Thursday, December 6, 2007

Day 2 UOO Dec '07 Hosting Trip

Day Two

Heidi got up early to make breakfast for 5 kids, ages 8-12, and their caretaker. Add us and that's 8 total. Not a record, but quiet a feat for people we have never met and that don't speak English. We volunteered to take the only caretaker that doesn't speak English, because just a month earlier, God sent us Lilya.

Lilya moved to the US two years ago from Ukraine and settled in California. There she met and became engaged to a man who is finishing up seminary. He is from, you guessed it, Longmont CO! Lilya moved to Colorado to stay with her fiancees parents just last month. Lilya and Todd will get married in CO and set up home here. He will move to Colorado to find a pastoral position the weekend after the kids go home. Meanwhile, Lilya "googled" Ukraine and Colorado and found us just in time. We met her THAT NIGHT and we invited her to be part of our UOO meeting. She is ecstatic to help with the kids and translate. Go Lily, go!

OK, back to the kids. Everyone is up and comes downstairs for morning prayer. Some are awake, others are rubbing sleep from their eyes. I say grace and pray for the safe delivery and continued safety of the kids. Everyone digs in...they love the American breakfast Heidi has prepared. I'm sure it's not their first. No one but us knows what's in store for today because we haven't picked up Lilya yet. I blast off to go get her across town. When I return, they are dressed and are told of the days events from Lilya. They take an instant liking to her as she has a calm, sensitive demeanor. What a sweetheart and a terrific gift from God...of which Heidi and I call her all week.

I've been watching Zina and Rimma (pronounced Ream-aa) again. What is it about these two. Many friends that we know that have adopted from Ukraine have told us that as they are going through those picture books at the SDA in Ukraine, they knew! That is, they knew when they saw their kids. Is this the plan God has for Heidi and me?

9am and I'm concerned that we need to get going to make our 10:30 am showing at the first event. We are trekking to the Rockies, west of Ft. Collins, CO to have an outdoor mountain day for the kids. We will reunite with the other two host families and kids on a privately owned 700 acre ranch for a cookout, tree cutting, and outdoor games. All food, cooking, and associated help has been provided by the many volunteers we signed up over the past few months.

As we determine passenger location (we have a volunteer driver in addition to our SUV) I selfishly put Zina and Rimma in our vehicle. We want to be alone with them, without a translator or pressure from a caretaker, to see how they interact with us. So, of we go, Heidi and I with Zina and Rimma. A minivan carries Katya (12), her brother Ruslan (9), and Svetlana (8) along with the caretaker, Marianna, and Lilya.

Heidi brings a Russian/Ukrainian children's language book to ask the girls some questions. Along the way we find out that Zina likes to sew and Rimma likes to dance. I'm pretty sure my heart belongs to them already, and they don't know it. Heidi does though, she can read me like a book.

After the day in the mountains, we all will meet at our church, Grace Place. At GP, we will have a pizza dinner and the children will be introduced at our Thursday night service. They will also perform a Silent Night during the first five minutes of the service. The dinner and singing go well and take about three more hours in the evening. This all goes well, but Zina and Rimma are begging Heidi and me to take them home. They don't care for the spotlight. Around 8 pm Heidi and I grab our bunch and head for home. I get only Rimma and Svetlana in my vehicle. All the way home I am treated to the music of giggling, happy Ukrainian princesses from the backseat!

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About Us

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Longmont, Colorado, United States
Heidi loves to play sand volleyball, sail and garden. Felix loves to fly at the local aeroclub, sail and fish.