Friday, January 29, 2010

Even the best laid plan can go awry

Each time we have been to the Lugansk region to adopt we have had court in about 2 weeks. And so we planned to spend about 2 weeks there again, then come home for the waiting period after court. Well, so much for planning! The SDA sent out a notice some months ago that dossiers submitted after February 1, 2010, would need to include a letter authorizing an Interpol clearance. But they suddenly began applying the requirement this week. At least we will get a head start on ours. Some families are in Ukraine in limbo, waiting on the clearance before they can have court. The clearance can take up to 40 days!

So we will still have our appointment at the SDA on February 10th. They will have had our Interpol request for about a week by then and so we get a small head start. Still, we cannot spend 40 days in Ukraine waiting on court. We have no idea how things will pan out. But God does. He is as sovereign over governments as he is over a child's heart. And so as always, we make plans to the best of our ability and trust God with the outcome.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Our SDA appointment is in 19 days!!!

Gabe leaves in 12 days for Ukraine. He will be taking Vitalik with him. Hopefully, they will be able to visit the orphanage there as well as see some of the graduates. Gabe will get the I600 filed at the Embassy before Vicka's 16th birthday and I will follow 5 days later. Its all happening so fast this time! My life feels sort of like "we now interrupt our regular programming to bring you another adoption!"

Two summers ago when we were in Ukraine adopting Vitalik and Roman, our oldest son, Colton, was in California working on a movie. We were so proud tonight to see his name in the credits of To Save a Life which opened in theaters around the country today. If you haven't yet heard about this powerful movie, please go to and check it out.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Be His hands and feet in Haiti

Please continue to check the Hands and Feet website for updates on Haiti. Also, you can become a fan of The Hands and Feet Project as well as a fan of Mark Stuart on Facebook and receive daily updates. Hands and Feet is the primary organization bringing relief to Jacmel, a town of 50,000 people! They are coordinating relief flights of supplies from the States via Miami and Santo Domingo. They are receiving much needed water, vital supplies of medical and shelter supplies, as well as diapers and formula.

If you would like a different way to donate, consider sponsoring a child from the Adullam House in thier rock-n-read-thon on January 29th. The Adullam House is a home in Wetumpka, Alabama that cares for children whose mothers are incarcerated. The children asked if they could raise money for Haiti and will be donating the money to HAF. The children will be in front of Sam's Club in Montgomery on January 29th rocking and reading for 8 hours. They are working on getting sponsors and will be accepting donations on-site as well. Contact them through if you would like to make a pledge.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

UPDATE on Jacmel, Haiti

The mayor of Jacmel has given permission for Hands and Feet to land small aircraft and bring in boats with supplies. The first boat comes in today! Praise the Lord! Any money donated will be used to purchase supplies. Where possible, they will be bought from the Dominican Republic and Haitians will be hired to distribute them. Jacmel is on the south coast of the country and inaccessible by road at this time. If you have a large boat or small plane (1400 meter runway) email Please pass this on.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


In Haiti. Gabe and Alexandra were there. In Haiti. They left Tuesday, late morning. That afternoon, there was an earthquake. In Haiti. The Montana, the hotel where they stayed Monday night crumbled in the earthquake. 200 people were killed. As the earth quaked in Haiti, Gabe and Alexandra were landing in Birmingham.

Our friends are still in Haiti. The Hands and Feet Project, where they care for orphaned and abandoned children and where Gabe and Alexandra stayed, was protected. I believe that God has them there for such a time as this.

Mark on Wednesday:
Last night was crazy...slept on the dirt in the center of the village...away from the buildings. Tonight we may venture back indoors, but that is yet to be decided. We go in and out to get necessities. The Haitian people are numb and sad to say very used to death, but this has created what seems to be a hypnotic state. I've never been in a situation were you feel SO helpless, fearful, and small. The tremors are coming again as i type this.

Mark on Thursday:

We went to Jacmel today for supplies. pockets of the city look like bombs went off. i saw a family that had been trapped & killed on their porch...there's no machinery to get them out. saw another man who was ONE step away from escaping his tumbling house, but was pinned & killed against the front porch post & remains there hanging by one arm. it's disturbing. i think we're in shock

Aegis on Thursday:

We saw dead bodies and buildings fallen down everywhere. just got back and was upstairs checking emails & had another tremor. also met a women whose roof had fallen on her while she was in bed. broke her back. she's got kids & is pregnant & is lying on a mat on the ground. this is heartbreaking

From CNN:

The staff at the Hands and Feet Mission in Jacmel, Haiti, is worried. Not about looters; they are worried about the aftershocks. They just won't stop. The children of the orphanage, who range in age from 2 months to 9 years old, panic every time one comes. The situation is overwhelming for them. At times they are normal kids, laughing and playing marbles, and then their emotions swing violently, and they run into the yard, screaming and crying.

From the Hands and Feet Project facebook page Thursday night:

The mayor of Jacmel visited the orphanage today and told them of several children who are in the town just sitting on the streets, crying. Their parents were killed, and the mayor is hoping that they can take them in at Hands and Feet. We need to prepare for these new children to join the Hands and Feet family.

I thank God that Gabe and Alexandra were able to get to know the precious children at Hands and Feet earlier this week. I thank God they got out of Port Au Prince safely. I thank God for the Hands and Feet Project and the wonderful people who run it and support it. I thank God for protecting them in the midst of this disaster. Please pray for them and the rest of the country. If you are able and would like to make a donation to the Hands and Feet Project, please visit their website at May God be glorified in Haiti.

Friday, January 8, 2010


God is so incredibly good. What could have turned out a disaster is now a mere inconvenience. Our appointment with the SDA is Wednesday, February 10th. We purchased tickets in December. We were scheduled to fly out on Monday, February 8th. Once in Ukraine, we would be going to the Embassy to begin the visa application process as it has to be filed before a child’s 16th birthday. We thought we were safe since Vicka’s birthday wasn’t until February 16th.

So over in Ukraine, God is watching out for me. Vicka gets sent to some sort of educational competition. Some sponsors of the orphanage reward her with 400 griven (about 50 dollars). She buys a phone. We have been corresponding all along so she sends me her phone number. On Saturday we are just chatting away, with Roman translating, when she tells me that we will be leaving America on her birthday! What?! Her birthday is not the 8th! Oh, yes, it is.

So after a whirlwind morning of emails to the Embassy, phone calls to my facilitator, and being on hold with Delta, we have changed our travel arrangements. Gabe will now be leaving on Wednesday, February 3rd, so that he can arrive and be at the Embassy by Friday the 5th. I will still leave on the 8th and join him there in Kyiv. I am so thankful that God did not allow us to show up at the Embassy on the 10th, only be told we were too late. Can you imagine?

God is so in control of every detail of our lives. I know that, if left to my own devises, my life would be one wreck after another. I can look around my home every day and see visible evidence of God’s grace and mercy to me. I repent of my whining and complaining; of my frustrations; of my lack of faith in God. He is faithful. And He will bring it to pass.