Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What it's all about

While I ment the last post to be hopeful, I think sometimes it is hard to see past the pain to the hope. What I wanted to say is that I no longer see the pain because of the hope.

This is an email I recieved recently. It was written by my friends the Oberhausers, who are in Ukraine right now. They have perfectly captured the essense of adoption and why the Holy Spirit insists that we adopt these children. How else could we fully understand the Father's love for us?
The day before yesterday, our adoption facilitator here in Nikolaev said a couple of things that reminded me what this whole adoption process is ultimately about. Her name is Sasha, and she was talking about the paperwork that should have been kept up-to-date for Vanya. For most orphans in Vanya's orphanage ("The Baby House" - an excellent facility), medical records, etc. are kept in good order so that if and when someone should come to adopt them, the process can go smoothly. In Vanya's case, however, many of the things that should have been kept tidy were not, and now Sasha really has her work cut out for her to get things ready for a court date. The reason Vanya's records have fallen into such disarray is the fact that he is blind and may have other special needs. Because of this, most people working with his case felt that his records did not need to be kept up-to-date, since there was practically no hope that he would ever be adopted.
Wow. No hope. This statement reminded me of Ephesians 2:12, where Paul describes our spiritual state apart from Christ:
"Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated...having no hope and without God in the world."
At one time, I was without hope. Before I knew Christ, I was trapped hopelessly in the Orphanage of Sin, with no power to remove myself from that state. If Vanya is not taken from the Baby House, he will eventually be transferred to an institution for special needs children, where his quality of life would be extremely poor, and his chances of ever being united to a family drop to almost zero. Similarly, if I had never come to be united with Christ, my eternal destiny would have been eternal separation from God in hell.
About a year ago or so, Reece's Rainbow (the adoption ministry from the States that we are working with) began advocating for special needs orphans in the Baby House. Since that time, a number of other "hopeless" orphans have been adopted into loving homes. This has been nothing short of amazing to those associated with these children here in Ukraine. Orphans like these are very undesirable to most Ukrainian families because of their inability to provide for their parents as they age. Shasha described it like this: "To us, it seems like you people are from another planet or something."
This statement stopped me in my tracks. It drove home the fact that in my previous state of lostness, I needed someone "from another planet or something" to come and rescue me. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world," (John 18:36) and he came to die on the cross to rescue me. Or as Paul puts it in Ephesians 1:3-6:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places {another planet or something}, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved."
Adoption is one of the clearest pictures of what happens in our salvation. We are blinded and without hope in our sin, powerless to escape our destiny. By no merit of ours, the Father chooses to save us by his sovereign, glorious grace, even when we shouldn't be desirable to him. And that's not even the whole story. Not only are we unable to get ourselves to God, we are enemies of God (see Romans 5:6-10). Talk about not deserving to be adopted.
Our adoption of Vanya (and every other earthly adoption) is simply a shadow of the much greater spiritual reality that takes place any time our Heavenly Father adopts a sinful human through faith in his Son Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 2:1-10). So this adoption is not just about us bringing home an unwanted orphan, but it is more ultimately about reflecting the greater truth that God brings home undeserving sinners. We had no hope. He came from "another planet or something" and chose us for adoption as sons. So please pray with us that Sasha and others will see this ultimate reality of adoption and that God will get all glory through this adoption.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How do you do it?

We read about loss every day. Children, parents, cousins, neighbors, friends, gone to cancer, old age, illness, accident. Somehow, in spite of it all, the bills keep coming, groceries keep needing to be replaced, paychecks must be earned, noses wiped, meals cooked, children tucked in, homework checked, laundry done. Life just keeps on going.

I always wondered how one lives with the anguish of loosing a child.

Then I miscarried.


I heard stories of people loving and working for months, years, on adoption paperwork , meeting and spending time with the child, loving them, and then being denied the ability to bring their child home.

I wondered, just how do you live through a failed adoption?

Then I gave Anastasia a kiss, told her to have a great lunch, I would see her in a couple of hours.

I never saw her again.

Just how do you live with that?

Psalm 28:13
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Daily His grace is sufficient for me. I know that only He knows what is best, wants what is best, provides what is best.
To His glory, it is best for us to suffer these losses. If I did not believe this, I would surely despair. Frankly, I don't know how anyone lives outside of Christ without despair.

Psalm 28:13
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Friend, I have seen the goodness of the Lord. My prayer is that you do too.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Spring Sveta! (not mine, another one!)

Exciting things are happening all the time. As I shared dinner with a family who recently completed the adoption of their HIV+ daughter from Ukraine, and listened as they outlined the "crazy" plan to persue the adoption of another child who needs a family quickly, A facebook friend popped up with a question about a child they feel moved to adopt while in Ukraine adopting a little girl they have already committed to. She shared that they couldn't stop thinking about her and if they could secure an addtitional $12,000 in the next 12 days, (11 now), they would be able to bring her home too.

That's where you come in.
click on the Project Hopeful donate button here on my blog.
donate at least $5 for a chance to win the necklace and T-shirt.
feel free to be very generous!!



This is SVETA!!!

Dawn Patterson used the Project Hopeful pendant and created this AWESOME necklace

....AAAAAAND....A PH T with a GREAT reminder!

This is your chance to look great and do something even greater! $5 donations to win:

FUNKY FISH Project HOPEFUL necklace/ Project HOPEFUL “It's not about me.” T-shirt

For addtional information about how this particular donation drive got started, visit


Friday, October 8, 2010

A single cup of water...

So often we set our sights on grand things and are discouraged. We hear about someone leaving everything and relocating to a third world country to be a missionary and instantly we think, "I could never do that."
We meet someone who downsized their lifestyle in order to give more to those who need it and we think, "I could never do that."
We know someone who adopted multiple children of different ages and health issues and say out loud, "I could never do that."
(yes, I know, this last one describes me. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this. If I had a dime for every time... I could pay for another adoption!)

Why do we always focus on what we can't do? Compare ourselves to someone else, become overwhelmed by the monumental shift it would take to make it happen, and write it off as something we could never do?
Do we really expect something so extreme from everybody? Would we really rather settle for nothing than to make an effort and miss such a high mark?

It is ok if you can "never do" something. It is not ok to never do ANYTHING.

Can't move to another country to be a missionary? Support one who can. Start talking to your neighbors. Pray for them. Rake the leaves of an elderly neighbor. Pull up their garbage cans, bake some cookies.

So you can't imagine downsizing your life. Downsize 1 thing. Eat out less. Reduce your cable, or cell phone, or grocery bill. Use the money to help someone else.

You don't have to adopt a child. Sponsor one, sponsor someone else's adoption, become a Safe Family, foster a child, become a big brother/sister. Volunteer in a children's program like Awana, or Champions or Girl/Boy scouts. Teach Sunday School. Run the Christmas program. There are too many children right here who need a positive influence, even if they do have parents, to write them off with "I could never..."

Maybe you could "never do that," but don't stop there. Follow it up with "but I could do ..."

From an excerpt off of Tom Davis' facebook post:

Don't underestimate the power of doing something, even when it seems insignificant. Don't think that your small gesture doesn't matter. Don't let the opportunity pass to make a difference in the life of someone today.

One of my favorite songs by Sara Groves ends with the phrase, "Like a single cup of water, how it matters."

Matthew 10:42
And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.

Every little bit matters.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Like the new look?

As you can see, my blog has been updated. It was really bad. In order to fix it, I got to do something really good!
A woman named Becky is earning funds for her adoption by updating blogs. you can read about her progress here
For a small fee, she will update your blog as well!
Don't have a blog? No problem, you can donate some money anyway!