Dear Kolya,

Sixteen years ago today a mother labored to bring you into this world.  She knew she didn’t have the ability to raise you, but she lovingly gave you life.  She didn’t know what your life would look like.

But God knew.

Sixteen years ago today I was busy raising a nine-year-old daughter, a six-year-old son, and a three-year-old daughter.  I thought our family was complete.  Little did I know that I had another son that I’d give birth to in a few years and that I had a son on the other side of the world in Russia.

But God knew.

Sixteen years ago today a little girl was deep within her mother’s womb.  She would eventually come into this world three months later and find herself in the same orphanage as you.  Nadia would become like a sister to you.  Six years later, she would be adopted by the Cavanagh family who live just a couple of miles from us.  Little did anyone know that she would be the link that would connect you to us.

But God knew.


Sixteen years ago today, a woman named Luba was caring for children in the Shummerly Orphanage.  You would eventually end up in her care.  She didn’t know that many of the children in her care would find homes with families in a place called Normal, Illinois, and that she would even end up being able to visit them here.

But God knew.

Sixteen years ago today, a baby was born.  He was “knit together in his mother’s womb….where he was fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)  No one knew that he would have the ability to build structures like someone far beyond his years.  No one knew that he would be able to run effortlessly and win races.  No one knew he would reach out to the unlovable and to be such a friend to the friendless.  No one knew that he would become a young man after God’s own heart.

But God knew. 

God has been guiding your life and leading your steps.  He will continue to do that because “he knows the plans that he has for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

Happy 16th birthday, Kolya. 

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