"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." ~ Matthew 5:8

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dear President Putin

Dear President Putin and the Russian Duma,

I happen to be pretty grateful for Russia and its people. You see, nine of my siblings are from your country through adoption. Yes that's right, nine. A lot of people are surprised by our big family, but all we know is that we love each other deeply and couldn't be happier. I'm so thankful for each of my siblings; they each bring a unique personality and talents to our family. They complete us.

I know a lot of the time you don't get to hear those "happily ever after" stories. You don't get to see families like mine laughing around the dinner table, reading books together, or walking hand in hand around a lake. You don't get to watch my siblings and myself grow to be best friends and learn to support each other through good and bad. You don't get to watch my parents' unconditional and sacrificial love that they lavish on all their children. There are many more families besides ours who adopt Russian children from love, not for financial benefit of any kind. The adopted children I know are happy, healthy, successful people with a love for their family and Mother Russia.

Because of all these things I know and see each day, I am dismayed and saddened by the recent Anti-Magnitsky legislation. It does not deal with the tiny handful of unsuccessful adoptions, but rather sweeps the whole issue under the rug and creates hundreds of newer and greater problems.

I have personal reasons for being devastated by these laws as well. You see, not all my family is home yet. Four of my siblings still wait in an orphanage in the Russian countryside. Our paperwork requirements are fulfilled, and we are only waiting eagerly for a courtdate to bring them home. They are beautiful children who want and have a right to a family as well. When I last saw them in August, they asked me, "When can we come home? When can we be family?" I hope, I pray, that they will not be left with broken dreams.

I would humbly ask that you consider the greater picture in the decisions you are making. Please consider the thousands of happy Russian children who have been adopted by American families. Please note the thousands of loving families who lovingly give everything they have to care for those children. Please remember the children waiting in orphanages who long for a family and a home.

Please help my three brothers and little sister's dream come true.

~An older sister

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In Which I am Brave Enough to Take Pictures in the City

This past weekend I got to spend time with the ex-pat girls from a Bible study I attend each week. Bible study, you may say? I did too when I first came here! It surprised me that there was such an option. Nevertheless, I've gained some great friends and spent some wonderful time in the Word with these high-school age girls.
Saturday morning was drippy and damp; still, we spent some great time together walking in pairs around this park and praying with each other. The statue is of an ancient and famous poet from this area, and the arch behind him is a beautiful mosaic.
The park; in the foreground are fountains that operate in warmer weather. In the background is a government building.
Mariah and me! I still haven't quite got the hang of those awkward "stretch your arm out and take a picture of you and a friend" photos. :)
Later in the morning, we split up into two teams for a scavenger hunt of sorts. One of our assignments was to have a picture taken of our whole group in front of this cheery fellow (aka the national hero).
Trinity and Hannah, my teammates. We were supposed to find some flowers and take a picture with them; tricky but not impossible here.
Here's our interesting way out of forming a human pyramid at the end of a long morning. We weren't keen on kneeling on the wet ground and acting in a way ladies simply don't do here! Thankfully the judge of the teams accepted it!
I'm thankful for the friendships God has given me with these girls!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A New Favorite

I enjoy Christmas songs, but especially ones that remind me of the reason why God became Man-for redemption and reconciliation. I really like the perspective in this song!