Friday, June 29, 2018

Seven Alone

Back in the 1970's I watched a movie that had a huge impact on me. It was a true story about seven children who were traveling on the Oregon Trail in 1844 when both their parents died.
The oldest was 13 years old and the youngest was a newborn baby.
Seven orphaned children lost on the Oregon Trail.

Seven Alone.

They eventually made their way to safety and lived happily ever after.

At least that was the way the movie ended.

In reality they did make their way to safety and into the open arms of a loving, Christian missionary couple, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, who had experienced their own tragedy. Their little girl drowned years before, but despite their grief, they willingly took in needy children. When the seven Sager children showed up at their mission they did not turn them away. They took all seven children in and adopted them. Sadly, happily ever after only lasted for a few years and then tragedy again struck. A local Cayuse tribe, in anger over the diseases that the settlers had brought with them which had killed countless of their numbers, attacked the mission and killed the Whitmans and the two oldest Sager boys. One of the girls died in captivity. The other four girls eventually were released and were split up among four different families.

It isn't a feel good story.

It's about loss and survival and rescue and loss and survival and rescue again.

We like adoption stories to be the feel good kind.

Seven children adopted by a missionary couple is a great happy ending.

It's what makes a great movie.

But it's not real.

Adoption stories are messy and hard and born out of loss and tragedy.

The ever after, even if it doesn't involve death and violence, is rarely the fairy tale kind but instead the cycle of loss and survival and rescue and loss and survival and rescue again.
Children who have lost their parents are emotionally tossed in a pounding sea and bringing them to the peace of the shore sometimes takes a lifetime of lifeboat attempts.

But despite it's messiness...

Orphans need families.

They need families with open arms and willing hearts to welcome them knowing that the ever after will sometimes include loss and survival and rescue again and again.

Sometimes orphans come by themselves.

And sometimes they come with a sibling or two.

And sometimes...


They come Seven Alone.



All from the same family.

And sometimes there is a family - one family - with open arms - willing to bring them home.
I have recently discovered one such family.

A family of four who has suffered through their own losses when it comes to children.

Their heart's desire has been a table full of children.

But infertility and loss have plagued them. They have two beautiful girls but their hearts long for more.

Despite their grief over their losses, they began to consider adoption. As a beginning step, they opened their home to hosting and in the process fell in love. Three sisters.

After spending a summer with them and then again hosting them over Christmas (2016), they decided to adopt them.

But the three sisters had four other siblings.

And they all wanted to stay together.

Without blinking, they moved into a larger home and opened their arms to welcome them all.

But the courts said no.

Only four could be adopted at a time.

That didn't stop them.

They did all the paperwork, crossed the ocean and then crossed it again and then crossed it again and at the end of May passed court for four of the children.

In less than two weeks they travel back across the ocean to bring them home.

Oksana 18, Natalie 15, Jacob 11 and Emily 8

 Once they hit American soil they are planning on starting the process all over again so that they can go back and bring the other three home too.

In the meantime, after the courts split the four children from the three children, the other three were transferred to a special needs institute. Oh My Heart!

Adopting four children is massively expensive. Our adoption of Mary cost us close to 30,000.

Adopting four is way over that amount. Especially when you have to cross the ocean four times.

They have borne the vast majority of the cost themselves. They fundraised and borrowed and worked to the bone to get the funds they need.

They travel in under two weeks and still need around 9,700.

And then they will start over again.

Crazy Love.

To keep a family of seven children together.

Will you help?


Their Reece's Rainbow grant account is HERE. Their  grant account needs to read 13,000 to be fully funded.

You can also donate through this link: CONNECTED HEARTS

Give knowing that this family has been sacrificing everything for these seven children.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wednesday Edition

It's Wednesday....

Guess who lost a tooth????

This is what we do when we are bored...


My littlest beautician can be rather rough sometimes...

Ta Da!!
 And that's our Wednesday edition!
Short, sweet and a bit crazy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Treading in the Ocean

We took little girl swimming a few weeks ago. She was crazy in the water. No fear. I sat with a friend and watched my three littles swim with their Papa. We sat and watched little crazy girl in the water. Rob had her in a floaty to keep her safe, but each time she had a seizure, her face would submerge in the water. It didn't phase her. She would recover and go right back to pure joy mode.

Then she decided she didn't want to be in the floaty. Papa had his back turned and out she slipped. The only bad part to her plan is that she has no clue how to swim. So little girl sunk to the bottom of the pool. Arms reaching up. Mama screaming on the side for Papa to grab her. Grab her.

You would have thought she would have wanted to get out of the water after that. I mean she swallowed a bucketful of water in her state of drowning. It didn't phase her. She was back in the floaty as fast as she could get back inside of it and happily swimming around the pool.

The water's been deep for us around here. We aren't quite drowning but are treading water in the deep end of the ocean.
Navigating a Keto diet and feeding the rest of the family is a whole new world. We are finding our way but it has been a definite challenge. An on-line friend kindly made us some easy to wear clothing that lets people know not to feed our little bear.

We write homeschool curriculum. We both work full time for our business. Three littles, three special needs, Annie shows, soccer for Aaron, surgery for John, teaching and grading papers for Julia all have taken their toll in the last months.
Our newest book just came out. We should be dancing and shouting for joy. It's hard to dance when you are treading water in the ocean. We have barely even advertised our newest book.

Three conventions in a row have me so bone weary I can't think straight right now.

This past weekend I took the little boys to the Virginia convention with me so I could have Mama time with them while I worked. Little girl stayed home with Papa. I get a telephone call. Little girl fell. She had a seizure on some playground equipment at the park and fell through an opening next to the slide. The babysitter cushioned part of the fall with her own body, but Mary landed on her shoulder. I dropped everything, threw the little boys in the car and raced home.

Friday night in the hospital is not a good place to land. That Friday night happened to be one of the worst places to land. Mary's spot in the emergency room was a bed in the hall right smack in the middle of everything. Beds were filled all up and down the halls. I climbed in bed with her and poor Rob stood next to us trying to stay out of the way. After a few hours someone was kind enough to bring him a chair. While she watched Frozen on my phone, we watched the chaos of the emergency room around us. Security guards and police coming and going. Stretchers going past us every minute or so. Nurses. Doctors. Residents. Cleaning staff. I started diagnosing people going by for fun. One poor man went hobbling by holding his gut. Definitely appendicitis. Score one for me when we heard the doctor telling him he needed to get them out.

Five hours later we left. Two small fractures and little girl's arm and shoulder wrapped and wrapped again to keep it safe and to give it a chance to heal.
How in the world do we keep little crazy girl still and quiet until it heals? How in the world do we keep her from having a seizure and hitting her shoulder every time?

Yesterday morning... back to the hospital. Little girl started seizing and wouldn't stop. I can't even describe the fear we experienced. Waiting for the ambulance while she seized again and again and again was agony beyond words.
Five hours later back home with heavy hearts as we realized anew that our little girl's epilepsy has no easy fix.
Treading in the deep hasn't been easy.
We really would like to get out of the ocean for a while. Conventions are almost over. One more trip to Texas next week and traveling will be done. Did I say our book is done? Rob wrote the lion's share of it so I can say with utter pride and pleasure that it is an amazing book. I had the privilege of teaching a classroom of children this year who read the rough draft of the book and they loved it. They came to class each week filled to overflowing with stories out of each chapter to tell me. What a chuckle. Mrs. Nalle... did you know....
Our older sons are amazing. They jump in during crises and carry the load. They travel to conventions and do all of our packing and shipping and help with the three littles. They go shopping and pick up prescriptions and mow and cook and whatever else we need.
My dad next door. He's priceless. He is here every single day helping us with our littles. I truly don't know what we would have done this year without him.
We are beyond grateful for the helping hands that the Lord has provided for us this year.
Yes, it's been a rough 2018.
But we are hopeful that over the crest of the next few waves... we will find solid ground and get to the shore.
Treading in the ocean can't last forever!
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