Friday, May 25, 2012


Less than a year ago I could not have told you where in the world Ukraine was,
I would have/did call it The Ukraine, and I had never even considered going there.

Now less than a year later I feel like it is part of who I am.
It is forever part of our family, our story, our life.

Falling in love with our newest daughter opened a whole new world to us.
Last night Kali, Olya, Gavin and their friend McKenna were able to present Ukraine.

 Our church does a World's Fair each year and we had the privileged to set up a table with many of our  treasures and the kids shared some of what they have learned.

Gavin even taught everyone a little Russian.

Watching Kali and Olya put this project together was so wonderful.
Two sisters doing school together.
One learning about a place she's never been and one sharing about a place where she's always lived.
Olya would get so excited to pull out her treasures and show them to Kali. 
They searched the internet together for the real Ukrainian Anthem.

Olya found us the perfect recipe for Borscht and while I was gone to therapy with the boys the two of them stayed home and chopped all of the ingredients.

picture by Kali

Picture by Kali

They chopped purple cabbage and then some onion.  They were really worried that the onion must have gone bad because it was purple.   Thankfully before tossing it all out they realized their hands were turning the onion purple. 

Their friend McKenna taught the girls how to make a slideshow and they spent a lot free time finding the perfect pictures to represent Ukraine. 

I really wish we could have made another trip to the Kiev Supermarket about an hour away.
We are sad we were not able to take some of our favorite Ukrainian tastes.
Papa and Olya's favorite ~ KVAS
All of the kids favorite ~ "confietta" ~ aka Candy
Mama's favorite cookies.
Nor a sampling of Ukraine's wonderful juice.
We didn't have time to make the Cherry dumplings or the "Olivia" Salad.
But I would say the Borscht was a hit and we doctored up some store bought rolls with a Ukrainian flare.

We had a wonderful time at the fair and the night ended with an unexpected surprise.

One of our favorite music groups is Hillsong Kiev. 
Last year when Olya was in Seattle, her Host Family gave her an MP3 loaded with their music.
What a blessing to her that has been!
 They also gifted us with a Hillsong Kiev CD.
We have listened to it so many times I think we might be wearing it out.

Anyway, their music is uplifting and energetic, we all love it and it has ministered to our hearts through so many of the hardest times during this adoption process. 

The last weekend in Ukraine we were blessed to be able to attend Hillsong Kiev church.
It felt like a full fledged concert.  It was truly a wonderful way to say goodby to Ukraine. 

So back to the surprise.
As we were wrapping up the fair Olya heard our music team practicing upstairs.
They were practicing songs for the upcoming teen camp. 
The song they were practicing was one we listen to by Hillsong Kiev.
Her face lit up and she said "Ukraine".
She bolted up the stairs as fast as possible and the second I set her wheelchair up for her she headed straight to the stage to watch.
The joy on her face to experience a piece of home and familiar was priceless.

Leaving everything I knew for less than a month was HARD for me.
Leaving everything she knew for a lifetime is HARD.
Olya is amazing and has a wonderful spirit.
She is positive and cheerful, silly and funny.  
She is adjusting very well, and seems to be very happy.  
She is learning English very quickly. 
But she gets sad, she misses those she knew and loved.
She misses the familiar, her favorite foods, people that speak her language.

She misses Ukraine.


  1. That would be so hard....what a bittersweet trade to leave a country to gain a family. But God sure knows what He's doing. What a precious girl!

    1. Angela I just got pics posted. I accidentally posted before they loaded. Yes, God knows what He is doing and we are so thankful for that.

  2. This is so neat! I'm so thankful Olya had an opportunity to share about the Ukraine with her new church family. hugs.

  3. Hillsong United is also my favorite!!! I have every album and would be glad to give it to her if she would enjoy the English versions.

  4. Sweet post, So glad to hear Olya is enjoying learning to be a sister! I think we'll bring some Kvas when we visit next. Hugs!