Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I. Can't. Even.

So, dear friends...I have no idea if any of you will even read this since it's been over 2 1/2 years since I've posted a thing on it!!!  Time certainly has a way of flying by.

A crazy thing happened today and I ended up on this blog page -- TWICE.  I haven't visited it since shortly after our return from Ukraine.  I have absolutely NO idea how I got here...it was somehow through trying to make a donation to someone's adoption fund.   Go figure.

So, since I was here, I went back and read my last post and realized that you all deserve to know what's going on in the continuation of our story with "Alex/Sam."  Here's a (hopefully) brief version to catch you up!

1) His name is actually Sasha.  Sasha is the nickname that is given for Alexander in Russian/Ukranian cultures.

2) I spent 2 years trying to contact him occasionally through the Russian equivalent to Facebook -- VKontact.  He never replied to a message or accepted my friend request during that 2 years.  I wrote him annually on his birthday and on major holidays or as the Lord brought him to my mind -- more frequently during the unrest we were hearing of in Ukraine.  But I never, NEVER received a response of any kind.

3) Finally, in April of last year he posted a message in reply to mine.  However, it wasn't until a couple of weeks later, as I was getting ready to post his annual birthday wish, that I actually saw the message. (I had stopped checking the page regularly several months prior as it had just been an exercise in futility to that point.)  His was a message thanking us for not forgetting him.  It was brief, but sweet.

4) We didn't hear again from him until August when he sent a message requesting baseballs and bats in order for him to be able to teach the kids in his school/orphanage about the sport of baseball - to which he, himself, had just recently been introduced.  Honestly, it didn't set very well with me.  You don't reply to my messages for 2 years and then out of the blue you want me to send you baseball equipment?  Seriously?  Shane felt a bit differently about it all and was just glad to finally hear from him.

5) It was exciting to us (after I got over the irritation of being neglected for 2 years and then asked for money!) to be in contact though with him after all this time!  We continued sporadic contact for a couple of months on VK, and then...

6) The Lord orchestrated a very strange series of events (too numerous to share here) which led Sasha and us to a man FROM TEXAS who was living in Ukraine and was the one who taught Sasha about baseball!  We became fb friends with him (his name is Chad) and struck up a wonderful relationship very quickly as we both had our love for Sasha in common.  Our whole family then also became FB friends with Sasha.

7) Fast forward many months to today:

We are in almost DAILY contact with Sasha. (yes, we sent the baseball equipment and some other things he needed!)  He is SAFE and is going to school.  He has a place to live.  He is being well cared for.  He is learning English.  We have skyped with him (well, kind-of -- we ended up leaving messages for each other via Skype because of the time-difference & their limited wi-fi, we couldn't coordinate the times to make it work!) and he tells us regularly that he loves us and he thinks that one day he will come to visit Texas.  We have talked to him about being his American family and he has said that that's what he wants us to be -- we just don't really know what that will look like for any of us.

We are his sponsors (kind of like a Compassion International child) to help pay for his expenses through an organization called An Orphan Smiles.  This will help ensure that he will always have a safe place to stay and food to eat.  We will continue to pray for him like we pray for our other kids and will continue to stay in contact as long as he is willing.

We are thrilled that the Lord has opened the doors to us being in contact with the young man that we still feel is our son.  We've never sensed the Lord closing this door -- even 2 1/2 years after Sasha said no to coming to America.  We have found out that he was given some very bad information from people who were looking out for themselves, rather than having Sasha's best interest at heart.  One young man, in particular, who is a bit older than Sasha (a man who Sasha trusted and who benefitted greatly from Sasha being able to travel as one of the favorites in the orphanage as he needed a "chaperone" on these trips) told him that if he came with us he would end up being our slave or would wake up one morning and some of his organs would be gone because we were coming to get him to sell his organs to some people who we knew needed them.  Unfortunately, because of the way the orphanage was insistent on doing things, he was unable to learn about us before we got there and had no way of knowing that we (or really ANYONE who would go through the painfully difficult process of adopting internationally) could not even comprehend that ANYONE would believe some kind of crazy story like that...but our facilitator said that, unfortunately, those kinds of stories have been going around Ukraine for years and Sasha fell prey to the lies.

We do know (from Chad) that Sasha professes to believe in Jesus Christ and that he says that Jesus is his Savior.  We are THRILLED to know that and that knowledge gives us confidence that even if we're forever separated by different continents on this earth, for eternity (the most important part!) we'll be together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thank you for traveling on this journey with us.  We are not at our final destination, we feel sure of that...the Lord's still writing the final chapter of our story.

And I have a feeling there's a "happily ever after" on it's way...