Archive for the ‘Thoughts to ponder’ Category

  • God winks….

    Date: 2013.10.31 | Category: Adoption, Benjamin, Thoughts to ponder

    While we were in Boston, we met a little girl named Paige. We met Paige while we were waiting in line to get a blood draw.  Her dad had gone to sign her in.  I was ahead of him in this same line. When I came back to where Dan and Ben were sitting, I found my husband chatting with this sweet little girl in a wheelchair. (What many people don’t know about my husband is that he is a sucker for little kids, especially sweet little kids who are ill.)  This little girl was full of personality and smiles.  She told us she gets twice a week blood draws.  She knows what fun picture is on every CT scanner.  Just a little over two weeks ago she had a liver/kidney transplant.  Yet, here she was smiling her huge smile and showing us her Spider-Man shirt complete with webs under her arms. She loved Ben Ben’s Superman cape. She discussed many things.  She had one of the sweetest souls around and a tiny voice full of life and joy. She asked Ben if he had any brothers and sisters and when Dan answered  11, she took a minute and answered “Your house must be really noisy.”  She is wise beyond her years, which was all of 8. Dan stopped to talk to her after Ben’s blood draw and wished her well.

    We walked off and Dan got very quiet.  I asked him what was wrong and he said she is very, very sick. He hadn’t asked the dad what she had but it was easy to see the sadness in her daddy’s eyes and to connect the dots with all she had going on.  I wished I had gotten her full name and address so my children could write to her.  But with the wonder of all that is google I found this picture and some articles on her.  Her family talks over and over again about their faith.  I could see all of their faith and love shining through in this little girl’s face.  She knows she is loved. She knows there is a bigger picture.

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    I have seen this over and over again.  Sometimes children who aren’t dealt the fairest cards in life, really truly are wise beyond their years and have sweet, sweet souls.  They have faith that is unwavering.  They see joy in every day life, where we get caught up in the smallest of troubles, that won’t matter a year from now, they stay in the moment and enjoy life. I know this is true because I  have been blessed with many children with just such souls.

    After having gone to China and come home with not one, but many of these souls I would say that blessings abound when you put away your fear and step out and take that first step in faith.  I know that there will be those who call me a Pollyanna. They think I only see the good and walk around with my head in the clouds, but people that say those things are the same people who have never met my children in person.

    Everyone who came in contact with Ben while we were in Boston commented on what a sweet boy he was. You have to remember this was during a very stressful time for him. He doesn’t want to be sick. He doesn’t want to have surgery.  He is afraid and yet he went in to that hospital, dressed in a Superman cape and Spider-Man gloves and treated everyone kindly and with a big heart.

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    This same little boy others say wasn’t worth the money spent on his adoption because of his shortened life span, finds joy in everthing.  This boy is a treasure.  He believes in God. He prays every time he hears a siren. He prays for the families of the victims, he prays for the driver and the workers, and he prays for whoever is hurt. This boy is a treasure. This boy is a gift worth more than any small adoption fee. This boy was fading fast in an institution and I wonder how many more souls, that are just like Ben, are there……waiting and waiting and waiting because they have a diagnosis that is out of the perspective families comfort zone.  How many are waiting, just like Jasmine?  How many?

    We were told that there was no fix for Benjamin and while that is true, we learned this week at Boston Children’s Hospital that there is a surgery that we can do to make him pinker and slow down the progression of his pulmonary hypertension. That is wonderful news. Ben will have surgery Thanksgiving week and we will be thankful for a chance at a longer, healthier life.

    I talked to many families in the waiting room at Boston Children’s Hospital. We heard story after story of families  being told there was no hope only to have other families reach out to them and encourage them to get a second opinion.  All of them heard what we heard, there is hope and HOPE is a beautiful thing.

    Boston was very thorough. They were very kind.  Everyone treated Ben very well, so well in fact, that he is okay with going back and having surgery. Steve our nurse for the three days we were admitted, found Ben a Spiderman car to give to him when he came back from his cath. Ben hasn’t wanted surgery, but Ben needs surgery. He is sleeping more, unable to walk very far without sitting down to catch his breathe, just not gaining weight, and dropping his sats in the low 60’s.  He needs this procedure and for him to feel comfortable with going back is a such a blessing to us.

    We are feeling very blessed this week. Everything went well with Ben.  Mom got moved to a skilled nursing home in Fort Dodge where she can get rehab to regain her strength and all her friends and more of her family are closer.  Plus, to top it off we got put in touch with the Muscular Dystrophy Association who are loaning us a power wheelchair for Jasmine to use until things can be worked out with the insurance company.  Jasmine needs her independence and this is one way for her to have it.

    On another note, in an only God could moment, while I was sitting in the pre-op waiting room, I received a message on Facebook from another mom in one of my heart groups on line.  She asked if we were in Boston, from a post I had made asking for Prayers for Ben. It turns out this family recently adopted a little girl from China who was in Boston having surgery that very day. Plus, they live about 20 minutes from us at home AND the adopted another son from China who is hard of hearing AND they homeschool.   You can call it a coincidence if you want but I know it was a Godcidence.  Please keep their daughter, Ruthie, and her family in your prayers. She still has many more days in the hospital and we know what a roller coaster ride that can be.

    Where we were staying, there was a food court attached to the hotel.  Ben loved the noodles at the Asian restaurant. He opened two fortune cookies while we were there and each one said something about “heart”.   One of my Facebook friends called them God winks. I like that!

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    Hoping others will step out in faith and adopt more of these special children both domestically and internationally.  People are called to many different places.  Who are we to question what God places on our hearts? Pay attention to the God winks that are all around you. He speaks to our hearts in many, many ways.

    Thank you again for the prayers.  Please keep Ruthie and Paige in your prayers also.

    Keep your heart open to wherever God may be leading.

  • This is just a test…

    Date: 2013.09.24 | Category: Thoughts to ponder

     

    mom 2

    This is my mama on a much better day.  She is the one standing behind the couch.  She always refuses to get in pictures.  It also shows my mother-in-law and four of the seven granddaughters.

    I’ve been meaning to write an update on my mom for some time now, but finding the time to sit down and type it out was almost impossible.  On September 11th, my mom underwent open heart surgery (OHS).  She ended up needing four bypass grafts.  She came through the surgery remarkably well.  She had some issues with her blood pressure, but otherwise was doing remarkably well.  She spent her time in the ICU and went to the floor.  She had been doing really well and was told she would be released Tuesday morning, the 18th.

    Last Monday afternoon (the 17th) I stopped with my crew to visit with Nana.  She wasn’t looking very good and had just had an issue with low blood pressure again.  I took the kids home, picked up Dan, and by the time we got back she was white as a sheet.  They called the Rapid Response team and started i.v. fluids.  They needed to start her on drugs that couldn’t be given on the floor so they started the calls to admit her back to the ICU.  We headed down with her.  They went through the ICU doors and into her room.  They asked us to wait outside in the waiting area until they got her settled.  No more than two minutes had passed when the floor nurse came out and said they had started chest compressions.  What?!?! Was my only response. Well, truth be told, I might have said WTH.  Not proud of that, but I was just so upset.  She had just been talking to me and now they were doing compressions?  They got her heart rate back and let us go see her.  She started having rhythm issues again and they asked us to step out.  By the time we got to the hallway, they had called a code blue to room 31, ICU.  Life can change in a moment.

    Her kidneys and liver went into failure.  They thought her gall bladder was infected and took her to CT to put in a drain.  Her blood pressure wouldn’t stay up.  Her heart went from v-tach to a-fib.  She went from 66 kilos (145 pounds) to 89.6 kilos (197 pounds) from fluid retention.  She had a pulmonary effusion where they pulled off 1800 mls of fluid off her chest (60 oz. for us metric challenged folks).  Her temp dropped to 34.4.  Tim and I have been spending our time seeing who could figure out her temp the quickest.  34.4 x 9/5 + 32 or google it. Google works pretty darn quick.  He has yet to beat me.  Yes, you find many unique ways to entertain yourself in the ICU.  She is on dialysis.  She is still on the ventilator.  She is very, very sick.

    mom1

    But today there is a glimmer of Hope, maybe even a ray of hope.  Today her blood pressure is staying up without medication.  Today her rhythm issues are being controlled by medication and not the external pacemaker.  She is able to breath on her own with minimal help from the ventilator so hopefully she can get extubated in the next day or two.  She lost 8 kilos yesterday alone.  She is still on dialysis, but since her blood pressure is okay they are able to pull of fluid through the dialysis machine.  She is moving her arms and responding appropriately when asked questions.

    Life is complicated to say the least.  I love when the devotionals you read say just what you need them to and Max Lucado’s has done just that the past two days.

    Each day has a pop quiz!  And some seasons are like final exams. Brutal, sudden pitfalls of stress, sickness, or sadness. What’s the purpose of the test?  James 1:3-4 says, “For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

    Test, test, test! This chapter in your life may look like rehab, smell like unemployment, sound like a hospital, but you’re in training. God hasn’t forgotten you, just the opposite. He has chosen to train you. Forget the notion that God doesn’t see your struggle. Quite the contrary. God is fully engaged. He is the Potter, we are the clay.  He’s the Shepherd, we’re the sheep.  He’s the Teacher, we’re the students. Trust His training. You’ll get through this!

    And todays….

    God can make something good out of your mess! The test you’re experiencing will become your testimony.  2nd Corinthians 1:4-5 says, “God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone who’s going through hard times so we can be there for that person, just as God was there for us.”

    You didn’t sign up for this crash course in single parenting? No, God enrolled you. He’s taken the intended evil and rewoven it into this curriculum. Why?  So you can teach others what He’s taught you. Rather than say, “God, why?” ask “God, what?” What can I learn from this experience? Rather than ask God to change your circumstances, ask Him to use your circumstances to change you.

    Life is a required course.  Might as well do your best to pass it!  You will get through this!

    Thank you for the prayers and encouragement.  She has a long, long road ahead of her, but she is a fighter and I believe she will get through this!

     

     

     

  • Dr. Joyce Hill

    Date: 2013.06.26 | Category: Elijah, Lainey Rae, Maisey, Thoughts to ponder

    There are people in our lives that change us for the better.  People, who we have never even met, whose words impact us and change the course of our future.  Dr. Joyce Hill is one of those people in my life.  It was by chance that I even learned about her.

    joyce_robin

    One day I just happened to post on a Show Hope Facebook status, thanking the volunteers for all that they do for the orphans in China.  I don’t often comment on Facebook threads where I don’t know anyone, but that day I felt led to say “thank you”.  At the time, we were waiting to go get Maisey and Benjamin.  Cathy at Show Hope responded to my comment and asked me if they had cared for any of our children.  I told her that I didn’t think so and she asked for their names so she could check.  She told me that they hadn’t cared for Benjamin but they had cared for Maisey.  We exchanged e-mail addresses.  She told me about the wall in her office where she has pictures of children waiting for their forever families and pictures when they get home.  I thought that was very sweet and I told her I would send her a family picture when we all got home.

    Many months later, Cathy wrote me back saying that she remembered that Maisey (Chaya) had been in an earlier newsletter and she thought that I might like to see it.  Through that e-mail we learned that Maisey was the 1,000th baby at The House of Hope in China.  We learned that the Hill’s ran this home and their mission statement was “To comfort always, to relieve often, and to save sometimes.”   We were intrigued and purchased the book that Elisabeth Gifford wrote called “The House of Hope”.  When reading this book, on almost the last page of the book (pg. 216) we read “On 22 October, Chaya, an abandoned baby with huge, trusting eyes, was admitted to New Hope.” This book is an amazing testimony to following God’s calling in your life.  I highly recommend reading this book.  This book will open your eyes to the plight of the orphan and move your heart to do more – whatever your calling may be.

    Maisey

    Dr. Hill has now treated many of the sickest babies in China at the House of Hope.  In Maisey’s case, we learned that they found her in an orphanage weighing 6 pounds at 6 months.  They cared for and loved my Maisey back to health.  Because of their care, we have been blessed with this sweet, little girl.  It’s hard to explain what something like that means to a parent.  To know that your child suffered, that someone saw her worth, and gave her a chance.  And because of that chance, you were blessed with the sweetest little girl with the biggest personality.

    Dr. Hill has also cared for my little Lainey and Elijah.  Eli was cared for at Maria’s Big House of Hope.  He was actually their 500th child admitted.  I saw Eli’s picture in the New Hope Foundation newsletter and fell instantly in love with this little guy.  It’s pretty amazing that we ended up with two of their milestone babies.  Lainey was also cared for by New Hope.  She has required a special formula for her metabolic disease and they were able to provide that for her.

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    lainey

    The Hills influenced Dan and I in one more really big way.  In their book they have a quote, when they were talking about what God was asking of them.  Joyce said, “Rob, I think God is asking us to get into a river and I don’t know where we are going to end up, but I think we should just get in and we should go with it.”   Her husband, Robin, had a well-paying job.  They lived a very comfortable life.  They decided to give it all up and stay in China and care for the very least of these.  Up until that moment, they hadn’t even thought about staying in China and caring for orphans.  They just felt that God was telling them to stay.  God was encouraging them to bring compassion to dying children, to let these children know love no matter how many days they had left.  I can think of no greater calling in life than to care for those that others have discarded or considered unworthy of their time.  When Dan and I felt led by God to adopt four, we felt unprepared and wondered if we could do this.  We prayed about it and decided to do what the Hills had done and jump in and see where God would lead us.  To give up control and to trust in His plan.

    We proceeded in faith and had a year of watching miracle after miracle unfold until we were allowed to adopt four at one time in China.  It hadn’t been done before and they said they wouldn’t make it a precedent, but we were the privileged pair that watched it all miraculously unfold.  What a gift.  What a glorious thing to be a part of.

    Through all of this we learned about Love Without Boundaries, which Dan is now a volunteer for.  Dan and Dr. Hill have corresponded during the past year and have become friends.

    As you can see, the Hills have played a huge part in our lives.  I had always hoped to meet them.  Dr. Hill has been ill for many years.  She has been confined to her bed, flat on her back for way too long now, but she has still continued doing her work from that position.  Unfortunately, we recently learned that Dr. Hill had been in a coma and was not doing well.  She had gone home only to be hospitalized again.   It is posted on their site and you can read about it there.  Hope Foster Home

    Today, however, we learned that Dr. Hill has woken up and surgery is being performed as I write this blog.  There is hope today at the House of Hope.   I ask for prayers for Dr. Hill.  Please pray for her and her family.  Pray for the doctors and nurses who are caring for her.   I pray that her suffering is eased and that there is an end to the endless headaches that she has suffered.  In a world full of celebrity worship and heroes that have very little worth,  I believe Dr. Hill to be a true Hero.   Even though she would be the first to tell you that what they did wasn’t as much brave as it was obedient, Dr. Hill will always have a very special place in my heart.  Because of her care, because of them following God’s lead in their lives, my life has been blessed with three of the most wonderful children you could ever ask for.  That is a priceless gift.  How do you ever thank anyone for something that wonderful? There are not words to convey my feelings for Dr. Hill.  I ask that you continue to lift Dr. Hill up in prayer and I pray that she will be blessed with the same compassion and caring that she has showered on so many others.

    P.S.   If you feel so lead, you can support the Hill’s in their mission on their website.  Hope Foster Home (Babies)  They have a page listing the financial needs they have or you can specifically sponsor a child.  I highly recommend sponsorship because you get updates on how that child is doing. It is a fun way to care for one of the least of these.  We sponsored Lainey who was Ginny Rebecca on the site and we got updates for her along the way.  There are many ways to help both monthly and as a one time gift.

     

  • 30 days to a better me

    Date: 2013.06.13 | Category: Adoption, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Lainey Rae, Thoughts to ponder

    Hard times and deep truths often come together. If you want the latter, you must be willing to make it through the former.  – unknown

    30 days ago today, our family went from 10 to 14.  30 days ago today, I thought I had been through hard and could handle anything.   30 days ago, I thought I had it all figured out.  30 days ago, I thought my faith was secure. 30 days ago, I knew what God was asking of me and I was ready to proceed with this grand adventure. 30 days ago I was so sure that I could handle anything.  30 days ago – oh man, was I was clueless!

    We showed up the day after Mother’s Day, ready to receive three more blessings.  My blessings would then total 12.  My childhood dream of having 12 children was about to come true.  I was happy. I was nervous. I was feeling so blessed.  I knew two of these blessings had complex heart defects.  I knew Lainey had PKU and there was bound to be issues with her feedings.   We were prepared as we could be….at least that is what I thought.

    But 24 hours later, I was questioning everything.  How could God bring me to this.  This was not  just hard, but realllllyyyyyyy hard?  I was already doing my best with a life that was hard at home.  Not so much hard, but complicated.   I have children with complex medical conditions.  I have a busy household already.  I do g.t. feedings and oral feedings, medications, and lots of appointments, on top of homeschooling and all my usual mommy chores.  How in the world were we going to do any of this?

    All I could see in that first 24 hours was the hard. The fits, the crying, the whining, the refusing to eat, the not sleeping, the more complex diagnoses and the fear. Fear was a very real emotion during those first few days.  How were we going to handle this?  Before we traveled, I was so sure that we could handle it.  But now I doubted everything.

    Well not everything, I still believed with all my heart that God brought me to these children.  These were my children.  But I doubted me.  Maybe that is why this happened.  I mother pretty well.  I mother people who don’t want to be mothered.  I have been known to mother my grown children’s friends.  It’s just in my genetic code.  It is who I am.  When others dreamed of being doctors, nurses, and teachers, I dreamed of being a mom.  I have always believed in my ability to mother.  I don’t do everything right, but I have what I believe to be the most important aspects of mothering and I do those to the best of my abilities.  I believe God brought me, once again, to that place of being so overwhelmed that I knew there was no way in the world I could do this, which placed all that we were doing, even more so, at the base of the throne of my Lord.  Only through Him would we ever be able to do this.  Only with Him would I be able to survive.

    So 30 days later, I praise a God with a plan that is so much bigger and better than mine.  I give all glory to Him and the previous year that brought us to our blessings.  Our wonderful, unbelievable blessings that have made so much progress in just 30 days.

    Evie’s prognosis may not have been what we had hoped, but we have not given up hope.  In 30 days, this little girl has gone from not being able to sit by herself to crawling across the floor at lightning speed.  She is so happy and so loving. She is so very beautiful with her big brown eyes.  She is very blue still with O2 sats in the mid 50’s and low 60’s,but she has already put on four pounds.  This is what a little love and a little food will do for you.

    evie

    30 days later, and this handsome little guy has become Mr. Charming.  He was withdrawn, whiny, and refused to eat for days, but now he is so sweet and loving and there isn’t a food he doesn’t like. He is thoughtful and takes care of his sisters.  He is the perfect little guy to end our family.  (Although, Gracie did tell me last night that she wished she could hypnotize me so I would forget how many children we had so we could adopt again.)   🙂

    eli

    Shuang Shuang’s smile lights up our house throughout the day.  She laughs, and teases, and is the best big sister.  She holds the kids.  They climb all over her wheelchair.  She even reads to them.  She has been so trusting from day one.   We have been so moved by all the people who have had their lives touched by her.  We have received letters and e-mails.  She received an American Girl doll with a wheelchair from her new pen pals.   She received a birthday present from Spain from a family that had sponsored her while she was in the orphanage.   It has been so moving and we have made new friends.  Her diagnosis was not what we had planned on and her future won’t contain the healing surgery we hoped for, but we are blessed to have had her join our family.

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    min 10

    Which brings us to little Lainey, she was so very sad those first 48 hours.  She broke my heart and I wondered if I would ever be able to reach her.  Would she ever be happy?  Would she always be in her own little world?  Would this angry, crying, temper tantrum throwing be all that there was?   30 days later and we see a girl who smiles most of the day.  She runs up to all her siblings and loves to chase Codey.  She loves to climb up in your lap and sit.  She plays and she laughs and she is truly happy.  There are still a few outbursts, but they are few and far between and most of them involve wanting her bottle.  She is not magically cured and she still spends a lot of time in her own little world, but there are moments of eye contact with meaning. There is purposeful play.  She runs up and hugs people and kisses them.  She loves to cuddle on your shoulder.

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    30 days have brought so many changes to our family.  I thought there was no way that I would be able to do any of the usual things that I did with the kids, but….

    This is what we look like going shopping.

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    This is what we look like swimming.

    pool

    This is what we look like hanging at home.

    new normal

    This is what we look like in our car.

    5 in the car

    We can’t all fit in one or even two of our cars, which is why we had to buy a bus….

    mei bus

    Which made Benjamin very, very happy!

    ben bus

    30 days later and although my house is messier and I am definitely more tired, I have had the privilege of watching little ones bloom.  What a miracle to get to be a part of.  30 days later and I trust God even more.  30 days later and I realize that I set my goals too small.  I believe that I can’t when God knows that I can with His help.  We are still getting used to our new normal.  We are still trying to figure out how to run our days as smoothly as we can.  But 30 days later, I have been kissed more, hugged more and loved more than I ever believed possible.  I have heard more laughter and have had more love showered on me than any mama deserves.  30 days later is a very good place to be.

  • Hope Amongst The Pain

    Date: 2013.06.07 | Category: Thoughts to ponder

    I thought I’d share two very moving stories that unfolded today.

    The first story is about a little girl named Zoe, who recently had heart surgery and went into surgery to receive an artificial heart at 2 p.m. this afternoon.  As of 11 this evening, we have not heard whether it was successful or not.  The reason I am sharing this story, is that her mom, Eva, puts what many of us heart mama’s feel, into a very lovely blog.  Please take a moment and read this.  Choose Life

    The second story is one that took the breath of many of us away.  The Hammond family got home last night with their little 22 month old boy who had a congenital heart defect.  He passed away this morning.  I know that he is healed but his family is hurting.  I know that he can see how much they loved him and how hard they fought for him, but that does nothing to ease their pain this evening.  Here is their blog – A MeiMei for You You

    Please join me in covering these families with prayers.  They are both families of great faith.  In Zoe’s case, they are moving forward and choosing life.  In the Hammond’s case they are moving forward with the hope of eternity.  There is joy in that hope.  There is peace in that hope but the pain is fresh right now.

    And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7)

  • Susanna’s Legacy

    Date: 2013.06.04 | Category: Adoption, Thoughts to ponder

    Tonight on the Tiny Green Elephants Facebook page that I read, she talks about a child that had passed away.  You can read the blog about Susanna here.  The Road to Peacefield

    Tonight, when I could be sleeping, I sit here at my computer with tears running down my face.  The house is quiet.  I hear the breathing of many little souls coming from the other room.  I am blessed.  I am comforted that I got these children home, but the truth is there are many, many children who are alone right now through no fault of their own.

    Children die every day, all around the world, for every conceivable reason.  They are abducted, they are casualties of war, they die of starvation, they die at the hands of their parents, they die from unclean water, they die from mosquito bites, and they die alone in orphanages.  How can we just go on living like nothing is happening?  How can we not be moved when a life is ended much too soon?  Is it such an overwhelming problem that we believe there is nothing we can do?  Is it because it isn’t right there in front of us, that we are allowed to pretend it isn’t happening?  I know if a child was standing in front of a runaway car, you’d try to save them. So why are so many young lives being lost and we just go about our days?   A life lost, much too soon, should always be mourned, and we should be left wondering if there was something more that we could have done.

    I cried tears when I saw Susanna’s face.  Her story touched my heart because I have a son with hydrocephalus.  It’s not something I have to google to try to understand.  I get it!  I understand what it takes to treat a child with hydrocephalus.  I understand the infections, the hospital stays, the shunts, the frustration.  I understand the pain and the headaches.  But look at that picture,  look at her face.  She is giggling.  She is happy and all she wanted was a family.  She spent six years lying in a crib.  Six years…..2,190 days and yet she smiles.

    I have spent this past year praising God for all He has done to make our adoptions come together.  I still give God all the praise, but it is hard for me when I watch these parents who want the same thing we wanted.  They wanted to bring this child home, to help them, to love them for as long as they were given the gift.  So why weren’t their prayers answered?  Why didn’t Susanna get to come home?  Why did God choose to call her home to Him first?  What will her story change?  Who will be moved because of Susanna’s life?  Her life was not in vain.  Her life has worth.  I believe this with my whole being.

    After Kyle died, people said all sorts of things to me.  “Maybe God knew you couldn’t handle both of them being sick at the same time.”  “It’s better that he died with all his special needs.” At the same time I was grieving, wonderful things happened for others.  They talked about praying and having their prayers answered.  I wondered “Weren’t my prayers good enough?”  “Did I somehow offend God?”  “Am I really not as faithful or as good a Christian as I thought I was?”  “Why didn’t God answer my prayers?”

    Twenty-six years later, I can see a smattering of the ways Kyle changed our lives.   I can see how Kyle’s life changed Dan and made him a better doctor.  I know for a fact that Kyle’s death lead us to the seven little ones that we adopted.  I know for a fact that Kyle’s death took away my fear of dying and made me want to live a life of purpose.   He lived a mere five days and accomplished that.

    When I look at this situation, with my limited understanding, I just don’t get it.  I don’t understand. I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around it all.  I don’t understand why babies die in utero.  I don’t understand why people who could care less if they have a child, have a healthy one and others who want nothing more than to have a child, can’t.  I don’t understand why babies get sick. I don’t understand why any of this is allowed to happen.

    I could go into the whole fallen world issue. I know that man has free will and we chose what we do.  I know on the other side of it, God placed us here to do His work.  I know that there are many reasons why things happen and I can’t possible see the ramifications of them all.  I know that all things work together for good.  I know God’s plan is perfect and He is a just God.  I know that someday I will see all the threads of these children’s tapestries and will be absolutely amazed by the lives that they have touched.

    But that doesn’t end the pain for the mamas that I know who have lost their babies this past week. It doesn’t take away from the pain that the William’s family is feeling because they never got a chance to bring Susanna home.  Believe me when you proceed with the adoption of a child God has called you to, that IS your child.  You would do anything you could for that child.  And tonight because of bureaucracy and paperwork, they ran out of time and weren’t allowed the most precious gift of being able to bring her home.

    Susanna is in her eternal home now and she knows how much she was loved.  She knows how hard they fought for her.  She knows how many prayers were said by others on her behalf.  She sees what her life has done.  She is blessed and she is well and she is home!

    But the Williams’ will still be grieving the loss of dreams.  Please cover them and other families who have lost a child with your prayers.  I hope Susanna’s life makes you pay attention to what is going on around you.  I hope that it makes you want to step up and do whatever you can do to help others adopt.   Encourage, support, uplift others.  You don’t have to adopt to make a difference.  There are so many ways to help.  You can buy a mosquito net through World Vision, support a group that is fighting sex trafficking, have your church dig a well, fed a family in your neighborhood.  Step up. Do something.   Remember Susanna and do something in her honor.  Share her story and the other children’s stories just like her who are waiting.  They deserve a family.  They have worth and they have weight in this world.  You can make a difference for one.  Be that difference!

     

  • Thoughts rolling around in my head (part 2)

    Date: 2013.05.28 | Category: Adoption, Thoughts to ponder

    It’s 4:24 a.m.  Another night without sleep.  Another night with babies crying but not at the same time.  Another night left alone with my thoughts.  I have been thinking today about clarifying my part 1 post.  If you ask my children they will tell you that the two words I use a lot are “seriously” and “clarify”.  It’s become a joke in our house that they will find a way to use those words on my headstone.  Who knows why I use the word seriously?  I don’t.   It became part of my blog name because I truly do feel blessed and I was trying to find a word to describe how blessed I feel.  The kids were coming up with all sorts of funny names using the word seriously but I wanted a name that said how I truly feel about my life so we combined the blessed with the humorous – a true description of our lives.

    Dan is funny.  His sarcastic wit is quick.  He makes me laugh all the time.  We laugh and joke in our house a lot.  I realized, while we were in China, just how much I smile.  Everyone looked at me like I was crazy for smiling so I tried not to smile at people.  It wasn’t a feeling that I truly liked.  Then I decided since everyone was taking our pictures, left and right, that I should just keep on smiling so I could try to look good for the pictures.  It was a hard thing to do.  I hate having my picture taken by people I love.  People with ulterior motives were hard to keep smiling for.  Dan constantly reminded me that “all things work together for good” and that even if someone took our picture for the wrong reasons, it may be seen by someone who would be touched for the right reasons.  I do love that man’s perspective.  He constantly reminds me to keep my eyes on the Lord and the bigger picture.

    How we act and what we do has a huge impact on others.  One of the statements that stuck with me, from someone we dealt with on the trip, was this….  “The unconditional love from the family really shocked me and gave me one big lesson.”  Those words came to us from a second party who thought we should know.  It came to us at just the right time, because Dan and I had both been wondering if people could really see our love for these four children.  We wondered does your love of the Lord come across even when you aren’t preaching it?  Can people see that you are doing it for the right reasons?  For all of those laughing at us, judging us and believing we are crazy, are there those who are turned towards the Lord?  Are there those who say “Could I be doing more?”  “Is adoption right for me?”   That is what I want people to take away from my blog.  I hope they can truly see what a beautiful thing adoption is and even if it’s not what they are called to do, that they can help in many other ways.  We set out to adopt because we were being obedient to God’s calling.  We didn’t set out for any ulterior motives.  We were just following the Lord’s call.  He kept setting things in front of us and we would say “Really Lord?” and then proceed.  Because, time and time again, His blessings, that came from what others might call burdens, were so immeasurable.  How could we not follow that lead?

    Which brings me back to my other word, clarify.  I clarify a lot.  If I think someone may have misunderstood what I said or took it in the wrong way, I make sure that I clarify.  Words are very, very powerful things.  Matthew 12:37 ESV For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  I realized after I wrote the first part that it may have sounded like I was comparing what we went through to the other parents.  I was in no way doing that.  I don’t know anything about the other parents who decided to leave that little nine-year-old girl there.  I don’t know what they were thinking or where there hearts were.  I truly believe in the saying “You don’t know where someone else is coming from until you walk a mile in their shoes”.  I won’t compare my story to theirs.  We all make our own decisions based on what we believe to be the right thing.  The good news is that I heard from a friend on Facebook that she heard from another friend that this little girl does have another family who wants her.  Let’s pray that this is the truth and she finds her forever family.

    THE TRUTH ABOUT ADOPTION TRIPS:

    I’m not sure what most people think will happen when you travel to adopt.  Adoption comes from a place of pain and loss.  A child born to another woman calls me mom. The depth of the tragedy and the magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me. – Jody Landers  You might get away without much pain in the beginning if you adopt an infant, but someday you will have to deal with thoughts of abandonment, the child questioning your love, and their thoughts of not being enough.  It’s only in the movies that the child immediately forgets their painful past, rushes to you with open arms, embraces you while spouting praises of your wonderfulness, all the while thanking you for saving them.  The reality is they can be withdrawn, sad, and angry.  Even if they come from a foster home where they were loved, there will be issues because they are being taken away from the only family they have ever known. There will be many tears and sleepless nights.

    You will travel long distances, be away from the rest of your family, in a land you aren’t really sure about, for days, maybe even weeks.  You will be sleep deprived, tired, out of sorts.  You will be on an emotional roller coaster ride of highs and lows.  You will spend your time trying to convince this child that you will always be there for them.  It is amazing how quickly they figure out that you are mom, but that doesn’t mean they will come right to you.  Often one parent or the other gets left out.  Mark Hall, from Casting Crowns, talks very openly about this subject.  He wrote the song “So Far To Find You” because of what he felt when they adopted their daughter.

    BE AS PREPARED AS YOU CAN BE FOR ANY SCENARIO:

    Even with Dan’s medical background and all of our medical knowledge from caring for sick children, we were thrown for a loop.  You may get exactly what the medical records show or it may be worse.  You have to be prepared for whatever happens.  You have to be ready for anything.  You have to wrap your head around that if you can.  The last thing you want to do is have to make a decision to disrupt the adoption.  That is not fair to this child who has been waiting for you.  For us it wasn’t about making our family better (although that does happen), it was about saving a child’s life.  It was about doing what was right for them.  God called us to these specific children and we felt that we couldn’t walk away.  God sometimes calls us to the hard and takes us way out of our comfort zones.  The Chapman’s call this “The glorious wreckage of our plans.”

    GOD WILL LIFT YOU UP: 

    During this week when my heart was hurting, God spoke very clearly to me.   (All of these excerpts are from daily devotions that I have sent to my e-mail and all were received while we were still in China.)

    “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me”(Matt 25:42-43).  “It is not enough for us to say: “I love God,” but I also have to love my neighbor. St. John says that you are a liar if you say you love God and you don’t love your neighbor. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live? And so it is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is not true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.” Mother Teresa

    “Put your trust in the Lord your God and you will stand your ground. Believe what his prophets tell you, and you will succeed.” (2 Chronicles 20:20b GNT)

    “Are you not God?” Yes, you are in charge, and you’re big enough to handle it.
    “Did you not help us in the past?” Yes, you did help us in the past.
    “Will you not do it again?” Yes, you will do it again!

    Have you ever had a day like that? What do you do when you’re facing insurmountable, overwhelming problems? Go to the Lord.

    “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold.” (1 Peter 1:7a NLT)

    Accept What Can Not Be Changed – “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT)

    Peace is Not Problem Free Living – “I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT)

    This is the bottom line: Joy is a decision. You are as joyful as you choose to be.

    “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

    God was there in the midst of our pain.  God was holding us up and strengthening us.  We believe that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  We can NOT do this.  I know I can’t.  My heart just breaks thinking about what the future holds for my sweet children.  Pain and shortened lifespans, tests and more tests, hospitalizations and surgeries.  It will be a hard road and one I am willing to take only because the Lord will be by my side.  He has given me a best friend who shares my same dreams.  He has given me children who see a greater purpose and willingly step up to help.  He has bestowed upon our hearts a burden to do more than we thought we could.

    BEAUTIFUL THINGS HAPPEN WHEN YOU OPEN YOUR HEART:

    The truth of the matter is what comes out of adoption holds many beautiful things.  Watching children heal and trust and laugh is amazing.  Watching our babies come together and love each other is so heartwarming.  Ben wakes up every morning and sits on my laugh and says, “I love Min mama.  I love Eli.  I love Lainey.  I love Evie.  Thank you mama!”  He is four and he gets it.  We have been home three days and they are running around the house, playing and loving up on each other.  Gracie and Shuang have figured out their own way to communicate.  Enough so that Shuang told her a story about Cassie and I being funny in China and Gracie repeated it to me.

    It has been two weeks for little Miss Evie and she is sitting.  She couldn’t sit up just two weeks ago and now she is sitting.  A little bit of food and love and she is progressing so quickly.  I bet she has put on a pound already.  What a joy she is.  Jasmine went from a shy, quiet girl to one who laughs all day long while she is playing with the kids.  Eli is so charming.  I can’t even describe how cute this kid is.  Lainey is by far the best yet.  I have watched her blossom.  She is funny and cuddly and playing so well.  It has been unbelievably mind blowing and it’s only been two weeks.  The Lord is so good.  Blessed be His name!  (I’ve been singing that song all day long.)

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect.  There is still crying and yelling.  There is still not much sleeping at night.  We are still trying to unpack our bags.  The house is a mess.  The laundry is not caught up.  We are a long way away from our new normal, but we are well on our way.  Life is a journey.  It’s not about the destination.  It’s about enjoying all the things along the way.  There have been many wonderful blessings already, especially watching our older children with their new siblings.

    We came home from seeing my mom in the hospital the other day and Gracie started crying.  I assumed that she was crying about my mom, who was still looking very, very ill.  (Today she looks much better – PTL!)   I asked Gracie why she was sad and she said, “I’m sad because of Min, mama.  She would have died if they left her on the street. I’m so glad you and daddy went to get her.”  This is from an eight year old who knows how much time and work it will take to take care of Shuang.  She gets it.  It’s not about the easy.  It’s about making their lives better.  It’s about saving them from a fate that holds no future and giving them an eternal future.  What a gift to be a part of.  The blessings out weigh the pain.  Don’t be afraid.  Just be prepared.  If God is calling you, please, please, please open your heart to the possibilities.  Beautiful things will happen and blessings will abound.  I’m seriously telling you the truth and would be willing to clarify for you if necessary.  🙂  Praying that God leads you and guides you to all the wonders of His ways.  Praying that He opens your heart and your eyes to where your gifts would best be used.

  • Thoughts rolling around in my head (part 1)

    Date: 2013.05.27 | Category: Adoption, China 2013, Thoughts to ponder

    I thought these 3 a.m. postings would stop once we got home, but I guess not.  Children are not wishing to sleep so I am trying to type with Eli lying on my shoulder.  Not sure my post will make sense. I can’t even guarantee that there won’t be any typos, but I did want to get some of these thoughts down in writing so I will give it a shot.  Here’s to sleep deprived blog writing…..

    ABOUT THOSE FIRST FEW DAYS:

    I will admit to being knocked to my knees when we got the kids.  When we picked up Lainey, she was just so sad and acted out the first two days.  She had been moved from the only home she had known for almost 2 years.  She went by train for 16 hours and ended up in a new place where people didn’t know how to help her calm herself.  So by the time we got her, she was in full meltdown mode for most of the time.  She refused to look anyone in the eye, pulled her hair, rocked on the floor, slept for about an hour, at the most, at a time and screamed….a lot.  It was unbelievably overwhelming.  Add to that Evie’s severe malnutrition and Jasmine’s disability and what that meant for Jasmine’s future and my heart was just broken.

    I had dreams.  Dreams of five toddler beds with the sweet little babies all tucked in at night.  I could picture home schooling 5 little kids at about the same level and watching them grow.   I could picture us getting Jasmine her surgery and helping her achieve her schooling dreams.  I could see her happy and thriving.  I could picture this and so much more. I have dealt with Codey’s severe physical and mental disabilities for 26 years, it’s not that I was afraid of doing that again.  With Lainey, I was afraid of not being able to reach her.  I was afraid of what would happen if this was all there was for her.  Screaming and yelling and pulling her hair – stuck in her own little world.  What if that was all there ever would be.  Could I handle that?  What if she never even realized that she had a family?  Would adopting her even make a difference?

    That is a scary thought as a parent.  With Codey, I felt I didn’t have a choice, you don’t walk away from your child, but here I was  half a world away being asked if we still wanted to adopt her.  I was tired, worn out, frustrated by the lack of information we had before we proceeded with the papers in the first place, overwhelmed by what would be required to care for her and Evie and Jasmine.  Add to all of that, the fact that Eli would only sleep, while I was standing, with his head on my shoulder, and Evie was eating every 2-3 hours; well, the sleep deprived state I was in, didn’t help me in regard to having any rational, scripture based thoughts.  I cried out to the Lord.  I questioned whether He knew what He was doing because how could He possibly think I could handle this?

    Lainey cried and cried and cried, but she is comforted by lying her little head on your shoulder.  She calms there.  So I held her.  Dan held her.  Cassie held her.  Linda held her.  And we cried lots and lots of tears. Tears for dreams lost and tears from the fear of whether or not we could handle it.  The final decision came down to us knowing that God lead us to her.  We believe that with our whole heart.  I have written about it a lot.   So many things led us to this little girl.  I had looked at her picture for close to a year.  I had prayed for her.  I had fallen in love with her little piggy tails and her sweet little face.  This was our child and we would bring her home.  As I said before, you don’t walk away from your child.

    As the days went by, Lainey came out of her shell.  She giggled and laughed and danced and ran and played….even purposely played.  She responds to her name.  She pats you and looks at you with such love.  There is a sweet little soul there.  After just two weeks with her, there is a glimmer of hope.

    DISRUPTION:

    While we were in China, we met quite a few couples.  We traveled with five couples and many couples came up to us when they heard/saw that we had adopted four.  They wanted to know how we did it.  We explained that we had special circumstances and why it happened.  They were friendly.  Lots of Facebook friend requests and e-mail addresses exchanged.

    During all of our conversations, we heard about a little nine-year-old girl with mild cerebral palsy whose family had shown up to adopt her.  I don’t know her adoptive family. I only know this story as told by the family, that we talked to, that was at the office with her on their “gotcha day”.  This little girl was beaming.  She was so happy to finally have a family.  Her disabilities didn’t seem immense. She was able to walk and seemed pretty bright although she did have some institutional delays.  She went with the family.  She ate with the family.  She slept with the family.  She believed that this was her family.  Only to be told the next day that they did not wish to sign the papers.  She would not be their daughter.  Now everyone can say that it is for the best.  She shouldn’t be with a family that doesn’t love her.  She is better off waiting for a family to come forward that really wants her to be their daughter.  BUT what if one doesn’t?  Is she really better off in an orphanage?  How did this happen?  Did they not know about her disabilities?  What made them say that it was too much?

    The rumor was that the family thought she wasn’t a good fit because she wasn’t bright enough to be in their family.  Now normally I hate rumors.  I don’t want to spread words that I did not for fact hear myself.   The reason I have chosen to even include this statement is just the thought that that could be okay in someone’s world.  Can someone really not be smart enough for your family?  How do you get children that are smart enough?  What is smart enough?   This little girl’s life has been forever changed.  She has been abandoned again.  She has waited at least a year to be chosen.  She has probably spent most of her life in that orphanage.  The orphanage can now deem her unadoptable if they wish.  Will she be afraid to ever love and give up hope?  What must she think as she sits there in that orphanage?  My heart breaks for her and all the other children deemed unworthy of a family.  We are all unworthy.  When did we lose sight of this fact?

    NOT AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION:

    Those were the words I read when I asked about the little girl in pink from Jasmine’s orphanage.  She is not available for adoption.  For reasons outside of her control, she will live her life in that orphanage and be released when she is 14.  The longing look in her eyes still haunts me.  The sweet hug and her head laid softly on my shoulder still breaks my heart.   She wants a mama.  She wants to be in a family and she will not be allowed to.

    Yes, even with all that was going on I wrote and asked about her.  Even with all that was going on, I would go back and get her in a heartbeat if they told me her papers were available.  Why?  Because every child deserves a family.  EVERY child.  Not some.  Not the worthy.  Not the healthy.  Not the unbroken.  EVERY child deserves the love of a family.  Especially little girls, with broken hearts, dressed in a pretty pink shirt and green dress shoes with bows, that steal your heart with just a look.

     

  • Fulfilling your plan

    Date: 2013.05.19 | Category: Thoughts to ponder

    I was recently e-mailed by another mama, who was also given more than she thought she could handle, but has been blessed through the trials on this journey she found herself on.  Hearing from other mamas about the blessings along with the burdens of carrying for a severely handicapped child help encourage me and remind me to keep my eyes on the Lord.

    Your spirituality grows in ways you can’t even imagine when God decides to stretch you in ways you didn’t think were possible and takes you way out of your comfort zone.  Believe it or not, adopting 4 was still within my comfort zone.  If everything had gone as planned, I would have been fine.  Much busier, but fine.  Normal still seemed possible, but these added trials, one more child with a shortened life span who needs so much one on one care, Evie being so little and delayed from her malnutrition, Lainey’s autistic-like behavior, took my footing away for a moment.

    When you have so much, you often tend to believe you can provide for all things on your own.  You forget to thank God for everything. You forget where all your provisions come from. We take so much for granted.  We believe it is because we work hard that we have things. Most of the time, it’s not because we work harder than others.  In reality, we just won the luck of the draw because we were allowed to live during this day and age and in the country we live in.  When these special circumstances arise, you realize even more how much you took for granted.  You realize it is only with God’s help that you can make it through.

    I wanted to share a thought I had the other day at Shuang Shuang’s orphanage.  There were approximately 13 babies in the infant room.  There was one crib which contained a very severely brain injured child who was about 4 years old. This child was only able to lie there, he could move his hands a little, and I’m not sure how much he could even see or hear.  Dan examined this child for them because they were hoping there would be something that they could do for him.  Unfortunately, there was nothing that could be done.

    From our earthly view, this child’s life is sad and to be pitied, but when I think about it from heaven’s viewpoint, I see a child who is fulfilling God’s plan.  Not that God caused this to happen, but that this child could still fulfill the plan that God had for him.  God has known through all of time that this child would be where he is right now.  God has always known when and if a family would come forward.  God has always known the lives this child’s life would touch.   This child will most likely never lie or cheat, or break a promise.  He will never take the Lord’s name in vain or lust after his neighbor’s wife.  He will not be greedy and spend his life always wanting more, striving for joy that seems elusive.

    Yes, it is sad that he has no family, and is so terribly disabled.  But he can still fulfill his life’s purpose while on this earth.  A person who fulfills their purpose perfectly without much sin? Well, that is almost unheard of.  Those people have great rewards in heaven.  This child will be rewarded in ways that we can only dream of.  Because he is trying to gain fame or notoriety.  He isn’t trying to accomplish things by the world’s standards.  This child will one day hear those words, “well done, good and faithful servant.”

    Our time on earth is fleeting.  It is nothing compared to eternity.  If you’ve never seen Francis Chan’s video on life here on earth as compared to heaven, I highly recommend watching it.  (It’s the you-tube video where he is holding a rope.)  That along with his book “Crazy Love” will change the way you look at your life here on earth.

    Life can make absolutely no sense.  Life can be painful.  Life can be harder than you ever imagined, but there are so many blessings even in the burdens.  Joy can be found all around you.  It’s not your circumstances that make you joyful, it comes from the Father.   The things of this world will never make you happy.

    “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.  I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:11-13

    Those words were written by Paul while he was in prison.  Obviously, it’s not about things or circumstances.

    If you feel really comfortable with your life and never get stretched with much of anything, you have to ask yourself if you are really following God’s lead.  God uses tests to help us grow closer to Him.  Do you want true joy?  Do you want a life with meaning?  Do you feel like you might be missing out?  Well, ask and He will show you the way.  Don’t be afraid of something the world may call a burden because God uses those things to bless us in amazing ways.

  • The Reason Why

    Date: 2013.04.05 | Category: Adoption, Cassie, Thoughts to ponder, Videos

    Disclaimer:  Everything I am writing about in regard to orphanages and what children go through – I have read about in another mother’s blog or in a book or had personal experience from.  Granted people could exaggerate or make things up altogether but these blogs have many, many followers.  You would think someone would call their bluff if they were out and out lying.  The truth of the matter is, there are just so many people saying exactly the same thing over and over and over again.   I tend to believe most of it.  Plus, I’ve seen the effects of an orphanage on a child firsthand.  It’s not pretty! It will tear your heart out and change every perspective you’ve ever had about what is and isn’t important.

    Have you ever wondered why so many people are moved to adopt over and over again?  Why they come home, talk about it, and pray that others will hear their message?  Did you ever think  “Why in the world would someone do what they are doing, spend the time and money that they do, just to bring a child home?”  The truth is it is estimated that the average adoption will cost $28,000 and take close to three years* (Ours took a year.).   (*Please watch the video below!)  Why would anyone do that?  Why would anyone sign up to do that and especially why would they do that more than once?

    (If you want to know more, STUCK will be playing in Des Moines on April 22nd at 7 p.m.)

    I’ve watched Cassie come home upset because people question why in the world would her parents adopt four children at a time.   I’ve listened to her explain what her answers were and why she said what she said.  Last night I told her, the truth is, she has three options.

    One, she can not answer at all.  Just let it drop, because she will never be able to truly make someone understand why we are doing this if they don’t understand what an orphanage is like. If they’ve never read the stories about “dying rooms” or children that are 14 that weigh 24 pounds.  If they haven’t heard that children freeze to death, or are chained to the walls, or are sent to mental institutions when they hit the age of 6.   It’s beyond their comprehension if they don’t know that a disability will label you as cursed for life.  In many places your last name means orphan and you will not be allowed an education, you barely have enough food to survive, you don’t have even the barest of necessities.  They will never understand if their only idea of an orphanage is from watching the movie Annie.

    When we got Ben (3 1/2) and Maisey (2), they wouldn’t play with any of the toys we brought them.  Why?  Because their first thought was for food.  They didn’t care about a book, or a blanket, or a toy that made noise.  Their cherished possession was a spoon. Who cares about toys when you are starving?   Ben walked funny because he was confined to a play pen or a high chair through most of the day.    They were afraid of a bath.  We later learned it’s because some orphanages give one bath a week or they hose them down with cold water.  There are no bubble baths and cute terry cloth robes.  Ben needs major dental work because six of his teeth are in such terrible decay.  There can be 40 kids sharing two toothbrushes.  Ben and Maisey couldn’t even hold a spoon and feed themselves.  Why?  Because when they are fed they are all fed out of the same bowl with the same spoon because the nanny doesn’t have time to give each child their own bowl and clean up after them.   It’s an assembly line.  There is no good night kiss and being tucked in to a nice cozy bed.  Many times the mattress is a piece of plywood with a blanket because it cuts down on the lice problem.

    Two, she can try to explain all about our family and all the people we have just waiting to love these four new children.  She can explain that our family has chosen this to be their mission and children are where our passion lies. She can explain her dad’s job, his expertise in caring for sick babies, his love for children, and how he’s home during the week.  She can explain how much I love children and how my dream as a little girl was to have 12.  But if they don’t understand that children need rescued and it’s not about having “quality time” or “more one on one time”, they still won’t understand.

    Oh, but if they could see what we, as a family, have seen this past year.  If they could see how a child blossoms and grows with the love of a family.  If they could see what we’ve seen, the physical, emotional and spiritual growth.  It’s about giving them love, food, an education, some more love, and hope for a future that doesn’t include sex trafficking or living on the street.  It’s about saving a life. If they could see what we have seen, they’d more than understand.

    Three, she can tell them to jump in a lake. (Probably not the nicest or the best option!)  The reality is it’s none of their business.  They have no right to judge.  They have no right to question whether it is or is not the right thing.  They don’t know anything about our family or where our hearts lie.   We’ve been through home studies.  You read that right – studie”S“.  When you adopt from China, you have initial home studies, and a follow-up home study when you come home, one at 6 months, one at a year, one at two years, and the last one at five years.  There are safe guards in place.  Plus, I’ve pretty much made our lives public by putting it all out there in picture and blog.  I’m not trying to hide anything.  I’m trying to prove you can do more than you think you can.  You can love more than you think possible.  You can show the love of God through taking a child in.  You can change their lives and their eternity.   All of this is a pretty amazing, mind-blowing, heart changing, life altering, thing.

    Maybe that is all she needs to say “God brought us to these four children and our family feels overwhelming blessed to be able to bring them home!”  Because that is the truth!  We are blessed.  We may be tired.  The house may never be perfectly clean.  Our mid-life crisis car may now be a 15 passenger van.  But the overall running theme in our home is love and that God has blessed us in immeasurable ways.  What a gift to us.  What a gift to them.

     

     

     

     

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