While we were in Ukraine adopting Evan, we had the opportunity to spend some time with several of the other children in his orphanage. One of those children was Nikita. Nikita and Evan were neighbors, with cribs right next to each other, and, like Evan, Nikita spent his days confined to that crib.
Nikita would lay in his crib, rocking back and forth on his hands and knees all day long. During our 4 weeks in Ukraine, we never once saw him smile. He was tiny, depressed and, every day, another day closer to his 4th birthday when he would be sent to an institution where he would likely spend the rest of what was sure to be a short life. Our hearts ached for this little boy and from that point forward he was in our every prayer.
Several months after returning home with Evan we received a phone call from a sister from church. She informed me that she knew a family that was interested in adopting a child from Ukraine and wanted to know if she could put us in touch. I was excited to share our experience with this family and within a few hours I was on the phone with Jill. During our conversation she told me that they were hoping to adopt two children, a boy and a girl, younger than their daughter, who was six. My mind immediately turned to Nikita (who just happened to have a twin sister, Nastya). I told Jill about Nikita and Nastya and directed her to Reece's Rainbow where their pictures and descriptions were listed. A few days later, Jill called to tell me that they had committed to adopt the twins. We were over the moon that Nikita would be coming home to such a wonderful and loving family and we were humbled that our Heavenly Father had used us as instruments to help make that happen.
Last October, the Pierce family traveled to Ukraine to bring their children home. Unfortunately, they learned prior to traveling that Nastya would not be coming home to them. Another family had stepped forward to adopt her while the Pierces were gathering their paperwork and, due to Nikita's special needs, the judge had granted permission for the twins to be separated. Although devastated by this news, the Pierces moved forward in faith and accepted a referral for another beautiful and spunky little girl, Kristina.
In November 2008, Keith (Nikita) and Kristina Pierce came home! What a blessing it has been for us to be close enough to see them regularly and to watch them transform through the love of a family. The tiny, malnourished, sad little boy that we had known in the orphanage has blossomed before our eyes. He is active, happy, loving and making huge strides in his development every single day.
The Pierce family will soon be moving away, but we thank our Heavenly Father every day for bringing them into our lives and for being an answer to our prayers for this little boy! I still have to pinch myself when I see him standing in front of me, laughing, running and playing. This little boy who I worried might never know the love of a family, is HERE, right here, thousands of miles from where we first met him, thriving and happy and loved. Isn't our Heavenly Father amazing!?
Keith is not the only child from the Artemovsk Baby House that we have had the privilege of seeing come home to their forever family. Ava, Igor, Daisy, Nico, and Katrina have all found their forever families as well: