Stories // Anastasia

The day she joined our family forever!

The day she joined our family forever!

I’m so excited to share a beautiful video about our adoption journey, created by Petro Studios, Church Project’s Story Team, and The Orphan Care Network. As you watch this 6 minute film, please remember that there are an estimated 153 million children worldwide in need of families, and think about what role you could play in bringing them home.

Our story would not look the same without the countless prayers, gifts and support of our family, friends, church, community and even people we’ve never met. This film is not simply about Anastasia, our family or TOCN, but instead demonstrates what can happen when people dare to believe they can make a difference, and (instead of sitting idly by) invest into the lives of those they love. The community around us partnered with our dream of bringing Anastasia home. Through their actions, God’s will is being done in our family. To Him be the glory!

~ Justina Dee

Read more about our adoption journey here: She’s Finally Home : Our Ukrainian Adoption Journey & Timeline

Click here to connect with The Orphan Care Network

 

Five Ways to Pray for Adopted Children and Their Adoptive Siblings

Forever Sisters #lydiaglick

Forever Sisters

As everyone knows, adoption brings with it a multitude of changes to the pre-adoption rhythms of a home. Our family’s adoption story is still young, but I can say with confidence that we have experienced the power of a multitude of prayers on our behalf, and my husband and I see God at work in the hearts and lives of our children.

There are countless ways to pray for adoptive families and I feel it’s important to share at least a few practical things to begin praying for any children you know who are experiencing the transitions that take place during the initial stage of adoption, when your child is finally home.

If you have any resources or insight that would help others know how to pray for adoptive families, please feel free to share them in the comment section below!

Anastasia #lydiaglick

Anastasia

How to Pray for an Adopted Child:

1. That they would see and know the great hope and love of Jesus and choose to make Him the Lord of their life. Ephesians 1:17-19

2. That they would be healed from all wounds of their past and see their new identity  – not as an orphan but as the child of a forever family who is demonstrating a picture of our Heavenly Father’s love for them. And that they would understand the promises of a future filled with hope and purpose as a child of God. Romans 8:15-16

3. For grace & courage in the massive transition to an entirely new life, culture, family, friends, values, rules, language, church, school and relationships. Deuteronomy 31:6

4. That they would learn put their trust in God, that through His kindness and beautiful light, the barriers and walls would crumble and they would feel safe and unafraid to communicate their hurts, fears and pain (as well as dreams, desires and feelings) with their new family, teachers and mentors.  Psalm 36:7-9

5. That God would give them a new heart and a teachable spirit, and for new and healthy patterns to be established in their heart and mind.  Ezekiel 36:26-29

Alexa #lydiaglick

Alexa Kathryn

How to Pray for an Adoptive Sibling

1. That they would grow in their knowledge of the love of Jesus and gain deeper understanding of the infinite love and grace He has for them – in such great capacity to in turn extend His love and grace to their new sibling. Ephesians 3:16-19

2. That they would be confident in their identity and established place in the family and as a child of God – in spite of any turmoil, less time with parents or changes to the pre-adoption family and household routines. Ephesians 1:17-19

3. That they would stand firm on the rock of God’s word, for protection from the enemy, and rest in God’s faithfulness. Also that every moment of their day would be directed by Christ’s love and plan for their life. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

4. That God would give them insight and understanding of their new sibling’s scarred history, complex personality, God-given strengths and any weaknesses, so they will not simply endure the difficult days, but instead be triumphant in their opportunities to be a tangible reflection of Jesus to their new sibling. Phil. 1:9-11

5. Mature patience, an unwavering spirit and unconditional love for their new sibling, as well as wisdom to grasp the beauty of their missional and Christ-like role in embracing a new sibling who doesn’t yet fall into the “normal” role or picture our community and society portray for brothers and sisters. Colossians 1:9-12

~ Justina Dee

She’s Finally Home! {Our Ukrainian Adoption Journey & Timeline}

TexasToUkraine

Every adoption story is beautiful, redemptive and unique. Throughout the next weeks I’ll be blogging about events and things that transpired in the years, months, weeks and moments leading to the unforgettable day our daughter finally joined our family forever. Before I do that, I wanted to share the overview of our #UkraineToTexas timeline & adoption story:

1993: Even before we married we talked of adoption and knew that someday we would bring children home who (although they weren’t biologically ours) were destined to be in our family.

1995: We celebrated a beautiful, storybook wedding in March of 1995. As a young married woman I struggled with and grieved over my infertility issues. Whether we had biological children some day or not, my husband and I never doubted that we would adopt, and continued to have conversations about what that looked like for us.

2001-2002: After seven years of marriage, many doctor visits, surgery for endometriosis and still no pregnancy, our adoption plans began in earnest, and we began to research domestic adoption agencies, with the prospects of bringing home a toddler.

2003: Adoption plans came to a halt when we were married eight years and a miracle happened. My deep desire to become a mother came to pass when I became pregnant God and gave us a beautiful and perfect daughter! She is a gift from Heaven – a delight to us and many others. As soon as she could begin to grasp the concept of adoption, we explained to her that she would have an adopted brother or sister someday.

2005: When our daughter was two, those adoption plans were dusted off and things began in earnest. We began to pray regularly, and seek God regarding His plans for our adoption.

2006: During my devotions early on the morning of June 25, 2006, I had a vision of a little girl in a blue barrel. I knew two things: she was our future daughter, and she was somewhere in Eastern Europe. We began to pray for her – that God would protect and keep her, reveal His love to her, bring people into her life to show Jesus to her, and bring her home to us some day.

2010: We visited the Together For Adoption conference in Austin, TX, with our pastor Jason Johnson, and a group of adoption minded families from our church. During that conference God confirmed to us that the girl we were praying for was in Ukraine, and we began looking at agencies who could facilitate our adoption from that country.

Adoption plans were put on hold when a close family member experienced a serious illness.

2013: We knew we had to get this adoption process back on track. We asked family and friends if they knew anyone who had adopted from Ukraine. My aunt Rachel connected us with friends of hers at Ukrainian Resource Center. We decided to host nine-year old Luba that summer, through the program they had in place. We had a life changing summer with Luba, and desperately wanted to adopt her. But she did not want to leave Ukraine, and chose to stay at the orphanage instead of coming to a new family in America. (Insert our heartbreak here.) Our family was greatly affected during Luba’s time with us, and we had a completely new understanding of this thing called “Orphan Care”.

Luba

We continued to pray for our future daughter.

2014: Our family’s adoption plans began in earnest. We decided to host another girl, but were having considerable difficulty during our family’s deliberations of who that girl should be. We were not planning to host or adopt anyone older than our biological daughter who was then ten years old, until another miraculous dream (this time from my sister in Virginia) confirmed that God had chosen (then 15 year old) Anastasia for our family. We immediately began the adoption process (even before she came to visit) and began communicating with her via a dear friend who served children at her school in Ukraine.

Our family vacation

In the summer of 2014 Anastasia came to America for a six-week hosting program trip, facilitated by Ukrainian Resource Center. Meeting her for the first time was an incredible experience. We shared a memorable summer with her, and celebrated her sixteenth birthday with family and friends. She had to go back to the orphanage in Ukraine until adoption paperwork was complete, and left in late July.

Adoption Paperwork

We finally received our notice from Ukraine’s State Department of Adoption that our appointment date was on December 15th of 2014, and we made a one week trip to Ukraine in mid-December. We returned to America to wait for our formal adoption court date.

#texastoukraine

2015: Word of our court date came in early January, and we traveled back a second time to formally adopt Anastasia on January 15, 2015, in a small courtroom inside a run down ex-Soviet government building in South East Ukraine.

Adoption Day

We arrived home with our daughter on February 7, 2015, one month before our twentieth wedding anniversary.

As for what’s happening now: We know this is just the beginning, we’re settling into our new “normal”, and we look forward to the rest of the story God has written for our family!

ukrainetotexas

Thank you for the love, prayers, financial support and countless other ways you’ve blessed and served our family over the years. You are part of this story, and it would not look the same without you.

~ Justina Dee