Friday, December 28, 2012

The waiting is almost over

I can't believe I have waited this long to post my news.  To be honest, once I finally got the news I have so impatiently waiting for, I needed to cherish it in my heart for a while.  I do however wish to share and know that so many of you whom I have never even met have been lifting us up so very faithfully in your prayers.

So here goes...



I've finally been able to declare what I have prayed so incessantly for.

We leave on Sunday January 13th.
We arrive Monday afternoon around 1pm.
Tuesday at 11am we have our fateful appointment.

We hope that Wednesday January 16th we hold the children we have been fighting for since this same date last year.

It is difficult to believe it has been a full year.

Please pray for us.  Pray for the children we leave behind and the children we travel toward.  Pray that all of our hearts will be strong during the separation and while God knits our family back together.

I will wrap this post up with what I write so often when I am excited:


Sunday, December 2, 2012


I have been remiss on blogging for a bit. I am struggling with the waiting and don't wish to bore you with my inner agony.

 But to catch you up, I have been waiting.
 and waiting
and waiting
and waiting.
 Waiting for 20 more business days to pass until that glorious time when I finally hear the words "I have your appointment date!"

 Yesterday made the 20 days.

 Today I expected those fateful words.

 Those words did not come. 

To be quite honest, I was up cradling my phone starting at about 3:46am. (ok, not about 3:46, exactly 3:46) In the dark, only the glow of my phone illuminating my hopeful face. The not-so-dulcet tones of my under-the-weather husband contributing to my insomnia. However the real cause was hope. Hope that I would be leaving soon. Anxiety tried to steal my hope. As the minutes ticked by and no answer came, doubt reared it's ugly head. Trying to turn me into:

 ANXIETY GIRL- able to leap to the worst conclusion in a single bound!

But the Holy Spirit was having none of it.
He whispered gently to my soul encouraging me that I was not alone.  From 4am until I finally got out of bed around 7, I read Psalms and sang praise music in my mind.  The praise songs were because a verse would trigger the song based on it.

I did not receive the email I am so desperate for, but I also didn't get an email telling me that we had been rejected again.  This most certainly would have come on Friday.

So from the comfort of my home, in the safety of my husband's arms, listening to the chorus of my children's voices, I continue to wait.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beautiful words.

As the time an adoption stretches on for months, it gets more difficult to fight off discouragement.  
But our Father knows and sends encouraging words.  Here is the email I read this morning in response to my request for my facilitator to call the orphanage director to assure the children that we ARE coming:

I just talked to Vladimir the director. He said kids were wondering about the time of your arrival and asked him many questions. He said he will let the kids know you are coming some time soon without indicating the date, because they do not undrestand any delays. They express the big desire to be adopted! This is a great thing.

Monday, October 29, 2012

For Paisley

I am sure you all remember this precious darling.  She has had so many ups and downs, both those she has experienced first hand as well as those she had no idea were even happening.

Likewise her new family has had quite an ordeal.   They left expecting to adopt 2 very special little girls.  Just days before leaving, they were informed that one of their little darlings had passed away.  They were heartbroken, but determined to be united with their other daughter.  While at their referral appointment, they were informed that their other child was not available for adoption!
You can read about it here.

Well, all of that dust has settled and her family could use some help.  When they left for EU, they had no idea that they would end up Vika's parents nor in the town they are now in.  While lovely, it is much more expensive than they had prepared for.  If you would like to help this family, feel free to donate to this link on the right of my blog labeled McKenna.
Thank you all, your prayers have helped unite this darling with her family!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ready to Rumble

Today I should have received news that we would be traveling in 9 days.  Instead I received another one of those heart stopping emails:

The dossier was returned to me yesterday. They didn't like the POLICE clearance. They think it is just a copy inspite of the fact that you say it is an original and notary certifies your signature.
We neeed to get the paper from police with signature and the stamp. In case the police department issues only copies, there must be a letter explailing this. The letter must have the signature and stamp.
Can you get the original of police clearance or the letter explaining why they issue copies?
I can ressubmit the dossier on Thursday, do you think it is possible to get this docs this soon?
Also I will need one affedavit for Intepol check and one copy of each passport, because SDA already sent them to Interpol. When I resubmit the dossier they will have to do it again. 
It does put us back, but I couldn't do anything with the situation...

My dear friend Sue shared this scripture with me:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Cor. 4:8-9a

There is no doubt that this is a battle, but you know what? 


Scott is on his way home from work.  We will together go to the state police and throw ourselves on their mercy to issue new clearances today.  (they really like to do things in 2 weeks)
I will go downtown, I will sit in the "Traci Heim Adoption Sherpa Chair" at the appostille office, and I will visit my favorite DHL service provider.  
If it doesn't happen today, it will be done Monday. 
If not Monday, then Tuesday.
If not Tuesday, then Wednesday...
We will not stop.  
We will not falter.  

After all...

These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD. -John 16:33

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No place for fear or despair

Dear friends,So many of us face hardships and uncertainties, and loss.  We are in a battle against powers that would see us crumble- discouraged and defeated.
I believe that we are all in many ways struggling against all kinds of arrows from the enemy. We feel overworked, under appreciated, ill equipped, out paced, over wrought.We watch as our hopes are ripped quickly from our fingertips or slowly dissolve in our hands. We lash out at those we love, we fail to meet their needs and feel as if our own are left hanging in the breeze.Having taken our eyes off of our savior, we begin focusing on the waves around us and we begin to sink.  Despair sets in and we begin to believe that we must resign ourselves to defeat and self loathing. 

PRAISE GOD, this isn't TRUTH.

In the midst of some very desperate times, the Holy Spirit guided to blessed assurance, the evidence of things unseen.

Psalm 27:13I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living.

Dear ones, despair cannot abide where our Father lives. WE WILL SEE THE GOODNESS of our heavenly Father right here, right now, while we live. This narrow path is difficult and full of unknowns, but never despair and never without HOPE. Even when we don't understand and nothing makes sense and seems unjust, our Father KNOWS HOW IT ENDS. He is the author of our salvation and we will see his GOODNESS.
I pray that through all of our pain and confusion we BELIEVE in the goodness of our Father to protect us, guide us, comfort us, direct us and admonish us.
He has NEVER failed us, and He NEVER will.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Food on your table puts children at our table!

We are working on one final fundraiser before our trip to bring our children home.
In the right hand corner of this blog, there is a new button.  If you click it, you will be taken to our coupaid page.
Here's how it works.  For every $20 you spend, you receive $50 in restaurant gift certificates that can be used for 1 $50 gift certificate, or can be broken down into $5, $10, $15...I think you get the idea.  When you spend the $20, $10 of that is put in our fundraising account.

That's it.

You spend $20.

You get $50.

We get $10.

I don't know if you have noticed, but stores are already decorating for Christmas.  You could spend $20 and get 5 $10 gift cards for teacher gifts!

If this sounds like a good deal to you, we would so appreciate it if you would consider doing some shopping that you had to do already and help bring our children home.


Thursday, September 27, 2012


We have been submitted!!!!
The countdown begins in earnest, and you can expect to see me post that we are outta here in 4-6 weeks.
That's all for now!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Epic Fail

After all of that work, our dossier was rejected.  Our medical had the wrong codes, and I failed to include the embassy address on one of the forms.

It is unlikely that I can get it where it needs to be before next Thursday, but you know I will be trying!

So again, stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

All out CRAZY!

After the awesomeness of the last post on Tuesday, who knew that Wednesday and Thursday would not go quite as well.  My daughter Sveta and I were scheduled to leave for Georgia to attend the Together for Adoption conference to man a table and host a break-out.  What could go wrong?

The day began with more email from my facilitator, but this one had a different tone: (I have highlighted every point that caused my heart rate to skyrocket)


I should have noticed this problem earlier, but I did not. I am really sorry about it.
The social worker made a mistake in you passport number in your home study. If you have a copy of the home study, please revise it and you will see on the first page, your passport number is different from the copy of you passport. There is a chance nobody will notice it, but there is also a chance they will see it and reject the dossier, because of this stupid mistake.
How fast can you correct it?
I was planning to submit the whole dossier on the 20th of September, which is Thursday. Do you think we can do it? If we are not able to submit the dossier on the 20th, the next time will be the 27th of Sept. In other words every Thursday.

Talk about knocking my hat in the creek!

So how fast could I correct it?  You know, since I'm supposed to leave for Georgia at noon and I still had to drive to Joliet to pick up a box of t-shirts to be sold for Village of HOPE.

Prepare to travel at the speed of TRACI!!!

This is what it took to make it happen:

Quickly found the error on my home study.  Made the correction and reprinted out the first page of the home study for reassembly.  Discovered that all of the margins were crazy and spent the next 20 minutes reconstructing the cover page.
Reprinted cover page.
Drove to Joliet at 9am an got the shirts.
Drove to Carolyn's house to have another form notarized.
Discovered I needed 2 home studies for submission but I only had 1.
Called social worker- no answer.
Called home study agency.
Re-called social worker and explained the problem.
Panicked when she said she may not have another original.
Waited for a call back.
Social worker had located an original and requested the correction.
New wrinkle- home study in Oak Park, an hour north of my house.
Drove to Oak Park and retrieved home study.
Drove into the city for Appostilles.
Gave explicit instructions to Sveta about where to take the paperwork while I circled the block on State Street so I didn't have to pay for parking.
Frantically called Sveta's cell phone 15 times as I watched her walk into the wrong building.  She didn't answer until I had circled the block once.  She had realized her error and went to the correct building next door.
I circled the block for over an hour while I waited for Sveta to return.  
Used that time to locate a FedEx office.  
Discovered one around the block.  I am not kidding.
Sveta finally came down right when I was passing the entrance for the hundredth time.
Drove her around the block and handed her a pre-filled out FedEx form and envelope.  
Stressed that delivery must be in 4 days. (this is how long the previous 2 packages took)
Sveta completed the transaction and states that delivery will be on the 17th.  Plenty of time for 20th submission.
We headed to Georgia around 3pm.

I wish I could say the saga ends there, but I would be lying.

Sveta and I drove a little over 300 of our 700 miles before turning in at a not so Super 8.
We collapsed into our beds and went to sleep.
Up at 4:30 am.
Decided that Sveta needed to experience WAFFLE HOUSE for breakfast.
Continued 400 miles to Georgia and arrived right on schedule at 3:30pm.

It is at this point that things take an unexpected turn for the worse.  I will just say that no orphan conference is complete without at least one hysterical adoptive mom, and unfortunately this mother was me.

What caused this explosion?  I decided to track The Package. 
The screen happily informed me that my package would arrive on the 20th by 6pm.


My heart was racing as my fingers punched, yes punched in the FedEx phone number.  
The string of unfortunate souls who had to handle my rapidly escalating call learned that hell hath no fury like an adoptive mother being told her paperwork was not going to get there on time.

I think it was when the person I spoke with told me, "Well, all I can tell you ma'am is that I HOPE it gets there on time."

This was a very poor choice of words on his part.

 (I will take this opportunity to remind you gentle readers that I work for Project HOPEFUL.  Did you catch HOPE in there?)


Yes, I really said that. 

The call ended with them letting me know that my package was already in Paris and that they would make sure it went on to Ukraine that night, but that FedEx is closed on the weekends in Ukraine and Kramatorsk is very far from Kiev.  
Yes, I know how far Kramatorsk is from Kiev.  I have been there.  I have driven 12 hours at 125 miles an hour from Kiev through Kramatorsk on my way to Donetsk.  I KNOW HOW FAR AWAY THAT IS!

So what is going to happen?

Well, subsequent calmer calls betwixt myself and Fedex as well as emails with my facilitator has the package being held in Kiev for Masha to pick up there.  She needs it in Kiev to submit to the SDA/DAP anyway.  
We believe it really will be submitted on the 20th, but we will have to wait until Thursday to find out for sure.  

stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Awesome news!

I awoke this morning to the most beautiful message.  (yes, if you are on a path similar to mine, you will find that you go to bed with your phone next to you so that you can check email messages before your feet ever hit the floor.)

I just talked to the director Vladimir. He said he has talked to the kids and they said YES. they can't wait to become the part of your family. 
This is all I can say, because he is not very talkative. I also informed him, that you will probably come sometime in October\November. He said he will let the kids know.

I don't know that my feet ever hit the ground after that.  I have floated all day.  My heart is full of joy.

They said YES.  

They can't wait to become a part of my family!

Oh, how they already are.  

Just thought you'd like to know this too.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I received word yesterday that my i171h was approved on September 1!  I should have it any day.  As soon as it is in my hot little hands, I will get the proper state seals and send the rest of my dossier to my facilitator.

Although I had hoped to at least gone to get my kids, if not home by now, I have adjusted my expectations and am pinning hope on sometime in October to travel to get my family.  Only God knows and while I like to plan, I recognize this is all in His hands and submit to his time frame.

Speaking of submission, the closer we get to making their adoption into our family a reality, the more I become aware that our lives are going to change- big time.
I think about each precious child entrusted to me so far and how I have been refined by their addition.  This refining process is on-going.  God is not done with each change and constant adjustments are being made.  Some I welcome and some I am more resistant to.  This is when the heat gets turned up on me and my kids.  They are being refined too.  It is layers of refinement.  Their resistance to refinement creates the climate into which I am thrust so that more of me can be pealed away so that more of HIM can shine through.

I get dizzy just thinking about it.

I can't help but think that God granting me 4 children at once is setting up for serious change, a kind of
"Extreme makeover- HEART edition" so to speak.

Oh Lord, drown out the whispers of doubt and fear and worldly conformity that satan uses to dissuade us from being transformed into your likeness. Fill my ears, my heart with the sound of Your name...

Friday, August 31, 2012

A different kind of graduation.

Only by the grace of God is this not what Masha would be facing today:

Today is August 31st in Eastern Europe which means that it's "Graduation Day" when the 16-18 year olds graduate from the orphanages. Every year on August 31st, an entire graduating class of orphans is sent out of the orphanages all across Eastern Europe. Most of these children are without adequate life skills, without much more than the clothes on their backs, and well wishes to find a place at trade schools. No family, no mentors, no chance for adoption... no hope. Within a few years, over 80% of these graduated orphans will find themselves trapped in lives of poverty, crime, prostitution, addiction, incarceration, or dead (many at their own hands). Will you please join me in praying for these beautiful children (and those called to help them) on this day? As well as the children in foster care here, and all the kids around the world that will wake up hungry and without parents today.”

 The bedrooms have been built and the  beds are made.  Chairs are at the table, food is ready to prepare, hugs and love abound.  Friends have blessed us with bags and bags of clothes in various sizes that await the eager hands of children to sort through and claim.

 We have sold things, held give-aways, been advocated for by many loving friends who raised the bulk of the $16,000 that we have so far.  We still need about $10,000.  We need to pay for airfare and in-country stay.  We are working and scraping, and I KNOW that God will provide it.  If you have any ideas for me about how to raise this last bit (yep, BIT), please don't hesitate to share them with me.  

Please pray for the children who are facing this reality today, and thank you all for staving off this fate for my four precious children.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Remember you are free

I have a bunch of people I love who are being held captive by lies when really they are free.  Tried to write it out but not having any luck so I am just going to give you a verse and a video to lift your spirits and remind you that we are children of the King and we are free today!

John 10:10
A thief comes not but to steal, kill, and destroy.  I come that you might have life and have it abundantly!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

We have a winner!

Thank you all for participating in our giveaway.  Your participation helped me raise nearly $400!
Blessings to you all.

So here is an adoption update:  Yesterday we were fingerprinted for our visa approval, the i171h.  When we receive this, we will be able to send our dossier to our facilitator and then we wait for a travel date!!!

Friday, August 3, 2012


Yesterday was Vika's birthday.  She turned 6.  She has spent half of her short little life in an orphanage.

Today is Alina's birthday.  She is 11.
No one sang "Happy Birthday" to her in bed. No one is making her a triple decker cake with the frosting color of her choice.  No one is preparing to take her to the dinner of her choice.  Most likely she has no idea that a mommy and daddy are fighting tooth and nail to bring her home.
I say "most likely" because it is possible that they have been told yesterday or today that we are in fact coming.  This is because we FINALLY received DCFS approval of our home study.  This is what took quite a bit of fighting.
We now wait for our i171h.  As soon as this is in our hands, we will send our dossier and wait for an appointment.
If I had my druthers, I would have them home already, but God is God, and I am not.  Everything is unfolding according to His plan.
While we wait, we still need money for airfare and in-country stay.  The adoption itself is covered.  The generosity of others has blown me away.  I have adopted 6 children already.  Until this adoption, we funded the adoptions ourselves.  We sold investments, sold coins, and readjusted lifestyles.  God showed us that he had blessed us with the resources and this was how he wanted us to allocate them.  This time, God is showing us something else, changing us in a different way.  Until now, we have always been the helpers assisting others.  We now are the ones being helped, assisted, supported.  God is showing us His glory through the generosity of others.  Friends we've only met briefly but love deeply have shown us that our children matters, our obedience matters, and that they believe in us and our growing family.  Two separate fundraisers blessed us with over $16,000.  This pays for all the adoption fees and court costs.  Since we are leaving later than intended, the Euro-cup soccer thingy is over and airfare costs have dropped.  I believe we only need $15,000. (only need. lol My Father is mighty and it is ONLY)

So I've decided on another giveaway.
A donation of any size enters you for a chance to receive this retired Lladro valued at nearly $500 called "Thank you, Santa!"

click here or use the donate button at the top right on my blog.

Thank you so much for supporting us and praying for our children.  God is doing a great and mighty work in our lives and I am humbled to be given such a gift.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Who wants an iPad?

if you are interested in helping two very deserving children get a mom and a dad, donate $50 to the Broscious family here.  After 100 people have donated $50, one of those people will be given an iPad. 

Here is who you can help today:   
About Helen and Haptamu: Helen is a beautiful, bright 15 year old beauty. She loves to dance and teaches all the children in the orphanage new moves. Haptamu is the little brother of Helen. He is 10 years old. A family that recently adopted a sibling set from Ethiopia sent an email to me telling me how much her children love and look up to Helen and Haptamu. Haptamu is said to take up for all the younger boys at the orphanage and that he is not afraid to stand up to the big boys when they are picking on the little ones. Dozens of families have returned from Ethiopia touched by these two amazing children. Their parents are both deceased and they want a family more than anything. They have had a family twice committed to them but the families live in countries that will not allow them to be adopted because of Haptamu's HIV positive status. Their hearts have been broken more than any child should have to endure. 

Family Story: We are the Broscious family from northern WV. We have four children that range from two years old up to 18. Our youngest was adopted from Ethiopia almost two years ago. My husband and I are both medical professionals that have worked with HIV positive patients for years. The stigma attached to HIV is unnecessary and needs to be dispelled. We were not looking to adopt a sibling set, but these two children stole our hearts and we know they are supposed to become a part of our family. We are stepping out in faith to adopt two of God's children. Please consider being a part of God's story for Helen and Habtamu. Our financial need for agency fees are 20,000 dollars. This does not include our travel and home study/dossier fees. Thank you so much for helping us on this journey and may God Bless you!!!

July 8, 2012 UPDATE: The Broscious Family has an immediate need for $4500 in order to maintain their referral! Please consider helping them with this short-term goal today!

Thank you, friends.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Remember Vika?

I'm sure you all remember Vika.  If not, you can read about her here.
Many of you were moved by her story and expressed an interest in becoming her family.  A wonderful family stepped up and began serious pursuit of her adoption.  Months passed and paperwork was done. Travel was imminent, but something happened.  The family needed to pull out of the adoption.  They were very upset to realize this.  It was a very difficult decision to make, but there it is.

Vika still needs a family.

Is it you?

If it is you, please let me know.  I can help connect you with the proper avenues to make this happen.  She needs someone to come soon.

Friday, June 22, 2012

If you use Facebook, please take a moment to vote.

If you aren't aware, Project HOPEFUL has been entered to win $50,000 from Cultivate Wines.  We have held first place for nearly two months and we are down to the final eight days.  
Eight days to keep the lead.
Eight days.
Will you help us?  the seconds you spend every day making sure to vote over these next few days will be multiplied by thousands of dollars.
Click the link and scroll down to find Project HOPEFUL.  Then cast your vote.  It's as simple as that.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Is YES on your lips?

We have 6 kids.

All of them have come to us through adoption.

We are seeking to adopt four more.  

I'm sure many people think, and some even say out loud, "What are you thinking?"

It's a valid question.  

What are we thinking?

We are thinking that we must be about our Father's business.  I wouldn't have chosen on my own to adopt a sibling group of four to add to our international Brady Bunch.  That was the definite work of the Holy Spirit.  He has made it abundantly clear to us that He has chosen us and will equip us for every good work.  In our pursuit to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God, we have been shown how He would like us to go about doing this to His glory.  We are to do it by saying yes.

We have no money.
"Say yes."

We have a small house.
"Say yes."

We already have six kids.
"Say yes."

It will be difficult to get our home study approved.
"Say yes."

Every concern we could imagine laid before the Lord, and His answer remains the same.
"Say yes."

There comes a point when each believer needs to decide if they really believe or not.  If they trust God or not.  If  their life is a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable or not.

If you have determined that you believe, your only response can be YES.  There is nothing else we can give to the father except our obedience through our faith, so we must SAY YES.


As for us at the Heim house, this is what he asks of us.  Our yes changes the future for someone just like this:

My friend Hansina and her husband are in Eastern Europe right now adopting a sixteen year old boy.  This is from her blog today:
When the judge read the court's notes, it said that no one ever visited Andrey in the orphanage and no Ukrainian wanted to adopt him. He sat there with his head down looking at the floor. How must he feel?

I can imagine how he must have felt to hear that, I mean he's lived it for years, but I can tell you for certain how it made me feel to read it.  It broke my heart open wide all over again.

Every time God asks me to say yes to one of His children, I know that this was true for them.  That no one came to visit them.  That no one in their country could or would adopt them.  I know that our YES made that statement NEVER TRUE AGAIN.  OUR YES ASSURES THEM THAT THEY ARE LOVED AND WANTED.  OUR YES GIVES THEM A FAMILY.  OUR YES TURNS THEIR SORROW TO JOY.

We say yes because I can't imagine living having given any other answer.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Be a part of the miracle!

Sometimes you get to read an amazing story and delight in God's work.
Sometimes you get to be a part of it.
Please read this story and respond generously.  Be a part of something beautiful.
You can add to the beauty!

My dear friend Julia shares it so eloquently here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Save lots of money, change lots of lives

It has been a little while since I've posted.  I have been VERY busy.  Wrapping up these last days of school, juggling my two boys playing on 3 different teams, babysitting 4 girls while their parents are in Eastern Europe adopting, Project HOPEFUL FIG grant duties, completing our home study, chasing dossier documents, and finishing the basement bedrooms and bathroom.  You know, the usual.

All of that has kept me from doing much fundraising, but in spite of that, generous friends have not stopped working to raise funds for this beautiful group of four that I long to become Heims.

My wonderful friend Julie and her church, HOMEWOOD CHURCH, have conspired to hold a fundraiser for me.  Julie has started something called Heaven's Bridge as a means to assist families and causes in raising funds.  You can visit it here.

If you are interested, you can join us at HOMEWOOD Church for a SUPER-COUPONING event.  Learn all the tricks and tips to get more food and house hold products for less money.  Your $10 donation will register you for the event.  We will also be holding some exciting raffles.  You can win a Thirty-One luggage set, 2 different fragrance sets from Bath & Body Works, as well as a Project HOPEFUL Basket full of t-shirts and jewelry.  Additionally you can by homemade preserves, cookies, pastries and breads!

The event is at HOMEWOOD CHURCH on the corner of 183rd & Governors Hwy, in Homewood, June 30, from 10-12.  Doors open at 9am.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Vote for Project HOPEFUL once a day for 60 days

I am so excited to announce that Project HOPEFUL has been chosen as one of Cultivate Wines’ newest causes!

Cultivate is giving away $100,000 per quarter to non-profits via a democraticvoting system. The winner will receive $50,000, and the five runners-up will each receive $10,000. To vote, you can either register or login through facebook. Once you’re logged in, you will have 1 vote per day. So be sure to come back and vote for Project HOPEFUL again each day! Use this link to vote: VOTE NOW
We’re sure you can imagine what this much money could mean to Project HOPEFUL’s ability to fulfill our mission toEducate, Encourage, and Enable families and individuals to advocate for and adopt children with HIV/AIDS and other of the MOST OVERLOOKED children for adoption!
Please consider printing off our Get out the Vote reminder card and placing it in a place you will remember every single day from May 1 through June 30.  Every vote is going to be absolutely crucial! Also, every time you vote, would you please tell all of your contacts and ask them to vote, too? The power to multiply votes with these very simple actions is enormous!
Here are the rules:
1.  You must be 21 years old to vote.  If you aren’t, ask your friends/family who ARE.
2.  NO gifts; contests; give aways.
3.  You must sign in using a FB account to vote.  If you don’t have one, would you consider registering for one just for the next 60 days?  You can take it down thereafter….
4.  Absolutely no use of voting companies who do all the work for you.
Thank you so much for your help and support!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Your treasure and your heart dwell in the same place

Tony Evans has said that if you get a man's wallet, you get the man.  

This was said in church today, and it has me thinking.  I manage the FIG Grant funds for Project HOPEFUL.  I talk to a lot of people who want to adopt but worry about the money.  I talk to a lot of women who are in agony about obeying the call to adopt an orphaned child, but who have husbands who can't get over the financial hurdle.  

This is what was said to me just the other day. (forgive me if you are reading this.  I didn't ask you if I could write about it, but really, while your words were spoken to me most recently, it could have come from the mouth of many women I have spoken to.  I don't think it's going to identify you specifically.  Consider it a composite quote),

"If God wants us to adopt, not one dime of the cost will come from my money."

Gentle fellow, you are not alone in this statement.  Many MANY men have said the exact same thing.  A lot of christian men are willing to obey the call to adopt as long as God provides all the funds, meaning it will not happen at the expense of money that they already have in the bank: savings, investments, etc.

They like to think of it as a "fleece". 

That is all well and good, but don't you understand, God has a fleece too.

Matthew 25 tells a parable about servants who were entrusted with their master's money.  One was given 5 talents, one was given 2 talents, and one was given 1 talent.

The first 2 servants took the money and made more, but the third took the money he was responsible for and buried it in the ground.

When the master returned, he was pleased with the first 2 servants.  
He commended them saying, "Well done good and faithful servant.  You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master."

These kind words were not shared with the third servant.  In fact, the talent he had was taken away and he was cast out into the darkness.  

We know that a talent is money or other items of value.  It is also revealed that what was entrusted to us  belongs to the master.  

Do you get that?  


Our money is God's fleece.  

God gives us a few things to manage, for example money.  If we do well, he blesses us with more things to manage and we are invited to enter into His joy.  

Do you really believe if we bury the money He has given us to manage in the bank for our safe future rather than use it to feed, clothe, and house the least of these, He is going to bless us with the managing of something as important as HIS ORPHANED CHILDREN?

The first failure is thinking we own anything.

The second is thinking that we derive any security with money.  

How heartbreaking this lack of faith must be to our Father.

But He's not done.

He follows this parable with a final story of the judgement.

Matthew 25: 31-45

  31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
   34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father,inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
   41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not[e]take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Why do you think He tells about how to manage money before He tells what will happen when He judges us?

He has made it abundantly clear how we are supposed to live.

Micah 6:8
He has told you oh man what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you but to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.

Romans 12:1
So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice.  Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to Him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship.  

Our worship isn't the songs we sing or how many times we go to church or the money we put into the plate.   

Our worship is how we live our lives. 

If we don't understand that it's our whole lives, our entire selves, EVERYTHING that we give back to him in worship in order to bring glory to His name, then we really don't get it at all, and if we are going to hang so tightly onto something as inconsequential as money rather than onto the everlasting faithfulness of our heavenly Father...

I don't know how to finish that statement.  As I wrote it, the offense of it all breaks me.   




It can't be that we think we protect ourselves.  That we create our security.  That money protects us.  

I beg you not to put out that fleece.  

Instead go quickly and be about your Father's business. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Orphan/adoption ministry proposal

If you are familiar with me at all you recognize that I believe that the care of orphans is the responsibility of the church.  I think sometimes it seems so big that it is easier to ignore than to figure out where to start.  
Below is the proposal I presented to my church.  Feel free to edit for your area and use it.  
Please let me know any ideas you have to add to it.

Orphan Care/Adoption Ministry Ideas

Orphan Care:

Foster Care
Encourage and Support church members to become foster families, host seminars and educational classes.
There are over 500,000 children in Foster Care in America who need permanent placement, and many thousands more who need to be in temporary placement.  

Safe Families:
Melissa Dykema  Safe Families Coordinator 708-770-7415
Safe Families for Children is a movement of hundreds of families of faith who have opened their homes to care for children whose parents are struggling. By demonstrating Biblical Hospitality, Safe Families for Children returns the church to the forefront of caring for orphans and widows - where historically the church was the leader. 

Safe Families for Children is only successful when it is embraced and adopted by the local church. Churches of all sizes are necessary to provide for vulnerable children within our communities. Following are a few of the opportunities churches have embraced when adding Safe Families for Children to one of their existing ministries or adding a entire new ministry at their church.

Orphanage support
Every orphanage I have ever been in is underfunded, understaffed, and undersupplied.  In conjunction with traveling adoptive families, collections of necessary items like clothing, medications, diapers, etc., can be donated and transported to orphanages around the world. 
I have established relationships with a number of orphanages in Ukraine as well as in Ethiopia if the Church wished to become a regular supporter of an orphanage.  Mission trips could be arranged to bring supplies and perform repairs.

Foster Family support:
Many children who need families cannot be legally adopted and are warehoused in orphanages.  Christian families in other countries are willing to foster children and love them and give them family, but are financially exhausted.  Through a relationship with Eastern European Outreach/Mercy Projects, families here in America can partner with families in Ukraine by becoming monthly supporters.  Letters and gifts can be shared between families and trips to visit can be facilitated.  I have profiles of families and some orphanages that need sponsorship.
Mission trips to work with orphans and/or perform needed repairs can be arranged through Eastern European Outreach to Ukraine, to Nigeria through missionary friends there, and through Project HOPEFUL in Ethiopia.

Practical and Emotional support:
Form and facilitate support groups for adoptive families, connecting adoption mentors with new adoptive parents.

Church support volunteers could provide the following services as needed

  • Lawn care while family is traveling to bring child home.
  • Baby siting while family travels (trips can be as short as a week and as long as months)
  • Meals when the family comes home
  • Respite babysitting to help new parents deal with the transition.  It can be very difficult and parents need a break out together
  • Supplies to equip new children: clothes, bedding, furniture, diapers, toys, and bikes.  These items do not need to be new.  I don’t know any adoptive family who minds hand-me-downs.

Financial support
  • Voluntary monetary donations from congregants who feel led to help
  • Fundraisers are helpful, like a church rummage sale where proceeds from donated items are donated to a family in the midst of paying for an adoption.
  • Consider an adoption fund that families can apply for.
  • Life Song has an awesome program called BOTH HANDS.  It is a way to help widows and orphans simultaneously.  A group of capable volunteers from church seek sponsorship and donations to perform a daylong improvement project for a local widow.  Many times local home improvement stores and construction businesses will donate something toward the project.  All the sponsorship funds are given to cover adoption expenses, and the needs of a widow are met!  It is fantastic.

**Side note: This is going to hit on a point above and beyond adoption.   I have collected this information from many adoptive moms who have shared this with me and I am including an idea to meet this need.

Many adoptive families are called to adopt the child with special needs.  Did you know that most families who have children with special needs do not attend church?  This is not because they don’t want to go, it’s just that most churches do not have any accommodations to meet even basic special needs.  As an example, many volunteer Sunday school teachers do not feel equipped to be responsible for a child with, for example Downs Syndrome or autism, and the child is not welcome in class.  The parents cannot attend services because their children can be disruptive in service (many angry glances and occasional rude comments about disruptive children) and aren’t welcome in the nursery because while they may behave at a very young level, they are much older.  This leaves a family with no choice but to stay home.  
I would propose that we partner high school helpers with a special needs child to accompany him/her to class.  The benefits would be twofold.  The child’s needs are met, and our teens would grow spiritually by helping someone else as well as gain valuable experience at the same time.