The Dardenne Family

The Dardenne Family

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Forever Changed

We've been home almost two months now. I've had lots of time to reflect on what happened with our journey to Ukraine and what we term as an "unsuccessful trip". I have grieved the loss of the child I thought would be ours. I've experienced great bouts of guilt over leaving Nina in an orphanage when we could have made such a difference in her life. I've been depressed about the lengthy, time-consuming, expensive process we've just gone through only to be back to "square one". Sometimes, I've just been plain mad! But as I've experienced all these emotions, God has been faithful to me through it all. He's given me peace and comforted me as I've grieved. I still don't understand it all, and I realize that I may never. I know that God loves Nina much more than I ever could, and he has a perfect plan for her life. He has a plan for my life too that's better than anything I could ever dream up for myself. I can honestly say, despite all the grief and the tears, the anger and frustration, the depression and guilt, I wouldn't change the opportunity to have visited a Ukrainian orphanage and to have met little Nina. My life will be forever changed because of it, and that's a good thing.

Even on the plane ride home, Rodney was encouraging me not to give up. He said he still believes we're supposed to adopt. Our child just wasn't in Ukraine. After taking some time to process the roller coaster ride we'd just been on, we decided to pursue the adoption of a child right here close to home. We've begun the process to be approved to adopt or foster-to-adopt through our state. There are so many children right here that need forever families. We've started some initial paperwork and done some required training. There's still more paperwork and of course medical exams and a home study, etc. Only God knows what he has planned for us, but we're trusting him to reveal it to us. In the meantime, stay tuned for chapter two of our adoption adventure.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Safely Home

We didn't have email access that last day in Ukraine, so I didn't get to update our blog. We were able to get our flights changed pretty quickly and got home last night around 5:00pm. We were so glad to see our kids.
We aren't sorry we went to Ukraine. God is healing our hearts, but we're still very sad. Of course, we had hoped for a different outcome. We find peace in God's sovereignty, though. We still have a desire to adopt a child, so we are praying about our next step. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and words of encouragement. We have been blessed with such wonderful friends and family.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Coming Home with Heavy Hearts

It is with very heavy hearts that we write this post. We haven't slept in two days (no sleep on the overnight train then no sleep last night as we wrestled with this decision). I can't tell you how my heart aches. I have cried more tears than I knew I had to cry. Ultimately, we never were able to say that we were certain that this child was meant to join our family. However, having said that, it causes such overwhelming grief to know that you've met this precious child and chosen to go home without her. I can only say that I hope and pray God has something even better for her. I don't think we will ever be able to forget her. I know that God loves her more than we ever could have, so at this point we place her in his hands. I think some of the sorrow also comes from knowing that we've had this desire in our hearts and pursued it for 2 1/2 years, only to have it end like this. I knew there were other families coming home without children, but I never really prepared myself for the fact that we might be one of them.

We are trying to make arrangements to get our flights changed, so we can head home as soon as possible. Abby, Will and Sam, we love you and will see you soon!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I have to say, I don't think either of us was prepared for how emotional it is to visit an orphanage. We took the overnight train to the city where our referral's orphanage is located. Neither of us slept much at all. We arrived at approximately 6:15am and a driver was at the train station to pick us up. We immediately went to our appartment to freshen up before going to visit the orphanage. Irena and Leo, the couple that own the apartment, had prepared breakfast for us. Talk about hospitality! We ate, then freshened up and we were off to the Inspector's office to obtain approval to visit the orphanage. Once we had that approval, we stopped at a market to purchase a small treat for the little girl's group to share. Then we drove to the orphanage. We met the director first. She was a very warm and friendly lady. She told us all about the child we were scheduled to meet and showed us current pictures. What a beauty! We did find out after arriving that this little girl's file at the SDA was very accurate. She does seem to have the exact conditions that were described to us. We were able to visit with her a little bit, but she was very scared of us. We also spent some time outside watching her group play, then we went inside and observed them eating lunch. Neither of us had ever been inside an orphanage before so we have nothing to compare to, but this particular one is very neat and clean and in very good repair. The caretakers seem to genuinely care for the children. The little girl we visited seems to be very close to her main caretaker. The caretaker also obviously cares about the little girl. We felt that she really wants us to adopt her.

We had already decided before we made the trip that we would not make a decision the first day, especially if the child's medical condition was as presented by the SDA. We are really tired and it's hard to process all the information when you are sleep deprived. This precious child was created by God and deserves a loving, forever family, but we want to make a decision based on as much of the facts as we can obtain. We were able to email some copies of medical information to a doctor back home. We will continue to pray and sleep on it before we make a decision. There seem to be some very real obstacles. Please pray that we will continue to seek God's will and follow his leading.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Second Appointment Update

We just got back from our second appointment at the SDA. We weren't sure what to expect, but we were hopeful. We believe it turned out just as God intended. The young woman at the SDA who assisted us was very warm and friendly. We were shown files of two sibling groups. We were able to rule one out, and had almost decided to visit twins. The SDA called the orphanage for us and found out that the twins grandparents had stepped into the picture and wanted to adopt them so they weren't available any longer. We actually ended up looking again at one of the girls from last week that we had almost chosen to visit. We decided to go ahead and visit her. We've heard some really good things about her, but we also were told she may need some physical therapy or even surgery. We will leave tomorrow evening on the overnight train to visit her at the orphanage. Her orphanage is in the Eastern part of Ukraine. We were told it's about a 12 hour train ride from Kyiv. We look forward to traveling there and seeing a new part of the country plus also seeing the orphanage and this precious child. Thanks again to everyone for your prayers. We definitely felt them before and during our appointment.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tomorrow's the Day!

Our translator confirmed today that our second SDA appointment is tomorrow, Tuesday, at 2:00pm (That's 6:00am for those of you at home.) Please pray specifically that we would be shown files of children that match what we've previously requested. We're excited to see what God will do. We'll update after our appointment.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


The weekend has arrived. The inner streets are barricaded for what appears as a large block party. People flood the streets and gather in the parks and marketplace squares for conversation and festivities. The younger generation gather around the square for a cold beer, a smoke and some past-time conversation. The older crowd meets in the parks to compete at a massive chess tournament- might I add these guys take their game seriously. They have the counters for timing how long it takes to move the piece on the board.

Evening quickly comes as we walk down the sidewalk, the skyline of the massive buildings swallow us. It reminds us of New York City minus the hurried pace. The city is beautiful and the people are proud of their rich history. The significant Ukrainian leaders of old are embronzed and located throughout the city on every corner. Each monument tells a story of the significance of the statue despite Vicki and I 's inability to interpret Cryllic.

We've added some pics as we wait on Tuesday to come. Day 6 comes to an end.