Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Mission

I don't know where to begin to share all the wonderful, amazing things that happened on this trip. I'd like to apologize for not blogging sooner, but i had some 'not so good' things going on at home once I returned.

I know that God had a plan for me and I was reminded of that this trip. I'm not so sure if His plan for me has been fulfilled or just beginning. Four years ago He sent a clear message of me that He wanted me to come back and train His people in how to care and educate His special children and that is happening!!! I first went to Ukraine to help a friend and her husband bring back the children with Down Syndrome that they were adopting. While at the orphanage in Vorzel, I was curious about the children in one of the Groupa Houses who were the weakest and were NOT listed for adoption. Through 2 young men who were working on the grounds of the building through their Church, Almaz, I was told of a child in that Groupa who had si fingers and toes. Well, my daughter Jillian was born with six fingers on boths hands, and I was curious. I was introduced to their Pastor, Sasha Skripak who brought me in to meet the child. Well, little Volva did not have the same type of polydactal that Jillian had. But while holding that child, Pastor Sasha asked if I knew 'how to work with these types of children'. When I explained that I was an Early Intervention Teacher, he asked if I could come back and train his people. They had been praying that day at his church for someone to come help them work with the children. Well, right there, in that very spot, He made it clear to me that this is why He put me in special education, why my life took the course it had, and why He gave me Jillian and that I had to come back and train His people!!

That week I met with Sasha's wife Olya and a few other woman from the Church  and shared with them  strategies to enhance the children's development nd skills and vowed to be back to train .

Once home, I prayed for direction and searched the web. It is there where I found Karen Feathers, who directed me to Dave and Jane Daulton who had adopted from Vorzel. The Daultons'  joined Almaz's one week Mission Trip at Vorzel and brought some equipment. I showed up the following week and fitted the equipment to the children showing staff how to use it along with more equipment which I brought. And out of that we all started talking about holding a conference. That conference came about in January 2011 when I joined Dave, Jane and two friends of theirs, Dr. Cynthia Normandia, an Occupational Therapist and Dr. R. a psychiatrist and together we presented the FIrst Annual Conference on the Needs Of Children with Disabilities in Kiev!!

Okay, back to how I know that this is God's plan for me. This year once again we return, but this time with a team of 14 to present the 2nd Annual Conference. Before the conferencce we traveled to Ternopil and presented at the Eastern Children's regional Hospital, the Bebi and Ko Center and visited an orphanage in Syndactyn,. Well, who is one of the first children I see there: little Volvo from Vorzel!! It was the confirmation that I have no doubt that God had plans for me all along and that He is capable of doing amazing things. Imagine, the little guy I meet in Vorzel, whom I held as I received and accepted a calling from God, to be there 15 hours away, clear across Ukraine in another orphanage! When I held him, and wept in joy, he looked at me and said "Mama?"

No, God's plan for me is not to adopt. We'll have to find a family for him. God's plan for me is to bring Early Intervention Services and Supports and it's happening!!! We had representatives from thier ministry of education, from hospitals, from schools and families at our conference. we presented trainings on behavior management, sendory integration, speech development, physical developent, early intervetnion programming, parenting and more. Our keynote speaker was a young woman with Down Syndrome herself, who talked about the quality of her life. We opened eyes, and changed attitudes!! Things and people are changing in Ukraine for sure. Ukraine is fortunate in that they have us (America) to learn from. And hopefully what took the USA 50 years to reach, as far as attitudes, education, and opportunities for the our special children and the disabled will not take Ukraine that long at all!!!

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