Archive for May, 2015

  • Jasmine’s Dream (Part 1)

    Date: 2015.05.19 | Category: Adoption, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang)

    As you know, Jasmine and I have been talking a lot these past few weeks.  It has been hard for her to give up hope that she would one day walk.  Slowly losing the use of your body is a lot for a 16 year old to accept.  Dan and I have decided that she needs something bigger than herself to dream about.  She needs hope to be able to help.  She needs to know that she can still achieve much and help many children.  Her hope is that one day there will be no more orphans.  She wants to keep families intact and help those children, that are hard to place, get adopted.  We are working on “Jasmine’s Dream” and soon we will tell you all about her goal.

    Jasmine has been praying for four children specifically.  She has actually been praying that there is still room in our home for more, but right now that doesn’t seem to be where God is leading.  Although, I have learned long ago to not say no to God so you will never hear me say, “We are done for sure!”  One never knows where God will lead.

    Our family has been praying for Superman, Baby Hope, Summer and the little girl that Jasmine was in the orphanage with.  There are children that you see on the advocacy sites, that steal your heart for whatever reason.  For example, when we were adding a second child to our adoption, there was one little girl that I just couldn’t get off my mind.  I kept praying for a clear answer and the answer was never yes.

    I kept thinking how can it ever be wrong to adopt a child?  I kept asking God to make things clear.  The “let’s fix this now” part of me wanted to go get her now, but I knew in my heart she wasn’t meant to be my daughter.  She has now been chosen.  I have seen pictures of her new family.  I have read the words leading up to their decision to submit their Letter of Intent. (Ridiculous Faith)  I love how God works and yet I have shed tears over a little girl that was not meant to be ours.

    I mean really who wouldn’t want to call this child daughter?  Who wouldn’t want to stand there and have this little face look up to yours expectantly?  Who wouldn’t want to shower her with unconditional love and help her to be the very best she could be?

    poppy

    Many have looked at her file and walked away.  Her physical beauty and big personality could not put them at ease.  There were just too many unknowns in her file.  That’s the problem with adoption.  There are so many unknowns.  We can’t imagine being able to handle the physical or mental disabilities.  We look for the easiest problems, the fixable things.  We look for things we are comfortable with or already know.  I have talked many times about the fact that I’m not sure what I would have said if I had known Lainey or Jasmine’s true diagnosis before we got to China.  I’m not sure I would have taken the chance.  I mean who would sign up for their child slowly fading away with a degenerative muscle disease or pick a child who cried all day and beat her head on the wall especially when their lives were already so complicated?

    I can guarantee you that Kyle dying or Codey being in the hospital for 14 months was not what I wanted.  If I had been asked beforehand, I would have adamantly denied that I could handle it and walked away.  BUT Codey and Kyle changed my entire life…they changed my walk with God.  My relationship grew.  My life was fuller.  My viewpoint clearer.  My priorities changed forever.  Those two things made me who I am today.  Who would I be if I hadn’t walked that journey?

    The point when God asks us to follow His lead, isn’t that we can handle it.  It’s just the opposite.  It’s to show how much we need Him.  God’s glory is shown in our weaknesses.  It’s only when we say over and over again “Only with God” that people take notice.

    Each time God asked us to step out in faith and we saw how being obedient to His call blessed us and grew our relationship, it made following through the next time we heard the call just a little bit easier, until we got to the point that we didn’t question it when He called.  We were that sure that God’s way (the unknown – the difficult – the faith growing) was so much better than our way (the comfortable), that we said, “Okay God.  I have no idea how this is going to work, but let your glory shine!   We trust you!”.

    Jasmine knows what it means to be overlooked.  Jasmine knows what it means to almost have time run out.  Jasmine knows what it means to sit in an orphanage day after day after day.  Jasmine knows the scars that slowly build up on your heart over time and the overwhelming fear that can cloud your mind and because of these things Jasmine dreams of doing more.

    She has asked over and over again what we can do.  She prays for these children and the others left behind.  Recently Gracie and Jasmine asked me about sending their allowance to two of these children who have funds set up.  Their families have stepped up, even though their child’s future is uncertain.  Two of them have traveled and one will travel soon.  Jasmine and Grace chose to give their allowances to these children.  They talked about how there was nothing that they needed and what better use would there be for their money?  Won’t you consider helping them?  Superman’s family will travel soon and the families are already in country with Baby Hope and Summer right now.

    This is what we are called to do as Christians.

    We are called to care for the widow and the orphan.

    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

    We are called to give away our possessions:

    Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  Luke 12:33

    If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  1 John 3:17

    We are called to bear each other’s burdens.

    Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2

    We are called to help each other and not just encourage with words.

    What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  James 2:14-17

    What are you living for?  Life on earth is but a small portion of eternity.

    Francis Chan – Rope

    How are you going to finish?

    Francis Chan – Balance Beam

    Make your life matter.  Leave a legacy.  Don’t wait for tomorrow because tomorrow may never come.  Dream big and let God provide!

     In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”   Acts 20:35

  • Choices

    Date: 2015.05.12 | Category: Adoption, Faith, Family Life

    A day of pain from missing my mom.

    A day of immeasurable joy.

    A day I hope I will always remember.

    A day I wish I could forget.

    A beautiful, loving, wonderful day – the best Mother’s Day ever.

    A horrible, rotten, “wish I had never gotten out of bed” day.

    That is what my Mother’s Day was.

    I had both ends of the spectrum.

    I was surrounded by my children and beautiful words were written especially by my husband.

    my kiddos

    “This is Dan, adding a post on Mother’s Day. I’m always amazed by the strength of mothers. In my work, I see so many moms that are so committed and devoted to their fragile children. The love warms your heart and gives you hope for the future.

    And then I look at Lisa, and I see that girl that I have loved since I was 15. I remember all the pain we have gone through with our children, the crushing grip of death, broken dreams and the scars of abuse. I see the sacrifices that she so willingly makes – day after day, night after night. Putting her family first – always teaching, healing, loving, and caring. Never too tired, always ready to give – never because she “has to” but always because she “wants to”. She has been pushed to her limit and beyond during the past few years. Discovering the depth of the trauma that some of our kids experienced in China, grieving the loss of her own mom. These things don’t get better. But she just keeps “showing up” and giving all of our sweet children exactly what they need – a mom who loves them unconditionally and completely.

    Our kids are seriously blessed to have Lisa as their mom and I am seriously blessed to be her husband. Thank you to all the moms out there that keep “showing up” and giving your kids that most precious gift – a mother’s love.”

    Isn’t that what life is though?  Tough and beautiful all at the same time?   I wanted to wake up to a clean house.  I wanted to not have to do anything.  I wanted breakfast in bed after 8 straight beautiful hours of sleep.  My expectations were not met.  My house wasn’t magically clean when I woke up.  I didn’t get 8 hours of straight sleep.  (Although, Lainey was gracious enough to give me 5 straight.)  I didn’t get breakfast in bed, but instead was up hours before anyone else getting ready for “my” day.

    Choice – Be happy about 5 hours or be bitter about not getting to sleep in.

    I will admit the foot stomping two year old in me was there for a moment.  My day wasn’t going according to my plans and I was as cranky, but then I took a moment, opened my eyes, and looked around.  I saw my beautiful, hand-drawn pictures from all my kiddos.  I saw flowers in vases, some that were purchased and some that were hand picked.  I was given some beautiful notes written in my Mother’s Day book.  (Last year the Cassie started a journal where ever child writes something on a page for Mother’s Day.  It’s a beautiful keepsake.)  Elyse reminded me again how happy she was to just be able to say the words “Happy Mother’s Day” to her very own mama.

    As the day went on, Cassie made a wonderful birthday lunch for Max with all his favorites. We played outdoors where the kids ran for hours in grass that was way too long because it needed to be cut, but the lawn mower had been broken. Reece had the great idea to cut a winding path in the grass and the kids ran for hours on this path. Something that had been driving me crazy all week, extra long grass, ended up being the most fun ever for the littles.  The ran and ran and ran around the path.  They were so joyful.

    Choice – to fret about unmown grass and all the other things left undone or to fully enjoy the moment in the sunshine with my blessings.

    The night took a turn for the worse when Jasmine started acting out again.  Every once in a while she has a really hard time.  Every once in a while she turns into a child that you would never recognize.  The things she says are hurtful and mean.  She lashes out and none of it makes much sense.  Children who have spent most of their lives in an institution act out for the strangest reasons and sometimes it is hard to figure it out right away.  Why is she lashing out?  Is it because she is remembering her grandma or grieving her lost mother? Why won’t she just tell me why she is hurting?  When they won’t open up it makes life hard.  You want to scream.  You want to return the favor with some harsh words of your own, but you can’t.

    You remind her daily that she has a choice to be happy or sad.  No one is responsible for her happiness.  She has a choice to find her purpose and live life fully or watch it pass her by.  She has the choice to trust God and His plan.  She has the choice to make the world a better place or to make those around her miserable.  She has the choice to discuss what is going on.  She has the choice to love her family and participate or sit on the sidelines.  She has the choice to trust us or live in fear.

    She has a choice and so do I.

    Choice – to let the few hours of discontent ruin my day or to keep the right perspective and remember all the blessings I have had throughout the day.

    Choices!  We all make them every day some intentionally and some by default.  Not choosing is in itself a choice.  I have the choice to respond in anger and discipline or I can teach.  Jasmine has not been taught how to process the pain.  Jasmine has not been taught what to do with her anger.  She is much like a toddler – acting out, throwing words around, stomping her feet.  Would I expect a toddler to reason with me and work through her problems.  NO!!!  I remind myself that daily with Jasmine.

    Choice – to show grace and loving correction and teachings or angry words and discipline.

    Love is a choice.   God tells us that in His word.  He wants us to be content.  He wants us to choose joy.  He wants us to love our neighbor and pray for those who persecute us.  None of these things are easy but we always have that choice.  We can choose to see our lives any way we wish.  We can dwell on every negative thing that ever happens or we can see the beauty in each and every day that we have been gifted.

    Nothing in life is perfect.  Nothing ever goes exactly as we have planned.  Nothing ever lives up to our dreams and preconceptions.  My daughter recently wrote a blog called ” My Own Little Holland“.   If you have ever read the poem called “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Kingsley (which is included in my daughter’s blog post), you will understand what I am talking about.  If you spend the rest of your life upset that you didn’t get to Italy, you will never fully appreciate living in Holland.

    Choice – to be angry, bitter, upset about all that I can not control or to remember each and every day that I am truly seriously blessed to be allowed to parent these beautiful children and to hear the word mama a hundred times every day in my own little Holland.

     

     

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