Sunday, December 30, 2007

Missionary Support Letter

As the New Year quickly approaches I am reminded yet again how long I have been trying to adopt Nicolae and Cristian. It has been a little over four years now. The reality of this is almost hard to believe. However, living in a foreign country, learning a foreign language, living far from my friends and family, makes the reality of my journey very clear.
I would have never imagined that one day that I would be living in Romania. In fact, I have asked myself, and God, many times, “why do I have to live in Romania to adopt?” I still don’t have all the answers, but I do know that God has me in Romania for a reason.
I know that living in Romania is the only way I can adopt Nicolae and Cristian. It also gives me the opportunity to work with children in need. I am still working at the hospital and have recently starting teaching Sunday school at Calvary Chapel Bucharest. And possibly the most important thing about living in Romania, is that it has caused me to put my faith and hope in God like I have never done before.

As many of you know, the adoption actually looks like it is going to happen. Praise God! In fact, Nicolae and Cristian should start living with me sometime in late January, early February. And if everything goes as planned, we may actually be home in the states, as a family, sometime during the summer. What a glorious day that will be!

However, in order to continue living in Romania so that I can adopt Nicolae and Cristian, I have had to file for a leave of absence from my teaching job. Which means, that I no longer have an income. I’d be lying, if I didn’t say that it scares me just a bit… ok… more than just a bit. And the whole depending on others thing, I am still working on that too. It is a huge Leap of Faith for sure, but not as scary as it may have been for me in the past. Over these last several years I have learned (and I am still learning) to depend on God, and that it is ok for me to reach out and ask others for help as well. James 4:2...We have not because we ask not.

So I am asking:

  • I am asking for you to continue to pray for me and all that I still need to accomplish in adopting Nicolae and Cristian.
  • Pray for my family at home. I know this is hard on them too. Please pray that God would keep all of them safe and healthy. I love them so much.
  • Pray that God will continue to guide me and give me strength throughout all of this. To rest in the comfort of Him and know that He will meet all of my needs.
  • Pray too that I would continue to make progress in learning Romanian and that Nicolae, Cristian and I will bond quickly as a family.
  • Pray for the simple everyday things that seem so much harder in Romania.

Beyond your prayers, if you are led to support me financially, I would be forever grateful. I truly believe that this is a journey that God has called me to and I would greatly appreciate any level of support you are able to offer. You can send your donations to:

Beta's Blessings

8412 Siesta Way

Louisville, KY. 40219

Please make sure to designate your gift to Debbie Vaughn’s Missionary Support.

FYI…Beta’s Blessings is a non-profit organization that was started by Karen Barrentine. She started this organization specifically for children of Romania. Beta is the name of her daughter in Romania. Karen is currently living in Romania and is still trying to adopt as well.

You will receive a record of your giving at the end of the 2008 year. For those who want a tax write off for this year 2007, simply post mark your donation before December 31, 2007.

I want to thank you in advance for your prayers and your financial support.

May God bless you and your family!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I am feeling better!

What a difference a day makes...and some antibiotics. I am feeling much better this morning.
Not perfect yet, but I am better for sure.
Thanks for all your prayers!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I nam sic!

I nam sic anb I bon't fel wel!. I hab a colb. Pwease Pway por me. Aaaachooo!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Heading home today!

Today is the day! I am so happy to be coming home for Christmas. I will leave here is a few hours. I can't wait to see my family and hopefully I will see some friends as well.
I spent last night with Nicolae and the day before with Cristian. We had a "pre-Christmas"
Craciun Fericit si La Multi Ani. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A simple blessing ...zapada

Tonight I went to the Women's Bible Study. It was so tempting to just stay home because it was very cold and rainy outside. Plus, it is an hour trek for me. However, I forced myself to go. I was so glad I did. We spent the time singing and praying. It was nice.
When it was over, I donned all my cold weather garb and my umbrella...ready to trudge on back home....another hour trek.
Dar...zapada afara! It had snowed and what a beautiful sight it was. It made my trip home so enjoyable.
Anyway...just wanted to share. Sometimes the littlest of things can be such great blessing.

Cristian's Christmas performance December 13, 2007

Today was Cristian's school Christmas performance. It was very cute. They sang some songs, all the kids read poems, and of course Mos Craciun(Santa) came too. It lasted just about an hour.

The lady in the picture is Cristian's kindergarten teacher. I love the om de zapada (Frosty the snowman) and the little Mos Craciun was pretty adoable too.
I learned a lot about Cristian during this performance...academically. No, he is not at the top of his class either in height or academically. Watching him perform today was very telling. hmmmm.
However, he was very well behaved and so adorable.
Afterwards we went back to his house and hung out for a while. Ani, his foster mom fed me lunch. Yum...Snitzel and mashed potatoes. I left around 2 this afternoon.

Tomorrow I will see Cristian again for the last time before heading back to the states. I want to give him his Christmas gift. He and his foster family are going to the countryside again this weekend to kill a pig. It is a Romanian tradition. Lots of families from the countryside do this.
I will see Nicolae on Saturday.

3 more days until I head back home... Merry Christmas to me!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The DPC Christmas "party"!?

Today was the DPC Christmas Party. It was interesting to say the least. They had it at a high school in the auditorium.

First, they had a puppet show. They did Little Red Riding Hood. Unfortunately, you couldn't hear the narrator and besides that, ladies were walking around the whole time calling out names and then handing papers to all the foster parents. It was so distracting.

When Santa Claus did come in, he came in from the back and walked up to the front and then up on the stage. Of course all the kids ran to him when they saw him. Such a natural response and so cute. Some of the kids even followed him up on stage. Nicolae was one of those kids. Yee hah. But I did get an adorable picture of him with Santa. Nicolae was so excited. He hugged Santa and even kissed Santa. It was adorable. I am glad I took the picture when I did.

Right after I took the picture of Nicolae, all the kids got sent back to their seats. It was time for the presents. I thought...great they will all get to sit with Santa, I can take pictures of Nicolae and Cristian. Nope!
They, the people who were in charge, simply called the foster mom's names and handed them plastic bags with the unwrapped gifts in them and that was it. The foster moms each left immediately after being called. It was weird.
So Santa was on stage....why? hmmm
Outside the foster moms were all comparing what their foster child got vs. the other kids. Luckily the foster moms themselves all got the same gift. So it did cut down on some of the complaining.
It was just weird.
Oh and then their was the Nicolae and Cristian saga. Yikes. When we first got there Nicolae was not happy to see Cristian at all. He went on and on about how much he didn't like him, that he didn't want to be his brother etc. Nicolae had a melt down. He cried, got mad. It was ugly.

Apparently, Cristian hit Nicolae at the infamous DPC meeting. I think they actually hit each other a few times during their wild moments of running around the house. However, I got Cristian to apologize to Nicolae for hitting him and then things got much better. Thank God. It was awkward to be sitting there with Cristian on one side with his foster mom and Nicolae on the other with his. It is just an odd experience.

Then to add to the moment, Carmen, Nicolae's foster mom, sat forward in her chair and laid her head on the chair in front of her during the puppet show. Like she was sleeping or totally bored with the whole event. Sheeshh...Anyway, I was glad when it was over.

Outside the auditorium there was a Christmas tree. I really wanted to get some pictures of the boys together and I was hoping to get a couple of pictures with all three of us, but that didn't happen. Carmen was more worried about getting outside to smoke and Ani wasn't feeling well. So...I was thrilled with the one picture I did get.

Afterwards, I went with Nicolae to his house. Nicolae and I got to spend lots of time together. I actually spent 7hrs. with him today. We put his new car garage together and we also worked on his Scooby Doo puzzle. It was wonderful getting to spend time together...just the two of us. Carmen hung out in the other room.

Tomorrow I will see Cristian again He has his school performance. Yay.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sunt Fericita!

My visit with Cristian went very well today. This is my third visit since the Big DPC visit with Nicoale and Cristian.
Cristian a fost foarte cuminte azi! He was very well behaved today!
It was so cute. I had called his house last night to confirm my coming and visiting today and you could hear Cristian saying in the background, "Mama Debbie mi-e fost doar de tine." (Mama Debbie I have been missing you). He said it today too when I saw him He even gave me a hug when I walked in. It was a great day.
I wasn't sure how it would go today, because on my last visit with him(last Friday), he was a not so well behaved. He got mad because I wasn't leaving the "Bunica" cards with him. Actually, he was a poop. He treated his foster mom badly. He talked back to her, he hit her, he was a real poop. I hated it. It was a yucky experience.
He knew though that I wasn't happy with his behavior at all and that I wasn't about to give into his tantrum. He was definitely doing the "hey I didn't get my way" behavior. Yuck...not a pretty site So, after Friday's visit, I wasn't sure how he would be today. To my happy surprise, he was very glad to see me. And...when I got ready to leave, he even helped me put the cards back into my backpack. Signs of progress.

I think it will just take some time to figure each other out and realize what the boundaries are. Like I told Bev, my number one goal right now isn't that he likes me. My number one goal is for Cristian to know that I expect him to behave and that he must treat people with respect. The like, love will come.

Anyway, I am very happy with how my visit went with Cristian today. And...I get to see both boys tomorrow. The DPC is having a Christmas party for all the foster children in Sector 2 and I get to go! Yay.

On my way home tonight, I stopped at Piata Unirii and took a couple of pictures of "The" Christmas tree. It is the largest decorated/man made tree in Europe. If you look at the pine trees in the foreground, it will give you some perspective on just how tall the tree really is.

5 more day until I head home to the states!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another fun photo

Hello all...just wanted to share another fun photo...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

An incredible evening with Nicolae

First of all, I love my new hat. Carmen, Nicolae's foster mom, gave it to me as a gift on Mos Nicolae Day. My hat is exactly like Nicolae's. I made sure I brought it with me tonight. Click...definitely a Kodak moment!

I had the most wonderful evening with Nicolae tonight. When I first arrived, I got to spend about 30 minutes alone with him. It was so nice to have some one on one time. He is very patient with me and it is so adorable how he runs through all of his English words. He is so cute too when he teaches me Romanian. He even quizzes me later on. I love it. We played "Old Maid", which we call "Bunica". Bunica means grandmother in Romanian. He is such a smart little boy. He is finally learning how to put and hold the cards in his hand by himself too.

We also played Uno, and considering it was me trying to explain the rules of this game to him by myself...he did very well.
After we got done playing cards, we ate together. I never, ever pass up a meal in Romania. Tonight Carmen made chicken and rice. Yum.
For desert we ate some of the Christmas sugar cookies I made. It was my first time for making them. My sister Teri would be proud. I even took a picture for evidence. The bread is Cozonac. It is a traditional Romanian holiday sweet bread.

We played Uno one more time with Marius, which was nice. He re-explained the rules to Nicolae. Explaining the wild cards, reverse and skip cards was very tricky by myself. However, I was actually surprised how much Nicolae had figured out from when I "taught" him. Especially with my "less than perfect" Romanian.

Then it was Nicolae's bath time. I actually got to be there for this. Yay.
Bubble bath and all. Carmen treated me as if I had never given a bath before, but that is ok. I loved every minute of it. Of course I took pictures!

Nicole was so sweet and so well behaved tonight. My heart was smiling the whole evening. What a precious little boy. I am going to see him again on Wednesday in the afternoon.

Another cute moment...when I was leaving, he blew me a kiss. I caught it and stuck it in my pocket. The smile on his face was so precious. Then he said "Good night Mama Debbie. I love you". It was a wonderful walk home, red hat and all.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Today is Saint Nicolae Day

Today is Saint Nicolae Day.

The old Saint Nicholas arrives in Romania on the 6th of December, every year. His coming announces the beginning of the winter holidays, the Christmas and the New Year.
Saint Nicholas is generous not only with the children, but the adults, too.
On the evening of the 5th of December, the boots are being happily polished in every home. People usually put the boots near the entrance door, waiting for the presents.
Saint Nicholas takes care of each member of the family. He puts a little present into every one's boots.
But who is Saint Nicholas? The parents, of course.
And who is the one who puts presents in the parents' boots? The rest of family.
This custom is very old in Romania, and Saint Nicholas Day is one of the most important festivals of the year, especially for the children.

All that is known of Nicholas is that he was Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor during the 4th century. Legend tells how a noble but poor man was thinking of prostituting his three daughters because he was unable to provide them with a dowry. Nicholas threw three golden balls or bags of gold through the window of their house and withdrew unseen, thereby saving them from their fate.

Once, seamen threatened by a violent storm invoked Nicholas, and he appeared, and assisted them with the rigging until the storm died down.
When famine spread through his bishopric, Nicholas learned that several ships were anchored in the harbour laden with grain. The saint promised the fearful sailors that if they gave the grain to his starving people, the customs men would not find their cargo short. Nicholas was also said to have saved three soldiers from decapitation; had an innocent prince released from prison; and brought to life three children hidden in a brine
tub who had been murdered by their innkeeper father to feed to his guest during a plague.

He is patron saint of sailors and of children, and also the origin of Father Christmas- Santa Claus being a derivative of St Nicholas- an identification probably derived from his patronage of children and his charitable acts of presenting gifts by night.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Great news!

Great news! Bev had her mammogram recheck today and everything is fine. Praise God! Bev shared with me that they actually ended up testing her twice this afternoon. They took the mammogram, checked the x-rays and then took a second mammogram. She had to be nervous. She said lots of women came and went, even women that were there for rechecks. For the other ladies, the nurse just walked out and said you're fine. But for Bev, the nurse came out and said the doctor wants to do a second x-ray. When the nurse came back after the second x-ray and told Bev everything was fine, she began to cry...tears of joy and relief. She was so happy that she even gave the nurse a big hug. I am guessing that Bev will sleep well tonight.

I am so thankful that the hospital was concerned enough for Bev to do such a thorough check. I am also so thankful that the news was great news! Thanks too for all of you who took time to pray for Bev! What a wonderful answer to prayer!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cristian, Nicolae and me...Together again!

Today's meeting went very well...eventually...hmmm ?!
I decided not to leave you in suspense, yet leave you wondering all at the same time.
Now for the details:
First, I lost 2 days of sleep just worrying and preparing. I made gifts for the foster moms and made sure I had plenty of the things to "entertain" the boys with. The last 4 days I have been practicing the "Five little ducks" song in Romanian. A fost greu putin pentru mine. It was a little hard for me. Pronouncing "Baby Ducks" in Romanian is hard. Ratuste Mititele...yikes... and it gets said so many times. So I resorted to pui de Rata instead.
Anyway, I got to Cristian's house about 10 minutes early. Nicolae and Carmen showed up shortly after that. I think the DPC ladies got there closer to 2, along with Elena, the translator.

At first, it was just Nicolae, Cristian and I playing with the "Barrel of Monkeys" I had brought. We had a great time. Cristian ended up with the most monkeys. He actually got 8 to stay on.While we were still playing the DPC Group got there. See picture(L to R) Liana is the one with the purse, then Ani (Cristian's foster mom),Carmen(Nicolae's foster mom) and Sylvia. Cristian and Nicolae. I didn't get a picture of Elena, the translator.

Sylvia is the psychologist and Liana is the social worker. When they first got there they had Nicolae and Cristian draw some pictures of a house and then a tree. hmmm. I learned a lot. Then Nicolae and Cristian started singing some songs and yikes! It was like someone had pushed the Silly Button. Cristian went into silly mode and it didn't take long for Nicolae to join in. I just kept praying, "God help me get through this". At this point, I thought I was doomed for sure.

Just imagine 5 other adults in the room, two who are "their parents", two who say yea or nay and a translator. (all of whom speak perfect Romanian) and me. None of them did anything to try and control Nicolae and Crisitan. Heck, and at that point, I wasn't even doing anything with the boys ,the social workers were.

The boys were running from room to room, screaming, yelling, totally out of control. They were slamming the door, turning the lights on and off. It was total mayhem. I am not exaggerating in the least. Again, the foster moms did nothing. I knew it was going to be up to me to get them under control.

So, while the rest of the "gang" hung out in one room, I was in the other "lights flashing on and off...wild kids" room. I just sat there and gave the teacher look and spoke softly and let them know that this wasn't getting it. Nicolae asked me if I was going to leave. He knows from previous times, that when he didn't behave, I left. I explained to both of them that if they didn't start behaving I would leave and we would have to try this again on a different day. I was very calm, soft voiced and they knew I meant it. ...At least I know Nicolae did. He was taking it seriously. Unfortunately, Cristian was still trying to entertain the "masses". I just stayed in the room with them until they were ready. Silence can be the best words sometimes. Anyway, I got them back in control....PRAISE GOD! I even had them apologize to everyone for their behavior. Sheessh...It was a nightmare. Not quite how my dreams went last night...that is for sure.

I decided that this was a good time to do the song "Five little ducks". I brought the ducks(I am so glad I made the decision to cut them out at home), popscicle sticks, tape, markers etc. Cristy "lost it" a couple of more times while coloring the ducks, but luckily I was able to get him under control.

I didn't sing the song because it doesn't work when being translated into Romanian, but I did tell the story while the boys acted it out.It was very interactive and I felt like it went well.
Elena the translator did help me out a bit, but over all it was just me. Yay.
Then we went outside and played at the park. I was so glad for this moment for sure.

While we were outside at the park , I got the chance to talk with the DPC ladies with the help of Elena. I even got brave enough to ask how things went today. What they thought etc.
They said right off that they thought it went very well. They loved the song and they even talked about how much Romanian I had learned. Of course I need to learn a lot more, but they were very happy with my progress. Get this, Liana even joked with me about using pui de rata instead of ratuste. Another yay moment. Practicing "The five little ducks" songs was such good idea. I was in control of the conversation, it was interactive and it came across like I knew lots of Romanian. Thank God.

They also shared that they boys wouldn't be living with me until January, so if I wanted , I could go home for Christmas. What?! I could hardly believe my ears! The boys would be living with me in January? Home for Christmas?! Yippeee Yahooooo.

I asked about what we were going to do the boys when school started back up because Cristy lives about an hour away from me and Nicolae 2o minutes in a different direction. Sylvia went on and on about how they shouldn't move from their schools. Too many changes etc. Maybe I could visit them during the afternoon and they would stay at their foster homes. What? Hey what happened to the happy moment, just minutes ago? You know, the boys would live with me moment? Then Liana shared that she felt that the boys didn't need to go to school. They should just live with me. After all I am a teacher and they could see from today that I would be good for the boys. They both agreed that it would be best for them to just be with me. Happy moment again.

They also shared with the foster moms that I need to be able to see the boys whenever I want.
I needed to be sure and see Cristian everyday this week. Then every other day or as often as I could with each of the boys after that.Carmen, Nicolae's foster mom told them that I see Nicolae a lot already. They asked me if this was true. I said I see him once every 2 or 3 weeks. They looked at me and winked. They already knew this was the case, but this isn't going to be the case anymore. In fact, they also shared with the group that they expect me to check in with the DPC every couple of days and let them know how my visits are going with the boys. I know they said this because that they wanted to make sure that the foster moms knew that they would be checking up on them.

I am sure that I am leaving out some details, but I am exhausted, both mentally and physically. I will sleep well tonight!

Today was not smooth sailing, that is for sure. In fact, I thought the ship was sinking at times. Thankfully though, it all worked out, in spite of the mayhem moments.

Thanks for all your prayers....Tonight it is praises all around. Oh and please continue to pray for Bev and her new mammogram test tomorrow.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I have another meeting with the DPC tomorrow!

Hey there...
I wanted to let you all know that I have another meeting tomorrow with DPC 2 at 1:30 in the afternoon.(That is 3:30 am, Monday morning for you Californians.) We are meeting at Cristian's house. Nicolae and his foster mom will meet us there as well. So, I will get to see both the boys. Yippeeee. I haven't seen them together since last Jan. Nicolae and Cristian haven't seen each other since then either and that was the first and only time they have met!

While I am happy to get to see Cristian and Nicolae, I am really nervous. The DPC ladies are having this meeting to see how well I speak and understand Romanian. They made of point of saying it was more than having a good relationship with the boys. They seem to know how to suck the joy right out of everything.

Anyway, I can already tell I am nervous. I have felt nervous all day today. So, please pray.
-Pray that my time with Nicolae and Cristian would be absolutely wonderful.
-Pray too that I would be able to relax and be myself. That I would give all of my nervousness and worries over to God and know that He is in control.
-Pray too that the DPC ladies would be compassionate and understanding and that they would be left with no doubts that Cristian, Nicolae and I should be together as a family.

Sheesh...I am nervous! I can feel it even as I am writing this blog. God calm my heart!

Here are couple of pictures for you to enjoy. Are they brothers or what? They have so many of the same expressions.

FYI These pictures were taken about a week apart...this November.