Saturday, July 31, 2010

Finally Pictures

What you've been waiting for! Pictures of the two sisters!

Video of Irina and Amy playing in a jump

Friday, July 30, 2010

Post Error

Sorry for the confusion on the last post about Going home. Amy and I posted an old uncompleted draft the other day trying to post pictures. Haven't had a chance to fix it yet. We've been busy visiting with friends that are also adopting. We have spent the last two days playing at the park, taking pony rides, bouncing in a jump, playing on the fountain steps, and eating ice cream. Irina and Amy have had a ball. Ira was so tired tonight she fell asleep without a fight.
She is doing so good. Everyday she seems more at ease with her new mama and sister. I now believe the delay in going home was for her to get better adjusted to us before the long flight home, and for God to purge me of self-reliance and teach me dependence on Him. When things are going smooth my first reaction is to not rely on Jesus in the day to day tasks. I now realize that's what I was doing. I operate on my own strength until times get tough. During this first week with Irina, I saw my need to rely on Jesus every second and I've asked Him to reveal to me when I start operating in self-reliance again. I want to learn the first time. As my friend says"You know better, so you do better".
Well, we are headed home Tuesday morning @5:30am. The driver will pick us up @ 2:45am! Yikes! Please pray for strength for us to make it on little sleep and that Irina's ears don't bother her. She's worried about that my translator told me. Will post again when we are finally back on American soil. Can't wait! I do grieve for Irina as she leaves her native country, but Amercia is her future. A future she would not have if she stayed here. In a year's time she would have been transfered to an internat. A place where there are only teachers not caregivers and one doctor for over 200 older children. The supervision is minimal not like the care she has received up to this point. I praise God He placed the burden in our hearts for her when He did. Our times have truly been in His Hands

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Anchor, Jesus

To God be the Glory! Prayers are being answered! If you have been praying for me, Irina, and Amy, I could never say thank you enough. Knowing that people are taking time to pray for us is very humbling and encouraging. God has heard our cries and continues to hold us up.

She is getting better. Everyday I have seen changes and everyday she shows signs of attaching to me more. It is slow, but very postive.The other night she got very mad because she couldn't understand me even though I'm trying to learn words and communicate with her, when she's upset it makes it worse. After many tears from me and her, she came over to me and gave me a hug. WOW! She was saying she was sorry. At bedtime, she wants me to put my arm around her and she wants me or Amy to sing. I just look up and smile and thank the Lord that she asks me to sing ,Jesus Jesus Jesus, there's just something about that Name. It's one of our family's favorite songs written by Gloria Gaither. We sing it everynight while puttin the kids to bed,and I started singing it to Irina at night. Now,she is requesting it by singing the word Jesus to the tune! It's so Cool! She and Amy are bonding. She only wants her sistra to fix her hair(voh-luh-see). Sometimes, she even shortens the word ses-trah to just "sest". It's so cute. I love to watch them play together, running, and racing each other. Amy has been a true gift from God on this trip. She has been such a big helper and prayer warrior. I know God sent her because He knew what I needed before I did.

I have had to anchor my faith in the promises of God or I would not be surviving this trip. I realized yesterday that before I left to come God kept bringing the word anchor to me through sermons and devotions. When my devotion yesterday spoke about how trusting in the Lord is possible as we anchor our confidence in the promises of God, the light bulb went off. This is what He's been saying all along! So after learning that we were not getting a flight home yetserday and all my hopes of coming home were dashed, I placed myself in God's hand and surrendered what I wanted to His plan. We drove to the airline office to see if they could help but still there were no flights home any sooner than my scheduled flight on Aug 3rd. Even though, the adoption was complete Tuesday afternoon, I can't come home until next Tues because all flights into the States are booked solid. For whatever reason, the Lord has me here for now. I don't like it, but He sees the big picture I don't. I'm here learning to know Him better,the more I trust Him.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pray for Irina

We are now in Kiev where I have internet and can use my own computer instead of my facilitator's. Well, to tell the truth the last few days have been very difficult. While every adopitve parent is told everything that can possibly happen, there is no way to know what issue you and your family will face. So, some words of wisdom to parents, who are wondering and waiting for their travel date, it would be better to expend your energy memorizing God's Word and spending quiet time with Him. I wish I had prepared myself in that way more than running around busy busy busy. I understand wanting to get here so bad to finally get your arms around the child(ren) you've waited so long for, but we forget that children are not adults. Even the family they have wanted for so long can be scary and stressful to them. Pray for your child(ren) to be prepared for this change and that God would comfort their tiny little hearts and minds. This will be time better spent than doing anything else.
Although a family has been Irina's dream, it is a huge change in her life. We've figured out through translation that she didn't realize how hard it was going to be for her. She wants to understand me and she wants me to understand her. She is afraid to come to America alone with no one to speak Russian with. She honestly thought that our translator was coming to America with her. As a mother, it has been horrible to watch her grieve especailly because she will not let me comfort her. All I can do is cry out to the Lord on her behalf since He says:"As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you. "Is 66:13 When I have not allowed the Lord to work through me, self reliance crept in but my strength failed. My pastor has said "Self-reliance is God-defiance." That has helped me so much. God doesn't need our help. He is God! He created the Heavens and the earth and all that is in it. We would not have breath in our lungs without Him,yet we try to handle everyday life apart from the peace that God is God and we are not.
Please pray for my baby girl. In so many ways, she is a baby inside. She is almost 9yrs. old, but inside she has not truly developed. She has been deprived of the loving arms of a mother and the leaderhsip of a father. Pray she will allow me to comfort and love her through her distress. Pray she will not refuse the love that stands before her. As I am writing this, it reminds me of us as God's children. He stands ready to receive us,help us, comfort us, and waits for us to come to Him with our needs, but we don't. We run around like chickens with our heads cut off wondering why everything in our lives is so crazy looking everywhere but UP to our Heavenly Father. If you are in the midst of trouble today, don't try to skip A & B and jump to C. Turn to Jesus and surrender your life to Him(A). Go to Him, cry out in prayer and obtain wisdom from His Words that He left us, the Bible(B). Then living out your life(C) will be for His Glory because YOU AREN'T DOING IT! HE IS! Saying this helps me remember to do this myself. Thank you for your prayers. God is Faithful!Prayers are already being answered. Our pastor helped us find a Russian group at Harvest Bible Chapel Naperville that meets every Fri. It is a group of families that have adopted Russian speaking children,who meet for support. The children can continue their language,while learning English! This is a great gift from God.
Will post pics of the sisters together later. Headed to Embassy appt.

Friday, July 23, 2010

No Longer An Orphan

The passport is ready to be picked up!! That means we are leaving the apt. in 40 min to pick up Irina!! She will leave everything behind including the clothes on her back, so she leaves the orphanage just like she would leave the hospital after birth. I will put on her going home outfit and her new gold (OBOOF) shoes. When we come to Jesus, and repent of our sins, He cleanses us, and we put off the old sinful man, and become a new creation in Jesus because of what He did on the cross. Today, Irina will put off her orphan status and leave that orphanage as our daughter. Yippe! Thank you Jesus for sending us such a precious and priceless gift!!
On Wed. when we took her to get her passport/visa pictures taken, her caregiver told me she missed me so much while I was gone and that she loves me so much. I was so excited that I could make out what she was saying by the few words I have learned. I was also in awe to be loved and missed by Ira such a gift from the Lord. Everyone thinks we are blessing to her and what a wonderful thing we are doing to adopt. Yes, she has longed for parents so long she has asked 2 of her female doctors to please adopt her. Yes, she now has a family to love and care for her. However, being doers of the Word and not just hearers is not some great thing. It is what those who follow Jesus are to do. He said to care for widows and orphans in their distress not just those who feel called. Caring for them is what He said, and that could be done differently by each person. Someone commented on my blog that they would have to be content right now to just pray for orphans and families who are trying to adopt. He is doing his part, and it is very humbling to know that perfect strangers are covering this trip and my family in prayer. There are people back home taking care of my other children while my husband works. They are doing their part in caring for orphans because without the help of all my family and friends who have lovingly cared for my babies in my absence, I would not be able to be here focused on Ira. There have been people who have given money to help fund the expenses of this adoption, and those who gave of their time to help us put together a rummage sale. They did their part in caring for orphans, otherwise I could not pay for the apt. where I am staying or pay the driver who takes us safely through an unknown country. Every person that has done their part for an orphan named Irina Nikulina has obeyed God's Word and thus changed the course of her life. Now, she is no longer an orphan,but our beautiful daughter Irina Elizabeth Allen!!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Everything is Moving Fast

I never expected to be done with everything so quickly. The time is quickly approaching for me to go to the orphanage and pick up Irina for GOOD! I've no time to give details because I'm borrowing my facilitator's computer. If we receive her passport tomorrow, we are going to get her and she will be leaving the orphanage. The moment I have been waiting for is finally here. It has been a very emotional day and tomorrow will be very emotional as well. All I can say is, I am the most tremendously blessed mother to have been chosen to receive such a gift as Irina. Why God decided to bless our family with this precious gift from heaven I do not know, but I am so thankful and so extremely humbled.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles!

We are here!!! After flying on 2 airplanes,layovers,and riding on a bouncy train for 6 more hrs.,we made it to Kharkov at midnight Sunday. Amy and I were up 32 hrs. with a few naps here and there. We crashed until 7am Mon. morning when we hit the ground running again. We were in the car 9hrs. taking care of the birth cert.,social security name change,and many other stops,but the best part of the day was finally seeing My sweet Ira!
She came running to me and held me tight. It was wonderful to see her. They said she has been waititng for us to come back, and that she has been the star of the orphanage because she has Parents! They said she was like a Hollywood Star-famous and proud of it! She loved Amy right away and hugged her 3-4 times during our visit. She would just hold onto her and not let go! They look just alike. It is truly amzaing. Will post pitures later as we don't have internet yet. I am borrowing my facilitators computer for now. Hang in there pics coming soon!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Going to Get My Girl!

Getting back on a plane today for Ukraine! This is so exciting! The first trip was nerve racking since I didn't know what to expect, but knowing I'm going to pick my baby girl up makes all the difference. This is exciting! Also, my oldest daughter is coming with me. We are very excited about this last minute change. I will have the best travel companion and she will have time to bond with her sister before coming home. God has connected us with more amazing families since we've been home. Twice when I was talking in a group about my upcoming trip to complete our adoption, people stopped in their tracks to pray for me. I am so humbled! Thank you to everyone who has been following and for all your comments and support. I have never witnessed God in such a way as I have since we obeyed the call to ADOPT!
Good-bye. Will post when I arrive!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

We're Home

There's no place like home! The flights back were smooth until we got to Chicago. From there we were flying to Nashville in order to go pick up the kids from Grandmommy's house. Our flight was delayed 2hrs. because of rain and lightening. It was weird being stuck in the airport so close to home. It would have been nice to just go home,but we had to go get our babies and the waiting was killing us. We finally got to mom's at 11:58pm the 6th after we had been awake(minus a few naps on the plane)30hrs. Yikes! We were exhausted.The kids were a beautiful sight. They had all grown and changed in just 3 weeks. We finally rolled in after driving 11hrs at1am on the 8th. Home was a wonderful place to be. My bed felt as soft as a cloud in the sky, and I didn't want to get out of it. HOME!
Today, I'm corresponding with the travel agent about booking my return flights. 1 week from today I'm going back! Can't wait to see my baby girl again! I pray God is sustaining her until I get there. I pray she is not doubting my return. Hang in there Irina, Mama will be there soon!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Going Home

Because our 10 day waiting period was not waived, we are going home. We will be picked up in 4 hrs. to begin the long journey back. It is very hard to leave Irina behind. Just like it felt the day I waved good-bye to Amy, Samuel,and Seth, as the car drove away 21 days ago. My heart was being torn. I've never left my children longer than an overnight away. I can't wait to hold them in my arms very soon,and to go to that orphanage in a few weeks and bring my baby girl home for GOOD. The day we said good-bye to Irina went really well. She is such a trooper! I worried that she would not understand and be upset, but she was O.K. Bless her heart, she has had to grow up too fast in so many areas. The translator told me she understands that the law will not allow us to take her home yet,and that she has seen other children be adopted,so she is familiar with it all. We told her when she missed us to hold her Mishka(teddy bear) and look at her photobook.When I get my flight intinerary, I will email it to my facilitator and she will let Irina know when mommy is coming back!

Seeing so many children without the love and nurturing that only parents can give, opened our eyes to the needs of orphans. Hearing their cries, watching them fall with no one to pick them up,and seeing the longing in their eyes, was unbearable at times. It is hard to endure these long weeks away from your family, not be able to communicate with people around you, wait, be at the mercy of other people, wait, miss your kids, wait, and wait some more, but the Lord said".. in this world we will have tribulation, but BE OF GOOD CHEER for I have overcome the world".John 16:33 It hasn't been easy, but it has been worth it! Please pray justice will be given to the weak and the fatherless and pray more families will come to rescue the weak and the needy.Psalm 82:3-4

Saturday, July 3, 2010

It's A Girl!!!

Let us introduce you to the newest member of our family!

Irina Elizabeth Allen.

She officially became an Allen July 2, 2010 @11:48am. She weighs about 65lbs and stands about 51 in. tall. Court was just as exciting and nerve racking as going to the hospital for a scheduled C-section(the norm for me). I think all 3 us were nervous. Tim and I didn't know what to expect, and we couldn't understand anyone, so we were quite uncomfortable. We could tell Irina was a little nervous too. All 3 of us were being asked questions,so they were coaching us on how to respond to the judge's questions. It all ended up being just fine. When Irina was asked if she wanted to be adopted, her sweet Russian words brought a juror to tears. She told the judge that she has dreamed of having a family for so long that she would love to be adopted by these very parents,and that she wants to be happy with us if only the judge would allow it. After a brief deliberation and more formalities the judge declared us Irina's parents!!!!!!The judge and the jurors came over to us and shook our hands. Irina came running to us and hugged us both. I have no words to describe the feelings I have. It's as if, a part of Tim and I has been living on the other side of the world and we just found her !! We Praise God for her life that He created, and He that He has chosen to give her to us. What a gift she is!
"Children are a gift from the Lord" Psalms 127:3 NASB