Marty and Kathy Friend are two of the strongest people I know. Every person in Russia they have talked to for 6 years has tried to stop them from bringing their adopted daughter home. They never gave up. They prayed. They worked. They filed millions of papers with the Russian government. They prayed more, more papers, then they prayed even more.
I’ll never forget Kathy’s call to me one day a few months ago when I was walking out of a store. Her voice was quiet. She was shocked, and so was I as she said, “We are going. They accepted our documents.”
Their visit to Russia to pick up Anya and bring her home turned into quite an ordeal. They had to stay a few months in a teeny-tiny apartment in Siberia to get all her documents in order. Kathy has been keeping a blog for a few years recording their adventure. It reads like a novel or a screenplay. Every morning for the past few months I have been reading it, butterflies in my stomach. checking on them. and praying for Anya.
and finally, last night, they brought her home.
We got to meet Anya this afternoon. She is as beautiful and spunky as Marty and Kathy have described her. The girls have known of her a long, long time, and they were fast friends indeed as you can tell from the action packed game of Hide-n-Seek.
Welcome home Anya. Welcome home.
I wrote this post late last night. This afternoon there is widespread news of Russia ceasing all adoptions to the USA because of a few wacko adoptive parents that have done terrible things to their adopted Russian children such as the following news article.
I will chalk Anya’s home coming as a miracle, as I know everyone else will too. Thank you God.
Our friends Marty and Kathy decided to adopt a girl from Russia in 2004. They flew over there, met a round-faced, sweet little blue-eyed blonde baby girl, and fell in love with Anya. They began tackling the mountain of paper work like any other adoptive parent. Speed things up to today, and know that they have been through the most trying time of their lives trying to get this little girl home.
Anya calls Kathy and Marty Mommy and Daddy. She loves them. They love her. They have an inexplicable bond, but various circumstances, not by anyone’s choice have kept them apart for almost 6 years. They have gone to visit her every single year since this process has begun, and the bond between them has grown and grown. Watch this video/song Marty put together of all their times together, if you have a minute.
Marty and Kathy are in Russia right now, in the final days of the adoption process. Kathy said that when Anya saw them for the first time this week, she ran as fast as she could down the hallway, and she could feel her heart beating through her dress when she held her. If you pray, pray for this family, that they will finally get to be together.
Marty and Kathy’s love and devotion to this little girl reminds me a bit of my Heavenly Father’s love for me.
Who better to shine the spotlight on this week than my friends? Better yet, how about Kathy Friend? Yep, that's really her name, and she's really my friend.
A few weeks ago she spent her afternoon at Goodwill. She was there to offer her services as a personal assistant/shopper to the customers at Goodwill. "Miss Kathy" as my girls call her is sincerely gifted in all things wardrobe. You've seen the show "What Not To Wear". That's what Kathy does, but she doesn't make you cry or make fun of your clothes.
Well, I saw something beautiful at Goodwill. Yep. Goodwill. No, I'm not talking about the clothes, although you wouldn't believe some of the stuff I have found there. What I did see was Kathy helping someone I once knew from a long time ago. She is a financially poor woman that I knew from my days of working at Ivy Tech college bookstore. The woman was alone and overwhelmed with her two kids, but I watched Kathy lead her around the store and hand her items. But, it wasn't just clothes. Kathy was giving this woman vision, hope, encouragement, self-confidence. It was amazing, and I was in awe. The smile that lit up this woman's face lit up the whole store.
I watched Kathy do this for over an hour with woman after woman. Not only is she to be commended for her help with the regular customers at Goodwill, but she put up with my kids who adore her, want to touch her, feel her clothes, her hair, play with her necklaces, etc.
I saw Jesus shining through Kathy that day.
And…my little mini-fashionistas found some pretty amazing deals at Goodwill.
Remember this post…about all the scary Barbies laying around our house? Well, the girls were inspired to fix up those Barbies and send them with Miss Kathy (their fashion hero) to give to her pre-adoptive daughter Anya and the girls in her orphanage.
Kathy delivered the Barbies, along with a lot of gifts to the other children in the orphanage. The caregivers were so touched that American girls would give their toys to Russian girls, that they wanted to give something back.
Russian dolls, candy, and it looks like coins. is that cool or what? This is a really amazing lesson for my girls about the blessing of giving. This is something they did on their own. To see the looks on their faces when they saw the photo of Anya with THEIR Barbies was priceless. It is truly "more blessed to give than receive!"