Monthly Archives: July 2012

Shining Moments

“How are YOU going to raise this strong baby?”

The tall Russian doctor stared down at me as I stood in the waiting room

   and for a few seconds my mind whirled with panic.

What did she mean? I was already wondering myself how I would raise her to adulthood

    but what in the world could this doctor possibly mean?

Was this another Samson?


Foolishness, I thought, pushing the idea away.

Now hadn’t God led me to this place from the beginning?

My eyes met the doctor’s piercing ones with determination.

I stretched my 5 foot 1 and ½ inch frame

   took a deep breath

    and spoke trying to sound confident.

“I will do fine,” I said.

If I had any doubts inside about the adoption

   I wasn’t going to change now.

The doctor nodded and turned away.

I stood there a few more minutes

   trying to understand what she had just said.


She was a strong baby?

My goodness, I thought,

    after so many years teaching first graders of different sizes and strengths

    I should be able to handle anything.

But then again……

The next time I held Noelle I looked at her carefully

    trying to assess any mysterious Samson like qualities.

She was small for her age

   but nicely shaped.

I couldn’t see biceps or anything to be concerned about.

But still….

After we came home to Virginia and life developed a routine

   I scarcely thought of  those unsettling words.

Until the day she cried. Really cried.

My, she had a voice that you could hear on the other side of town.

Maybe, you’ll be an opera singer

    I told little Noelle as I soothed her.

Maybe that was what that Russian doctor meant, I thought.

Well, the years have come and gone.

Today Noelle is a beautiful nineteen year old.

Strong? Absolutely.

She has deep convictions, firm resolves

    and the ability to stand her ground

    that is so refreshing in a world of passivity

        and following the crowd.

A little Samson in a very good way.

Difficulty parenting her?

No, not at all.

Looking back I wished I had known how I had nothing to fear.

God has given me all I have needed

   throughout the parenting journey.

In addition,

   He has given joy.

   So much joy it’s impossible to put into words.

We can trust Him.

Whatever He calls you to do

    He will supply you all your needs.

“But my God shall supply ALL your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Laugh away those fears and doubts.

Our God is greater.


Shining Moments

I sat at the small table eating the most delicious borscht

   while my newly adopted daughter slept in the bedroom.

And although I felt the strangeness of staying in that Russian flat

  I was so grateful for the unique opportunity.

Growing up, I used to fear the Russians.

Talks of nuclear war were common,

    bomb drills were frequent,

      so whenever my brother and I played games

           Russia was the enemy.


I was filled with fears.

Fast forward many years

   and suddenly I was flying to Russia to adopt a six month old baby girl.

Sure I was apprehensive as I sat in the jet flying half way around the world.

But my longings for this little child

   and my awareness that God was leading the way

   overpowered my fears.

Step by step I followed Him.

I was the only American who was staying with this young couple at the time.

They spoke very little English

   and my Russian was limited to da (yes) and nyet (no)

But somehow we managed.

Through smiles and hand languages we built a bridge.

Together we shared meals. She on one side and her husband on the other.

One night shines in my memory with particular brightness.

After the simple meal of soup, bread and cheese

    the tall man reached for some playing cards and nodded to me

    as if to ask, “Do you want to play?”

“Sure,” I nodded wondering how in the world I would figure out what to do.

But I had come this far

    surely the Lord would help me now.

So for the next hour or so the three of us played what was a new game for me.

We laughed

    completely enjoying the moment.

They with their sweet 4 month old daughter

    and I with little Noelle

    touched hearts

    and knew that although there were differences

    we had so much in common.

I treasure that evening as I my new understanding grew.

It was my last night with them

  and I was sad to be leaving. They had treated me so kindly.

 Then as the game ended

     this lovely young mother handed me a package.

 I was deeply moved as our eyes met.

 How I wished at that moment that we had more time together.

I slowly unwrapped the rectangular shaped package.

Fears ripped back exposing the real.

As I peeled back the paper my eyes fell on a necklace with a beautiful turquoise pendent

   and matching earrings.

Spontaneously we reached for each other and hugged.

Yes, it was so natural. Our hearts knew it.

Fears were shattered as faith grew wings.

Fears disappeared as eyes saw truth.

Separated by language

    living so far apart

    but each of us realizing the goodness in the other.

All of that took place many years ago

  but that treasured necklace and earrings remind me to this day

    of not only this sweet Russian family who were so kind to me

    but also of God’s amazing Love

       that shatters false ideas and draws us all together at the foot of the Cross.

Amazing Grace

Amazing Love

Amazing One Who keeps setting us free.




Shining Moments

Those first few days after adopting Noelle were glorious shining moments.

Our stay in the Russian flat was comfortable but I longed for home.

There were still things to do.

So I cared for Noelle,

     enjoyed the  company of the sweetest young couple

         and waited.

One night the woman with whom I was staying spoke to me.

“Bath?” She pointed to my baby girl and then to the tiny room in the back of the flat.

“Da” I answered nodding my head.

Giving her a bath would be nice. I had visions of a sponge bath or something like that.

So I busied myself gathering towels, clean clothes, etc

    picked up Noelle

    and walked back to the tiny bath room in the far corner of the flat.

I stepped into the narrow room and glanced down at the old white tub.

The water had been run and it was full.

Very full.

Like almost up to the top of the tub full.

“Is it ok?” she asked in very broken English.

 I turned to the woman beside me and hesitated.

One the one hand the tub was ocean full and I wondered how I would comfortably

    bathe my baby in it.

But on the other hand I didn’t want to offend this Russian woman.

So I nodded my head

    and proceeded to prepare my baby girl for her very first bath.

I still smile when I remember  that moment of slowly easing her into the water

    all the while supporting her.

Big, brown eyes grew instantly as big as saucers.

What are you doing? she wondered all the while going along with me.

But I wasn’t comfortable with it either so I finished up quickly

     my daughter relaxed being out of the water again

         and I treasured that memory in my heart.

Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought that I would adopt

   much less go to Russia.

But God leads us in sometimes different paths than we had thought.

Through it all He not only protected and provided

    but He also showered His Love in so many ways.

A huge tub of water. Not just a little.

Plenty to eat served by warm, friendly people.

Speaking a different language

    but coming together with the same goal.

To love these precious children.

Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brothers you have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40