No Right Click

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Husband Looks Like Jesus


These past few weeks of waiting and worrying have been tough on us. I don't know how I would have gotten through it without Hubby by my side. I'm thankful to have him next to me, to walk through even the tough times together.

I'm thankful for this silly, gentle, handsome, wonderful, awesome, God-fearing man of mine. 




This man who sees my tears and stretches out his arms and holds me. This man who holds my hand and cries with me. 
And without any words reminds me of the Savior who longs to hold me and wipe away my tears. The Savior who mourns with me.


He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3 

This man who hears my doubts and honest thoughts without condemning or criticizing me, who just listens and works to understand.
And without any words reminds me of my Savior who wants me to be honest with Him, to hear all of my doubts, worries, fears, and questions.



The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 

This man who buys me “just because I love you” flowers. And without any words reminds me of my heavenly Bridegroom who delights over me, rejoices in me, and longs to sweep me off my feet.

 This man who looks like Jesus.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How Adoption Affects Your Biological Children

Several friends have shared that they want to adopt sometime in the future, but that they don't want to break the birth order of their kids already in their home.

Friends have, understandably, worried about how adoption might affect their biological children.  How will bringing a child who comes with an institutional background affect the children already in the home?

Friends have shared their hesitancy at the idea of how children with special needs might affect their lifestyle and their other children. 


These are all great things to think through and to prepare for.  If this is you, if you've thought about any of these things, please read this post by a Mama who is with you, who worried about all the same things, but prompted by God she adopted out of birth order and adopted two at once and addresses all three of these areas- birth order, affect on biological children, and special needs. 

This family had a toddler-aged biological son and adopted a 10 year old daughter and a toddler-aged son from Russia.  Listen to how this Mama learned to value her biological child's character over his comfort and happiness.  Listen to her story of how her biological son Finley learns patience, compassion, tenderness, learns to give, learns to be a helper, and to overcome fears all through the help of his adopted siblings. :) Makes me want to adopt a 10 year old, too. ;)


Check it out on her blog Tiny Green Elephants



"It can be hard for American parents to raise children who don't live a life of expectation.  Parents actually have to take great effort, take careful action and strides to keep toys and child 'stuff' out of our homes, to not spoil, to not raise a child who believes that their own happiness is the ultimate goal, while others long and wait.  Who aren't crippled by first world problems."

"It's one thing to teach your child to care for the poor, the orphaned or those in needs, and it's another to do it.  To live life infused with the ideas taught by God."

Monday, July 22, 2013

When Tomorrow Feels Too Far Away





I know these words are meant for the here and now, for todayI know that practicing His love in the here and now and today is what will make me love greater tomorrow.  But everything inside me aches to live these words out by nurturing two sweet children who won’t be home until what feels like too many tomorrows.


The same way my friend aches to practice these words with a child born of her womb.   
The same way another friend aches to practice them with a man to call hers.  



28 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest. 
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, 
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


...lift up your voice with a shout,

lift it up, do not be afraid;
    say to the towns of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”
10 
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
    and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense accompanies him.
11 
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young...

28 
Do you not know?

    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.


Hope in the LORD, o my soul.  
You can do something great even in the waiting, by waiting with His great love.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Giving Up the Control We Never Had






Ann VosKamp did it again.  That woman’s words always minister to my soul.  Click here to read her post about the difference between control and self-control.  Here are my favorite lines:

Here’s what I’ve learned: Every impulse to seize control — is the Holy Spirit’s invitation to practice self-control.

Every nerve jolt to freak out, melt down, start yelling, fly into rage or panic is a divine cue to slow down, breathe deep, start praying, and lean into God.

More words I need to hear.  Waiting is always hard, no matter what we’re waiting for.  It can feel even harder when we are out of control.  We’re past the stage where there are things we can be working on for our adoption.  We’re just waiting on our home study report.  

Then we look over it and send it to our facilitators, and they note any changes to be made.  Then we wait for the changes to be made.  After that, our home study report gets sent to U.S. Immigration, while we wait some more and call and bug them a whole lot to speed up our case. ;)  Once immigration approves us (in the process, we’ll get fingerprinted and all that jazz), we send our approval form over to the kiddos’ country and wait to get our travel dates.

Our home study was on June 25th.  We were told that we would probably have the report back within 2 weeks.  It’s been three and a half weeks and we still don’t have it back yet.  Our social worker was on vacation for one of those weeks and things have been a whirlwind for her since then.  

Last week I was feeling pretty frustrated (ie angry) about the home study report (and had to repent).  Behind my anger was fear.  Fear that it will take a long time to get it to Immigration (which is the biggest step before we can travel) and then Immigration will take a little while and that it will be longer until we travel.  And behind that fear was a lack of trust- not trusting the Lord.

You see, if everything is done in the proper amount of time, then we can travel overseas probably in November and be home before Christmas.  The problem is that their country shuts down operations during the winter, so we can’t travel then.  Which means that if our home study report isn’t done in a timely way and Immigration doesn’t do things in a timely way, then we have to wait until spring to travel.  And the kids will be waiting longer and have a greater chance of being transferred to an institution, which also means a greater chance of death.  

It’s hard to live without V and Z.  We don’t know them, but we love them.  We feel like they’re a part of our family already, even though legally they are not.  Waiting and being without them is hard for our hearts.


I find so much comfort in Jesus’ words in Luke 12:22-34.  Our heavenly Daddy knows just what we need.  And He knows just what V and Z need.  It’s so easy to forget how much He loves us and how much greater His perspective is than ours. He loves us and He loves these children more than we ever could.  Worrying and trying to control the situation doesn’t do anything but cause us more stress.  When I’m worried and want to control the situation, it’s an opportunity to run into the arms of the One who is really in control. 

Trayvon Martin and My Children

The death of Trayvon Martin this past year and the recent trial have given me a lot to think about.

Being in the process of adopting children with special needs has opened my eyes to a world of prejudice I didn’t know about.  Maybe didn’t care about before because it didn’t affect me.  It has brought out prejudice in my own heart.

The stories flowing out of Trayvon Martin’s tragic death have opened my eyes to another world of prejudice and racism that still exists very strongly in our society.  I didn’t know about it.  Maybe didn’t care enough about it before because it didn’t affect me.  
(Note: I don’t know whether or not Martin’s death was related to racism.  We can’t know for certain, but whether it was or it wasn’t, the stories surrounding the trial have opened my eyes to racism that does exist in our society.)

Reading Jen Hatmaker’s blog helped me see this more.  And it reminded me of the things I’ve had to think about since pursuing the adoption of Z and V.  Thinking about bringing children with special needs into our family has made us think about how people will respond to them once they are home.  Just like Jen realized when she brought black children into her house.  There’s so much in common- our black children and our children with obvious special needs.

I didn’t fight for our country’s black children and neighbors.  I didn’t fight for our country’s children and neighbors with special needs and disabilities.  I lived in my own little white, light brown hair and blue eyes, normal-developing world.

I’ve looked for baby dolls too.  They don’t sell baby dolls with hydrocephalus in Target.  A baby doll with a big head won’t sell.  I didn’t expect to find a baby doll with hydrocephalus.  I expected to easily find a doll with brown hair and brown eyes, like our little girl.  But as I searched online, it took a long time to find a doll with brown hair and brown eyes.  Really?  Most of the options had blond hair and blue eyes.  And many of the dolls that actually have brown hair come with blue eyes.  See? 



I haven’t been able to find a cute doll with the facial features of a child with Down Syndrome.  I’ve found some pretty creepy looking ones though.

The majority of kids' books don't include pictures of children with any kind of special need.


I didn’t know there was a “black male code.”  And it makes me wonder, is there a special needs code that I don’t know about- that I need to teach my children?

My children, who are more likely than me to be accidentally killed by a police officer or tazed by a police officer who doesn’t understand why they aren’t responding.  A police officer who doesn’t know how to care for people with special needs and might consider them criminals because of the unknown.

My children, who are more likely to be sexually abused.  

My children, who are more likely to be made fun of by the people around them.  How many times will they be called “retarded”?  How many times will a parent on the playground call their children back to them when they start playing with my children, tell them to stay away from my children?  Because they’re different.  Because it’s unknown territory and parents don’t know how to respond.  


Different and unknown is scary.


I know.  I used to think the same thing.  I would have told you these children with special needs are just as precious and valuable as every other child.  However, there was a point when I wasn't willing to bring them into my home.  And if I was refusing to consider adopting these children with special needs, then was I truly seeing their value?  Seeing them as valuable?  I don’t think I was.  

Jesus hung out with the people I tend to avoid.  He hung out with the prostitutes, the criminals, the lowly fisherman, and the disabled.  He didn’t shy away from them.  He moved toward them with love.  


Jesus, rid out any hatred and judgment in my heart.  Make me look more like You.  Let Your love rule in my heart.  Help me to see all people the way You see them, to see You when I look at each individual.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Reality



This is reality for little D.  D is 12 years old. In a crib. In diapers. With bones sticking out of his legs.  And a feeding tube in his nose.  And yet he smiles. :) 






And sweet, lively M, known as Della on Reece's Rainbow.   Her stimming behavior in the video at the bottom of this page makes me so sad.   

She needs a Mama and Daddy who will help her.  11 years old and the size of a 3 year old.
Sweet girl, I would bring you home if we were approved for one more child.





Don't be scared off.  I think these children WILL thrive in a family.  It will be a hard journey...it might even be a long journey, but one day they will thrive in a family...they will be loved and no longer be called orphans...if someone is willing to step up to the plate.

Please, please, don't ignore them.  So many children have already died waiting.  


We can't ignore these children and many orphans like them.  We are called...commanded...to act.   Did you know that if just a small percentage of Christians worldwide stepped out and adopted an orphan who has truly been abandoned, then there would be no more orphans left in the world And if we raise up the next generation and the next to do the same, there will still be no more orphans.  
(those who can't adopt can support these families through financial support, prayer, help as they adjust to being a family, and so many more ways) 


And if we equip birth mothers and fathers with Jesus, education, jobs, and parenting training, then there will be less orphans.  More parents could keep their children. 


Job 29:11-16
When the ear heard, it called me blessed,
and when the eye saw, it approved,
because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to help him...

I put on righteousness and it clothed me;
my justice was like a robe and a turban.
I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Heartbroken Tonight

Sweet Hanson left this world today.  He was 7 years old and never knew the love of a family. 7 years old and he died alone in a crib...he's spent his whole life in a crib.  He was one of the "lost boys" tucked away in a mental institution in a remote location in the country our children are in.  His director cares about the children but doesn't have the resources to care for the boys properly.





These children need out.  Multiple children have died since we began this process.  Died while they waited and no one came for them.  Others died while families were in the process of adopting them.
It truly is a life or death situation for many of these children.
We worry it might be for our Z.  We have no way of knowing and we don't want to take that chance.  That's why we need to move quickly.

And it's why these children need families now.  Go to this website.  Look at these faces.  http://reecesrainbow.org/

Pray for them.  Pray God protects them.  Pray that He raises up directors and caregivers who know Him and will share His love with the children.  Pray that He transforms their countries and cultures into cultures that value these precious little ones as much as He does.  Pray the same for our own culture.   Pray that God gives each and every one of them a family.  Pray and ask if you might be that family.
Pray and humbly ask and consider being a family for one of these children.


Please pray also with us for the adoption process to move quickly so we can bring Z and V home before it's too late.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Waiting is Hard

I needed to hear this today, this article about for when we have to wait.

Logically, I know that the wait is good.  I know that we have learning to do and our hearts to prepare.  We get to keep growing closer to each other.  We have a community and support network to grow closer to.  We have a home to prepare.  I know that waiting will make us better parents because it gives us time to get closer to Jesus.  And that's the most important thing for being a parent- being close to our sweet Savior.  Knowing Grace Himself more deeply.  

But waiting is hard and doesn't feel like a good thing when I think of those two sweet faces who have never known the love of a family.  Waiting is hard when I know the statistics are against them- when I know that the first three years of a child's life are the most important developmentally.  That those first three years set the foundation and will affect the rest of their lives.  And we've missed them all.  And that an orphanage, an institution, is one of the worst places for a child. And that is where they've spent five years, their whole lives.  And that early intervention is crucial.  Waiting is hard when I think of them sitting there not getting the love of a Mommy and Daddy.

Redeeming these children and healing these children is a God-sized job.  We can't do it.  He has to.  He has made the human brain so intricately and so amazingly that even genetic and environmental effects can be reversed with proper care and nurture.  The brain can re-write itself to an extent.  And He has made kids amazingly resilient too.  And most importantly, He's given us a Savior who is the answer to everything we need, everything these children need. 

Jehovah Rapha. Our healer.  He's a God of healing.  He heals bodies, hearts, and souls.

We're praying for Z and V, for their redemption (that they come to know Jesus) and healing. We are praying the Lord protects them and restores the years the orphanage has taken away, even now as we wait.  Would you pray with us?


Joel 2:25-27

25 I will restore to you the years
    that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
    my great army, which I sent among you.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
    and praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
    and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What is Hydrocephalus/Hydrocephaly?


Usually when we mention that the little lady we're trying to adopt has hydrocephalus, we're met with questions and confused looks.  Don't worry, we didn't know what it was before we researched it either. :) Check out the video above to find out more about hydrocephalus and how it is treated.  There's a good possibility Z hasn't had shunt surgery yet, so she will need that when we bring her home. 

Here's another great link a friend who is also adopting a little girl with hydrocephalus sent me:
http://www.cerebralpalsyandotherdisorders.com/cerebral-palsy-hydro.html

Monday, July 8, 2013

Indispensable

Indispensable
adjective
Absolutely necessary, essential, or requisite



The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,  and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,  that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 


 We need people with disabilities/special needs, in our lives and in our churches.  They are helping us do battle with the enemy.  How does your child (or sibling, parent, friend, neighbor) with special needs silence the enemy?

The Value of a Soul

Check out this article a friend sent me about how we tend to justify the value of our children with special needs by what they contribute to the world:
http://preacherthoughts.blogspot.com/2013/06/image-determines-value.html?spref=fb


"Every soul is valuable because every soul (even ones damaged by “genetic mistakes”) is reflecting the likeness of God. 
I do not need to justify the existence of my special needs child by whatever supposed contribution he makes to the world. Neither do you need to justify your own existence by the same criteria.
Image determines value."


Our son with down syndrome and our daughter with hydrocephaly, a detached retina, and possible cerebral palsy are valuable because they are made in the image of God.  They are worth adopting and bringing into our family simply because they are made in the Lord's image.  He says they are worth it. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

We Couldn't Say No...



I can't remember how I stumbled upon Reece's Rainbow, a ministry that advocates for orphans with special needs internationally.  It was months ago.  But life will never be the same since then.  Because my eyes were opened.  
I learned that in places like Eastern Europe and China, anyone born with a special need (even something easily fixed with a few surgeries, like a cleft palate) are sent to orphanages and then institutions and hidden from society.  (Some rare parents do defy the standards and choose to keep their children!)  Some orphanages are "good," but some have horrible conditions where nine-year old children are the size of babies because they are so malnourished.  Read Katie's story (praise God that He is changing things at Katie's old orphanage- there is a new director who truly cares about the children!).

In Eastern Europe, when children are between 4-6 years old, they are sent to a mental institution.  Eighty percent (80%) of these children die within their first year there.  Some of the directors in these institutions love the children, but they just don't have the resources to take care of the children's medical, physical, and emotional needs. 

In our children's country, they can be transferred to a mental institution when they turn 5.  Both of them have turned 5.  They can be transferred at any time, which means they have a 20% chance of survival according to the current statistics if they are transferred.  Can you see why we couldn't say no to these two faces?  We are responsible to act.  And God has given us the ability and a point in our lives where we can act through adoption.  


Proverbs 24
11Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12If you say, "Behold, we did not know this,"
does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will He not repay man according to his work?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

We're Adopting!

We're adopting!

On April 29th, we said yes to two sweet faces who are waiting in Eastern Europe in an orphanage. 
A little boy and a little girl who recently turned 5. 

Lord willing, by Christmas there will be two less orphans in the world. :)