Saturday, May 1, 2010

An Older Book - New Connections - New Opportunites for ILDC

A number of months ago, we received a phone call from a man we didn’t know. Litlle did we realize that this call from Andrzej Zielasko from Poland would mean new connections, very special new friends,an enrichening opportunity to serve and the possibility of partnering together for adoption training in Poland.

Andrea and his wife, Kashia are adoptive parents in Poland and are responsible for leading one of the few parent support groups in the country.

This is Andrzej, Kashi, his wife and their daughter, Maya. She joined their family at 14 days old and is a delightful five year old.

 The Zielasko's adoption worker, Dorota, shared a book with him many months ago that eventually lead to us. It was the first edition of my first book, the Whole Life Adoption Book, published in 1992. She had just received it. He contacted us, asking for permission to translate it into Polish, and I suggested we send him the updated book. In subsequent conversations, we discussed the possibility of coming to his country for training…and that is what leads us to this past week.
Dorota suggested the book to Andrzej and that set everything in motion.
Off to Poland

Last Tuesday we left our friends in Kiev, Ukraine, for Poland and arrived late in the evening. Andrzejand his friend, Andrzej, met us at the airport and took us to his home. We met his beautiful wife, Kashia and peeked in at their sleeping daughter. She absolutely stole our hearts. The first day we were there, Mya told her parents that she was slowly getting accumstomed to us. By the evening of the second day, she said she was totally accumstomed to us. We have a new little friend we will always count as special to us.

David, Maya and her little guinea pig - whose name is made up and I don't have
any idea how to spell it!

At breakfast on Wednesday, Andrzej shared with us what to expect for the marathon days ahead.  He said there will be adoption seminars for workers on Wednesday and Thursday and adoption seminars for parents for evenings.  On Friday will be a gathering of adoption directors and workers from a number of different regions, as far away as two hours. And, oh, by the way, he told us, plan on Friday for TV and newspaper interviews for a national station and national newspaper.

Meeting with Polish Colleagues

What we experienced in meeting and working with our Polish social work colleagues is hard to part in words.  We were with the staff of the Adoption Centre of Wroclaw and local government workers for three days of training.  We saw their compassion for adoptive families and children and their deep desire to do excellent work.  During the days of training we have the privilege of having lunch with major government officials, including the Director of the Adoption Centre, the Director of the region's social services department and her vice-director.  All of them asked us to consider returning for a collaboration. I shared with all of the groups about the work of ILDC in Ukraine and Krygyzstan, about the training organization, Institute for Human Services in Ohio and they were very interested in future work with all of us.

Inside the workshops
The Director of the Adoption Centre, Sylvester Pajecki, opens the workshop on Wednesday.
Getting started...
     Andrzej translated all the powerpoints and handouts and interpreted throughout three days.
                                         Ending the final day of training....
                                           More of the awesome group....

Breaks During the Training Days
Between training sessions of workers and families, our hosts and new friends gave us a guided tour of their historic and beautiful city. We were captivated by their stories and peppered them with many, many questions.

                                      The beautiful city of Wroclaw, Poland.
Our new friends -  three of them are government officials who work in adoption and human services and Andrzej is on the far right. He collaborated with them for this week's work.

An historic monument

On Friday
We were prvileged to take part in a regional seminar and following the event, we were ushered out to interviews. We were just overwhelmed with the kindness of these gracious people.
The TV interview was scheduled to air Saturday on national television.

This journalist is from a national newspaper that is promoting adoption in Poland. The story should run next week.

Thank you for taking the time to share our blog. We share this because it simply reflects God's work and direction in our lives.  We can't set up experiences like this ourselves, but He does.I was thinking today on the way home that we were given the incredible privilege of speaking to over 200 folks in three days. 
 We are deeply grateful for entrusting this to us. We hope to continue our partnership with our Poland friends this fall.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Brief Note

This has been an incredible week in Ukraine as all of us participated in the first adoption conference over the weekend.  On Monday, we met with the International Leadership and Development Center board here as we are planning for the next week. ILDC has been conducting trainings for social workers, families and orphan caregivers for a number of years here and has earned a respected position with government and local NGO's.

It is quiet this morning as we prepare to leave for a four day training trip to Poland. We will be meeting with and conducting workshops for social workers in adoption during the day and workshops in the evening for families.  As a partner with ILDC, it is exciting to represent this organization in a new country.

By the way, LAMb, a founding organization of ILDC has just launched their new website.  To find out more, visit Also visit their blog -  and John and Julie Wright's blog -

We return home to Krygyzstan on Sunday morning, We do understand that things are somewhat better there, but there are pockets of chaos around the country.  Please continue to pray for our precious friends there and the work that has been established.