Updated pic of EMIL! He is running out of time to be adopted, please help raise funds for Voice of Hope and he will earn a $2100 grant!
Grocery store trips with four children in a store can be challenging. While I’m trying to concentrate on price per ounce and what aisle I need to head to next, my children are trying to keep themselves occupied with something…anything. They are not out-of-hand, they are pretty well-behaved in stores. But they still get bored! They pass groceries back and forth to each other, swirl the little one’s cart around, play peek-a-boo with a sibling around the other side of the cart, etc. But as a Mom, all I hear and see is noise and I sometimes miss their smiling faces, their joy, and how they are being so nice and playful to each other.
But other people notice.
While looking at coconut milk, one man said, very enthusiastically, “Beautiful family!”
I always love it when people encourage us like that and I said, “Aww, thank you.”
He said he has seven children! From age 30 down to 18. “Oh, so you’re out of the diaper stage, huh?”
He reminded me that these are the best years.
Sometimes when I’m up to my elbows in that mom-thing called work, I forget that I’ll miss these days, that these are wonderful days! That I need to treasure this time I have with my young ones. Even Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar (parents of 19 children) admitted that the time in their marriage when they had 4-5 young ones (with no older ones to help) were the hardest days of parenting. Those of us couples that are outnumbered by little people need encouraged!
So kind sir, thank you SO much for your encouragement! It means more than you know!
The following are excerpts from the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan. We talk a lot of Jesus and we talk a lot of God the Father, but what about that third Person of God? I wasn’t sure where the title was leading when I picked up the book, but wow, I quickly realized how much we the Church, and me individually, do forget about the Holy Spirit…
“God put His Spirit in us so we could be known for our power. Sadly, most believers and churches are known for talent and intellect rather than supernatural power. What’s worse is that we’re okay with it. In Forgotten God, breakthrough author Francis Chan returns us to the Holy Spirit as the Bible describes Him and invites us to understand, embrace and follow the Holy Spirit’s direction in our lives.”
“The benchmark of success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit. The “entertainment” model of church was largely adopted in the 1980s and ‘90s, and while it alleviated some of our boredom for a couple of hours a week, it filled our churches with self-focused consumers rather than self-sacrificing servants attuned to the Holy Spirit.”
“The light of the American church is flickering and nearly extinguished, having largely sold out to the kingdoms and values of this world.”
“It was then that I began reading the Scriptures as though I had never read them before. I asked the Spirit to make them “living and active” to me, though I’d been reading them for years. I asked God to penetrate the wrong and ill-conceived notions I’d collected along the way (Heb 4:12). It’s a great exercise for those of us who have been immersed in church culture for years.”
“Given our talent set, experience, and education, many of us are fairly capable of living rather successfully (according to the world’s standards) without any strength from the Holy Spirit. Even our church growth can happen without Him. Let’s be honest: If you combine a charismatic speaker, a talented worship band, and some hip, creative events, people will attend your church. Yet this does not mean that the Holy Spirit of God is actively working and moving in the lives of the people who are coming. It simply means that you have created a space that is appealing enough to draw people in for an hour or two on Sunday.”
“The Spirit is not just a flighty, whimsical spirit who comes and goes like the wind. He is an eternal being and is holy. Because the Spirit is holy and dwells in us, our bodies are holy sanctuaries from God’s vantage point. Too often we disdain our bodies as the source of sin and our fallenness; yet they are precisely where God the Spirit chooses to dwell!”
“What would your church (and the worldwide church) look like if everyone was as committed as you are? If everyone gave and served and prayed exactly like you, would the church be healthy and empowered? Or would it be weak and listless?”
“Even though Jesus was going to be leaving His disciples, He told them that another counselor would actually enter their human bodies (John 14:17). You’ve probably heard this truth a hundred times, but have you marveled at it? Would you be willing to take thirty seconds right now just to dwell on the fact that God is in you?”
“You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. You are not just a person living your life by human power. The Spirit of God is in you; that is why Jesus said it was better for Him to go and the Spirit to come.”
“What if you could hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and He asked you to literally give everything you owned? What if He asked you to sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor? Could you do it? Before you start explaining why He would never ask that of you, take a moment and answer the question honestly. It’s not out of His character to ask for everything.”
“God wants us to walk in step with His Spirit rather than depend solely on the raw talent and knowledge He’s given us. But instead of living this way, we’ve created a whole brand of churches that do not depend on the Spirit, a whole culture of Christians who are not disciples, a new group of “followers” who do not follow. Simply having a good speaker, a service that is short and engaging, a good venue, and whatever else we add to the mix does not make a “good” or “successful” church. God intended for His bride, those who claim His name, to be much more than this. God is not interested in numbers. He cares most about the faithfulness, not the size, of His bride. He cares about whether people are lovers of Him. And while I might be able to get people in the doors of a church or auditorium if I tell enough jokes or use enough visuals, the fact remains that I cannot convince people to be obsessed with Jesus. Perhaps I can talk people into praying a prayer, but I cannot talk anyone into falling in love with Christ. I cannot make someone understand and accept the gift of grace. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. So by every measure that actually counts, I need the Holy Spirit. Desperately.”
“When was the last time you experienced the hand of God? Ask yourself. Think about the times in your life when you have been touched by God in a way that no one could convince you was a coincidence.”
“My hope and prayer for you, the reader, is that church people don’t try to normalize you. What I mean is that we often try to calm people down who are just too passionate or too sacrificial and radical. I know at times I have done this to other people. And I’ve had it done to me. Things like this happen all the time. As a church, we tend to do this to people who are passionate and bold. We mellow them out. Institutionalize them. Deaden them to the work that the Spirit is doing in them.”
“My wife and I decided to give all of the royalties from my previous book, Crazy Love, to the Isaiah 58 fund. All of the money goes to the needy in the world- the starving, sick, impoverished, and to those in the sex-slave trade. People told us we were being foolish and irresponsible, that we should have at least put some away in case of an emergency. Is it not an emergency that children in Cambodia and Thailand and even the United States are being raped every single day of their lives? Why is that not an emergency? Does the church think that the sex-slave trade is not an emergency? Is an emergency only an emergency if it affects me and my immediate family?”
I’m reposting this from Crazy Life of the Wilk’s Family. Very sad reality for so many children. Their reality. Just because we don’t “see” the orphan most definitely does not mean that they are not suffering.
You have to choose to see…
“This is a hard post for me to write, but its a post that must be written.
Today an orphan died in China.
He was a beautiful, precious little boy who had his whole life ahead of him. He was living with a foster family. He was receiving monthly transfusions thanks to the amazing group of thal moms I call friends here in the states. His paperwork was being prepared for adoption. Unfortunately, any illness can have a significant effect on the severity of his thalassemia. When an illness that caused diarrhea swept through the orphanage the last week, it was too much for his little body to handle. He passed from this life into the arms of Jesus.
My heart is heavy again today. I will never be able to hear of an orphan dying without being overcome by sadness. This isn’t the first thal child who has died…
This sweet girl mattered too. She deserved a family. She deserved to get the best doctors coming to her aid. But she lost her fight and passed into the arms of Jesus too.
I’ve often been asked “Why not adopt from foster care?” I’ve been told that there are so many kids here in the US and we should “take care of our own” before we help the world. I’m not going to argue these questions or points at all.
I simply believe that children matter. ALL children matter. ALL children deserve to have the love of a family. Someone to kiss their boo boos. Someone to hug them and tell them they can do anything. ALL children deserve to have food on the table. ALL children should have the opportunity to get an education. ALL children deserve to get the medical care they need to get better.
Today an orphan died in Yulin, Guangxi, China.
And so did others… In China. In Russia. In Ukraine. In Ethiopia. In India. In Uganda. In Honduras. In so many orphanages around the world these precious children, who have already experienced unimaginable loss, continue the fight of their lives.
An estimated 143 million orphans can be found in countries worldwide.
I believe that all of us have a responsibility to these children. God calls ALL of us to help.
Pray for ONE. If you need a picture, a story, and a name. I know plenty of them. Make one child your priority to pray for every day while they wait for a forever family to take over those prayers.
Sponsor ONE. Amazing agencies are doing amazing work in countries worldwide. They are making a difference everyday in the lives of children throughout the world. I would be happy to point you in the direction of some that I know. (Project Hopeful, Morning Star, New Day Foster Home, Lifesong for Orphans, Child’s Hope Int’l, SOS Ministries, Reece’s Rainbow, Cambodia Baptist Orphanage) (I, Beka, personally have supported or currently support these linked ministries, very trusted sources! Instead of giving your donations to organizations here in America that have revenues in the billions, why not give to orphans in absolute desperate poverty? Make your money count! The rich don’t need your money, the poor does).
Foster ONE. If you are one of those who has a heart for America’s children, I encourage you to reach out to your local social services and find out what it takes to become a foster parent.
Support ONE. At this moment, I know of at least twenty families who felt God’s call to adopt a child, even though they didn’t have enough in their bank accounts to cover an adoption, and took that step out to help care for ONE. I’d be happy to show you families that you could support. (I really like to use Reece’s Rainbow for this).
Adopt ONE. If you think you might be willing to bring a precious orphan into their forever, please email me. MEPSCOASTIE@YAHOO.COM. I will be happy to lead you to the agency and program that’s right for you.
I pray that this message reaches you all. I pray that a precious little boy’s death will be the catalyst for something good to happen. Today an orphan died in China, but I pray with all my heart that others won’t have to.”
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves”
“Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Prov 31: 9
“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” Matt 18:5
I’m re-posting this from Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom in hopes that this boy will find a family. If you’re not his forever family, you can at least pray intensely for him. Here’s Adeye’s post:
“Honestly? My heart absolutely aches for the older children who so desperately want families of their own. They know that time is ticking and that very soon they will “age out” of the adoption system in their country. They know that every day that passes gets them closer to a life they cannot bear to even think about.
The statistics are staggering. Suicide, trafficking, helplessness.
Turning sixteen is a huge milestone for most teenagers. But sadly, not for many orphans around the world. Soon after the day of their sixteenth birthday they will be given the “gift” of freedom. Together with a small bag which contains all of their earthly possessions and about $30 in cash, they will be set free–no longer to be taken care of by a state orphanage.
It’s a devastating reality that most of the children who “age out” of the system literally have nowhere to go. They are left on the streets to fend for themselves. With nowhere to turn, and no one to turn to, many end up in the trafficking industry. The majority never make it past their teen years. It is the sobering reality for most orphans who are forced to leave the only place of safety they know. The statistics are hard to wrap our heads around. It is one of the many reasons why adoption advocates fight so very hard to get children out of orphanages before it is too late. They know.
It’s a humanitarian catastrophe that foreign orphanages are filled to overflowing with precious teenagers who are longing to be loved by someone. Anyone.
A couple of weeks ago, PROJECT HOPEFUL advocated for one of these beautiful children. It was sobering for me to see his photo and read his story. I could not help but feel that we, the Church of the Living God, have failed this boy. We’ve been silent when we should have been begging at the top of our lungs for someone to go and take a chance on a young man who is aching for someone to believe in him.
Like many, he has been crying out for a family…
…and no one has listened.
No one has been willing to give him an opportunity to belong and become all who God has created him to be.
Like many others just like him, time is running out. Slavik was hosted by an American family last summer and expressed many times his desire to have a family of his own. He is longing…desperate to be a part of family who will love him.
The sweet boy writes to his host family regularly…
“Have you found a family for me yet?”
Unfortunately, time is not on Slavik’s side. He turns sixteen on March 3 and MUST have a committed family before then.
From his host family:
“Slavik is a kind, quiet & unassuming boy. He loves animals & even enjoyed taking care of our dogs last Summer. He made certain they had food, water, walks & treats daily with no reminders! He is a very intelligent boy, quick to pick up English words, and very attentive in the English class he attended with other children in the host program. He enjoyed water sports after a bit of coaxing and really opened up to new experiences once he knew he was safe. He would do well in a family with younger children as well as preteens. He would also thrive with empty nesters. He enjoys soccer,computers and video games.“
From the PROJECT HOPEFUL website:
Slavik is a 15 year old boy from Ukraine. He has been in an orphanage for several years. He was brought there after extreme neglect by his mother. He is slightly built and shy, but very kind. People who know Slavik have noted that the other kids, boys & girls, all liked and trusted Slavik. He was hosted just once, last summer, by a host-only family. He is very eager to be adopted, and writes his host family and other friends regularly, asking them to find him a “family forever.” Slavik has been reading the Bible he got in America and says he prays God will bring him a family. He turns 16 on March 3. A family who wanted to have the option to adopt him would need to file (or already have) an I-600a to “freeze” him and keep him available.
Cara Helberg at Angel’s Haven (firstname.lastname@example.org) can help families who would like to know more about Slavik.
This one matters too, friends. His life matters. His heart matters. His desires matter. He may be just one life caught up in the middle of a massive crisis…
…but oh, how precious and valuable his life is!
Please will you help us to spread Slavik’s story far and wide? This is his last chance at finding a family. Please, please let’s ensure that he comes home and that this too will be a glorious story of redemption.
NOW…show us your glory, Lord.”
Cole had his first American birthday! He’s now 3 years old!
He’s also been home from China with us for 6 months now.
When he woke up for his birthday, he was ECSTATIC to see decorations and balloons everywhere and gifts laid out for him. Guess he learned the American way at Christmas because boy did he know those presents were for HIM. As soon as he’d open something, he would say “more.” He didn’t care what the gift actually was nearly as much as he did getting to open it up! He was running back and forth, grabbing a gift, taking it to his ‘spot,’ opening it up with delight, and then back to the gift pile for another one. It was sweet to see his big smiles.
We got him a little shopping cart he can push around the house and he has hardly stopped playing with it. He likes to neatly put all his special things inside. It’s amazing to me that he went from having nothing of his own to a life of absolute abundance. I try to balance abundance in my own life, desiring to give more and more away to those who lack. But I am so happy that Cole can have unlimited food, toys of his own, special outfits that he likes, his own chair at the table, etc. Sometimes he’ll just randomly look up at us, bear hug our leg, and just give us the biggest smile ever. We still have our struggles, but he is genuinely happy and content, and that melts my heart.
We went to an aquarium and got to see lots of sea creatures and even got to pet stingrays! Ones that don’t sting.
I now have two 3-year-olds! Only for 13 days though, then Caden will turn 4. We think it’s neat that every year Cole and Caden will be the same “age” for 13 days!
We also had our 6-month visit with our social worker so that we can send our required follow-up report to China. We’ll also have these at the 1-year mark, 2-year, 3-year, and 5-year mark. We have an independent social worker who pretty much does international adoption only. So she’s very different than a Foster Care/ CPS social worker. She is so loving and willing to answer any and all questions, nothing is off-limits for her. I love that I don’t feel like I have to impress her or make her think we’re living a fairy tale. She knows the truth behind the transitional times adoptive families go through. She completely understands every aspect and I was able to be very open with her and she was such a help and encouragement. You know you have an awesome social worker when you greet each other with a hug, depart with a hug, and follow-up with thank-you emails for the wonderful visit!
She was really impressed with Cole. She could NOT believe how good he looked. She reminded me what he looked like when we got him, she thought I had forgotten. She said she didn’t even recognize him as the same child she saw when we had only been home for two weeks.
Here are some pictures from the past several months…
My sweet Great Aunt Patty stopped by for a short visit while on her way home from vacation! My sister and her two little ones are in the picture as well!
I recently finished reading Follow Me by David Platt. Although I don’t agree with everything in the book, I do highly recommend the book. Hope you can pick up a copy and read it!
This really impacted me…
Imagine Your Church (an excerpt from Follow Me by David Platt)
“Don’t picture the building or parking lot, and don’t envision the activities and programs. Just the people. Whether there are fifty, one hundred, five hundred, or five thousand of them, simply imagine the people who comprise your church.”
“People living in a world of sin and rebellion, suffering and pain. A world where over three billion men, women, and children survive on less than two dollars a day, and a billion of those people live in absolute poverty- in remote villages and city slums where hundreds of millions are starving and dying of preventable diseases. A world where billions of people are engrossed in false religions, and around two billion of them have never even heard the gospel. They are all (literally billions of people) on a road that leads to an eternal hell- suffering that will never, ever, ever end.”
“But you and the people in your church have been transformed by the gospel of Christ. In your minds, you know that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save people from their sins. In your hearts, you have tasted and seen that He alone can satisfy people’s souls. Your wills are now abandoned to His ways, and you long to be His witnesses throughout the world. God has banded you together as brothers and sisters in a local church with a global commission: make disciples of all nations. God has filled every single one of you with the power of His own Spirit to enable each of you individually and all of you collectively to reach the world with the gospel.”
“So if you had nothing but people- no buildings, no programs, no staff, and no activities- and you were charged with spreading the gospel to the whole world, where would you begin? Would you start by pooling together your money so that you could spend millions of dollars on a building to meet in? Would you get the best speakers, the greatest musicians, and the most talented staff in order to organize presentations and programs that appeal to your families and your children? Would you devote your resources to what is most comfortable, most entertaining, and most pleasing to you?”
“I don’t think your church would do these things- and neither would mine. Not if we really believed God’s Word and were honestly looking at God’s world.”
“If we recognized that there are billions of people without the gospel, many of whom have never even heard it, and if we realized that there are hundreds of millions of people starving without food and water, we would probably not say, “Let’s spend millions of dollars building a house of worship.”
“As we’ve seen, the Bible never tells us to construct a house for worship. Instead, the Bible says that we as God’s people are the house of worship. The New Testament never tells us to build a place for people to come to us; instead, the New Testament commands us to give our lives going to people.”
Do you remember when I told you about the Block family (pictured above)? They are an adoptive family that left the comforts of the cushy American life and started a children’s home in Guatemala. I personally support them and hope you will too! Here’s a really neat opportunity that I’ll be participating in! Want to join me? Or should I say, NOT join me?!
One day – One lunch
Monday, February 3 — Give up your lunch for Village of Hope!
For the 4th year in a row, join with us and give up your lunch in support of Village of Hope. It’s easy. Just invite a friend to NOT have lunch with you and donate your lunch money instead to Village of Hope! Let’s provide some of these beautiful faces with hope and a future by supporting our operations in Guatemala at the Village of Hope.
You can partner with us and donate your lunch here: https://www.egsnetwork.com/gift2/?giftid=AEF1206E91774B4
To read more about the One day – One lunch program, visit Addisyn Block’s blog here: http://lifeasamissionarykid.blogspot.com/
Will you NOT have lunch with me today?
This little girl, Zoey, age seven, met her new Dad and Mom for the first time in December. They were saddened to see she was in a very fragile state.
Adoption in her country requires two trips several months apart.
The family had to come back home even though Zoey desperately needed help right away.
Fraglie Zoey couldn’t wait any more. On January 6th this sweet little girl went to be with Jesus.
Zoey got to experience the love of a mother and father for just a few days. You must watch this video of them kissing her and singing “Jesus Loves Me” to her… you will cry.
She’s home with Jesus now. No more suffering for her.
This story leaves me in tears, so so many children live in absolute desperation while Americans spend more, more, more on themselves, turning a blind eye to the needs of their neighbors that they can’t see. That they won’t see. Go out and love big, people. The clock is ticking.
This is somewhat off-topic, but then again… many adoptive mom’s do live in “survival mode” for a while, so this might be perfectly on-topic!
You’ve all heard me talk about MoneySavingMom before, Crystal Paine. Her new book hit the shelves yesterday! I got the chance to read it before it was released! By the way, she’s offering freebies and giveaways this week if you go purchase her book!
Although I don’t necessarily live in “survival mode,” (although don’t we all at times?!) I thoroughly enjoyed her book! It was very practical and I walked away with many new ideas and lots of motivation and encouragement to help me live life even fuller! Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book…
“You don’t have to stay perpetually overwhelmed and exhausted, barely existing in survival mode anymore. You can start living with direction and passion.”
“I didn’t stop the insanity… I wore a plastic smile and continued to say yes to everything.”
“Yes, there are moments when I want to dig out my Superwoman cape to impress others… But when I remember how empty and exhausted it felt… it’s okay never to wear the cape again.”
“Living with intention means saying no to the things that aren’t important to us so we can say yes to what matters most.”
In the book, Crystal gives a list of things she does NOT do! How awesome to admit and show proof that you are not Supewoman. That is so genuine and sweet and lowers the bar for all of us out there that constantly want to raise the bar. Psst… She doesn’t pack her husband’s lunches every day!
“For us, it’s not about saving money so we can continuously upgrade our lifestyle and always be buying bigger and better things. We want to live beneath our means so that we are able to give generously to others.” “There’s a world of need around us. The more we steward our money well, the more abundance we will have to meet those needs. The more we save, the more we have to give.”
In the book, Crystal shared a story about how her mom used to have her clean their house plants with cotton balls when she was little! Hilarious! But she draws such a sweet lesson out of it! I really enjoyed reading this story!
“Something happens when you have children. Toys are everywhere. Your home can quickly get hijacked by colorful blocks, plastic figures, puzzle pieces, chewed-on books, and game pieces… Even though before you had your little ones, you promised yourself your home would not become a toy jungle, it happened.” “The fact is, having children means your home will be filled with playthings. It comes with the territory.”
You’ll have to get the book to read her section on “Focus on Contentment versus Consumerism!” Good stuff!!
“Failure isn’t proof that you’re a loser, a mess-up, or someone who will never get it together. On the contrary, failure is evidence that you’re trying.”
“The problem… was trying to cram 32 hours’ worth of projects into a 24 hour day.”
“I used to think that burning the midnight oil and getting by on only a fistful of sleep would make me more productive.”
“So many of us try to find fulfillment and self-worth in piling our plates too high.”
“All of a sudden, sticking with a budget wasn’t just about us; it was about others. Through this humbling experience, we found the ultimate heartbeat for our finances- living simply so we can give generously. The more we save, the more we have to give. I came home with so much more passion, purpose, and motivation for clipping coupons, shopping sales, buying used goods, saving more, and spending less.”
Awww… you’ll have to read Crystal’s story of how she was washing the dishes and all of a sudden got the idea to give away ALL the proceeds from her first book, amazing!
“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”
She shared a story from another family in her book that really hit home with me personally (since we just adopted!)… “A few years ago, our family… adopted… and had three children in less than two years… Although I am accustomed to living a high-octane life… this time I did not spring back like normal.” I love the advice/ lesson Crystal gave this mother.
Taking care of yourself is not “about being selfish or self-absorbed. In fact, many times when you direct your attention toward yourself and practice self-care, you become a better person all around. You transform into a more energetic mom, a more attentive spouse, a more tuned-in friend… instead of a stressed-out, frazzled mess.”
“Taking care of your health should be a top priority. Just ask anyone who suffers from chronic pain or a debilitating disease. They know how important good health is because they battle with pain and sickness every day. When you go through a health setback, everything else falls to the wayside. All the things you thought were once important seem meaningless and you would give anything to be healthy again.”
In the book, she shares about the importance and practical tips you can do to get reenergized and become more productive and passionate about life. Get the book to get all her tips!
Her lesson behind “Are you actually doing something or just moving furniture around?” really hit home with me!
“You are never going to be exactly where you want to be. There will always be another project, another chore, another task, or another idea to get started… So don’t beat yourself up that you’re not as far as you’d like to be. Instead, be kind to yourself and give yourself grace.”
-”Remember you are not superwoman…”
-”Get hold of your finances for the right reasons and manage your money purposefully.”
-”Take care of your home and day-to-day responsibilities in a simple way so you have time to do things that matter most.”
-”Start taking care of you. If you don’t put a priority on your health and mental sanity, you will pay for it now and later.”
We had a blast walking in our downtown parade this past Saturday night! We had to really bundle up but it was worth it. We walked with three other amazing families which made it so much fun! We wrapped our children as Christmas presents, because children ARE a gift! Throughout the parade route we kept hearing: “Awwww” “Look, those children are presents.” “Awww, cute children.” “Awww, adoption.” “Awww.”
Let me tell you about our signs. Sometimes it’s hard to find tangible ways you can help others. But my friend Candace hit the spot! She emailed me a few weeks before the parade and asked if she could make us our signs we’d need. Seeing how my plate is full and I really didn’t know if I could pull this whole parade thing off, I was THRILLED that I wouldn’t have to have the burden of making our signs! It may not have seemed like much to her, but let me tell ya, this was such a sweet blessing!! What a way to help! This really relieved work and stress for me! Thank you so much Candace! I thought her signs were awesome; so visible, so cute, and said the message perfectly!!
I didn’t get any pics while we were there but these were snapped on other families’ phones…
These sweet girls and their Daddy walked! That sweet little Anna in the middle is “1 Less”!!! (I think she was a little cold in the picture!)
These two boys were such champs, passing out flyers for us along the parade route. They worked hard! Such sweet boys with hearts of gold! Their parents also walked with their little girl who has been home from China for almost two yearsHere are our children. Thank you Candace and Kaylee for loaning us your wagons! We mounted Candace’s signs up above the wagons. Well… not “we.” My sweet hubby spent hours just to get these signs mounted up, get lights and garland wrapped around them and make them so they wouldn’t blow over. Harder than it looks!And once I got home, I took pics of the other side of the signs so you can see what people saw on the other side of the wagons…
Cole definitely enjoyed the parade most out of my four children. He thought the marching band and music and lights were all so great! He was amazed and excited and thoroughly enjoyed it! So cute to watch him. And the next morning I asked him if he liked the parade and the music and the lights. He put his hand near his lips like he was blowing a trumpet and pretended to make trumpet noises. He remembered how much fun it was to see the marching band!
So glad you visited our blog! Our mission is to BE A VOICE for orphans who have no voice. For little ones who have no Mama, no Dada, no family of their own. Children that spend day after day after day hoping that someone will come and rescue them. There are upwards of 163 million orphans world-wide. We believe it is the Church’s job (that’s you and me!) to care for these children.
One child at a time, you can make a difference. I can make a difference.
James 1:27 says “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…” Every Christian is commanded to care for the fatherless, for children that have no parents.
Everyone’s role may look different. For our family, it clearly meant adoption.
But never think that the problem is too big. Because the truth is, you CAN make a difference. In the life of a child, YOU can be the hope!
Visit our “Verses” tab to see what the Bible says about caring for the “least of these.”
To read a short snipet of our family’s story, click here.
To read our entire Journey to Adoption (which is long!), start here and grab a box of tissues!
If you want to see a short video of the very first time we met our son, grab a few more tissues and click here.
If you want to see a glimpse of us visiting our son’s orphanage and the children still waiting there, click here.
If there is anything we can do to answer questions for you about orphan care, please leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to email you!
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Wanted to spread the word: There’s a HUGE giveaway going on at NiHaoY’all!
Like, really huge.
A Dyson vacuum cleaner, gift cards galore… over $1600 in value!!
To enter, they’re asking for donations of $5 or more to benefit orphans in China!! OR you can just leave a comment on that post. What are you waiting for, go and enter! (Ends Saturday December 14th, that’s in just TWO days!)
The quotes below from Larry Bergeron’s book, “Journey to the Fatherless” were really convicting to me and at times made me say, “ouch.” But in a good way, because we need to be reminded that it’s not about us, and that there are little ones and people in desperate need that are waiting for us to come help them.
And by the way, if you’re looking for a neat way to help some children this Christmas, consider purchasing a Hope Box which supplies a child with life-saving water and high-protein food, organized by this author’s incredible ministry. Or do their 10 for 1 program. $10 feeds one child for one month. This is a very reputable ministry that has the smallest overhead costs I’ve seen, they are very trust-worthy and I personally support them. I also have another exciting Christmas giving opportunity to share with you too (more details coming tomorrow!!)
Book Quotes that Stuck Out To Me:
In the forward to the book: “Unlike other material that may exist, this book may cause you to make decisions that will ruin you in glorious ways, and make your life fuller (and perhaps more challenging) than you ever imagined.”
“Jesus calls each of us to be His agents of mercy on earth until He comes again. But I warn you, Satan will set traps of discouragement and doubt. He will quietly tell you that there is no way you could ever care for a foster child, love an orphan, or afford the expense of an adoption. He will remind you daily that there is no way you can provide clean drinking water to a thirsty child in India, life saving nourishing food to an orphan in Swaziland, medical care to an earthquake victimized little boy in Haiti, books and school supplies to a impoverished girl in Appalachia or for an intercessor to free a child from s*xual slavery in Thailand.”
“Satan will tell church leaders they have enough ministries already, and to add one more would be impractical. One of the more common justifications is a new building fund which is ‘needed right now more than anything.’ When that situation does not apply, then the excuse becomes the people of the church are too busy and would become overwhelmed by the work of orphan care and certain leadership must protect them from becoming overextended.”
“Satan will tell you that your life is busy, someone else can do it. He’ll tell you that life is short so do what you can for yourself. He’ll tell you to hold onto your well earned treasures rather than share them with a family trying to adopt. He’ll tell you that you are near retirement age and there are younger people who can help these children.”
“There is a blessing that comes when you adopt a child, when you offer hope to the child in foster care or the orphan. When you do, your life will have special meaning that can transcend the disappointments of life because you helped a child in need. But that is not all. The huge blessing we get is the promise that the Lord made in Psalm 41:1-2.”
“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.”
“The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.”
“Not everyone can or should adopt, and not every child is eligible for adoption, but every Christian can and should care for a child who is fatherless or orphaned.”
“This venture, this journey to the fatherless proves to be a pathway like no other, leading to a depth and purpose you just can’t find at a golf course or day spa.”
“We see this love not only in that God has called us to “defend the cause of the fatherless,” but that He has defended us. Not only that He directs us to “visit orphans in their distress,” but that He has visited us in ours. Not only that He invites us to set the lonely in families, but that He set us in His. Indeed, we love because He first loved us.”
“Ultimately, a journey to the fatherless is a journey to the heart of God.”
“This journey to the fatherless is a venture of unparallel difficulty and beauty that will not leave us or the world unchanged.”
David Platt is quoted in this book: “We see up close a propensity in our budgets to value our comforts over others’ needs. As I write this, more than five hundred million people in the world are starving to death. They lack food, water, and basic medical care. Children are dying of diseases like diarrhea; many who live will suffer lifelong brain damage from early protein deficiency. Others will be sold into forced labor or trafficked for sexual exploitation. Nearly one hundred fifty million children are orphans. Yet judging by what we hang on to in our churches, convenient programs and nice parking lots are still more important than such children and their families.”
“Living out the gospel will be hard work, and it will be demanding. It will cause us to evaluate what to do with the treasures piling up in our homes, with our talents that others profit from and with the time that we unknowingly invest in non-eternal things.“
“Every one of us in some way can be a solution provider helping the hand of an orphan or vulnerable child.”
I started this post at about the 3 month mark, and here I am 3 weeks later just getting around to posting it.
We’ve had Cole since August 5th. He was tiny and underweight when we got him. He’s went from skin and bones to quite the solid little man, you can visibly see fat on his body now! He’s up to 27.4 pounds now and still loves to eat.
That’s a tad over a 7 1/2 pound weight gain on a two-year old, WOW!
A 38% increase in body weight in 112 days!
His body needed those calories so badly. He can think and explore richly because he’s not worried about being hungry.
You know you’ve finally taught a child that food will always be available when he actually turns you down for food! Yes, most of the time he definitely wants to eat as soon as you mention it and he will still gobble up everything you give him. But a couple of times now I’ve offered him more food and he’s actually said, “no.” Wow! That’s huge. Look at these chunkers…
He was 31 inches tall at his Visa Medical Exam while we were in China, done on August 12th. He is now 32 1/2 inches tall. How does a two year old grow 1 1/2 inches in less than four months?! His body needed the nutrition to grow, big time.
Up until 2-3 weeks ago, Cole would NOT let me lay him in my arms like a baby in a cradled position and sing to him. He wanted upright and… well, pretty much down out of my arms. He’d take Dada any day though! But after having a huge episode of screaming one day he was absolutely exhausted. I layed him in my arms and sang softly to him. He had no energy left to fight me. So he just laid there still as a mouse and enjoyed it and completely calmed down every muscle of his body. Now he sometimes asks to be laid in my arms and asks me to sing to him. He loves it. It is so comforting and soothing to him.
When a little baby is held and loved, thousands of neurons are firing in their brain. This stimulates development and trust and healthy relationships. Cole missed out on this. But now when I hold him and he lays so completely still and stares into my eyes, I can see the voids being filled. He’s making up for lost time. Those connections are powerfully meaningful. We’re taking back what the enemy stole. When I stop singing, he softly asks for more. He lays limp and comforted, just completely melts in my arms. Precious boy.
One evening before we traveled to China we were having a family hymn time at home. Jason was playing the guitar and we decided to sing “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands.” Such a sweet little song. Then one verse just left my heart a bowl of mush. Here we are about to travel across the world to bring home a little one and my heart is broken for all the little children out there who have no Mama to hold them and love them, and we sang… “He’s got the tiny little babies, in His hands…”
“He’s got the tiny little babies, in His hands.”
“He’s got the tiny little babies, in His hands.”
“He’s got the whole world in His hands.”
Now here I am holding Cole in my arms in the U.S. and singing those same words.
Profound difference between then and now.
I keep reminding myself that satan wanted to destroy Cole, he still does. He wanted nothing more than for Cole and every other orphan to wither away in a neglectful institutional setting or on the streets. He especially does not want these children to be lovingly welcomed into Christian families. But God… He had a plan for Cole’s life. He had a plan for our family. He knew. And He worked mightily to get Cole home.
We do have many moments of struggles, our journey so far has been hard, I won’t lie. There’s a new adoption documentary called “Dark Matter of Love.” To love and adopt is amazing and glorious and beautiful. But it can also be messy and hard and broken. Love is not always easy. In the documentary, a family is videotaped as they interact with their newly adopted children. They watch the video back with an adoption expert and kind of analyze the body language and how everyone was feeling. Kind of eye opening actually. What if you were videotaped interacting with your child? You’d probably learn a thing or two! Well, I haven’t videotaped myself, but since seeing the video I do kind of think more about analyzing the situation instead of ‘reacting’ to the situation. If I take the time to think about analyzing Cole’s behavior and looking at his heart, I can be more sensitive to how he is processing the situation. He is a sensitive little fella and doesn’t like if things are unfair or wrong. He’s smart and in-tune with what’s going on emotionally.
For me, emotionally, it’s been like a roller coaster. But I will say, the highs are really high! Cole is beyond precious and smart and cute and cuddly! We really couldn’t have asked for a more sweet boy!
We know that Cole’s life mattered so much to God that He sent us after him. We know that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” And we know that in our weakness, Christ’s strength is made perfect.
We will continue to strive to purposefully parent Cole so that he will grow up with healthy attachments, healthy relationships, healing from his past, and most importantly a strong love for God and His Word. We are immersing ourselves in resources that will help and equip us to do the best job possible. Great children don’t turn out that way by accident, it takes a lot of work and effort, and that’s a good thing.
Thank you to everyone who has come alongside us and been support and encouragement. And especially fellow adoptive Mama’s out there who have made me feel like I am not alone and the issues we face are completely normal. If you’re an adoptive family struggling (and we all do at some point!!), don’t do it alone. Reach out to other adoptive families who can share with you, weep with you, and encourage you, it can make all the difference in the world. There are some families that have been through some dark valleys, and their wisdom can be just the thing you need. Also, to my non-adoptive friends, you also have been a priceless treasure of encouragement!!
Thank the Lord that this little boy is HOME…