life on the funny farm

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Visit From Afar

Last weekend we had the most amazing visit.

Coming all the way from Kazakhstan, Pastor Alexey and his family are spending two months in the US, driving from New York to Portland.

For those of you who don't know, Alexey was very instrumental in our adoption of James and Julie. As in, it might not have happened at all if it weren't for him.

See, when we first tracked down James in Ridder, Kazakhstan, we weren't all that sure what to do next. Through a friend of a friend, we found Alexey, who was pastor of a church in Ridder. Alexey was willing to work as a go-between for us, translating letters, and arranging for James to get English lessons. After a couple of years, we asked him if he could make some inquiries to find out if James could come visit us in America (we had always been told James was not available for adoption), but he did one better. He found out that we could petition for his adoption!

The rest, as they say, is history.

But Alexey and I had never met.

Till Saturday.

What a wonderful, miraculous visit it was!

Alexey saying grace at our dinner table, with his beautiful wife and their six angelic children all shoulder to shoulder with my own brood, was one of my most memorable moments. Ever.

Listening to James and Alexey catch up with each other in Russian, seeing Alexey remark on how much James has grown since he last saw him when James was only about 11 or 12, filled my heart  with joy.

Here are all the kids from that night. Two are missing: Patrick, my oldest, who is in Italy, and their three year old, suffering the effects of jet-lag on our couch.

And here are James and Alexey.

If anyone would like to donate to Alexey's church, please contact him here.

People International USA

P.O. Box 3005, Vancouver, WA, 98668-3005

for Alexey and Olesya Bannikov, acct # 141

or donate online:

I can completely vouch for him, and he truly is a man of God doing wonderful work.


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  1. It is amazing that you were able to meet. I got chills while reading!

  2. That's an incredible story! I can't believe you were able to meet. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Thanks ladies! It really was pretty incredible...



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