When Things Don’t Make Sense…His Ways are Higher Than Our Ways {part 2}

If you missed Part 1–you must read it before this one!

When do you get to read about the orphan’s story BEFORE the parent’s story? I mean–usually you know the heart of the parents–and then later you meet the child. But with us–you have first fallen in love with our T. You know her heart…you saw her grow in the 5 weeks with us…and you hit your knees praying hard for her future. Just as these children come with a story that…when we know it…makes the story even more beautiful–our stories…everything to led us as parents to saying yes in faith to the adoption journey…also make our stories more beautiful. Our precious T have been given the gift of parents with beautiful hearts. They aren’t bloggers–but they are brave…and because you love her–they wanted to share some of their story.

It is my great honor to introduce to you to Tetiana’s parents–Andra Harris-Martin and Travis Martin.

This is the mom that will take her shopping and teach her to tailgate. Who will take her to her first hair salon and nail appointment. She will be the one tucking her in at night–brushing her hair and praying with her when she needs encouragement. And this is the daddy that will dance with her…probably to Christy Nockels…and make her laugh. Who will remind her that 16 may be normal for American girls to date–but it’s much to young for his daughter. And this is the dad that will one day walk her down the aisle…so many moments left to be shared…and so much wonderful left to be written.

Their story is absolutely beautiful-but it also begins with loss. And it required such a step of faith to put their hearts out again. Here is part of their story…

Imagine a couple stepping out in faith to adopt a precious little one. They have their referral for an 11 year old princess–and they have had a referral picture to hold near to their hearts for months as they prepare. They prepared with joy–had their friends daughter (also adopted from Ukraine) come help them pack and they are ready to head to Ukraine to bring her home. They shared on Facebook months earlier they were going to adopt one of her friends–but little did they know the forever part of their story that was being written. Andra so bravely shared this with me to share with all those who love T…here is a peak into their journey…

On Our Way – July 17…
We are on our way to pick up our daughter in Ukraine ~ is this really happening?!?!? This morning we go up so busy and exhausted from all the planning we didn’t realize which day this was. Everything has been so surreal so far. To think Travis and I are about to be the proud parents of a beautiful Ukrainian girl ~ who knew?!?!?!

It was our dear friends Nancy and Barry put the idea in our head and made us realize this could be a reality. Their adoption of Oksana has been a beautiful testimony of being the hands and feet of Christ. We are so grateful to them for showing what grace looks like. Nancy, Barry and Oksana came over Saturday night and helped us pack the orphanage gifts. They would not let us lift a finger and even brought paper goods with Ukrainian colors. Our daughter Jennifer works with a dentist who generously donated a ton of toothpaste and Oksana removed each tube so we could pack in Ziplocs. Everything we packed got placed in these miracle bags. Wendy has given us some cute clothes that her daughter Emily has outgrown along with a suitcase. Oh, can’t forget the adorable chair we got from Jean and Jeff and some other goodies they gave us from the garage sale. Nancy and Barry brought more things for the children but best thing they brought were the Lifesavers! (Nancy, I hope these weren’t just for the kiddos. Trav and I needed them too!) Lauren and Jay loaned us Pac Safe stuff–so fun getting to know them and their children, Eliana being from Ukraine. And Jean brought over M&M’s ~ ok…we can travel now!!! And now-after 5 months of endless paperwork, fingerprints, hassles with doctors, and son on…..here we go!!! The day has arrived! So thankful to Staci who didn’t freak out when I told her I would be gone from the office for possible as much as 3 months. And so thankful that because of Stacy we know Nancy and Barry…amazing how God puts the pieces together…

After goodbyes to the puppies, Sean proceeded to take us to the airport. If it were not for him, this trip would not be possible. How thankful I am for his sweet spirit and all his help. This momma sure is proud of both of her sons, Sean and Alex! After a smooth ridge to the airport, it was time for goodbyes. So many things I wanted to say to my son, but all I could get out was, “We are going to pick up your sister.” Any more attempt to speak I would have lost it on the curb.

How grateful we are for everyone’s calling, texting, emailing and Facebook posts–SO very thankful for all of the prayers. A trip like this is so out of the box for me, but then, my box has changed these last few years!! I think about my life earlier and realize how blessed I am to have these amazing people to call dear friends. After leaving Sean and saying goodbye, I am holding my breath about weight restrictions (for the first time not my body weight!!). One bag is 53 lbs and the other was 51. The lady just had us transfer a few items into the carry-on bag. The other one she let go. The issue at the counter was not the weight. We ran into our first real “issue.” We had no return ticket issued. We couldn’t because we did not know when that would be so how could we do that? We called Tonya, our adoption facilitator in US and she called the agent and within a few minutes ~ done! And before long–time to board!

This flight as pretty uneventful except the plane was very small (commuter/express flight) and Trav and I didn’t have seats together. A very nice lady switched with us and Trav got to move up. Everyone knows how much I love flying! So the first leg of the journey took us to Newark. I don’t want to offend you New Jersians, but you guys got to get an airport overhaul;). The Newark airport experience really was pretty uneventful it’s just the people were rude and the facility dirty and hard to navigate. After a VERY challenging time with staff and logistics in this very depressed environment, we boarded a 747 that had to be the biggest plane of all in the fleet. It had a library upstairs! We are on our WAY!

We sat on the plane with this lovely lady named Joan. God plans all the details! She is an adopted mother (her son ~ domestic adoption) and her close friend was adopted from Russia. Are you kidding?! I shared our story, and we both cried. She asked me to keep in touch with her so she would know how things ended up. I must remember to contact her when we are finished with the process! Sleep happened despite the babies crying and bumps…and we Deutschland is near!

Almost there…July 18th
Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore! Travis is dying for a bratwurst before we leave for Kiev! But for breakfast? I wanted sauerkraut, but again ~ for breakfast? We’ll see! The airport in Frankfurt is nice and the airport staff were helpful. Finding our way around was not challenging. We thought it was kind of interesting that our flight to Kiev was far away and what appeared to be the basement of the airport. We actually had to take a bus to the plane as they board away from the terminal. While we were waiting for the bus to board, it rocked, I felt for sure it would tip over. That got my heart going again!

We reviewed our notes from Tonya to familiarize ourselves with the Ukraine facilitation team. Tonya put together the most helpful packet of notes for every step of the process. Now, looking forward to meeting the Ukraine team soon. Nastya, Alexey, Alex, Sergei and the rest. Also, looking forward to meeting some of our Adoption Group Facebook friends. We have met Patricia but others will be there too. How fun to hang with friends so far away. The group is all waiting for us to get together to do dinner, but it would not be tonight. At least not without a nap first! After all these months there will soon be faces to put with names!

On the plane to Kiev, Ukraine. Flight 3 of 3! It’s been beautiful weather for flying. The flight is only supposed to be about 2 hours. We should be in our new home-away-from-home soon. We have had no sleep, multiple security lines, miles of terminals to walk carrying 4 heavy carry-ons, no solid, complete meal…..Exhausted! But now is the time we can open the special surprise from Nancy, Barry and Oksana. They wrote the sweetest card to encourage us and show that they are sharing this journey with us. What lucky folks we are indeed!

5 Days later…

A turn of events happened with the 11 year old precious one this sweet family went over to bring home. They spent 4 days with her–getting to know her…lots of sweet time–but in the end this little one was convinced life would be better for her in the orphanage without a family. For some orphanages, numbers mean more income from the government–and because this child had been raised by these caregivers–of course she would trust them first. Rumors spread that adopted parents intentions are not for the good of the child–and any thing they told her now that may happen to her if she said yes to being in a family might or might not be true–and who would she listen to? As this couple longing to give her more sat beside her–but they knew–for now…she was not theirs.

Memories were made in these days together–and they saw her heart. This story is yet to be finished. This ending still needs much prayer. But for now–they move on…with grieving hearts…wondering what the Lord has in store…and if He would lead them to the daughter they came for. Could this really happen in their time left in Ukraine? And how would the Lord choose to lead them to her? Our ways are not Your ways…they don’t make sense. They hunkered down. They waited. And they prayed.

Driving back home (to Kiev) on Sunday was one of the hardest drives I’ve ever made. I’m almost certain that Sergei hit 110 mph, my stomach issues began and would last over 2 weeks, our hearts had been ripped out, and it was Trav’s birthday. We were just wanting the 10-hour drive to be over! We left at 5 a.m. and didn’t look back. We arrived that evening at our new apartment where we would stay the next 2 weeks. It was a lovely place right next to the St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral. This lovely environment gave us a much needed respite after the challenging time we just experienced.

Monday morning Alex picked us up to file another Petition for Adoption and get it notarized. We were given a new SDA appointment for Thursday. In the meantime, we were to just wait and they would try to find another child available desiring to be adopted. Oh, but so much happened before Thursday!! So much to tell…

…all the while–as they were in Ukraine…their little girl from Ukraine…was just up the street from their home…surrounded by many they also know…who were praying for a miracle…

O r p h a n   C a r e
A d o p t i o n   C a r e