Friday, June 30, 2017

Throw Away Kids

Just my two little boys and me at a hotel in Maryland. We came a day early for a wedding so we could bring Rob's mom up for the rehearsal.

So just my two little boys and me enjoying ourselves at a hotel. Swimming. Eating Chinese delivery. Trying Root Beer that John thought was the best drink in the world and Aaron spit out. Ice cream. A slumber party in the king sized bed. TV.

Little boy time with Mama.

I watched them in the pool yesterday. The water too cold for my tastes. I watched them swim and laugh and wrestle and make friends with the other family in the pool. I watched them and I thought.  They were throw away kids. Two of thousands upon thousands of children in a world where disability means abandonment. They were thrown away.



The other family - a father and son and daughter. The daughter laughing and talking and jumping easily and quickly into the water. The father holding the hand of the son. Holding tight.  He was 12. Or 13. I watched as he led him into the water. I watched and wondered and smiled quietly to myself as the boy burst into joy and made his noises and clapped his hands. I watched as that father lovingly and tenderly watched over his son and threw the ball with his daughter and loved both his children.  He loved both his children. The one who could talk and engage and toss a ball and the one who needed him to watch over him.

I watched as my Aaron easily and without pause interacted with that family. I watched as he told them as matter of factly as possible that he was adopted. He was adopted and his hands didn't work right. I watched as he talked to the daughter and the son and the father and made friends with them. I watched and wondered.  My throw away son. My throw away son who loves people with an innocence and agenda-free joy. Making friends with a father and two children. One who in another place would also be thrown away. But here - in this world - in this hotel - a father loves his son. And that gave me the greatest of pleasures.





Some families can't bear to throw them away.

The doctors tell them to give them up. The nurses counsel them that they would be better off institutionalized. Their families plead with them to abandon them. Their neighbors shut the doors in their faces. The school denies them access. The government provides them no services.

Despite all this pressure, there are some families, in a culture and world where abandonment is the norm, who can't bear to part with the ones they love. So they keep them. Holding tight to their hands.

Most of them supportless. Alone. Lonely. Trying desperately to give the ones they love all that they need with little of anything to give to them.

There are few who care in that world but there are a few.

A few who choose to stand against the norm. A few who believe that the value in a person is not measured by their outward appearance or their mental ability. A few who place value as God places value.

They see treasure where others see broken.

These few are reaching out to those families. Providing them hope. Assistance. Support. Acceptance.

Love.

Love.

These few are also reaching out to the ones thrown away. The ones in orphanages and mental institutes.

They visit as much as they can. They teach. They engage.

They love.

They love the unloved.

We have a chance to help one of those few.

We have a chance to come alongside them - provide finances, prayers, encouragement - as they minister to those families who are holding tight to the hands of their loved ones. We have a chance to come alongside as they minister to the many many who have been thrown away.

We have a chance to give these kids - the ones whose families are holding on tight and the ones who have been let go - we have a chance to give each of them a chance to go to camp.

Because that is ONE of the MANY ministries this group does.


Camp Lela.



They give the children - no matter their need - an opportunity to go to camp.

They have already had some camps this year.

One of the camps was at a mental institute for older girls. A whole institute filled with thrown away special needs girls and women got to go to camp for a week. They couldn't take them to the camp so they brought the camp to them.

One of the camps was for autistic children who live with their families.

One of the camps was for special needs children who were able to come to the camp.

They have more planned.

Many many more planned.

It costs 60.00 per child to go to camp.

Hundreds and hundreds of children get the opportunity to go to camp but not enough of them have been sponsored.

Money is tight.

They are stretching it as best as they can.

Please will you CLICK HERE and read more and consider - please consider - sponsoring a child.... or two.. or ten.

Support the families who are holding tight. Give freely so the throw away children have a chance to escape the confines of their orphanages or institutes for a week.

Please.


Children with Autism. Children with Down Syndrome. Children from troubled homes. Children with severe physical disabilities. Foster children. Adopted children. Children from orphanages. Refugee children.

The list goes on. And on. 


I watched a father yesterday love his son. I watched my former throw away kids.

This morning I listened to the Holy Spirit and I wrote this post.

1,200 children.

Only a few have sponsors.

They need sponsors.














































Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Two Boys and a Dog


Goodness gracious I love these boys!!


So does our sweet dog.  Wherever they go... she goes. 

All day.

Every day.

In and out.

In and out.

Ever faithful. Ever watchful.


She doesn't get the award for being the brightest dog in the world... but she definitely gets one for being faithful!


She is sweet beyond words.





She's going to miss them over the next few days.

We are heading to Pittsburgh for a Classical Christian School Convention.

Little boys get to enjoy the city with Papa during the convention hours.  They are SO EXCITED.

I am excited too. Traveling with family by my side is rare and sweet!
Even though I have to work and they get to run around the city, this convention is easier than most which means I'm not standing all day. I get to read and relax during sessions. And in the evening I  get to hang with my guys.

It's a win win.

--------------------------------

We are waiting on travel dates at this point to go meet Mary.

Waiting and waiting.

We found out two weeks ago that Mary's file did not code epilepsy, so we are in the slow waiting line.

At this point we are figuring we will be traveling the middle to end of August.

Ugh!

Please pray for our little girl. Pray that her heart would be open to our family. Pray that she won't be transferred out of the baby house. Pray for peace for us as we wait and trust.  Definitely pray for the peace and trust part!! I'm a bit of a failure in trusting with peace at this point. Waiting is SO HARD!


 






Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The World Stopped



I couldn't breathe when I saw her.  I had been looking for her.  I knew she was coming, but when she came walking into my aisle I stopped breathing.  The world stopped.  Nothing else mattered but her. And me. And the distance it took for me to kneel before her. 





The last time I had seen her was a little over a year before. Our last moments with her never to be forgotten.   Our hearts shredded into pieces when she whispered to the director she didn't want us to be her family. We never considered in a million years she would turn us away. It was unthinkable. 



There she was, standing before me on this side of the ocean, and I wanted nothing more than to grab her and hold her and tell her how much we had wanted her. I wanted to flee the building with this girl wrapped in my arms. Instead, I whispered to her how proud I was that she had said yes to a family. I told her how brave she was. I told her how happy I was that she had now a Mama and a Papa and brothers and sisters. I told her she was beautiful. I told her I loved her.  We played a bit at the preschool booth nearby. And then she walked away down the aisle with her Papa beside her. She took my heart with her.



I went back to work that day, tears sliding quietly down my cheeks as I shared with people about our curriculum.  It was the hardest of moments. Despite this, I consider it a kindness of God to allow me to have that moment with her. The family she chose is wonderful and I am grateful to the Lord that she is safely folded into their world.


Adoption is risky and hard. You cross the ocean to bring home a child with nothing more than a picture and a few words on a piece of paper. Anything can happen. Countries close in the middle of the process.  Dossiers are submitted and denied. Children die before families get to them. War upends the process. The child you crossed the ocean to bring home is no longer available. Or they say no. Or you say no because the words on the paper do not match the child in real life.

And then you come home.

And the child you thought you loved is not exactly as you pictured or considered. Family is not exactly as they pictured it either. And you slip into a trench. Sometimes for a few months. Sometimes for years. And sometimes forever.

I used to shout loud and hard for families to adopt.

I used to yell and scream for the ones we left behind.

But watching the heartache, the hard, the loss, the trenches has caused my voice to grow hoarse at times. How can I tell you to adopt when I know the heart-wrenching part of it? How can I tell you to adopt when I know you may lose everything? How can I tell you to adopt when that child may die on this side of the ocean? How can I tell you to adopt when the picture and words may not match the child? How can I tell you to adopt knowing that tears may be your mantle for a season? Or a lifetime? How?

We have seen the ugly. We have watched families shipwreck. We have advocated for children who have been disrupted from their families.  We have seen families grieve the death of their child over here. We have watched families fall apart over adoption. Husbands have left wives and vice versa. We have experienced the trenches.

Yet, we still believe that adoption is good and right.

Just because it is hard and heart wrenching and risky - doesn't mean we stop.

There are children across the ocean who need families.

They need families willing to accept the risks and the heartache and the reality of the trenches and go anyway. Because children belong in families not institutes.

We have seen the ugly and we are going back.  I look at my boys each day and thank the Lord they are here. With us. Despite all their challenges. Despite the 40+ trips to Shriners. Despite the trenches. Despite the cost of two extra mouths. Despite the reality that we will probably never have that moment in our lives when it is just the two of us. We are going back. I may not be shouting very loud about adoption but going back is my witness.  It's my form of shouting right now.  I KNOW adoption is hard. I KNOW that those who go and bring home their child or children will be bruised and beaten and will wonder what in the world they have just done. I KNOW the questions. I KNOW. 

You may lose everything. You may have your heart ripped out. You may hear a child whisper a "no" to you. You may see that child again in someone else's family and you may shed a tear or two or a thousand. It's all possible.

But if God is tapping on your heart - Then you need to act. 

Because it's God tapping.

And when He taps - you really need to listen.

Pray. Advocate. Adopt.


Children belong in families not institutes.
























Thursday, June 1, 2017

Nesting


I'm heading off for Lancaster, PA for ANOTHER convention this weekend.

The last three days at home I've been nesting.  Yep. 

The kind of nesting where you take a toy room and turn it into a little girl's room.



I've done this once before but the last time it was with caution. 

This time we have thrown caution to the wind.



Don't get me wrong.

I'm terrified.

I'm still gasping for breath and it is hard beyond words to stay focused on the everyday mundane stuff like running a business.

Right now I'm going through the motions.

There are no guarantees in Mary's country. You can't put a hold on a child.  We could lose her before ever laying eyes on her.  The risk is great for our hearts to be broken again.

But we stepped out in faith and in faith I am making room for a little wisp of a girl to be part of our family.

I'm not finished yet but the last three days we've made some cute progress!!


The little boys lost their toy room but have had some cool stuff added to their bedroom. Their beds were raised to add storage underneath and they are waiting for their matching nightstands with bookshelves to arrive tomorrow.  We cleaned out the linen closet and it is now the Lego closet.

I went around yesterday and took pictures of the house and rooms for Mary's photo album.

I am nesting.

It makes what we are doing real in my heart.

I know another family who is also nesting.

They are also waiting for travel dates.

They are rearranging their house and worrying and trying to hold the terror back.

They are adopting three children.


One has cancer.

Yes. You read that right.

He's been on the oncology ward in his country and chances are they will be adopting him out of the hospital.

They understand cancer in an intimate way. They have a son with cancer. 

They are also adopting two older girls.


Both are aging out soon so this is virtually their last chance at a family.

Three children.

All three are unfortunately in three different parts of the country making the costs for this adoption extremely expensive.  $55,000 expensive.

Thankfully they will be receiving $30,000 in grant funds from the Older Child grant accounts which brings their costs down to $25,000.00.

Still. 

They have paid out some of that by emptying their savings. They have been selling what they can to cover a bit more of it.

They are planning on borrowing for the rest.

Please let's keep them from having to borrow.

They have a matching grant right now for $930.00.

When their grant account reaches $1697.00 then that grant is matched.

But it is just a drop in their bucket.

Please, help me help this family!

They are going to get travel dates any day now. 

If you have anything at all - would you give?

Anything!!



I'd love to see their grant account overflowing before I get back from PA on Saturday night!!









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