Archive for February, 2015

  • A Call to Action

    Date: 2015.02.13 | Category: Faith, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang)

    Today Jasmine looked at me with big tears in her eyes and asked me if her hands will one day stop working too.   I asked her why she was asking me and she said because she felt like her hands couldn’t do as much.  I explained to her that she’s been flat on her back for weeks.  She hasn’t eaten much by mouth in as many days.  She’s on many medications for pain and all of these things can cause weakness and hand shaking.  There are many reasons for her hands to feel weaker.

    But because I have always promised to tell her the truth, I also had to say I don’t know if she will one day lose the ability to move her hands.  Yes, it’s a possibility and a pretty big possibility.  I just don’t know how long it will take to get to that point.  She is stage 2 SMA, but there is a wide range of how fast the disease will take her muscle.  Her surgery let us know that she has already lost a great deal of muscle but we are hoping we have hit a static point.  Maybe, hopefully, she will keep the amount of movement she has for years.

    She told me that every year  her weakness has gotten worse.  She’s never been able to walk and she’s slowly lost the ability to move her legs and raise her arms over her head.  Her hands moving in her lap and wiggling her toes is all that she has left.  She wonders what that will mean for her future.  She has heard the word worthless her whole life.  She said it to me again today.  What good will I be?

    I remind her that nothing will change.  We will always be there for her.  We will never leave her alone.  We will never abandon her.  She will always be in our home.  She can still make a difference.  She still has a purpose.  Her life will still have meaning.

    When Jasmine is upset, I like to do a visualization exercise with her.  I ask her to picture when she gets to heaven.  I have her picture God showing her two giant walls.  On those walls are hundreds of pictures.  On one wall is the pictures of all the children who are adopted because she chose to share her story.  The other wall is covered with the pictures of people who were encouraged by her smile and life story.

    She asks me if this can really happen and I tell her that God is able to do anything.  I don’t know for sure what God will do when we stand before Him.  The verses talk about one day standing in front of our judge.  You can research and decide for yourself what you believe that means.  But in my heart, I believe what I tell her to be true that one day God will let Jasmine see the purpose her life had.

    I believe we often treat our salvation as a free pass.  We accept God’s grace and we get into heaven.  Not much more thought is put into it.  We show up to church and try to be kind to others, but being kind and not judging others isn’t all there is to being Christ-like.   We are called to action.  God doesn’t want us to be comfortable.  He wants us to be His hands and feet.  He wants us to give generously.

    One day I will stand before God and He will show me what my life meant and who my life touched.  So what will my walls contain?  What will my life show?  What will be my impact?  Will those walls show kindness or will there be post-it note after post-it note of things I should have done but didn’t.  That picture scares me the most, a wall full of post-its with missed opportunities.

    post it note wall 1

    I remind her that we can’t possibly know all the people who we affect both good and bad.  I’ve thought about this a lot today.  How we get caught up in our day to day lives and lose track of all those people around us who could use a little help.  So today I present you with a call to action.  Today I want you to really think about what your wall will one day contain.

    Will it show pictures of people you encouraged?

    Will it show girls that you saved from the sex trade?

    Will it show men, women and children who were fed?

    Will it show widows who were helped?

    Will it show communities who have clean water?

    Will it show children who were adopted?

    Will it show families that are intact because you lent a helping hand?

    Will it show surgeries that were completed?

    Will it show souls that were saved?

    What will it show?  I want my wall to be covered in pictures.  I want to do as much as I can.

    Today a little boy lost his life and his mother asked others to support another child who touched her heart and needs a family.   She realizes the same thing I realize with our children.  They may not live a long life but they will live a life full of the love of family and they will not die alone.   She didn’t get to have Xavier with her as long as she hoped.  Her post today said, “He’s gone.”  My heart was broken for a little boy that I had only met on Facebook.   Today in Xavier’s honor she asked others to donate to this other little boy, Brayden, so that he too may have the love of a family.

    Brayden

    or maybe you’d like to help a family get their son home so they can ease his pain.

    Nathaniel

    or help a little girl who had a stroke because of hydrocephalus but there is a family trying to get her home.

    Hope

    There are so many children who wait.  My news feed is filled every day with people advocating for children waiting for families.  You might not be able to adopt but you can help other families afford to.  Think about that on a wall.  Picture after picture after picture of children, who had the love of a forever family, because you gave up a few dollars every month.

    Show Hope has many ways to help and so does Love Without Boundaries.

    Reece’s Rainbow actually has a 5/5/5 Fund where you can help five families adopt by spending $5 a month.

    Or if you would rather help a family stay together by helping a child get the surgery they need.   LWB Unity Fund

    The list of ways to help is unending and it can seem overwhelming, but don’t let that stop you.   Help one person at a time.  We can’t fix everything but we can fix something.

    Open your eyes.  Take a stand.  Pick a cause.  Open your heart.  Share your money.  Share your time.  Use your words wisely.  Encourage someone.

    Don’t wait – answer that call to action today.

    “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”(2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NIV)

     

  • 28 Days of Hearts

    Date: 2015.02.08 | Category: Uncategorized

    Today we share our story on 28 Days of Hearts.  Please take a look at the stories of beautiful children adopted from China with congenital heart disease.  Your heart will be moved.

    Hope, Benjamin, Evie and Elijah

     

  • I Never Knew…

    Date: 2015.02.03 | Category: Adoption, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang)

    THAT JASMINE WOULD HAVE COMPLICATIONS FROM SURGERY

    Many of you may know that Jasmine ended up back in the hospital.  I hadn’t really considered that she would have complications.  I’m not sure why.  It’s a big surgery.  They always inform you of the complications, but still I was so sure she would fly through this and be just fine. I was so sure of it that I really didn’t let my head go there.  Instead she ended up with a wound infection and a blood infection.   She was a pretty sick little girl.  They had to take her back to surgery and reopen her wound.  They took out the previous bone grafts, irrigated her wound with 12 liters, reapplied the bone graft, and closed her back up.

    Jasmine had a second set back and needed a lumbar drain put in.  She had a tear in her dura and lost a lot of cerebral spinal fluid.  They took her to surgery and put in the drain.  She now has to lie flat on her back for the next five days.  If it heals over, we are done and can go home.   If it is not healed over, she will need another surgery to reopen her wound, find the leak, and repair it and then five more days flat in bed.

    She will go home with a PICC line and IV antibiotics for a total of six weeks at least.  Worst case scenario is that they will not be able to clear the infection and they will have to remove all the hardware (screws and rods).   We are all praying that this is not the case.

    THAT JASMINE WAS CONSTANTLY HUNGRY IN THE ORPHANAGE

    When we adopted Jasmine she was 14 and weighed 85 pounds.  She wasn’t a very big girl but she wasn’t skin and bones either.  I hadn’t really considered her being hungry all the time.  When she shares these facts with me, she says them so matter of fact.  It’s like it’s nothing, just another random fact she is sharing.   These facts always break my heart.

    Here is my post about this talk from Facebook:

    Today I was talking to Cassie about Elyse not wanting to eat what Cassie was preparing and Jasmine overheard our conversation.
    Jasmine – Mama, take away her food for the day and then tomorrow she will be really hungry and eat.
    Me – Jasmine, did they do that in the orphanage?
    Jasmine – Oh yes mama. If they take your food for a day or two, you are really hungry and you will eat whatever they make.
    Big pause…..
    Wait, no don’t do that mama. It’s really not nice to do mama.
    Me – Jazz, did they really take your food from you?
    Jasmine – Yes mama and I could only have half the food everyone else got because I would get too heavy for them to carry. It’s hard to be hungry all the time. Don’t take Elyse’s food mama. Ok?

    THAT MY LITTLE GIRL WOULD CARE SO MUCH ABOUT OTHER ORPHANS

    Here is another excerpt that I posted on Facebook:

    They took Jasmine to surgery at 5……They allowed me to go back with her until she was asleep. The anesthesiologist told her that sometimes the medicines let you have wonderful dreams. I told her she could dream about Cassie‘s wedding or summer vacation. The doctor asked her what she was going to dream about and Jasmine responded, “I’m gonna dream about no more orphans in China mama.” That, in a nutshell, is the heart of my girl.

    THAT WOULD TAKE SO LONG TO GET PAST THE ORPHANAGE ISSUES

    With Jasmine there haven’t been many orphanage behaviors.  She doesn’t yell.  She doesn’t hit.  She doesn’t hoard food.  She doesn’t cuss.  She is respectful. She is loving.  She is caring.  She is sweet.  But what she isn’t able to get past are the abuse issues.  She can be in horrible pain and she won’t say a word.   Here in the hospital, people comment time and time again about how good she is.   I tell them over and over again (outside the door of course) that she isn’t being good.  She is absolutely terrified to complain because she was punished for complaining.  She was punished for speaking up.  She was punished for asking to go the bathroom.  She was punished for asking for more food.  The list goes on and on and even though it’s been almost two years she doesn’t believe she can say anything to anyone else.  She will tell Dan and I as soon as people leave the room, but she will not make a sound when other adults are in the room.  I can not even begin to adequately explain to you how heartbreaking this is.

    THAT MY HEART WOULD HURT BECAUSE I COULDN’T PROTECT HER

    While we were in the ER, Jasmine had an accident, the first one she has had at home.  The fear in her eyes as she was anxiously scream-whispering, “Don’t let them hit me mama.   Don’t.  Please don’t.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to.”  Spoke volumes and I had to leave the room and bawl in the bathroom.

    THAT I WOULD BE HORRIBLY SAD THAT IT TOOK SO LONG TO FIND HER

    Whenever anyone asks us how long Jasmine has been with us and I say it will be two years in May, I want to just scream about the fact that we didn’t see her picture sooner.

    THAT I WOULD BE EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED THAT I CAN’T DO MORE

    After our last adoption (for a total of 9 adopted), I thought I would feel like we did our part.  I thought that I could just move on, but there are so many children who wait.  I don’t understand the evil of this world.  I don’t understand not caring.  I don’t understand causing others pain.  I can’t explain it.  I don’t want to ever understand it.  There are children all over the world who are in pain right now.  Children who are hungry.  Children who need families.  Families who need help keeping their families intact.  Children who need surgery.  People who need food and clean water and medical supplies and we have so much.

    THAT ORPHANAGES WOULD BE QUIET PLACES

    The thing that always amazes me about orphanages is how quiet they are.  I’ve been in four different orphanages.  Each orphanage was quiet, even in the baby rooms.   In one place that we visited there was a new baby, in an isolation room that had recently arrived, screaming his head off, but there were 20+ babies in the regular room and not one of them was making any noise.  It’s an eerie, eerie thing.   What happens that make children not make noise, especially babies?

    THAT OTHERS WOULD THINK IT WAS WRONG FOR US TO ADOPT SO MANY CHILDREN

    See in my little world, I thought it was a good thing to adopt children.  I honestly didn’t think anyone would have anything negative to say.  I didn’t want or expect people to compliment us or commend us BUT I certainly never considered that people would think it was wrong.

    I keep trying to find just the right comment that would make people see it from my viewpoint.  Here’s what I have come up with….

    They say…..What were you doing adopting four at one time?  You can’t bond with four children at a time.  You can’t care for four children at a time.  It’s just too much and you shouldn’t have done it.

    What they are really saying…..It would have been much better to let Jasmine die in an institution.  It would have been better for Evie to die in the orphanage.

    You can’t have it both ways.  You can’t say it was wrong for us to adopt those four children without admitting it was okay for the rest to play out.  See no one else was showing up.  Jasmine had two weeks before she aged out.  She wasn’t going to be lovingly cared for in a home.  Evie had a couple more months.  No one was there.  She would have been just another child who died without a family, in an orphanage.

    THAT ANYONE BESIDE A FEW CLOSE FRIENDS AND FAMILY WOULD READ THIS BLOG

    Sometimes I forget that others read it.  I look at the numbers and am honestly just blown away.  I don’t know why people continue to read my ramblings, but I am always, always, always, beyond thankful that our children have this wonderful group of people who care about them and pray for them.

    THANK YOU!

    THAT I WOULD BE FOREVER BLESSED BY FOLLOWING GOD’S LEAD AND THAT ADOPTION WOULD CHANGE MY LIFE IN WAYS I COULDN’T EVEN IMAGINE!

    We are so blessed!  Not by material things, although we have them.  No, what I am considering my blessings are those sweet faces that greet me every morning.  I am blessed to watch our children thrive.  I am blessed to hear them laugh and sing and watch them learn new things.  I am blessed to be able to be their mother.   I wish I could take away their pain.  I wish I could take away the reasons that they ended up in an orphanage to begin with, but since I can not I will help them find their way in this world and consider myself blessed that I am allowed to be a part of their lives.

    Adoption has changed everything.  My life is no longer about me.  My perspective on almost everything has changed.  These children have opened and continue to open my eyes to so many things.

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