Monday, July 29, 2013

Two Sweet Surprises!

We are all home.
Ben.  Elijah.  Me.  Rob.  Aaron.
We have 2 weeks until Ben leaves for college.
I'm taking a break.  A family break.  An I'M ABOUT TO TAKE MY OLDEST TO COLLEGE break. 
I just seriously cannot believe that he is THAT old.
Before I take my break I want to share...
On Saturday.  At the convention.  The sweetest family walked into my booth. 
A Reece's Rainbow family.
I didn't know them.  I didn't know their kids.
But Oh My Goodness.... WHAT A BLESSING!
These two RR babes (Angel and Milo)
Are now Gracie and Malachi!
And they are precious precious precious and so is their little brother who was happy to get his picture taken with us!  Note the toothbrush??? 
I just seriously love those kinds of surprises. 
They made my day!
For all those of you who lit candles on Friday - THANK YOU.
At the same time Hanson's service was happening in Canada, I was in Georgia giving a seminar on our curriculum.  Talk about hard!  Before I talked about BiblioPlan, I shared.  I told my audience about Hanson and the Lost Boys.  I cried as I spoke.  So did they.  It felt so freeing to share his story while candles were being lit so far away.  I was so grateful for the timing of it and the chance to put my grief into words.   I couldn't light a candle at our booth but I could be a voice for those who are voiceless.
I'm so thankful the Lord gave me that opportunity. 
Proverbs 31: 8-9
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
    ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
    and see that they get justice.

Friday, July 26, 2013

In Memory

This white candle is for Hanson and Jonathan.

Rob wrote this for Hanson's special ceremony in Canada today.

The Lost Boys
             Hanson belonged to a special group of boys who live in a certain orphanage in Eastern Europe, the orphanage where we adopted our son Aaron. Like Aaron and all the other boys at that orphanage, Hanson wasn’t a typical child; he was born with some special needs that kept him from developing as typical, healthy children do. In that part of the world, the usual way to handle a birth like Hanson’s is to hand the child over to the state government, which then places the child in a state orphanage called a baby house. Once in a great while, a child is fortunate enough to be adopted from his baby house; but if he isn’t, as Hanson wasn’t, then the state sends him to a special needs orphanage for older children, aged about 5 – 20. Most of the children who end up in these older-child special needs orphanages can only ever leave the orphanage system by dying, which is the way Hanson left it.
               The quality of life in these special needs orphanages varies from bad to worse. At their best, such orphanages are poor, lonely places; but at their worst, they can be truly horrifying. While most Eastern European orphanages have enough funding for food and basic medical care, many do not have enough funding for any sort of education, activities or therapy. Even in Aaron’s part of the orphanage— the part for boys who could walk and talk— there were no toys, no books and no fun of any kind. The boys spent their days sitting in outdoor sheds, staring into space and waiting for the next mealtime to break up their boredom; or, if it was rainy or cold, they sat inside a single, undecorated room with no toys all day. Watching these boys, we were constantly reminded of how much they had lost: they had lost their parents; they had lost their chance to be adopted; and they had lost their chance to receive the help they so desperately needed. Worst of all, they had lost everything that makes life worth living: love, friendship and the hope of a brighter future. It was because of all these losses that we started calling the boys we left behind, boys like Hanson, the Lost Boys.
               As bad as Aaron’s part of the orphanage was, Hanson’s part was far worse. Since Hanson’s special needs prevented him from walking and talking, he went to a lying-down room— a place where children lie in their cribs all day, every day, with no one to hold them, play with them or even talk to them. For food, many lying-down-room children receive only 2 or 3 bottle feedings a day, delivered through high-volume nipples so that they must choke it down as quickly as possible or miss their chance to eat. For care, they receive only diaper changes; and since money and staffing are tight, some are allotted only 2 diapers per day— which means that they spend hours each day lying in their own waste. Through lying down all the time, children like Hanson grow so stiff that many of them can’t bend their legs or waists. They lie in a daze, idly poking at the bars of their cribs; for they know that if they try to get out, then their caretakers will come and tie them down. All of this sad mistreatment because Hanson couldn’t walk and talk— which he might possibly have been able to do, if anyone had taken the time to help him.
               In the end, Hanson gave this sin-shattered world what it seemed to want. Exhausted from living without love for so long, Hanson could no longer find any reason to live; so he relieved the world of the burden of caring for him by dying. Hanson’s death, though, could not relieve the world of a far greater burden: the sin the world carries for ignoring the cries of one of the “least of these” Christ’s brothers, the ones He cared for above all. That burden the world will carry until Judgment Day.

"The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"


Light a candle for Hanson.

If you have a blog, you can use this inlinkz tool to link it to this blog:



If you are on Facebook put a picture of the candle on your status.

If you aren't on either than leave a comment that you lit one for Hanson.



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Georgia Bound

I'm on my way to Georgia.  I have a Homeschooling Convention to attend.  Work to do.  Curriculum to sell.  Hours and hours of standing on my feet.
My heart is at home. 
Elijah came home last night and Ben comes home tomorrow. 
My heart is at home.
I am seriously undone.
I spent all day Wednesday wiping tears from my eyes. 
Please take part. 
 Light a candle for Hanson.  Put it on your status.  Put it on your blog.  Give voice to those boys who are still there.  Please. 
What we do matters.  It matters to each one. 

Please light a candle.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Requiem for Hanson

I don't even know how to write this blogpost. I've been staring at the screen praying, struggling and weeping all morning.

It is hard to put into words how deeply we care for our Lost Boys. Everything in your life changes when you snatch a child out of a world of sheds filled with unending boredom, a world of unseen lying-down rooms filled with lost orphans' pitiful groans. 

Everything changes.
Once your eyes are opened... once they are opened...
Just a few weeks ago we found out that our Lost Boy Hanson died.  Though I already knew in my heart that he was gone, knowing did not lessen the sorrow of his passing.  Hanson died forsaken.
However, Hanson did not die unloved. Hanson was so very loved.
Hanson had a dear friend who learned about him through our 2012 Mulligan Stew fundraiser.
This dear friend donated his hard-earned money for Hanson in 2012, and prayed all year that a family would step up and adopt Hanson.  He was so deeply disappointed when no one did.
When Mulligan Stew 2013 came around, this dear friend donated prizes for Hanson's sake. He also donated to Hanson personally, and begged his friends to donate as well. He showered that little Lost Boy with prayers, love and blessings. His deepest longing was for Hanson to have a family.
This dear friend, who happens to face some of the same challenges Hanson faced, wrote this to me about Hanson in 2012: "I don't think he should stay in an orphanage.  A family is a better thing.  I think I would have been a Lost Boy.  It would be scary.  I don't think I should think about it."

When this good-hearted friend found out about Hanson's passing this past weekend, he grieved deeply. The thought that Hanson died alone was too much for him to bear. He just couldn't let Hanson pass away without doing anything to mark his passing.
Fortunately, this friend's father is a priest, one who also happens to have friends in a nearby Rus*ian Orthodox Church. 
By pulling every heart-string he could pull, this friend has pulled together a Full High Requiem Eucharist Mass for Hanson.
This service will take place in Canada on Friday afternoon at 3 PM, Atlantic Daylight Savings Time.
Hanson's service will include a 15-member choir with singers from both churches. Over 100 people are expected to attend the service, as well as the reception afterward.

Hanson's friend plans to wear a tuxedo.
The music will include Bogoriditse Devo, an Ave Maria by the Rus*ian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.
 The service will include this blessing:

Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant with thy saints:
where sorrow and pain are no more;
neither sighing but life everlasting.
Thou only art immortal, the creator and maker of man:
and we are mortal formed from the dust of the earth,
and unto earth shall we return:
for so thou didst ordain,
when thou created me saying:
 "Dust thou art und unto dust shalt thou return."
All we go down to the dust;
and weeping o'er the grave we make our song:
 Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Rob wrote a short explanation of Hanson's situation that my friend's friend will read out loud.  I will share that on Friday. 


The service will also include several well-chosen candles.
There will be five pink candles: one for Dagmar; one for Pearson; one for Grady; one for Porter; and  one for all the other living Lost Boys whose families haven't found them yet.
Pink is the color of love.
30520133548 30520132428
 30520133224 Porter 2013
There will be three blue candles: one for Aaron; one for Judd; and one for Benjamin. Three Lost Boys rescued.
Blue represents the water that washes away the sadness of a former life.
 There will be two purple candles: one for Samuel, and one for Heath. Two Lost Boys whose families have found them, but are still waiting to go home.
Purple is the color of advent, a time of waiting.

 Finally, there will be three white candles.
One for Jonathan Marr. 
One for Hanson.

And one for all of the other unknown, unnamed Lost Boys who have died waiting.
Hanson's friend will light these three candles personally.


Because the service is so far away, few of us can attend in person; but we can still take part.
 A picture of a candle will appear on this blog on Friday. 
My candle will be white for Hanson. For Jonathan.
You can take part too.
Hanson's friend doesn't want just 100 people to remember Hanson and the Lost Boys on Friday; he wants people around the world to remember them too. If you have a blog or a Facebook page, he would love for you to post a picture of a candle there. Add your link to the comments section of this blog so that Hanson's friend can find your candle.

Even if you don't have a blog, please light a candle in memory of Hanson on Friday-- any color, any size. Take a day to remember the boys across the ocean who are Lost without us.
Light a candle for the Lost Boys.


At Hanson's friend's request...
In place of flowers, please donate to the grant accounts of Dagmar, Pearson, Grady and Porter
You can also donate to the team who minister to the Lost Boys as often as they can.  Donate through Harvest International, designating your gift for the Lost Boys.


To know that people around the world care for our Lost Boys means more than we can say.
The idea that two churches would join together in love to remember a lost orphan boy they never met has me completely undone.
Please join in and light a candle on Friday.
Light a candle to remind the world that there are babies across the ocean wasting away in lying-down rooms, motherless and fatherless.

Light a candle for Hanson on Friday.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Morning Prayer

I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me;
    hear me when I call to you.
May my prayer be set before you like incense;
    may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
This is my prayer.
This is my desire.
Forever and always.
Confession.... We have spent the last week trying to fill Aaron's days with fun activities.  We've been swimming and been to a show and to a discovery museum and spent time with relatives etc etc....   But I don't have very many pictures to prove that our littlest has NOT been neglected.  Sometimes you just have to leave the camera at home and just enjoy the moment... And sometimes you forget to take the camera with you... either way...
You will just have to take my word for it...


He has NOT been neglected!!!!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Hope and a Future

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Mission to UCrane
Bringing hope and a future to aging out orphans.
Precious Precious.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Meanwhile... Back in the Crane

That is what Aaron calls it.  His Crane....Ben's in the Crane!
Ben's team members have been faithfully providing me with pictures for the blog....

Here he is .... Hard at work.... eating ice cream...

and carrying debris out of the house...
and building houses....
and looking like a combination of his dad and my brother in this picture.... scary...
and carrying MORE debris from the house..
and whistling while they work...
(Ben and Evan Rowe - Evan's family has adopted 2 RR babes and 2 older orphans and are on their way back to adopt another boy, Ianto, who is aging out soon)
Yeah...I did this..
Not sure what he is doing here...
Hey... when did you become a  gardener???? 
And playing goalie...
 And making friends with some boys from an internat...
(Ben is in the middle with the backward hat and Evan Rowe is in the grey shirt on the end)
Village living....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mama Will Be Here Soon...

Last year around this time a family crossed the ocean to adopt three precious babes.   You helped raise part of the ransom to get their babes out.  In the spring I had the privilege of holding those babes in my arms.  Pure bliss!! Pure bliss.

The place where they adopted their oldest little guy was a living hell.  Abuse.  Neglect.  He was a battered and beaten little boy when he came out. 

While they were there they met/found two little Reece's Rainbow boys who had been listed FOREVER.  The boys had dropped off everyone's radar so it was a total act of God that they were found again.

Once we saw the boys and learned of the harsh condition they were in - we began to yell our hearts out.  If you want to read the story go HERE and HERE.


It was another act of God that the very family who stepped up to adopt them had actually met them two years earlier on the day of their transfer.  Michelle Enskat watched these two boys being carried kicking and screaming into the car to be driven away.   With tears in her eyes she promised them that their Mama would be coming soon.  She would be coming soon.  Little did she know at that time that SHE was their mama.

After the boys surfaced again and we started yelling our guts out, the Enskat family stepped up to adopt them plus another sweet little lovey from Aaron's old baby house.
  Because of many of you, the Enskats were fully funded LAST FALL.  It was amazing and we wept tears of joy. I was convinced the boys would be out quickly.  They were planned on traveling in December and bringing the  boys home in January.  I was packing my bags because after the 10 day wait was up... I was going to help Michelle bring the three kids home.  I.COULD.NOT.WAIT!!
But one delay after another happened.  December turned into January.  Then February.  Then March.  Once March came... the door closed on my being able to go.  April passed.  May.  Finally, finally things moved and in June they crossed the ocean.  And last Friday... last Friday they passed court.

Orphans no longer.


They are free.
They are sons.
They are brothers.

They have a family and a future.
No longer orphans!  THANK YOU JESUS...
But the story does not stop here.  
Some will wonder why the delay.  Why did God allow them to have to wait so long.  Why couldn't the road have been easy and the way out quick.  Why did God provide for the Enskats all the way back in the fall and yet they did not get the boys out until now. I asked this many times.  How Long Oh Lord must those boys wait??? How long??
Let me share with you two of the reasons why God allowed the door to be shut for a season.... These are just two... I have a feeling there are many more reasons behind them.
This is Caroline. 
My beautiful Sasha modeling the outfit Michelle bought for her birthday.  Before she opened it she whispered Happy Birthday to still my mama heart.
This is Patience.
30607215151 Patience
They were in the same place as the boys this summer.
Did you read that?
The Enskats met both of these girls.
The hell-hole where the boys were living this summer is also their hell-hole.  For a few precious weeks, the Enskats were able to show love and favor to these precious treasures.  Both are desperate to get out.  Both are hounded and treated as outcasts.  Both are living in a survival of the fittest society.  My heart bleeds for them.  For a few weeks they were shown love in a loveless society.  I wish I could share more but I can't.  Just know that these babes needed those weeks. 
Caroline had a family commit to her before the Enskats crossed the ocean. 

My dear dear friend Renee Tam is adopting Caroline.  I had NO IDEA that Caroline was in the same place as the boys until after the Enskats got there and met her.  All the children are together for the summer and then in the winter they go to their separate internats. 

When I grieved that it took Michelle so long to get the boys - Renee's response to me was that God held them back so that they could meet and encourage their girl.  I don't think a day goes by that Renee isn't shedding tears over her girl over there.   Caroline begged for a family.  She begged for one.  The Tams heard her cry and are breaking down every barrier in their path to get her out. 

And here is the tear jerker of the day.... Caroline has been helping to keep this boy alive.

This summer she has been his protector.  Though he spent many days battered and beated - she has been able to hold some of it at bay.  Despite being battered herself... she has the heart and compassion to love another battered and beaten soul.

And Patience...
Well... That is another beautiful and amazing story...

Patience's family is the Taylors.
Remember them???  They are adopting Samuel and Sara.

21121204900 (1) 21121205037
Our Mulligan Stew family.

Remember... Samuel is in the same institute where Aaron was!!
Two weeks ago, the Taylors needed over 20,000 to be fully funded for Samuel and Sara. 

 Though they were far from funded they saw the picture and story of Patience and their hearts broke.  Patience desperately needed a family.  This is what one family wrote about her who met her: "She is precious and sweet but terrified." 

Like both Samuel and Sara - she is a minority and treated with utter disdain.   They longed to add her in.  But how could they even consider adopting her?? She was in a different region and they were nowhere NEAR raising the funds to get Samuel and Sara out.   So they laid out an impossible fleece... If God would drop the money into their laps... then they would adopt Patience.

Impossible. Ridiculous.  Absurd.
God dropped $22,000.00 in their laps.
Last week their church took up an offering.
Their church.
Their church took up an offering and gave $22,000 and it funded them FULLY For Samuel and Sara.
That leaves them ONLY $5,000.00 to get Patience.

Why did God delay the Enskat's adoption process??? I don't fully know but I know two girls who have been blessed beyond words this summer because they were there.  I know two families who are on their knees grateful that their girls were shown love and compassion for a few moments.  I also know that God is opening doors for others to follow.  Other stories to be told.  Other reasons why.  He's like that. 

Two babes out today.

I am jumping up and down for joy.  But I also know this... The boys desperately need our prayers. They are both hurting little puppies.  I can't share beyond that but please please put them on your prayer lists.  Pray for them.  They have much healing that needs to happen.  In their bodies and in their minds.  God hand-picked an amazing family for them.  But it is going to take time and patience to restore what has been lost. 

Caroline and Patience are waiting for their families to cross the ocean.

They too desperately need our prayers.  This morning they watched a family leave. For a few weeks they were given a bit of a reprieve.  Now they wait.  They wait. In a world that is full of terrors around every corner they wait.  Their families are doing everything EVERYTHING to get them.

Last night Renee sent Michelle a message on Facebook.  From one Mama to another.  I stole her comment.  I'm sharing it here.  Here is what she wrote.

"Michelle Enskat, if tomorrow is the last time you will see my girl will you pull her tight to you and hug her for me? Will you tell her I think of her everyday? Will you tell her that we are doing something that is bringing us closer to her? Most of all, will you whisper in her ear, like you did to your boys so many years ago... Your mama is coming for you. It won't be long, she will be here..."

Caroline and Michelle Enskat

Won't you help?

The Tams still need $15,000.00
The Taylors need $5,000.00

Won't you help these two families raise the ransom to rescue two girls from a dark and dreary place!





Monday, July 15, 2013

My Three Sons

Okay... If you weren't convinced that Aaron is spoiled or not...
Let me just prove it to you once and for all!
See these AMAZING Pooh Bear Cookies...
They were made especially for him....
Can you tell he loves them??

Monday morning and we are minus two brothers.....
Aaron was so lost this morning that he cleaned the family room and DUSTED!
Did you read that???
Elijah left for the Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia this morning.  He left his breakfast in the car and lunch was tuna fish.  Tuna fish is not high on his favorites list.   Remember... meat and potatoes... meat and potatoes!!
This is Elijah at 4:30 this morning when I got out the camera....
This is Elijah when I told him to smile!!
Okay... taking pictures at 4:30 IS a bit cruel!
As far as Ben goes...
He's there and they ARE feeding him... although...
I'm just not sure what to think about how he's feeling about his dinner..
He seems to be the ONLY one with food still on his plate!
Does everyone around this table look a bit ragged out to you?  After 10 hours on planes and 12 hours on a train and a day of working... I think they may have a good reason to be a bit exhausted.

Somehow I think he's not going to like that I've convinced his teammates to take pictures of him to send to me....
I think I'm going to be in BIG trouble!