Archive for the ‘Thoughts to ponder’ Category

  • Look Up!

    Date: 2014.05.16 | Category: Evangeline Faith, Faith, Thoughts to ponder

    All we wanted to do was just go home.  After Evie’s surgery was cancelled, that’s really all I wanted, to go home and hug my other kids.  I know there are worst things in the world than getting stuck in an airport for two days. (Ben’s Story) Please take a moment and look at this mama’s blog.  Although, it is true that the topic is very sad, her faith and Ben’s life are beautiful things.  Please pray for the family’s peace during this time, especially Ben’s twin, and all the other families going through the same thing without all the social media support. 

    Ben

    A friend of mine even went so far as to say that maybe God needed us to talk to or touch someone else’s life.  I know that these things are true. I’ve seen it happen too many times to not believe it. Have you ever met someone who was exactly the person you needed to talk to at just the right moment?  Have you ever stopped to wonder when you meet that person, just what it took for that encounter to happen?  One extra stop light, one more delay, and you would have never met.  It always amazes me how orchestrated all those small moments are in our lives.  It just shows God’s hand in the smallest of details.

    As I walked around the Newark Airport, I thought about that. I thought about whose story I might just need to hear. I thought about Ben and Ben’s mom. I thought about how she would give just about anything to be holding Ben and spending hours just walking around an airport.  It is all about perspective.  I could have been angry that I had to spend hours walking in circles holding Evie, but what would that have changed?  So instead I watched people.  I watched people yell, scream, and berate people who had no control over whether or not the planes took off.  I watched many, many, many people text and play games on their devices.  I saw a few people sleep.  I saw a few people reading books.  There were very few people interacting with anyone other than who they traveled with.  If they were alone, they were on a device or sleeping.

    How many conversations do we miss because we refuse to look up?  How many new and wonderful people could we meet if we just said “Hi!”?  How can we ever expect to impact anyone else’s life if we never listen to their stories or share our own stories?   I will admit that I’m just as guilty as the next person.   In an elevator it is easier to stare at your screen than look someone in the eye.  It’s uncomfortable so we avert our eyes and we believe those tiny screens are the perfect excuse.

    I spent over 10 hours each day in the airport, I had lots of time to watch people.  I watched people almost knock Evie over because they wouldn’t look up from their phones.  They never even noticed that they almost hit Evie and then I started to pay attention to who did notice Evie.

    Evie

    Almost everyone we met, who was in a wheelchair, noticed Evie.  They waved and Evie blew them kisses.  We met a  grandma who was going to San Diego to meet her son and then on to Norway and then taking a riverboat down the Danube.  How exciting.  She was almost 80 years old and still actively living her life.  She talked about our adopting.  She talked about teaching children English as a second language.  We discussed many things.  She watched Evie who proceeded to tell this grandma that she was a good girl for throwing away her garbage.  Evie smiled at her and charmed her with all her Evie ways.  Enough so that this 80 year old grandma said, “She could almost make you wish you had more and I was never one to really enjoy being around a lot of children.”

    Evie told workers they did a good job.  People who probably never get a thank you for picking up trash or serving fries.  Evie thanked them and told them good job.  Evie smiled and made faces at countless people. There were a few times Dan and I didn’t even notice that Evie was making silly faces at someone.  We would be eating our meal and look down to see Evie making the fishy face or some other goofy face.  Almost every single time it was an older lady sitting alone at a table.  Evie paid attention to them.  They were no longer invisible in an airport.   These women commented on her over the top personality.  They would stop by our table and say to us,  “Don’t you just smile all day long with her?”  Yes, it is true.  Evie is a beautiful soul.  We are blessed to have her in our lives.

    We rode the moving sidewalks over and over again.  She would giggle and giggle.  As I said, many people never even noticed her.  Many people almost hit her. But many people who were on their phones stopped what they were doing when Evie smiled at them.  They smiled back and they waved.  One young security officer walked past us while texting, he noticed Evie, stopped his texting and said hi.  He stopped about ten feet away and just watched Evie laugh as she rode along.  He looked at me and said, “It really is about the little things in life, isn’t it?”  He just stood there and watched Evie enjoy life.

    Evie 2

    Many people are in a rush.  Many people just look for someone to yell at. I’ve was surprised at the number of truly rude people.  I understand that sometimes you need to rush.  I’ve been the person sprinting through the airport trying to make a connection, but not everyone who was rushing truly needed to be, and there is rarely a time that you truly need to be rude.

    It’s the older people, the people with young ones who have to move just a little bit slower, who have noticed Evie.  I wonder how much we miss in our everyday lives because we are in such a rush or to busy to bring our eyes up from the phone.

    I’ve been bored and I’ve been on my phone, but there’s a difference between checking your phone and not being able to look up from your phone.  It’s like we are so afraid to say “Hi!” to each other.  We use our phones as an excuse to not make eye contact.  I like the people I meet.  I like saying hello.  Dan often teases me about what people will say to me.

    I met another adoptive mom on the bus ride from terminal C to terminal A.  I learned a lot about the frustration of her adoptions.  We talked about all sorts of things and encouraged each other.

    Two different sets of little Asian boys her size ran up to Evie and got right in her face.  In both cases, the parents barely noticed.  Little ones are so ready to make new friends.  It doesn’t matter what color they other person is, how they are dressed, or whether or not they think they have anything in common.  Little ones just want to meet and play.

    Emme & Evie 1 Emme & Evie

    We met a little girl named Emme on our trip.  Evie and Emme became fast friends.  Emme was one of those three year olds with a huge vocabulary.  She told us about her imaginary brothers and sisters.  She shared her stuff with Evie.  They read books, played with their toys, and just chased each other in the airport.  They were instant friends.  When do we lose that as children?  Why do we lose that?  The joy of just making new friends.  The joy of sharing our things and visiting?  There is such joy in those connections so why do we decide it is no longer important?

    I really don’t have any answers.  I just wanted to give you something to think about.  What could you be missing?  Maybe it’s time to slow down and just look up!

     

  • Providing care does not mean you care

    Date: 2014.04.21 | Category: Codey, Hope, Thoughts to ponder

    What Kind of Doctor Do You Want To Be?

    September 16, 2011

    In all our experiences over the years, we have seen two types of doctors, doctors who provide care and doctors who truly care.  You might think they are one and the same, but you’d be mistaken.  As a doctor, you might become very knowledgeable about your particular specialty.  You may be able to look at a laundry list of conditions and tell exactly what my son has.  You might be able to quote figures and percentages and tell me what the odds are that my son will ever walk or talk.  I will tell you though that my son is not hydrocephalus.  My son is not cerebral palsy.  My son is not the numerous other labels that have been placed on him.  If when you look at him, that is all you can see, you might be able to provide care but you won’t care.

    Codey - 2 pounds 7 ounces

    Codey – 2 pounds 7 ounces

    Edward Albert once said the simple act of caring is heroic.  You might not think that it is heroic to care, but I tell you it is.  Picture this:

    A mother, standing at the bedside, wearing scrubs because she hasn’t had time to take a shower let alone drive home to get clothes.  Her son is hospitalized, again, she’s tired, worried, worn out and afraid.  The neurosurgeon walks into the room and looks at her son.

    “How is he upstairs?” He asks.

    The mother, who is rightly confused asks, “What?”

    “You know,” he says, “how is he mentally?”

    “What difference does that make?” she asks.

    “Well, it just does.”

    Nurses, who have been watching the whole thing unfold, are horrified by what they hear.  The nurses take the shaking, visibly upset mother out of the room.  Since this doctor is the neurosurgeon on call, she has to entrust her sons care him.  She doesn’t have a choice.  Her son needs surgery and he needs it now.  She cries and worries that maybe the doctor won’t care.  Maybe he won’t try as hard.  Maybe he’ll just let her son go after she has fought so hard to keep him alive.

    When her son comes out of surgery, this neurosurgeon comes into the empty waiting room.  At the same time he sees the parents, he hears the t.v., which is blaring the Olympics.  He turns away from the parents and watches what is happening on the t.v.  When they ask how their son is doing, he holds up his hand to shush them until he sees the race finish.  He treats them as if they don’t matter.

    He was such a sweet, sweet baby!

    He was such a sweet, sweet baby!

    Compare this to the neurologist who knows how much she cares for her son because he’s spent time at her bedside.  He’s taken the time to come visit with them when her son wasn’t in pain.   He’s visited when her son wasn’t so sick he couldn’t even stay awake.  He has seen him watch Price is Right. He has seen him laugh out loud.  He has seen the love they share.  This is the neurologist who holds her hand while she makes the calls, once again to her family.   This is the doctor who offers to make the calls himself.  This is the man she will remember fondly for the rest of her life because he took the time to care about her son.

    stuff 055

    To her this doctor is a hero, as are the other physicians and nurses who took the time to care about her child.  I could sit and list all the things that were done wrong.  The list, which is unfortunately long, would include the care that caused my son’s severe brain damage. I could talk about the care that wasn’t given in a timely manner.  I could talk about all the times I cried because the doctor wouldn’t listen. But today I’m going to talk about the positives, the people that showed how much they care.

    There was a doctor who made the resident cross out all the times this resident listed mental retardation in my son’s chart because Codey wasn’t old enough for that diagnosis and our doctor didn’t want Codey labeled with something we weren’t sure about yet.  Did it matter in the long run? No.  Did he show he cared?  Yes.

    I can talk about the pediatrician that took the time to sit on the floor during my son’s first routine visit and just play with him.  She tried to overcome Codey’s severe anxiety over anyone in a white coat who came near him.  She spent precious time just playing with him on the floor.  Would you say she cared?

    Snuggling with Cassie!

    Snuggling with Cassie!

    I can talk about the nurse who rode with my son to Iowa City to get his trach because they wouldn’t allow family in the ambulance.  This same nurse sends birthday cards 24 years later.  This nurse has attended my other children’s graduation parties.  I realize this level of care isn’t always possible but it has been a blessing to our family.

    I can talk about the nurses who bought my son a regular crib with their own money and decorated it with Christmas lights because he had been in the NICU for 8 months.   The same nurses treated us like family.

    I can talk about the doctor who was honest enough to admit that if he tried to trach Codey, he might kill him.  This doctor recommended we go to Iowa City where they had more experience.  You might think that is wrong to admit that you can’t or don’t know something.  I tell you, it is honorable.  It is the right thing to do.  It will earn you that parent’s trust because you proved you care more about the patient’s life than your ego.

    Elsberry _70 Crop

    The reality is you may be very, very bright and be a wonderful technician, but if you don’t look like you care, the parent’s won’t trust you.  All it takes is a hand held, a moment to show that you care.  It can be something as simple as remembering the patient’s name and taking the time to directly speak to them.

    Our daughter, Hope, has a complicated heart defect called, hypoplastic left heart syndrome.  Hope had a cardiologist that we have known for years.  Every time we came into the appointment, we felt like we were catching him up.  It was frustrating because we never felt like he put any thought into her care.  We always felt like he was seeing just one frame in the whole movie.  He provided competent care, but did he truly care?

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    Compare that to Hope’s new cardiologist.  Before we even had our first appointment, he took her chart to present at a cardiology conference.  Hope had a pulmonary stent that had cracked and he was unsure what the best course of action would be.  He presented her case and got advice from 100’s of doctors before she was even truly his patient.

    scan083

    Both cardiologists were bright.  Both knew what they were talking about.  Who do you think we trusted more?  Who showed that they cared?

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    If you want to make a difference you need to care and not just provide care.  You need to take the time to get to know your patients.  That textbook won’t tell you who that patient is or who their family is.  You will never know that patient better than their parents do.  Don’t talk down to the parent that spends 24 hours a day with this child.  The patient is not their condition.  My son is not the shunt case in bed 3.  He has a name and many, many people who love him.

    I know that your days are packed with people to care for.  I know that sometimes the cases are sad and overwhelming.  I know that sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth it to go that extra mile.   I know that the hours are long and the overnight care get tedious, but with all that being said, you really need to consider if you want to be the person families remember with fondness or the person they wish they could forget?

    Be a hero. This isn’t something you can fake.  You either care or you don’t.  If you don’t care, maybe you shouldn’t be in medicine.   On the other hand, if you take the time to know the patient and support the parents and truly give of yourself – your time, your support, your caring – well, then you might just be someone’s hero.

     

  • Sacrifice

    Date: 2014.04.18 | Category: Thoughts to ponder

    Easter weekend is upon us again.  What comes to mind when you think of Easter?  Do you think of church and family and getting together?  Do Easter egg hunts, fancy dresses, and little boys in cute ties bring a smile to your face?

    Easter should bring thoughts of gratitude for the grace that was bestowed upon us.  Easter should bring to mind what Christ endured for us.  He gave the greatest sacrifice so that we could live. Christ died and rose again so that we could be adopted into His family.  Without this sacrifice, none of us could hope to have eternal life with Him.

    I don’t know how many of you truly take this in, but for me there were many years where I got lost in the fun of Easter.  I sang the beautiful songs.  I enjoyed dressing up on Sunday morning and getting together with family.  I loved watching the little children run through the grass picking up colorful eggs.  I was grateful but I never got what Christ dying so that I could live truly meant.

    The Passion of the Christ made it all the more real for me.  I am a very visual person.  I have read the passages but somehow watching it in full color drove it all home.  I take too much for granted.  I was living my life with very little thought to what happened to make this life possible.

    I wish I could say that I have it all figured out now.  I still struggle every day but I do have one thing down.  I am obedient to His call and I know what His call sounds like.  I have had it happen enough times that I obey even when it makes no sense to me. I drag my feet and overthink everything.  I say, “No, I couldn’t possibly but I know in the end He is right and I comply.

    I can tell you that the last year has been so very hard.  I miss my mom.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could call her and tell her something the kids have done.  It has been hard to find a new normal with all our new kids.  The next six months are going to be very complicated and I, myself, don’t feel up to the task, but I know if God is calling me to it He will provide for it.

    Not long ago, I asked God what I could do for Him and what He has asked has taken me way out of my comfort zone.  He has taken us into the “only with God” zone.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can’t but He can.  It is only through Him that I made it through this year.  It is only through Him that I am proceeding into the next six months.  I.CAN.NOT. but HE MOSTLY CERTAINLY CAN!

    I want everyone to understand that through all that you will read in the coming months, this is not because I believe I am superwoman.  It is because I am being obedient to His call.   I am fearful of what the world shows me but I am confident in what the Lord calls me to.

    I read another blog from one of the mamas I have come to know through the heart community.  Her most recent blog talks about sacrifices to God.  How many of us live our lives as a sacrifice?  How many of us live our lives in awe of all that God has done wanting to do nothing more than follow His call?  I know for years I was just existing.  I was going through the motions of living a worldly life.  It was all about me and my family.  But I get it now.  It is not about me.  It was never about me.

    In this blog, Lori says, “My desire was to one day stand before Him and be completely empty – with nothing left to give!  I spoke of my life as my offering and I intended to live it as a sacrificial gift to the God I love.”  Please take a moment and read her blog.  I believe you will be as moved as I was by her heartfelt testimony.  (BLOG)

    That is where I am at.  I don’t want to get to the end of my life and know that I could have done more.  I want to live my life to the fullest.  I want to do extreme things for the Lord.  I have asked Him “what more can I do” and God has answered.

    Who are you living your life for?  Is He calling you to do something and you are still refusing?  Why?  What are you afraid of?  There is so much joy in being obedient.  God doesn’t call you to the hard to overwhelm you.  He calls you to the hard to bless you.

    “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” – John 13:17

     

  • Convicted with a capital “C”!

    Date: 2014.03.05 | Category: Adoption, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Thoughts to ponder, Videos

    I have been convicted.  Yes, you heard that right….CONVICTED!  Heck, I’ll even spell it for you.  C.O.N.V.I.C.T.E.D!!!!

    CONVICT  (verb) (v., adj. kuh n-vikt) –  1. to prove or declare guilty   2. to impress with a sense of guilt

    Over and over again God has been showing me signs that He is not through with me yet.  He’s definitely saying there’s more that I can do.  I admit that I argue with Him.  I have told Him, “Are you kidding me? Do you see how busy my days are?  Do you know how much money we have spent over those two years we were adopting?”  But God quietly whispers, “You aren’t listening Lisa.” and I proceed to stomp my foot like a two-year-old.  (And no I haven’t lost my mind. I’m not actually hearing those words…He’s just been sending me signs.)

    Signs like the Francis Chan balance beam video.  Have you seen this video?  He talks about us, as Christians, how we start out good, but then life gets hard and we just drop to our knees and hang on to the beam for dear life. We live tidy little lives and then it’s our last day, we slide off the beam, end in our finish stance, throw our arms in the air, a big smile on our face, and expect God to judge our performance.  How is He supposed to judge that?   (Francis Chan – Balance Beam Video )

    We live comfortable lives.  We forget about all those that are doing without.   Those that God has commanded us to care for and we expect Him to say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

    It’s not enough to just show up on Sunday, tithe your 10%, and live a “good” life.  It’s not enough to try not to sin and do a little good every once in a while. It’s not enough to just raise children who will walk in the way. He is asking us to get uncomfortable.  Really uncomfortable.  He is asking us to make it hurt, and not just a little.  He is asking us to really dig deep and trust in Him enough to let go of all that makes us comfortable.

    The next sign I had was another video by Francis Chan.  His fearless video.  This video talks about how everyone told him he was crazy to live on $36,000 a year and give everything else away.  People tried to tell him he needed more.  He needed to protect his children and save for their futures. But Mr. Chan says, “People are crazy to not trust God for everything.”  Mr. Chan talks about how going to Africa changed him.  He says that he could no longer live extravagantly while others were doing without clean water and the most basic necessities.  What Mr. Chan has been able to give away is truly amazing!   ( Francis Chan – Fearless Video )

    I’m still living a very comfortable life. My cars are older but they run and they are paid for.  I even own a bus.  Albeit a 1998 bus with rust and 100,000 miles but the fact is I own a bus.  I live in a very nice home.  I live on three acres and have more than I could ever possibly need.  I eat out.  I can buy all the food I want.  I pack up sacks of stuff to take to Good-Will and still my house is overflowing.

    So it’s safe to say, I am not doing enough.  I have not given up enough.  I am blessed beyond measure and yes, we do give but I think C.S. Lewis says it best.   ”I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us,… they are too small.  There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.”

    I don’t know what to do about it but I do know God is working on my heart.  Every time we order pizza, I wonder if I should be doing it.  It’s not a guilty feeling as much as it is a “you can do more with that money” feeling.  I don’t want to get to heaven and have regret.  I don’t want God to show me the “how your life could have been” recap and have my heart be filled with regrets.  I don’t know if you are like me but I have lived safely in the “I am saved, God paid for my sins” way.  I don’t have to worry about my sins.  I am told to go forward and sin no more when those sins become known to me, but once they are confessed to God, they are wiped clean.  That is pretty amazing.

    But then what?  I’m made as white as snow and get my free pass to heaven and all is ok?  Do we really think that God isn’t asking more of us? Do we really think there won’t be some accountability?  I used to think just that.  I mean the verse says no more tears, no more pain, no more sorrow.  But then I really started to think about it.  It says God is the judge.  There will be accountability.  I’ve started to picture it like a movie that God will show me when I enter His gates.  A movie of what I could have really done had I given up the comfortable.

    I believe we have gotten so used to the comfortable that we do everything we can to not see the hurt that is going on.  We don’t read blogs or watch movies or listen to stories that will bring us down.  We have lost sight of caring for our neighbors and truly loving one another.  I recently read this verse….

    All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.  From time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet and it was distributed to anyone who had need.   Acts 34:32-35

    Sure, I would sell land if my child needed surgery, but would I do that for a stranger?  Would I do that for someone else’s child?  I don’t want to be the person that holds on so tight to my possessions that I lose sight of what God is calling me to do.  I want to be open to His plan.  I do feel he is leading us to do more in the way of adopting.  I’m trying to wrap my head around what we can handle, but I know it is more.

    I took the time to write down what is really stopping me from adopting?  First, coming up with more money.  Really?  He has already provided for seven adoptions.  Seven!  And I’m going to question His ability to help us afford more?

    Second, I’m really, really busy, but part of why I am so busy is because I refuse to hire help to do the housework.  I would much rather be with my kids, but I don’t want anyone else to clean my house?  It sounds so prideful and it is.  Do I really want to stand in front of God and say, “I would have taken in more girls, but I had to clean?  Really?  Or better yet leave the house only half-way presentable.  It’s clean enough.  It’s just not sparkling.  Should not having an impeccable house stop me from taking a child out of an orphanage and giving them the love of family?

    God has always chosen to speak to me through my children.  He did it when we adopted Hope.  Zach and Cassie were so adamant and open to taking her in no matter what the outcome.  God did it when we adopted Maisey. Cassie had just learned sign and she was so certain we were to adopt Maisey.  And then again with Ben, Hope wanted to adopt a little boy with a heart defect.  Ben knew that Eli was his didi. Ben prayed daily for Eli.    All the girls fell in love with Jasmine.  And now it is Jasmine’s turn.

    This is the video we secretly took while she talked one night.  She does this almost every night.  My response has always been, “I’ll pray about it Jasmine.”   Now she says, “I’m praying about it.  Are you mama?”

    What can I possibly say to this?  Every day she tells me how happy she is here.  So very, very, very happy she says.  She tells me she just wants to make more little girls happy and I am convicted.  Convicted because I know in my heart I can do more.  I can.  I have so much love to give.  We have a huge house.  We have more than enough.  We have so many people to love them.

    I continue to pray.  He has been faithful in so much these past three years.  I am absolutely blown away by all that He has done.  I am truly blessed by all that I have gotten to be a part of.

    What am I going to do, you ask?  I’m not sure yet.  But for now I wake up to the subtle hints of pictures of bunk beds, and this picture saying family and the number 18, and I pray even more.

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  • What if…

    Date: 2014.02.28 | Category: Cassie, Thoughts to ponder

    I started this draft long ago and just never finished it.  It’s been sitting there in the draft file for a long time, but after a recent talk with Cassie it got me to thinking about this subject again.  Cassie has been asked over and over again in college “What is your go to drink to get drunk?”   She is amazed at how often college students talk about drinking, getting drunk, and partying.  When they talk about issues that they think are big issues, Cassie brings up orphans and some of the stories she has heard.  Their response every single time is….”That can’t be true!”

    She loves her big family and all her siblings.  Cassie feels blessed to be able to care for them and to live at home.  When others ask her why she still lives at home, her response is, “You have no idea how wonderful it is to have five little people run to the back door to greet you when you get home.  They shout your name, they surround you with hugs, they love you with all their hearts, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

    cass & kids

    Cassie even had a teacher congratulate her for creating and maintaining a “personal identity” despite her family.  This, of course, was said with great sarcasm along with “it’s good that you seem to have your own identity outside of being on call for your family. You deserve to live and grow and develop yourself, and not in your family.”

    I love what my children have learned from living with Codey and his special needs.  I love what my children have learned from our adoptions.  I love their hearts and their love and trust of God and His perfect plan.

    All of this got me to thinking what kind of world would we live in if we only….

    TAUGHT OUR CHILDREN….

    to be world changers.

    to embrace the uncomfortable.

    to live simply and with purpose.

    to help when they saw a person who was failing or falling.

    to put others first.

    to pray for others including those who hurt us.

    to not speak unless their words were uplifting and encouraging and filled with love.

    WHAT IF OUR CHILDREN…

    didn’t think the best thing about growing up was moving out, going to college and partying?

    spent their time finding their passion and their purpose to do all they could for God?

    dreamed about the day when they’d be old enough to adopt or foster?

    worried about the poor people in their hometown?

    couldn’t wait to volunteer to mow a widow’s lawn or cook a meal for the hungry or help out at a shelter?

    truly knew what it was like to live in a third world country?

    didn’t always dream of the next big toy, but instead dreamed of funding wells, buying mosquito nets, providing food rations, sponsoring surgeries?

    their hearts were really broken for the hurting in this world?

    strive to have a relationship with Christ,  a real relationship?

    WHAT IF OUR CHURCH FAMILY…

    truly supported those who wanted to adopt? Stepped up to help families with the costs?   (All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. – Acts 2:44-45 NIV)

    felt honored to help those in need.  (Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.  – Duteronomy 15:10 NIV)

    thought the most wonderful thing you could say was “I have helped others adopt 10, 20, or more children. I have practiced true religion. (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 NIV)

    gathered together to help the widows? (Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. – 1 Timothy 5:3 NIV.)

    truly believed their blessings were gifts from God and couldn’t wait to share them with others?  (And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – Hebrews 13:16 NIV)

    first thought was not to pass judgment but to love as Christ loved us?  (“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34 NIV)

    not only read God’s commands in the Bible but truly followed them?  (Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22 NIV)

    WHAT IF…

    our main goal in life wasn’t a better car, a bigger house, a nicer vacation, or retiring when we are 50?

    we knew how much we had and didn’t need more?

    we truly couldn’t wait to share our blessings?

    we finally decided this life wasn’t about us?

    we found the true meaning to joy and happiness.

    WHAT IF….

     

     

  • Do Something

    Date: 2014.02.22 | Category: Thoughts to ponder

    I have been hit hard with the realities of the world lately.  I just read a book entitled “Silent Tears” by Kay Bratt that is a journal of her four years volunteering in a Chinese orphanage.  My heart aches for these children.  My heart aches for my children.  I have seen the effects of a sterile environment.  Children need nurturing.  Children need love and interaction.  Now not all orphanages are void of affection, but many are.  Many are just overwhelmed by the number of children in their care.  They do the best they can with what they have, but the truth is many children are just left in cribs.  Many children spend their days staring at the walls.  No toys, no interaction except getting changed and given their food.  Children need more than that.  I think we can all agree with that.

    I have shared information on my Facebook about these things and rarely do people comment.  I have often wondered what brings people to share information or “like” items.   You can share a silly picture and get 75 likes.  I believe that is because this makes people happy.  They love to celebrate the accomplishments of my little people.  They like to laugh along and see how far they have come.  But share a blog or a picture of a child from Love Without Boundaries who is hurting and very few people comment.  I know that doesn’t mean it wasn’t seen or that people weren’t moved or that the child wasn’t prayed for.  It just sometimes surprises me that very few comment.  I guess I want to know that others care.  I know many people joke that they would like a “dislike” button, but I would like a “prayed for” or an “I care” button.

    The truth is its easy to share silly videos and help them go viral but we avoid the uncomfortable.   We avoid the talks of children dying in orphanages.  We avoid the talk of children hurting, children starving, homeless families, communities without clean drinking water, widows who are in need, children dying from preventable diseases.  We pretend that this isn’t happening.  It makes us uncomfortable.  What can we possibly do about it?  It’s easier to just scroll on past and pretend it isn’t happening.

    I was once that person. I saw the pictures.  I saw the need, but it seemed so far removed that I really didn’t pay attention.  The more I learn about children in orphanages the more my heart hurts.  I don’t want to have my heart hurt.  I’d like to avoid that.  I’d like to just think about happy things.  But the reality is God commands us to care for the orphan.  You may not be called to adopt but that does NOT let you off the hook.  You are called to care.

    Every day I see posts about children aging out of the Chinese orphanage system.  Fourteen years of age and no longer able to be adopted.  To never have family to call their own.  To be put on the street, or given a job in the orphanage, or worse yet to get a “better offer” which leads to human trafficking or marrying an older man at the tender age of 14 or 15.  These are the realities for these children.

    I look at my little girl who is profoundly hard of hearing.  I think about what her life would have been like if she had never been adopted.  She is a pretty girl.  She would have led a life of begging or worse.  Do you know what that does to my heart?  Yes, we saved little Maisey’s life, but there are so many more out there just like her that won’t be saved.  My.Heart.Hurts!!!!!   I can’t just sit here and pretend this isn’t happening.

    All day long, I have heard story after story talking about the Russian billionaire who is saving the dogs in Sochi.  People praising this guy for saving these dogs.  The news has been filled with this feel good story.   I’m not against saving the dogs in Sochi, but if you are going to talk about the dogs, let’s also talk about the children in Russia that are hidden away from the public.  Let’s talk about this same Russia that shut it’s door to international adoption.  The Russia that has 300 children who have met their American parents, the same parents who aren’t allowed to go get their children. (Free the 300 )  I recently read a blog where they shared the pictures of photographer Kate Brooks.  Take a look at these pictures and see if these children don’t deserve the same press coverage that the dogs are getting.  (Warning: These pictures are heartbreaking!)

    Russian Orphans

    A few days ago the same information was covered on a blog that I read.  ( Tiny Green Elephants )   So many people shared her information that they shut down the server.  I know people care.  I know people want to do something. I just believe they don’t know where to start.  So if her post touched your heart and if hearing all these stories makes you want to do something, then do it!

    Let’s stop avoiding the hard.  Don’t wait for another day when you have more.  You are blessed!  Unbelievably blessed. Let’s, each of us, give up a couple of coffees and dig a well.  Let’s fund a surgery.  Let’s save a soul. Let’s help someone adopt. Let’s sponsor a child.  Let’s make a difference.  I don’t care which group you pick.  There are so many good ones.  I’ve listed the ones that we’ve had the privilege of working with on the right side of my blog.   Just do something.  Make a difference.  Don’t believe because God hasn’t called you to be the next Katie Davis (Amazima ) or Andrea (Do Something) or Dr. Joyce Hill ( New Hope) that what you do doesn’t matter.  It does.

    I’ve said it over and over in my blogs before.  If you can, adopt.  If you can’t adopt, foster.  If you can’t foster, donate.  If you can’t donate, volunteer, educate, pray.  We can all do something.  What has He called you to do?  Come on.  Join me!  Let’s do something.

    I said, “God, why don’t You do something?”  He said, “I did, I created you!”  – lyrics from Do Something by Matthew West

     

  • A Little Bit of Everything

    Date: 2014.02.01 | Category: Adoption, Photos, Thoughts to ponder

    My blog about older adopting older children:

    A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about adopting the older child. (Beauty Admist the Pain )  I still feel very strongly that people need to step up and help these children.  However, after I wrote this blog another article was brought to my attention talking about some of the corruption that is happening with older children’s adoptions.  You can read that blog post here. Fraud in Older Adoptions Revealed

    I still stand by my words that you need to find out as much information as you can about the child before proceeding.  I know of cases that were absolutely devastating to the family, but I also believe that there are children waiting to be adopted that desperately want the love of a family and would be a good fit for some family some where.  There are many beautiful older souls languishing in orphanages and the foster care system who are good, wonderful, caring children.  I know because I am a mother who is blessed enough to love one.

    Jasmine

    Family:

    The kids are doing well.  Lainey has made great progress and has even started saying some words.  Evie is walking all over the place.  Everyone else has been healthy (knock on wood) and making great progress.

    In less than a month’s time starting on Christmas Eve we lost three members of our immediate family.  Mom died Christmas Eve with her Celebration Service being on her birthday, January 5th.  Her husband and my stepfather, Will, passed away on January 13th with his service being January 18th.   Right after the service for Will was over we received notice that my grandfather had had a stroke and was being taken to the hospital.  My grandpa, Pop as I called him, passed away on January 20th with his services being held on January 24th.  It has been a horrible time for the family.  Especially for my grandma who would have celebrated her 73rd wedding anniversary on May 10th.  72 years with a person is a very long time and her heart has been very sad with losing my mom, who was her best friend only a few weeks before her husband.  Please keep her in your prayers.

    Gram & Pop

    What I’ve learned from all this hardship:

    1.) It’s easier to lose someone if they are in poor health and you have time to plan. In the end, it almost seems a blessing.  But that is only true if you know that person is a believer.  Knowing someone is rejoicing in heaven is a beautiful  thing.   It’s hard to be sad when you know there will one day be a glorious reunion.

    2.) If you aren’t sure if your family member believes, ask them.  I always assumed that my stepfather was a believer.  He said he went to church when he was younger, but I never had any indepth conversations about it.  It just never came up.  It was very hard talking to little Gracie after his death. She was so worried about his soul.  (Sometimes it is hard to believe Gracie is only 8.)  No one wants regrets of being able to save a soul and not having said anything.

    3.) It’s good to let your family members know exactly what your wishes are.  When they are in a state of shock, it’s helpful to be able to say with certainty that this is what your loved ones wanted.  It was easy to plan mom’s service because she had said over and over again what she wanted.  It was nice to be able to implement her wishes and celebrate her life.

    4.) Don’t be the invisible mom!   Make sure you are in pictures with your loved ones, especially your kids.   I went through tons of pictures trying to find pictures for the slideshow.  I realized I always take the pictures.  I am rarely in the pictures.  I know my children know I was at their birthday parties and special events, but someday their children may wonder where Grandma was.

    5.) Enjoy each and every day.  It truly is a gift to live in the present.  Don’t assume you have tomorrow. If you have things that need to be said, say them.  If you have people you need to forgive, forgive them.  If you love someone, make the time for them.

    6.) Don’t talk about people unless you were there and can state something is fact.  My brother found my stepfather and this has been very hard on him.  People in the small towns all have their own ideas about what happened and all the gossip I have been told second and third hand was wrong.

    7.) People actually break into people’s homes during their funerals and after their deaths.  Yes, there really are people that are that low.  Mom’s house was broken into.  I am still in shock about that. The sheriff said it often happens.  Who knows what was taken?  Who knows what they messed with?  It made me so angry.  Not because of the items that we know were taken, the t.v., dvd player, etc.  Just the thought that someone went through her stuff before we had the chance to.  It’s just so sad.

    8.) Your days are limited.  They are numbered.  You can pretend all you want but someday you will leave behind the people you love.  Make sure they know how much you love them with actions not just words.  On your last day, you will take NOTHING with you.  Remember that.  That job you work so hard at won’t be holding your hand at the end.  Your diplomas won’t add another day to your life. Those vacations won’t keep you warm while you lie in your hospice bed.  Regrets are a horrible thing.  Don’t waste your life.  Do something with it and love your family and friends.

    9.) I don’t want another year to just pass by.  Do you?  Why not make 2014 a year to remember? Do something great for the Lord!  What is your passion?  What is your calling?  What can you do?  Everyone can do something.  Everyone has a passion.  Praying you find yours and you make 2014 the year you made a difference.

     

     

  • Good Samaritan Moment

    Date: 2013.12.19 | Category: Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Thoughts to ponder

    Please don’t just scroll down or skip this blog post.  Please take a moment and read about Emma and her story.

    Every day we are confronted with the hard.

    Every day we see injustice and people hurting.

    Every day we have the opportunity to help, to step up, and be a Good Samaritan.

    Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “Which type of person am I?”.  The person who crosses to the other side of the street or the person who bends down low to help?  As a Christian, we are called to help.  We are called to share our plenty.

    Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:4

    But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 1 John 3:17

    Most days we choose to close our eyes, to not read the sad stories.  We scroll right on past the story with the little girl hurting.  It’s easier to watch the video of the Christmas Jammies.  We share that video making it go viral, but we avoid the stories of pain not wanting to damper our moods during the holiday season.

    We have tried over and over again to explain to Jasmine what Love Without Boundaries is. We try to explain it to her because it is such a big part of her story. We showed Jasmine her picture yesterday on their site where LWB was celebrating all the children who found forever families.  We have explained to her that we were reading the story on their “Featured Child” post and saw her face.  LWB was advocating for her because she was about to run out of time.  We saw her face.  We fell in love.  I literally cried tears when I saw her face.  We were NOT going to adopt older children.  We were already matched with two little girls.  Jasmine did not fit into the plans that we had made for our lives, but here we were with our hearts hurting for a little girl half way around the world.

    So we show Jasmine the stories on LWB.  We show her so she can understand what a miracle it is that God brought us to her.  We celebrate with her the children that find families.  We cry for those that are trying hard to find their forever families.  We pray for the children going into surgery. We cry for the children who die before they were chosen.  We talk about what the orphanage was like.  We talk about what she felt like waiting.  Jasmine knew what family was.  She was abandoned right before her eighth birthday.   Jasmine knows what it means to sit in an orphanage hurting.

    Yesterday LWB shared a story of a little girl named Emma.  She is four years old.  She has been sitting in an orphanage with a broken leg for months.  BUT she doesn’t just have a broken leg.  She has a compound fracture, which means there is a bone protruding out of her leg.  Let me repeat this SHE IS FOUR.  You can discuss who should be caring for her.  You can discuss who let her down.  You can discuss it being Christmas and money is tight.  You can even ignore all of this, but while you do Emma is on the side of the road hurting.  Can you even fathom the pain?  Let me add to this that they don’t hand out Tylenol or ibuprofen like we do here in the states.  There is NO pain control.  She is four and she is hurting.  Someone brought this little girl’s story to LWB and begged for help.  In essence, Emma is on the side of the street, hurting by no fault of her own, and people are walking by.

    Have you ever read the story of the Good Samaritan? I mean really read the story?   The people who should have helped, passed him on the road. The priest and the Levite passed on the other side of the road.  They didn’t just not see him.  They crossed to the other side.  Men who should have known better.  But one man stops.  He not only stops, but he puts the hurting man on his donkey.  He takes the injured man to the Inn and the Samaritan pays for the hurting man to stay there.

    Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We ask for qualifiers.  Who do we have to help?  Who is our brother?  Who is our neighbor?  But Jesus says, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”  Luke 10:36 

    He brings it back to us.  We are supposed to be the neighbor.  We are supposed to help.  Jasmine heard the story and said, “I want to help her mama.”  Jasmine asked her brothers and sisters to give up some things for Christmas.  I woke up this morning with Emma on my heart.  It is 4 a.m.  I’ve had a hard couple of days.  I would much rather be sleeping, but I felt prompted to write this for Jasmine.  She wants to help Emma.  So I decided to write this blog and then I opened the LWB page, I clicked on the donate here button, and I donated in honor of Jasmine.  My little girl who when asked what she wants for Christmas responds with, “I no want nothing mama.  I ask for a family. I have a family. I have love.”  Jasmine gets it.  She’s been here seven months and she gets what is really important.

    So I ask, “Who could you do the same thing for?  Who doesn’t really need another tie or sweater or oven mitt?   Who could you donate $20 dollars in the name of?  Who could you bless with the gift of helping Emma and thereby bestow the label “Good Samaritan” on?  Whose day would that make?”

    I’ve seen it happen over and over again.  A story really touches people and people give.  Let’s do this for Emma.  I mean really….look at this face.  Let’s send a little Christmas cheer to a hurting girl half-way around the world.    LWB – Emma’s Story

    Emma

     

  • Sometimes…

    Date: 2013.11.14 | Category: Photos, Thoughts to ponder

    Disclaimer:  Before we even start, I want you to know I don’t want your pity.  Truth be told, I don’t need it, I truly live a very blessed life and I know that.  I am grateful everyday for what I have been allowed to be a part of.  That being said, I have been told quite a few times this past month, that I only see the good, that I have a Pollyanna attitude.  So I thought I’d share….

    Sometimes….

    I wake up and I don’t want to get out of bed.  It’s overcast, gloomy, the house is still quiet, a great day to just pull the blankets back up over my head. But then it starts, Lainey is yelling, and she will not go back to sleep.  The day  has started too early.  I’m tired of long, hard days.  I’m tired of being tired.  I’m tired of watching others around me exercise (I miss my 7 a.m. workout buddies), and take vacations and watching others just hang out and have fun with their friends.  I’m tired of trying to find a moment to bathe.  I’m tired of the noise, the chaos, the dirty house.  I’m tired of scratches on my floor, dust on the shelves, and the fingerprints that are EVERYWHERE!!!!

    My usual day starts at 5:30, 6:00 if I’m really lucky, and goes non-stop from there until I fall into bed at 11.  It starts with oral feedings and tube feedings, dispensing medications and shots to be given, then there’s the diaper changes and clothes to change and breakfast to prepare. Codey needs a bath.  At 9 its time to get Jasmine up and transfer her out of bed, to the bathroom, help her get dressed, brush her teeth, etc.  At 9:30 school starts  and there’s work to be explained and corrected, little ones to teach and sing with, speech therapy and English to learn.  All of a sudden lunch needs to be prepared, cleaned up.  More school work, nap time for the littles, chores to be done and dinner to prepare.   In between all of that there is laundry and dishes and more tidying up than I care to think about.  Tube feedings x 5 and oral feedings for two x 5.  There’s more diapers than I care to count and dirty faces to wash.

    snack

    I get all excited when it’s time for bed, but then I remember there are 5 littles that I need to bathe and change and brush their teeth.  They’d like a story or two or three  Then it’s Jasmine’s turn, teeth, bathroom, clothes changed, transfer to the bed.  Give Evi her shot.  Tuck them all in.  Sing them their songs.  And then finally….bed.  Glorious, wonderful, warm, soft bed.

    bath

    And then…..Lainey wakes up. She rages.  She yells.  She doesn’t sleep.  Every hour on the hour she is up. Last night it was 12, 1, 2:15, 3, 4:20, 5:30, and up for good at 6.  Others take shifts when they can.  But I’ve had three days of it in a row and I’m not as young as I used to be.   And Evie is scared at night, Ben is having nightmares because he has surgery coming up, and all the littles seem to know something is up so everyone is a little more stressed.

    I have read those books that say God doesn’t expect you to be so busy.  I’ve read the articles about alone time and me time.  But I wonder what could I cut out of my days right now?  And heaven forbid I even joke about being busy.  Do you know what the first words out of people’s mouths are?  “Well, you asked for this.  Don’t be complaining about it.”

    BUT……sometimes a girl just needs to vent.

    The house is a mess.  My to do list just keeps growing.  There are school papers to check and winter clothes to get out, summer clothes to put away.  The yard is a mess. The car is sticky.  The garage won’t hold a car.   I’ve swallowed my pride more times than I care to admit when people visit because it is rare to find this house clean.  Five littles move a lot of toys around.  Five littles can make a very big mess.  They laugh, they play, and I like it.  I like it more than I like the crazy person I would have to be to keep it clean.  So…..my house is messy.

    But knowing what I know now, being as tired as I am, you might ask, “Would I still sign up for all of this again?”  And the answer is “YES!”  Yes, in a heart beat.  Because when I take my eyes of “me”, I see the beauty in the miracle of all of it.  Truly I do.  I have listened to others who are angry and bitter because they didn’t know the extent of their child’s illness, but I am thankful.  I am thankful because I know I would have said “No” if I had seen what Jasmine’s medical condition really was.  I would have believed that I was too busy and left it for someone else to come forward.  I would have said I would pray and then tried to let it go.  I would have not signed on for Lainey’s autism either.  I know I wouldn’t have.  It scares me.  I have watched friends go through terrible times.  I’ve heard their tears as they sobbed about having to place their child  to protect their other children.  I know what may be in store for my sweet little Lainey, but I also know what her life would have been like in China.  And she has made progress…real progress.   Just yesterday she said “Dada”.

    It’s a hard pill to swallow knowing that I would have said “No!”.  “No” because I am not strong enough.  “No” because I am weak. “No” because my plate was full.  And in saying “No” I would have missed the biggest blessing.  Jasmine is joy and light and everything right with the world. Think about what you complain about every day and then compare it to her life.  And yet she is happy.  Truly happy.  When I think about what she will go through, I want to scream at the unfairness of it all.  But instead I will thank God for bringing me to her so she will never be alone again.

    Jasmine & Hope

    I am overwhelmed by worldly standards that say I should be fit and have a six pack, and my house should be clean, and I should wear the newest clothes, and be fashionable, and drive an awesome car, and live in a immaculate home, and travel the world, and retire when I’m 50.  I should be sitting on the beach, drinking an umbrella drink or bettering myself in college or, or, or….. The list goes on and on.

    I am overwhelmed when I listen to that voice that says “I’m not enough.”  “I’m not as good as….”   When I look in the mirror and I see an older me, a heavier me, a “man it would be nice to style my hair” me.  Lainey was the tipping point for me.  If Lainey was sleeping, I would have handled this all with relative ease.  I’m pretty good at organizing.  I’m pretty good at mothering and staying on top of things.  Lainey and her lack of sleep has made me know that I am not enough.  I have to ask for help and if you know me you know that I absolutely detest that. Truly I do, but it’s not about me.   The Lord has placed all of this on my plate because for too long I have been in control except for times of crisis, for too long it’s been about me and what I could do.

    But now….without Him….I wouldn’t make it through my days.  Through Him I can be strong.  Because of Him I know what is important.  Because of Him I have been “gloriously ruined”!

    I look at them and I wouldn’t change it.  Not at all.  Who would I not take?  Where would they be?  Life is busy.  Life is hectic, but I have family that is so helpful.  I have family that love each other and loves to be together.  What a blessing that is.  So when I am overwhelmed and tired, I remind myself that the only thing I can control is my attitude.  I pick myself up and I look for the good in everything.  I sit and laugh and play.  I remember that I am not guaranteed tomorrow so I will appreciate today.  I have fun each and every day.   I laugh because I am surrounded by silly.

    superheroes

    And then there is a quote from Katie Davis that I read whenever I feel overwhelmed.

    “We bend. I bend to sweep crumbs and I bend to wipe vomit and I bend to pick up little ones and wipe away tears… And at the end of these days I bend next to the bed and I ask only that I could bend more, bend lower. Because I serve a Savior who came to be a servant. He lived bent low. And bent down here is where I see His face. He lived, only to die. Could I? Die to self and just break open for love. This Savior, His one purpose to spend Himself on behalf of messy us. Will I spend myself on behalf of those in front of me? And people say, “Don’t you get tired?” and yes, I do. But I’m face to face with Jesus in the dirt, and the more I bend the harder and better and fuller this life gets. And sure, we are tired, but oh we are happy. Because bent down low is where we find fullness of Joy.”

    This is the truth.  Not what the rest of the world would have you believe.  It isn’t about me.  It isn’t about the kids.  It is about serving the Lord.  It is about living my life as unto Him.  He called.  I followed out onto the ledge.   Dan and I have talked each other out onto that ledge many times because we believed what God was calling us to do.  The journey is not perfect.  The journey has been hard.  This journey though is blessed and beautiful and amazingly wonderful.  I am tired but I am blessed.  I rarely lose sight of that fact and when I do His word brings me back.  So no I don’t have a Pollyanna attitude.  I don’t even have my head in the clouds.  I know how hard my life is and still I feel blessed because among the hard is so much beautiful my heart can barely hold all the love that I have been given.

    So as I said before, please don’t ever pity me. I am living the life that I chose and love with all my heart. I have a husband who I adore who shares my dreams.  I hear “I love you” more times each day than I can count.  I have been blessed by beautiful children with the sweetest of souls.

    So no pity, but you can, however, wipe up any fingerprints that you feel lead to clean, but please don’t ever date the dust because who knows when I will get to that.

     

  • Do the difficult….

    Date: 2013.11.07 | Category: Adoption, Faith, Thoughts to ponder

    Sometimes a blog post gets stuck.  You know what you want to say but you can’t find the words to adequately do it justice. There are just so many emotions wrapped up in it that you can’t even begin.  I have been feeling that way the past couple of weeks.   I have written and rewritten this post so many times.  I have given up on trying to find the perfect words and decided instead to just write.

    Friends, that we now have the privilege of knowing through the magic of Facebook, fought the hard battle to get their little girl Rini home from China.  They and their agency went to battle to prove they could care for her, love her and give her the best possible chance at life.  We talk about this being hard for the orphanage director and others in China to understand, but the reality is it is hard for most people to understand.  Why would you adopt a child with such severe medical needs?  Why would you go to battle for a child that may die before you can even get them home? Why would you open your heart to such pain? Why would you put the rest of your family through this?

    WHY?  Because God called!  Because she is your daughter.  Because you would do anything to rescue your child.  Eric Ludy has a video called Depraved Indifference that tells it beautifully.  If this was your child, would you not go to the ends of the earth to make sure she was safe?

    The truth of the matter is, that we live in a country, during a time, that most people will find it too difficult to watch Mr. Ludy’s 7 minute video because they just don’t have the time.  How can those same people be expected to wrap their minds around what Eric and Andrea have done?

    Rini

    I would like you to stop a moment and really look at Rini’s face.  Don’t just glance over it.  Does she not deserve love?  Could you look at this face and say, “She does not deserve the love of a family?”  There’s a quote that says it best.  “We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.”  – David Platt

    From the beginning they have been doing the “hard”, the “difficult”.  She didn’t come home pretty healthy and slowly decline.  She was in the PICU in China.  She is now awaiting a heart transplant.  Her little heart stopped the other day.  They are on borrowed time.  Yet, they are honored to be her parents.   Why do you think that is?  Do you think it is just because they have some supernatural ability that the rest of us don’t have?  Do you think it’s because they are somehow stronger?  Do you think they’ve lost their minds?

    Well, you’d be wrong on all accounts.  What they have is faith.  What they have is trust.  What they believe with their whole hearts is that this is a child worth fighting for.  This is their daughter!!!!   What would you do for your daughter?

    If you’ve been called, then your child is waiting some where.  I want you to really, truly let that soak in your mind.  If you have been called by God to adopt and you are not proceeding for whatever excuse you allow yourself to think, then your child is hurting and alone and you are doing NOTHING!

    All around the world, children are born in countries where the “least of these” are hidden away.  Parents are told right at birth that their child must be put in an institution. Children who look like this (before) while they are being cared for in an infant institution are then transferred at a very young age to an adult institution (after) where it is estimated 70-80% of children die in the first year.

    Kyle

    Can you look at Kyle’s sweet face and say that he didn’t deserve the love of a family?

    Well, the truth is, he didn’t get a family and he recently just passed away.

    You want to blame God for these problems?

    Nope, can’t do.  We have free will.  Man chose to put Kyle in the orphanage.  Man chose to leave him in the orphanage.  Man chose to treat him like he didn’t matter.  Man chose to not step up.  Man chose not to be the hands and feet of God.  Man chose not to adopt him and he died.

    That makes the blame ours…..not Gods.

    If we say we are Christians, and we do nothing to help the least of these, then we are not practicing true religion as God says in James 1:27.

    We have to stop treating these children like they don’t matter.

    That is in essence what we do when we turn our backs.

    When we don’t read the stories, because it is just too sad.

    When we don’t stand up for the least of these because we don’t have the time.

    When we say that it’s another country and they should take care of their own.

    When we pretend it isn’t happening and just go about our business.

    When we make excuses for why we can’t adopt or sponsor or foster.

    We are in fact saying that these children do not deserve to be loved.

    Because in an institution they may have food and clothing but they do NOT have love.

    We know this fact first hand.  We have watched our children blossom with love.

    We have seen them on day one, dejected, sad, and withdrawn because every moment they spend in an institution chips away at their humanity.

    Babies are meant to be held and loved not spend their day lying in a crib.

    Children are meant to be hugged and praised and loved.

    And with each hug and “I love you” they became a little more alive.

    Every child wants a mother and a father.  They may not know what that truly means but they know very early on that the word family is a wonderful thing.

    We are failing.

    We have been called to do more.

    We are asked to do the difficult.

    I’ve read so many blogs from parents who are doing the difficult.  Rini’s parents.  Lizzie’s parents.  Ruthie’s parents.  Katie’s parents.  Ruby’s parents.  Jenny’s parents.  The list goes on and on.  I am moved every time I read one of their stories because they didn’t choose the easy road.  They didn’t turn their back because they thought it might be hard.  They stepped up and took that first step in faith not knowing where their journey would take them.

    Rini’s mom talked about what constitutes winning in Rini’s life.  She says she feels like many people believe life equals winning and death equals losing.  But then she read a quote by Art Spiegelman from the book Maus.  “So it’s as though life equals winning, and death equals losing, and the victims are then to blame.  But the best didn’t live and the worst didn’t die.  It was random.”

    It is the same way with a child in an orphanage.  They are not somehow “less than” because they ended up there.  It was random.  They were born in the wrong country or to parents who couldn’t or wouldn’t provide.  Your children do not deserve all that they have because they are somehow better.  You do not deserve this blessed life because you are somehow better.  By random luck you were born at this time, in this country, with all the blessings that you have.

    Winning in life isn’t about acquiring the most toys.  Winning isn’t about being famous, or rich.   Winning isn’t being the fittest, retiring the earliest, living the most selfish, self-centered life that you can.  That is NOT winning!

    Stop closing your eyes.  Stop pretending this isn’t happening.  147+ million orphans.  Thousands upon thousands available for adoption as I write this.

    God does not call the qualified.  He qualifies the called.

    If all we think about is ourselves, then we are not doing what we were called to do.  We raise children who believe they can only be children once.  Everything in their lives revolves around them and they spend their lives wanting more, expecting more.  Life is can be difficult.  Life has responsibilities.  Life requires giving and loving even when it hurts.  If you are going through life and nothing stretches you, nothing makes you hurt, then you best be looking a little harder at your life.  I’m not talking about trying to wake up at 5 and exercise or diet a little more, or running that 1/2 marathon, that’s all fine and dandy.  What I’m talking about is the fact that life should stretch you outside of yourself.  What are you doing for others?  How are you giving of yourself?

    C.S. Lewis says it best “I’m afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, they are too small.

    Stop thinking small!

    Stop waiting for others to fix it!

    Stand up for what you believe is right!

    Do the difficult!

     

     

     

     

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