the past month. We are so immensely grateful for all the sweet moments our boys experienced. May they hold those moments in their hearts forever. I know we will. 

The Crazy Awesomeness that is our Summer Plans

Summer is in full swing around here and it kind of feels like we’re on a roller coaster at this point. ¬†We know we’re safe, we’re all buckled in, but it’s moving a little too fast for comfort and we kinda want it to slow down, but it’s also really good and all the spins are kind of fun, we we don’t want it to stop.

There’s a lot going on and there’s about to be a lot MORE going on, so I better fill you in while I have the chance. ¬†HOLYMOLY.

We have a volunteer arriving on Sunday and she’ll be here for 3 weeks! ¬†Sara is a massage therapist and works at a community for adults with special needs in Arizona. ¬†She will be helping us implement massage at Romaniv and will be doing some teaching for the nurse there. ¬†We are excited to have her along on this crazy journey. ¬†I’m super interested to see how the boys do with massage! ¬†I’m anticipating a strong learning curve…hehe ¬†THISCOULDGETINTERESTING.

On July 7th we’ll head to Mission to Ukraine’s yearly summer camp for kids with disabilities. ¬†There will be two camps and we will volunteer at both of them. Camp was the highlight of our family’s year last year, so we are very excited to do it again. ¬†Woot! ¬†We’ll basically be there for the month of July. ¬†MTU camp is like my heaven. ¬†ILOVEITSOMUCH.

On July 13th we’ll take a little leave from camp because we have our appointment in Kyiv to request our referral and officially begin the adoption process here in country!!! ¬†Yes!!! ¬†Our adoption dossier was accepted and we are ultra, mega, outrageously excited to get this show on the road. ¬†If all goes well we should have our son out of the orphanage and in our arms by the end of August! ¬†CAN’TCOMESOONENOUGH.

¬†After the adoption is complete we will all head to the US for our first visit as a family since our move here in 2013. ¬†Our new son will need to go to the US in order to become a citizen, and he also needs quite a bit of medical care, so off we go! ¬†Actually, before we ever moved to Ukraine we had decided that August 2015 would be the time for all of us to come back to the US to visit family, friends, and supporters. ¬†We just had no idea we’d also be bringing back another child! ¬†BIGGESTSURPRISEEVAHHHHH.

The plan right now is that Jed will be in the US for about 2 months and then he’ll return to Ukraine to get back to work. The kids and I will plan to stay in the US until we get our new son’s most urgent medical needs met. ¬†Then we’ll join Jed back in Ukraine. We’re thinking maybe the kids and I will be in the States till after Christmas? ¬†I’m just not sure. ¬†We’re open and we don’t want to rush things. ¬†But in a way it will probably feel like our lives are on pause. ¬†I’m not sure how we’ll navigate that well. ¬†I guess one day at a time. ¬†I get overwhelmed if I think about it too much, so I won’t. ¬†At least not right now. ¬†ūüôā PROCRASTINATIONISMYSPIRITUALGIFT.


So, that’s where things stand right now. ¬†A lot goin on, and lot yet to come. ¬†We are doing well, just maybe a bit overwhelmed at the moment. ¬†We have so many ideas, so many plans for the Boys, for the work here. ¬†It’s hard to imagine leaving it all and going so far away. ¬†Wide Awake is granting our local church here in Zhytomyr with funds to be able to coordinate and continue the work at Romaniv while we are gone, so that is really reassuring. ¬†We won’t be leaving the boys without love and care. ¬†Our volunteers will continue to faithfully go and love the boys. ¬†It will just be hard for us to be away. Yet it will be wonderful to be with family and friends in America. ¬†Yet we will also be adjusting to a new son and helping him learn how to be part of a family. ¬†Yet we will not be bringing him home to the house and community where we actually live…at least not right away.

Lots of thoughts, lots of emotions, lots of awesomeness happening, lots of everything. ¬†I’ll do my best to keep you posted along the way. ¬†Thank you all for being such a dear part of this journey. ¬†Thank you for your prayer, your encouragement, your friendship, your financial support. ¬†We have felt so much love and support along every step of this journey. ¬†Praise God we don’t have to walk this path alone! ¬†You are a blessing to us. ¬† WELOVEYOULOTSANDLOTS.

Pics: Hava in Kyiv with her perty new headband, our beautiful Addy and Hava in Kyiv, St. Andrews Church in Kyiv, our kids with a famous statue outside the adoptions office in Kyiv, St. Michaels Church in Kyiv (my fave), Seth is taller than Hava (and 17 months younger!), my everyday morning view, our garden when it was beautiful, our garden infested with bugs (grrrr…ain’t nobody got time for that!), Seth posing with his new bike, my kids being “special”, our neighborhood!