Ever since this journey began in 2010, we've been on the lookout for people in Ukraine doin' the stuff. "The Stuff" being, outrageous obedience to God. We've been on the lookout for people who are living lives Wide Awake, lives that don't make sense to the world, but make perfect sense when you're talking The Kingdom. Lives lived on the edge of their seat...awaiting the Fathers voice.
About 2 years ago, while on the lookout for such people, I stumbled upon the Malone family. Chris and Mary Malone first had 4 healthy biological kids, and then their 5th child, Ethan, was born with an extra chromosome and their lives were changed forever. Their eyes were opened, like ours, to what life is like in Ukraine for orphans born with Down Syndrome, like Ethan. Since then they have adopted 4 precious kiddos from Ukraine, all with Down Syndrome. My kind of people!
After I'd been following their story for a while I read that they were moving their family to Ukraine! Okay, definitely my kind of people! Last year Jed and I tried to meet the Malones when we were in Ukraine, but they had just recently moved and the timing didn't work out. Well, today it worked out and it was seriously like a celebrity sighting! :)
God has opened the doors for Chris and Mary to be able to minister to other local families who are raising children with disabilities. He has provided a wonderful home where they can welcome mothers in and encourage them as they navigate raising their special children. What a breath of fresh air! Absolutely brave and beautiful and humbling and awe-inspiring.
Olya and I got to meet up with the Malones and attend a special Easter program for kids with disabilities and their families. Puppets, cartoons, singing, beautiful children free to be who God created them to be, smiling mothers relieved to see their children accepted and embraced. We loved it!
Thank you Chris and Mary for your obedience to do what may sound crazy to a lot of people. I think it's radical and amazing and I can't wait to join you in the craziness. :)
You can follow the Malone's journey here: http://malonesinukraine.com/
After the program we headed to Chris and Mary's house to chat and meet some other pretty special celebrities!
Randy, Cephas, and Lucia Kacirek.
I can't even tell you how happy I was to see those faces in the flesh.
I've been following the Kacirek's adoption journeys (yes, plural) for some time now. I love Tina's heart and her writing. Talk about people living on the edge of their seat!
Randy and Tina just adopted Cephas and Lucia from an orphanage here in Ukraine. Randy and the kids have been staying with the Malones as they await their flight home.
I wish I could adequately explain the beauty. Cephas and Lucia were both "laying down" children. Both unable to walk, they laid and waited for years and years. Now they are chosen! It is unbelievable. The Kacireks met Cephas and Lucia in 2010 while they were in Ukraine adopting one of their sons. They fell in love. In the fall of 2012 the kids were moved to a different facility and Lucia made sure the caregivers knew she wouldn't be there long "My parents are coming for me". When Tina asked Lucia if she ever worried when many months had passed and they hadn't returned to Ukraine for her. Lucia replied "No, I wasn't worried. I knew you would come."
To read more about Lucia and Cephas I really encourage you to read these two posts (at least):
You will not be sorry.
Their stories are of the amazing redemptive work of God. He's always rooting for the underdog. He's always behind the scenes: moving hearts, making ways, smoothing paths. How did Lucia maintain such hope- despite her hopeless circumstances? She was literally adopted in the knick of time. She was about to age out and be lost in the system for the remainder of her days. Yet she knew. She had faith. Both Cephas and Lucia have such life in their eyes. Cephas could talk your ear off in a minute flat. He doesn't miss a beat! Lucia was telling Olya her story, and about how she so happy to have a family now, with a mommy and a daddy- every child's dream.
Thank you Randy and Tina for keeping your hearts Wide Awake. It was worth it for those two treasures.
I wish each one of you could just spend 5 minutes with Cephas and Lucia Kacirek, with Ethan, Matthew, Micah, and Eliana Malone. Six beautiful children created with purpose and destiny, now called son and daughter, sister and brother- all because some people said yes. The Malones and Kacireks would tell you they aren't celebrities, or superstars (though I might beg to differ), they are just people who said yes- Wide Awake.
Please don't turn away because the need is overwhelming. The need is great, but God is greater. We can't respond only to need. We see the need, our hearts are broken, but we respond to His voice.
If He says pray, pray!
If He says give, give!
If He says go, go!
If He says adopt, adopt!
Every yes is valuable. Every yes is beautiful. Just say yes to your yes!!! DO IT!