Joshua's Homecoming Video

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Background Checks

Tuesday night I really started to have some anxiety over the whole timing issue for our adoption.  For Reece's Rainbow you are supposed to have your homestudy done in about 12 weeks.  If you aren't they can 'uncommit' you from the child you are trying to adopt and put them back in to the waiting children list and somebody else can commit to them.   It's really in the best interest of the child - I understand and support that.  BUT our homestudy cannot be completed without the background check clearances.  They were supposed to take 6-8 weeks.  So, no problem, right?!  Unwittingly, we didn't submit our fingerprints until 2 weeks after we committed to our little guy (didn't know any better!). 

So we've been waiting and waiting.  Tuesday night I started counting weeks and started realizing that we are pretty close to the 12 week mark for RR (10 weeks for the background checks).  I woke up at 2:45am and couldn't go back to sleep.  I just had a horrible pit in my stomach.  About 3:30am, I finally decided to go work on my picture list and pictures of the inside and outside of our house for our dossier.  I've been quite perfectionistic about it - it drives Todd nuts:).  I worked until 5am (ish) and finally went back to bed.  Got it as perfect as humanly possible (smile)! 

Then yesterday, I wrote my very kind social worker an 'I'm freaking out about this email'!   


A HUGE sigh of relief for me and a prayer of THANKS to God!!  It took 10 1/2 weeks!  So next week we should be able to get our homestudy finalized or close to it!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The *R* Word

Do you say it?  I know I slip up and say it sometimes.  I am trying to eradicate from my vocabulary.  I am laughing because I know some of you out there have noooooo idea what I talking about. 

Watch the video and you will know soon enough.  There is a great blog post, Click Here, about the *R* word from a mom who is currently adopting 2 children from Eastern Europe (it's where I got the video from:)). 

Monday, November 22, 2010

KING of Kings!

and LORD of Lords!!
I would love to do something like this.  I love to sing, especially, in a large group.  It takes me back to high school.  Ah!! Chorus, Band, Spring Plays, Madrigals - what great memories!  I truly did love high school.  Many of the songs we learned have stayed with me (much like learning Bible verses when you are a kid, I think).  The two that stand out though are singing The Messiah and Les Miserables.  Love it!  Hearing all the voices en masse together singing to the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords is so very beautiful.  It makes me clear teary-eyed.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Empty Bed

Well, we set up our little guy's bed.  For our dossier, I had to take pictures of the inside and outside of our house.  I asked our placement agency if I should take pictures of the room 'as is' or if I should have the bed set up.  They recommended that I set up the bed - so we did!  We had everything on hand......a toddler bed in the crawl space, toddler bedding that I had pre-bought for my youngest bio boys not knowing I would be using it so soon.  So now we have an adorable empty bed waiting for our dear little son tonight.  I consider it such a privilege to adopt him. 

Oh my - I am ready to bring him home! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Make A Difference - Part 2

Last year about this time, Todd and I gathered the 3 oldest kids and asked them to bring all their Jesus money to the table.  We then went through the World Vision Gift Catalog and discussed what gift they could give to another family.  We ended up deciding on a goat and 2 chickens.  It was so neat for my kids to be involved in giving a meaningful gift. 

In the words of Max Lucado:
“The amount of money that I spend on fast food in a week can literally change a person’s life.  Look into the faces of these beautiful children, this wonderful family.  They deserve everything that we have, they deserve to thrive physically, emotionally and spiritually. 
Some people make the mistake and they think, “Since I can’t fix everything, I won’t do anything.” 
But everyone can do something………and when all of us do something.  Something wonderful will happen.”

Video:  Max Lucado in Ethiopia

Remember there are so many children who won't be receiving a gift this year.  Consider giving a gift through World Vision or sponsoring a child. 
If you want to sponsor a child through AC Child Sponsorship Click Here.  Have a Great Day!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Make A Difference This Year

Something near and dear to my heart are child sponsorship programs.  In the past, I had never ever given them serious thought until I became personally involved in my church's own child sponsorship program.  What I found has touched my heart deeply and changed my view of these 'brush off' programs dramatically.  You see.......these programs are an amazing resource for the church (you and me) to help the orphan and vulnerable children break the powerful cycle of poverty.  Indeed, through these programs you and I can help give these children 'a hope and a future' through knowing Jesus Christ! This video is the testimony of a once-sponsored child.  I am going to beg you to watch the video.....I think you will understand why when you are done watching it. 


If you do not sponsor a child yet, please consider doing this.  You can make an amazing difference in a child's life.  And if you do sponsor a child, there is no rule that you have to sponsor just one.  In fact, if you have the means, you can even sponsor entire schools.

If you want to sponsor a child through AC Child Sponsorship Click Here.  AC Child Sponsorship sponsors children in Haiti, Jamaica, Guatemala, Mexico and are just starting to sponsor children in Zambia, Africa! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

How Might God Think?

"Our compassion for others seems to be directly correlated to whether people are close to us socially, emotionally, culturally, ethnically, economically, and geographically.  But why do we distinguish the value of one human life from another?  Why is it so easy to shut out the cries of these dying foreign children from our ears?...

...How might God think about this issue?  Does He look at the suffering of a child in Cambodia or Malawi with a certain sense of emotional distance?  Does God have different levels of compassion for children based on their geographic location, their nationality, their race - or their parents' income level?  Does He forget about their pain because He is preoccupied with other things? Does He turn the offending page to read the sports section--or is His heart broken because each child is precious to Him? 

God surely grieves and weeps,
because every one of these children is HIS child--
not somebody else's.   

Written by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision in The Hole in Our Gospel

Garrett (China)

Garrett, Boy, Born October 29, 2005

From a missionary who visited with him in August 2010:
  “  Garrett was found abandoned at the age of 9 months.  He is medically healthy but very small for his age.  He lives in a VERY poor orphanage that is rife with neglect and lack of resources to properly care for the children with special needs living here.  They are in dire need of humanitarian support. Those who are bedridden especially suffer here, and urgently need adoptive families.  We are desperately seeking a family to give Garrett the live he deserves! ”   
More photos available, along with full social history and medical records 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hurry Up and Wait

We were told that it take 6-8 weeks to get our background checks cleared.  Well.........this is WEEK 8. It is significant because our homestudy report cannot be finalized until they receive the background checks.  We need this done so we can move onto the next hoops of our adoption process. 

Will you please pray with us that our backgrounds checks could be cleared and that our homestudy could be finalized?? 

Monday, November 8, 2010

A $20 Bill

I was doing laundry last week and I found a rolled up $20 bill on the floor.  I asked my son if it was his.  He said, "Oh! I forgot this was in my pocket!  This was from Timothy (his good friend) help pay for our adoption.  So here - it's for you and dad so you don't have to pay so much." Remember this post..... Click here.

This touched my heart so much.  Thank you Timothy!  We are putting the $20 towards our the adoption of 'Our Little Guy'.

Did you know that the biggest reason that people don't adopt is because of how much it costs?  It is very costly.  Most international adoptions cost an average of $25,000 to $35,000 - not exactly pocket change is it?!  By the way, I am not asking for money for us personally.  I just know it is a struggle for those who do adopt.  It is a sacrifice.  Please consider giving to someone who is adopting or an organization like Lifesong For Orphans that can help give an adopting family grants or loans, I encourage you to do it because.......... 

"We can't change the whole world,
but we can change the world for one child”

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Sad Reality

This was posted by Julia who has recently brought home her newly adopted son Aaron.  Aaron had aged out of a baby home and was tranferred into an institution in Eastern Europe.  You can read more of Aaron and the Lost Boys' story at

***Please pray for our little guy that he won't be transferred.***

The Sad Reality
Many of you have seen this picture. It was taken back in 2006 at a special needs institute in Eastern Europe. It's a shocking picture that appears to speak of abuse and neglect. Soon after we committed to Aaron, I saw it on the internet. It stopped my heart. I could hardly look at it. It horrified me, because I knew that Aaron had been transferred to a special needs institute just like these poor boys. At that time, I had little idea what that meant. My one consolation was that the picture wasn't taken in Aaron's country.

Our first days at Aaron's institute were overwhelming-- the chaos and craziness, the unnerving sights, sounds and smells. We could hardly take it all in. We wanted to run and hide, play with Aaron separately in some safe corner away from all of the disquiet. But Aaron delighted in his new-found freedom, and he wanted to roam the grounds. Although he had lived at his institute for an entire year, he had seen only a small part of it. So he set out to explore, with the three of us in tow. It made us uncomfortable.  We weren't sure the staff wanted us spying out their secrets, and we were embarrassed by some of the things we saw. So we tried to contain Aaron, keep him in our assigned gazebo up by the gate.  But Aaron's legs could not be contained, and we had no parental authority with him as yet, so we walked.

His favorite new route took us past the shed where the lowest-functioning boys spent their summer days. They had absolutely nothing to do but wait for the next snack or mealtime. They all sat on their groundcloths, staring, moaning, crying.  At first, we could hardly bear to look.

Around the corner was a large building which, we were told, used to house Aaron's group.  It was crumbling, but the caretakers still used parts of it. On the far end was a shed for the institute's tractor and wagon. The near end contained what we thought were broken-down bathroom stalls with rows of potty chairs. Because it was doorless and dilapidated, we assumed that it was being used for storage. For several days, as we walked that way so that Aaron could see the tractor, we walked right by that shed full of boys and right by those filthy bathroom stalls with their rows of potty chairs without ever connecting the two. We thought we were seeing a junk pile. Our minds couldn't grasp what we were seeing. 

Aaron also wanted us to see his friends from his group, the highest group. He wanted us to see his world, and he wanted his friends to see and share his new toys. We tried to stop him, but in the end we always went along. Because of Aaron's persistence, we were forced to face the uncomfortable sights, sounds and smells of his world all through those first weeks. The caretakers were uncomfortable with our presence, embarrassed by what we might see, but they didn't stop us.

Once again, much of what we saw didn't register. It was too chaotic to grasp at first glance. So the first time we rounded the corner and found Aaron's group all sitting on little chairs around the grounds, we didn't immediately understand. Our minds could only absorb it in small pieces. It took us a while to realize that we were seeing "The Picture," the one at the top of this post, in real life. It was a sad reality, shocking because we knew that our boy had lived this way for a year, but also softened because we knew the hearts of the caretakers.

I've prayed and considered how best to tell this part of our story.  I don't want to sensationalize our experience, and I don't want to horrify anyone.  I am not interested in raising an uproar, even if I could. I only want people to know about the plight of the children who aren't adopted from the baby houses and end up being transferred.

When you first see this picture you probably think, as I did, that it speaks of abuse and neglect. And so it may, in the place where it was taken. But neglect is not necessarily the norm in all such institutes. We have to understand that these Eastern European mental institutes are simply poor, extremely poor. These countries are poor, and most of their citizens are poor. We were told that a college-educated teacher might expect to make only about $3000 US per year. It is not surprising that in such impoverished countries, the poorest citizens-- orphans committed to mental institutions-- have to endure conditions that most of us find shocking. These institutions depend entirely upon money allotted to them by the government, and they're not high on the budget priority list. They rarely receive private donations-- those go to the baby houses-- and the church seems to be most interested in putting shiny brass roofs on all of its neglected buildings.

At Aaron's institute, the staff works hard to make ends meet. They feed the boys as well as they can, and although none of them are emaciated (unlike the picture), they do not have an overabundance of food.  It is just enough. The staff is small, too small.  The caretakers are overworked and grossly underpaid in their thankless, highly depressing jobs. Their caretaking chores include all of the cleaning and laundry for over 100 boys. They are also commissioned to weed the flower beds and sweep the sidewalks and yards. Many of the buildings don't have indoor plumbing, and even if they do, they are not equipped to handle large volumes. 

Thus, the potty chairs. It is a very sad reality.  The only way so few caretakers can manage the daily bodily functions of so many boys is to sit them all down on their potty chairs at the same time, several times each day. When you see cute little toddlers sitting on the potty, you get one picture; but walking in on about 20 older boys, all sitting undressed on tiny potty chairs, is a whole different image. It's an image I will never forget. In this case it speaks not of abuse, but of poverty. It speaks not of neglect, but of desperation. The exhausted caretakers at Aaron's institute love their boys, but need forces them to treat them like products on an assembly line. As time passed and we learned to know and love the individual boys, the indignity of their situation saddened us all the more.

Why do I share this?  Because I have a duty to speak out for the helpless and the voiceless. We need to pray. We need to pray that God will inspire his church, in both that country and our own, to get its hands dirty, go into these forgotten institutes and minister to the Lost Boys and Girls.  They need so much.  Their caretakers are weary and overburdened.

At Aaron's institute, we have to send a powerful message that these boys are wanted. Aaron's adoption is not enough. Brady and Heath also desperately need families so that the authorities can see that there is hope for all the rest of the Lost Boys. They cannot be forgotten. I pray that God will show us how to open up Aaron's institute so that the church can go marching inside. I desire with all my heart to see His light and His love offered to those precious boys and their weary caretakers.

I have more images to share from our time there, but those are for other times and other posts. 

For now, we ask you to pray, please. Please help us advocate for Brady and Heath. I am well aware that the Reece's Rainbow's Angel Tree is in full swing. We are praying for Gavin.  My heart longs to see those baby house children snatched up before they are transferred to the places of no return.  Each time one is transferred now I want to scream, because I know better than ever what "transfer" means. So I'm screaming for the Angel Tree now, because the babies need families now, before transfer. But we must not forget Heath and Brady during the coming season. I've shouted it out already: their time is short. Their institute's director is weary and skeptical, and she may close the door on them at any time. They need families.  Please join me in praying and advocating for them.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Voice for the Voiceless

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves……defend the rights of the needy.

Proverbs 31 8,9

Sunday, November 7th is Orphan Sunday.  

The Destitute have no voice.  No one to stand in the gap for them. God has called the Christians to assist the widows and the orphan. We need to be the voice for them. 

External religious worship [ religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.
James 1:27 Amplified

Some are called to Adopt.  Some are called to Advocate.  Some are called to Assist.

We are ALL called to something.