Thursday, April 23, 2009


It's really staggering to think of the number of miracles that have to occur in the divine plans of God just to get us home. Alarms that operate on gold film lines in silicon printed circuit boards have to work, gas engines have to start, and a host of people have to get out of bed and go to their jobs. That is why, as I stand next to the "occupied" sign on the water closet door at 35,000 feet over the North Atlantic, I thank the lady who speaks 2 languages and serves my ginger ale with ice for working so that we can fly home today. She laughs and asks me why I have been to Ukraine. Well, I will tell you...

And so goes another chance to platform the great story of God in our family. I pray that I never lose the opportunity to share some of His work in us, and if 9 children is part of how He wants me to do it, then I pray that He will let me share it well.

It was almost surreal to close and lock the apartment door for the final time for now, bump down the dusty steps in the stairwell that smells like, well, not good things, and to ride through the morning rush in my 2nd hometown to get to the airport on the flat plain outside the city. Is it happening? Will we leave the gate?

Despite a late departure on Delta 89, and the musical seat exchanges in boarding, we made it to JFK-NYC about 10.5 hours later. God was gracious to us even through the immigration process in New York, and we smiled and celebrated with a Burger King feast in the airport as now a family of 4 American citizens before our flights to Atlanta and Birmingham. Yes, you arrive somewhat numb and fatigued, since you last turned off the alarm clock and got up about 24 hours earlier, but the adrenaline of being able to see your wife and children and deliver these new 3 into our household pushes you forward with disregard for much of the travel bleariness.

To re-quote from an earlier post, a person had once told me that the "hard part was getting them out (of their situation), the rest is just discipleship". But I am confident that the work does not stop here. In fact, I am more confident that it begins here, with prayer being the primary ingredient of it all. I want to thank you in advance, for praying in the days ahead, for walking with us, and for displaying the character of Christ to us. We are grateful to God for you all!!!

John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."

The Nichols

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Psalm 146:1-2 "Bless the Lord, bless the Lord O my soul. I will praise the Lord while I live, I will sing praise to my God while I have my being."

This morning God strengthened us again for another morning to end up with all three of my new independent Russian thinkers across town at the US Embassy at 8:00 AM. I'll give you funny details later, but let it suffice to say we hurriedly headed to the medical center(another funny story) after the Embassy visit, and then backagain after a lunch break to wait on the med reports to come out for us. After getting our brown envelopes with health details inside, it was back to the tiny bit of free air above the US Embassy grounds, and we had to wait. Okay- at 4:00 PM our embassy officer behind the blue glass did not have good new for me and another American waiting. We were the last 2 people there and the servers were visa's were happening right now. This was all said to us as the microphone intermittently cut out back and forth, so you hear every other sentence loud and clear. Mr. Nichols, we......,and they are.....,and if you........., so we will.......Then you strain your ears for the other words.

They basically said that they would continue to work on bringing them (the servers) back up, but at that point they thought we would not get them today for travel in the morning. So, David (my new friend from Philadelphia) and I began to pray together for His will to be done, and for us to have grace to endure whatever, but we also asked for good gifts from Him in the form of a total of 4 visas to travel, and tickets for us as well, and that if He needs me to wait another day, then for Him to show me what to do with the waiting time.
5:00 came and our embassy rep said she was leaving but that someone would be in the office until 5:30 and that we could wait if we wanted. God does not need reminding of what He already knows about. We decided to sit for the remainder of the time. I took a walk down the hall of the silent Embassy, and when I returned my friend David smiled and advised he was seeing movement from behind the bulletproof glass.
By 5:20 we all had our walking papers!!!!!!!!
Now our facilitator raced to the center of the city with my new children yipping back and forth excitedly in Russian in the back seat. I climbed out of his black car for the 500th time in this journey to run in and see my friend Lubov at the Delta office. She had graciously agreed to wait for us. As I write this, tickets and documents are now in hand and we prayerfully seek to be on the Kiev to NYC flying in the morning!!!
Thanks be to God for His faithfulness.

Pray for strength, and grace, and swift progress through customs and immigration in NYC and then for arrival into Birmingham at around 10:30 PM tomorrow night...

Chris and Kollin and Kayla and Kory

Monday, April 20, 2009

Time to catch our breath...

I pray for God’s grace and strength to you this Sunday, that is, Easter Sunday in Kiev, Ukraine. Yes, you heard me right…
It is one week behind from your US celebration. Last night we had the chance to “ring in the Easter holiday” with our friends Oleg and Lena Vasilevsky and their children. Just before a late dinner, we read the scriptures and prayed together with our kids, and with a tag along friend from the boy’s orphanage. If you examine the New Testament, you won’t find a pattern of hunting or breaking eggs, or even of decorating crosses with flowers, or wearing nice clothes. In fact, you won’t find many of the things we fret about in the post-modern church world. You will see in there, people gathering in prayer and around the teaching of the word, and sacrificing on behalf of one another. Yes- you will find leaders, and they lead because of their intimacy with the Spirit of God, and not because of their staircase of ministry experiences, or by their knowledge of psychology. I am thankful for the simple beauty and power of His perfect word and His eternal help to us through His Spirit.

Many of you remember our Ukrainian exchange student, Oleg P. He returned to Ukraine over one year ago after staying with our family, and becoming a believer in Christ during that time. Today we had the opportunity to catch a metro train through the sleeping city, and then take an hour-long close personal space marshrutka ride through a rolling Ukrainian countryside to his town of Rhadomoshyl. He tells me that I am probably the first American there in at least 3 years, but who knows? We were able to eat with his family, and to pray for them, and to walk through the streets he grew up on. It was a nice break from the city routine, and for our new children to experience the small town atmosphere and get some energy out on a couple of long walks, including a beautiful lake and old grain mill (watch your step or you'll fall in easily). Many of you who have traveled outside the US in the last few years can attest to how we live on such a grand scale compared to the rest of our neighbors in the world. Once you spend time enjoying carefully prepared Ukrainian food served on tiny tables and plates, and enjoyed without electric lights burning in every room, you begin to understand why we are considered by many countries to be so flighty and disrespectful as an American culture. It was an honor to be in their modest apartment home, to be treated as a guest, and to know that this young man now carries the seeds of the Gospel as he completes his studies in Ukraine.

We did make it back to Kiev this evening, riding along with many who brought baskets of eggs and bread for blessings from Orthodox priests. Many shops and restaurants are closed and will be until Tuesday morning. It is kind of nice to have less traffic and noise in the walkways. Our kids are now asleep, and so I plan to follow suit. Christos vos creas (Christ is risen!)


"The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened."
Matthew 13:33

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday thoughts

Just before Easter in Kiev, Ukraine it seems to get really quiet. Today, the breeze pushes the sky from cloudy to sunny, then back again. Almost a sweat breaks as you walk, then around the corner you feel the urge to turn your jacket collar up. It is a beautiful time of year. I talk like I have been here for Easter before, and I have. In the spring of 2004, Vickie and I, along with Alan and Karen Thompson, "rode out" an Orthodox Easter weekend as part of our first adoption journey. This afternoon, as I am here for the final stretch, I am reminded of that suspended time. Karen and Alan: I will eat a slice of Easter bread just for you...

The facts of the day are pretty straightforward. The passports for the children were delayed from yesterday afternoon's scheduled delivery. However, they were promised for a rare Saturday handout from the mystic portal. We showed up on the brown chalky sidewalk outside the crumbling passport office on Terasa Chevshenka Boulevard- which would fit as a scene from any Russian spy movie. Of course, we still waited for almost 3 hours, moving back and forth from a nearby cafe to currency exchanges and back to the cafe...I think we bought like 40$ worth of chai, coffee, sprite, juice, etc. Finally our mystery lady called our facilitator, who was stranded at his place about 10 miles away. We got the nod to go into the inner sanctum via a call, walked past the curious chubby faced guard, talked broken English with my old friend Yulia, and finally signed on the lines for the much envied booklets that will get us closer to coming home!!!

We paid for a speedy cab ride back to the boys old orphanage just to help Kollin's anxiety about being late, and Kayla and Kory and I watched him play a fierce game of soccer in the dust. It is at this point a flood of memories and thoughts came to me. There are plenty of kids still left in the dwindling numbers there at the school. Some have family, some don't. Some are literally there due to the sins of the fathers, and some are there because they have a lazy eye, or a misshapen ear. Some say it is a long story if you ask how they came there, which means it hurts to remember it. Bottom line is that although God has brought Vickie and me to this place for our third time, and despite how tired I am of seeing that place it still reminds me of the ones that need my smile, need my Americanski "hello", and need me to ask their name. Each one has a name you know. It still strikes me deeply about the character of God in reaching to us, despite our family dynamics, or our weird ways, or our unpronounceable name.

The kids are doing quite well. We are working together through languages and transition from orphan life to family life, and I will tell you with honesty that there is room to grow for all of us. Be praying- He is adequate for all of it. I am praying for all of you.


Philippians 1:6 " For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quick Update

Okay- Yesterday about 6 PM I got a call from Yuriy indicating I could get the Ukrainian passports from the "agency" this afternoon. So this morning, Kollin, Kayla, Korey, and I headed across town to the Embassy to see how much early paperwork we could possibly finish. I gave them 5 cm by 5 cm photos of the kids for them to begin scans as early as possible. We can't do fingerprints at the Embassy for them until we get the Ukrainian passport, and the Med center will not let us examine them without it.
Still, getting the passport later today is better since it is one less stop. I have been working on possible flights and trying to obtain a small discount on air tickets. Be praying for us to make miraculous progress and wisdom, and for His will to be accomplished through us. They have been great to have with me, and I am thankful for their cooperative spirit thus far through the paper chase.

Psalm 103:8 "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness."

Thursday, April 16, 2009


To Do List for Today in Kiev!

Get out of bed and remember it was already today when I went to sleep last night- pray for grace and strength-Done.

Fix water closet light after hearing kids click it 42 times this morning around 6 AM because it won't come on- Done.

Get everyone to the Electric tram to get to the Metro- walk the route because the tram broke down mid way-Done

Get 3 Russian speaking children to Universitet Metro station and to the passport office by 9:00- Done.

Get 3 Russian speaking children scanned for Ukrainian travel passports- Done.

Go sign documents at Kayla's orphanage to officially drive away with her-Done

Go get an Inspector to take to the boys orphanage so she can see me sign papers to officially take the boys- Done

Load Yuriy's car with some bags from each place- Done

Call the airline to tell them I won't be traveling on Saturday- Done

Call the Embassy to tell them that our passports for the 3 kids are promised to be available on Tuesday morning(after a long Orthodox Easter holiday)-Done.

Ponder and pray about letting the kids see their biological Mom for a brief visit this weekend...still doing...

Skype call my Godly and beautiful wife, my Proverbs 31 living picture, and tell her how much I love her, how amazed I am that she is handling the needs of all 6 children by herself, and pray with her on the skype line...still doing this and thinking this continuosly...

Post blog to tell you of the incomparable greatness of God and the salvation of my soul and yours only through Jesus Christ His perfect Son, and His power in us to do the will of God through His Spirit and His written word...may I ever do this...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Inch by Inch

Good night from Ukraine...

This morning basically started in the same place where I finished the day, that is, outside the central passport office. But- there were many kilometers travelled in between and there was some forward progress made... Thanks be to God!

We submitted a fistful of documents to the "mystic portal" at the passport place at 9:00 AM. Then, after waiting for some thumbs up signal on what had been submitted thus far, and hearing that we bypassed the need to get the apartment manager's letter that we were originally told had to be obtained, we headed for the tax code office to get the 3 crucial numbers and of course the "stamps." Then it was on to the notary's office to begin to prepare a petition from each child, as represented by me, and backed up with a power of attorney letter from Vickie. The passport agency called Yuriy and indicated if we had the kids close by we could get them scanned today to get a step closer after we bring the notary letters. The oldest one, Kollin, will have to sign his own request because he is over 14. Well- that is a loaded comment from the passport agency. No- the kids are not close by, but we will sure do everything we can to get them close by. So off we go to the enchanted forest orphanage for the boys, and on the cell phone minutes to get "Ochi Dom" to send Kayla with a trusted friend of theirs in a taxi to meet us somewhere in the middle.
Between traffic and distance- this is a 2 hour adventure. Then, 1 hour at the Notary, and 30 minutes in traffic got us all back to the passport office. We placed papers into the mystic portal again, so we needed to wait. What can we do while waiting? Oh yes, Kory is with us, so we must find food. A Ukrainian salad and a pizza and a big orange drink seemed to calm down the little man.

Our facilitator looked up to see a rep from the passport office bringing a blue document into the tiny cafe where we sat...not a good sign. Seems that there was something that the passport police didn't like on the papers. Back we go to the notary. Back we go to the passport office. Now you find me at the place I described at the beginning of this blog post today. It was basically "quittin' time for the passport police" and so they said see you in the morning at 9 AM. Okay now, do I take everybody back home for tonight? More phonecalls ensued...and we got a one night pass to keep everyone with me until we officially check them out tomorrow from Orphanage care.

So- I sit in the tiny kitchen, hearing the iron door downstairs scrape open periodically, amazed that I have internet working in my apartment tonight, as my new (unofficially here) three kids sleep soundly just 5 steps away. Pray for tomorrow morning's passport session, and for quick delivery, and for our new ones to grow along with me through the steps that remain...


1 Peter 2:20 " For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated and you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God."

Word and Motion

Quick update and then I am going to sleep...

Birth Certificates obtained this morning!!!
Tax code numbers (though not exactly what we wanted- it was a negotiation to get them promised to us for tomorrow early)
Meeting with Passport office tomorrow to try and set a scan time and day- but no guarantees on scans yet - we also have to get an official "check-out" letter from the local apartment manager in the region of the city where they used to live-and we will try again to obtain it tomorrow since the Apartment manager was gone for the day.

Thank you for praying for us. I was able to proclaim the word of God in a village church meeting tonight. I quoted a chapter of the Psalms while my friend Pastor Ruslan translated, then I taught some from the passage on the Harvest in John Chapter 4. It was an incredible time to meet together with the family of God in the countryside outside Kiev. The local pastor and I were able to pray individually for many people who indicated they needed healing in some way from God. I am rejoicing because at the close of our time, two ladies indicated that they had believed Christ for salvation tonight!!! One had been an Orthodox church member, but testified how she has just met Jesus Christ instead of being just a religious person.

John 4:25-26 "The woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming; when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.'
Jesus said to her, 'I who speak to you am He.'"


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A time for everything...

Tonight I had the privilege to see the people from "Father's House" orphanage have a time of celebration for my new daughter Kayla as she gets ready to transition to life in our family. It was a good farewell, with people sharing from their hearts to her, and also frankly challenging her about submission to her new parents, in being diligent to learn the language, in cautioning her not to forget the Lord's work in her while at "Father's House". We closed out the time with some great food from the people in her "family group" and lots of smiles and curiosity in trying out their best English words with Kayla's new Dad.

In addition, my brief conversations with the leading pastor over the orphanage and his associate tonight led to them asking if I would teach to the "town hall church" that God has begun there across the street from the orphanage. I replied, "When is it that you would like for me to teach?"
"Tuesday," they replied.
"Oh, that's tomorrow-well, certainly." Laughter and smiles erupt in the room. So, if you will be praying along with me- for wisdom from His Spirit in this new opportunity. They have been teaching through a series, and asked if I wanted to teach their passages, or if I wanted to share my own. I am seeking for God to align my heart with His heart, my words with His word, and my steps with His steps at this time and this place.


John 4:34 "Jesus said to them, ' My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.' "

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Prayers and laughter

On Saturday I was able to pick up Kayla from "Ochi Dome" (translated Father's House) for some hang out time with the brothers (Kollin and Kory) and me. She greeted us with a warm smile and dishwater on her hands. I think it was no disappointment to miss out on the Saturday chores completion. We raced to "Poosha Voditsia" and collected the boys after signing a "back by 8 PM Sunday or else!" letter for Orphanage 21. It was really great. We went to a local shopping area and had some goof off time in the arcade and of course the food area- listen up, Korey was with us so this is the most important part of any shopping area in his mind. He asked if we had food in the refrigerator in "Ameriki" (okay so our translator helped him ask this). When I replied that indeed we did have food in the fridge, he said basically in his little sing-song russian tone, "not after I get there..." Now there is something to like about a young man who has his basic priorities out there with no reservation. I have no idea how the boy doesn't weigh as much as I do. He is nothing but bone and sinew, is unfazed by any challenge (like he has a pocket full of Kryptonite- if you were born too late you don't get that), and he unashamedly eats like a grown man.

Our friends Oleg and Lena Vasilevsky were so kind to have "the three and me" over to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine, have a meal, and carry on serious discipleship discussion together. The four of us went back to the apartment before 10 PM to try and get momentum for an early morning on Sunday. This was not really successful- it was after midnight before they went down for the count!

It is not Easter in Ukraine yet. Most here follow the Orthodox Calendar so next week would be the time. Our mission this morning was to get everyone up, out, fed, and to the other side of Kiev by 9:30 AM to meet with Kayla' church family during the worship gathering for a time of prayer. They introduced us, told how they believe this is just one of many miracles they are seeing as God answers prayers. I actually was able to share a few words after we were introduced as a family. It was such an incredible experience to be able to share just about 1-2 minutes with the local body/family/bride of Jesus Christ on the other side of the planet! About 400 or 500 packed the place! It was humbling and encouraging at the same time. For instance- how many times have you applauded me when I said "good morning"? I am laughing... applause occurred when I said "good morning" in English. It was a really sweet time together. They even blessed us with some beautiful flowers at the close of the prayer.

Our afternoon brought some family time at a place about 30 minutes outside Kiev. It is kind of a local Kiev pro team ice hockey arena slash indoor arcade slash laser tag slash go cart place. And they are proud of it! It is without a doubt the most pricey way to spend an afternoon in Ukraine unless you are shopping in Mandarin Plaza in the center of the city. Let it suffice to say that there were some family dynamics-as you can imagine, and we are learning love and truth together. Still, it gets better each time together. The children had a blast and we closed the day out by dropping them all off exhausted in their holding cells. OK so Kory and I were exhausted. I was released to the metro station, and all my fellow Ukrainians were waiting on me on the platform when I went through the gate.

I continually pray that God will unswervingly instruct you all to do His will through His Spirt...

Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Final visit to the courthouse...

It’s really kind of funny to get to Obolonski district each morning. If you have an aversion to really tight personal space, I recommend praying before you get on an inbound subway train in the “get to work” hours (and the same thing goes for the afternoons) There are actually so many people in the subway cars that you are pressed in and don’t have to hold on to the bars because a) you can’t raise your hand-it is stuck by your side and b) because there is no room to fall- it is like a human foam packing crate. Everyone stares at some distant point so as to not look into the eyes, hair, ear, or nose of whoever is in front of you, beside you, etc…you get the picture.

We know the courthouse guard so well now that he just waves us through. It was interesting to find that the “head judge” that we planned to meet with this morning is not there. He has appointed a substitute, and it is the same person who held court for our previous 2 adoptions. (Not the judge we have had this time around) She (the substitute) has always been reasonable and kind to us. We’ll call her Judge Happy for short. We explained the deal. She listened to the deal. She did help us by giving a quick phone call to the other judge (Judge Not-So-Happy) and the court clerk and assistant. They were told to at least print, sign, and stamp the addendum document, but the catch is that the addendum has a written note that is under the stamp that basically says “this takes power with the law after 5 days”…there is not a way around it.

Still- thankfully, we were able to leave the courthouse (hopefully for the final time) to take the document to the “birth certificate chief”. She can’t issue the certificate until Tuesday morning, but at least she said she would have everything ready for us at 9 am.

I was able to help Yuriy find some medicine for our friend Vickie Carter, who is in the middle of an adoption in Poltava area, and then I accompanied a couple from Virginia who are adopting a 3 year old as we went in to the US Embassy for a short visit. They were preparing to leave and return after the waiting period, and I went in to check with the Embassy officials to remind them I still exist here in Ukraine, and to see how I might help expedite the upcoming US fingerprint and photo scan process.

Hopefully the weekend will bring some time with Kollin, Kayla, and Kory that involves more than just paperwork. I look forward to watching the dynamic as they begin to more fully learn family life as opposed to orphanage life. This Sunday we will try to make the drive outside Kiev to Kayla’s church meeting. They have asked to pray for us as a family!

Thank you for your encouragement and prayers for us! Jesus Christ continues to supply great peace through His very own life in me, and He alone can take credit and praise.

Greetings to you on this Friday of His perfect sacrificial death on our behalf…

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’” Matthew 16: 15-16

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hang ups

Okay- so before I left to come back to Kiev for this (my third) trip to see an ending to this process, I spoke briefly with another pastor who’s adopted children before. He made a short statement that I am now seeing more clearly. He said, “You know the reason it’s so hard, adoption-it’s really a war.” This morning I walked to the ancient yellow and red electric tram with a few hundred serious faced friends. We all squinted in the sunshine and savored the chilly air between the puffs of cigarette smoke (theirs-not mine).

Fast-forward now through the tram ride, and follow the herd through one of the innumerable underground street crossings and up again to the 60’s model metro stop. Several stops and a train switch and another walk brought me to the Blue line metro. Now take a ride out to Obolonski for another day in the adoption work zone. I shuffled up the gritty granite steps of the underground to meet Yuriy for a trip to the Zogg’s office for the birth certificates. First attempt was not too great. It seems that they now computerize the information from a variety of sources, and this takes about an hour once they enter it to get approval back and print it out. Problem is they have others in line ahead of me and they are in “office hours mode” and won’t have it ready till 2 o’clock or about that time. After some appeals, the lady says she will call us as soon as it’s ready and try to speed it up. Yuriy and I went to get some coffee and something to eat for a minute, and we sat in a surprisingly beautiful spot overlooking a lake.
I’m thinking, “Relax Chris, this isn’t so bad- just a few hours of delay”. But, the soft music and Calgon moment went away when Yuriy’s phone rang. He left from our table and cancelled the order. In the car he explained that the Zogg’s lady has found a problem in the court decree. One of the old birth certificates shows up with a wrong date in the decree, and as a result they cannot go forward without it being fixed. Calls to court followed, and we made a trip to see the judge to get a solution.

Waiting and praying filled the next period of time. Okay, the problem can be fixed but the addendum that needs to be attached to the decree won’t be signed/stamped as valid for 5 days by law. Five days! What?? I told Yuriy I want to speak to the judge. He reluctantly agrees and we enter. Polite but urgent, I pled the case. Careful here…Lord- thank you for guarding me from showing anger. It is clear enough from tone and some words that I understand that she’s not going to move on this. Yuriy and I departed briefly, and I prayed for the next half hour while we went to the Zogg’s office to see if “birth certificate” lady would use the unsigned addendum to go ahead with the process. Nope- too big of a risk, she says…

What now? We tried a variety of tactics: waiting, praying, talking to her staff (since they made the mistake- not us), sitting outside their office and coming up with solutions. Nobody would move. It seems that because the decree was recorded (both in audio and in transcript) they cannot make a change and backdate the decree. They won’t sign and stamp the addendum because this violates their 5-day addendum law…
As a result it may be Tuesday before we can crank up the process again. More later.

If you would, pray along with me that there is a breakthrough tomorrow as we go and meet with the head judge of Obolonski district. Pray for God to get great glory through this, and for us to be sustained as we walk forward.

The highlight of the late afternoon, after stopping our crusade for a corrected court decree after the staff left the office at 5:15, was to go see Kollin and Kory at Orphanage 21. I got dusty hugs from both boys and it was great to see them. Guess what late evening activity was going on and involves a leather ball? I actually played a little stored up energy out on the field with them. Then I realized my age and the associated burning lungs and ceased to run any more. Yuriy and I parted ways at the last stop on the the Metro on the other side of the river and I headed across the city for my temporary home.

Looking to see His purpose in waiting. I am thankful for each of you and for the faithful character of God!

Psalm 146:8-9 “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous; the Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, but He thwarts the way of the wicked.”


It's really late, or really early. Either way-this is going to be a short summary of the day. Wake up (why am i feeling like I just went to bed?) Now- get ready (my body thinks it's midnight), get going, take a tram (don't let the lady in the photo catch you without a punch on your ticket or you are in trouble!) meet Yuriy at Obolonski...No- just wait there. He will be there in 15 minutes. No, now kill an hour in a shopping area while he waits on the court helpers. No, wait another hour-spend it writing some thoughts, praying, memorizing, watching Ukrainians, trying to memorize Ukrainian words. Okay-to the courthouse, climb, sign, wait,wait, and finally GET the decree!!!
Now- on to the "Zoggs" office for birth certificate work, but they can't have it ready till the morning. Sigh... Go get my newly found luggage on the other side of Kiev. Yeah!! Go to the SDA downtown to drop off copies of court decree for them. Now go to the apartment across the river. Call Oleg P. our former exchange student to se if he can help me get out to see Kayla since Yuriy has a conflict tonight. Take a tram, take the Metro, take a taxi...try to remember the turns to tell him to make. Get a great hug from my new daughter and spend a good time of conversation with her. Try and understand the feelings she is having, think through upcoming departure plans, and try to talk through the anxiety she feels. Prayers, hugs, down the steps and back to a taxi, back to the Metro, get off too early and hike a mile with Oleg to eat something. Walk back 4 blocks to get the Metro again. Part with Oleg and get on the last Metro train. Get to my stop across the river and realize the trams don't run here after midnight. Walk home.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in Him and I am helped."


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fourth Quarter Peace

I played football in high school for a rather serious program, or at least based on the number of guys that went on to play in college and professional levels, I guess you could say that it was serious. Anyway-we never(I never remember it) held up the four fingers when it got to the last quarter of the game. I mean, the fans are smart people, and they can see the 4 dots that light up the bottom of the board when it gets to be that time. But arriving back in Kiev this evening gave me some inclination, if my Ukrainian taxi driver would have understood it, to hoist 4 fingers high in the Kiev sky and say prayerfully-"Heavenly Father, if it seems good to You, please let this be the 4th quarter of this adoption journey." Instead, I prayed silently and tried to pronounce "engliski" words for him when he pointed and and gave me Russian words for all kinds of common noun landmarks along our 40 minute drive into crowded Kiev. The four finger deal will have to wait for later...

My departure Monday afternoon was a rocky start-finding that my flight to Atlanta was running behind before I got to the gate. Prayers on the runway were answered when our takeoff time was moved sooner by 20 minutes than the pilot's first estimate. Okay- I wasn't completely running through Hartsfield-Jackson, but I did blow by more than a couple of guys on the escalator and in the concourse on my way to being able to hold the honor as the last guy on the flight to Paris because my boarding pass wouldn't scan, then making it across the Atlantic easily to go storming breathlessly through the confusing minefield known as Roissy-Charles DeGaulle-Paris airport. Yep-managed to go through security 2 times there based on brilliantly clear French signage in the place. No rest for the weary, I was rejected yet again for a few moments at the gate before boarding the Kiev flight as well; same deal with faulty bar codes maybe?

One thing to note, when you get to be the last guy standing at the small luggage belt in Boryspil Airport in Kiev, it is a clear sign that your bag didn't make it. I guess the barcode for it was faulty as well. So after negotiating through a line, and meeting with the very kind lady in lost bag land, and signing over my life on some customs documents along with (Ka-chunk) some stamps by the customs officer, I hope to see some clothes my size showing up tomorrow. No worries, honestly- Our God is a true stream of unchanging fourth quarter peace.

I am thankful to be in Kiev, praying for paperwork progress tomorrow morning, and praying for 3 new children to be home with me soon. Just so you know, Kayla (13) has been calling our facilitator multiple times today..."when Dad gets to Kiev can he come out here?" That's my girl... fits right in with my others! Looking forward to days ahead.

"But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever."
Psalm 52:8

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The final chapter

Just an update to let you know when the final part of this journey continues. Chris will return to Ukraine on April 7th. He will be able to pick up the court decree on April 8th at 9:00 am. This is the official document from our court date that you need to have in order to finish the process. After obtaining the court decree, he will be able to work toward getting the children's new birth certificates, passports, background checks, medical exams, visas, and airline tickets to bring them home. I know that this sounds straight forward and simple, but this is Ukraine. Tune back in on April 8th to follow the conclusion of this journey. Thank you for being faithful to follow along with us.

The Nichols