“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”

James 1:27

Our cell phone number in Ukraine is: +38 097 828 9477. We are 8 hours ahead of Texas time. We can receive text but cannot send them. You can also reach us by email at joniredding@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Can we really do this?

Jody and I both woke up at 4:00 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep.  We are still adjusting to the time difference and there is just so much on our minds.  It's so great to be back with the kids.  We got to the airport about 10:30 pm on Saturday.  Lots of tears from all of us!!!  We stopped at Whataburger on the way home :)   We slept with the 3 boys cuddled up in our bed and it was so nice!  The kids were excited to watch the videos of their new brother and sister.  They don't want me to leave again, even though this trip will only be about a week.  I don't want to leave again either.  But, I have to do it.   We are having a difficult time right now.  We are emotionally exhausted.  We are full of worries.  Can we really do this?  Can we really care for a special needs child?  Can we do it and still have enough time for the other 5 kids?  Will we ever be able to love them like the others?   Will they ever love us like our other kids do?  Will we be able to treat them the same even if we don't exactly feel the same?  Will Jody and I have any time for each other?  Will we neglect Tanya's needs because Bogdan's are so numerous and obvious?  How can we pay for the rest of this adoption which has ended up being so much more expensive than we thought?  How can we pay for the medical and dental bills that we are undoubtedly going to have?  I can't even imagine how much all of this is going to cost.  I know that God will take care of all of these things.  I just have to think about that and let go of these worries, but it's hard.  It's hard for me to even type these things because I feel guilty about the way I feel.  It's comforting to read that other people have these same feelings and God got them through it.  I know that someday I will read this and be once again amazed by what God has done in our lives.  But right now, it's hard.  I feel very inadequate for what is ahead.  I know that I am inadequate but thankfully God is more than adequate and He will give us everything we need to do what He has called us to do.  This is the verse that keeps coming to mind as I struggle through all of these things:

James 1:2-8  2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.


I don't know exactly what day I will be leaving because I'm not sure when our 10 day waiting period is over.  There is so much to do in this week to get ready to go back.  I need to book flights and make some appointments for when we get back.  I need to get some clothes for Tanya and Bogdan and I am going to try and get some clothes to take to Yarik also.  I need to run some errands but I want to spend every second playing with the kids.  I guess I will just make take them with me!  Ryan has his 1st All-Star tournament this weekend so I'm excited that I will get to see that before I leave.  

Thanks so much for praying for us during this time, please keep it up!  



Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Family of 8!

I finally have internet access so I can post.  We had court yesterday morning which seems like so long ago.  Everything went smooth.  It only lasted about 45 minutes.  The judge asked Jody a lot of questions about if he was able to financially support 2 more children and if we have room in our house for 2 more.  He asked me what my occupation is.  When I told him that I stay at home with the kids, he said, "happy woman" and even smiled a little.  We learned that the kids mom was a single mom and she was getting money for the government to help take care of the kids but she was using it for herself instead.  They said that she often left the kids at home alone and she was drinking a lot. The father is not listed for either child.  They kept repeating that no Ukrainian citizen wanted the children either.  I really wish the kids didn't have to hear all of that.  They asked Tanya and Bogdan if they wanted to be adopted by us.  Tanya said yes and Bogdan just stared at the judge and nodded his head.  The judge and the 2 jurors left the room for about 20 minutes and came back in to read the verdict.  They announced that they approved the adoption and that Tanya Redding and Alex Bogdan Redding are now our children!  We tried to get a picture outside the courthouse afterwards but they wouldn't allow it.  It was pouring down rain after court and we needed to get some paper notarized.  We went to about 6 different notaries and nobody could do it. Then, they called someone in Kiev who could do it so we had to rush to pack up and take the kids to the camp in order to get to Kiev and meet the notary.  This is pretty much to way everything worked while we were there.  Run around to a billion different places to get one paper signed, stamped, or notarized.  We had to have a driver take us to take the kids out to camp and then to Kiev.  We payed $215 for that which seemed like a lot.  When we turned on the road where the camp is, Tanya made a sad face to tell us that she didn't want to go back.  It was hard to leave her.  She was sad.  We all hugged and she kept saying "I love you, I love you, I love you."  Tanya was explaining to Bogdan that they had to go back to camp and he pouted and said he didn't want to go.  He was fine when we got there though.  I don't think he really understands what is going on.  We made it to Kiev and got the paper notarized.  I'm still not sure what it was.  We went to eat dinner with Natalia and she showed us her wedding album.  We found out that she is married to Alex, our 1st facilitator.  They didn't want to tell us until after court because they wanted to stay professional.  I can't believe I didn't figure it out.  I wondered if her husband cared that she and Alex were such close friends because they seemed to flirt a lot on the phone.  Funny!  Anyway, we had such a great time getting to know them both.  We hope they can come and visit us sometime soon.

It was fun and challenging having the kids without a translator.  Bogdan is like a 2 or 3 year old.  He wants to touch everything and play with every plug or remote he can find.  His attention span is very short so we had to constantly be watching him.  It was exhausting!  He was fascinated by the fan, the washing machine, and the blow dryer.  He would have stayed in the shower for hours if we would have let him.  Whenever he doesn't get to do something that he wants to do, he pouts.  I'm hoping that when he realizes that won't work, he will stop.  We didn't give in to pouting and he seemed to get over it quickly.  We walked to the only restaraunt we know of that has an English menu to eat lunch.  It had rained so there were a ton of puddles.  Bogdan held our hands and we would swing him over the puddles.  He loved it and its just another one of those things that I'm sure he has never done before.  There was a little playground by the apartment and Jody took him down there to play for about an hour after lunch.  He had so much fun.  When it was time to come in, he pouted again.  We went to eat pizza for lunch.  Tanya likes pizza but this was Bogdan's 1st time to eat it and he didn't like it.  It didn't help that Tanya and Ellie were teasing him and telling him it was "poopka".  They were so silly at dinner.  Tanya talks more to Ellie.  I think she is still a little embarassed to try to speak English to us.  After dinner, Bodan took a shower and brushed his teeth.  We told him to lay down and he did.  Then he started to get up to get some pistachios.  I told him "Nyet , zaftra." (no, tomorrow)  He did not like that at all and quickly grabbed a handful out of the bowl.  I told him again and he held on tighter.  I pried them out of his hand and he grabbed a handful with the other hand.  I got them all away from them but he yelled "nyet, nyet, nyet" and started kicking his legs.  Then he was crying and pouting.  Tanya was in the shower and she talked to him when she got out and he calmed down.  He was still mad at us though.  We told him that we loved him but he can't tell mama and papa "nyet".  It's just so hard to know how to handle these situations.  I know that it is frustrating to him because he doesn't understand what we are saying.  He ended up cheering up when I started blow drying the girls hair.  He LOVED the blow dryer!  It took him a while to fall asleep and then about an hour after he went to sleep, he woke up crying.  He was kicking his feet and holding the side of his face.  He told Tanya his head hurt.  He also said his throat hurt.  It was terrible.  He was in such horrible pain and there was nothing we could do.  We just prayed and prayed. I only had adult motrin, but I gave him one anyway.  I posted it on facebook and asked everyone to pray.  In just a little while, he fell back asleep and never complained about it again.  Praise God!  We think it was probably his tooth.  All of his teeth are rotten but one is REALLY bad.  I can't even look at it.  Teeth gross me out.  I don't even like the kids to show me their loose teeth.  Yuk.  Ellie said that there is mold on it.  Jody said that it's just completely black and absessed.  I imagine it hurts all the time.  I will have to take him to the dentist right away when he gets home.  I hate the thought of him waking up at the orphanage in the middle of the night in pain.  I wonder what they do when that happens.  Tanya was so sweet to him.

Right now we are in Washinton D.C. at the airport.  We had to wake up at 3:30 am this morning for our flight.  We are so tired - physically and emotionally.  It was sad to leave the kids yesterday at camp.  But I think the reality of how challening this is going to be is starting to get to us.  To be completely honest, there is a tiny part of me that was relieved that we get to have one week before the craziness begins for good.  Then I feel so guilty for even thinking like that.  It is really hard for me to bond with Bogdan right now.  He is bonding with Jody but still doesn't really want anything to do with me.  I was praying about it the other morning and asking God to please change my heart and make me love him just like I do the other kids.  Then I realized that isn't what I need to be concentrating on.  The thing that I can choose to do is "love" him in actions.  I don't have to FEEL it in order to DO it.  I hate even admitting this because I'm sure some people fall instantly in love with the children they are adopting.  I know God is going to teach me so much through all of this and it's both exciting and exhausting for me to think about.  I'm so tired right now, that I don't even know if this is making sense but I don't feel like rereading it so I'm just going to add pictures and post it.  I'm tired of being away from home.  I can't wait to see the boys and I'm wishing that I didn't have to go to Ukraine next week.  Ok, see how terrible my attitude is today?  I guess you can pray about that too!


Bogdan eating his icecream. 

He loved watching the washing machine go around.  He also likes to help clean!


Even sweeping was fun.

Ready for court


Ellie, Tanya, and Alex Redding


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today with the kids

We had a great day today.  We asked if we could pick the kids up from camp today but we thought they would definitely say no.  The orphanage director was in a really good mood so he signed for us to take them until Saturday after court.  Natalia was with us today but tomorrow we will be by ourselves.  It will be a little hard without a translator but I hope we will do ok.  Tanya and Ellie had so much fun today.  Jody sang his new Russian song for the kids and they thought it was hilarious.  Then, tonight while we were driving home Tanya starting singing it in a voice like Jody used.  It was pretty funny.  Ellie and Tanya were singing out the windows of the car to everyone we passed.  I was a little embarrassed but they were having fun.  We can't believe how much they are alike.  Right now they are laying in bed looking at a magazine, giggling and giggling.  It's so cute.  We got to skype with my parents and the kids tonight.  It was fun.  I think it might have been a little overwhelming to Tanya because there were 9 kids all trying to talk to herat the same time.  She probably thinks her life is going to be just like the orphanage.  My sister is at my moms house with her 3 kids and my mom also had 3 of the kids friends over.  She and AnnMarie were about to take all of them swimming.  Wow!  The boys are doing good.  We are so ready to go home and see them.  Yesterday our water went off in our apartment.  Today it still wasn't back on so we moved apartments and its much better.  There are 3 places to sleep and it has a washer and Wifi!  Plus, it's much cheaper and in a better location.  After we picked the kids up from camp today, we came back to the apartment so Jody could help Bogdan take a shower.  He scrubbed his feet forever and even used a toothbrush to scrub his toes.  He still didn't get all the dirt off.  I think it will take several more srubbings before he is really clean.  He LOVED taking a shower.  It was a completely new experience.  Natalia and I went shopping for him some clothes while he was getting clean.  I can't believe I only brought court clothes for both of them.  Tanya can wear Ellie's clothes so that's good.  Clothes here are not cheap.  We went bowling tonight and the kids had a lot of fun.  Tanya has bowled before on hosting trips, but it was Bogdan's first time.  He loved it.  He waited his turn so patiently and loved bowling with Papa.  We ate dinner at McDonalds.  Natalia ordered Tanya and Bogdan cheeseburgers but neither of them liked it.  Maybe they will like Whataburger.  They liked the french fries and Tanya ate a chicken wrap.  Bogdan loved his salad at lunch today.  He tried to lick the bowl.  We did work on manners a little bit too.  Jody has been so great with him.  I mean really great.  I have just been amazed by him.  He isn't that comfortable with me yet.  I'm sure it will come, but I'm so thankful that Jody has been able to bond with him so quickly.  That's about it for today.  We are really tired and we have no idea what tomorrow will bring.  Thankfully, God knows and it's something that He can handle!
As soon as we left camp, Bogdan fell asleep on Jody's lap.

Tanya and Ellie - these girls are so silly!

More silliness!

Watching Monsters Inc. in Russian

Papa and Bogdan bowling

So cute!


This was a really nice bowling alley - probably the nicest thing we have seen here.




Bogdan thought this was so much fun, and we didn't even put money in it!


Sisters at bedtime!  So sweet!


Goodnight!





Pictures from yesterday

We have the kids with us until court on Saturday.  We are having a good time.  Right now they are watching Monsters Inc. in Russian.  Bogdan is attached to Jody.  When Jody took a shower, he kept asking for Papa.  It was so cute!  Tanya and Ellie are having a great time.  We got to skype with AnnMarie and Jacob earlier.  We are going to skype everyone else this afternoon.  Here are the pictures from yesterday.  I know I will have more later tonight.  We are so close to coming home!  Our plane leaves here Sunday morning and we get home really late on Sunday night.  I will be home for a week and then come back.  My friend Letty is here on her 2nd trip and she will probably be ready to leave on saturday - only 5 or 6 days.  Hopefully mine will be that fast next time.

Everytime we went to camp, Bogdan would hurry over to the bag to see what toys we brought.


Tanya and Lena ( Karly, this is the one where she smiled for you :)

These are some of the kids that run to greet us at camp.  They say "Gum, please"  or they want to play baseball.

This is how we leave Bogdan everyday.  He watches us drive off.  I can't wait until we take him with us for good!





Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Court on Saturday

We didn't get to see the kids today because we were waiting on the signature from the social worker all day.  We finally sat outside her office at 5:45 and she came by.  We got the paper that we need and we are going to have court on Saturday at 10 am.  We are hoping to get a flight home late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.  Oh, I can't wait to get home!  We were sad to not be able to see the kids today but we are hoping they will get to spend the night with us before court.  Jody can't wait to give them a bath, but I think it will take more than one to get all that dirt off.  I'm still can't post pictures for some reason today.  Hopefully it will work tomorrow because I have some cute ones.



No court date yet

We still don't have a court date but we are hoping for Friday.  We are waiting on a signature from someone in the social workers office but he is at some celebration.  The social worker said she is waiting at his desk with the paper to get it signed as soon as he comes back.  Now Natalia went to wait with her so that maybe she can speed things up.  Natalia just told us that if we don't get this paper today before lunch, we will not have court until next Wednesday because Monday and Tuesday are Ukrainian holidays.  Oh my goodness.  I'm feeling a little panicked but I'm going to just pray and trust that God's timing is perfect - as I have learned over and over again through this experience.  We spent a little while yesterday at the camp and then had to hurry back to run all over town getting papers signed and stamped, and then signed and stamped again.  Ugh.  Last night we had dinner with my friend Letty and her 4 adopted kids.  I can't believe I didn't take any pictures.  It was so fun.  They kids speak different languages because they have been hosted in many different places.  Helen was trying to teach us spanish, Maya was trying to teach us French, and everyone else was trying to teach us Russian and Ukrainian.  It was so funny.  Natalia is impressed with my Russian pronunciation, but I think that is because she is comparing it to Jody's which is horrible.  Now he has been trying to learn Russian by learning some Russian songs.  So it is combining 2 things he is terrible at - singing and speaking Russian.  Natalia thinks it is hilarious!  Ok, hopefully I will have good news about court later today!

i'm having trouble posting pictures, but i will add them as soon as possilbe

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pictures of the kids

Today we got to spend a long time at the camp with the kids.  All of the kids are starting to be more comfortable around us.  We had a lot of fun.  They loved trying to play baseball and throw the "American Football".  Ellie and Tanya were so silly together.  It's really fun to see them enjoying each other so much.  We have to go pick up some more documents tomorrow and then we should know our court date.  We are hoping for Friday.  Here are some pictures from today:

Bogdan in his new sunglasses

Ellie and Tanya

Pasha playing "American Football"


Pasha playing baseball with Jody

This picture doesn't look like Tanya, I don't know why.  This is her friend Yana.


We jump roped for a long time.  They were good!



Helen and Nick Quintero


Nick loved taking pictures with my camera.  He took this one and about 50 more :)


Bogdan had fun learning to play baseball.


Nick also took this picture of Lena.  She is coming for hosting this summer.


This is Pasha and another boy put I can't remember his name.  Both are sweet kids!


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This is Pasha who really wants to come to Texas!  He is so sweet, a good student, and an amazing athlete!  Jody loves this kid!!!!!!


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This is Pasha with the soccer ball.  This doesn't even show how amazing he is.


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We got caught in the rain yesterday and had to walk 2 miles in the pouring rain!


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This is from graduation the other day.


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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Graduation

We took our first taxi since in Ukraine to Yarik's graduation yesterday.  We got there about 20 minutes early and as soon as we stepped out of the car, Yarik came running out of the orphanage to meet us.  We found some shoes just like Jody's but all black for a graduation gift.  We wrapped it and he held on to it the whole time.  I think he was so proud to have it and also to have us there.  There were only a few people there to watch the graduation.  There are a couple of churches who have missionaries that work with the orphans and they were there.  It was sad to see these kids being put out on their own.  They are so young and not ready for that.  Yarik stayed by our sides as much as he could.  It was really weird not knowing what was going on.  One of the missionaries spoke a little English so she translated as much as she could.  She was really sweet.  She didn't know Yarik but she did know Tanya and she was so happy that we are adopting her.  During the ceremony, every time I looked at Yarik he was just looking at us.  He really is a sweet kid.  We were talking about it and we guessed that this is the first time anyone has ever come to support him in anything.  I doubt if anyone has ever been interested in anything he has done.  Alla came at the end of graduation so she could translate for us a little bit.  She introduced us to a boy named Pasha who she said was going to be hosted this summer but can't because of the trade school entrance exams.  She said they were going to try again for next year.  We didn't know they could still be hosted after they graduated.  She said they can still be hosted until they are 18.  We were really excited to find this out because we were able to tell Yarik that maybe he could come next summer.  In order for him to come, the director of his school would have to approve and he would have to stay in school.  We are really hoping that we can continue our relationship with him and encourage him to stay in school and start making better choices so that he can come to America for the summer next year.  When we started talking about hosting, he told Alla to tell us that he will be free in a few days and could come now.  Up until now he has acted like he didn't want to come and when he said this, he seemed so vulnerable.  Alla told him that it was too late for the paperwork for this summer.  It will have to be next year.  We hope to spend some more time with him this week.  We shouldn't have a lot of paperwork to do this week so we should be able to spend more time with the kids.  Today we are at the mall again.  We decided to walk to the other direction and there was an outdoor market there.  But, we still ended up here where there is Wifi and we can point at pictures to order food.  We thought about moving to an apartment with a washing machine but Jody didn't want to move.  I did so he told me that he would wash the clothes if we stayed - so he washed the clothes this morning in the tub.  He did a really good job too!  Please continue to pray that we will have court next week and continue to pray for sweet Yarik.

These are teachers at the orphanage who conducted the ceremony.

This is Yarik and the director of the orphanage.

Alla and Ellie.  Ellie was so proud of Yarik.  She said that you could tell he is everyone's favorite  because he had the loudest claps.  She was right too!

Pasha, Sveta, and Yarik. Sveta sang a couple of songs at the graduation.  I will try to post one at the end.


I don't know all the names.  Yarik liked for me to take pictures of him with his friends.  This little girl is pregnant.  I asked Yarik who the father is and he didn't know.

Jody doing our laundry!

Ellie helped too!


I'm having trouble uploading the video of graduation.  We are going to walk around for a while and then I will try again in a little while.







Friday, June 17, 2011

We picked Yarik up today at the orphanage.  We had to run to the court house to pay a tax for the adoption and then we headed out to the camp to pick up Tanya and Bogdan.  We were a little uncomfortable interacting with Yarik because of the things people have told us about him.   We had planned to just not even mention buying him anything or giving him money.  We wanted to buy him a graduation gift but we didn't mention anything at first.  He never brought it up at all.  He and Natalia talked most of the way and we just listened wondering what they were saying.  Every once in a while he would point out something and tell us about it.  He told us when we passed through the town that his father lives in.  He said he hasn't ever seen his father.  I'm not sure how that fits with what we know because Tanya and Yarik supposedly have the same father.  He also told us that their mother is in prison.  We didn't know that either.  He is planning on going to trade school next year to become a welder.  He is going to live in the village where he grew up this summer with Yuri.  (more on that later).  He is a really cute kid and has the sweetest smile.  The way he was today was so different from the way everyone describes.  When we arrived at the camp, they were having some kind of cookout and all the kids where outside.   Everyone yelled for Tanya and Bogdan as soon as they saw us.  They came running over and when they saw Yarik, they ran to him and gave him huge hugs.  He was so happy to see them.   We got to the town where the courthouse is and we had about an hour and a half before our meeting so we went to eat.  Yarik was so sweet to Tanya and Bogdan.  He smiled at us a lot too.  We went to the court house and we had to go in front of 8 people sitting like a jury.  It wasn't what we expected.  One lady explained to the others that we wanted to separate the siblings because Yarik did not want to be adopted by us.  Then for about 10 minutes 8 adults tried to convince Yarik to go to America with us.  At one point we looked back at Yarik and there were tears in his eyes.  I can't tell you how heartbreaking it was. Tanya and Ellie were also both on the verge of tears - even though Ellie didn't even know what anyone was saying.  Yarik just kept saying that he didn't want to be adopted and that he would keep in touch with his sister by phone and by Skype.  They told Natalia to ask us if Yarik said he would go, would we adopt him?  I had no idea what to say.  I just said that we only have paperwork to adopt 2 children right now and that we are just getting to know Yarik.  I think Natalia translated a little different.  I'm pretty sure she said that we wanted to adopt Yarik but he did not want to go with us.  We showed our photo album and told them about all of the kids in our community that have been adopted from Zhytomyr.  They liked that.  They asked if in a few years Yarik would like to come to America to visit his brother and sister, would we help him?  We said yes.  Finally they voted and announced the verdict that they approved the separation.  Natalia told us later that they really seemed like they were going to say no.  She was really nervous.  She also told us later that in the car on the way there, she asked Yarik why he had never wanted to go to the US.  He said that he didn't know if he would go or not, that we didn't offer to adopt him so he knew we didn't want to.  That really broke our hearts.  We didn't know coming in to this we would even have to deal with this.  We thought that because he is graduating (tomorrow) we would not have to do the separation.  Plus the people from the orphanage told us from the beginning that he didn't want to be adopted and he wanted to stay in Ukraine.  We hope to keep in touch with him and maybe someday he can come visit us.  We will continue to pray for him all the time.  I think he is really a sweet boy who loves his brother and sister and was able to act so selflessly today.  After the meeting, we had Natalia tell him that we would like to buy him a graduation gift.  He said that we did not have to.  We asked if there is anything he would like.  He thought about it for a while and said that he needed some tennis shoes like Jody's but maybe a different color.  We told him we would like to try to come to his graduation tomorrow and he said he would really like for us to come.  Natalia went home for the weekend so we will have to get a taxi and go by ourselves.  It's very uncomfortable without a translator, especially around all the older boys.  They always ask us for cigarettes.  Maybe we can give them all a pack for graduation. (kidding, of course).  When we dropped Yarik off, he asked if he could have 10 grivna which is $1.25. I think we made friends with him today!  It was so good that we could get on such good terms with him so that he can continue to have a relationship with Tanya and Bogdan and also with us.  We are going to take him some shoes tomorrow for a graduation gift and later we are also going to buy a small laptop for him so that he can skype with Tanya and Bogdan.  On the way back to camp, we went to the house where they grew up.  We were hoping to see Yuri but he wasn't there.  I took pictures of their house but you can't really tell how bad it is.  It is just basically 4 brick walls, about 150 square feet.  The floor is dirt and there is an outhouse on the side.  There was a ladder going to a loft which is where I guess they slept.  In the other half of the house was where the animals slept.  It was deserted and looked like nobody had been there in quite a while.  Yarik said he wants to fix it up while he is living there this summer.  I just can't believe anyone could live like this.  It gets so cold here, I can't imagine how they kept warm.  There was a goat in the field next to the house that Tanya said belonged to them.  Tanya wanted to go by this little store where she liked the lady who worked there.  It had been 4 years since she had been there and she was glad to see her.  The lady told her that she was so happy for them and that she worried about what would happen to them.  Now they could go and have a good life.  She even said that Tanya looked like me, especially if she gets a sunburn.  She said Tanya and Bogdan were lucky to have us and I said "No, we are the ones who are lucky!"  Several times during the day, Tanya just came up and hugged me.  She is so sweet.  In the car she would just lay her head on my shoulder.  Bogdan gets more and more comfortable with us every day.  I hugged him bye today!  He rode in Jody's lap and laid his head back on Jody's chest and fell asleep.  They did take a bath because they were much cleaner today.  Bogdan had blisters on his heels from his sandals so one of the workers from camp asked us if we could buy him some shoes.  We found some slip on shoes that won't hurt his blisters.  Tanya and Yarik wanted to show us the river that they grew up swimming in.  It was fun to just be with them away from camp and to have Yarik there with us.  Ellie and Tanya had a lot of fun together and were really silly.  We loved it!  I guess that's all for our day.  Jody is always telling me that I write too much.  Sorry if its too long, but I want to remember all of these details someday :)  Thanks for praying for us today - I think that is the only reason that they granted the separation!  Please pray that the paperwork will be processed quickly and we can have court next week.  Also pray for our time at the graduation tomorrow.  We have had only a little time with internet the last couple of days.  Thanks for the emails!  I love reading them.  I hope to have time to email tomorrow.   Here are pictures:

Tanya and Bogdan were so happy to see Yarik!


Yarik, Tanya, Bogdan


This is the house the kids grew up in.



This is the spot in the river that they grew up swimming in.


Yarik and Bogdan


Ellie and Tanya being silly!

This is Vika Quintero and her friend Masha.


This is Tanya and Katya.  She told me when we got to camp that Katya always gets hosted in France and she doesn't like it.  She wants to have a family in the U.S.  She is 13.  She was a little shy and didn't really want to smile for the camera.


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This is a video of the outside of the kids house.  The next one is of the inside.  It was dark so it's not very good but you can get an idea of the conditions.


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