In a country where poverty prevents many children from receiving the most basic necessities, it’s hard to imaging an orphaned child having hope. At age 3 & 1/2, Natalie Stoesz, born to a poor Ukrainian peasant, was a survivor of hardships beyond description. Labeled with a grim medical diagnosis and narrowly beating severe child illnesses, young Natalie was unaware that God had a plan.
We were on our way to Ukraine in 2003, with hopes of adopting not one toddler, but two elementary aged siblings yet to be identified. However, with the Iraq war just starting, and a nervous National Adoption Center leader, the Stoesz family would learn that their dossier was now going to be inadequate for the adoption of two children. With the divine hand of God at work, we were unmistakably led to meet our new daughter, Natalie. Natalie’s adoption into the Stoesz family was blessed from the very beginning, as indicated by this miracle shown in the picture above… After the court appearance where Natalie officially became a Stoesz, we arrived at the orphanage to see GOD’s LOVE shinning upon the wall of the orphanage through the crook of a tree. The image only stayed long enough for us to see and photograph before returning to just a shadow of a tree.
Over the next few years, a passion to reach more orphans grew inside us. Two years later we found ourselves (with Natalie and our two older biological children) returning to Ukraine to carry out our plan to adopt two elementary aged children, Luke and Rhya.
Since then, our family has been constantly advocating and mentoring couples who were developing their own passion to help these “Fatherless” children through adoption. Recently, our family decided to turn our passion into a ministry. Teaming up with the Roge’s and Carman’s, who were growing in the same passion to help orphans, a new ministry of Ukraine Orphan Outreach was born in the summer of 2007. A common vision is shared by the team, which is to offer hope to orphans of Ukraine in as many ways as possible. Through Ukraine Orphan Outreach, our church and community have the ability to touch many of the 100,000 orphans of Ukraine!
Clarke and Kris