Archive for August, 2015
Yesterday was Dan’s birthday but it was me who got the present.
I had been in the basement cleaning. As I was in the basement, Jasmine and Elyse apparently had a very indepth conversation of the first time they met me. I know that Jasmine has been thinking a lot about this because she has told me her next blog is about me and her China mom. I am anxiously awaiting this blog because she does not talk about her China mom very much. Jasmine talks about her grandma who cared for her, but she has only mentioned her mom in passing, and the words were said with much pain.
I have told Jasmine over and over again that she can talk freely about her time in China and the people who cared for her, good or bad. I am not jealous that others loved her. In fact, it is just the opposite, I am thankful. Thankful that she knew love from others for a while. Thankful that people loving her showed her that taking a chance on family was a good thing. I am not happy she went through what she went through but I am thankful the road led her to us.
I once was nervous about being the adoptive mom. When we brought Hope home as a baby, I felt like it was a competition. Would her biological mom one day come back into her life and I would be forgotten? All those fears and questions that you have when you first start out. It didn’t take very long for me to understand those feelings weren’t true. Hope could love me and her bio mom. She could care about me and the woman who brought her into this world. It wasn’t a competition. It isn’t an either or thing.
I have explained that to Jasmine and to Elyse. It is okay to talk. It’s okay to care. You don’t have to forget. I want you to pray for the people you remember, good and bad. I want you to heal and know your place here is secure. I want you to know that you are forever a loved daughter and nothing could change this.
When we adopted Elyse, she had a very hard time with me. I was old and I was fat. These were not very appealing characteristics in her eyes. I cried and talked to Dan about this because, in the beginning, it hurt. The facts were true, I am overweight and I am old, but they still hurt. He would remind me over and over again that our children love me. When Elyse comes home she will see that love and she will want to be a part of that love, but I worried that maybe this would be the adoption that changed everything. This would be the adoption where the child never learned to love me. My heart would be hurt. How would I deal with this? I was afraid.
But last night Elyse gave me the sweetest gift. She asked for my forgiveness. She cried tears and told me that she was so sorry she hurt me. I reminded her that it hurt for the first couple of days but I got over it quickly. I hadn’t even thought about it in a long time. She said she didn’t know any better and she would have never said those things if she knew me. She cried and she cried.
I told her that is the way it often is in life. We judge people based on what we see. We are all guilty of it. I asked her if she learned anything from her mistakes and she said “oh yes!” These are the things I had always been afraid of.
I’m sharing this story because of this video that I watched this morning. Assume Action
“We’ve been so scared of so many things along the way. We’ll wrestle. Do we do it? Do we do it? And we are always terrified. We’ve done some scary things but each time as we start recounting the early days and it was so fun we just walked year by year to different things we did, and we just thought, “What if we didn’t do that?” We would have missed out. Like I’m so glad we just tried. We pursued.” – Francis Chan
These could have been words spoken by Dan and I. It’s always been scary. It’s always seemed like more than we could do. Always! Even in the beginning.
We can’t live through the death of a child. Yes, you can!
We can’t live for over a year in the hospital. Yes, you can!
We can’t adopt a child that may die. Yes, you can. Again and again and again!
We can’t handle a child with severe disabilities. Yes, you can!
We can’t heal hurting hearts. Yes, you can!
We can’t handle a large family. Yes, you can!
The list goes on and on and on.
We would have missed out. Don’t miss out. Take action! Assume God means for you to take action. No matter where your passion lies. God’s book lays it all out there. Care for the orphan. Care for the widow. Feed and cloth the poor. Take care of your brother. Love your neighbor. The need is great. Take action today! Don’t wait.
I’ve seen a lot of heartache recently. I have watched friends stand by their children hopelessly unable to make it all better. Agonizing over long hospital stays and difficult decision. I have heard many question “Why would they adopt knowing this could happen?” or incredulously say “I could never do that.” or “Why would God let this happen?”
I don’t know why this happens. I don’t know why one story is one of miraculous recovery and another is of heartbreak. I can’t make head or tail of it. I try to fathom God’s plan and how it will all work together to bring Him glory and many times it is more than I can wrap my head around. We never want the bad to happen. We never want to take the difficult journey. We choose ease and comfort whenever we can. Even when we sign up for the bad, we do it with a heart full of hope for a miraculous outcome.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 How could anything bad ever be considered good?
As I was talking to a friend yesterday, we were discussing the what if’s. This was after a weekend which just about did my heart in. You can NOT discuss orphans without discussing the magnitude of them. You can not truly delve into the situation without your heart breaking. You can’t consider all those who wait, all around the world, and not feel helpless and unable to make a difference.
All you can do is proceed one child at a time because every child counts. Every child deserves a chance.
- Even though people are turning away from adoption.
- Even though there is not enough time or money to fix it all.
- Even though there is pain and heartache and turmoil.
- Even though your heart may be broken.
- Even though you can’t fix it all.
- Even though it is overwhelming.
You continue to proceed one child at a time, much like the starfish story.
My friends understand this. They have a clear picture of how fleeting life is. They are in the absolute worse situations possible and they give God the glory. They know that a life saved and loved is worth it. They rejoice over what they have been allowed to do, no matter the outcome. I do not wish for any of them to be on this journey but I know, from experience, that they will never be the same. God is growing them and shaping them. Their lives are not worse because of the pain. Their lives are immeasurably blessed by the joy that these children brought. Yes, their hearts will hurt. Yes, they will never be the same. But there is joy in the morning. There is joy in the good news. There is joy in the meeting again for all of eternity. Life on earth is but a small portion of forever.
I have talked with a few mamas on how pain and joy can coexist. How you can be going through the worst possible situation and still be thankful and joyful in the moment? One friend sent me this quote from Ann Voskamp – “Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living…. Yet I know it in the vein and the visceral: life is loss.”
The goal in life is not to be as comfortable and pain free as you can. The goal in life is to open your heart and love and make a difference.
I spent the last weekend in Atlanta with a group of men and women who have a heart for the orphan, specifically orphans in China. I heard many stories that brought tears to my eyes, I listened to Amy Eldridge talk about her recent trip to China and what a difference it has made to the children there, and I fell in love with this foundation just a little bit more.
This picture represents just a few of the people who make Love Without Boundaries what it is.
It’s funny what brings you to a place.
I had never heard of Love Without Boundaries four years ago.
- but reading Mary Beth Chapman’s book led me to Show Hope’s Facebook page
- a random comment I posted on a Show Hope page thanking their volunteers
- led me to a Show Hope worker responding to my comment and asking if they had cared for our children
- which led to them telling me that they had cared for Maisey
- which led to them telling me Maisey was New Hope’s 1,000th baby
- which led to them telling me about the book “House of Hope” (A MUST READ – you won’t be disappointed and you may even understand “why” a little bit more.) which talked about Maisey (Chaya)
- which led to us reading about Love Without Boundaries
- which led to us following their Facebook page and blog
- which led to us seeing Jasmine’s picture (Jasmine’s post)
- which led to one of the biggest blessings of my life – being allowed to parent Jasmine.
I believe so much in what LWB is doing. Education, nutrition, foster care, life skills training for older orphans, surgeries, healing homes, unity fund and advocating. The list goes on and on. I want to make a difference and I know what they do makes a difference. They believe every child counts and so do I!
This organization is run mostly by volunteers. What makes someone give so much of their time volunteering to an organization? What makes them want to give up hours and hours of their time to keep a foundation afloat? Why? Because what they do makes a difference They know that a child’s life is changed. They know they are doing something to make the world a better place. I am in awe of the time and energy these people spend helping a child in need. What a blessing. What a difference they make.
I loved hearing the stories of what brought people to Love Without Boundaries. Stories of seeing their child on an LWB page or adopting a child with a cleft lip and wanting to help other children with clefts. Time and time again I saw the tears of joy for being allowed to parent a child. Time and time again I saw the passion and love they have for these children.
There are many organizations asking for your time and your money. I understand that. I just want you to know that if you want to give to an organization that does what they say they will with your money, this is the place.
Soon Jasmine will have her own page on their fundraising page. Jasmine’s dream will continue to move forward to helping children stay with their families in China by helping children get the surgeries they need and helping older children find a home. She has a heart for both of these issues and her sisters are set on helping her dream come true.
My only request is that when you are considering giving that you consider Jasmine’s fund on LWB. Not only will you be helping an orphan, but you will be helping make my girl’s dream come true. It’s a win-win situation.
- 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