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.

Friday, January 20, 2012

do you think this would be of interest?

in our former lives, when we only had the million dollar family (one boy & one girl), as opposed to the incredibly blessed, God designed family we have now, we were exceptionally loose with our money. Well, Scott was incredibly indulgent of me and bought me lovely useless things.

So very many things.

Well, now we would rather have more people in our home than more things in our home, so perhaps we could put these things to use in helping with that shift.

I have the above figurine. Just lovely. At the time it was reflective of our family make up. Now we have 6 kids and counting from 3 different countries. Not so reflective anymore. It has been in a box in my attic for over 4 years. It is in mint condition with all packaging and paperwork. It's original value was $830. (Yes, he was very indulgent.)

Do you think people would be interested in a give-away for $10 a donation?

I haven't set it up yet, but I was hoping to gauge interest. I think God is planning something big for our family and He will provide. However, we can also clear out unused things to help pay for all the paperwork.

What do you think?

If you don't like this one, I have more.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


what do I need to do for a Mom to come?

Do you know where she is?

Is she looking for me?"

Do you know anyone who would like to take a boy like me?

I would really like for a visitor at least, because I am all alone and I have no one.

I thought I would have such convicting words to say following these questions, but all I have is tears.

Do any of you know the answers for this precious boy?

If you do, please share them with me, or better yet, with him.

Isn't it time?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pearls, anyone?

I've been thinking about orphans lately.
Shocking, I know.
I talk often with people about all aspects of adoption, and cost is something that always comes up.


So today I'm thinking about orphans and cost.

I will tell you that cost is a widely misunderstood concept; most often because its scope has been minimized to something as inconsequential as dollars and cents.

As in: How much does the typical adoption cost?

In monetary terms, one could say that the average eastern European adoption of an HIV+ child lands right around $24,000 to $27,000.

Is that it?
Is that the cost in its entirety?

I recently heard a TV evangelist caution people considering adoption to "count the cost."
He eluded to mental illness, sexual abuse, and behavioral issues as things to very carefully consider. It was clear that he considered it far to high a price to pay; the underlying message was that in his mind, these children weren't worth the cost.

Here's the thing.
He wasn't wrong to identify those areas as areas that cost something.
They do.
Where he was absolutely wrong was in assuming that the price was too high.

The true answer to what an adoption costs is:




What we all need to understand is that every person,
every child,
every orphan
is worthy of the cost.

We know this because Jesus paid for our salvation with his life.
How can the redemption of someone else not cost us the same?

He died to redeem us.

In adoption, we live to redeem them.

Matthew 13:45
The kingdom if Heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all he had and bought it.

Matthew 19:14
But Jesus said suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me, for such is the kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.

Matthew 6:21
Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

When considering the cost of adoption, it's not:
How can I ever pay it?

How can I not?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

His mercies are new every morning

I am back from Ukraine and have nearly recovered from my 22 hour layover spent in the London air port. I am full of hope and potential and opportunity and I pray that it is contagious. There are many beautiful children who need families and I believe some of those families are yours.
While I will be writing more about those children in the up coming weeks, I wanted to share a bit with you about Nastia.
As you know, Nastia is the girl we were unable to bring home last year. She is seen in a group picture a couple of posts ago. You know that we love her.
while in Slavyansk, I was invited to visit the social worker responsible for the children in her town. She was still very disgusted with what transpired last year and shared with me that Nastia was still in the national adoption registry and was available for international adoption. She equipped me with some pertinent paperwork and with her blessing, I filed a request at the SDA to verify Nastia's status and ask for permission to immediately file paperwork. Lest you think I took this one in myself, Scott was aware of and approved of me taking these actions. I was told that I would receive word in about a week.
I can't tell you how excited I was to be doing this. This was not the purpose of my trip and just the ability to see her was a blessing. To find out that she was still available for adoption and that we would have the chance to try again was an awesome and unexpected gift, indeed!
I spent the last few days in Kiev meeting with other adoptive families, giving them encouragement and support. I got to spend time with the Houser family, adopting a little girl named Sveta, and I got to have a lunch with a woman named Natalie, who had just received paperwork for a blind referral to meet a little girl who was HIV+. She and her husband had not initially intended to adopt a child with HIV, so our meeting was especially opportune. I also spent Tuesday evening with a large crowd of families just arriving in Kiev as well as preparing to depart with their new children. It was so exciting.
We finally made it home Thursday night, I told my husband more about the paperwork filed for Nastia, and went to sleep dreaming about the good news I would hear the next week.
On Friday, when I finally got around to checking my email, I was excited to open an email from my new friend, Natalie. She had included a photo of her with the little girl who would be her daughter.


I was not expecting that. I had already begun to construct the God story that was happening. How glorious to share with you that we would bring home Nastia a year later. I had faced and understood that God had plans for her, reconciled that I may never know what her future was, but look, God was planning this all along!

God has other, grander, more perfect plans than mine.

He was not planning for me to be her mother, but He did let me have lunch with her mom.

I learned last year that with God, I am all in. I trust Him completely and know he loves me unconditionally. These again were not the plans I would have chosen, but I know that His ways are perfect. She will not grow up in an institution. She will not be transferred to internat when she is eight years old. She will have a mom and a dad who, to quote her new father, "will love her to pieces!" She will grow up learning how much Jesus loves her, because her parents will teach her this. She will have an older brother who is also from Ukraine.

She will know that SHE IS LOVED.

Jeremiah 29:11
'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.

I knew this promise to be true, even when I thought I would never know specifically His plan for her. God, in His mercy, pulled back the veil and let me see a glimpse of this promise to her.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More travel, more children, more opportunity

After our trip to Slavyansk, we boarded a train for Odessa. This was a 16 hour trip by train. We didn't forget our food in the fridge, so we snacked on juice, cheese, and bread. We have practically existed on mostly cheese and bread but the girls are good sports about it.
Once we arrived in Odessa, Masha's friend, Yana, met us at our train car. She contracted a driver to take us to a special needs orphanage. I knew that we would need a driver, but It was never mentioned that the trip would be 3 hours each way. I thought I would be paying the driver $50 or maybe $75, but the bill was really $200. This actually explains the cheese and bread.
Don't for a minute think that it was money wasted. The orphanage director was not there that day, he was actually in Odessa proper, but he directed the staff to meet with us and introduce us to children and discuss the children and their needs. He met us when we got back to Odessa just to touch base with us and make sure to meet me. I thought this was so very nice. He went out of his way just to meet me!
The orphanage has 12 children who are so young that their HIV status is still undetermined and they are not yet available for adoption. There are 3 other HIV+ children who are in Kiev right now receiving special treatments. We will be visiting them this Monday and bring them diapers, bananas, and crackers.
I was able to meet a number of other children. They have a number of different special needs. They gave me the exray of one child in order to share with his potential family when they step forward. His is an exceptionally bright little boy according to the staff. His little legs are bent under him and are not usable. They told of another little boy who had the same condition only much worse, who had been adopted and given a surgery. They said the family sent them a picture of him riding a bike! They expressed great hope that we at Project HOPEFUL might find a family for him. They held another little girl out to me who could not interact with those around her. They handled her with gentle care and attention, but were at a loss as to what could be done for her.
I have pictures of all of these precious little ones. I pray that God has a family appointed for each one and I pray that their ears and hearts are open to accept the blessings he has for them.
After such an exhausting road trip, we still needed to meet the director, pay the driver, have dinner and get back on the train to Kiev.
Yana suggested we eat at an Armenian restaurant she had eaten at once before. We were up for it. When we arrived, the owners of the restaurant came out to meet us. Yana had met them on her first visit. They took our bags into their car and had dinner with us. They proudly gave us a tour of the kitchen and showed us the stone pits that the kabobs were cooked in. When we got back to our table, they kept ordering all kinds of food. Cheese platters with brie, blue cheese and feta, 3 different kinds of chicken, mushrooms with cheese, compote (a fruit beverage) and another appitizer that was made of some type of tortilla with cheese, tomato, and herbs. The table was full. We kept eating, trying to make a dent so as not to offend, but when we were done, there was still quite a bit left. They also would not consider letting us pay for this incredible spread. It was their treat.
They mentioned during dinner that we were only 5k from the Black Sea. I said that would have been nice to see. They insisted on driving us there before we went to the train. They even escorted us to the water's edge so the girls could stand in it and say that they had been in the Black Sea. Their kindness and enthusiasm was such a wonderful and unexpected treat.
We are now back in Kiev. We got to spend the day visiting with some other adoptive families who have recently arrived. Tomorrow we go to the hospital, Tuesday I meet with another coordinator who wishes to connect with Project HOPEFUL to advocate for children in Crimea and I have one other small appointment, then we are done. We intend to meet a bunch of other adoptive families on Tuesday evening but have no other obligations after that. Our flight leaves Wednesday after 3pm. It has only just come to my attention that we have a 10 hour layover in London. I didn't realize that. I am also not really looking forward to it either. Oh well. God will provide for us, the endurance and patience to live through it.
Thank you all for your prayers and I am so blessed to be here.