When I put together our original video and uploaded it to YouTube this video popped up right after the one I did. I know Google has great algorithms and search techniques but the video is of Misha when he was 4-years old and is one out of millions of videos and it popped up right after mine.
The video was from a couple who had adopted a little girl from the boy's orphanage and they had become friends with Misha. Christie has a very funny story about how Misha would come in the room with his puppy dog eyes and beg off a cookie. Before anybody knew it Misha had eaten all the cookies. Typical Misha! Through this video we were able to make contact with the couple who did the video. They along with others around the world had been praying for our Misha and his brothers before we knew them.
After finding this video we were able to make contact with another friend of the boys "Papa Dima." Papa Dima is a Ukrainian man who teaches a Sunday school at the orphanage. Papa Dima met us at the train station as we left for Kiev. He gave us dozens of pictures of the boys from the last few years. This may not seem like much but we know almost nothing about our boys history and to find even the smallest pieces is so encouraging. We have discovered several people who knew our boys and were praying for them from a General in the US Army, Papa Dima in Ukraine, a woman in Scotland, people in Ireland, and others throughout the USA. It means a lot to us to know people were sharing the love of Jesus with our boys before we could.
Christie sent me this picture of Misha just yesterday. I find it to be highly symbolic of the struggle we all face with our reconciliation with God. Misha has a smile on his face and is standing amidst some beautiful colors. The reality though was that Misha was behind bars and no matter how they are painted his position was precarious. Our Misha was facing a system where those who graduate from it at 16 face about a 10% chance of SUICIDE before their 18th birthday. If he avoided those odds there was about a 70% chance he would end up in a life of petty crime. Misha also was just about to turn 5 years old which would make him even less desirable for adoption because he was too old! I find it amazing the parallelism between adoption and the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is an adoption story.
I was working on some writings the other day on how adoption was used throughout the scriptures. Starting at the beginning, Moses, the adopted son of the Queen of Egypt wrote the Pentateuch and led the Exodus. God revealed Himself as "I AM" to Moses. It was to Moses that God gave the ten commandments. There were any number of ways Moses life could have been spared but it was through the divine intervention of adoption.
Later when the wicked Haman was plotting to destroy the Jewish people and the Messianic line a courageous woman, queen Esther, the adopted daughter of her uncle Mordechai had the courage to risk her life and went to the King. Mordechai raised Esther as his own daughter and at "such a time as this" Queen Esther was in position to appeal to King Xerxes. Through the intervention of Queen Esther the Messianic line was preserved.
During the inter-biblical period a young man whose father was assassinated was adopted by a woman named Ada. This man, Alexander the Great, gave the world a cohesive language, Greek. It was the Greek Septuagint, the LXX that Jesus quoted so often. God used the Greek language to help spread Christianity during the first century. It was an adopted man of war who made it easier for the gospel of the adopted Man of Peace to be shared.
God chose to use Joseph of Nazareth as the adoptive father of His own Son. It was Joseph who took Mary to Bethlehem and the humble stable that fulfilled the prophecy of Micah. It was Joseph that acted quickly and took the young Christ child to Egypt sparing His life. It was Joseph who brought the child "up out of Egypt." The means God chose for providing a father for His own Son was adoption.
Lastly, the gospel of Jesus Christ is an adoption story. We are not the natural sons of God. We are only reconciled to Jehovah God through adoption. We are joint heirs but only because of adoption. It is only through adoption that our own precarious state is mended.
The sounds, sights and smells of the orphanage still haunt me. There was Denis one of the most annoying children you would ever want to meet. A child that had a face only a mother could love. A child who had no social graces. A child who just wanted to be held. A child who just wanted to be loved. A child who wanted to belong. A child created in the image of God!
I can't forget Christina. A little blond haired girl who had clear signs of fetal alcohol syndrome. A child that because of her FAS will almost surely never be adopted. A child who was just one of two girls in a group of 13 boys. A girl whose face lit up when she realized that while all the boys got cars she was getting a baby doll. A little girl who would hang on my arm and smile up and call me "papa."
There was little David. David has the sweetest little face and a little sister. David is trapped in a system that is broken. David is being disenfranchised by the very system meant to protect him. David is sitting in an orphanage without any of the paperwork necessary to allow him to be adopted getting done.
Vladik is a young boy with just the smallest nubs for legs. He is smart but faces a terrible future if not adopted. Vladik would interrupt our daily visits with a loud "PRYVIYET PAPA, PRYVIYET MAMA" (hello) that almost always led to him being disciplined by a house mother. There is a couple working to adopt this boy and we would ask you to pray for him.
There are so many faces and this was just one of 700 orphanages in Ukraine. There are tens of thousands of orphanages worldwide overflowing with close to 150,000,000 children. The outcomes these and other children will face are not pretty.
If you would like to help the orphans of Green Forest I would suggest Life2Orphans. They are a US based secular NGO that has actively engaged the orphanage and internat. If you would like to help Papa Dima with his Sunday School program in the Kharkov area orphanages you can find out more here..
To learn about adoption in Ukraine visit Ukrainian Angels.
To help orphans in Africa, Eastern Europe, South East Asia, or Latin America visit Children's Emergency Relief International.
To find out more about children available for adoption domestically visit the North American Council on Adoptable Children and to see children available for adoption visit AdoptUSKids.org
Lastly, here in Knoxville I would recommend checking out the Monday's Child program featured on WBIR.