I simply can’t leave Fayetteville without telling a little bit more about some precious families there. The Nunleys being one of the most precious. Not only did they take us in…only knowing us through comments on Lisa’s blog and comments on mine. (Hey, you can learn a LOT about someone through a blog over time.) But they also made us feel like family.
We knew we were with some special people.
And then the Clarks came over. Amanda and Jim have had e-mail contact — only a couple of times over several years. They were never able to connect either when Amanda was in Ukraine or when we were in the states. She e-mailed to say that she would be in Ukraine in March — and, of course, we were not there — and Jim noticed in her signature that she lived in Fayetteville! We contacted Lisa and asked if she would make contact with Amanda for us and maybe we could ALL finally meet.
We had no idea what a special treat that would be. The Clarks adopted two boys with cerebral palsy from Ukraine several years ago. And when Amanda saw how the children were being treated — or not — in the orphanage, she determined to help them. Through translators she began giving some basic exercises that the caretakers could do with the children. Well, one thing led to another and Amanda eventually took two physical therapists with her to Ukraine to specifically model what needed to be done. She also adopted her daughter from that same orphanage. (The two therapists fell in love with the children and they each adopted one on a later trip.)
I loved watching the Nunley girls interact with Lena while the adults were all talking “shop.” Two dear families in the same place at the same time. And we were able to be there, too! I wish I had photographed the twins with the Clark boys — interaction in fast forward. Wheelchairs whipping around the house! And while the boys did laundry (see previous post), they included the Clark boys…suffice it to say that the laundry room became a bit crowded, but with four glowing faces watching the laundry turn.
Before the Clarks left, the Duggars arrived. We must be the only people on the planet that didn’t realize that this family has its own reality television show. That they’ve written books. And we just saw a 5-page spread of them in People magazine. Ok…we’ve been out of the country. They are relatives of friends so we really did want to try to get together, and one-fifth of the family arrived at the Nunley’s home in the late afternoon. We loved meeting them. You would NEVER have known that they were “famous.” Truly down to earth, unflustered, interested even in our ministry, low-key, gracious. Delightful. One of our funnier moments was when we were all eating and Jim looked at Mr. Duggar and asked…”Is your name Jim Bob or Billy Bob?” I am quite certain that we were the only ones in the room who could have asked that question! He smiled (maybe just to be with folks who didn’t know him!) and said Jim Bob.
MY personal highlight was holding the newest little Duggar. Jordyn-Grace was born in December and I hadn’t realized how much I missed my little babies in Ukraine. I got my baby fix right then and there. What a doll!
By the end of the day, the Nunleys and Peipons were certainly exhausted. The good news was that we could go to bed. The bad news was that we knew we were leaving the next day so we didn’t WANT to go to bed. But we did.
And left early the next morning on a new adventure!