Thursday, October 22, 2009

Steve's Posting--Karina's Odyssey

This was my beloved husband's letter in the church newsletter a couple of weeks ago. Just thought I would share it with you all, since it touched me so much!


The Odyssey is an epic poem by the Greek poet, Homer, (not Homer Simpson, just in case you were uncertain about that ;-) ). In this poem the hero Odysseus, goes upon a long and eventful journey, with perils and adventures along the way as he tries to make his way home, to a loving wife and son. There are many obstacles in his way, some of them seeming to be insurmountable, but Odysseus doesn’t give up, but just keeps striving to move closer and closer to home, in spite of those obstacles.

This past week felt a little like that for me, as Carolynn and I made our way nearly half way around the world, a journey of literally thousands of miles, in search of a little girl who was waiting for the ones who would give her love, a home, a family. There were some obstacles to overcome (long flights and the accompanying jet-lag, not always knowing what was coming next, some language barriers, and the nagging concern that there were people who still could say “No, we’re sorry, you aren’t healthy enough or young enough, or something… enough”). We also didn’t know what we would find as far as Karina’s health was concerned. While we were hoping for the best, and praying for God’s healing, there was a chance that something that had already happened could have done permanent damage (though we should have remembered that with God there is no permanent damage, just as without God there can be no permanent joy).

Being in a place where there are lots of signs around you, but most of which you can’t read, was a reminder to me of just how much it would stink to be illiterate (I even found myself searching the billboard ads to see if there was a word or two I could recognize). But for all of that, we had many blessings along the way as well. Two young Russian men, who though they could have taken care of their business with us in 2 minutes and left us there to wait alone for our contact, instead stayed with us until it was certain that we had made our connection as we energetically hammered away at the language barrier between us. There was a beautiful worship experience at the Russian Orthodox Chapel (2+ hours standing up, so not for wimps, but a full house with many young people and children in attendance). We also met a young woman who was trying to restore a church in her region, to try to combat their local crime problem. The priest told us to give the offering that we were going to give to his church, to this woman instead. It felt like a real “God thing”, being able to be an answer to prayer is always cool. J Nearly all of the people we met along our journey were friendly to us, some of them over and above what might normally be expected. We found the orphanage staff to be helpful, and genuinely concerned for the children in their care (this made it a little easier to face having to leave Karina behind this trip, though that was still very hard). The orphanage itself was getting ready to celebrate 70 years of service on their anniversary (which just happened to be the same day as my birthday, hmmm…). It was pretty clean and in relatively good repair (better than either of us expected to find).

But by far the greatest blessing of all was being able to meet Karina, who though she was also meeting us for the first time, seemed to gather us in to her world and accept us as if it were always meant to be. Though she was teething she still was a trooper, keeping a smile on her face most of the time. And teaching me that it really doesn’t take any time at all to be in love, and to also be able to see the joy in Carolynn’s face as she held her and played with her, helped us both to feel this long odyssey was still headed toward a home where God will continue to bless us all as we travel this road together.

Thanks so much to all of you, for your prayers, and encouragement, we are one step closer to “home”. And we thank God for this chance to share this joy with all of you.


Barb said...

Beautiful words! I am just so happy for you both!

Melanie Hollis said...

I am so glad to find your blog....thank you for praying for our little Hope. I don't know if you are aware, but we adopted our daughter, Natalie Grace, from Russia 8 years ago (when she was 3). So, I can relate to all of your emotions....excitement, anticipation, fear, uncertainty, etc. Unless a person has experienced it firsthand, they cannot fully understand all that is involved. We are so excited for you....excited for the blessing you are about to receive. While the road is not the easiest, it is so worth it!! In fact, we may return to Russia to adopt a child with Down Syndrome sometime in the near future....God has been working on our hearts for a few months now, and we have said "yes"....just waiting on His perfect timing. We'll look forward to keeping up with you through the blog and seeing a picture of your new little of hands and feet just isn't enough! Many blessings to you...Melanie Hollis (Hope's Mom)