Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday Fabulous

Did you see????

My sweet Conrad jumped over the 1,000 wall and beyond!!


But those who haven't yet... I'm not letting you off the hook.

You see it costs 24,000-30,000 to adopt from his country. So even though we hit our goal... if you didn't get a chance to give to Conrad... Please do! 

I would love to see his grant account climb and climb. When his family claims him, every dime in his account will be one less dime they have to raise to pay his ransom!

So please don't stop!

CLICK HERE to donate to Conrad!

And keep praying for Conrad as he waits for a family!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Lies, Lies and the Hard Truth

I don't know Conrad's story but if it is anything like John and Aaron's - he was abandoned at birth.

He was left behind - his crooked little body rejected.  His Mama probably cried a river when she walked out of the hospital empty-handed. But in that world - most Mamas don't look back. If they do it is to console themselves that they are better off in the orphanage. That's what the doctors tell them. That's what the nurses say. That's what their family whispers. Better off. Leave them. The government will take care of him.




I know.

My boys were not better off.


No child in an orphanage is ever better off than in a family.

No helpless baby is better off learning that their anguished cries will not be heard.

My boys screamed for their Mamas in those first weeks of life.

They cried tears that were not consoled until they learned to not cry again.

They learned to not cry.

They learned that wet, dirty diapers were not often changed. 
They learned that hungry bellies were not always filled. 
They learned that meal times were rushed and food was expected to be eaten quickly.
The learned to gag down their food fast.

They learned to swallow their vomit to keep their belly full.

They learned that they had to create their own soothing tricks to comfort themselves against the dark nights and lonely days.
They learned that by rocking their bodies back and forth in the crib they felt better.

They learned to know who the nannies were who cared. 
They learned to know who the nannies were who harassed and harmed them. 
They learned that hands are often harsh and fast and quick. 
They learned to turn off their desire for gentle, loving touch. 
They learned to recoil when hands came close. 

They learned that no one was going to teach them anything. 
They learned only the world inside their section of the building. 
They learned that disabled children are second class citizens. 

They learned tricks to get attention. 
They learned that their dimples got them favors. 
They learned to smile.

 Even when smiling was the last thing they felt in their hearts.

They learned.

And that was just in the first few weeks of life.

In just the first few weeks of life they experienced abandonment, neglect, hunger, pain, fear, harshness, loneliness, distress

In the first few weeks of life they learned to shut down emotionally.

In the first few weeks of life they learned the coldness of a world inside an orphanage.

In the first few weeks of life they learned coping mechanics to survive.

In the first few weeks of life they came face to face with the reality that they were completely alone.

In just the first few weeks of life.

The damage and trauma from that cannot be erased apart from the grace of God.

They are not better off.

And that is the plain truth.

But not the full truth.

Because in their country - a family with a disabled child faces challenges that equal Job's troubles.

Sometimes hospitals won't take or care for a disabled child unless the family is able to pay bribes.

Hospitals that do take them are often unwilling to go the extra miles for them because, "They are disabled, what do you expect."

Therapies are difficult to access.

Special education does not exist.

Navigating around is next to impossible as there are no modifications for wheelchairs. Buildings are not accessible, sidewalks are broken and treacherous. Buses, trains and other public transportation have no accommodations for the handicapped.

The attitude of the people is that disabled children need to be put away. The pressure is intense on families who want to keep their child. They fight to even validate their child's existence in the society.

There are some charities and some programs but not everyone has access to those programs.

It's a steep hill for families to climb if they choose to keep their child.

Most can't afford to climb that hill.

Most can't handle the pressure from their families and friends that they need to give the child up.

Most have to face the reality that they have no money or means to care for their babe in the ways they need.

Most latch onto the words of the doctors and the nurses who urge them to give their child up as a lifeline to their child. Believing that their child will truly be better off in an orphanage. Believing the lies. Because they have little choice. 

And so they leave them behind. Hoping. Praying. Crying. Not looking back. Few ever look back. 

And their tiny little babe is left alone in the world. Stuffed into a crib beside 10-20 other cribs of babies who also have been left alone.

Babies who stopped crying after weeks and weeks of abandonment.

Babies who learned at the tiniest of age that life hurts.

It just plain hurts.

And that's the hard truth.

I don't know Conrad's story but I can imagine it is close to what I just wrote.

Because it is a common story over there.

It is a story both my sons share.

It's why I can't just walk away.

Because if we don't yell or advocate for the forgotten ones - the least of these - who will?

Conrad needs out.

I know hearts are being stirred for him. His grant account is rising. Please don't stop. His Mama and Papa are listening. I know it. And they are looking for signs. They are looking for a fleece from God. Reassurance. Is this cliff one we should jump??  

Our gifts to Conrad are one simple way to encourage, reassure. God's going to provide. Bit by bit. Little by little. Money can't be the reason that stands in the way for Conrad to find a family.

Please help me get Conrad to 1,000 and beyond!!  Please sow into his life. Not all of us are called to adopt but we are all called to care for the orphans. 

And this happens to be a really adorable little orphan!!


P.S. - The tragedy of the disabled in Conrad's country is something that needs to be fixed in country. Rob and I support adoptions but we also believe in supporting ministries that come alongside families so that they can keep their children. Some of these ministries are listed below if you want to help families keep their children at home.

MTU - They bring dignity and hope to children with special needs and their families by offering medical, therapeutic, educational, psychological, spiritual and social services to their clients.

HU - Their ministry includes children from troubled homes, children with special needs, refugees, graduates of the orphanage, families who have adopted and/or are fostering children, and meeting the needs of the older generation

MAYA'S HOPE - They provide families with the basics they need to support their children - formula, diapers, medicines, therapies and more. 

Friday, November 8, 2019

Oh Conrad!!!

Look who showed up in my private feed this morning!!!

Oh Conrad you are growing up!!

Wee little boy with his curly hair and somber eyes!



I want to see that baby smile!!

It's Friday and this little guy is FATHERLESS and 270.00 has been raised so far (goal is 1,000) and I am so excited getting this new picture of sweet boy!

I was getting a  bit weary sharing this one lonely picture over and over again!!

His Reece's Rainbow grant account is HERE!


Share him far and wide!! 

Donate into his grant account. Please don't think that 5.00 won't make a difference. It does. All you have to donate is 5.00. That's it!! Every 5 is a gift to his Mama and Papa!


Help me help Conrad!!!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Being Real

I will just come clean right now.

I cannot do it again.

Rob and I crossed the ocean eight times and brought home three treasures. We waded through mountains of paperwork, prayed a zillion prayers, wrote a ton of checks, lost thousands of hours of sleep, worried and cried and longed and hoped. And that was just getting them home.

The last nine years have been a wild ride and we wouldn't change a thing (except for maybe more sleep, less stress, less medical, less seizures and more date nights).

But I can't do it again.

We have our hands full.

Too full.

We look at each other sometimes realizing that we honestly are a bit in over our heads. Okay. Most days we are drowning.

I won't lie.

Having two physically disabled 15 year old sons who lived in a world of trauma has been challenging enough, but Mary's seizures and subsequent behavior that goes with that have upended our world in a way we never thought possible.
On Tuesday morning she scared us terribly as she was laying on her stomach in my bed seizing. Faceplanted. If we hadn't been there.... I can't even.....

The constant vigilance is 24/7 with her.

I'm exhausted most days.

I am hanging by a tether on the rest of the days.

Between teaching and writing full time for our curriculum (BiblioPlan for those who homeschool) and trying to maintain a house and being mom and other responsibilities that call our name - we just know that we can't adopt again.

So when I see a little boy wearing pink clothes, laying in a crib so desperate for a Mama, I grieve differently than I did a few years ago.

A few years ago the possibility of adoption inspired me to yell with the whispered knowledge in the background that maybe maybe I could be the one to claim him or her as my own.

It's different yelling this time.

It's different because for now and possibly forever, the door is closed for us.

It's different because I truly know the cost.

It's different because weariness means I don't yell as loudly or as effectively.

It's different because now more than ever I know that adoption is too often not bells and roses and rainbows and gingerbread cookies.

But I'm still yelling.

Conrad was listed on Reece's Rainbow a year ago - December 2018 - and in that time a sweet person or two donated $55.00 in his grant account. I wish I could hug them. They cared. They didn't look at the price tag of adoption - 24,000-30,000 - and say that their tiny bit wouldn't make a difference so why bother. They gave their little with faith believing that their little mattered.

Back in the summer someone sent me Conrad's picture. They cared enough to share him with me. 

Those were Conrad's Warriors. Simple people taking simple steps to advocate for a lonely little boy in a crib.

People quietly yelling in their own way for an abandoned babe.

When I was sent Conrad's picture I looked at his sweet face and his little arm that looks so much like Aaron's and the silly little pink girlie socks on his tiny little probably clubbed feet, and I said right then and there that he would be my Angel Tree boy.

I can't have him.

I cannot have Conrad. He's not mine to claim.

But he does belong to someone.

Someone reading this.

Someone who has looked around their table.

Someone willing to cross oceans, climb mountains and most of all love a little unloved boy.

His Mama is out there.  His Papa just doesn't know yet he belongs to him.

So I pray. And I shout. And I hope that someone is listening. Because the Holy Spirit sometimes just whispers quietly. And we have to stop focusing on the storms and winds and earthquakes in our lives and instead listen to the voice.


Conrad needs you Mama. Papa.


And for the rest of us... help me raise the funds that his Mama and Papa will need to get him home.

The goal is $1,000.

The real goal is a family.


Friday, November 1, 2019

Challenging yes... but NOT scary!

Yes. I have the cutest HOME IMPROVEMENT kids!!

Do you know that two years ago this little girl became part of our family??

Oh my gracious she has rocked our world the last two years!!

(Helmet only off for picture taking)

It's that time of year again.

Every year for the last umpteen years, we have picked a child off the tree and worked hard to raise grant money for that child and find them a family.

For the last three years we were yelling hard for Ronald. He started out as a wee little thing in a crib with one picture and a bunch of scary diagnoses. 

The next year we had a few more pictures with the same diagnoses.

Last year he was an adorable little guy with the same diagnoses and I was beginning to despair.

But halfway through the campaign a delightful family stepped up and scooped him up and now Ronald Isaac - my sweet Angel Tree boy - is home with his HUGE family of sisters!! He's the tiny little brother everyone in that family wanted!

Oh how loved he is!! 

Oh how happy I am!!

So now it's Angel Tree/MACC time again and I had to pick a new child to advocate for....

Guess what???
I found another little  guy in a crib with only ONE picture.

One lonely picture of one lonely little guy.

This wee little guy in pink is Conrad.

He has arthrogryposis like Aaron. He was born in 2018 so he is LITTLE!


Challenging yes... but NOT scary!!

I need to raise $1,000 for Conrad!!


He is so little! Someone please love this sweet boy! Rescue him out of a lifetime of nothing! Please don't make me wait three years before he is surrounded by a loving family! 

His MACC account is HERE!

Start praying!! Consider adopting. Help me advocate. Donate - help raise his grant account. Make it easier for a family to scoop him out of that crib!!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Simple Acts

He watched us discreetly.

He was sitting at his table with his wife, eating his food, reading his book. It was their night out. Together eating and reading and relaxing.

We interrupted his peace.

Our family.

Three children with different needs.

We set up at the tables next to his. Mary in our arms. Seizing quietly. Half aware. Able to drink and even chew slowly. But still in the grip of status.

He saw us whispering. The worry on our faces. This was the third round that day, and she wasn't coming out.

He watched as we ate and whispered, deciding what to do. Weighing the options. He watched as we tended to the boys in the midst of Mary's crisis. The worry on their faces. They wanted to go to youth group. A trip to the hospital would upend their desires.

He watched as we decided to try again. Another round of rescue. Sitting in the restaurant. Feeling so alone in our struggle. 

Slowly, slowly the seizures eased and she began to relax. Sighs of relief. Whispers of thanksgiving. We cleaned up and carried her out to the van. He followed us out. Quietly. Without fanfare. Handing Rob a bit of money to pay for our dinner. Offering words of encouragement.

A simple act that spoke volumes.

To that man we say thank you. Thank you for kindly caring. Thank you. The loneliness of our drama eased. Someone saw. Someone cared.

And to the man in Subway.

We were ordering food. My friend and I. Four children.  On our way to the beach. He came in behind us. Saw our motley crew and his heart was moved. He paid for our food. Few words spoken. He wanted to be the hands of Christ. That was all. It was enough.

No fanfare. Just another simple act. But it blessed us. Both of us.

And to the man on the beach.

Seeing two women pulling a cart through the sand. John hanging on for dear life. The tires struggling to get through the deep sand.

He came running over. Grabbed the handle and pulled. Adding his strength to ours.

Nothing big. Just seeing the need and acting.

Being Jesus' hands and feet.

Simple acts that my children witness. Kindness from strangers who see our many needs and act.

We are a motley crew. Navigating in the world is not that easy.

The kindness of strangers are welcome gifts that help ease a bit of the strain.

Just simple acts.

Acts that lift our spirits, ease our burden and remind us that we are not alone.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Mary Mary....

Mary Mary, Quite Contrary....

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockleshells and pretty maids all in a row.


True for contrary....

but the silver bells and pretty maids.... hmmm.....

More like tsunami waiting to happen!!

She may look perfectly adorable but in reality - Little Girl is a hot mess every single minute of every single day!

I would love to give a positive, feel-good Mary update filled with adorable pictures and smiling faces.

But the reality is our little girl battles the epilepsy BEAST every single minute of her life and many days it wins.

Sunday was a 'win' day for the beast.

We had to rush her to the ER for rescue meds because ours just were not cutting it. 

We left 12 hours later with a wild child on our hands as the rescue meds bring out the raging, screaming, biting, scratching beast in her.

3 days later I'm writing this with a weary and sorrowful heart.

Standing by and watching what her seizures do to her is hard to take. Dealing with her drug-induced raging is exhausting and draining.

Her little body is battered and bruised from the constant falls that are never ending.

And the meds she takes means she's not always the sweet, adorable little girl in the pictures.

She's quite contrary most of the time.

And she suffers with her seizures.

We have done the best of everything out there. But each time we think we are making progress and the seizures are easing, her little brain reroutes around our best laid plans.

Her contrary brain thinks it is programmed to seize. And we are helpless to stop it.

It's hard.

She has rare great days. She has occasional good days. She has normal bad days. And she has scary days where she completely tanks.

It affects her ability to learn.

It affects her relationships.

It affects her behavior.

It affects her speech.

It affects her sleeping and eating.

It affects her ability to ever be left alone ever.

She's too dangerous.

She doesn't realize how dangerous she is.

Which makes her even more dangerous.

I want so badly to write positive words but our reality is a step-by-step, one-day at a time, trying this and trying that, bumping around in the dark.

We are on edge most of the time with her. We have learned that there is no normal when it comes to Mary's seizures. We never know when she will go into status. When we think we have figured out a pattern to her status she changes the pattern. When we think we have figured out her seizure types she changes the seizures. When we think we have seen the worst... well... this past weekend she let us know we haven't seen the worst.

Yet through it all, despite it all, she gets back up again.

She is resilient.

She is tough as nails.

She smiles in the midst.

Her contrary spirit may drain us to bits by the end of the day but it is how she survives and comes out each day with a smile on her face. She isn't going to let epilepsy rule her life.

She has a garden to grow.

With dreams of bells and shells and pretty things!

And by golly, that Little Girl is going to make it happen!!

Tsunami or not!!