Archive for the ‘Love Without Boundaries’ Category

  • Mother’s Day

    Date: 2020.05.10 | Category: Adoption, Love Without Boundaries

    There’s so much in life that we take for granted.

    Clean drinking water.

    A warm home to live in.

    Food – readily available.

    Medical care.

    We complain. We judge. We bitch about the most trivial of things.

    Today I am…

    I don’t even know the word for it.

    Sad. Frustrated. Angered. Overwhelmed. Disillusioned. Brokenhearted.

    I sit here on Mother’s Day with a house filled with children that I did not give birth to. I get the blessing of their laughter as they play in the backyard. I get the blessing of their warm hugs, sweet kisses, and words of “I love you” every day. I get those things and someone else does not. Someone else is missing out on some of the most beautiful souls out there.

    I pray for the hearts of the mothers out there who did what they believed to be the best for their child. Mothers who stole away in the dark of night to sit their child outside the gates of an orphanage or in a busy park or on the side of the road just so their child could have a chance.

    Before I went to China, I judged those mothers. I was flabbergasted that someone would leave their child outside the walls of an orphanage. I judged because I didn’t understand. I had no clue what it meant to try and get surgery for your child when you have no money to pay upfront because you have no healthcare. I had no clue how hard some of these women fight to hold onto their children. What do you do with no money, in a culture that does not necessarily understand what it means to be born with special needs?

    It’s easy to sit in judgment when we have no clue. It’s easy to judge and say we would do better but would we? Would we really do better? We live in a country with 400,000 foster kids who need a family. Have you even given it a thought? What have you said? I would but…

    (insert your words here)

    I know because I said them too. My families too big. Trauma is too hard. Someone else will do it. I don’t believe that God is calling me to do foster care.

    That is my favorite. If you are a Christian, how about we just assume that God DOES want us to do something. No, I don’t believe everyone can or should foster but you can support foster care. You can encourage the families that do foster care cause it’s a hard job. It can be beautiful and fulfilling but sometimes it can be hard to care for someone who has been through loss and trauma.

    If you are a church who has families fostering, support them, encourage them, lift them up in prayer. If you are a church that has no one fostering, as yourself why. I believe we are to be the hands and feet of Christ. Why is no one adopting? Why is no one fostering? Why is no one supporting mothers in need?

    If we believe in keeping families together, we need to step up and be the helping hand they need.

    We need to pay for surgeries so children can stay with their families. I love Love Without Boundaries unity fund for just that reason. When a family searches and searches for help and finds LWB, and hundreds of people come together giving a little and pays for that surgery, well…it’s just about the most beautiful thing ever. Children healed and families intact. What could be better than that?

    If you don’t believe that orphanages are the right place for a child to be raised, then help stop them from getting there in the first place. Help feed a family. Help pay for a surgery. Help build a home. Help pay for schooling for their child. I know I talk about Love Without Boundaries a lot but that’s because I see the work they do. I see the pictures every day of the faces of heart children who get the surgery they need. I see the faces of children whose lives are changed with one good meal a day while they get to go to school. I see what $150 can do. It is completely and utterly mind blowing. There’s no other way to describe it. It is absolutely AMAZING!

    I am sitting here this morning wanting to do more. Wishing I could do more. That may or may not surprise you. I wish I could do more. If I could get on a plane tomorrow. I would travel half way around the world to adopt another child, but the rules have changed and I can’t go, no matter how badly I want to go.

    Yesterday, I dried the tears of my children who cried and cried for the little girl they have been praying for for over two years. Her picture hangs on our wall, but there is nothing we can do. This little girl is prayed for by many. Other families, who don’t qualify under the new rules, have said they would go too. So she sits without a family even though many, many people love her from afar.

    Today on Mother’s Day, I think about her. How I long to be her mother. How I wish I could dry her tears and hold her tight. But I can’t. How I wish to see a smile on her face and brush the hair from her face while she falls asleep. She looks so much like Lainey and I know what love has done for Lainey’s life. I want that for her. I want to see her splash in the water and laugh in the sunshine.

    We pray every day that a family steps up. I will cry tears when I see her go home both because I am happy she finally has a family and because we didn’t get to be her family.

    There’s another little girl that has our prayers in the Ukraine. She is malnourished…starving. She lies in a bed all day long. She needs a home but will age out in September at the young age of 16. I will not post her full picture here. Her eyes haunt me. She needs a home. She needs love. She needs to not die alone.

    I cried this weekend because I can’t do more. I sit here in my big, warm, wonderful home, with more blessings than I have ever deserved, so absolutely devastated that I can’t do more. I want to do more. But I can’t. Dan said, “Then write about it!” But I don’t feel like I can give it the words it needs. But I will try…

    Satan is good at keeping our eyes on things that don’t matter. Things like “Will we run out of toilet paper?” We are so worried about ourselves we don’t even have time to worry about Grace and all the other mothers and children in Uganda or Cambodia or the Ukraine. Mothers with no safety net, no food stamps, no healthcare.

    Our girls have started a campaign on their Chairs4Change site to help raise money for mothers in need. Mothers living in a shack, unable to pay the $5/month necessary for rent. Mothers unable to pay the $150 to send their child to school. Mothers who need a hand.

    With your wonderful support, they’ve raised enough to build Grace and her family a home.

    We’ve raised enough to build Grace’s home but so many others wait. If you have been blessed, please consider giving a little to help others who work hard and still struggle.

    I am overwhelmed with sadness this week because so many things stop me from doing more. Children need families. Families need support. We, who are abundantly blessed, need to share our hearts, our homes, our dollars, our prayers.

    If you are feeling blessed this Mother’s Day, I ask that you reach out and support some moms that are working as hard as they can to provide for their family. They just need a helping hand.

    And if you have room and can put an extra chair at your table, consider providing a loving home for a child who waits.

    Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Instead of being overwhelmed by the bad in the world, let’s step up for one child, one family at a time, and make this world a better place whether they live right next door or a half a world away! Be the change you want to see!

  • What Makes a Child Worthy of Supporting?

    Date: 2020.02.23 | Category: Congenital Heart Defect, Love Without Boundaries

    Is it beauty?

    Is it an appropriately sad story?

    Is it the belief that others can make a difference?

    What is it?

    I wish I knew. I wish every video would go viral. I wish every child was fully funded. I wish every child’s sponsorship page said, “No more help needed.” I wish every surgery said, “Fully funded.” I wish every family could be supported. Why? Because I believe what Love Without Boundaries says – #EveryChildCounts.

    But unfortunately that is not the case.

    Some children just sit and sit on the sponsorship page. Is it that education isn’t important? Is it where you are from? Is it that your story isn’t sad enough? What is it?

    I have been on the board of Love Without Boundaries for a few years now. I love the work they do. I love how they step in and fill the gap for a family or a child that just needs a little help. If you were in the room with me right now, you would see my face light up and the words just pour out of me. I believe in what LWB does!

    My FaceBook feed is filled with memories of children that have been helped.

    Every year those memories pop up. Do you remember Harley & James. What an amazing story! It was beautiful watching people step up and help.

    Look at them now…

    Or Oliver? Sweet Oliver and his mom who just wanted her baby to be ok.

    People stepped up and helped in amazing ways.

    Doesn’t his mama’s smile just say it all?

    A couple of weeks ago, my FaceBook news feed was filled with Emma’s story and pictures. Jasmine cried and cried over Emma. “Can’t we help her mama?” Jasmine would plead. Emma was written about by LWB in 2013. Emma was a little girl, who sat with a broken leg for way too long. LWB was trying to get her the care that she needed.

    Unfortunately, Emma’s story did not end the way we hoped and she passed away. We cried and cried over Emma. Emma deserved having someone in her corner, praying for her, and helping her. No matter what the outcome was!

    There are pictures that pop up on my FaceBook feed of babies that have passed away. I know that I could hide the post and I wouldn’t see it every year. I could pretend that it didn’t happen. I could save myself the heartache of remembering, but then I think about my little boy, Kyle. I think about how every year I remember his birth. I remember what it felt like to feel his kicks. I remember what it felt like to hold him as he took his last breath. I remember, 33 years later, the rocker I sat in and the white curtain that was pulled around me. I remember trying to call family. I remember holding his dead body as we drove the 90 minutes back home to the funeral home in our home town because we couldn’t afford to pay for someone to come pick up his body. I cry tears and I remember.

    I want to remember these babies. I want to know that someone remembers them. I don’t know anything about their family and why they chose to leave them. I am sure the mother remembers the birth, but she doesn’t know about the death. How could she know? So I remember.

    Every day my inbox is filled with stories. Some stories are happy and some are not. People can be cruel to children, as we well know by the headlines that we read every day. I don’t know how Amy and our volunteers do it. They step in and fill the gap every single day. They are the heroes behind the beautiful stories of hope and healing that you read about on LWB’s blog, Facebook, and website pages.

    Sometimes they are able to find the help needed in amazing ways and sometimes there is nothing that can be done. Just imagine the heartbreak and sorrow they feel when they can’t help and yet, they get up time and time again and keep trying to help. They are truly heroes.

    Many of you know that we have four children who have congenital heart defects. The reason Oliver’s story resonated with me was that I know what it is like to care for a little one who has blue lips and fingertips. I, however, had the luxury of taking my children to specialists around the country. Oliver’s mom didn’t have that luxury.

    Right now LWB is trying to fund 5 heart surgeries in 7 days. They are trying to step in and be the gap for families that don’t have the luxury that Dan and I did.

    I don’t want to be the person that is constantly asking for your to open your checkbook and help, but someone has to tell their stories. Someone has to let you know the need. I guess I am going to be that someone today.

    Please consider giving to LWB’s heart initiative. I mean seriously! Look at these sweet faces.

    What is your Facebook feed filled with? What have your days been measured by? We only get one life. Make it count. Do something. Be the gap! Step up and help! When you look back at your Facebook feed next year, you will be thrilled that you did!

  • My Plea This Christmas!

    Date: 2018.12.20 | Category: Love Without Boundaries, Making a difference


    I know Christmas time is crazy.   Rushing around, trying to find the perfect gift, fighting the crowds and wrapping all those gifts.  I know that people feel overwhelmed by the meals and the visits and the activities.   Well, I’m here to say it doesn’t have to be that way.  I realized after we adopted the kids that too many gifts overwhelmed them and they couldn’t even remember what they got a couple of months later.  So we decided to do less.  I searched the web and found many different ideas about gift buying for Christmas.

    We settled on something to read, something to wear, and something to share as a family.

    It’s great because it allows me to find gifts throughout the year and just put them away.  It stops my kids from making huge lists of things they don’t really want but think they do because someone made a commercial about it or put it in an ad with bright, shiny colors.   It brought Christmas back to what I feel is important, celebrating Jesus’ birth and being together as family.

    My very favorite part about this is that when we are out shopping, the kids don’t point to everything saying they want it.  They look and if they see something they really like they ask me to put it on their list for their birthday so they don’t forget.   They always say, “My birthday is to celebrate me and Christmas is to celebrate Jesus.” I like that Christmas isn’t a “me, me, me” time for them.

    I say all of this because I want you to think about what is really important.  All around me there are people I know who are fighting cancer, whose children have recently passed away, people who are widowed and feel alone, people who are struggling.  People are what matter.  People NOT things.

    My time with Love Without Boundaries and adopting our children has completely changed my life.  Before these things I had no clue that so many children went without an education.  I had no clue that your hair, that should be dark, could actually be a reddish/gold color because of malnutrition.  I had no clue what it meant to live without a family.  What it meant to go without medical care.  I had no clue that some children live their lives in a dump and dig hours upon hours a day trying to find recycling material to get enough money to have a meal that day.  I had no clue that so many children were trafficked.  I had no clue that children as young as 6 were babysitting their siblings while their parents worked.

    I lived in a bubble of comfort.  I still do.  I have so much and so many others have so little.  It breaks my heart.  I am no more deserving of these gifts than anyone else.  I truly believe if you have been blessed then you should share.

    So here is my plea this Christmas…

    1.)  Look for that lonely person in church and reach out a hand.

    2.)  Look for that family that could use just a little more help and be that help.

    3.)  Don’t forget the people who are hurting who have lost a loved one this year.  That first Christmas without the one you love is brutal.  Let them know you remember.

    4.)  Look all around you for little ways to help others.

    5.)  Consider fostering or adopting.   So many children are waiting for a family of their own.

    6.)  Give to local food banks, Toys for Tots, and other local charities.

    There is so much need all around us.

    And now for my final plea…

    Please consider a year end gift to Love Without Boundaries.  Yes, there is need all around us.  Yes, we should be doing all we can to ease that need but the need in some of these other countries is so unbelievably overwhelming.  Please consider helping a child get an education, feed hungry children, provide medical care.  We have many in our program that the only meal they get is their school lunch.  We have helped children who once spent all day digging in the dump who finally get to go to school. I am telling you that if you give money to LWB it goes where you want it to go and does what we say it will do.   Check out our website LOVE WITHOUT BOUNDARIES

    Go and be the light you want to see in the world.   Go and be that change!   Go and just do something!  The gift of giving lasts a lifetime!!!



  • I Want to Live a More Radical Life

    Date: 2017.03.19 | Category: Adoption, Love Without Boundaries

    There’s a new commercial out by Colgate that tells us how much we waste if we let the water run while brushing our teeth.  There are pictures of dirty hands washing fruit and a little girl taking a drink in her hands, as if we somehow help people in third world countries by not letting our water run.  While I agree it’s wasteful to let our water run, let’s not delude ourselves into somehow thinking we are helping others get water by not letting our water run.

    It’s much like our grandparents when they said, “Finish your supper.  There are starving children in the world.”    How does my finishing my supper and not wasting it help a child in a third world country?

    I think that is the problem with today.  We believe we are doing something when we turn off the water, eat less, drive a more gas efficient car, throw some money in the offering plate, and take can goods to a food pantry.   I am not saying these things don’t matter.  I’m saying we can’t delude ourselves into thinking we are doing something big.

    We need to think more radically.

    My work with Love Without Boundaries has opened my eyes to what it truly means to live in poverty.  I once believed that I lived in poverty.  We had limited food.  We often ran out of toilet paper.  We were hungry, didn’t know where our next paycheck was coming from, and couldn’t scrap up the money to eat out, BUT we had a roof over our head, even if the walls were concrete and the roaches were plentiful in that rental; we had a bed to sleep in at night, even if it was a mattress on the floor, and extended family that helped out when they could.

    We never lived in a hut with no running water or a toilet.  We never ate one meal of rice a day or walked two hours to get dirty water.  We never worried about whether or not we could go to school.  We never dug through a trash heap hoping to find food to eat or recycling material that would buy food.

    I recently saw this going around on Facebook.  I can’t back up the facts, but it sounds about right.

    If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world.

    If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

    If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the thousands of people who will not survive this week.

    If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering.

    If you can read this message you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read it at all.

    We are rich!  We are a blessed nation and yet we complain about wanting/needing more.  I did it.  I still do it.  I live in a big, beautiful house and still look at realty sites and dream about a bigger home as if it is somehow better.  I have to remind myself constantly that more debt isn’t better.  Bigger isn’t necessarily better. That more bedrooms doesn’t change anything.  I DON’T need more. I’ve just been conditioned to believe that striving for more, that bigger and better is where it’s all at, after all it is the American dream.

    I know there are those that think Dan and I live somewhat radically.  We’ve given up our retirement.  We’ve taken in kids with pretty big needs.  We’ve given up sleep and paid so much money in medical bills that it makes my head spin,  BUT what have we really done?  Not much.  Really!  I’m not just saying this.  I truly believe it.  What have we really done?  We took the chance on loving some kids who have made our lives unbelievably amazing.  It doesn’t seem like such a hardship.

    Yes, we share bedrooms.  Yes, we share toys and hand down clothes.  Yes, we will have to wonder about college and will have to work to figure it out.  Yes, we have given up vacations.  Yes, we drive a bus, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t amount to much.  I still live comfortably.  I can still go to the store and buy whatever food I want.  I can go out to eat.  I can buy a new outfit.  My kids can go to school.  I have a car to drive.  I can pay for the gas that makes it run.

    My heart hurts knowing I could do more.  My heart hurts for all of those who could change their lives with just a few of my dollars.  My heart hurts for parents who will leave their child outside an orphanage in hopes they can get the medical treatment they need.  My heart hurts for the children who will die from starvation and diseases from drinking dirty water.  My heart hurts for children who will die in an orphanage.

    Sometimes the need is so overwhelming that I want to go back to when I didn’t know.   Sometimes I want to go back to when I sat in my house, comfortable and warm, and the most I had to think about was whether or not I could pay my bills on time.   But that would make me indifferent.  Indifferent and comfortable are two words that I don’t want to be associated with my name.  I want to die knowing I did everything I could.  I want to die trusting fully on God and doing as much good as I can.  Not because that will somehow make me a good person worthy of God’s love.  God loves me anyway.  I want to live radically because it is what God commands us to do.

    “But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”  – Francis Chan

    I’m feeling much too comfortable.  How about you?

    I am not indifferent now but I once was…

    And that needs to change.

  • The Gift of Adoption

    Date: 2017.03.14 | Category: Adoption, Love Without Boundaries

    The depth of my gratitude could never adequately be put into words.  I get to parent these sweet souls.  I GET TO!!!  Not because I am somehow better but because I was lucky enough to have the resources to do so.

    The knowledge that 7 of our 10 kids would have had horrible outcomes had they not been adopted does not often leave my mind.  Not because we are somehow saviors but because we know who the true Savior is.  We would have never been brave enough to take this on if we hadn’t felt an overwhelming call from God.  We decided to be obedient even if it looked crazy to the rest of the world.   We decided to pray, trust with all our hearts, and take each step in faith.

    We were called crazy.  We were told it didn’t make sense.  We were told that it would ruin our family.  We didn’t take these words lightly but we decided to allow His words to be louder than the words of the world.

    “If you don’t step up, who will?”

    “Can you live with yourself if this child dies in China, and you know you were called to them?”

    “Would you leave your bio daughter/son there?  Because this child is yours just as much as if they had been born to you.”

    We decided to proceed after listening to people’s words of “it will ruin your family”, not ignoring the “what if it does” but fully embracing the “what if it doesn’t”.

    Every day I wake up to the faces of little souls that get to live another day.  I am humbled by this fact.  I don’t think “Wow!  Aren’t we amazing?  We saved these little souls.”  People have said that to us, but we never think that.  I think things like “Why do I get to be their mother?  Why were we allowed to step up?  Why were we lucky enough to be born in America?”  I know for a fact that I don’t deserve this gift.  I am no better than any other parent.  I don’t have more patience.  I don’t have it all together.  I don’t have any special skills.  I have been blessed by being obedient to God’s call, but I don’t for a minute think we were the first choice.

    I often think about Ben’s parents.  Ben was left at 9 months of age probably because he was turning more and more blue.  The more I learn from the work Dan and I do with Love Without Boundaries, the more my heart hurts for his parents.  I can’t imagine making the decision to leave your child somewhere public, hoping they will be found so that they can get the treatment that they need.

    Put yourself in their shoes.  What would you do to try and save your child’s life?  No insurance.  Surgery that costs more than you probably make in a year or more.  What would you do?  It’s easy to sit here in judgment.  I know I did before I knew the truth.  Now my heart just hurts.

    7 of 10.  Just let that soak in.  I’m not exaggerating to write a more compelling story.  5 of 10 would have died and two more would have had horrible, horrible, horrible outcomes.  People say others would have stepped up.  Really?  2,354 children were adopted from China in 2015 (Stats).  China says that there are 600,000 children in orphanages, others put that figure much higher.  CNN article

    Using China’s conservative total of 600,000 children and our government’s figure of children adopted from China in 2015, that makes a child’s chance of adoption at .392%.   There are so many factors on whether a child gets adopted or not.  Will the orphanage decide to make them paper ready?  How old are they when they are listed?  Will they be lucky enough to be advocated for?  Will they survive long enough to be adopted?

    I often wish I could touch others and have them instantly feel what my heart feels.  I wish I could have them understand the enormity of it because my words will never do it justice.  So many children wait.  So many children, who just want a family, will never get one.   I wish they could understand the pain of families that could stay together if someone would just step up.  Children like Annabelle need support so their child can get the surgery that their family is unable to afford.  LWB – Support Annabelle

    I have had five amazing years with Ben.  I have watched him grow into a wonderful young man.  This is a gift.  It truly is a gift.  He is funny and amazing.  He is a living, breathing, walking miracle.  We were told that he could only receive palliative care and now he is considered completely healed.  How could I not be overwhelmed with the enormity of this?

    He is a blessing, but not just because he was healed.  He would have been a blessing even if he hadn’t been healed.  He is a wonderful boy.  He is so sweet with Lainey.

    He is Maisey’s protector.

    He is Eli and Liam’s best friend.

    I get to parent him and his biological mother does not because she could not afford his surgery.  How can I not be humbled by this fact?  How could I not cry tears for her?  How could I not be overwhelmed?  I will get to see his sweet smile this morning and I will get to tuck him in his bed tonight.  She will not.

    Praying I never forget the enormity of this gift I have been given.





  • Why I Love LWB

    Date: 2015.08.03 | Category: Jasmine's Dream, Love Without Boundaries, Making a difference, Orphan Care

    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.

    Love Without Boundaries

    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.

    Three girls

    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.