This blog is a chance for us to tell our story and shine the light on the God who wrote it.

It is also a place for me to bring into the spotlight the millions of orphans around the world who are waiting for the Body of Christ to fulfill God's command to "care for orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27)

Soli deo Gloria... (All Glory to God Alone).

11.16.2013

Shadows and Light


It’s been a over a month now.  One very long month since the shadows began to fall on us.  Since the darkness pressed in and we began the fight to save our family.  The fight to be who God created us to be.  


The shadows fell, and we have never fought the darkness like we have this past month. 

But we have never seen the Light shine so brightly either.  

The darkness has been so real- and I will not lie, I have crumpled in fear more than once.  I stopped eating, stopped sleeping- lived wide-eyed and scared-to-death, and when it was time to stand and face the enemy, I shook with fear and didn’t think I could do  it.  I mean stand.  I just didn’t think I could stand.

Yet that’s the thing about shadows.  

Standing in the shadow you feel like you might be overcome by darkness and you weaken.  But the truth is there is no shadow if there is not still the presence of light.  There must be light to cast a shadow.  And the whole Truth is that we cannot be overcome by darkness.  We can.not.  We are “hidden with Christ in God” and there is no power that can separate us from his love; and where His love is there is Light.  Always the Light.


When I thought I couldn’t stand that day they took a piece of me away- there was the Light.  Shining brightly on that Saturday morning, gathered together to lift up one of their own.  The light of Christ, shining so brightly through his Bride, the Church.  It was the Church being who God intended her to be, and it was beautiful… so beautiful.  

There she was, pushing back the darkness in that place just because she was there that day.  And in every day since. 


Shadows being pushed back by the Light.  One minute we are accused and slandered and knocked down and the next You are on my doorstep with a meal… and You are mowing our lawn… and You are opening your home to our precious son.  You are here at 7 am, and You are here at 7 pm.  (Once I even called You at 2 am, and You came quickly).


One minute we are starting to believe those lies and the next you are reminding us who we really are, Whose we are- and telling the Truth over and over until we remember to keep believing.


One minute we are overcome with fear and overwhelmed by the darkness and the next You are surrounding us with prayer… and You are feeling our pain and You are not afraid to cry or to hurt with us or Hope for us.  

Every time we turn around, there You are.  

And the lines are blurred, for there HE is- just so very near to us, because You are.  You are present at every turn- so many of You.  And where You are, there He is.  Such that we are always reminded when tempted to doubt- He is near.  So very near.   We are not forsaken and we are more than conquerors… only because He is near.


It is said that they will know we are Christians by the way we Love one another.  Church, with an unbelieving world watching, You have loved so well.  You’ve let Jesus love through you, and we knew it was Him.  And oh how we pray they will know, too.  I just have to believe that Jesus is so pleased.  Just so proud of His people and how they have rallied to love our family and hold us up in this time.  I have never ever been so proud to be a part of the Church.


It’s also said that the Church is the Bride of Christ and I think I get it now.  Because the Bride and the One to whom she is wed- they are one, yes?  So when it was hard for me to pray or to think clearly enough to read the Word, I thought “How will I keep near to God, hear Him, see Him in this dark place if I cannot do well these things that have always connected me to Him?”  But He came to me.  I guess that’s Grace… and wonder why I ever thought my efforts were what brought us together anyway.  In grace, He came- through You, His bride.

You haven’t seen me in six years at least but You drove two hours to be there that day, and you put that bracelet on my arm and I couldn’t really speak.  You are a few hundred miles away but you wrote that letter, the one You said you cried while writing- and I cried, too, at those redemptive words you wrote. 

You fasted.  You prayed. You came.  You cried.  You loved.  You embraced. You believed. You served.  You worshipped with us in our back yard.  And through You we saw Him.  Always there.


What a beautiful display of the Oneness of Christ with His Church, His Bride! 

Tonight I write about the Church, because that is how I best see God right now.  Yet I know in coming days and months, the layers will peel back and we will see the hand of God all over this situation in so many different ways.  What the enemy intended for harm, will only serve to bring glory to our Lord in the end.  We will never be the same, because we will have gone into the shadows and emerged with a greater knowledge of the Light… maybe (oh, let it be so) even a greater capacity for the Light?   And the Truth is that it will have been worth it- all of this… just to know Him more.

Encouraged by these words tonight---

“And I cry, because I do not feel courageous. I feel downright defeated sometimes. Maybe courage is not at all about the absence of fear but about obedience even when we are afraid. Courage is trusting when we don’t know what is next, leaning into the hard and knowing that it will be hard, but more, God will be near. Maybe bravery is just looking fear in the face and telling it that is does not win because I have known The Lord here.  I have known The Lord in the long, dark night.”
Katie Davis (kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com)


Tonight after I wrote this, I heard this song for the first time.  So I thought I’d share it here because it says it all so perfectly.  Thank you for rising up.




9.25.2013

Eden- His Delight

There is a girl in whom God delights.







A girl He began speaking to us about almost two years ago.   He was relentless.  For two years He has whispered into my heart that He had a plan unfolding.  That there was a precious girl who needed a family, and when the time came it would be urgent.  We would need to act quickly.






I felt like my heart was always a little broken.  I had a daughter.  Already alive.  Living somewhere in this world.  But it wasn't time yet.

There were many days when I thought the time would never come.  And I wondered if I was crazy all this time to think I could know the voice of God.  Or if I was no longer worthy of being the mother of another of His most precious, beloved children.






But He never gave up on me.  And He loves his daughters, she and I both, so much.  Months go by and always he reminds me of how precious she is to Him, how loving her could be worship of Him.  He whispers to my heart that she is extra-special to Him (extra chromosome and all)- one in whom the world finds so little value.  But this one... to Him?  Hidden there in that innocent smile, are the secrets of the kingdom of God.






Oh, what He sees that we cannot see!

We see broken.  He sees purity.

We see burden.  He sees joy.


 Months go by and always he reminds me of how precious she is to Him, how loving her could be worship of Him.  And, oh, how I love Him.  How I long to be like Mary, pouring out every last drop in worship.  Unashamed of my tears.  Uninhibited by fear of what others will think.

So I make a jar.  I don't know how long Mary knew she would break that jar and give Jesus her best.  How long she had to wait for just that right moment.  So I make the jar at a time when it all seems impossible.  When I long to just give what He has been storing up in me... showing me what it would look like to worship Him more fully.  But feeling like those doors would never open.  Or worse- something wrong about me would keep them closed.





I make the jar and I write her name on the bottom.  Eden.  Eden means delightful.  Because she is delightful to Him.  And I wait for the day when I can break the jar.





Eden.  The way God intended it all to be in the beginning.  Where there was no shame and brokenness.  And the way He displays His kingdom even now- in what we see as broken and shameful.
But he calls her Eden- and it's here in the precious ones like her that we can see His kingdom coming.
"For God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of this world to shame the things which are strong. " (1 Cor. 1:27)




Eden, we are coming.  Your daddy and I can't wait to be your parents forever.  It is an honor and a privilege.  You are valued.  You are loved.  You will be delighted in, our Eden.

8.17.2013

Redemption Wins

     How on earth do I bridge the gap from my last update to where we are now?  Oh, how we have seen God's grace and found Him to be faithful.  This song we sing at church I can only choke out now through the lump in my throat...

                        Then all of a sudden I am unaware
                                  of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
                                  and I realize just how beautiful you are
                                  and how great your affections are for me
                                  Oh, how He loves us.... how He loves us, oh...


     When I decided to share more openly about my struggles with weakness and chronic migraines it was because I wanted to find Jesus there.  Right there in the darkness.

The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where you doubt He is.- A. Voskamp

     And I think the rest of this quote could be, "because He is there."  And every place He is is a place that can be filled with glory... a place that can be redeemed.

    It's this word- "redeemed" - that has stuck with me, like a whisper from God each day reminding me that I cannot see the future and that His purposes are so much greater than mine.

 Redemption.

This is what our God does.  He takes what appears to be lost and broken and restores it beyond what it could have ever been before.  He takes our mess and infuses it with His glory, causing something that should only be miserable to be a place of joy and hope.

That's the story of the cross.  And it can be the story of all of those for whom the work of the cross is our only Hope.

Somewhere in the darkness a few months ago the light broke through and before the pain ever lifted I found myself surprised by joy.  Those were hard days, but I was held.  We were held.  And when I thought that maybe my life would be defined by these bouts of illness, He reminded me that He has given me a hope and a future.  And that I am defined by grace.

So redemption wins.

I am so grateful that in recent months we have made some real advancements in finding medicines that actually help me.  For the past couple of months, I have enjoyed perhaps the best summer ever.  Coming out of a time of illness, I soaked up every healthy day and savored my family and the sun and the summertime in a way I never would have had I not been so sick before.  My heart is filled with gratitude.








But that's not all.

On many of those dark days months ago I was most discouraged not by the illness but by what I assumed was the death of a dream.  For over a year and a half I had felt that God was speaking so clearly to me about the future of our family.  Every scripture I studied, every devotional I read, every time I prayed seemed to confirm that indeed this was God's plan for us.  Sometimes I thought I must be crazy because it all seemed so very impossible.  Perhaps I was being ridiculous to think that God would speak to me.

But in the end, redemption wins.

God met us in that place of brokenness and prepared us for the next step of faith that He has for our family.  I am absolutely in awe.  There is a life that is so very precious to God that He would move mountains to show her His love.  And by His grace... oh, his amazing grace... we get to be a part of her story.

(... to be continued...)

** This song was my soul cry for months.  My desire to see "redemption win" wasn't just for me, but even moreso for the precious one He had put on my heart a year and a half ago.  
Let me see redemption win 
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
         From the ashes of a broken life 
        And all that's dead inside can be reborn 

7.18.2013

The Gift

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”



I have been given a gift that I've always known was meant to be shared.  I have felt a nudging in my spirit in recent days to take out this precious gift and offer it to others.  Particularly to those who may only be open to receiving it from someone like me.  Those who might not be open to receiving it from the initial givers.

I have resisted sharing this gift.  Partly because it is sacred to me.  There is a part of the essence of Jesus, a part of who He is, that I would never have known had these brothers and sisters not sacrificed to give this gift to me.  And partly because I am afraid I will mishandle it... damage it somehow... as I attempt to share it, and it will not be the gift it was intended to be.

But mostly I have not shared it because I care too much what people think about me.  I think my voice doesn't matter or won't be heard.  I am afraid that I don't understand the gift well enough to share it.

But then I remember those who gave me the gift.  And the One who opened their hearts to give.  And I feel like keeping silent might dishonor the God who let me see this part of His heart.  And the men and women that trusted me with something so sacred to them.  Their story.

-----------
So here goes.

In my previous life, before I became a stay-at-home mom, I had an outside-the-home job.  The kind where you cannot wear the same pair of yoga pants for three days without showering.

I was a campus minister with an international, inter-denominational campus ministry.  I worked with students at the University of Florida.

Our group at UF included two chapters.  One chapter existed to reach out primarily to black students on campus who struggled to feel welcomed and 'at home' in any of the existing college ministry groups.
After three years of working as a campus minister, I became the staff assigned to help lead Black Collegiate Christian Fellowship.  I found myself in a place I never dreamed I would be, and at first I wondered if I could offer the kind of leadership these students needed.

But after a short time, I had a great peace about it all and was often unfazed by things that I now look back on and think are freakin' hilarious because I was so "out of place".  Like the time when the two students assigned to work with me did not show up and so there I was on the "Set" of Turlington, known as the popular hang out for black students, standing behind our table (whose banner read "Black Collegiate Christian Fellowship") set up amidst all the black fraternities and sororities, handing out flyers to an event we were hosting- all by my self.   Looking positively like a freckled-white-seventeen-year-old girl (though I was twenty five, thank you very much).  And eight months pregnant.  Wearing overalls...  (I'm still not sure why I thought that was ok, but whatev.)

Anyway, back to the gift.

By the grace of God, during the years that I worked alongside my black brothers and sisters- students as well as other Intervarsity staff- they chose to trust me enough to tell me the truth.  To tell me their stories.

These stories I carry around today like they are a treasure.  These men and women became my friends and we did ministry together and prayed together.


Alysha. Kesha. Candace. Mikela.  Cathy.  Cheron.*

They told me what it is like to grow up black in America.  Like most white people, I honestly thought that the cries of "racism" or "racial profiling" were from the mouths of those who were bitter or stuck on the past or (God help me, but I am going to say what many believe) from those who "fit the bill", somehow deserving the stigma that was given them.  But here I was face to face with these educated, promising young women baring their souls and they were all saying the same thing.  Racism is still very much alive in America, and the only reason I do not know it is because I am white and middle-class and have never really had a close black friend who trusted me enough to tell me the truth.

But it wasn't the women's stories that hit me the hardest.  It was the men.  Their stories were hard to hear.
Stories of being followed in stores, accused of shoplifting with no evidence but the color of their skin.  Of walking at night on campus and others very obviously turning in the other direction to avoid the danger that must be lurking if a black man is walking alone at night.  Of being told by professionals that they must only be at UF because of affirmative action.  And I have yet to meet a black man who has told me that at some point (more likely multiple times in his life) he has not been pulled over for Driving While Black (which basically means pulled over by cops for no violation of traffic laws- just suspicion).  And this is just the beginning.

David. Paul. Kareem. Harvey.*

These men told their stories.  They weren't bitter.  They weren't trying to get me to "see" something, arguing persuasively that these things really happened.  I asked about their experiences (because other staff led the way and encouraged me to do this).  Their stories were told matter-of-fact-like, usually with very little anger but more of just a sadness or a heaviness... with a desire to see change but also a resignation of sorts that this is just how it is.

Can I tell you why this is a big deal?  And why it is a really big deal right now?

It is a big deal because they were taking a huge chance in telling their stories.  It is always brave when someone shares from a place of suffering, particularly when the one receiving the gift of their vulnerability looks a heck of a lot like the ones who caused the suffering.  It is brave when you have shared this way before and your experience has been shrugged off, made obsolete because your "perspective" must be off, you must have been "reading into" things.



And this is why it is a big deal right now.  With the George Zimmerman trial all over the media all of us are exposed to the discussions of racism and racial profiling.  And those of us who are not black, many of us, want to just focus on what we call the "justice" issue and we are putting our fingers in our ears and saying, "I don't want to hear your whining.  There was a fair trial-by-jury.  Justice has been served.  It's time to move on!"

The truth is none of us knows exactly what happened that day after Trayvon was confronted.  But we have to open our eyes to the reality that the fact that he was confronted was because he was black and was therefore perceived as dangerous.  So regardless of the results of the trial I think the real "justice" issue that begs to be seen is this:  what is "just" about a society that perpetuates from one generation to the next the idea that a person may be assumed to be dangerous (and therefore suffer the consequences of that assumption) because of the color of his skin?

Though we may not like the way some people have been saying it, our black brothers and sisters are trying to tell us that there is still a huge race problem in America.  And we want so badly to say, "Yeah, but Trayvon smoked marijuana", but we're missing the point.  We are focusing on details of an incident we cannot fully understand and we are missing the bigger picture.


I want to say this particularly to my Caucasian brothers and sisters in Christ.  Listen.  Love.  Ask questions.   And hear the answers with humility rather than defensiveness.  If someone shares with you something you have never seen, before discounting their stories, consider that perhaps you have not seen it because you do not have to... because it does not affect your day-to-day life.

Many of the voices you are hearing from African American community are your brothers and sisters in Christ.  This is a community of people who are suffering deeply.  As you accept the gift of hearing their stories and entering into their suffering you will find that there is a piece of God's heart there that you've never known before.

Finally, there is a religious message here for all Christians...   If white Christians stay in our mostly-white churches and talk mostly to each other we will never understand how our black brothers and sisters are feeling after a terrible weekend like this one. It was the conversation of every black church in America on this Sunday, but very few white Christians heard that discussion or felt that pain. 
White Christians cannot and must not leave the sole responsibility of telling the truth about America, how it has failed Trayvon Martin and so many black Americans, solely to their African-American brothers and sisters in Christ. It's time for white Christians to listen to their black brothers and sisters, to learn their stories, and to speak out for racial justice and reconciliation.  
- Jim Wallis,  Huffington Post

To my black friends I want to say this:  Thank you for trusting me with your story.  I see your pain in your facebook posts , in your blog posts and I just want you to know that I hear you.  That I love you.  That this is all so messy and I've cried like fifteen times trying to write this blasted post and it's taken me like seven hours because I just cannot say it how I want to say it... and I've cried when I've read your words ... and I wanted so bad to not care, to say a prayer about it all and move on.

I categorically do not like getting involved in messy things.  And you'd love me just the same if I said nothing.  Which is maybe why I'm saying something.  Thank you for your friendship.






(I feel like I must note that I believe the problem of racism in America certainly affects far more than just black people and white people.  The gift I received through my time in campus ministry with InterVarsity included the opportunity to grow friendships and hear the voices of Asian and Latino colleagues and students as well.  I understand that Zimmerman was Hispanic.  I just simply did not feel like I could address all these nuances in this one post so I decided to hone in on what I felt most qualified to speak about here.)

* changed names

-----------------------------------------------------

To hear other voices on this subject, please check out this post written by my friend, Matt.  This article by a current InterVarsity staffworker, Sean. This article by Sojourner's president, Jim Wallis.  And this short video:

5.25.2013

One Word

Slow.

This was my word.  I'd come across this idea on my favorite blog.  As the New Year began last January I scrapped the idea of making resolutions and asked God to give me a word.  This word would go with me throughout the year to guide me and remind me of where God was leading me.

There was never a question for me what the word would be.  I truly felt in my spirit that this is what God was pressing on my heart.  Actually it frustrated me a bit because it felt so ... lame.  I mean if you're only going to have one word shouldn't it be something profound?  A word that alone makes one want to sit and ponder the depths of what it could mean.

Slow.
Slow?!

But I knew.  I knew what it meant for me.  It was to be an offering to God.  A putting aside of my self-importance, my whirlwind busyness ... a slowing like a sabbath that says I trust Him.  A commitment to live intentionally so that I can see, acknowledge, and glorify Him in all the things I take for granted each day but were always meant to be graces that point me to His loving care.

I had my ideas of what slow looked like, and I thought I was doing a pretty darn good job at it.  We have very few extra cirriculars, I was learning to linger longer with my kids, and I have become very intentional about cutting rushing out of our day.  (Except that now that I think about it my son did tell me not too long ago he felt like I rushed a lot.)

 Well, here it is five months later and let me tell you I am living S.L.O.W.   And I keep thinking, "Lord, when I said slow, this is not what I meant!"

I did not mean stuck in bed slow.  I did not mean walking like an old lady slow.  I did not mean halting nearly all other activities slow.


But then there is this.

 Back in January when I asked God to give me a word that He would like to be my offering to Him this year, I also asked Him for something else.  I asked Him to give me a word that would be His promise to me this year.  And He did.

And He got the much cooler word, by the way.  The one you could sit with for hours and never fully wrap your mind around.  Which is cool with me... He is God.

His promise to me was this- Redemption.

And while I can tell you today what slow looks like for me, I cannot yet tell you what redemption will look like.

But this is what I know.  He will redeem.  He will redeem every hour spent in bed, every ugly sob that I've poured out on that bathroom floor curled up with the nausea and the cold tile, every second I haven't gotten to spend with my kids, every dark moment when I felt alone and scared and out of control, every night I've laid on the couch and longed for the pain to cease so I could sleep.

He. will. redeem. it. all.  For my good and His glory.

This is my hope.  Not just that God worked redemption on that cross when He gave Himself up for us 2,000 years ago (which would be enough).  But that He still redeems.  Still intervenes in our world and gives of Himself to redeem broken dreams, broken hearts, broken relationships and broken bodies.  My hope is in a living and active God, and it is upon His redemption I wait.



"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning."Psalm 130:5-6 







5.24.2013

His Plan. Our Joy. Part Two. The Part I Didn't Want to Write.

When I began this blog Scott and I decided to call it "His Plan.  Our Joy."  
This was a declaration of faith.  
A promise to trust.  

We were walking a new journey, one that felt scary and exciting at the same time. A wonderful adventure called "special needs adoption" that led us toward Mei.

 I wanted a place to tell our story, His story told through us in our little corner of the world.  We would write about His Plan for our family... how it scared us, how we felt ill-equipped for what lie ahead and hence unworthy of being a part of His redeeming work in the life of one of His most precious children.

On these pages I determined to share vulnerably and honestly the story of His Plan for one whom the world sees as "the least of these" yet God values most highly and called us to love most lavishly.

And we would share openly Our Joy.  The joy we have discovered through Christ as we have surrendered more fully to what He wants for our lives.  The joy that so overwhelmed us that we knew it had to be a part of our daughter's name, a way to remember the gift of joy that she is but moreso the gift of joy we found in our Father's presence as we journeyed with Him toward her.  Mei Chara (chara is the greek word found in Scripture meaning joy) has been home over a year and a half now and there is no possible way for me to describe the joy she brings to this world.





When I began this blog I was excited to write about His Plan and Our Joy.

There has been a long silence on our blog, but today I am feeling led to continue writing about His Plan and Our Joy.  This time I am not so excited.
The surrender hasn't really come yet.  Certainly my life right now is not what I had planned.  And yet I am still confident that there is joy to be found right here, however long this season lasts.


For some time now, my health has been declining.  I've had some chronic issues in the past but they would come and go- now it has all come crashing down at once.  Now for well over a month I have had an unrelenting migraine which does not respond to any medication.  Sometimes the pain is overwhelming.  On days when it relents some I am still weak, confused, dizzy ... many days the weakness alone is debilitating.  It is getting worse, not better.  There is still no diagnosis.


I am scared and sad and often lonely.  I fear this is our new normal and that I will never again be the mom and wife I want to be, the person I used to be.


For the past couple of years, I have felt that God has been breaking my heart for what the world deems "the least of these".  I told Him I would sacrifice anything to love and care for the neediest of His children.  (It is actually the big talk in the contemporary Christian world right now, so I've read tons of books on loving the broken and vulnerable.)


Now I am sitting here in my bed in a different position.   It is two o'clock on a Monday and someone else is playing with my kids, someone brought us dinner last night, a cleaning company cleans my house, and a few days ago I lay in a stupor while an ER nurse pumped nine different drugs into my broken body.  I am "the least of these".  (And this is actually not the big talk in the contemporary Christian world right now, so I have not read a single book on how to be "the least of these", how to be the broken and vulnerable.)

Trust me, it is way easier to love the broken than to be the broken.



And one voice whispers to me: "You don't matter anymore cause you can't give anymore".  

And another one whispers: "You've always mattered and now you're going to find out how much you are valued no matter what
 And when you give again ... and you will give again... you will love the broken more like Me because you've been broken just like Me."



I'm going to keep blogging.  And I am going to tell this story, because I still believe it is His Plan and will be Our Joy.
This is a declaration of faith.
A promise to trust.

I will fall short and I will write about it.  While it's happening.  But He will not fall short and I will write about that, too.  And in the end He will be proven to be the same redemptive, loving, faithful God that He has always been.

And in the end, I will be proven to be the same broken and healed, dearly loved girl still standing under that waterfall of grace.

Please pray that I will tell His Story well... Live it well.




"Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?"  Job 2:10

Habakuk 3:17-19




4.21.2013

Entertaining Angels and Welcoming Jesus-- What Are You Doing With Your Summer?

   
"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."  Hebrews 13:2



      As followers of Jesus, Scott and I understand from his teaching that although not everyone is called to foster or adopt, we are all clearly called to care for orphans.  When we share at church (or with anyone who will listen!) about the Global Orphan Crisis many will say they feel inspired to respond but don't know what to do outside of fostering or adopting.  So I wanted to share a couple of posts that will offer some beautifully impactful ways that anyone can be involved in orphan care.



    First is a way that you can jump right in this summer and open your home for just 4-5 weeks to host an orphan child from either Eastern Europe or China.  Many of these children are getting older and have been passed over so many times for a forever family.  Bringing them into your home for this short time shows them that they are not forgotten by God and that someone out there truly does care.  Can you imagine going your whole life and not really knowing that?   What an incredible way to spend part of your summer, investing in the life of a child!  Who knows-- perhaps someone in your family or circle of friends will meet this child and realize that they can provide them with a permanent home?  One simple month of hosting a child, and you provided just the door God swung open to change the rest of this child's life!



     The sad reality is that most of these children are nearing the age when they will be forced to leave their orphanages.  They will be given a small amount of money and be sent out to live on their own.  What awaits them is this:


Without intervention, upon leaving the orphanage, 60% of girls will end up in prostitution, 70% of boys will be on the streets or in jail, and 15% will commit suicide within the first two years on their own.
YOU can revolutionize the life of an abandoned child.


     This is the reality for children like this beautiful girl...
    


This precious girl only has this last chance to be hosted...
and this is also her last chance for adoption...
{I shudder to think what could become of her after
she ages out if someone doesn't open their heart and home to her.}





    And here are some faces from the recent 
Ch*na hosting program...



   



     For more details you can check out the website for New Horizons for Children here.  I also encourage you to pop over to A Place Called Simplicity where you can see some photos of many of these precious children who are looking for host families this summer.

     New Horizons for Children has extensive experience working with these children and have been very careful in selecting the children that will do well on a trip like this.  There are costs associated with the children's travel, but please don't let this deter you.  If you are considering this, please share with me so that we can help you make it happen!



"Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me"  
                                         Mark 9:37

                                        So... what are you doing with your summer?  
                                                     Planning a beach trip?
                              Why not bring along a child who has never seen the ocean?
                     
What could be more wonderful than "entertaining angels" (Heb.13:2) and "welcoming Jesus" (Mark 9:37)?!
   
     **Oh, and if you decide to take the plunge and open your home, will you let me know how it goes?  Truth is, I've already asked Scott for this as my Christmas present (the winter hosting term), if the Lord opens the door for a new home.  Right now we quite literally have "no room in the inn", but as soon as we do I'm signing up!**
 

4.18.2013

A Family for Brandon

Brandon
Brandon




A fellow adoptive mama sent me this picture a couple of weeks ago, and when I saw it my heart leapt.
This sweet little boy is in the same orphanage Mei was in and we have pictures of her wearing that exact same outfit!
Most every parent who has adopted internationally and been to their child's orphanage will tell you that one of the hardest parts of their trip was walking out of that orphanage and leaving behind so many children who still needed a family.  When we visited Mei's room that day over a year ago, I looked closely at each child.  Then I whispered a prayer that God would allow me to do something more for them... for all the ones forgotten... all the ones left behind.

Friends, this is Brandon.  He is a real boy, not just a picture.  Here in America when we look at his picture and we think about his needs, we think about what we don't have- the time, the money, the energy, the love- to raise this child.  But it all comes into perspective when you are standing in an orphanage surrounded by these precious little ones- these little ones who have so little,  lacking even the basic things we take for granted (like family).  All of a sudden you realize how much you have.  And how much you have to give.

Little Brandon is three years old and he needs a family to bring him home and call him their own.  His special need is arthrogryposis, and he is listed on an individual agency list.  If God is tugging on your heart and you just want to know a little more about Brandon, please contact me at haleyuf at hotmail dot com.

Lifting up prayers for sweet Brandon tonight and trusting that God has a perfect plan for this boy's life!