A Long-Overdue Adoption Update

Published by Christy Johnson on

It’s been quiet here on the blog for a few months as we’ve grappled with the horrific realities of what is happening in Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion and ongoing war since February. As you might imagine, the past few months have been difficult for our family, and we have not posted updates or details on this blog out of an abundance of concern for Margarita’s privacy and safety. We have been able to keep many of our friends and supporters up to date via email and private posts on social media.

Praying for a Miracle

For Margarita’s orphanage, the weeks following the start of the invasion were full of difficulties and challenges – little food, sleeping in the bomb shelter in the basement of the orphanage building, almost no outside communication, hearing explosions and seeing soldiers in the streets. We had heard that many of the orphanages in conflict areas in Ukraine were able to evacuate, but we knew it would be a miracle for Margarita’s orphanage to leave, given the distance to the western border of the country and the fact that the entire city was occupied by Russian military. However, our church and community were fervently praying for Margarita and her whole orphanage, asking God for a miracle. Then, one day a little over a month ago, we heard that the children had been moved! By God’s mercy and grace, a handful of staff and all of the children in Margarita’s orphanage were able to leave in a very small window of “safety” and evacuate to a city under Ukrainian control. From all we have heard, it was a long and hazardous journey but they continued traveling and eventually reached a safe place in a nearby European country. The children are now being fed, loved and well cared for – without the danger of bombs, threats, or trafficking.

More Waiting

Understandably, all adoptions from Ukraine are currently on hold due to the war, and it is unlikely that any adoption processes will resume until the children can safely return to Ukraine. All of our paperwork was only a few weeks from being sent to Ukraine for translation and processing, but now all we can do is wait and do everything possible to keep in touch with Margarita. Prior to the invasion, we had been communicating with Margarita via a teacher in her school, but the teacher was unable to evacuate with the children, so we lost our primary means of contact. Given how close we were in the adoption process, it was likely that our first trip to Ukraine would happen in the spring, so we had promised Margarita that we would visit her in April. Now, we had no way to fulfill that promise or let her know that we are still planning on bringing her home to our family forever, despite the war. However, as we prayed about this, God continued to work miracles on our behalf!

A Miraculous Reunion

Just ten days after Margarita’s orphanage reached safety, I received an invitation to travel out to Europe to represent our hosting organization and help out with the kids. It was an incredible opportunity, and Matthew enthusiastically agreed that I should go! With just two days to pack, I found myself flying over to Europe, renting a car, and driving out to see my precious girl. What a sweet and joyful reunion to hold this little one in my arms and assure her that we love her and still plan on bring her home as soon as we are able. And what a gift it was to spend two weeks with all of the children and teachers in her orphanage, to see how they interact, and to observe the “good, bad, and ugly” of orphanage life. It was a beautiful and heartbreaking experience, making it so clear that all of these children need families and parents who will love and guide them to Jesus.

God also graciously allowed me to develop many contacts with people caring for Margarita – Ukrainian chaperones, older girls in her orphanage, and people in her host country. We’re no longer worried about how to communicate with Margarita or receive updates as to how she is doing. Almost daily, we receive pictures and hear from people who are with her, and many of the older girls from the orphanage I met send me messages via social media. Our perspective and radius of contact has expanded so much as a result of this opportunity to spend two weeks visiting these dear orphans in their time of need. Although the adoption journey has taken a significant detour different from what we expected, we’re at rest knowing that God is caring for Margarita and all these precious children. We are so excited to see what good God will bring from this change of plans!

Prayers Needed!

Please continue to pray for the safety of so many children and families who have been displaced, and for a quick end to the war in Ukraine! Also, pray for us as we navigate the summer and pursue another opportunity to travel and serve Margarita and the other children in her orphanage. We are so grateful for the support and prayers of so many during this time. Friends, all of this is in God’s hands, and we can see in looking back over the past two months how good He is as a kind Protector, Provider, and Father to these dear orphans!