Donating will help cover some of the costs of adopting two international children -

Our journey started the summer of 2005 when our family (Brian & Rene' and our two sons, Michael & Jesse) traveled to Ukraine on a short term missions trip.

On our first of many trips to the Good Shepherd Shelter, we met Kolya (10), Sasha (8) and his sister Katya (5). These children immediately impacted us and we decided to sponsor Kolya. And at a later date, Rene's parents sponsored Sasha.

In 2006, our family returned to Ukraine and we invited Kolya and Sasha to stay with us at DCU during the 2 1/2 weeks that we were there. That Christmas, Brian & I decided to surprise Kolya & Sasha with a visit. When we walked into the Good Shepherd Shelter and saw their surprise and joy on their faces, we knew we had made the right decision to spend Christmas in Ukraine with these boys.

In 2007, only Jesse & Rene' were able to return to Ukraine. Once again we invited Kolya & Sasha to spend the whole time with us and they completed another year of the English Intensive Program at DCU. During these trips, we always made a point to visit the other children at the Good Shepherd Shelter - especially Katya (Sasha's sister).

The next two summers, only Rene' was able to go back to Ukraine. It was during this time that Sasha's & Katya's mother died of TB. This made Sasha & Katya true orphans and were consequently moved from the Good Shepherd Shelter to a governement shelter in another part of Makeevka. We lost contact with Sasha but our friends at the Shelter visited them every Sunday and kept us informed of their well-being.

On July 28, 2010, Rene' received an email from Sasha. This is their converstion:

Sasha - Hi Rene'. I in Minnesota.

Rene' - Sasha? HI! It is good to hear form you but I live in Minnesota and you live in Ukraine. How are you?

Sasha - I'm good. I am now in Minnesota. I like it here. Soon my birthday.

Rene' - You're in Minnesota? Do you know where you are? What is your address? Do you have a phone number? Is there someone there that speaks English? Is Katya with you? I would love to see you.

Sasha - I don't know city. I don't know phone number.

Rene' - Here is my phone number.....Please have that person call me right away!

A few mintues later, Jill the mother of the host family from the Journey of Hope program through the European Children Adotpion Services called. I was very excited and asked many questions regarding Sasha & Katya. Then Jill asked, "Who are you?"

I apologized that in my exictement I did not introduce myself. I took a deep breath and explained who I was and that our family has know Sasha & Katya for many years. We recieved an invitation to come to their home and visit the kids. Mark & Jill explained that Sasha & Katya were two of the 14 children chosen to particpate in this program and that they were the only two children chosen from their area of Ukraine. We are amazed at the incredible odds of all the children in Ukraine, Sasha & Katya were selected to participate and that they came to Minnesota to a town just an hour away from our home.

Sasha & Katya were able to stay with us for a several days - Michael & Jesse were so glad to see them again. We had such a great time looking through photo albums of years past spent with them -

Through circumstances and talking with Mark and Jill, we learned that Sasha & Katya were available for adoption.

As I think back to our first trip to Ukraine, my heart has always been burdened for these children at the Good Shepherd Shelter. It has always been my prayer that I would be able to make a difference in their lives but to adopt, Brian would have to take the lead in making such a huge decision.

Brian had been praying that his life would have meaning and purpose. He prayed that God would use his life and that the direction God desired for him to take would be made clear. And now, Brian felt that God was speaking to him and that we meant to adopt these children. I was in complete agreement.

Brian said that God didn't bring Sasha & Katya to our street - He brought them right to our front door. We are looking so forward to making Sasha & Katya a part of our family, and giving them hope and a future.

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    TO PROVIDE ADOPTION SERVICES TO ORPHANED CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD.
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