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Rainbows from Heaven

By Lynn Ellen Doxon, an excerpt from her book Rainbows from Heaven.

Saturday morning, as we were boarding the bus to go to the lake for the picnic, the teacher Yuri told me that Oksana was not available for adoption because her mother had not relinquished her, even though she was in the orphanage. I was getting desperate. By now over half our time in Ukraine was over, and I had gotten nowhere in the adoption.

We rode the ancient bus several miles between rolling fields of wheat and sunflowers, lined with hedgerows. Again I was struck with the similarity with America. I could almost believe I was going to the Kansas farm I had inherited from my Dad. The final stretch of road was through a little wood; then the road opened onto a lake. The driver turned, drove along the lake, and parked near the shelter that had been reserved for our picnic.

Even though we had explained very clearly in all the classes that we would be supplying the food for an American-style picnic, all the teachers had brought something Several teachers make vareniki, a kind o national dish in Ukraine. I had grown up eating vareniki but always considered it a Russian dish because my grandmother often prepared it for us. It is a kind of large, triangular shaped dumpling made by wrapping noodle dough around several kinds of filings. My grandmother most often used potatoes, dry cottage cheese, or apples. In early summer in Ukraine they used mostly curds or cherries. One f the teacher had caught a large fish that was grilled over the fire with sasliki. None of the teachers ate the coleslaw or potato salad because it had mayonnaise in it, and they ware afraid it would make them sick. We threw out the coleslaw but had potato salad for lunch every day for the rest of our stay in Ukraine. None of us got sick.

Near the shelter was a dock from which we could swim, and a quarter of the way around the lake was a diving tower and paddleboat dock. We stripped off the clothes we had worn over our swimsuits and jumped in. The water was a little muddy but was warm and fun to swim in. After less than an hour of swimming, we noticed that the water had stripped the color from Betsy's hair. One of the teacher's offered to help her get more color because none of the Ukrainian women will let their hair go grey. They were appalled that Betsy was willing to let it remain grey until she went home. My skin began to burn after one more dip, so I abandoned swimming for the rest of the day. Betsy and I speculated that it must have had a very strong dose of industrial pollutants in it. Some of the people were able to stay in the water most of the afternoon though.

After I had eater, I started walking the paths around the lake, pondering what I would do. I knew the answer was right in front of my face, but I couldn't see it Lana joined me and told me that sometimes she gets pictures in her head that tell her what to do. She had gotten a picture in her head that told her we should adopt Anatasia and Snijana. Shortly before we left the lake Betsy joined me to walk up the entrance road and told me that she thought Anatasia and Snijana were the perfect children for us. I agreed with them but had resisted saying so because of the added trouble an expense of adopting two children.

That night, in my dreams, the girls I ha seen so often kneeling at the rail in the church turned around, and they were Anatasia and Snijana. It felt so right that I wondered why I had wasted so much time going down other paths. Now I could see where God had been leading me for the past eight years.

Reprinted with permission of the publisher.

Read the review or order Rainbows from Heaven

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