Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Being Called

First, I want to wind it back a little....

I have a friend, an amazing woman and mother, Kara. About 4 years ago she and her husband were in process to adopt a cute little Ginger (that's a compliment, not a back handed slap!)  from Russia. It is hard to remember just how far along they were, but it was a decent way into the paperwork and the fundraising and All The Feels for that little man when suddenly, Putin pulled the plug on American Adoptions in Russia. Now, this is in no way a political post, but gosh darn it.... he sucks for that. Kara and this kiddo are important to us because she is how we found out about RR and special needs adoption.

So with this devastating blow to her and Hubby she recouped and re-committed to a little boy in Ukraine and I was able to watch her process from start to finish. Soon after she brought him home I joined the RR Facebook group and saw all these Momma's and Dad's who had made the journey, were in the process or who were already home. Some hadn't even adopted, but they have a serious heart for this devastation, and want to show these children to the world. Obviously I had knowledge of adoption and I had always wanted to adopt, but I never had the resources or support to do so. By joining this group my eyes were opened to something I never knew much about.... the special needs children in orphanages.

Now when I was younger and thought about adoption I didn't think there could be such a separation between orphans and special needs orphans. Maybe it is just a fine line....barely visible to some, but once you know it is there it is like a totally different world. In my younger years when I thought adoption I thought, "baby"...newborn, one year, two year's old. I didn't think about children who were eight, nine or ten, or with Down Syndrome or Limb differences. It is hard to explain these thoughts and I truly hope they make sense. A lot of international orphans and largely those with special needs are treated unfairly...disgustingly infact. The lack of love, attention, hugs, nutrition, food and everything else you can imagine is heart wrenching. So much so that most of the world would rather not give it a second thought. It is a well known fact that in countries like Ukraine, children who are "different" are viewed as a curse. A curse on the Parent for some wrong doing in their time and are given a child that is different to shame them. Now, I believe a child is a blessing, not a shame or a burden, and I know a lot of people who would agree with me. In these countries the thought of abortion is frowned upon (that is not something to debate here- I am just giving you facts) so in lieu of that option, the next best thing is to place them in an orphanage where they will wait. What are they waiting for? They wait for a family to find them and provide, love and cherish them. They wait to die- depending on their conditions and care or lack of. They wait to be thrown onto the street at 16 when they are expected to care for themselves or they are placed in an institution for their remaining life. Could you imagine? Do you even want to imagine?

After joining RR I browsed the photos of waiting children and said a little prayer for them knowing I can not help them all. At the time I didn't think I could help any. I came across a certain photo and felt like I had seen that little face before. Stared and stared and then moved on. A few days passed and I couldn't shake this feeling. Where had I seen this kid before? A couple nights later I had a dream, but not just any dream. You know how you can sometimes tell when you are having a dream that you've already had? Tell me I am not the only one! :)  It was a dream of a little boy running around playing in a big field. He was wearing a light blue sweater and a crooked smile. It felt so real and it just consumed me. It was like I was there and I was watching him. I was seeing them dream in real life. It was crazy!
I woke up the next morning and starting researching. I asked questions in the RR group.. What do I have to do? Well first thing was first-- I needed a husband. Hmmmmmm-- good thing I was already engaged. I looked at him and said, "we should adopt this little boy" and he said, "no". He slammed the brakes, HARD! This was sometimes in March and we were set to be married in October. I was heartbroken, but I gave him some space and time to think about it. Maybe a month later I asked again and this time he said, "do you really think we could do this?" and I responded with a solid, "YES!". We moved up our date and were married in May 2015 and started our adoption journey together. I believe in a BIG GOD. There is no way we could have made through each aspect of this journey without him. God had our back and close to 10 months later he was home with us. Close to 11 months after that we have committed to a new sweetie pie and we feel great. I honestly did not think we would go back. It is almost like a covert operation. Such care and detail go into every aspect.... being positive you can/want to commit again, working out fundraiser details, knowing down to the penny what amount of money you need, having a support system behind you. It is emotional, it is stressful, it is psychotic, it is WORTH it. Even if you are not religious or spiritual. If you believe in God or if you believe in nothing-- You are believing in something right? Something is telling you to go for it. Something is calling. Listen to it. What is it telling you? 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ukie Pack

So this time last year (or in a few hours anyway) I was landing in the beautiful city, Kyiv and greeted by a country that would forever be in my life story. Growing up I never knew I could love another place as much as I loved my home. I am an American through and through, but this Chick has some real feels for Ukraine. It is the country in which I would meet people who would forever change my life; they helped bring a joy to my life that I never knew was missing.

I was a bundle of nerves as I landed. I didn't know who I was looking for, so I waited, and eventually ran into my driver, V. Now for anyone who has not seen or met V, he is a piece of pie.....Cutie Pie! Oh, very polite and professional, but a cutie non the less. We drove around collecting groceries, water, and exchanging American dollars and I was pooped. It is always easy to think that you will sleep on the long flights, but I found that nearly impossible. I was excited, nervous, the time change was excruciating and so it just didn't happen. We arrived to my apartment in Kyiv, right outside St. Michael's Cathedral and we rode the scariest, tiniest and darkest elevator to the 4th floor where my little loft apartment waited for me. From there I was able to look out onto the street and just take in the view and collect my thoughts.

The street view was beautiful from that high up. I had a clear view of a painting on the side of a building. A painting of a man, I don't know his name, but I am told it was the first person killed in Maiden, which happened about 2 years earlier. Maiden is the first of the riots and war that happened in Kyiv between Ukraine and Russia. It was a little haunting to me at first; you do think of your own safety for a few moments.... thoughts of. "I hope nothing happens while I'm here" crept in but then I thought, "oh well. I'm here for a purpose". It was cold with the window open but almost refreshing. It is always hot where I live and it was a welcomed change. I can't explain it but it made the quiet and my thoughts feel pure and clean.

I threw up that night. I was worried I was getting sick then I decided nerves are crazy little monsters that steal a good night's rest.

The next morning I met a few more team members. It was very surreal to me. I've heard of these people. Seen them in pictures from other families and on Facebook, but I'm here now. I'm in their country and they are welcoming me. Meeting the big guy, S, is something crazy. I have always referred to him as, "The Don". The team is like his Mafia and he is the boss. (I say that with love!) He is like my version of Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone.  It was pretty rad, in my opinion. This team makes things happen. Good things. Things other people are willing to overlook. A Ukrainian Pack of really great people with morals and traditions they want to share with others. (Note: I have no idea if a Ukrainian Mafia exists currently or ever has)

I am a proud Mother to all my children. They are my life. I am proud to have a child with such a rich heritage and culture. I am proud to incorporate Ukrainian tradition with our own. I am proud to say that I have one of the Pack, soon to be two. It is like I am in this cool club with people all over the world.

If you also have a Pack member or two or seven, take a look at these T-shirts we have up and going. Perfect for a boy or girl of any age. You can click the link below to purchase and have them shipped directly to you.

Thanks for all your love and support!


Purchase Here

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Continuing the Chase

Hello Friends,

I return once again with fantastic news... The Chinchak Family is continuing their chase this year with a return to Ukraine.

We thought we were complete after bringing Pasha home in early 2016, but we were wrong. (That's ok- I can admit when I'm wrong!) After much thought, prayer, silent pleadings to the husband, (hehe) we feel led to go back once again and bring home the sweetest bundle of joy ever. Seriously, just wait until you get to his picture... sweetest little thing ever!

Our little sweet pea is from a completely different region then Pasha was from which means I will again learn to navigate my way around the town and meet new people. I will need to practice my Russian again! With it being a new region I will likely be working with a different facilitator and driver and possibly learn to use their public transportation system and while I'm nervous, I'm sure all will be well.

This is our second adoption ever and they will both have been within two years of each other. BIG THINGS for this family! We are blessed beyond words right now and I look forward to sharing all the details.. the ups and down's with you. There will be bumps but that is to be expected.

Please pray for us, for "Chance", for our children and our team. Between paperwork, appointments, fingerprints and fundraising there is a lot of work to be done. Our tax deductible account should be up and running in the next week or so, please put it to good use!

Meet "Chance" and just oogle away! :)