Monthly Archives: May 2011
I know a lot of you prayed for Tesney, Greg, and Kirill throughout this process to bring him home to his forever family. So, I will try to keep you all updated as much as I can about the progress!
Yesterday, the Supreme Court overturned the judge’s original ruling effective immediately meaning the process to get the adoption approved is over, and now begins the process of getting all the paperwork necessary to actually take him home to Alabama! Roll Tide! (Sorry…had to do it.) There are no words appropriate to thank you all enough for praying for my friends and being just as excited for them as I am. God does amazing things, and sometimes He just wants us to ask. =) He has opened doors for these precious children, and I pray that the hearts of everyone involved will be changed forever because of the mountains God moved for Kirill.
Here are a few messages from Tesney:
“Honestly, I’m totally overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support for our family and Kirill. I don’t know what to say. I can’t respond to every message right now, but I will do my best over the weeks and months ahead to respond. If you’ve tried to contact me about something important and I haven’t responded, try again. I’m reading them all, but my brain is so FULL and we’re so excited.”
“Found out we will likely be coming home on June 8th.”
“We will pick up Kirill as soon as we can get to Pskov, which will be after the court decree is ready here in Moscow. They have 5 days from the ruling so it has to be ready by Tuesday. We are praying the decree is ready tomorrow or Friday. If so, we can pick him up as soon as we get it to the regional court in Pskov on Monday morning. I’ll probably be waiting outside the doors for them to open. :)”
And this one from Twitter, which made me giggle: “Off to buy luggage and necessities for Kirill! Yay!”
Here are some celebration pictures post-Supreme Court ruling. Enjoy the smiles!
My friends Greg and Tesney who are continuing their adoption petition for precious Kirill in Russia left this past weekend for the Supreme Court hearing, which will take place at roughly 7am ET tomorrow (5/24) morning. Tesney has greenlit us all to share this news/prayer request. Please read. Please pray. God is moving mountains as only He can, and we need to let Him know we see what He’s doing.
“I have hesitated to post this or not, but we need all the prayers we can get and we know that God hears the prayers of the righteous, so here it goes. We found out today that the Supreme Court can rule in our favor and K can come home immediately after the court decree is filed (in 5 days from the hearing). This is different information than we were originally given. We were told that IF we got a favorable hearing, it would be that the SC would kick the case back to regional court and they would make the final decision. This is one option, but the SC CAN rule that our adoption is approved and K CAN COME HOME. So please, prayer warriors, please pray that this is the outcome tomorrow. We are praying for a MIRACLE.”
The basement of my house is unofficially called “The Bama Room.” Its walls are covered in paintings and posters and pictures of The University of Alabama and its various sports and campus landmarks. In a small 8×10 space on one wall is a framed quote with no clear indication that it is Alabama related, but when I read the quote, all I see has everything to do with Alabama.
“You never really leave a place you love. Part of it you take with you leaving a part of you behind.”
On Wednesday night as I was somewhere over the Midwest in an airplane returning from a short business trip to Chicago, an F-5 tornado ripped through the pieces of myself I left behind in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on a mild August day in 2001. A tornado that measured nearly a mile wide cut a track of almost six miles through the center of town on one of the main roads. The storm was so strong that debris was picked up in Tuscaloosa and deposited some 60 miles northeast in Birmingham and even as far north as Knoxville, TN. The destruction was so great that piles of rubble replaced some of my favorite places beyond the point of recognition. Pictures were posted, but even though I can drive Tuscaloosa in my sleep, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where the picture was taken. You can see before and after pictures here and here. Entire housing and apartment complexes have been wiped off the face of the earth. As of today the death toll in Tuscaloosa is 39, and while that may look like a small number when you consider how tremendous this storm was, to me, 39 is 39 too many.
I’ve heard of other college towns or towns where a major university is located. I’ve heard in most of those places that the locals don’t like the college students. Sort of a “get off my lawn you snot-nosed kids” kind of attitude. But not in Tuscaloosa. Tuscaloosa embraces the students and the students embrace the locals. Plenty of students go to college at Alabama and like me, move away to start their careers. But so many students stay in Tuscaloosa or nearby in Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, and Mobile to begin their careers. It’s a place you never want to be very far from geographically or in your heart. It’s where so many of us feel centered and at home. Though it sounds far-fetched, every day of my life for almost the last 10 years, I wake up and wish I were there. Thursday morning that feeling was stronger than it ever has been.
You see I can deal with the bricks and mortar being gone. Those things can be replaced. It’s not the fact that the Krispy Kreme or the Milo’s or the Big Lots is gone. It’s that THAT Krispy Kreme and THAT Milo’s and THAT Big Lots is gone. Those places where I created memories with my friends. The Krispy Kreme where we knew the schedule of when the HOT NOW sign would be lit. You haven’t lived until you’ve loaded up the car at 2 am during finals week to drive to the Krispy Kreme for a study break and snack, and as cliché as it may be, there always seemed to be a Tuscaloosa Police Department cruiser parked outside. I can’t for the life of me remember what restaurant was there before Milo’s, but I can remember when we found out we were getting one. Milo’s sells hamburgers…in Alabama…and their secret sauce is still a mystery to me but oh so delicious on the burgers and fries. And until Tuscaloosa got a Milo’s, the closest one was in Birmingham. The pieces of my heart and my memories now lie in the piles of rubble of these places.
Over the last few days, I have watched from many miles away as members of the Alabama Family have come together and stepped up to save Tuscaloosa. Every new story I hear brings tears to my eyes like Houston Texans and former Alabama football player DeMeco Ryans showing up this afternoon with a truck load of every kind of supply that has been requested or newly drafted former Alabama football player James Carpenter calling the athletic department the morning after he was selected in the 1st round not to talk about the draft but simply to ask “what can I do?” or men’s basketball head coach Anthony Grant climbing on the roof of a house that was gutted yet still standing to help empty the attic of the resident’s personal belongings or the baseball team canceling practice on Thursday so they could help the relief efforts.
But, the ones that make me cry the most are the outpouring of support: physically, monetarily, and supply donations from people who any other day of the year would have no reason to acknowledge Tuscaloosa. The Yankees organization gave $500k to the relief efforts. Penn State football set up a fund for their fans to donate to. A guy drove from Wyoming in his utility truck to help with the downed power lines. Auburn University has even set up collection sites all over Auburn and is personally driving the donations of supplies to Tuscaloosa this weekend. And nearly every university in the Southeastern Conference as well as the other universities in the state of Alabama are lending a hand as well.
The University itself was spared any structural damage but lost electricity until late Friday. Now though, it can fill in as shelter locations and volunteer support and organization. In short, it can give back to the city that has given it so much over the years. Some of the greatest people God ever put on this earth live in Tuscaloosa, AL, and they’re hurting and fighting and stunned and they need our help. This is a comprehensive list of ways to help. And this is a list of the volunteer efforts and donation needs. And pray…prayers are always welcome. God is healing Tuscaloosa.
The city of Tuscaloosa became a place I call home almost 15 years ago. Wednesday night I slept in an Alabama sweatshirt just to feel some tiny bit of closeness to that home. It has given me so much over the years, and I hope and pray that in the days, weeks, months, and years to come I can give back at least a fraction of that because some how, some way, we will put the pieces of our collective hearts and lives back together, and Tuscaloosa will grow stronger because of this. Roll Tide, T-Town, Roll Tide!