Archive for February, 2014
I started this draft long ago and just never finished it. It’s been sitting there in the draft file for a long time, but after a recent talk with Cassie it got me to thinking about this subject again. Cassie has been asked over and over again in college “What is your go to drink to get drunk?” She is amazed at how often college students talk about drinking, getting drunk, and partying. When they talk about issues that they think are big issues, Cassie brings up orphans and some of the stories she has heard. Their response every single time is….”That can’t be true!”
She loves her big family and all her siblings. Cassie feels blessed to be able to care for them and to live at home. When others ask her why she still lives at home, her response is, “You have no idea how wonderful it is to have five little people run to the back door to greet you when you get home. They shout your name, they surround you with hugs, they love you with all their hearts, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Cassie even had a teacher congratulate her for creating and maintaining a “personal identity” despite her family. This, of course, was said with great sarcasm along with “it’s good that you seem to have your own identity outside of being on call for your family. You deserve to live and grow and develop yourself, and not in your family.”
I love what my children have learned from living with Codey and his special needs. I love what my children have learned from our adoptions. I love their hearts and their love and trust of God and His perfect plan.
All of this got me to thinking what kind of world would we live in if we only….
TAUGHT OUR CHILDREN….
to be world changers.
to embrace the uncomfortable.
to live simply and with purpose.
to help when they saw a person who was failing or falling.
to put others first.
to pray for others including those who hurt us.
to not speak unless their words were uplifting and encouraging and filled with love.
WHAT IF OUR CHILDREN…
didn’t think the best thing about growing up was moving out, going to college and partying?
spent their time finding their passion and their purpose to do all they could for God?
dreamed about the day when they’d be old enough to adopt or foster?
worried about the poor people in their hometown?
couldn’t wait to volunteer to mow a widow’s lawn or cook a meal for the hungry or help out at a shelter?
truly knew what it was like to live in a third world country?
didn’t always dream of the next big toy, but instead dreamed of funding wells, buying mosquito nets, providing food rations, sponsoring surgeries?
their hearts were really broken for the hurting in this world?
strive to have a relationship with Christ, a real relationship?
WHAT IF OUR CHURCH FAMILY…
truly supported those who wanted to adopt? Stepped up to help families with the costs? (All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. – Acts 2:44-45 NIV)
felt honored to help those in need. (Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. – Duteronomy 15:10 NIV)
thought the most wonderful thing you could say was “I have helped others adopt 10, 20, or more children. I have practiced true religion. (Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 NIV)
gathered together to help the widows? (Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. – 1 Timothy 5:3 NIV.)
truly believed their blessings were gifts from God and couldn’t wait to share them with others? (And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – Hebrews 13:16 NIV)
first thought was not to pass judgment but to love as Christ loved us? (“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34 NIV)
not only read God’s commands in the Bible but truly followed them? (Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22 NIV)
our main goal in life wasn’t a better car, a bigger house, a nicer vacation, or retiring when we are 50?
we knew how much we had and didn’t need more?
we truly couldn’t wait to share our blessings?
we finally decided this life wasn’t about us?
we found the true meaning to joy and happiness.
I have been hit hard with the realities of the world lately. I just read a book entitled “Silent Tears” by Kay Bratt that is a journal of her four years volunteering in a Chinese orphanage. My heart aches for these children. My heart aches for my children. I have seen the effects of a sterile environment. Children need nurturing. Children need love and interaction. Now not all orphanages are void of affection, but many are. Many are just overwhelmed by the number of children in their care. They do the best they can with what they have, but the truth is many children are just left in cribs. Many children spend their days staring at the walls. No toys, no interaction except getting changed and given their food. Children need more than that. I think we can all agree with that.
I have shared information on my Facebook about these things and rarely do people comment. I have often wondered what brings people to share information or “like” items. You can share a silly picture and get 75 likes. I believe that is because this makes people happy. They love to celebrate the accomplishments of my little people. They like to laugh along and see how far they have come. But share a blog or a picture of a child from Love Without Boundaries who is hurting and very few people comment. I know that doesn’t mean it wasn’t seen or that people weren’t moved or that the child wasn’t prayed for. It just sometimes surprises me that very few comment. I guess I want to know that others care. I know many people joke that they would like a “dislike” button, but I would like a “prayed for” or an “I care” button.
The truth is its easy to share silly videos and help them go viral but we avoid the uncomfortable. We avoid the talks of children dying in orphanages. We avoid the talk of children hurting, children starving, homeless families, communities without clean drinking water, widows who are in need, children dying from preventable diseases. We pretend that this isn’t happening. It makes us uncomfortable. What can we possibly do about it? It’s easier to just scroll on past and pretend it isn’t happening.
I was once that person. I saw the pictures. I saw the need, but it seemed so far removed that I really didn’t pay attention. The more I learn about children in orphanages the more my heart hurts. I don’t want to have my heart hurt. I’d like to avoid that. I’d like to just think about happy things. But the reality is God commands us to care for the orphan. You may not be called to adopt but that does NOT let you off the hook. You are called to care.
Every day I see posts about children aging out of the Chinese orphanage system. Fourteen years of age and no longer able to be adopted. To never have family to call their own. To be put on the street, or given a job in the orphanage, or worse yet to get a “better offer” which leads to human trafficking or marrying an older man at the tender age of 14 or 15. These are the realities for these children.
I look at my little girl who is profoundly hard of hearing. I think about what her life would have been like if she had never been adopted. She is a pretty girl. She would have led a life of begging or worse. Do you know what that does to my heart? Yes, we saved little Maisey’s life, but there are so many more out there just like her that won’t be saved. My.Heart.Hurts!!!!! I can’t just sit here and pretend this isn’t happening.
All day long, I have heard story after story talking about the Russian billionaire who is saving the dogs in Sochi. People praising this guy for saving these dogs. The news has been filled with this feel good story. I’m not against saving the dogs in Sochi, but if you are going to talk about the dogs, let’s also talk about the children in Russia that are hidden away from the public. Let’s talk about this same Russia that shut it’s door to international adoption. The Russia that has 300 children who have met their American parents, the same parents who aren’t allowed to go get their children. (Free the 300 ) I recently read a blog where they shared the pictures of photographer Kate Brooks. Take a look at these pictures and see if these children don’t deserve the same press coverage that the dogs are getting. (Warning: These pictures are heartbreaking!)
A few days ago the same information was covered on a blog that I read. ( Tiny Green Elephants ) So many people shared her information that they shut down the server. I know people care. I know people want to do something. I just believe they don’t know where to start. So if her post touched your heart and if hearing all these stories makes you want to do something, then do it!
Let’s stop avoiding the hard. Don’t wait for another day when you have more. You are blessed! Unbelievably blessed. Let’s, each of us, give up a couple of coffees and dig a well. Let’s fund a surgery. Let’s save a soul. Let’s help someone adopt. Let’s sponsor a child. Let’s make a difference. I don’t care which group you pick. There are so many good ones. I’ve listed the ones that we’ve had the privilege of working with on the right side of my blog. Just do something. Make a difference. Don’t believe because God hasn’t called you to be the next Katie Davis (Amazima ) or Andrea (Do Something) or Dr. Joyce Hill ( New Hope) that what you do doesn’t matter. It does.
I’ve said it over and over in my blogs before. If you can, adopt. If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, donate. If you can’t donate, volunteer, educate, pray. We can all do something. What has He called you to do? Come on. Join me! Let’s do something.
I said, “God, why don’t You do something?” He said, “I did, I created you!” – lyrics from Do Something by Matthew West
I am privileged to be able to be part of a wonderful group of families that are sharing their adoption stories of Chinese children with heart defects this month. If you want to have your heart touched, have your faith restored, see wonderful stories of trusting God, and beautiful children, then this is the blog for you.
If you are considering adopting a child, please read these stories and see how these families lives were blessed. I know many of their stories and am honored to be part of this blog. Jamie did a great job putting it together last year (Yes, there are 28 more stories from last year.) and this years is off to an even better start. There are at least two stories of post heart transplant. There are stories of faith in uncertain circumstances. There are many, many stories talking about how blessed the families are to have these children in their lives.
Pull up a chair, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and prepare to have your heart touched. I know mine was during last years and the first 7 days of this year’s blog. Today is my day to share with everyone. I thought I’d share it on my blog too.
May your faith be renewed. May you find purpose in your calling. May you strive to share God’s glory with all those around you no matter what that calling may be. Make 2014 your year to shine for Christ!
My blog about older adopting older children:
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about adopting the older child. (Beauty Admist the Pain ) I still feel very strongly that people need to step up and help these children. However, after I wrote this blog another article was brought to my attention talking about some of the corruption that is happening with older children’s adoptions. You can read that blog post here. Fraud in Older Adoptions Revealed
I still stand by my words that you need to find out as much information as you can about the child before proceeding. I know of cases that were absolutely devastating to the family, but I also believe that there are children waiting to be adopted that desperately want the love of a family and would be a good fit for some family some where. There are many beautiful older souls languishing in orphanages and the foster care system who are good, wonderful, caring children. I know because I am a mother who is blessed enough to love one.
The kids are doing well. Lainey has made great progress and has even started saying some words. Evie is walking all over the place. Everyone else has been healthy (knock on wood) and making great progress.
In less than a month’s time starting on Christmas Eve we lost three members of our immediate family. Mom died Christmas Eve with her Celebration Service being on her birthday, January 5th. Her husband and my stepfather, Will, passed away on January 13th with his service being January 18th. Right after the service for Will was over we received notice that my grandfather had had a stroke and was being taken to the hospital. My grandpa, Pop as I called him, passed away on January 20th with his services being held on January 24th. It has been a horrible time for the family. Especially for my grandma who would have celebrated her 73rd wedding anniversary on May 10th. 72 years with a person is a very long time and her heart has been very sad with losing my mom, who was her best friend only a few weeks before her husband. Please keep her in your prayers.
What I’ve learned from all this hardship:
1.) It’s easier to lose someone if they are in poor health and you have time to plan. In the end, it almost seems a blessing. But that is only true if you know that person is a believer. Knowing someone is rejoicing in heaven is a beautiful thing. It’s hard to be sad when you know there will one day be a glorious reunion.
2.) If you aren’t sure if your family member believes, ask them. I always assumed that my stepfather was a believer. He said he went to church when he was younger, but I never had any indepth conversations about it. It just never came up. It was very hard talking to little Gracie after his death. She was so worried about his soul. (Sometimes it is hard to believe Gracie is only 8.) No one wants regrets of being able to save a soul and not having said anything.
3.) It’s good to let your family members know exactly what your wishes are. When they are in a state of shock, it’s helpful to be able to say with certainty that this is what your loved ones wanted. It was easy to plan mom’s service because she had said over and over again what she wanted. It was nice to be able to implement her wishes and celebrate her life.
4.) Don’t be the invisible mom! Make sure you are in pictures with your loved ones, especially your kids. I went through tons of pictures trying to find pictures for the slideshow. I realized I always take the pictures. I am rarely in the pictures. I know my children know I was at their birthday parties and special events, but someday their children may wonder where Grandma was.
5.) Enjoy each and every day. It truly is a gift to live in the present. Don’t assume you have tomorrow. If you have things that need to be said, say them. If you have people you need to forgive, forgive them. If you love someone, make the time for them.
6.) Don’t talk about people unless you were there and can state something is fact. My brother found my stepfather and this has been very hard on him. People in the small towns all have their own ideas about what happened and all the gossip I have been told second and third hand was wrong.
7.) People actually break into people’s homes during their funerals and after their deaths. Yes, there really are people that are that low. Mom’s house was broken into. I am still in shock about that. The sheriff said it often happens. Who knows what was taken? Who knows what they messed with? It made me so angry. Not because of the items that we know were taken, the t.v., dvd player, etc. Just the thought that someone went through her stuff before we had the chance to. It’s just so sad.
8.) Your days are limited. They are numbered. You can pretend all you want but someday you will leave behind the people you love. Make sure they know how much you love them with actions not just words. On your last day, you will take NOTHING with you. Remember that. That job you work so hard at won’t be holding your hand at the end. Your diplomas won’t add another day to your life. Those vacations won’t keep you warm while you lie in your hospice bed. Regrets are a horrible thing. Don’t waste your life. Do something with it and love your family and friends.
9.) I don’t want another year to just pass by. Do you? Why not make 2014 a year to remember? Do something great for the Lord! What is your passion? What is your calling? What can you do? Everyone can do something. Everyone has a passion. Praying you find yours and you make 2014 the year you made a difference.
- 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