Archive for September, 2012
First, I will share a conversation that I had with Gracie the other day. It was my chuckle for the day.
Gracie – “Mom, are we ever going to fly on a plane again?”
Mom – “Sure honey after we are done and get all the kids here, I would love to take them to Disney World.”
Gracie – “So we are never going to fly on a plane again?”
Mom – “Why would you say that? Didn’t you just hear what I said?”
Gracie – “I heard you, but how will we ever know when we are done?”
We have received pre-approval for Faith, a little one year old with a complex heart defect (one ventricle). We are still waiting on Eli’s papers. Eli is a one year old with a heart defect. We have not sent in the papers for Lauren (Min) yet because they think our best hope of getting all three is to present Eli & Lauren at the same time. I pray that it works. My heart would hurt to tell her no. I wish I could get the information to her. I know she is sitting there thinking her time is running out and here we are waiting to let her know. She turns 14 on June 1, 2013, after that she is no longer able to be adopted.
I can’t believe that I am excited to be trying to do 3 at once. Truth be told there is another little girl and if I could do 4 at once, I would gladly do it. The other little girl, Lainey, had another family in line in front of us. We had prayed that she would be adopted by them and had to make a choice to proceed with the others. These decisions are so hard. It breaks your heart. There are just so many children who need a family, but these 4 in particular have touched our hearts. I have not lost the irony of the fact that those 4 would make my dream come true and I would have my 12. 🙂
I don’t often talk about Dan. Mainly, because he is quiet and doesn’t like me bringing attention to his wonderfulness. He truly is my soul mate. He is so on board with all of these adoptions and has, in fact, admitted that he isn’t sure when we will be done. He is sure God will let us know though. He is such a blessing to me. He truly understands my heart. Most men would think their wives have lost their minds, but Dan holds me when I cry and tells me how we will make this work. We will ask them to approve 3 children and maybe 4. If they say no, we will pray for those children to be adopted, but if they are still available when we get back, then we will start again. We will bring our babies home. It will just take longer than I would want it to. He always has plan A, plan B, and plan C. I love him for that. He is my protector, my source of strength, and my comforter.
Hopefully, we will hear something soon. Please continue to pray for the process to move forward and for our children to remain safe. I know God is in control and I try to turn it over all the time, but my heart just hurts waiting.
I just finished reading Christine Caine’s book Undaunted. Here’s a somewhat funny story before I start on my ramblings. It took me two weeks of hiding in the bathroom (because it is the only place people will leave me alone) reading a chapter at a time to get the book done. I left it with Dan one day while I went out, with all the children for a couple of hours, and when I came home he handed me the book and said how good it was. Not sure if I’m a slow reader or if the constant interruptions really do make a difference. Hmmmm…..I wonder. 🙂
Anyway, I often wonder what to tell my children about their adoptions. I have been as honest and as kind as I can be with Hopey. I have always told her the truth though. I don’t know why her biological mom did what she did, but the truth is her biological mom did abandon her. Her pre-adoptive parents did back out and her biological mother left her there in the hospital. There were those who told me I should sugar coat it or not tell her at all, but I didn’t want to build our relationship on half truths. I don’t need to be brutally honest but I need to tell her the truth. She could order her medical records at any time and see that it said to not treat and withdraw the meds, which would have led to her death. Those same records say her biological mother abandoned her. The truth is there in black and white for her to read. I won’t lie to her. I will answer her questions as honestly as I can without being cruel. I want her to know that at all times I am telling her the honest truth. I don’t want her to doubt anything I say, including when I profess my love for her.
At first I admit, I had reservations about Hope finding her biological mom if she ever chose to. It didn’t take very long for me to be secure in her love for me and for me to not feel like I might someday be replaced. Human emotions aren’t always rational and my mommy heart was unsure. I had always hoped that her biological mom would check on her. We gave her our lawyers number and told her to call whenever she wanted to know anything. We had hoped she would at least check to see if Hope made it through the first surgery. She didn’t call, nor has she called in all these years. So now my reason for not wanting Hope to look for her biological mom isn’t because I might be replaced, but that she could really hurt Hope. There are worse things then being abandoned and there are many worse things she could say to my girl.
I pray for Hope’s biological mom’s heart to heal. I pray for all of my adopted children’s mothers. What a hard choice. No matter what reason whether it be because you hoped they’d find a better life, get the treatment they needed, or you were too afraid to proceed with the medical conditions – it’s not a choice most mothers could make. I also know that they may have been abandoned without much of a backward glance. I mean how could you walk away from your 9 month old in a park? Did Ben’s biological dad just drop him off there and Ben’s biological mom didn’t know for a while? We have heard this sometimes happens in China. Why was Maisey left in a stairwell? How can people just walk away? My heart just hurts when I hear those things. Ben and Maisey’s adoptions have helped Hope though. I have asked her what Ben and Maisey did to be abandoned. She says, “Nothing!” This truth has helped more than all my words through the years. Sometimes people do things we can’t understand through no fault of our own. It is hard to not take it personally, but it doesn’t mean it has anything to do with you.
I have always told Hope that this was God’s plan. She was supposed to be with us and He found a way to get her here. But as a child, when you feel you aren’t loved, for who you are or you weren’t wanted….it hurts. There is no way to get around that. What I liked about what Christine Caine said was that even though the country of Australia said she was unnamed and unwanted that that was not the truth. The truth is she was named by God and she is loved and wanted by Him. (Psalm 139:13-16). I will quote those scriptures to Hope. She was never unwanted – God formed her and made her. She was never unnamed – God has always known her name. (Isaiah 43:1) She is a chosen child of God and God is a Father who will never leave her. The truth is in the Bible. The truth is not whatever her biological mom, her medical records, or the world says. She has always been wanted by God, there has always been a plan, and she is a beloved child of God’s family and this family.
I have often talked about all the miracles that happened for her to end up with us. I believe with my whole heart that Hope was always meant to be my daughter. I feel the same about my other two. From the instant I saw their faces, I would have died for them. They were meant to be my children just as much as the ones I carried in my womb. I wondered about adopting an older child. Would I feel the same? It’s easy with a baby. Who doesn’t love a little baby? I can honestly say it wasn’t any different with Ben or Maisey. I saw their pictures and I knew. I had months to pray for them and to ask God to let them know we were coming. Dan often prayed for them to be able to dream about us. I love that he did that. From the moment, Ben and Maisey were placed in our arms, it has felt right. I understand how I felt, but how did they know? It has to be a God thing. We have been so blessed and it wasn’t any different because they weren’t babies.
Their stories may seem sad to some and I understand that. But the other part is how miraculous their lives are. I am blessed daily with their presence and I often think about their biological mothers and how much they are missing. I have been blessed with three of the sweetest souls. I hope that I am able, with God’s help, to let them know just what a gift their lives have been. They are loved. They are named. They were chosen!
The very important question…why are you on this earth? What is God’s plan for you? Are you here to just acquire as many toys as you can? Are you here to just safely live until you die? Or are you here to make a difference? I want you to make a difference. I want you to find the passion that God has placed in your heart and make a change in this world. Because the truth of the matter is you can make a difference – one child, one person at a time.
I have been told many times that “You can’t save them all!”. I’m going to start here because it is probably the statement that drives me the craziest. I know I can’t save them all. There are at least 147 million orphans, 27 million children being used in the sex trafficking trade, 7.6 million children will die this year from mostly preventable diseases. People are starving all over the world. People are drinking dirty water. People are dying in needless wars. There are so many people needing help that it just seems insurmountable….unfixable.
So what does that mean in regard to the rest of us? James 1:27 commands us to care for the orphan and the widow. Matthew 25:40 tells us that whatever we do to the least of these we do to God. There are many verses telling us to help our fellow man, to use caring words, to do as Jesus would do. But we aren’t doing that? Why aren’t we as Christians doing more? Why do we just show up on Sunday and give our percentage and think that is enough? Why do we live safe little lives? I believe God is expecting more from us. I believe we would do more if we understood the need. If it became more than just a figure to us, we would do something. If there was a face attached to that story, it would make a difference. How many times have we just changed the channel when we became uncomfortable with a story being told? Flipped the t.v. off because a commercial made us feel like maybe we should do more? When there is a name attached to that story, your heart hurts. These are not just faces of some unknown children. God knows every one of these children. What if one of them was yours?
I know a little girl who weighed 6 pounds at 6 months. I know a family, the Hills, that had decided to take in “the least of these” and try to save them. Their mission statement is “To comfort always, to relieve often, and to save sometimes.” Words that break my heart – to save sometimes. Do you have a mission statement? If not, why not? What do you want your life to say? What do you want to accomplish that has eternal ramifications? Because the Hills had a mission statement, they took in this little girl who was starving to death. Because they followed the leadings of God’s tugging at their heart, I have a beautiful 2 year old who brings so much joy to my life. They saw beyond what the orphanage saw, a sick little girl who wouldn’t make it and wasn’t worth the effort. Instead the Hills saw a fighter, a little girl with big brown eyes, who deserved a chance at life.
Organizations like the Hills are the organizations I want to bring light to. Not everyone is called to adopt, but Love Without Boundaries and the New Hope Foundation have ways for you to sponsor orphans. You can spend $35 a month a help pay for foster care, surgeries, schooling, there are so many ways to help. I talk about organizations like those two and World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse because I have a personal connection to them. The truth is there are many organizations doing wonderful things all over the world – in Uganda, in Europe, in Ethiopia, in China, the list goes on and on. You can choose whatever your heart leads you to – new wells, schools, supplies, educations, hospitals, the list goes on and on. We as a family quit buying gifts for grandparents at the holidays instead we purchase some gift through World Vision or Samaritan’s Purse sending goats or chickens, or wheelchairs to needy people in 3rd world countries. The grandparents love it and the kids love choosing a gift that has such great meaning.
I believe Christians would help if they could see a tangible way to help. Who wouldn’t give up ordering out pizza once a month to save a child’s life. When you stand before God, your judge, what will your life say? The truth is you are saved by grace. God’s perfect grace and Christ’s dying on the cross are the only ways to heaven. Nothing you can do will get you into heaven, but God asks more from you than to just exist. Truly He is asking more. Are you listening? Have you felt that tug at your heart? Can you hear His gentle whispering to help your fellow man? It can be as simple as taking a meal to a widow in your church, staying with a single mother’s children for an hour or so, mowing someone’s lawn. You just have to open your eyes to the needs around you and open your heart to the stirrings from God.
We, as Christians, have taken our eyes off of what really matters. We’ve turned our eyes to graven images – the new car, the bigger house, the better schools, the bigger job. Our eyes should not be on things of this world. When you step out of your comfort zone and trust what God is saying to you, amazing things happen. I know this for a fact. The moments when I stepped beyond my fears and took a big leap of faith were when God brought me to my biggest blessings.
Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
As I’ve said before, atrocities all around the world are happening right now, this very moment. We are the richest group of Christians to ever be alive. We have more at our disposal then we could ever possibly use.
Max Lucado asked in his book Outlive Your Life Had you been in Germany in WWII, would you have taken a stand against Hitler? Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism? Those questions are easy to answer yes to. They are hypothetical.
Yes, we would like to think we would have done something, but it is just as likely you would have been afraid to get involved. Afraid that somehow it would hurt your family or that your family would have to do without. When your grandchildren ask you what you did in a time when children were suffering, millions upon millions of children were dying from preventable diseases, children were starving and drinking dirty water, children were being traded as sex slaves or working in the mines in Guinea, and children were dying in orphanages. When they say, “What did you do? How did you help? You had so much. Why didn’t you share?” What will you be able to say? What lessons will you leave for your children and grandchildren? These are questions that God will one day ask you too. How will you answer? Hope is fading all around the world for so many. So many children think there is no way out. So many hurting souls think that there is no one who cares, nothing that will change their situation. We are called by God to be that hope. What better way to prove the love of Christ? Won’t you consider being someone’s hope?
It was a Thomas the Train party at Mema’s house in Fort Dodge. We actually had his birthday on the 2nd because we weren’t sure what he would think about having a birthday two days in a row. We were told that they didn’t have cake or presents at the orphanage, therefore, we are pretty sure that Benjamin has never had a birthday party and we weren’t sure he would understand what it meant. There were plenty of birthdays in between to get him ready for his birthday. Maisey, Grace, Hope, Codey, Cassie, Dan and Zach all had their birthdays with cakes and presents. He was as ready as he could be.
Benjamin was so sweet and so happy with his presents. He said a couple “cools” when opening his presents. He loved his cake and couldn’t wait to blow out the candles. When we got home and I got ready to take him out of the car, I asked him if he had a nice birthday. Benjamin grabbed me around the neck and in his most joyous, energetic voice he yelled, “Yes mama! Thank you God!” He even signed thank you and God as he was doing it. It was a very sweet moment.
Benjamin is very observant. He watches things and seems to just be taking everything in. He often just stops whatever he is doing and runs over to hug me and tell me that he loves me. He starts or ends everyone of his sentences with mama when he is talking to me. It’s like he is just so happy to get to say mama. He is a very bright little boy. He is very compassionate and sensitive. He is a joy to get to mother. He is curious about how things work. He loves to put things together and build. He loves cars, trains, and airplanes. He is just joy and love. Benjamin is just a sweet, sweet soul. He is Maisey’s protector. Whenever he gets anything he makes sure there is another one for Maisey. If we get in the car, he makes sure Maisey is buckled. If Maisey is doing something she shouldn’t be, he corrects her in the sweetest way possible. He is a great big, little brother. He laughs so easily, which just shocks me considering where he came from. He has the best laugh. You can’t help but laugh when you hear it.
He has blessed all of our lives so much with his sweet presence. No one knows, except God, the number of days we will get to have with Benjamin but every single one of those days will be lived to the fullest because that is how Benjamin lives. He is just so happy to be alive!
- Chinese Children Adoption International
- Hats for Gracie
- Love Without Boundaries
- New Hope Foundation China
- Show Hope
- China 2013
- China 2014
- China 2016
- Congenital Heart Defect
- Evangeline Faith
- Family Life
- Food for Thought Friday
- Jasmine (Shuang Shuang)
- Jasmine's Dream
- Lainey Rae
- Love Without Boundaries
- Making a difference
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Orphan Care
- Thoughts to ponder