If you are looking for a feel good and fuzzy feeling story of adoption, this may not be your story. This is a story of the battle for the least of these, the ones closest to God’s heart, the orphan. This is a story of devastation leading to victory and redemption in the battle when we heed to HIS word and no other voices. In this battle for the orphan, never in my life have I ever experienced such opposition by the enemy. It brought me up close and personal with the enemy, his demons, his tactics, schemes, plots and devices in the physical and spiritual world Paul speaks of in the Bible. It is intense like nothing I have ever seen or experienced my entire life. But the beauty of it all is that it reveals the Bible is real, heaven and hell is real and God and the devil are real. The other beautiful thing revealed is God always wins, He always is victorious, He is constant, He is never ending, He is the miracle worker, He is never changing and He always goes before His children.
My husband and I have 9 adopted beautiful Ukrainian children but this story is focused on the adoption of our oldest son Michael. Michael’s story started in April 2014. At that time we had our first adopted son Kolya, our daughter Tania and youngest son Stepan. I went to Ukraine as a single parent adoption (alone but with my husband permission as he had to stay home and work and care for our other children) with only $15K in my pocket with the intention to adopt two boys - Bogdan and another young man named Misha. Folks that know international adoption can understand $15K will not even pay generally for even one adoption. This is where God, the miracle worker, comes into play when He leads and you follow.
Get ready. I have a miracle story for each of our children’s adoption but again I will focus on our son Michaels adoption story. Our son Kolya went to Ukraine with me to adopt the two boys. Little did I know when we arrived how tainted the school had been at that time with words of so many sad and bad things that Americans do to children. Kolya went to help with translation and soon became the ambassador for a successful adoption, loved, cared for and in one piece. Sadly, now I look at the things around us happening and being revealed and now I understand why the Ukrainians had fears of what Americans did to kids. I praise God that these people choosing such behaviors do not represent the huge amount of loving and caring families lead to adoption.
(Bogdan, Vova, Viktor, Kolya, Misha, Kristjan, Tania & Stepan)
(Angelica and Nicole)
(Our family pact one for all, and all for one. We stick together.)
We had started the adoption process of our son Bogdan in April in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. In the process of his adoption we were traveling from one region to another to adopt the other young man, Misha. That adoption did not work out but God is faithful as we were not the right family for him and it became very apparent, but he was later adopted by another family. With just adopting one child (so we thought) now we then remained in the region of Mykolaiv at Bogdan’s boarding school with him and the other children daily. It became a time of pouring into these kids, loving on them and advocating if any wanted a family as we got to know the kids. As we were in-country, funds for adoption kept pouring in. We kept advocating for children and that is when God started revealing to our family His plan. Again, we only had funds for less than one adoption at the time we boarded the plane headed for Ukraine. 4 months later we flew home fully funded with 3 beautiful children, our son in Ukraine (Michael) and soon returned for 2 more. Once home we continued to battle for our son Michael, still in Ukraine, to adopt him legally and get him home to the US. We were told over and over again he could not be adopted but we continued to pray for a loophole.
So here is our story. I giggle as I write this as I still remember Michael appearing out of nowhere before our adoption facilitator, myself and Kolya on the soccer field. I had thought "This kid is new." Earlier that day he gave my son Kolya a pair of shorts as he ripped his while playing. But he was in and out in a flash and a quick photo shoot picture below. Michael showed up that afternoon again at the same location but with a smile and a bunch of smaller kids attached to him; I took a mental note of that. We had a bunch of plastic sock monkey toys and stretchable cross rings we were given to hand out by a friend. Michael wanted one of each and was using his charm to obtain one of each very clearly. I was starting to figure this kid out. Daily when we arrived, he would appear. The second day I saw him, I watched how the older kids would respond while he was with us, they cleared and backed away. It was confirmed for me this kid is the boss and no one crossed him. I say that having to again giggle. My son was a punk, no question.
Daily again he kept showing up and he then asked my son Kolya to ask me if I would adopt him. I immediately in my head told God no way, not happening and moved as swiftly away from Michael as I could and told Kolya to ignore him. I know this is awful, but I knew I was in for a rough ride with this boy and I was right. I literally had my talk with Jesus telling Him what I was going to do and not. Like it would all take place. Nope. I told him I know this type of kid and not doing it anymore. Thank you but no thank you. My husband and I worked with youth for years taking them into our home to help them with addictions and/or behaviors and now it was our time to build our family all nice and pretty and take a sigh. God laughed at me and my plans. Again, I let God know, "no way, not happening." 3 days passed and I could not shake Michael, the boy always found us where we were at. God very clearly said to me “this is your son and you will fight for him” and I again said nope.
(The first day we met Michael and he gave Kolya shorts as he ripped his. Michael, Vova – friend adopted, Kolya, Kristjan and Angelica – our children)
(Michael showing back up in the afternoon with kids attached to him asking for a sock monkey toy, cross ring and to hang out. P.S. The kids still attach to him, he is a kid magnet.)
(Michael returning daily to find us to hang out when he was out of class or on breaks. Little did I know the impact this young man would have on my life and walk with God as well as his and I say that with tears in my eyes. God does not make mistakes. )
Bogdan was in math class getting torn up by his teacher at the time for not doing his math problem correctly. I felt horribly for him. I was standing in the hallway waiting for him to finish so we could all go play on his break. The poor kid was crying looking at his scribbled paper that was wrong and so frustrated and confused. Then here comes Michael out of no where to save the day running past me. He came flying in without a cape slams up next to Bogdan at his desk and starts helping him with his math problem. I took a large sigh and leaned against the door frame of Bogdan’s classroom seeing my son helping my other son and the awesomely good in him God sees and said “Ok God, I will fight for him”. God then said “He will try to destroy you and your name”. My response “Huh”???
(The moment I told God ok, I will fight for Michael as my son. Michael helping Bogdan complete his math)
Thank you Nicole for sharing your family's story!
For Parts 2 & 3 of this incredible journey to family, follow these links.