Monday, August 30, 2010


As the plane pushed backed, I couldn't shake the feelings of emptiness that came over me. As she was sitting there on that plane in this moment, I tried to imagine the sadness she was enduring and tears that were falling. I hope she kept reminding herself that Mom and Dad would come as soon as possible. Even with my five kids at home and our new exchange student having just arrived, I still find myself walking around with that empty feeling like something just isn't right, someone is Lizzie.

Back in the Spring, when we committed to bring Lizzie home for the summer, I knew this moment would come. I knew we would eventually have to pay the price, or face the music as my old man used to say. I pray that is the only price we have to pay. I fear we may have done more harm than good. There are the threats from a cold, harsh chaperon who will remain nameless...and this will be the last time I ever speak of it. Despite repeated attempts to "win the hearts and minds" of this person, we were rebuffed again and again. In the latter stages we just realized that no one can reason with an insane person. Never before in my own home have I been so insulted, judged, watched, uncomfortable! Parting words to me from this person were, to say the least, astonishing and revealing of true character and intent. I now know why I didn't shed a tear when Lizzie walked away, down the jet way. I was bewildered!

I just can't write here all the awful stuff we endured or heard. Heidi and I stood fast and bore it for Lizzie's sake and sanity and we don't regret having her for one minute. The good times far outweigh the bad ones from the chaperon and it was good to build more bonds of trust and love with Lizzie. We would do it all over again, thank goodness we won't have to! She will be home for good early next year.

Lizzie has a good head on her shoulders and is keen to the perils she has to face. She told us many stories while she was here. It's remarkable what she has seen and avoided. Drug use, shooting up, prostitution, drinking have all been in the same room with Lizzie, yet she has managed to escape their attention. She is wise beyond her years and more mature than she should be for her age. Perhaps because she has seen more in her short young life than I will see in my entirety. I know God looks over Lizzie and protects her and that He sent her to us three years ago.

If you think I'm making this stuff up or that things like this don't happen, go read Tom Davis' book, Priceless. Read his other book Scared too! The movie, Taken, might get your attention as well. Then get involved, somewhere, anywhere, even in the US. There are more Lizzies out there!

Lizzie sent a message this morning on Facebook that she had arrived back at the orphanage, two days after she left home. Her message, as follows and not respelled or cleaned up, paints a potential problem. We pray it is something as simple as her phone was stolen or she lost her favorite bed.

hi,Daddy!!!how are you????i miss you so much!!!i have big problems!!I don't
want to say about!!!but we know you love us,and we love you!!!i'm in orphanage
in Kherson!!!and Ukraine is garbigge!!!

The father part of me wants to lecture her about calling that country "garbage". The daddy part of me just says, "I Love and miss you terribly, sweetie" In my present state of mind, guess which reply I sent. From here on out, we will write about the great times we had with her and the happiness with our growing family. Stay with us...

~ Tet-chka Felix ~

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Day with Lizzie

Lizzie flies back to Ukraine tomorrow. After she leaves, I will post a few blogs about our time together. I intentionally didn't write much these past 10 weeks while she was here. We wanted to spend as much time with her and enjoy the moments. It was a great experience for her and for us. Her English skills soared and now we will have more to talk about when we call her. She was in her family and got to preview things to come. Father and daughter bonds were cemented and she is more of a Daddy's girl than ever before. She has a new name for me...Tet-chka. Cute, and I melt every time she uses it. I'm gonna miss that, and her!

We are going to spend the whole day with her, Heidi and I took off from work to do so. We are doing fine with the departure. The only hint of tears came two nights ago when I asked Lizzie if she ever had a Daddy before or did she remember her father. She held me tightly and started crying. She said "No, you are the only daddy I have ever had." I felt bad after having asked the question. It reaffirmed the need that girls need moms and dads.

Last night Rimma came and sat with me on the sofa, putting her arms around me. She said, "Thank goodness I am home and I never have to return". Lizzie and Rimma get it!

~ Felix ~

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

18 days 'till Camp Ukraine

Everywhere I look, the signs are there that school will be starting back up soon. Last year this time, I posted a funny commercial that I remembered about “the most wonderful time of the year” for parents. This year I’m a bit melancholy about the whole thing. That’s because this summer, we had Lizzie at home and she will depart on the 28th of August.

However, I’m not torn up inside about it like I was when we put Rimma & Lizzie on that plane back in 2007, never knowing if we would ever see them again, if we would get to adopt them, if they would be safe and sound until we got there. Those worries prompted the trip in April of ’08. No, rather, I am comforted by the fact that we will be there to get her early next year. In that regard, she has to go back. We regret that the date approaches, but we don’t dwell on it or dread it.

Quite simply, in our conversations with Lizzie, we all have come up with a term for the few months of separation we will endure. Lizzie herself will tell you that she’s not going home, she IS HOME! No, she’s going away to “Camp Ukraine”, sometimes referred to as “boarding school” from which she will be plucked out of in due time. We tell her that she better enjoy the last few months of her life in Ukraine. Enjoy the food, enjoy the music, enjoy the culture, ‘cause Dear Ole Dad won’t be traveling back there post-adoption anytime soon!

Lizzie agrees, too! She sees the longing by adopted Ukie kids (there are quite a few in our community) to go back for a visit, to go back and see friends, to go back and be in the culture. We realize this with Nadia and Rimma. Nadia has gotten over it and hardly ever asks about calling or visiting her old Diestky Dom. Rimma misses one friend and a cousin she hardly ever got to see. We allow contact, but both girls are slowly getting past their loss. Lizzie, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with Ukraine once she leaves.

One could argue that she is sheltering herself and will come to miss her past. She and I will tell ya, there is nothing left for her in Ukraine but hurt, abandonment, a care taker who hates her and a director that threatens her.

Last week, she told me that she wants to be like Kole and forget the Russian language. I cautioned her against that saying that a brilliant career could be had by speaking both languages. I mentioned to her about being a linguist working at an Embassy or a company that does business with Russian-speaking countries, being a flight attendant on trans-Atlantic flights doing the same, or about the need for mission work bringing Christ to those countries. She lit up as I discussed those possibilities. Her smile was evident as she stated, “I want to help the orphans and people who speak Russian when they come to America, but I want to work from here helping people.”

So, for the meantime, Lizzie is done with Ukraine. Hopefully, time will ease her hurt and erase all bad memories. God kept her there to do his work these past three years. Lizzie has aided, comforted and helped convince 4 of 5 orphans when they were struggling between adoption or staying at the orphanage and taking their chances. Lizzie should have been the first one home, but I now see that was the task that He had for her to do. She has done enough for now, I would agree.

In 18 days Lizzie will leave for “camp” and for the last time we will say our Goodbyes. A part of the family will be missing and a piece of our hearts will fly away on that plane. It is our prayer that God will remove all obstacles and will deliver her home forever. May the next five months fly away as fast as these 10 summer weeks have.
~ Felix ~

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.