Questions we are asked all the time!

How are you going to communicate with the girls when they don't speak English and you don't speak Russian?

I really enjoy this question.  We have had five weeks practice with communicating already.  When we were anticipating hosting the girls, we had no idea how much English they spoke.  When they arrived, we quickly learned that they spoke no English.  None at all!  It really was amazing how much we could communicate through gestures and by doing.  The girls are very friendly and tried hard to communicate.  We played one big game of Charades for 5 weeks.  I'm not the best at guessing what the charade is.  On the drive home from the airport Lyuba kept gesturing something.  I really am pretty slow.  When she held her hand to her mouth and quickly moved it away from her mouth while looking sick I suddenly realized she was telling me that she was about to throw up from being car sick.  I grabbed a bag for her as fast as possible!  That's an exciting example of one of our charades.  For the most part it was pretty simple.  I figure as humans we all do a lot of the same things over and over again.  It's not that hard to understand the basic stuff.  

It was harder to trying to communicate deeper things.  We used Google translate.  We had to be careful because once when were getting ready to do our Saturday cleaning, I used Google translate to tell the girls what each of our jobs would be.  I started with "Papa will mop the floor" and so on.  I re-translated it back to English to make sure it came through correctly and got back, "The Pope will mop the floor"!  We could get things across to the girls, but they could never get google translate to work for them to get a point across to us.  I finally think I know why.  They speak Russian with Ukrainian thrown in.  You can only pick Russian or Ukrainian on Google translate.

When we really needed to communicate back and forth we would call one of our friends who speak Russian and were translating for us.  They were all a blessing to us.

We did learn a fair amount of Russian and would use their words sometimes.  I am amazed at how good immersion works for learning a language.  We still remember most of the words we learn and I don't have to think about it at all.  The girls also learned some English.  I am sure they will pick up English quickly once they are adopted.  They are very eager to learn it now!

This picture of Lyuba reminds me of a great example of our charade game.  We were packing the girls' suitcases to go back to Ukraine.  Lyuba loved this box that her wig had come in.  It was too big to fit in with all her other belongings so somehow I was able to get across the idea that I could take a picture for her to remember it by and she would leave it here.  She understood  and happily tossed the box into the garbage after I took the picture.  I can't remember the exact motions we went through, it was all so natural and worked so well!

Why are you spending time and money that you don't have helping a child from another country when there are so many American children in foster care who need a family?

I've been asked this a lot! The short answer is - this is where God has called our family. We wanted to really make a difference for someone and when we learned about the hosting program, we thought that we could give an orphan opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise. We also thought it would be a great way to introduce our children and ourselves to another culture. Well, we were right about both of those things. And in the process, we came to realize that we love those two girls like our own children and that God was undeniably calling us to bring them into our family. We have witnessed many miracles and know that God is directing our path.

We strongly believe in the verse in James 1:27:

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their afflication, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

We think that orphans everywhere should be thought of and taken care of. We were called to three precious girls in Ukraine and their two little sisters. If someone has strong feelings about taking care of orphans in the U.S., we feel that they probably should contemplate those feelings they are having and possibly act on them. God may be calling them to help here. Every orphan in the world is loved by God. Americans are more likely to adopt a child not of their blood than many other countries. For many orphans in the world, being adopted out of their country is the only way they will be adopted. Especially as they get older.

As far as the money goes, we hadn't planned on adopting when we hosted. We didn't think the girls were adoptable because of their family situation - so many kids in their family - so we really had no plans to adopt them. The first week the girls were with us I felt strongly that they needed to be adopted. As hosting went on we learned that they could be adopted. Although we have the means to provide for the girls once we adopt, because we hadn't been planning on adopting, we didn't have the large amount of money needed sitting around! We have been able to come up with a good size portion of the funds ourselves, but we have had to fundraise for the rest.

Ukraine Orphan Statistics:

At the age of 16 children living in orphanages "graduate."
They are given a small apartment and need to support themselves.
Orphan Foundation: "Less than 50% of orphans live to see their 20th birthday."
Of those that live:  60% of girls wind up in prostitution                               
70% of boys wind up in crime

In Ukraine orphans are shunned, even after they have left the orphanage.

We are thankful that our girls are in an orphanage with caretakers who love them. That is a huge blessing. We are concerned about their future when leaving their orphanage. Please help us adopt them and give them a chance at a good life by donating!

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