Thursday, December 2, 2010

Deprived Indifference

This is why we adopted. It does not mean that adoption is easy, that it is a fairytale, but it is worth it!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Adoption Does Not Do

A good friend of mine recently sent me this link to the site Together For Adoption. It was written by Johny Carr, the national Director for Church Partnerships for Bethany Christian Services.

If you are adopting, have adopted, or know someone who has adopted, this is a great read.

In the adoption world, many times you will hear that a child's adoption, is much like our adoption into God's family. It is a good analogy, but we need to be careful with the theology behind. You can read the entire blog by clicking here.

This is an excerpt.

What Adoption Does Not Do

BY JOHNNY CARRPublished Aug 25, 2010

I love to tell our adoption story when I preach. During the sermon, I show pictures taken within the first few hours of James meeting us. One shows me and James laughing heartily together. Another shows him taking a nap with his new mom. One shows him and his new brother wrestling on the bed, while another has him walking hand-in-hand with his new older brother and sister. We had much the same experience with our daughter Xiaoli’s adoption.

However, what the pictures do not show is the hurt, confusion, and emotional stress our adopted children endured. James was four years old when we adopted him, and Xiaoli was six. They were both old enough to understand that something major was happening but, since they are deaf, they had no way to understand adoption.

Even for the children who do have language, how do you describe adoption? How do you fight the rumors that circulate in the orphanages about what happens to adopted children? How do you prepare them for a family who might not look like them, smell like them, act like them, or use the same language? Every adoption story is accompanied by a story of grief and loss.

When we are adopted into God’s family, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us. This is where the one-to-one relationship breaks down. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to know the mind of Christ through our salvation (1 Cor. 2:10-16). We are made into a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). When children are adopted, they receive a new family and the prospect for a new life, but they are not a new creation.

Adoption does not heal a child’s past. People often say that my adopted children are “lucky” to have been adopted. I know what they are trying to communicate, but they are not grasping the totality of what my children have lived through.

Recently I read an article by Catherine Olian, writer and former producer of 60 Minutes. This is part of what she wrote about her daughter who was adopted from Ukraine:

Outside our home, she behaved herself and charmed most everyone. She did take exception when adults told her she was “lucky”. In her blossoming English she would unhesitatingly respond, “Did you lose your first brother and sister? Did you grow up cold and hungry? Did you live two lives, in two different countries? No? Then you must be the lucky one.” I’ve yet to see anyone disagree with her.

As this incredible wave of orphan care and adoption ministry continues to gain momentum in churches, we must make sure that we have a good theological understanding of adoption and a good practical understanding of adoption.

While I will continue to show the sweet pictures of our adoption journeys during my sermons, I will also take the time to educate families about the grief and loss that is always part of adoption. Healing can take place, and for many children, it starts with adoption…but it doesn’t end there—it never does.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Adoption: Love Grows

In February I wrote a post about adoption and falling in love. Loving Nina has not been the same as loving Ellie or Nichole. There is so much about Nina that we don't know, whereas there is not a thing about Ellie or Nichole that is a secret to us. We have always been there.

Nina has been with us for five months, but Nina and I go back before arriving home. We shared two weeks together as we were finalizing the adoption in Ukraine. One would think that those two weeks were wonderful as we were getting to know each other; the foundation of our relationship. Those weeks were indeed the foundation of our relationship, but they were not wonderful. Those two weeks were the toughest, most discouraging weeks in my mothering journey. Every night as I listened to 2 or 3 hours of constant crying I would think about the day, and the many ways in which I had felt rejected. I felt like a failure, a rejected failure, and we were trapped in a little apartment with no place to go.

I understand why Nina was having a hard time, but unless you have experienced this first hand, nothing can prepare you to how it feels to be rejected by the child you worked so hard and passionately to save. It doesn't matter how well you understand it in your head, the feelings will still cling heavy on your heart. Whenever there was a Russian or Ukrainian speaker around, Nina wanted nothing to do with me. The more time we had together, the more she rejected me, the more she cried for other people. Three times she asked other women to take her, that she wanted them to be their mommy and not me because she could not understand me. They were familiar, I was not. Again, although I understood her feelings, mine were crushed and I wanted to run to my girls, the ones I had not seen for seven weeks and wanted me.

Once home there was no Ukrainian or Russian around thank goodness! Many people would offer having "so and so" help us because they spoke Russian. Let me think about that for a second... No thank you!

But my relationship with Nina did not just suddenly change. When your heart has been deeply hurt, it takes time to heal. I found myself being less patient with Nina, expecting more, and getting frustrated easily. I felt guilty about that. One day as I was spending time with God, praying for my children I though about Nina. I started to cry and I went to her, held her and cried some more. I asked for her to forgive me for being impatient with her, for not being more gentle. I told her that I loved her and that she was mine. It was a beautiful moment.

Then surgery happened and Nina was thrown back into the same behaviors she was having during those 2 weeks in Ukraine. She cried constantly and would ask for the workers in her orphanage by name. She wanted nothing to do with me...once again. Emotionally I was depleted, I felt like I had nothing to give. I had just begun to get up and was knocked to the ground once more.

Then one night she woke up spitting blood and we were back for another surgery. She was air lifted and I had to drive hour and a half to get there. Even though it was hard to have them take her and for me to stay behind, I actually felt like I could take a deep breath.

As we were coming home for the second time from the hospital, I asked a nurse to be with Nina while I got our things ready to go. I wanted to cry, dreading to go home and face life with a child that would reject me once more. God knew what was needed, and He sent the Russian speaking lady. He sent her for Nina and for me, because He is a God that restores relationships, or in our case, creates new relationships.

As I look at my journey with Nina, this is the one most significant moment we have had. This was the day that Nina chose me for the first time in her life, this was the moment that Nina realized she belonged in our family, and she wanted that. Nina wanted her mommy. And although at the moment I did not realize the significance of what took place, now I see it for what it was. It was a new birth.

(And if you did not read that post, click on the previous paragraph's highlighted words or clickhere)

Adding a new family members takes time to adjust. Weather it be a baby or an older child. A family has to learn to function with more people, it is not as simple as adding one more, but the family dynamics change and everyone has to adjust.

Nina is discovering what family is, and she is blossoming in her new understanding. She cherishes it.

Somehow, Nina is not just the little girl we are trying to include, she is a part of us now. We have six months to look back, and although not long, it is a history within our family. We know her favorite color and that she loves balloons. Although much of life is new to her, she finds comfort in us.

Before we met Nina, we had created a character of who we imagined her to be, one that pushed us to get her home. The love I have for Nina today, would have pushed me so much harder, because it is a love that has cost many tears, and therefore, great joy as it has grown.

Yes, she is my daughter, not born from my womb but from my heart. The love I felt for Ellie and Nichole as they were born is the love that has been born from me towards Nina. She is a without a doubt a"new baby" to me, to my heart.

She is mine.

Friday, April 9, 2010

We Couldn't Be There

We are not sure how much Nina understands the English language. Sometimes it seems like she has a great grasp, while other times we wonder if she understands what we are asking or saying to her.

We are still puzzled by her behaviors at times. What seems a normal situation, can send her into her own world, where she can easily be irritated or upset. This times are hard for all of us emotionally. It makes us wonder what exactly took place at the orphanage, and what her life was like.

I shared in a previous post, that the first time I walked into Nina's room, they were not expecting me and I was sure that a little girl was going to be tied down to the smaller wooden pen. I saw this same little girl being smacked across the face and her ear pulled as she was dragged to a chair because she was not fast enough. never mind that she too has Cerebral palsy and could not walk. The impatience and lack of love were heart breaking. Praise God Oksana has a family waiting to go get her!

I tried to teach a worker how to feed a little boy with Down syndrome by helping support his jaw. She said she had not time for that and shoved the food into his mouth. His eyes watering and gulping, gasping for air, maybe even aspirating with every spoonful going in his mouth. He too has a family ready to come get him.

I saw other children treated harshly and being punished. And I saw more. And what I saw will forever be in my heart, and it will remind me that these children live in dark and scary places, and that those with special needs are abused even more, because it is easier to hurt those that are weaker.

Nina's recent reaction to having her braces put on, along with other behaviors, made Andy wonder if Nina had been tied to her crib as punishment. We have found out that it is not the braces that make her cry, but rather having her lay down and getting them strapped on her, the noise of the Velcro, and having something that "restricts" her body. Once she is up and walking, this is not an issue.

A friend who is also adopting from Ukraine wrote on her blog, "We showed up unannounced one day at the orphanage. All the children were in the big wooden playpen. They were all tied to the slots of the playpen so they couldn't move. No wonder they didn't want us to come in the room."

So we asked Nina today about her life at the orphanage, not sure if she understands us, not sure if she knows how to communicate with us.

"Nina?" I asked, "Were you tied down on your crib? Did you have to lie down and they would tie you?" She looked at me, a sad expression, her little lip came out, and the tears started to come, she said softly, "yes." And she cried some more. I held her so close to me, wishing I could take that away from her, wishing that somehow she had not had to go through that. Andy asked her why they did that. "Nina naughty, Nina naughty." She responded.

We were not there to protect her for the first 3 years of her life. She has gone through so much in her short life, and there is nothing we can do about it. We will never be able to take that away. We can love, and we can pray, that is what we can do.

I think of how we almost allowed money to be an issue. I think of how I almost said Cerebral palsy was too much for me to handle. Those things are so insignificant now, so small.

My heart breaks for orphans around the world. My heart breaks for my daughter. And it aches, oh how it aches, that there were times where she was tied down to a crib, treated like an animal, starved of comfort or love. Never again, never again. Our loving arms will wrap her close, and whisper how much we care.

Today I was her mother, I felt it. I will protect my sweet girl as best I can.


You can find many waiting children with special needs on Reeces Rainbow. They all need a family, they all have suffered enough!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Adoption: Falling In Love

Our dear friends, the McLelands, adopted a baby girl not even a year ago. Bill said to us shortly after they had gotten her home, “I didn’t know if it would be possible to love an adopted child as much as your biological children, but we love this baby girl, it makes no difference how she came into our family, we love her just the same.”

“You love them just the same.”

“I bet she fits perfectly in your family.”

“It must feel like she has always been a part of your family.”

Often, when I hear statements like these I think about McLelands, knowing they can wholeheartedly agree. But when those statements are said to me, I feel guilty. I feel guilty because I know the right thing to say is “yes.” It makes me wonder if adopting an infant is different from adopting an older child because I am still in the process of getting there, I have yet to arrive.

I love Nina. There is no doubt about it, but I cannot say that my love for her is the same as it is for Ellie and Nichole. When the girls fight, my first instinct is to side with Ellie and Nichole, or to comfort them first. I find myself being less patient with Nina, or feeling annoyed when she wants to join in if I try to have one-on-one time with one of the other girls. At times, it even feels like I am babysitting some else’s child.

The truth is, adopting an older child for us was not love at first sight, but rather, a journey of falling in love.

For almost 4 years, we lived without Nina, and she lived without us. We have come together, all of us, with our past. We have different languages, different cultures, different rules. We are just getting to know each other. At times I am sure she is confused, and she does not understand what is happening in her new world. At times I am confused and I do not understand why she acts a certain way. Our communication is broken in many ways as we try to understand each other. Nina is learning what it is like to have a mommy and a daddy and sisters. She is just discovering that we really are her promise of forever; we will never walk away from her, never. She is learning to trust.

Adoption is a journey of falling in love, for all of us. A journey with highs and lows as we walk along the path. And we are falling in love.

Nina smiles, she gives us hugs, she signs “I love you,” and says “I lou wu” She makes silly faces and thrives in our praises.

Nina is a precious little girl. She is sweet and charming. She has brought so much joy into our lives and she has shown us much about God’s heart as Heavenly Father. Our family needed Nina, in more ways that we will ever understand.

And we are, we are falling in love, madly in love with this little girl.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Adoption: When You Meet The Child You Have Been Dreaming About

The anticipation was overwhelming. I thought the moment I finally laid eyes on Nina would be one of those moments that you never forget, one of those moments that are etched in your heart forever and become one of the most joyous and sweet memories of my life. I wondered if I would cry that first time and if she would feel the same bond I already felt. Would she be able to sense all the love I had for her?

Although we were able to move through the adoption process quickly, the waiting seemed too long, and our desire for Nina to be a part of our family grew stronger and stronger as the days went by. My love for her was so intense that it pushed me to get things done and to be relentless when it came to the paperwork nightmare. I cried many tears in frustration but I would do whatever I had to do to get my daughter home and out of the orphanage.

Someone said to me along this process, “You love them just the same as if they were your own.” When I heard that statement, I could not have agreed more.

The day we walked into the orphanage for the first time my stomach was in knots. I did not know what to expect but we were so excited to see our beautiful girl.

Workers came in and out of the room we were sitting at. It took me a while to realize that the little girl that one of the workers held in her arms was Nina. I had seen them walk in the room and had even made eye contact with her, but I did not recognize her. All I saw was an orphan with a misshapen head and lost eyes.

“That’s Nina” I said to Andy

“I know” he replied

We both saw her, we both stared, we both held our breaths. We did not have to say it, because both of us were shocked at her appearance and demeanor. She looked different than the pictures we had seen.

Reality stepped in, it sat next to me, and it held my hand.

The worker sat next to us with Nina in her arms. Andy and I tried to interact with her, but she seemed so lost. They told us she was nervous and that she was acting shy. They assured us that she was smart and outgoing. But regardless of what they said, what we saw was much different. We saw a girl with vacant eyes and what appeared to be a great cognitive delay. Her behavior made me question if she had autism as well. The most interaction we got with her was when I showed her my camera, and she offered a lost smile. (You can watch that video here)

Back in our apartment in Kyiv, Reality accompanied us. Andy and I questioned if we were making the right choice. The child that we had met seemed to have many special needs that would require work and attention. Was it fair to Ellie and Nichole? How would they be impacted by having such a low functioning sister?

Most of all, Reality explained to us that we never had loved Nina at all. What we had come to love so strongly was the “idea” of who Nina was. The Nina we had created in our hearts and minds had pushed us to come this far. Without her, we wouldn’t be there. But that Nina had to go, because the real Nina waited for us.

Fear then knocked on the door. We cracked the door open a little and asked questions, because Fear was right, we knew so little about Nina, and so little about the future. We had no idea what life would be like with Nina in our family, and we had no way to predict how she would affect her sister’s lives. But before Fear could come into our apartment we were reminded of this: “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.”

We thanked Fear for coming, for making us think, and we closed the door.

God had been in the adoption process all along. He had showed us His love and mercy in ways we had never seen or experienced before. The ways He had chosen to show Himself to us were a clear indication that this was what He wanted us to do. We were scared, and we often thought of Fear, but we had a promise. The promise that God would walk with us every step of the way.

Over the next weeks we would have to get to know this little orphan girl, one that would soon become our daughter. We had to learn to love the real Nina, the one who so desperately needed us, the one that we had come to save.


Andy wrote about the same in his annual report, to read his perspective, click here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It has been a month

I have had Nina with me for a month (yesterday). Time went by so quickly, yet, our time in Ukraine is still tainted with raw feelings of the emotional hardships. It feels like our life together really started when we got home. We have had 2 wonderful weeks as a family!

Please understand, my time with Nina when it was just the 2 of us was great, but the emotional journey that the rest of our family took during that time was very hard. Being in an unfamiliar place where people spoke Nina's language which made her reject me at times made it hard too. It is good to be home!

Nina is doing fantastic. She is picking up on English quickly and she is showing us more and more of who she is. She has many words and is even starting to put 2 word sentences together with the words that she knows. Things like "Nina eat" "sit here" "follow me" "no touch" "I try" etc.

Two days ago she really got interested in using her walker and she is doing fantastic with it. She finds great joy in her accomplishment and thrives in Andy and I encouraging her and delighting in her. Even while Nichole follows her around trying to take the walker while saying, "Mine!"

Being delighted in. What a wonderful feeling for Nina, there are people in her life that delight in her. She is loved, she is wanted, she is celebrated. Just like her sisters.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Becoming a Family

It has been only a little over a week since Nina and I got back home. I will honestly say that it is nice to be away from Russian speaking people. Nina showed a marked preference for those she understood and it is important for her to be attached to us, we are her family. I know she gets frustrated with the language barrier, but at the same time, she is picking up on English quickly.

Some of her phrases in English are, "Oh goodness!" "No touch," "It's okay" "I know" "Nina play" "Baby Signing Time" "I love you"

And she has many words.

Nina no longer cries or screams at night. She has found great comfort in the fact that Nichole is right there in the room with her in a crib next to hers. It is what Nina was used to. Nichole is having more of an adjustment as Nichole talks and talks to Nina until they both fall asleep. Tonight, Nina gave us kisses and she waved "paka" at Andy and I as we laid the girls down to sleep.

When we were in Ukraine, Nina did not want much to do with Andy. She was okay playing with him and sitting next to him, but touching or holding were very hard for her. As soon as we got home and Nina saw her sisters love on their daddy, and their daddy love on them, she decided to give Andy a try. So after one day, she became a daddy's little girl.

That first day together (January 1st) Andy rolled on the floor with the girls, Nina joining in the fun and tickles. Andy and I looked at each other for a moment. Understanding in our eyes, our hearts full. This is what we had been dreaming for, this is what we wanted to do for this once orphan girl, now our daughter.

There has been adjustment at home. Some very good and some hard. The 3 girls are getting to know each other and they have good moments and not so good. Nina is not very affectionate (due to the orphanage) and has a hard time accepting physical love especially from Ellie. I am sure she never received any form the other kids. Ellie has a very hard time being rejected, pushed, hit, or hair pulled by Nina. Nichole is jealous and yet Nina seems to follow Nichole quite a bit, she likes her very much. They are at about the same developmental stage. Nichole is more advanced except for speech, so they play well (next to each other) but Nina is quickly catching up as she learns and explores the world every day.

Andy and I feel exhausted by the end of the day, but we seem to be more disciplined in some areas (because we have to!) However, if you feel like helping us clean our house, you are welcome! The pile of dishes is high and the bathrooms and floors need some cleaning :)

So finally, here are some pictures of our family! (Mainly the 3 girls)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Journey Home: Reunited

As soon as we landed I tried to call Andy but I was getting his voice mail right away. I called my sister and told her we were home, my voice cracking with emotion.
Nina was sleeping and I decided I would just cover her with my winter coat, I did not want to wake her up getting her own winter gear on. I carefully laid her down in the wheelchair and she was able to sleep as we raced through the halls.
As we approached entered the elevator that would take us to the baggage claim, more tears made their way down my cheeks. I would see my family soon.
As we walked out the sliding doors I frantically started searching for Andy and my family. I saw him standing across the baggage claim carousel with my friend Leah, both of them trying to find me.
I did not care if I made a scene, I yelled, "Honey!" "Andy!" He turned and saw me waving like a fool. I looked over at the nice man pushing Nina and motioned for him to follow me. I ran. So did Ellie, straight into my arms!
"Mommy" she said in her sweet voice. "Why are you crying."
"Because I missed you so much sweetie!"
And we hugged some more.
Then I saw my husband, oh how I love him and how I missed him. We hugged and cried into each other's arms. Nichole slept on his chest.
After a while Ellie asked where Nina was. I told her she was in the wheelchair, underneath my coat. Ellie lifted it gently and looked at Nina.
"Oh She is so cute!" she said. "Oh Nina! You are real!"
Yes, Nina was real. She really had a sister. And in no time Ellie woke her up.
Andy's sister and her husband (Amy and Ben) were there too. And Ellie told Amy that Nina was really real.
My dad and sisters were there, and so was my mom and her friend.
We were finally together.
The long journey home had brought us there, to the airport. Such a magnitude of emotions rushing in. if only those watching knew what was taking place. But we knew, and that was all that mattered.
We are home!

And thanks to my friend Leah here are some pictures of our reunion.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Journey Home: Frankfurt, Chicago, and Minnesota

We landed in Frankfurt. The plane burst into applause. If only the pilot knew our stories, he would know that in fact, this was cause for celebration.

Next to me in the plane sat a Ukranian lady who lived in the United States. Both, her Ukranian and her English were perfect, and she helped me so much with Nina too. As we made our way out of the plane, my two angels waited for me to help. We found a wheelchair and got Nina situated as we made our way to the Lufthansa booth to arrange our next flights.

As we got there, my angels made sure to tell the Lufthansa workers that I had a child with a disability and that I needed help. A woman quickly came and got me to a waiting area. She took my previous flight itinerary and our passports and promised to get back to us with our new flights. We did not have to wait in line. It was a huge blessing, however, it left me unable to talk through options with an agent.

A few minutes later a nice lady came and asked me to follow her to a small room. As we entered she explained to me that there were no more flights to America that night, and we would have to spend the night in Frankfurt, which meant Nina needed a visa for the night. I then asked what time our flight would leave. 2:10 pm she said.

I looked at her, tears threatening to come out. I tried to push them back but they burst out, fast. They exploded. In a matter of seconds I was sobbing loudly and there was the nice Lufthansa lady along with the Visa employees dumbfounded at the crazy woman's reaction. All along I was trying to say "I am sorry" for such an outburst.

When I settled down, the nice Lufthansa lady asked, "I am sorry, but why is this so upsetting to you?" Oh I don't blame her! I would wonder that too if a stranger had such a meltdown in front of me. So I explained to her that we had been stuck in an airport for 2 days, that I had been gone from my family for 45 days, and that I had hoped to get on their 8:30 am plane, or at least keep my original flight at 10:30 am.

She was a compassionate woman, and she empathized with me. Somehow she understood that this was hard. So looked at other options and came back saying she was sorry, it was all they had and I was lucky I could get in a flight the next day. They had even had to switch airlines for us to go back home. She had arranged a hotel stay for us with our dinner and breakfast taken care of. She had even brought an overnight bag for me. I asked about my luggage, she said I did not have to worry, she would take care of that. And they drove Nina and I to our hotel.

We ate.

We slept.

The next morning we woke up and got ready, had breakfast and headed to our ticket booth. The man behind the desk spoke Spanish and thought it would be fun to practice his Spanish with me. He then informed me we were only on stand by, we did not have set tickets. "I have been gone 46 days away from my family, please. Can I pay more for a ticket?" He smiled. "I am working the gates, so I get to make those decisions, don't worry, I will give you a ticket." So he got us settled and on our way home.

The flight was long. Nina did fantastic.

Chicago welcomed us with a wheelchair and with Nina becoming an American citizen. We went through shorter lines reserved for those with disabilities and were able to do all the immigration stuff in no time.

We even had time to get some french fries at Macdonald's!

We boarded the plane and were finally headed to Minnesota, to see our family!

The flight is short. By the time you are up in the sky, it feels like you are ready to land.

"Ladies and gentleman," the pilot said over the speaker phone, "We will be arriving in 19 minutes at the Minneapolis airport."

The words wrapped around me, in a friendly and welcoming hug. I again started to cry. Oh I was crying hard, shaking, trying not to wake up Nina who was sleeping in my arms.

We landed, emotion washed over me once more.

There was only one thing in my mind. Get out of the airplane as soon as possible, and run through the airport until I saw my family, hoping the wheelchair was waiting for us. It was. I told the man to run with me, and he did.

We were home! Our family waited for us somewhere in the same building. I had to run!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Journey Home: Kiev Airport

Tuesday morning.

My alarm clock went off at 1:30 am. I got up, got dressed. I got all my bags lined up by the door and looked out side the window. It had started snowing the night before and it was still coming down. It looked beautiful. I then got Nina bundled up and went outside to get our driver who was waiting for us. We walked out of the apartment. It was 2:00 am.

The trip to the airport lasted about an hour, a few times we were stuck in the snow and there were no plows at that time at night.

3:00 am we arrived at the airport. I was not familiar with the setting and was left sitting on the stairs, with my bags and all. I was on my own and the airport slept. At 3:30 am the Lufthansa booth opened and I realized that there was a long line of people waiting. I had my suitcases, backpacks and Nina. I had to put the sling on to carry her. We stood at the end of a long line. A woman came out and made an announcement in Russian. Frustration was in the air. I asked the lady if she spoke English, she did, and I asked what she had said. Our flight had been cancelled, and that was that. I needed to stay in line and reschedule.

Nina was heavy, I was dumbfounded. I went to get a chair so I could sit down and a man told me I couldn't take the chair (2 feet from where it was) I lost it (yes, I did) I told him in English, even though I knew he couldn't understand that my child was disabled and that I was exhausted and that I was going to sit on the chair weather he wanted me to or not, all while trying not to cry too hard. I made a scene. I didn't care.

I sat on the chair and prayed for God to send me an angel, but everyone just started at the crazy American. I looked at a lady in front o me who kept glancing at us, "Please don't stare" I asked. "Sorry, I don't speak much English, but can I help you?" I talked to her a little and was able to communicate to her that Nina had CP and that our plane was cancelled. She then talked to every single person in front of us, and then came over to me and said it was my turn, I could go next. God did send me an angel.

They said my flight was cancelled but I could reschedule for the next day. I asked to be rescheduled for a different flight for that day, they agreed. I would leave at 10:00 am. Only 6 hours to go. We went to a cafeteria and sat there, our angel lady came too. She was Ukranian and spoke Ukranian. Nina attached to her quickly, and it gave me the freedom to go and arrange a wheelchair for Nina and find out more about our flight or possibilities. At 9:00 am the flight was delayed to 12:00 pm, we would not make it to our connecting flight, so I did reschedule for the next day.

I called our missionary friends and asked if we could stay with them for the night. I arrived at their house and we ate brunch. Then Nina and I slept until late, we had been at the airport for about 10 hours, we were exhausted.

Wednesday morning.

My alarm clock went off at 2:00 am. I was ready to go by 2:30. I saw our flight had been delayed until 8:45 am, however, the taxi was already there waiting. The roads looked clear so we were hopeful we would be able to fly home.

We arrived at the airport at 3:30 am, right as they opened the airport. Our angel was there, waiting for us. She had breakfast ready for Nina. She was there with a nice man from Canada. We all waited for the same flight. They both took such great care of Nina and I.

At 8:00 am they delayed our flight to 6:00 pm. The airport was still closed and they thought it would be closed until 12:00 pm. We waited and waited and waited some more. I don't know what I would have done without my angels. We shared stories and brought each other comfort.

Finally at 12:00 pm we were able to check in. The airport was open. I am not sure how long we waited inside, quite a while, but we knew that our flight would leave any time and we had to be alert to hear the new time. At around 4:00 pm we were able to board and we arrived in Frankfurt at around 6:00 pm. It was a long long day, but I was finally out of Ukraine.

I was on my way home.