Archive for January, 2016
I have heard the comment “Wow! You are starting your own little orphanage/group home” more times than I care to count. I’m still surprised people can think this, let alone even say it out loud. Maybe they are just trying to be funny. Maybe they are just saying the first words that pop into their heads. I’m not sure, but what I do know is that we aren’t the only family hearing these words. Many other mamas have stated the same thing. I have to chalk it up to someone not having a clue what life in an institution is truly like because if they had ever stepped a foot into an orphanage then they couldn’t say those words and be serious.
I have had people tell me that they can’t even handle their two children so how can we possibly do this? I have heard that there is no way I can have enough time for all of my children. I have heard there is no way I can give them the care they each need. It’s not like I close my ears to the negative or that I haven’t asked myself the same questions. I’m not delusional nor do I believe that I am superwoman. I do, however, know where my strength comes from and I truly believe most people could do more. I choose to try to be selfless not because I’m a martyr but because I truly LOVE my life. I am blessed!!! Those aren’t just words I utter because I want to somehow sound good to others.
Can life be hard? Absolutely! Can it seem overwhelming? Yep! Is it hard on your heart somedays? Yes! Trauma is not a pretty thing. What it does to little hearts is hard to take somedays. Adoption isn’t a walk in the park. If you think it’s gonna be a breeze and you will have no issues because your little one was adopted early, then you will have a rude awakening.
Institutional life is hard on a child. They are limited in food. The fact that they live in a facility means that their lives started by loss. They aren’t taught the basic life lessons we teach our child. They are left to raise themselves. They get very little one on one time and they have no sense of family or belonging and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
As we prepare to leave to adopt Jessica and William in 15 days, the middles won’t let the topic of adopting again drop. I laugh and tell them that we haven’t even adopted these two yet.
We don’t have a clue what it is going to be like when we get home. We don’t know just how sick Jessica is. It’s scary waiting, knowing that something as simple as a UTI could lead to sepsis and death for her.
But the girls talk about all the children who wait. The girls pray for the children ready to age out and cry tears knowing what this means for this child. It’s one thing to be an able bodied child left to fend for yourself, if you have a disability, your future is so uncertain. I could not let them see the advocacy sites and not let them know of the children who need prayer BUT I won’t. Too many people pretend it isn’t happening. Too many people go about their days without giving the orphan crisis a thought. Too many people say it’s just too hard on their hearts. I won’t be the one to tell my girls that this burden they feel isn’t worth their time.
These girls dream of a day when Jasmine’s Dream comes true – “A family for every child.”
I will continue to pray with the girls and have big, ugly cryfests with them. I will continue to post and share posts of others. We will donate when we can. We will encourage those who are adopting. We will be the hands and feet of Christ in as many ways as we can because we know just how important it is. We will help families stay together when possible and we will advocate for those who long for a forever family.
Elyse dreams of building a castle where we have a 100 bedrooms. She talks of all the children feeling loved and cared for. When I say, “Adopting 100 children would mean less time for each child.” She reminds me that having a family is a beautiful thing and knowing you belong and have some where to call home is priceless. She then says, “How about 20 then?” Although she tells me that I could love 100 children or more and this fact is true, there is no limit on how many children your heart can love.
She drew me this picture at her last doctor’s appointment.
I would think that if our children felt that our family was too big, they wouldn’t talk so much of adopting again. They love their siblings and they know how important family is. They eagerly wait for the day William and Jessica will be home. They talk about all the things they will do with them, where they will sleep, how they can figure out what their favorite foods are.
After talking with Elyse and Jasmine on numerous occasions, we decided to make a list of how family is not like an orphanage. Here are a few of the reasons we came up with that our large family is NOT like our own little orphanage.
1. Our children will never go to bed without being tucked in and told how much they are loved.
2. Our children will never spend a day hungry.
3. Our children will spend their days getting hugged, kissed, and told over and over again how much we love them.
4. Our children’s last name will not mean orphan or tell which orphanage they are from.
5. Our children will always have a place to call home and family to come home to.
6. Our children will get the medical and dental care that they so desperately need.
7. Our children will not be defined by their disabilities, feel less than, nor will they be made fun of for having a disability.
8. Our children will be helped to be the best them they can be. We will support them and encourage them in every way possible.
9. Our children will be allowed the privilege of going to school.
10. Our children will never hear the words worthless or unadoptable again.
11. Our children will have someone to run to for comfort when they are feeling physical or emotional pain.
12. Our children will know that they are loved, cherished, wanted, and part of our family FOREVER!
Family is a beautiful thing. May we never take that for granted. May we continue to remember and pray for those who want nothing more than a family to call their own.
Up again with Lainey at 4 a.m. My clock has been reset from daylight savings time, but Lainey’s has definitely not. I have been looking through my drafts on my blog – 15 half written posts, including our homecoming post from our last adoption, which just happens to have been one year ago. 15! So why am I taking the time to start another one? Because I believe Elyse’s question deserves a blog all it’s own.
Yesterday my brother brought my grandma down to visit. Elyse has seen my grandma one other time in the year she has been home. While Elyse was talking to my grandma and Tracy, she asked them, “Do you know the love of Jesus Christ?”. They stared at her and I clarified that she did indeed ask them what they thought she said. They answered in the affirmative and Elyse was so very happy.
It wasn’t that long ago that Elyse asked another adoptive mom if she knew the love of Jesus Christ and if she loved children. On our way home, Elyse informed me that I could indeed be friends with this mama since she loved children and Jesus.
I’m never quite sure what to say to Elyse when she does this. She does this fairly often with strangers. I always get uncomfortable and flustered. I was raised in a quiet church. No one prayed out loud. No one asked others about their beliefs. We sent missionaries out into the world but nothing was said close to home. We didn’t ask our family about it. You were quiet and private about your life with God and your prayers. It’s just the way it was.
Many may have already heard this story but I will do a shortened version again for those of you who may not have heard. One day I was sitting on a bench at the Iowa State Fair and a stranger started talking to me. I can’t remember what we were waiting on but I had been there a while and we discussed many things. She asked me about my family. I said I have 5 children and mentioned their names, including Hope’s. She proceeded to tell me that she loved the name Hope and told me about a little girl that her church had been praying for and the miraculous story about her life. This random stranger told me all about MY Hope.
It was then that I realized God’s story was being told whether I was saying anything or not. I never talked about Hope’s life because I didn’t want people to think that I was tooting my own horn. We were blessed by having her in our life. We weren’t saviors. We were just two people who had decided to be obedient to God’s call and were blessed to be a part of her story.
I did realize in that moment though that even though I was refusing to tell of God’s miracle, His story about Hope was still being told. It just wasn’t me doing the telling and I was the one who had seen it first hand. How could I not share this miracle that we were allowed to be a part of? So many things had to line up for her to be in the NICU at the same time that Dan was, I still stand in awe of what occurred and it’s been 16 years.
The above story was what lead Dan and I to decide to share our adoption story. We prayed about it for quite a while. We knew it would be hard for us to talk publicly about it, but that adoption stories needed to be told. People need to see that yes it is hard but it is such a blessing too. Dan is a pretty private guy so this decision truly was a hard one. I’m a talker but I talk about fluff. I am not able to stand in a group and gush about God’s glorious provisions. We knew what being public meant, that it was opening ourselves up to criticism and scrutiny, but we felt it was worth it if we could make adoption not seem so scary and help another child get adopted.
Dan and I knew we were being blessed by being obedient. We had no clue all of the wonderful miracles that would happen along the way. The past 4 years have blown me away. God has shown up time and time again. I am so totally undeserving and yet have been blessed just by uttering a “yes”.
So this begs the question, “Why wouldn’t I want to ask everyone I know if they too know the love of Jesus Christ?” When God has done so much in my life, why would I not want to share? God is such an important part of my everyday life why do I still get so flustered? I don’t know. I guess I will blame it on all those years of being trained to be quiet as a child.
I love that Elyse is not afraid to ask. I love that she wants you to feel the same joy she has. Elyse is so sure of God’s love. She is a very smart little girl and has embraced God having a plan for her life. She understands that God didn’t intend for her to lose her first family or for the bad things that happened. She understands man has free will and can choose what he does. She does see the good in Dan and I being obedient and saying “yes” when we saw her picture. She prays for all the other children who wait. Elyse firmly believes those children wait just because someone else hasn’t uttered their “yes”. I am so very happy that we said “Yes” when we saw this picture.
So if you one day meet Elyse don’t be surprised if you hear these words, “Do you know the love of Jesus Christ?” I will be standing there with a smile on my face wishing I could have the same child-like love for a God that deserves me standing on the corner shouting for all the world to hear….
“Do you know the love of Jesus Christ?”
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
- 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