to the world! Born Kataryna, called Katia as a nickname for all of her life, and known to many of you by the alias Levina, our little girl became truly our little girl in a courtroom 45 minutes away from where she lay in a hospital crib.
Kataryna means "purity" as our eldest daughter's middle name does. Elise, from the root word Elizabeth or Elisabeth, means literally "God is my vow" and many think its meaning is heart for God. But we especially like the "Russell" part. Because it means that she has a family, a father who has given her his name, his protection and his love.
The courtroom was unanimous, the Ministry of Social Policy, the inspector of Children's services for the region, the orphanage representative, the two independent witnesses from the citizenship of Ukriane, even the prosecutor who ruled that our family adopting Katia was in her best interests. And lastly, the judge ruled YES!
So, what is the number 58 about? Well if you are a Thomson, or know them well, you would know that Katia is the 58th grandchild of Jim and Lois Thomson. Lois is in heaven along with grandparents Albert and Judith Russell, part of the cloud of witnesses cheering us on. And Gail now joins Jim in loving and praying for these grandchildren. We can't wait to introduce Katia to them and all of her aunties, uncles and cousins on BOTH sides. Until December, we thought we had number 57 but The Watsons scooped it from under our noses, also through adoption of beautiful Bea.
We went to see our little Katia following court, finding her as we do so often, having seizures not controlled. It is hard to see this and feel so helpless to communicate. The great news is that our facilitator is so invested in us all and daily sees how we found her and then calls hospital staff leadership at home and tells them what is happening and they call the staff at work and direct them. The other thing that has happened is that we have found an international physician who comes highly recommended and likes to help "foreigners" in the country. We now have the right as her parents to have a physician of our choice see her. Usually we need to bring the child to their clinic but we are praying that the Dr. will be willing to come to see her in her hospital and speak with the Dr.'s there.
There have been many of you thinking and praying for us during this momentous event. Even prior to this since our last post about being discouraged. Thank you! Words can't express the gratitude for this offering on our behalf.
The court appointment was a little nerve wracking, and even our facilitator admitted she was nervous. I won't detail all the events of the 2 hour appointment (Helen said they are usually 20 min but we had a very detail oriented and careful judge) . One highlight was the opportunity to share with the whole court (8 people besides us) one of the main reasons for our decision to adopt Katia - that we are Christians, who are adopted by God, and that this adoption is a picture of God's love for us. As I was saying these words, I felt many eyes were on me, not the judge, but she was nodding, it appears, in agreement unlike the prosecutor, who seemed stony and wanting to move on to the next phase. Perhaps the judge, with a husband in the ICU following a stroke has been giving the things of God more thought. I pray that This word brings forth fruit powerfully in the lives of all these hearers.
Heather got a chance to share her faith also with the lawyer representing the orphanage. She had a great desire to practice the English that she is trying to learn and wanted to talk with Heather. They are planning to email and Skype. One of the questions that she asked H was, what kind of church did we go to? So, Heather had a chance to share through the facilitator/translator that it is one that knows that Jesus is God come in the flesh, died on the cross to pay for our sin and that we read and believe the Bible and love and follow Jesus.
Since she was so eager to practice English for herself and her 4 year old, H is planning to also connect her with the missionary family we just met who have moved here from Russia only a month ago. They have twin 4 year old girls and 2 other children!
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”[b] Rom 1:16,17.
These are the very words we have been memorizing this week as a family.
Another beautiful event I want to recount to you is as we were exiting our car at the courthouse, we left our driver P and (knowing he is a Christian) asked him to pray for us and motioned with our hands together pointing upward. Immediately, a string of audible Ukrainian words came from his mouth and trailed off as we walked down the sidewalk to our appointment. I was struck by his immediate and unashamed intercession for us, not even knowing a word he said. Grateful again for praying believers.
Of Jesus it is said in Revelation 5:9
“For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation"