Monday, February 18, 2013

It is Official!

The mandatory 10-day-wait is over!  We have the official court decree in our hands. WOOHOO!  We are completely, officially, 100%, with no doubt, parents to 3 more beautiful children—and Ukraine recognizes that. In fact, the new birth certificates list us as the parents.  There is something so significant about this waiting period being over.  I'm giddy with excitement just knowing that it is FINAL! 

Elliana, Adalyn, Joshua, and I have been able to spend a lot of quality time together.  Eliana is slowly processing all the changes and handling it very well.  She has a beautiful heart, is wise beyond her years, and takes this adoption very seriously—realizing the fullness of it. 

This past week, as I was leaving the orphanage and saying our "goodnights," Elliana kissed me on the cheek and told me that she would be thinking that night about what she wanted to call me—Momma, Mommy, or Mom.  She said that starting the next morning, she would no longer call me "Jenny."  It was not only a sweet moment, but a monumental one as well.  She has been melting my heart these last couple days as she tells me things like, "I have the best mom ever!" and "I love my mommy so much."

Adalyn is such a joy.  She has a beautiful smile and an infectious laugh.  In fact, one of the other families here, gave her the nickname "Giggles."  She loves teasing (especially her Daddy), and she loves affection, being held, and being close and cuddly.  She tends to be shy with her English, but out of the blue, will shock us all with her vocabulary.  Last night, she was like a broken record reciting her abc's! We have been practicing, but last night was the first time I have heard her sing it, and it was nearly perfect!  It is so much fun watching her blossom.

Joshua has come alive over these last few weeks.  As soon as he spots me walking into his group, he drops what he's doing, and runs full force, with a huge smile, saying "Hi-iiiiiii!"   He is a little sponge and has already learned many English words and phrases.  He is very observant and loves to anticipate what you will do next so he can meet that need.  As soon as he knows it is time for me to leave, he has my boots next to my feet and is handing my gloves and hat to me.  He loves to be a helper!  It is so exciting to begin seeing glimpses of him growing and thriving just because of the love and security of a Mommy and Daddy.

In the evening, before I head back to my apartment, I pray with our three; it's become a tradition that we started while Todd, Jaden, and Kellen were here.  There was one night, when I was tired and wondering if they even appreciate that time of prayer.  Sometimes it feels like I am just going through the motions, and it can begin to feel redundant.  So I decided to skip it this particular evening. As we were walking down the stairs to exit the orphanage, Elliana proclaimed, "We didn't even get to pray yet!"  So we quickly gathered and thanked the Lord. Since then, Elliana has mentioned several times about our time of praying together, and it is clear that it is a highlight of her day.  Now we are beginning the countdown to when we no longer say our prayers as I leave for the night, but rather when we get to say our prayers as we all go to sleep under one roof.

Yesterday was a difficult day of emotions as Elliana and Adalyn said their goodbyes to their best friends as they are heading to America.  Although it was a time of rejoicing, it was also a time of grieving, of saying goodbye, of letting go, and accepting change.  I had flashbacks of the times when Todd and I have moved, and I have had to say goodbye to dear friends.  I remember all the tears I have shed and falling apart emotionally, and I remember Todd trying to put all my messy pieces back together and wondering what he got himself into! Change is difficult!

What really broke my heart, is seeing the children who will be left behind.  Our children will be leaving next week, others have been hosted and have forever families coming to get them in the next several months.  But there are those who have not been given hope, who do not have the promise of a family to love them forever, who have never experienced the comfort and security and love of a mommy and daddy.  My heart breaks as these children wonder if they will ever be "chosen."

A little over a week ago, before Jaden left, he and I had a conversation about the friendships he had developed in the orphanage.  He and Kellen were often seen hanging out with "the boys."  These boys all went sledding together, had snowball fights, tickled and wrestled each other, learned words in each other's language, made up games with items that were lying around the orphanage, and they laughed together.  There were many hugs given and smiles shared. It didn't matter that there was a language barrier; they were friends.  
One boy in particular had a big impact on Jaden. Jaden asked me, "How do we leave him behind?  He needs a family.  He is real, just like me."

There is something so true in that last statement. The term orphan is so abstract. We know there are orphans all over the world, but it doesn't seem to affect us...until we meet one. And we realize they are real, just like us.

Please pray for:
     -all the children being left behind, not only in this orphanage, but those across the world, including the U.S. May we 
       be the hands and feet of Jesus. 
           -Adalyn & Joshua to develop their understanding of the English language and that it would happen quickly.
                 -a seamless transition, not only for our three new children, but our whole family as well, as there will be a lot
                  of change and many adjustments.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sufficient Grace

God’s grace is sufficient.

I know that, and I believe that. However, when it comes to living out that truth, I struggle. Over the last month, I have said things like:

“I feel like it is physically impossible for me to leave my children behind as I travel.” …but I did.

“I don’t think I can bear the weight of Todd, Jaden, and Kellen leaving me here all by myself.” …but I have.

“I want to go home right now!” …and I still do!...but I’m still here!

I am weak!
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
~Psalm 73:26

It is God who sustains me, and only Him.  God’s grace is abundant, and His grace is enough in each of my trials.  However, His grace is given in the moment it is needed; it is not given ahead of time.  It is during these times of anticipation, or worry, or fear that I am learning to cling to my Savior, to trust Him completely, and to know that God truly is my strength and my portion.

God knew that once Todd and my boys left, that I would be moving into an apartment with another adoptive mom, who would not only become someone I would share lots of laughter with, but someone I would get the privilege of encouraging.  –A glimpse of His grace. 

The Lord also had a sweet, little surprise for me.  After moving to my present location, I discovered a thrift store right across the street!  Those who know me well, know that I thoroughly enjoy treasure hunting.  As silly as it sounds, it was a gift straight from God to me.  He knows my desires, He knows what makes me smile, and I experienced Him delighting in me as I took pleasure in His gift.  –More of His grace.

Although I am expecting His grace to be there, I am still in awe of it when it comes.  The joy and peace, comfort and strength, that I have experienced this past week has kept me in awe of our Lord.  He is so good.  And now I am being faced with the opportunity to lean into Him again as I prepare for my roommate/friend/fellow adoptive mom to depart.  I will choose to praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.  Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens.  Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness.  Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with tambourine and dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute, praise Him with the clash of cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
 ~Psalm 150

Please pray:
   -for Elliana. Emotions are high as her best friend leaves the orphanage tomorrow. The reality of all the transitions are
    hitting her. Grieving is necessary and healthy but also confusing as it is mixed with such joy. She, especially, is
    sensitive to change.
       -for me, Jenny, as I travel Tues, Feb 19 to a village a couple hours away. I must obtain the three original
        birth certificates from the region where our children were born.
           -for Todd. Since arriving home, he has had a fever and very upset stomach. It has been debilitating. Please pray
            for his health to be restored and for the rest of our family to remain healthy.
                -Praise the Lord with us!!!

Temporary Goodbye's

This is a post from and email update dated Feb. 11:

The last few days have been both exhilarating and exhausting.

Our day in court was a definite highlight.  Todd's original plans were to return to Harrison on Feb. 8th, and leave Jaden and Kellen with Jenny to help out with her travels. Those plans would have required that Todd leave immediately after court with no opportunity to see Anya, Tanya, or Ruslan, let alone celebrate the moment with Jenny and the boys, so we opted to delay Todd's travel plan's.  The next affordable and available day for him to leave was today (feb. 12th).  We thought it best that the boys return with Todd.

We are very thankful for a church family that has given us so much encouragement and grace so that we could do what was best for the needs of our family.  Being able to delay Todd's travel was certainly the best decision.  We were able to fully celebrate what God did at our court appointment, as well as, spend a whole weekend with the children as family.  There was much good bonding through this time together.

Monday came with an early start as we moved our luggage out of our "hotel", which was really a second story of a townhouse that was fully functional for extended stays. Todd & the boys had to leave their luggage in the foyer of the hotel for their return later in the day when they would make a grab-and-go for the train station.  Jenny was moved into an apartment for adoptive parents which she will be sharing with a new friend who just adopted Anya's & Tanya's best friends.  We are thankful that Jenny will have companionship for part of her remaining time there.

We were still able to get to the orphanage in time to walk the girls to school and visit Anya's English class.  This was especially important to her, and the children thoroughly enjoyed the disruption to class that the "Americans" brought!  In fact, they said we should go to their math class with them so that their teacher would not be mean or give them lots of homework!

It was difficult for Todd and the boys to leave Jenny & the kids in tears at the orphanage as they walked to their taxi.  However, we trust that God will give His strength and courage to them as they endure this last leg of the race.  We have often turned to Joshua 1:9 for encouragement throughout this journey.  It will be a well worn page for us as God reminds us that He called us and He will sustain us.  Even more than that, He will make us flourish by His grace and power.

Todd and the boys are on their way home now, and, weather permitting, should arrive in Spokane late this evening.  There will be many hugs and kisses waiting for them in Harrison, and much catching up to do.  While this adoption process has been very easy by comparison to our previous experience, the separation of family members has been much more difficult.  The children have handled it beautifully by God's amazing grace, but we are having our hearts strained by the sorrow of being apart.

Soon and very soon the sorrow will end in a reunion of joy.  With that hope we persevere.  Thank you for your prayers!

Please continue praying for:
-Favor with all those whom we must work to get the children to their new home
-Strength, courage, and comfort for Jenny as she endures the last couple weeks alone with the children
-A healthy transition for everybody as all the members of this new family are united
-Thanks for God's faithfulness and sovereignty

Friday, February 8, 2013

Family Brings...A Peaceful Night's Sleep.

Wednesday night, we went to bed with a bit of anxiety over what February 7th would hold for our family and 3 orphaned siblings whom we loved as our own.  The power to give them a forever family, a Daddy & Mommy, and the last name "Moore" was in the hands of an Eastern European court.

Todd had a miserable night's sleep.  A combination of a bad headache and the overwhelming feeling that so much rode on what the next day would bring...not just for him, but for three children that had begun to call him "Daddy" and learned to enjoy the affection of a daddy for the first time in their lives.
"God give us the strength and words to speak.  Fill us with Your Spirit, and help us represent You well.  We trusted You before today.  We trust You with tomorrow.", was the prayer rolling over and over in our souls.

With morning came a restless busyness.  The whole morning tension kept building like a can of soda rolling around on a warm floorboard begging to be relieved, but we knew God had brought us to this moment.  It was not for our glory but His, and He would see His plan through to completion because that is what He does.

...if we are faithless, He remains faithful 
—for He cannot deny Himself.
~2 Timothy 2:13
Finally, the anxious wait outside the courtroom doors ended.  We all stood as the judge & jurors entered the courtroom.  Questions.  More questions.  Testimony of involved officials.  More questions.  Then our official request before the court.

Then a pause...

Then a decision...

Then a family.

The soda can was opened, and tears of joy burst out!  3 more orphans-no-more!

It is so surreal to now gaze at these children as they play or speak with us, and know...that's my daughter, that's my son.  We shared this thought with Anya (now Elliana) today as we sat at a table together.  We shared how sometimes in the stillness of a moment, we think on them and smile brightly as we reflect on our new relationship.
[here we still pause and smile]

Anya said,
"It was so weird.  Before court I could not sleep.  I would wake, go do something, and go back to bed.  After court, I slept so well.  I didn't wake up all night.  It was so nice."
                    [pause again for a smile]

Even now, as everyone lay sleeping soundly this night in the comfort and peace of God through family, the sing-songy "Maaaaa-mmyy" and "Daaaaa-ddy" of Tanya (now Adalyn) and Ruslan (now Joshua) roll over and over through our minds.

And soon after is the undercurrent of God's own words:
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
~John 14:18

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Going to Bed as Daughters and Son

This is a simple update for all of you who have been praying for and with us (more detailed info to come):

Praise God!  We are excited, thankful, and overwhelmed to present to you 3 new Moores!  Months of praying. Months of longing.  Months giving it all over to God and trusting Him for things we could not see or understand.  Family, Church family, & friends joining with us in providing a family for 3 no-longer-orphans.

Tonight they will lay their heads on their pillows as members of a family, as daughters and son.  They no longer will pray for a family.  February 7th, 2013.  A day we will never forget!

Thank you.  Thank you.

Thank God.  Help us give thanks to Him this day for what He has done, and continues to do!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Big Day!

Tomorrow is a Big Day!  Perhaps it's THE Big Day!

Our court appointment is tomorrow morning, and the power to make Anya, Tanya, & Ruslan forever members of our family will be in the hands of an Eastern European court.  It's exciting & nerve-racking!

Please pray for:
      -God to give us favor with all those that have authority to give these three orphans a forever family.
         -God to fill us with His Spirit, and help us to represent Him well.

Thank you for praying!  May God receive all glory, honor, and praise with tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Last 1,000 feet

Upon arrival, there was an excitement and anticipation.  There were new experiences & new people.  There was the reunion with Anya, Tanya, & Ruslan.  All in all, there was a whole lot to look forward to.  Then we got to mainly concentrate on spending time with them, & also encouraging the other children along the way.  Now it feels like the harder work is upon us.

Thus far, the whole process has been fairly predictable and easy by comparison to our previous adoption of Christopher and Katie.  However, one thing that has been harder this time is being away from family and the familiarity of home.  We are missing Sage, Christopher, & Katie like crazy!

While Todd & the boys prepare to head back to Harrison at the end of the week (provided a successful court date on Thursday...PLEASE PRAY!!!), Jenny is preparing for the next leg of the solo-journey:  another 2 1/2 to 3 weeks of taxi rides, sitting & waiting for appointments, feeling as if she's a bit at the mercy of officials, facilitators, and a foreign culture, and wishing she were home already with her new family.

That's the "work phase".

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled. 
My soul also is greatly troubled. 
But you, O LORD—how long?  
~Psalm 6:2-3

It's the part of this journey where the novelty fades and the reality that we are only about half of the way through sets in.  The work is not even so much the daily schedule of things to do, as much as it is the mental and spiritual effort through it all.  It gets harder and harder to remain joyful, patient, and generous right about now.  It would be great to honestly say that doesn't happen and that the whole thing is one blissful walk through a rose garden to a happy family, but it's just not reality.  The spiritual, emotional, and mental fatigue eventually build.  It's the last 1,000 feet to the summit.  It's the final few miles of a marathon.  It's the labor and pain before the birth.

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. 
I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill.  Selah
~Psalm 3:3-4

It makes us really identify with so many of the psalmists writings.  Whether it's discouragement, sadness, feelings of being alone, fear, or persecution, the psalmists always come back to this:  "My God is bigger than this.  He will be enough for me.  I will trust Him.  I will worship Him."  So whether or not our struggles are real or perceived, God is bigger.  He is enough.  We will trust Him.  We will worship Him.

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
 ~Psalm 9:1-2

And in the midst of this "work" and "struggle", there is purpose.  We have been able to spend some extra time with two children at the orphanage who are about Anya and Jaden's age.  They are extremely sweet kids.  They greet us excitedly when we arrive at the orphanage.  It is a joy to shower them with love and encouragement.  Unfortunately, unique circumstances make it unlikely that the children will become available for adoption any time soon, so their future is a big question mark at this point.  However, God is enough for them.
Perhaps we are just a piece of the puzzle for God to reveal to them that He is enough, and that He does see them, love them, and will watch over them.

Our struggles really are not so great.  They are so minuscule compared with what many of these children face.  Our "aloneness" is temporary.  We will soon travel back home, be reunited with our family, and celebrate that God has added to our number those who will enjoy His love together.  Meanwhile, in places all over the globe, and even in our own backyards there are children who will go on praying for a forever family to find them, redeem them, and love them as true family.

Thank you for your continued prayers.  Please pray that:
-Our paperwork is complete & received in time for us to keep our scheduled court date of Feb. 7th.
       -God will fill us with His Spirit that we may represent Christ well, and show His love to those in desperate
                 need of it.
              -God will help us to persevere through every difficulty and trust Him for all things.
                    -These children who are still waiting for a family to "come for them" will be given forever families who
                             love them..

Friday, February 1, 2013

I love you, Daddy.

Yesterday was a great day!

It all started earlier in the day when we got to celebrate with our new friends the Newsomes.  We have become close companions with them, so when they had a successful court appointment, and the judge made official their adoption of Vika and Yana, we all went to a nearby bakery/ restaurant to celebrate over some desert.  Thank you for your prayers on their behalf.  2 orphaned girls now have a family to call their own.

Then the great day continued as we eventually landed back at the orphanage.  We were greeted by a HUGE smile on Anya's face!  She said, "My director asked me if I want to go to school or spend the day with my family!"  So today we will celebrate Vika and Yana's new family by all being together and having fun.  The kids are very excited.  Hopefully, they got some sleep last night!

We got to play and interact with many of the children last night.  Jaden and Kellen played "hide and seek" with Vitalik.  Vitalik is an eight or nine year old normal boy who loves to do the rough-and-tumble.  At the orphanage, however, there is precious little rough-and-tumble allowed!  Each worker at the orphanage has their own way of keeping order.  For some, they give the kids some freedom to explore and enjoy the "Americans".  For others, they make the kids sit and be quiet as if they were being a nuisance.  On this day, however, Vitalik was full of joy that his care-giver let him run around with our boys.  When we left, he was handing out hugs and kisses to everyone, and making sure that we were headed back this evening for more!  It is so good to see these kids smile, and get the kind of love that they crave.  May all of these children be given a family that loves them!

Always a refreshing and enjoyable part of our day is dinner with the Newsomes.  It has been so good to reflect and process all that we're experiencing with them, and celebrate the victories together.  They've encouraged us.  We've encouraged them.  Last night we talked about adoption, and the reality that between our two families, there will soon be 10 less orphans in the world!  None of us see it as a special thing we're doing.  Many folks say things like, "what an amazing thing you're doing" or "what a gift you are giving to these children".  We appreciate the encouraging comments, but we all feel like WE are the greatest beneficiaries of adoption.  That we, of all people, get to be the one's that they finally call Mama and Papa is an overwhelming blessing.  For our families, that is overwhelming blessing times 10!

The highlight of the night for Todd, however, was hearing little Tanya say,
"I love you, Daddy."
for the first time in her life!  She's never before had a daddy to say that to.  She has never had the securing love of a daddy's embrace.  That is all different for her now!  This beautiful little girl now will now have a daddy of her own!

This morning we are preparing to join up with the Newsomes, go to the orphanage to pick up all of our children, and then head back to the Newsomes for lunch together.  It should be a very cozy gathering.  There really are not a whole lot of activities to do here this time of year...or almost anywhere in this country for that matter, so we'll be going back to the trampoline park for the afternoon.  I'm sure the kids will love burning off some steam, and just being kids.  Too much of Vika & Anya's lives have been spent as "mama's" to their younger siblings, so it's always freeing for them to remember what it's like to just be a kid!

Today will be about the kids having fun, and we will get the joy of gazing across the indoor park, catching their glance, and knowing..."those are my kids!"  [insert big satisfying smile here]  And they will get the security of catching our gaze and knowing, "that's MY Mama & Papa!"

Thank you for your prayers.

Please keep praying for:
-Our papers to all be ready by Feb. 6th and make it here, so that we may keep our court appointment
          on Feb. 7th.
-Continued favor with all of those whom we are working with to complete the adoption.
-Purpose for each day.