Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.

Ephesians 1:5-6

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:17

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Feelings That Wrestle With My Heart

              So many have asked how I am feeling. Such a loaded questions as my heart is being pulled in so many directions.
            The first set of feelings is about the surgery, risks, etc. I am so very thankful Nina was a candidate to have this possibility as there are plenty of Tuberous Sclerosis kiddos who are not. The chance to be with a team of neurologist and surgeons who we trust is a huge blessing! Especially coming from skeptics such as Josh and I. But obviously the thought of my sweet baby lying on an operating table for hours kills me! The what could go wrong is always hanging over me. Though honestly I have enough faith in the doctors, that it is not a huge burden.
           The thought of what my baby feels kills me. She is not able to really tell me how she is feeling, if she is scared, if she is angry for us putting her through all of this, neither can we explain why we are doing this for her. That thought hurts my heart as we are still building trust in our sweet girl. She is still learning we will NEVER leave her. We will never give up on her and that we love her and are fighting for her! Oh how I wish I could explain to her when they wheel her away that our arms ache to hold her and we will be waiting on the other side every time!
         There is a greater fear for me if this will work. There is a very high success rate for this kind of surgery. 75% of kids come out seizure free either on meds or without meds. I hate to think of us having to put her through this again if this doesn't work.
        Probably my greatest fear is who will be wheeled back out on that surgery bed? When you mess with the brain the way they are, all kinds of changes can and hopefully will be made in her life and personality. Our surgeons assistant said, you would be surprised in how fast their brain recovers and begins to rapidly learn things she missed out on for so long. All of this is GREAT NEWS! But if  you have a child, imagine falling in love with a child, all their quirks and mannerisms that make them uniquely them, and you see all of that falling away. Do not get me wrong, I want my baby girl to live up to her full potential! I look forward to one day being able to hold a conversation with her and watch her starting up friendships with other children her age, but we love our Nina. We love her truly for how she came to us. Her stubborn fight that has carried her through her life and hasn't stopped yet, her love for feet :), her giggle that can some times start for no reason but soon has you laughing and her love and affection for everyone she meets! THAT is our Nina. The quirks that at one time I did not understand but quickly became overwhelmed with love for!
As we sit in the waiting room waiting for our names to be called so many emotions run through my head about what days lay ahead, but I know without a shadow of a doubt, the Lord knows my fears, He knows my heart and He is and always has been holding my baby girl in His hands.

This song has been my heart as I lean and trust in the arms of my Heavenly Father...

I can not wait till we can look back on this day as another day Nina's life was transformed!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Orphan Sunday-The Great Calling of ALL our Church

WAKE UP CHURCH! Hellloooo! Is this thing on?!?! IF you are not a Christian, I'm not talking to you. The good you do really is from the bottom of your heart. But Christians, you are with out excuse!!! We are COMMANDED to care for the orphans and widows...

               Psalms 82:3 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

*This is my fair warning, you may either be annoyed with me or hate me through the whole have been warned...but hang in there, I promise I have something to say worth love! I hope only to share what is on my heart. 

           If you did not already know Orphan Sunday is coming. The one day out of the year that advocates for babies all over the world BEG you to see them. Hear their stories, know they have a name, see the tears falling from nights of having to do this life thing alone. So here, I will do my best to do it for them. I mean we can do one day right? Breast cancer gets attention for at least a whole 31 days. Don't hit me, it is for sure a worthy cause, I would NEVER say it is not. But if we can give something 31 days, surely we can ponder the lives of children all over...for one.

            Did you know in many Eastern European orphanages, children age out of their "baby orphanages" at the age of 5? They leave, most times an orphanage that will change them, feed them and let them play, to a mental institution of adults. Where most...die. Heartbreaking right? Children for their "safety" will be tied to cribs for hours on end. Adults will take what they can from children, food, blankets, whatever they can get. These lives existing together, survive on survival of the fittest! There is no other way. And let's face it, babies require a lot of attention and work, but in a building of hundreds of sick and dying people, who has time to get to the baby who has stopped crying, simply because no one hears them.  I have heard many say who have been there that it is EERIE how silent a room filled with babies is. It should not be this way people! There needs to be the cry of a baby screaming,

                                          "Someone see me! I have been wet for                                       days! There is no heat and the wet                              clothes are freezing!" 

                                  "Someone hold me! I need to know I                          am loved! That I am worth more than these metal bars and white walls tell me I am!"

           "Someone please feed me! I have been crawling on the dirt floor and the weight of the sand in my belly is not enough!"

                           "Someone protect me! The hand of the over worked nanny in an over crowded institute, is painful!"

"Someone hear me, the nights in a different bed every week leaves me cold, alone and broken. I want to trust when they say they love me, but so did the last family that I was taken from."

        I have heard more than one story of the fears sweet children coming into adoption families have shared because of the trauma and the things these sweet children have to see that NO ONE, no adult, no human and certainly NO CHILD, should ever have to see! Children afraid of dolls whose eyes do not blink because they had seen children, their friends, not wake up next to them, in morning. Waking up next to a child, whose eyes, no longer blink.

           In China children age out at 14. When children are put on the street, their life title is and will always be ORPHAN. Leaving them with no chance at life as you and I know it. No 9-5 job, no family, nothing. Their choices, prostitution, selling drugs, or death. Could you imagine your 14 year old having to make that choice?
      I know we all think a whole lot of our government and the job it does at taking care of it's own. But did you know the ultimate goal of any child in the foster system is reunification? I hear ya, I would LOVE every child to live out their days with their biological parents. In a perfect world that is where a child ALWAYS belongs. But while most (not all as I have NO DOUBT their are children in our foster care starving) are fed and have a roof over their heads until their mom and dad can get their lives together. Many parents don't ever get there. But these parents are given chance after chance after chance. A child will be taken from their mom who has man after man come in their lives, beating their child, and given one more watch their child get beaten by the next guy. And be taken back to a different family. All the while this family might be working hard at wanting to keep this hurt, broken child in as their own and give them the life they have always dreamed of. But the child's fate is to stay in the system till the parents rights have FINALLY be severed (they have done something SO terrible that it has FINALLY gotten to this point), the parent finally sign their own rights away, or the child ages out of the system, missing the only chance they had at something normal. Left with memories of inconsistency, wounds, and a system that constantly let them down.

              But we are to busy. Our schedules are too filled with our own children's well paid for activities. Our mortgages are about as much as we can afford and we needed to have it fully furnished and decorated. I am too busy giving my children every THING, every opportunity, I never had. Our kids NEED this and NEED that, where would the money come from to feed the poor. Where will the time come from to go on a missions trip to build an orphanage? I think some times we as Americans live our lives and completely forget that WE could be that woman working the street corners in Romania because both of her parents were killed in a war torn country and she had to learn to survive the only way she knew how. We forget that WE could be that man who stands in the way on the street begging for money with drug lines all the way up his arms! What man who has seen Christian after Christian walk by, dressed to the nines, with their eyes averted the other direction in hopes they wont feel guilty, want anything with a God we CLAIM to love so much!


CHRISTIANS WAKE UP!!!! When did our hearts and minds make our GOD SO SO SMALL??!?!?!?! What is there HE can't do?! we tell our children, "This is the God who helped a man and his family build an ark big enough and safe enough to hold his family and 2 of every kind of animal for a year while there was a world wide flood! This is the God who helped tiny David defeat a giant with a sling and a stone! This is the God who told Joshua and his people to MARCH around the city of Jericho and the walls fell!!!!" So do we think HE did all of those things we tell our children? Or are they really just fairy-tales? Could your God really carve out time in our busy lives to feed the poor? Could HE provide $30k to give a child a forever home, or even smaller, enough money to help a country in Africa build a well to have clean safe water? Our God can do big big things! We just have to remember that He is that Big and allow Him to do it! "IF I had a dollar for every person who says I would love to adopt but..." I could fund another adoption! I promise you, I am NOT judging! I have seen God move major mountains in our adoption last year, you think that would keep me forever sure in His power and never doubt...but I still fall short.

In the new book "You and Me Forever" by Francis Chan and his wife Lisa Chan

 " Sometimes people are paralyzed by fear of failure. They are so afraid that they might do the wrong thing that they do nothing. We need to learn to err on the side of action, because we tend to default to negligence. So many won't do anything unless they hear a voice from heaven telling them precisely what to do. Why not default to action until you hear a voice from heaven telling you to wait? For example: Why not assume you should adopt kids unless you hear a voice telling you not to? Wouldn't that seem more Biblical since God told us that true religion is to care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27)?"

There are so many children, waiting for someone to see them...

So many children waiting for someone to see them, to hear them and to want them! So many families who dared to ask God..."Do you want us to bring one of them home?" And waiting to watch God's hand through the lives of the church and His people reach out and help bring them home. So many kids in crowded foster homes with so little money to feed the many children that line their cribs! So many children in the foster home who are hoping and praying someone will take a chance on them. To love them, even if it may change what you thought your perfect life should have looked like. The system is not the only thing failing these kids...WE are failing these kids!

                       "Who will hear? Who will see? Who will love?" 

Matthew 25:35
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

What do we think of this verse? Do we think, "He isn't talking about me?" Do we wait until someone else does it. Do we shake our fist at God saying, "Where are you God? Can you see these children dying, DO SOMETHING!"

CHURCH HE MEANT YOU! YOU are His hands and feet! That was HIS plain all along! 

Here are a few ways you can start being the hands and feet of God...

Consider sponsoring a child living in New Day Foster Home in China. The cost is only $35 a month, and you will receive regular updates from this amazing organization. The children below are just four children currently in need of sponsors. Click the following link to sponsor a child today!

All of these children need sponsors so that their nannies are able to continue training to care for them and for medical supplies, food and schooling. New Day is a foster care in China that takes in medically fragile children until they can be adopted. Many children living here are in pre school and taken care of.

An organization started by Steven Curtis Chapman to help raise awareness for the Orphan Crisis, provides life saving surgeries for orphans all over the world, and provides grants for families in the process of adopting.

Look around you, there are people fundraising for everything all over! Friends who are sick who need help with medical bills, there are foster homes allll over the country, FIND ONE! See if there is anything you can do to help them. Bottles, wipes, diapers a cooked meal! Do you know someone who has adopted or is in the process? Adoption isn't cheap, so you don't feel called to adopt, help them! Share their status, be their cheerleader. Give if you can, whether it is time or a phone call to see how they are holding up. And if you know someone who has adopted, you would know, after they have been home a week, the excitement has worn down. But their lives of crazy are just getting started. Love on them! See what your church can do to encourage them or lift them up! HELP anyway you can! Know a troubled teen in your youth group or down the street who you know was adopted or in the foster care. LOVE ON THEM! Some times kids need someone else to hear their story from an unbiased view . 

These are just some of the many MANY organizations out there providing hope for children all over the world. Still need help finding more, I would be happy to help point you in the direction of some that need more people jumping on board to help! We can never out give God! NEVER!
I put together this video to help show you what Love and a family can do for the children of the world.

 Be that family that stands out and does something radical together! BE HIS HANDS AND FEET!

PLEASE PLEASE! I am begging you...spend this Sunday thinking about the children over seas, the children in your kids schools and the children being moved from house to house who need us to be Jesus in their lives. Can you take an hour out of your day this Sunday November 2nd to pray about what YOU can do?

Love you all! Hope this hasn't driven too many people to want to throw any rocks :) I truly love you all, but I love God more, and I know He wants us to love the people in this world more than ourselves! xoxoxoxox