Family picture

Family picture

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Children all over the world deserve to be loved

I need to write about something that is so very close to my heart.  If you would like to continue reading, then I invite you to pull up a comfy chair and grab a cup of coffee (or tea or hot chocolate even), for what I need to get off my chest is heavy, and this post is long.  It needs to be said though.  But it is not comfortable even having to mention it.

The comments throughout our years of our adoption journeys have mostly been beautiful, loving, and wonderful.  But  sometimes comments have been made that are very harsh and ugly.  We now know, having gone through it three times and knowing so many other adoptive families who have gone through it as well, that the bad comes with the good when speaking about adoption.  So we really shouldn't be surprised when others make those off-handed (or not so) negative comments that can pierce our very souls.

And in fact, most people have been overwhelmingly supportive of our path of adoptions.  Even if it isn't something that they would do or even want to do, they are so very happy for us.  And in fact, so many people have expressed happiness with our newest venture into helping orphans through our work in an organization that brings comfort, much needed supplies, food, and medical help, and shows Jesus's love for the orphan around the globe. 

But occassionally we are still caught off guard.  Today was such a time. 

God closed the doors to us adopting here at home years ago.  When he opened doors to give us more children later, he took us to China.  Simply put - our three youngest children were there, not here.   But that doesn't mean that we don't care about the children in need in this country.  On the contrary, with each adoption, Kevin and I had a time that we thought our next child might even be from this country.  But that is not what God had in mind, so off we went to China instead to bring home our Chinese children.  We like to say that our mommy and poppa's heart is 1/4 homegrown and 3/4 Chinese. 

One thing we have learned through our journeys to all of our children is  this -

God is in control, and we are not.

Coming back with Sophia last year, our hearts and minds told us that was the last journey to adopt, but really it not up to us.  In the end, Kevin and I are open to God - whatever he wants, wherever he leads, whenever he tells to go or stay. 

Maybe we are done adding to our family, or maybe we are not.  Only God knows that for sure.  But this we do know for sure.  We are not even close to saying that we are done helping orphans all over the world.  On the contrary, we feel as if we are just beginning. 

Some have said recently, and with our past adoptions, that they don't understand why we go to China, serve in China, and want to bring home Chinese children when there are so many children here in need.  Some people have even said that they don't support our adoptions and don't support the work God has called us to do in China helping orphans.  One of their reasons - the need is too great here at home to send money over "there." 

Where is "over there" exactly?  Don't all children deserve to feel the love and security of a family, a mom and dad to tuck them in each night?  Don't all children need to know the love of Christ, experiencing people being the hands and feet of Jesus for them personally?   Isn't the world home to all of us?  Didn't Jesus say to go into all the world?

We are praying God leads us into adoption/orphan ministry more and more  - here and abroad.  We are praying, waiting, and watching for his plan to unfold.  We are so extremely humbled and joyful that he would choose to use us, very ordinary and not so very capable people, to be a small part in ministering to orphans wherever they are.

We are so very glad we do not feel like that - that we can't serve someplace (to which we are being called) because the need is so very great right here.  Can't we do both?  How could we possibly choose if a child from one country is more worthy to be helped than a child from another country?  How could we sleep each night knowing that we refused to do what God called us to do?  We are praying daily that he leads us into ministry right here at home as well as around the globe!

I remember something my dad said at the very beginning of our adoption journeys.  When I told him we felt led to adopt, he gently looked at me and said, "I don't really understand it, but if this is what you want to do and it makes you happy, then I will pray for it."   How tender and sweet his words were to our souls.    And, oh my, how happy he was when Philip came home.  Along the way, he might not have completely understood our motivation or that we felt deeply led by God to do this, but he didn't condemn us either.  He was geniunely happy because we were, too!  And the depth of love he and Philip had for each other was a testament to that acceptence.     

Dad, Philip, Dad's brother - Uncle Al

We are so very thankful that God has given us many people along the way to encourage us in this difficult but amazing journey. It is really only a handful of people who openly condemn our path.  We do not need the approval of others to follow God's path for our lives, but we do feel the sting of each unkind word and lack of acceptence, especially from people we dearly love.  We are so very thankful that God has given us people who love us no matter how much they understand what we are doing. And we are so very glad that God has the plan, not us.  For his plans are much more beautiful and amazing than any we could ever dream!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Be the Voice - International Voice of the Orphan

It is with great joy that Kevin and I want to announce a new direction God is taking in our lives.  Our friends Linny and DW, who are amazing advocates for orphans across the globe, have officially made us a part of their team to minister to orphans through International Voice of the Orphan.

Kevin and I make up the China arm of IVO in "The China Connection."  We are overjoyed in getting to be a part of helping orphans in China now full-time! 

We invite you to check IVO's website out!  You, too, can be a part of helping bring comfort and love in Christ to millions of children around the world who have no families of their own. 

Click here to read more about it on Linny's blog

Click here to go to IVO's website

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Teddy Bear Adventures

We missed out on taking teddy bears to our local library's Teddy Bear Sleepover.  That is where you bring your bear and leave it overnight at the library.  In the moring, you can pick it back up.  Then  you would see the pictures taken by the library staff of all of their adventures! 

Well, this mom forgot all about the Teddy Bear Sleepover until it was too late.  Oh no! 

But no worry.  Big brother Ted came to our rescue.

He graciously agreed to take home his little siblings' teddy bears for a couple of days of adventure!  Sophia, Philip, and Elijah loaded Ted down with teddy bears and bags of "things" to accompany them.

What a wonderful and loving big brother you are, Ted!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Good friends + good food = wonderful day

Our family got to spend the day at a beautiful Indiana state park with some very good friends.

This past June,when Ted and I served with our home team at Shepherd's Field Children's Village in China, we served with two other teams - one from Ohio and one from Kentucky.

Such amazing memories were made on that trip. 

Today most of us got together to share good food and catch up!

What fun it was!

A van full of my lovies!

Good friends + good food = wonderful time!

Our Ohio friends

And Kentucky friends, too

A rainy game of tag

"Rock, paper, scissors" in the drizzle, too

And very tired peeps on the way home - young ones and old!

What a beautiful day it was despite the rain.  Being with orphan-loving people you last saw on the other side of the world - wonderful new memories made today.