About the Garrett family
- Matt and Aimee
- Longmont, Colorado, United States
- Matt and Aimee have been married for 9 years now. We have 5 daughters between the two of us. Three who are still living at home. Jasmine is 17, in her junior year of high school. Haley is 14 in her freshman year of high school. Anya is 18 in her junior year of high school. Anya was adopted from Ukraine in 2008. Taylor 18 is a senior in high School living in Thornton, Heather 20 Married living with husband Chad and thier baby Ezrah, he was born in Feb 2011. We are in process of adopting siblings Oksana 13, and Vladik 10 whom we met on a hosting program this past summer.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
In Aimee's previous post, there is a picture of all four of us. See that blue cup in my hand? If one could find a way to market, distribute & sell this simple item, one could become a millionaire almost overnight. This is a culture of, "NO, you may NOT have it to go!!!" Also, I'm sharing a stunning thumb-nail photo on the upper right, of probably the coolest item in Ukraine: a hot water heating pot. These are, without a doubt, the most useful items ever. Water heats up in about 2 minutes or less and burns the hell out of your mouth shortly thereafter because you're so excited it heated up so fast you fail to draw upon decades of experience concerning damage that excessive heat can cause or exercise any wisdom or discretion regarding putting scalding hot water into the hole on your face! Last night, I posted about the Lord intervening. It was one of my more eloquent posts, I know, save your admiration for an even more compelling episode later. By the way, is that really a church bell "gonging" for the 20th time in the last few minutes at 11PM? Be aware of what you pray for, request, or challenge God at doing; He may just do it! Last week the community of believers prayed for the Peck's and I KNOW God moved to change a government bureaucracy. This week, this same group left at God's feet, the more specific item of a lunatic, 13 year old girl's heart, which in my experience can have more red-tape than a bureaucracy. Last night I scoffed at and thumbed my nose at the Lord of the universe regarding an audible intervention. In hind-sight, I used reverse psychology on Him; God's all about reverse psychology. We know He can dish it out, but can He take it? I was sitting at a desk outside the director's office when my mind went blank, everything went completely quiet (for those of you have heard Ukrainians talking, that's amazing if that's all that happened), in a split second I heard myself say, "Thats it, I've had it. I'm not giving her a choice. I'm telling her she's coming to America, that's it. No more. I'm done" It was that easy. I looked at Aimee and said those very words. She also knew it & told me to do it. We walked to the same room we were in last night, sat down & less than a minute later, despite all the distractions, I engaged; eye-to-eye. I saw fear, I saw questions & a lack of faith-can't imagine why??? I saw her starting to shake. She knew it was time. She knew what she wanted and needed to say. Some may/will call it bullying, coercive, intimidating and that we'll pay for it later...I say shut the, you know what, up! I'd rather cross that bridge in the states than here. I'd also rather pay for it in the states than have some,"creeper" (to use the choice words of my lovely teen-age daughters back home) pay for her to do things here. That's the reality, people, read the stats! Who can say the methods that the Lord uses has to follow a pattern, or has to be under the threshold of a self-appointed threshold regulator? What is that threshold and how do you get the job of determining it? Can you imagine, in response to the question, "So, what do you do?", your response is, "Well, I'm the self-appointed, self-righteous, reasonable, responsible, spiritual, religious, threshold regulator analyst." Perhaps if most of us were familiar with our Bibles we would know He uses a gentle whisper as well as tornadoes. I would prefer my methods were more, "My Little Pony" or, "Care Bear" like, but we're not storming the beaches of "Barbie's Dream House", going to, "...infinity & beyond", with Buzz Light Year, or playing a DVD called, "Dances with Gilligan", we're battling an entity that wants to drag these kids and their souls to hell. God spoke through me to get her to say she would come. She spoke her heart & DOES want to come to America. It was a choice this girl was empowered to make and wanted to make. She wanted & needed to be able to say yes with certainty. The top left photo is the letter of consent. It's the real deal. It's not the final ticket, but it's way past yesterday. I believe there is spiritual warfare here in this country because Satan has had a death grip on it for centuries. Any time we get one more child out of here, he throws his little satan-hissy fit & loses, again. I fantasize about the Lord taking that cartoon character tail of his, yeah, the one with the heart that's upside down and rather large, and uses it as a stool for Satan to sit on at His feet right before he face plants him securely under His heel-remember that prophecy? Recall that scene in, "The Passion Of The Christ", where Jesus looks through the crowd and sees the face of that creepy, child-like Satan appear(could that face look any more like the face of the, "...mocker & fool..", described in Proverbs)? Last night when I felt we had lost the battle, there was a really eerie moment when I saw that look. It shot shivers up my spine. I felt the tingling of complete fear over the centuries find its way to the backs of my arms and on the back of my neck. There was a totally exposed from behind sensation I can't describe-it made me want to stand up and look behind me. I was in complete and utter horror for that moment. It's a look burned into my mind forever. The prayers offered on her behalf were heard. It compelled me to pursue with no fear, no regret and no doubt. I really cannot explain it. To be sure, we cannot pretend that Satan won't try again with this child over the next few days and what we can do is limited to what God's will is. To be sure, my focus is clear, my determination certain, my purpose defined and resolute. & for the love of God would everyone quit being so politically and adoption correct and stop being so sensitive and offended-it's a blog that contains thoughts, feelings & opinions. We're in a foreign country. I speak just enough Russian to start WWIII. We have a driver doing circles here in the city. My "Total Pillow" broke. I miss my other girls and new grandson. The cab driver that took us to the train station took a 200 grivna and drove away without giving me change-it was supposed to be 80 grivna!!!! It was hell just getting a spoon from the hotel kitchen. The liquid Coffee Mate is gone. We haven't been able to do laundry in a week and there are soldiers carrying rifles at the entrance to the supermarket...lighten up.
For those of you who have not read on facebook already about Oksana's change of heart, here is a little update on today.
We arrived at the orphanage this morning about 9:30 to visit with the director and ask them to separate Vlad & Oksana for us to adopt Vlad. The director is out for the day in Odessa, so vice director talks with us a bit, then has Oksana & Vlad come down to the office. Again both her and our translator Yuri keep trying to convince Oksana to agree, and she digs her heals in and says no again.
At the end of this meeting the vice director asks that we wait out for a minute while she speaks with Oksana alone. While we are sitting out in the hall, God must have been giving Matt the words to say, he tells me this is enough I am just going to tell her she is going, and not give her the choice that will ruin her future. After Oksana comes out they ask us to go talk in that visitation room again. We sit for a minute and Matt asks Oksana to look at his eyes and he says, "Oksana you are going to America" " It is good for you and I am not giving you a choice, you will tell them yes today and we will start the paperwork" Over and over he tells her this, and every time she tries to look away and say some thing to object he tells her again, she smiles and laughs a little and then the tears start and she runs into his arms, now they are both crying as he tells her how much he loves her and that there is no way he is leaving Ukraine with out her. He tells her that he needs her in America so he can take care of her, that he will always take care of her, and that no boyfriend here in Izmail is ever going to care for her the way she needs. It was so amazing the way she melted.
Just to make sure she does not try to take it back, he gets out his phone and videos her saying yes I am ready to be adopted and go to America.
It occurs to me that all she was waiting for was for Matt to pursue her and find out if he really loved her enough to fight for her. She was upset yesterday when he told her after about 5 hours of this back and forth, that he had had enough and we would just go back to Kiev and start over with a new referral. She needed to know that she was The One he would give his life for, a deep longing that God created us females with, we all need to know that we a beauty worth fighting for, and we need a hero who will do this over and over, no matter what, who will go to the ends of the earth to bring us to him, or even give his life for us, just as Jesus did. Today Matt was her hero, her Jesus, her father.
Matt is also Vlad's hero as now he gets the best of both world's America, his family, and to be with his sister. He was hugging her today and telling her how much he loves her and that she is the best sister ever, it must be a wonderful peace in his heart to know that they will stay together.
I love my husband, he will always be my hero!
The rest of the day was good, we played games, got the tour of the kids bedrooms, met their teachers, and then took the kids to a late lunch at a very yummy Ukrainian style cafeteria, and then shopping at the big market, it is like Ukraine's Super Wal-mart, they have anything you could need.
As we sit here on the bed tonight, it is such a different feeling than last night, I am so thankful for God's intervention, and all of you who have been praying, Thank you so much!
This is Yuri with Vlad & I. He is our constant companion during our visits at the orphanage. He is one of the three boys who were there last night telling Oksana how crazy she is being and that she needs to say yes and go with her family.
Yuri is in Oksana's group which means he is probably between 12-14. He has wonderful English, he can speak and read it, and does quite a bit of translating for us. He went to America once for a Christmas visit, does not seem like the family will be coming to adopt him. He is a blast, has a great sense of humor, pokes fun at Matt, cute smile, cheats at Uno, and studies my every move, always watching and trying to make eye contact. If I look back at him he gets a huge smile, and his cute dimples come out, then he will even wink a bit it is so funny. He is good friends with both Oksana & Vlad. He has no siblings of his own. He managed to stay out of school all day with Oksana & Vlad, and just hang out with us, not sure how he does that but he was loving it!I think he is a future sales man, he just has that personality that gets everybody in his camp. Matt & I both want to take him home with us. Matt said early on in the day "I would come back for him, no I will, come back for him" You know that is probably true, we will come back to Izmail for Yuri, unless another family steps up and lets us know they are coming. I did not want Vlad to be our only boy anyway, and Yuri will fit in wonderfully with our family. I know this is crazy talk but that is how it happens in these orphanages, there is always at least one more that grabs onto your heart. We do intend to try to get more details about his status and such as our time here continues. We will see what happens I guess.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Going to be a short one: Oksana has refused every attempt today to help her make a decision that would move the adoption process forward. Spent nearly 7 hours at the orphanage today after an 8 hour train ride & 4 1/2 cab ride to quite possibly thee furthest point from Kyiv to complete an adoption-it really is-check out the map. Romania is right across the river and 15 minutes in Moldova was actually part of the cab ride. The above picture accurately depicts a large percentage of how the road to Izmail from Odessa really is & it is in complete disrepair. The snow probably filled in spots that might have caused damage to the suspension. We had our translator (whose English rivals my Russian), our facilitator, Valentine, her friends, the director & ourselves discuss absolutely every angle with her for hours-she refuses to go, choosing instead to remain faithful to a couple of friends (who are both going to America within a year after being adopted by families) & a boyfriend who has dumped her twice. Before you start thinking we haven't done everything...we have. At this point ONLY a spiritual intervention will work; you know-after all else fails-PRAY! We are pursuing, although almost definitely in vain, to have the system allow Oksana & Vlad to be separated & get Vlad here as he desperately wants to come-he is nothing short of amazing & would thrive beyond description in America. This is unlikely to occur, but we'll try over the next two days, after that, we will have our letter in hand for a return trip to Kyiv and maybe try for another referral. Without this letter, you can't even have a second referral. Valentine says he already has a wonderful match for us that is close; she's more than ready, etc. At this point we're starting to burn through already strained funds quickly and have a very narrow margin of error-VERY narrow. Having been here 4 weeks ago to attend a $3800.00, whoops!!..., "...we gave you the wrong date...be back in three weeks...", meeting, we simply cannot afford many more arrows. Sometimes, the, "F-" bomb really is the only word that works. Sorry, Lord; I believe you may have had a few of those sort of conversations with some of your Bible heroes. I'd gladly take an angel wrestling with a displaced hip, tumbling wall, talking donkey, burning bush, meteors from Heaven, catastrophic plague, saved by a prostitute, sun standing still, ark building, prison song singing, demons into pigs, water from a rock, ship-wreck surviving, long-haired-pillar pushing moment or physical impairment moment from You right about, oh, I don't know....NOW, in order to advance Your agenda, but right now, it's really hard to know what that is. We'll take direct, verbal, audible direction-that would be somewhat convenient and so easy...I'm all about easy; how 'bout it? :)
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I literally thought I was going to have to push him out of the way!!! I'm not sure if it's simply a culture thing that I'm not quite understanding, but when we are clearly standing in line at the bank to exchange money and this guy a little bigger than me picked up on the English Aimee & I were exchanging, he simply stepped right in front of us. Him & I exchanged that glance that all guys know...I turned sideways, said, "Eezvenetyeh, pazhalsta!!"-& I was reestablished. Even though I had to endure 10 more minutes of heavy sighs, death stares, etc., it was completely worth it. USA=1; Pushy Ukrainian=0. Jack-A...!
Yesterday we rode the metro for the 1st time. WOW! That was cool, especially the escalators that go at the speed of light Way, WAy, WAY down. At the bottom where the steps disappear there are still shreds of clothing and shopping bags where people had to decide to get off safely before it dragged them under or abandon certain items they could do without-it's a snap decision. When you're ready to exit the train you better be at the door because everyone else makes their way right up to it before it opens. Everyone seemed perfectly capable of standing solo with nothing to hang on to & not lose their balance. Aimee didn't realize how fast it took off the first time and did a brand new dance that involved a 1/2 bent over stance and a head long charge at the end of the train. Only my cat-like reflexes saved her from firmly implanting herself into the back side of the a car. Being an international hero is exhausting!
Our SDA appointment resembled a group-hug more than a life-changing meeting. Got the referral; found out the real story about the orphanage placement, time, timing, etc. It has become obvious that Oksana took very liberal editorial and artistic rights to tell her version-SHOCKING! OUTRAGEOUS! We were absolutely stunned that we didn't have accurate information from a 13 year old female orphan or the system in general. We spent 10's of seconds in shock. Leaving for Izmail tonight about 10PM.
We were told to be at the SDA to pick up our referral between 4PM & 5PM. We showed up at 435PM. After we walked out the door, paper work was a gathered up, put in a pile, carried out and the door was locked! Glad we didn't show up at 445PM. I had made a last-second decision to go straight to the SDA instead of heading back to the apartment to put away our lap-tops; it would have taken an extra 10-15 minutes. Hmmmm....thanks, God.
We also went to the CBN offices yesterday. That was not only fun, but good to see all the people doing all this work to advance God's agenda in many ways. I got asked to be the "voice-over" for a professionally produced production for a short documentary/ad for a group soliciting for workers as missionaries in Asia. Despite my best efforts, it took several takes, stops, do-overs, etc. Thank god they were patient. Karen Springs had to rush in to the sound booth during one part and yank the gun out of the sound directors hands as she aimed it at me through the window-thanks, Karen. There was another attempt on my life shortly after as I put on the headphones, got close to the microphone and belted out my rendition of, "We Are The World...". I do a great Michael Jackson/Stevie Wonder/Cher compilation, at least it sounds good in the cab of my UPS truck.
It has NOT stopped snowing here for three days. Nothing says, "Winter Storm Warning", like Ukrainian women in stiletto's RUNNING on ice-rink type sidewalks. Really, how do you do that?
Once again, last night, Oksana made it very clear that she refuses to be adopted. Then 30 minutes later sends Aimee/mom (depending on whether or not she's coming the the US), a text message to call her, which Aimee/mom does and has a very positive conversation with her. If you don't like the weather in Colorado; wait an hour. If you don't like the attitude of a teen-age girl; wait, well, 15 seconds.
We went to the Chernobyl Museum today. I left almost in tears, well, there were tears. What an absolute national disaster that clearly left its mark in too many ways to count. Some things just tear me up. Senseless loss or waste of life is one of them.
About 1/2 way through, "Red Letters", the book & almost positive I hate it, no, I do. Todays lesson: based on Jesus' example, we are NOT to conduct a, "cost/benefit analysis" to determine who we are to have compassion on...I really HATE that!
Without a doubt, the highlight of this entire trip so far as been successfully using a, "Buy One-Get One Free" coupon at a internet cafe-hold your applause and admiration. I'll be doing a coupon signing when I return!!!
Sunday, February 20, 2011
It is Sunday evening we are at the coffee shop using the Internet for a while. Very yummy vanilla coffee's with cool heart and leaf designs in the cream Love it!
Everything went well on the flights over, we definitely recommend the Dusseldorf route rather than Frankfurt. Our flight was less than a third full, so many empty seat that anyone who wanted to could take a row and lay down to sleep or stretch their legs. The pilot mentions this in his announcement telling it is good for you bad for Lufthansa. :)
Karen has been an awesome host for us we are so grateful for opening up her home to us. Thank you to all that have helped her with this new hospitality ministry. It is such a blessing to be with a sister in Christ who knows the city and can show us some new tricks. We had our first experience on the Metro, it seems fairly easy and a inexpensive way to get around. I did nearly take out the elderly couple sitting at the end when we took off and I went flying back, but as always my favorite hero was there and pulled me back just in time, he is Awesome you know and there is no charge for awesome!
Another first for us was going to church here in Ukraine. Karen's church family is wonderful. The worship and message was amazing, and they have a mid way through service coffee break. I personally think that is a super fun idea especially for us jet lacked travelers. Karen's uncle is a very passionate person, on fire for God and the love for orphans. He shared the news of the miracle God did for the Pecks, and you know he could hardly keep his feet on the ground when we were talking after the service. You get this man speaking about orphans, adoption and God's plan and oh my, Matt and I truly thought he was going to start dancing, he was soo excited! The whole experience was so upliftings and refreshing a wish we could find an English speaking Church to attend in Izmail each week.
During the service they had all the little kids come up front and show the bibles they purchased with the money they had raised. They will deliver these Russian bibles to kids in orphanages, what a gift. Also there was a young couple who were dedicating their new born son, he was beautiful.
We met Valentin at the apartment after church and got our other suitcase back from him. We gave him the Matthews & Greens documents, so he would be able to start work on them straight away.
We then went to the "cafeteria" restaurant with Karen and one of her friends Elisha from church. I love that place I can see what I am getting and they have awesome borscht and the Ukrainian salad that I used to eat here, it was very good. We had a really great conversation during lunch. Elisha is a music teacher here in Kiev at one of the International schools. She is a sweet girl, we talked about many different topics including marriage and communication. Matt gave both her and Karen the "Don't marry the wrong person" talk, Always the Dad!
I talked to Oksana & Vlad twice both are very excited, but the phone she was using was having major static issues so conversations have been cut short.
We will have our SDA appointment tomorrow at 10am and be on the train to Odessa at 10pm on Tuesday if all goes well this time at the appointment. Valentine says that we will be in Odessa by 6am then we will drive to Izmail and get an early meeting with the kids and start the documents.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Ezrah Caden Valentine 9lbs 1oz 22"long.
Matt's oldest daughter Heather gave birth last night. He is perfect! Matt & I see now that if things had worked out as we thought they should with our last Ukraine trip we would have missed this little guys entrance into the world. We have been looking for the blessings in the delay, and this one has made it to the top of the list.
Ezrah is a happy mellow little boy, big, strong large hands and feet, Matt is already planning his future basketball career. So we will become new grandparents and parents again in the same week, pretty cool. And Boys, we are so excited to have some little boys in our family.
We will fly out to Kiev again Friday about 11:30am. Our SDA appointment will be at 10am on Monday. If we do get the referrals for Oksana and Vlad this time, we should be with them on Wednesday. We are also excited that we will now be with Vlad on his birthday Feb 28th, and we can let him have a little party with his friends.
By the way I am only 36, so way to young to be answering to Grandma in my opinion. So fair warning to all my friends, No old lady Grandma jokes!
I could not be more proud of Chad & Heather for the job they did giving this little guy a great start. Aimee's right: we would have missed this most important event-thank God we didn't!! Becoming a brand new grandparent, getting a new 4 week old mini lop bunny(who is also a boy) &, God willing (& that is key), Vlad & Oksana all within a few weeks of each other. It really is so much more satisfying taking care of & providing for others than it is to acquire stuff-WAY too much stuff. I'm reading, "Red Letters"...bad idea...hits to the core. It compels one to stop justifying, get off the fence and do what we're supposed to do. Self-justification and excuse making really is thee #1 tool of the devil; it's so subtle and seemingly so harmless. That inward, gnawing feeling is your conscience calling...
Flying to Kiev, again, Friday morning. If I had to describe how I felt, it would mirror Abram leaving Ur for, well, wherever...