Monday, January 31, 2011

Paved Highways

I am in tears this morning.  I can't help it.  The storm in my heart has been brewing for days and this morning - the floodgates have opened up.  I have so much on my heart. 

Do you remember this sweet baby?



This is Tori.  Right now the Burmans are in Aaron's former country.  They are in process to adopt Tori (Reagan) and Anastatia (Carrington).  Their blog is private to protect their adoption process and I need to be careful in my words.   They need prayer.  This morning the Burman's met Carrington.  A precious 13 pound - three year old.  Praise the Lord.  She's soon going home! 

Tori is another story.  They will not get to meet Tori until next week but there is a mountain before them. 

In Aaron's former country, though a child may be available for adoption, unless the director agrees, that child languishes in the system for life.  At Aaron's former institute there are 110 boys.  Only TWO are listed.  Only two have been determined to be adoptable.  One has a family coming (Brady) and one sits - playing with dirty strings (Heath).  I can't write that without breaking down.  I know that there are many more at that institute who are eligible, but in the director's eyes - they are not deemed adoptable.  They become Lost Boys and Lost Girls. 

Tori needs prayer.  Hearts need to be changed.  The Burman's have seen many mountains fall in the last few months.  They committed to these two girls at the end of October and it is only January and amazingly, they spent this morning holding one of them in their arms.  That is Major.  Very rarely does an adoption move that quickly.  Their paperwork moved through the system miraculously and they are there.   In country.  It takes my breath away.  But they still face a formidable mountain.  THEY ARE THE FIRST RR FAMILY TRYING TO ADOPT FROM TORI'S INSTITUTE.   The first.  They are doing what we did with Aaron.  Forging a path in the wilderness.  So much is riding on this process.  So much.  Lost Girls and Lost Boys will remain Lost if the doors close.  

I don't want to stop the tears that are flowing down my face as I write this.  Tori - Kirill - Eva - Baby J.  So many more.  Children who are stuck.  Locked away by those who consider them unadoptable, irredeemable.  Yet there are families who are willing and ready to take these little ones into their homes.  Parents who already call them their sons and daughters.  God has raised up His church to hear the cries of these helpless babes.   More need to rise up.  There are many many many more babes over there.  Little ones who will be LOST soon if they are not snatched up.  And unless directors and judges agree - Tori and Kirill and Eva and Baby J and the other children in those regions and in those institutes will go down with their ship. 

This morning I am weeping.  I am also praying.  The tears are good and right. We need to weep at injustice.  We need our hearts to be broken by the things that break God's heart.   We need to cry before the Lord for more families to rise up and heed His call to rescue the captive - to cross the ocean for three year olds who weigh 13 pounds.  And we need to cry with all our being for the Lord to not only make pathways in the wilderness so that Tori and Kirill and Eva and Baby J will be carried out to safety, but to replace those paths with paved highways so that other families who step out in faith - will have ease of travel as they rescue the forsaken.



   
Baby J                        Eva                                      Kirill

To the Burmans, the Hooks, the Moreno's, the Davis families... and to all the other families who are facing mountains that just seem too big -

I give you Isaiah 49 this morning.  Words of Hope.  Words of Life.  Words that were written thousands of years ago but still have deep meaning for us today.  We serve a living and loving God.
   He called you - He will carry you through.

Isaiah 49


Listen to me, you islands;
hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the LORD called me;
from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver.

He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all.

Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand,
and my reward is with my God.”

And now the LORD says—
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD
and my God has been my strength

he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

This is what the LORD says—
the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—
to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation,
to the servant of rulers:
Kings will see you and stand up,
princes will see and bow down,
because of the LORD, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

This is what the LORD says:
“In the time of my favor I will answer you,
and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land
and to reassign its desolate inheritances,

to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’
and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’
“They will feed beside the roads
and find pasture on every barren hill.

They will neither hunger nor thirst,
nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them.
He who has compassion on them will guide them
and lead them beside springs of water.

I will turn all my mountains into roads,
and my highways will be raised up.

See, they will come from afar—
some from the north, some from the west,
some from the region of Aswan.”

Shout for joy, you heavens;
rejoice, you earth;
burst into song, you mountains!
For the LORD comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me.”

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
Your children hasten back,
and those who laid you waste depart from you.

Lift up your eyes and look around;
all your children gather and come to you.
As surely as I live,” declares the LORD,
you will wear them all as ornaments;
you will put them on, like a bride.

“Though you were ruined and made desolate
and your land laid waste,
now you will be too small for your people,
and those who devoured you will be far away.

The children born during your bereavement
will yet say in your hearing,
‘This place is too small for us;
give us more space to live in.’

Then you will say in your heart,
‘Who bore me these?
I was bereaved and barren;
I was exiled and rejected.
Who brought these up?
I was left all alone,
but these—where have they come from?’”

This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
“See, I will beckon to the nations,
I will lift up my banner to the peoples;
they will bring your sons in their arms
and carry your daughters on their hips.

Kings will be your foster fathers,
and their queens your nursing mothers.
They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground;
they will lick the dust at your feet.
Then you will know that I am the LORD;
those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”

Can plunder be taken from warriors,
or captives be rescued from the fierce?
But this is what the LORD says:
“Yes, captives will be taken from warriors,
and plunder retrieved from the fierce;
I will contend with those who contend with you,
and your children I will save.
I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh;
they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine.
Then all mankind will know
that I, the LORD, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”













Sunday, January 30, 2011

Busted...

Shhhh.... Don't tell the Nannies.....  PLEASE!!








There - All Better....


SSHHH... Don't tell him he is wearing Mama's hat!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Trip Four

Bribery Works.


Oh Yes It Does.

Give a little boy a wrapped box (thank you Tracy) and tell him that if he doesn't scream on the table - then he gets to open that box....

Let's just say that we had a very pleasant day with our little one and he is now sporting new red casts!!

Of course he had to show his ornery side once in a while....


And the importance of Pooh Bear can never be adequately expressed...



And it definitely helps that Papa is there to play games with him.





For Aaron - it was a great day.

It has been decided that Aaron is ready for the second phase of this casting process - the minor surgery part where they nick his tendons in order to release the feet so that they will go completely flat.  Unfortunately they can't do the surgery until March at the earliest so we will most likely do one or two more casting rounds (every other week) until he has that procedure.  After surgery, he will spend several more weeks in casts to let the tendons heal.  THEN we move into getting him braces so that we don't lose all that he has gained. 

We are well pleased with the process thus far - Aaron's feet are just about flat in the casts and while wearing them, he is walking heel-toe.  He had a chance to run around for a while cast-free yesterday which gave us an opportunity to see his feet unencumbered.  It was interesting to see his body trying to process the change.  When he walked, he wanted to revert back to his toe walking, although he was much lower to the ground.  He was definitely a bit confused.  When standing, his feet were almost flat which was very encouraging to see.  Since we are sticking with the short casts (this Mama is NOT complaining), his feet still turn in but that issue is more cosmetic than function. 

 
(Week One)

(Week Two)

(Week Three)


(Week Four)

 
It was overall a VERY LONG day yesterday because we had a later appointment.  BUT - being at Shriner's later means you don't get to whisk in and out in a few hours which means that you get to talk to people.  We had the wonderful privilege of seeing this precious Reece's Rainbow treasure who was adopted around the same time we adopted Aaron. 
 

Alayna Rieben.  Precious does not do her justice.  She was not too sure about us as she had just gone through surgery and each new face made her cringe but what an amazing little one.  Her family has adopted so many treasures I just plain can't keep them straight in my head.  They are not done yet - they have their eyes on two more little ones.  All their adopted children have medical issues... And we thought Aaron was a handful!

Walk about Shriner's for any length of time and you will get to meet some amazing people and some absolutely beautiful children.  It is hard to see the suffering and pain - I confess - I want to cry sometimes to see little ones in casts and braces and hear them wailing as they are being treated.  Many - many of them are adopted.  That just always makes us catch our breath.  I try to take every opportunity to talk to everyone I can.  For those who know me - that sentence does NOT come as a surprise!  Of course it means that I also get to share ALL about Reece's Rainbow and special needs orphans etc. etc.  I also get to exchange numbers and take pictures and just all around make a nuisance of myself.   I can't help it.  The memories of what we saw still burn deep within my soul. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Round 4

Guess who likes Spaghetti and Ice Cream???




I wish I had words to express how thankful we are for all the people who have blessed us in the last few months.  I am always so lousy at thank you cards.  I owe so many cards that I have just plain lost track.  Even now we have people quietly ministering to us.  The last few weeks we have had meals prepared so all we have to do is heat it up.  Aaron has been given so many neat things including cool Thomas the Tank engine stuff which he absolutely loves, clothes and books for him, gifts for him to unwrap each time he goes to Shriner's, the really cool ice cream holder in the picture from the same person who gave him the gifts to unwrap (thanks Tracy).  We have received money, beautiful pictures and letters from a Sunday School class that just plain made me cry, cards, a handmade plaque from someone who didn't share their name, shirts for Rob and me and the list just goes on.  We are so grateful for each and every gift.  Thank you and thank you.  Words just don't do justice for how blessed we feel to be surrounded by so many loving friends - near and far.

We have been given much.  God is good.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, amidst the snow and cold we are off for round four in Philly so that Aaron can get RED casts.  Our appointment time is NOT ideal so we anticipate having to deal with rush hour traffic both ways this time.  We are thankful that we don't have to drive it ourselves.  Shriner's rocks!!

The Rest of the Story

I didn't post yesterday.  Instead, I spent the day doing a lot of thinking, pondering, considering and whispering of prayers for Kirill, Baby J and Eva.  Like everyone else, I wanted to hear some news.  None came.  This morning I heard that the judge is still considering.  The three families have been put into a holding pattern. 

Is that good?  Is that bad?  To be honest, no one knows. It is an opportunity to continue to be vigilant.  To pray.

I want to share something.

Last July we flew across the ocean for Aaron.  We met Aaron and stated emphatically that we wanted him as our son.  Unfortunately, the judge in his village was unable to take our case because there was no approved jury pool (a result of a feud between the judge and the town council). After two weeks in country, we were forced to go home while our facilitators decided what to do.  They had two options: to throw up their hands in defeat (the easy thing) or to fight to get our case moved to a different venue.  By the Grace of God, and only by His Grace, they decided to fight for us, and they succeeded in moving our case to a different venue.  That's another long story.

When we heard from our facilitators, we thought that we were free and clear.  We had a judge willing to take our case, and all we needed was a court date so that we could book our flights back to rescue our sweet Aaron.  By this time we had a large group of people praying for us.  Aaron's smiling face had captured tons of hearts, and the twists our process was taking had a lot of people interested in the outcome.  As we waited here for the judge to grant us a court date, we began to ask people to pray for her. 

Here is where I break down.  

You see, our judge had a story.  To us, she was just a hurdle that we had to overcome on our way to the prize.  To God, she was much more.

We were home for four weeks in August.  Four very long weeks.  The more we heard from our facilitators, the more concerned we became about our judge and her inclinations.  We began to fear that the decision to place our adoption in her venue was a big mistake.  So we began begging for prayers for our judge. In our single-minded thinking, we believed that the only important prayer request at the time was for Aaron.  Nothing else mattered to us.  But our judge had a story of her own.

Our judge was desperately in need of prayer, and her need had NOTHING to do with our adoption.  She was a widow in need.  Here is where I catch my breath and marvel at the God I know and love.

During that month of August, while we were asking for prayers for our judge, her daughter died. We don't know how she died.  The details were not translated to us.  We do know that  it was devastating.  She had already lost her husband, and now she was burying her child.  She had four children: two biological, two adopted.  Sadly, her four children never got along.  There was fierce conflict in her home between the adult biological children and the new adopted children. There was a bitterness in the family that had never been healed.  The two adopted girls had not been easy to raise, and the judge was tired of their bad behavior.  Then her biological daughter died.  Our judge needed prayer.  She needed to be surrounded on all sides by Godly people.  Judging by our time in that country, walking its streets and looking in the eyes of its people, people like that are hard to find there (here too, for that matter). So, in the midst of her grief and pain, God raised up an army of people to pray for her.

Us.  The hundreds or thousands of people who were praying for Aaron were praying for her.  God met her need through our adoption journey.

While we cared for Aaron, God cared for her and Aaron. 

Our judge was an interesting person.  I would have loved an opportunity to sit down with her after it was all over to really get to know her. On the outside, she presented a fierce demeanor.  The first time she walked into court, I wanted to run.  She reminded us of World War II movies and concentration camp guards.  Seriously.  But underneath her grim exterior, there was a real live person.  We know she went to church.  We know that she prayed.  We know this because of the questions she asked us and because of the cross she wore around her neck.  We know that she cared about people.  Not only had she adopted two girls, but she had also recently invited into her home a family who had lost their home in a fire.  We know that she was a proud woman who loved her culture, her family and her church. 

We know God cared for her.  How do we know?  Because for 6 weeks, in a little village in a post-communist country, for one grieving wife and mother, God orchestrated a chorus of voices to be lifted up for her.  During a time in her life when her grief was great, we prayed.  Of course we didn't know all of her needs, but that is beside the point.  I don't know how many e-mails we received during those long, scary weeks from people across the globe letting us know that THEY WERE PRAYING FOR OUR JUDGE.

I write that with tears.  How Loving is our Lord.

Why do I share this?

Because as I have considered and pondered and waited and whispered prayers over the last number of days for three helpless babies in a region of Eastern Europe, I was called to remember.  We think that we know the whole story.  We think that we understand everything that is happening.  We don't.  We are finite, frail, weak, fragile human beings who are completely and utterly dependent upon God for every breath that we take.  We live in a fallen, sinful world.  Prayer reminds us of these facts.  We groan out our prayers for what we  believe is the most important issue and He hears.  Oh Yes, He Hears.  But He is not frail, weak and finite.  He is not bound by time or distance.  He has knowledge that far surpasses ours, and because He is Loving and Just, He takes our frail, weak, pitiful cries and translates them into beautiful answers that surprise and shock us when we discover the rest of the story.  Because we live in a fallen world, sometimes we have to wait for a beautiful outcome.  Sometimes our prayers are not answered as we would like.  Sometimes they are.   And sometimes in the journey, we get to hear the rest of the story-- the why. 

There are thousands praying for these three babies.  They should not stop.  No way.  There is a story to be told when all is said and done.  We may not hear about it on this side of Heaven, but trust me: God is weaving His story in and through ours.  He hears our cries, and He hears the cries of those whom we cannot see and whose story we can't begin to fathom.  We pray to a living God.  I cannot stress that enough.  We pray to a God who came to earth to redeem us.  To adopt us.  To call us His own.  Our adoption of Aaron, and the adoptions of these three babies, are but a tiny portion of all that He has done and will do for us. 

We may not receive all that we ask when we pray.  Prayer isn't magic.  The judge may rule against the families.   Again, we live in a fallen world.  But because He is a God of love, because He delights in giving good things to His children, because He is the defender of the WIDOW and the ORPHAN, we know that He will make everything right in the end.  The whole story has yet to be told. It is beyond human comprehension, and it will delight us into eternity!

So pray for these families, for their judge and for everyone else involved.  And anticipate the joy when you find out the rest of the story.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Created Just Right

I asked you last Friday to lift up in prayer four families.  That blog entry is HERE.  Tonight - while we sleep - around 2:00 am or later - the judge in their region will be deciding whether court dates will be given to two of the families - the Davis family, adopting Kirill and the Hook family, adopting Eva.   I learned yesterday that NO CHILD WITH DOWN SYNDROME HAS EVER BEEN ADOPTED FROM THIS REGION.  None.  Never. 

Eva, Kirill and Baby J all have been blessed with an extra chromosone.  They have families who desperately want them.  Tonight's decision will determine where these three little ones will spend the rest of their lives.  If the judge does not issue a court date for Kirill and Eva, then Baby J's chances end also. 
I don't know how to express how deeply these families need your prayers.  I know a little bit of the terror they are feeling because we too faced a court room just a few months ago with the odds against us.  But we entered that courtroom knowing that we had behind us thousands of bowed heads.  And we were able to argue our case in front of our judge.  These families are here.  They don't get to plead their case.  They are at the mercy of their facilitator to speak the words needed to convince the judge that adoption is in the best interest of these children.  They are in a terrifying position - helpless, scared, yet clinging to God and His faithfulness. They need thousands of bowed heads tonight.  Please - consider keeping watch with them.  Set your alarms - climb out of bed and pray.  To the rest of the world, Eva, Kirill and Baby J have little significance.  In the worlds eyes, they are considered damaged goods.  In our country, they probably would have been aborted.   They are the least of the least. 

But not to the families.  Not to the Davis family, the Hook family or the Moreno family.   To them, they are priceless treasures.  They are their daughters and son.  They are wanted and loved.  Their families are willing to cross an ocean in a leaky boat to go get them. 

And not to God.  They are His chosen little ones.  Designed by Him for just such a time as this.  Pray so that we can see His Mighty acts, His Glory revealed in their lives.  Three little babies.  Created just right.  They need their Mama's and Papa's.  They need their brothers and sisters.  They need to come home.  Please pray.


   
                                Baby J                            Eva                                    Kirill
                  MORENO FAMILY          HOOK FAMILY              DAVIS FAMILY





Please pray. 



Monday, January 24, 2011

First Hair Cut


He loves his hair.  Oh my goodness, Aaron loves his hair.  Every day he dips his hair in my direction and tells me that he has hair.  It is such a joy for our little guy who spent his life with a shaved head.  He loves when we wash his hair and he loves when I comb it.  He takes such pleasure each time I work to get his callics under control.  I love to hear him exclaim:  "I have hair!"

It was getting scraggly around the edges.  Too long in some spots.  I told him I needed to cut his hair.  I thought he would be upset.  I thought he would say no and fight.  I was wrong.  Instead he laughed and happily went to get the chair I use for Ben and Elijah and Rob.  He's too little for the chair so I plopped him on the stool and away we went.  He had never had scissors close to his head before only razors.  At first he whimpered a bit but then he relaxed.  Aaron's first haircut.





His hair really wasn't that long but scraggly - definitely scraggly.  There were strings everywhere.  So I trimmed him up and finished off with the razor.  His eyes bulged when I brought out the razor.  He thought I was going to sheer off his beautiful hair. 



No way little man - you get to keep your hair.  It is a mark of freedom for you. 
No more will you look like this:




Instead you get to look like this - Handsome, happy, free!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Kiss Mama

A year ago just a picture - this week - a kiss. 



I've showered him with kisses.  Every single day - every time I come close to his cute little face.  "Mamas kiss their boys."  That is what I tell him.  They just do.  You can scoot away - wipe it off - duck - holler - run - but Mamas kiss their boys.  It's in their job description.  It is how God designed them.  Ben and Elijah know this to be true.  And as well-trained children of this Mama - they give them back too.  How precious to me that my dear Ben, who is a head taller than his little Mama will bend down and kiss me - in public - without shame.  And Elijah.  He showers me - daily - with kisses and hugs.  I love it.  Despite being teenagers.  They know how to love.

He's watched - his big brothers - Aaron has watched.  He watches as I kiss them - love on them.  He sees them receive it.  With joy.  He sees them drop their arms around my shoulders.  Hug me.  Their little Mama.  He sees them lean into me and kiss me on the cheeks.  He's watched.  He's learned from them volumes about love.

This week - he kissed.  I wasn't expecting it.   I was tucking him in bed, showering him with the usual amount of kisses all over his cute little face.  When I finished he lifted his little face up to mine and puckered his lips.  I thought he wanted more kisses so I again showered him.  Nope.  Shook his head.  He tried again, puckering his lips to me.  I thought he wanted me to kiss him on his lips so I did.  Nope.  He tried again, puckering his lips to me.  So I leaned down and gave him my cheek.  He kissed me.  The sweetest kiss from the sweetest little boy.  One kiss.  He grinned and dropped his head back on the pillow and pronounced with joy - "I kiss Mama."  

Kisses for his Mama.  I'm his Mama.  Me.  How utterly blessed I am.  I am surrounded by love in my house.  I have been given more than I deserve.  A husband whom I love more than words and kisses from my three boys.  All three of them.  The littlest included.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trip Three



Thank you - Thank you for all the prayers lifted on our behalf yesterday!  Trip three to Shriner's was so much better for Aaron.  The trip up was extremely fast and uneventful despite a bit of snow at certain places.  We are so grateful for the Shriner's who have been driving us back and forth each week.  The men yesterday were so kind in their care of us.  Not having to drive it ourselves is such a blessing!  Aaron was in a great mood yesterday and navigated around the hospital like he owned it.

While we were eating breakfast in the cafeteria, Aaron's doctor was able to see watch him walking in his short casts.  That was a huge blessing as he opted again to short cast our little guy, focusing on getting the feet flat.  The casting process was MUCH EASIER.  Aaron cried a bit but did not scream.  Instead of making him lay on his stomach, Rob held him in his arms on the table.  This kept Aaron from pushing away from the doctor and it also was a much more comforting position - held tight in Papa's arms.  The result of the casting yesterday was evident - Aaron's right foot is almost flat to the ground and his left foot is much lower than the week previous.  The flatter his feet, the more he is forced to walk heel-toe.  As soon as the casting process was over, Aaron was on the floor and out the door!! 

Aaron will eventually have to go back to the long casts for a week or two to get his feet straight and pretty but another week in short casts is definitely a blessing.  As Aaron so happily states:  "I can walk!"


(Week One)


(Week Two)

(Week Three)

(my camera battery died and so we had to take the pictures with the phone)


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Friday Families

   
                                    Baby J                        Eva                                            Kirill

Check out these three precious little ones.  I'm not asking for money.  Nope.  Not.  I know - Big sigh of relief from all our faithful readers.

Okay - no money requests... but...honestly - I am asking for something greater.  Bigger.  I'm asking for prayer. 

Not for us.  For four families.  They need BIG prayers.  Prayers that make asking for money seem small - trival....

.....What if you had to pray over and over and over and over and over and over and over again for the same thing, day after day after day after day after day?  As for me - I'd want to quit -  Give up.  Personally - when it comes to LONG-TERM praying - I"m a wimp.  I'm being honest.  I like answers yesterday.  I get tangled up in despair and struggle to breathe when I pray and the door remains closed.  Sometimes when we pray - God answers.  Right away.  But sometimes - Sometimes He answers - but the answer is a long ways from the beginning of our prayer.  A long ways.  So we are forced to pray over and over and over again.  Wondering.  Struggling.  Trusting. 

There are four families, three who are Reece's Rainbow families adopting children with Down Syndrome.  All four love the Lord and all four have had their faith stretched beyond measure over the last year.  They have been lifting prayers for over a year over their four children they want to adopt and they are weary and tired and in deep need of some relief.  I am asking you to join with them.  Stand beside them.  Walk around the walls together.  Maybe skip a meal - or two.  Fast and Pray.  Hard.  Four families - the Moreno's adopting Baby J,  the Hook family adopting Eva, the Davis family adopting Kirill and Chris and Sarah adopting Charlie (no picture because of the rules of his adoption).  Before we ever committed to Aaron, all four of these families had already committed to their precious little ones.  Way over a year ago they were filling out papers to rescue their babies.  They figured their little ones would be home this past summer. 

Today, we have Aaron home, safe, happy.  Today - their little ones are STILL in orphanages - Stuck.  All four of these little ones are in the same region of an Eastern European country (not the same as Aaron's).  Four children trapped in a system that won't let them go.  Why?  Because last year a woman in Tennessee decided to send back the son she had adopted.  She put him on a plane, alone, to his country of origin.  It was the worst kind of scandal.  It made national headlines and all those in the adoption world quaked in fear because it had the potential to topple a house of cards in Eastern Europe.  Fortunately for most, the worst did not happen and adoptions continued.

But not for these four families - their adoptions came to a screeching halt.  Why?  Because their children were in the SAME REGION where that child was returned.  The officials there were hurt and angry.  It horrified all involved and the judge, in outrage, put a moratorium on adoptions.  Closed door.  The families have been forced to wait.  The children stuck in an unforgiving system.  Three of the families did get to go meet their little ones.  But they can't bring them home.  They have prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. 

And things have moved.  Slowly but surely.  And these four families are holding their breath - hoping - gasping - praying that the walls really will come down. Over the coming weeks, the judge, who finally agreed to lift the moratorium, is supposed to be issuing court dates for these families.  Oh the joy unspeakable.  But they are scared and weary of broken promises.  They need us.  They have increased their praying.  They have committed to fasting and praying until they receive those dates.  Will you pray with them?  Consider fasting alongside them?   It has been a heartwrenching process for them.  I have been humbled by their faith.  The way they have supported, encouraged and rallied behind every single adoption around them while they have been stuck on the side of the road.  These families have retained gracious, loving attitudes instead of bitterness and anger.  I'm in awe of their willingness to continue to not give up and to continue to trust God.  They have been slammed against the wall over and over again.  I can't begin to express how much disappointment they have faced in the last year and half as they have fought for these four children.  Yet, despite everything thrown at them, their rock-solid faith, though tested, has been a testimony to me over and over again in the last year.  They have been faithful and strong.  Their eyes have stayed fixed on the One whom they serve.  My heart longs with them, for the day when they too can step off the plane with their treasures in their arms.   Ashley Moreno, one of the four Moms wrote the following on her blog.

It has been a long, hard wait. Some seasons in this place have been harder than others. But God has shown me who He is. He has shown Himself to be faithful and merciful. He has scraped me up off the ground when my liquified spirit wanted to stick like gum on August asphalt. There have been more trials and tribulations that I left out of this post; they are things I’ve either addressed before, or that I simply do not have the fortitude to recount. But He has brought us through each and every one. And although it feels as if I have circled the city more than seven times (seventy times seven? and then maybe another seven thrown in somewhere for good measure?), I have faith that He will bring down the final wall that separates me from my daughter-across-the-sea, that separates her from the earthly home He has prepared for her with us.

So I am asking - Will you do the HARD thing?  Pray.  Hard.  Beseech the Lord on their behalf.  Four little children across the ocean are stuck.  Let's circle the city, praying as we go, so that we can watch our Mighty God, the defender of the widow and orphan, tear down the walls for these families so they can rescue their little ones.  Please pray for them and with them.  Pray so that in the end - in a few short months - we can weep tears of joy when they carry those children onto American soil. 

For those who wonder if our prayers matter.... who wonder if there truly is a God and if He is really answering - if circling the city is a worthy calling - for those who question the insanity of praying words to an unseen God - just look at the face on this sweet boy when he found out that he has a family coming for him. 





God does hear our cries.  When I see a picture like that I am reminded anew that we serve a Living God.  He does not slumber or sleep.  He is not made of stone.  He is not bored with our requests.  He delights in giving us way more than we could ever ask or imagine.  In 48 hours after the cry went around the world and people everywhere lifted him to the throne of Grace - Davids found a Godly family and within 48 hours after that - Davids family had been given ALL that they needed financially to bring him home.  Unbelievable. 

Because I know God hears and answers - I can't wait for the day I can post pictures on this blog of four little ones who are home.  Safe.  Four families.  Trusting.  Believing.  Standing firm in their faith.  Praise God.

As an aside....

Tomorrow morning bright and early, we are taking Aaron to Shriner's for his third round of casting.  Praying for traveling mercies as the weather is looking grim.  Praying too that our little one will tolerate this round better than last week.  He has already decided that he wants GREEN CASTS.  I'm praying especially hard that he is given another week with the short casts.  A walking Aaron is MUCH BETTER than a miserable, stuck on the floor and in pain Aaron.

Blessed

When we first made the announcement that we were adopting, I think we knocked the socks off most of our family members.  I mean really - we were going to cross the ocean to adopt a special needs child out of a mental institute and it was going to cost a fortune and we were broke and in the building business.  How nutty was that? Yes, our sanity was questioned.  It took a while for some to get their heads around the idea.  I don't blame them.  It was a crazy hair-brained decision that was either born out of sheer madness or came from God.  Since we knew it came from God (and believe me we thought it was insane ourselves), we stayed resolute in our decision to do the ridiculous.

Yes our family members questioned us, they had a right too.  This child we were chasing across the ocean to rescue was going to be part of our family - their family.  They worried, wondered and agonized over our decision.   We knew that discussions were held about us, phone calls were made, some of them may even have considered calling the little white van and getting us committed. 

But in the end, when it mattered - after they too prayed and considered and watched God provide penny after penny that added up to $29,000.00.  After they saw God pouring out His Grace on every single part of our journey to get the sweetest little boy in the world - After all was said and done -  they stood strong behind us.  And their support, their love, their encouragement, their gifts of money - it just plain meant the world to us.  Every single family member rallied behind Aaron in the end.  He is their grandson, nephew, cousin.  Precious.  Precious.

Yesterday I received in the mail a check and a note from one of my aunts.  I broke down and cried right there in the kitchen.  My aunts - my dear sweet aunts - they have been some of our greatest supporters.  We live too far apart for us to ever see them although my aunt Beth did get to meet Aaron in the first weeks that he was home.  (He was not at his best that day - oops).  But they are faithful to us.  Even now.  They read our blog every single day.  They pray for us.  They worry over us.  They donated to our adoption and some could ill-afford to do so.  They love Aaron.  They love our family. 

Why is that so precious to me?  Why does it mean so much?  Because a little over 10 years ago my Mom died.  She didn't get to take part in this journey.  She would have absolutely loved Aaron.   No question.  I ache deep within that she missed this.   But somehow knowing that I have her sisters and sister-in-laws rallying behind us - cheering us on - it takes away some of the sting and loss.  They approve.  It just means the world. 

We are so eternally grateful for a family who has chosen to stand behind us in this journey.  Not everyone has that support base and we do not take it for granted.  It didn't happen overnight.  It took time, but that is normal and it is okay.  Not every hair-brained scheme should be supported.  Our decision did need to be tested.  It was pure insanity and without God directing, it would have fallen off the tracks long ago.  We need the counsel of many to make decisions and we need the support of many when God calls us to do what is ridiculous.  Faith jumped us off the cliff.  Oh, how grateful we are that we have so many of our loved ones who chose to rally behind us and cheer us on.  We needed it when we went to get him, and we need it now as we continue to journey with Aaron.  We are grateful and we are blessed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Are You My Mother?

  
Please?

Are you my mother? 


Are you the mother who will gasp in shock when she sees my picture for the first time?  The one who will know that I am hers even though she has never held me or touched me?


Are you the one who will work around the clock to fill out endless piles of paper so you can adopt me?



The one who will plow through the house finding things to sell and who will sit up late into the night making crafts and baked goods so that I can come home?



The one who will beg for donations from every man, woman and child she meets so that she can raise the money to cover my adoption expenses?



Are you the one who will rush crazily around the house washing windows and vacuuming floors so that when the social worker arrives, the house will pass inspection?


The one who will cry and weep at night thinking about me over here?


The one who will mourn that I am not at her table and that I am not safe in bed at night in her house?


The one who won't be overwhelmed at my medical issues but will trust that God will help her care for me?


The one who can no longer look at other children without thinking about me and who is forever talking about me to everyone who will listen?


The one who wonders how big I am as she wanders through the stores, picking out outfits for my closet and imagining me inside those clothes?


The one who spends much of her time on her knees before the Lord praying over every single piece of paper that is needed for my adoption, that they will pass all the endless inspections required?


  The one who panics that they are just not going to be able to raise the money needed to come get me?

(help - I have already been transferred)

The one who is having her faith stretched beyond all human understanding that God will provide everything she needs to bring me home?



The one who carries my picture around in her wallet?


The one who loves me even when I am not at my best?


The one who counts down the months, weeks, days and minutes until she can come get me?


The one who yells like she has gone mad when she receives the Golden Ticket that means my paperwork gets to cross the ocean to my country?

(help - I've already been transferred)

The one who waits with no patience for the date when she can come get me?


The one who cries out for protection for the ones she is leaving behind as she boards a plane to my country?


Please?

Are you my mother?


Are you the Mommy who longs to walk into my world, my room, my life and hold me close to your heart?

(help - I've already been transferred)

Are you my mother? Are you the Mommy I long for every single day of my life?


Please - Are you my mother?


I so very much want a mother.



I am lost without you.

ALL THE CHILDREN ON THIS PAGE CAN BE FOUND ON THE 'AT RISK' PAGE AT REECE'S RAINBOW.  THEY ALL HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH AN EXTRA CHROMOSOME AND THEY ALL FACE TRANSFER TO A MENTAL INSTITUTE IF THEY ARE NOT ADOPTED SOON. 

SADLY....

SOME OF THEM HAVE ALREADY BEEN TRANSFERRED!!

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