Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Rescued

Sometimes, people are under the impression that there must be something special about families who willingly choose to adopt, especially when we are talking about adopting children with special needs. But, I want to set the record straight......there is absolutely nothing special about us....NOTHING! We are not heroic. We are not rescuers. We are not deserving of praise or special recognition. We are just parents who realized what an incredible blessing children with special needs are to a family. We are just parents who decided to say yes to following God's heart in caring for His children. We are just parents whose hearts were broken by the things that break God's heart. 

“We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes…” – David Platt, “Radical”

Adoption is not a call for special families, but a call for willing families. It is a call for families who realize the depths of what God did for us when He adopted us.

"God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure." Ephesians 1:5


"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18


"So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father."" Romans 8:15

God loved us. He chose us. He didn't leave us where we were. He came to us. He met us in our deepest need. He wanted us. He pursued us no matter the cost. He adopted us into His family and gave us His name. He gave us all of the rights as His son and His daughter. 

Adoption is a small tangible representation of what He did for us. It has NOTHING to do with us, and EVERYTHING to do with Him!

And now, introducing our newest fundraiser to help us bring Brave and Ever home. Each shirt has been hand designed with one of my favorite adoption quotes. There are several different styles available. These shirts are very high quality, and each shirt includes free domestic shipping!



Now for the shirt details. All prices include FREE shipping withing the US. You can pay for and order the shirts on the right side of our blog. The shirt orders will run for one week. Once the order ends, it will take approximately 2 weeks for the shirts to come in so that I can ship them out to you. Thank you for helping us bring BRAVE and EVER HOME!!!! The details, pricing, and size chart for the shirts are below.

"The Rescued"   Flowy Draped Dolman Sleeve Tee
Women's Fit
$29 (with free shipping in the US)


Here is a size chart for the Dolman. I feel like this shirt runs small. I typically order up two sizes on this shirt for the fit that I like.

"The Rescued" Gray/Navy Triblend 3/4 Sleeve Raglan
Unisex Fit
$29 with FREE domestic shipping



"The Rescued" Navy Triblend T-Shirt
Modern Fit/ Unisex Sizing
50% poly, 25% cotton, 25% rayon
$25 with FREE domestic shipping



"The Rescued" Cardinal T-Shirt
Unisex Sizing
100% superior combed and ring spun cotton
$25 with FREE domestic shipping



Thank you for helping us bring Brave and Ever HOME!!!!!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bravely Ever After

I plan to open a website soon to sell some handmade items to help us bring Brave and Ever home. I felt it only fitting to name it Bravely Ever After.


We can't wait to bring Brave and Ever home, but with this being our 3rd adoption in the last two years, totaling 6 less orphans, we need all of the help we can get. If we didn't need to get Brave home so soon to the medical care he so desperately needs, we could take our time raising these funds, but we are now in a major rush.

With Christmas around the corner, I hope that some of these designs will appeal to you. I will mainly be focusing on items made with burlap. I love the look and feel of burlap and felt it offered a unique product, and I hope you agree.

I will be starting with selling these 8.5x11 burlap prints. All of these prints have been hand designed by me one piece at a time. There are many different designs to choose from, and they look great by themselves or framed in a collection.



Each print will be available for a $15 donation with shipping included. Until I get the website up and running, you can purchase them by clicking on the Donate button on the top right of the blog and leaving me a note as to which print(s) you would like.

Here are the designs currently offered. Stay tuned for more designs, as well.

Completely customizable "Love Knows No Distance" real burlap print. You choose the country and the location of the heart. I currently have Ukraine, China, Bulgaria, and the continent of Africa. Although not pictured, I also have designs available for Russia, Serbia, Lithuania, and Latvia. These designs can also be done without the heart, if you prefer.


 


"You Make Me Brave" real burlap print. 


"Be The Good in the World" real burlap print.


"Spirit Lead Me" real burlap print. "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders." ~ Hillsong


"Love is Patient ~ I Corinthians 13" real burlap print. 


"Love ~ Camera" real burlap print. "Love captures us in a moment, & changes us forever."



"Psalm 18:32-33 Deer" real burlap print. "It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places."
 


"We Adopt" real burlap print. "We adopt not because we are rescuers. We adopt because we are THE RESCUED" ~ David Platt.

 

"Hope as an Anchor" real burlap print.


"Fix My Eyes" real burlap print. "Love like I'm not scared.Live life for another. Fight for the weak ones. Speak out for freedom. Find faith in the battle. Stand tall. Fix my eyes on You." ~ For King and Country


"Anatomical Heart Psalm 31:24" real burlap print. As a heart mom, this verse means so much to me. "Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord."


"You Make Me Brave 2" real burlap print. "You make me brave. No FEAR can hinder now the LOVE that made a way." ~ Bethel Music

 
"Be a Light" real burlap print.

 
 
Again, each print is available for a $15 donation with domestic shipping included (click on the top right button on this blog). Please leave me a note as to which print(s) you would like. Please consider purchasing some prints to help us bring Brave and Ever home!!!!






Saturday, October 25, 2014

Finding Our Happily Ever After

CONTINUED ( Part 1 here: Journey to Happily Ever After )

When I left the orphanages, I left even more determined that I had to do more. When we ask God to break our hearts for the things that break His, we need to be prepared for that to actually happen. Never have I felt so broken for the children we were leaving behind, and the millions of children their faces represented. And yet, never have I felt so hopeless in trying to help them. My "little" feels like nothing in the face of the overwhelming crisis. Yes, we made it to Stori in time just weeks before she aged out, and yet, standing right in front of me is another amazing little girl who forever lost her hope for a family. Staring me in the eyes are countless children who aren't even listed for adoption because no one is coming for the children who are. What can I offer them? I can't whisper in their ears "Hold on, sweet one. Your mama is coming". I offer them the little I have. I whisper "I love you". I whisper "Jesus loves you". And I wonder if they will ever hear those words again. I wonder if they realize how true those words are. I wonder if they know how much they are loved. I wonder if they know how valuable their lives are. Because on the outside, those words feel like empty words. How will they know unless we show them? How will they know unless we come for them?

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

You see, that is what Jesus did for us. He didn't leave us where we were. He came for us. He rescued us from a future without hope. He showed us our worth in Him. He loved us so much that He gave up everything for us. You want to see a picture of the gospel? It's that right there my friends. It is when we abandon ourselves to His call. It's when we say "Here I am. Lord, send me". Adoption is a real life representation of what He did for us. "We adopt not because we are rescuers. No, we adopt because we are THE RESCUED" (David Platt). He rescued us, and He longs to rescue His children through us. ARE WE WILLING?

I knew that one day we would be back. I knew it deep in my soul. I assumed it would be years in the future. My doing more for now would be advocating for these children. My doing more would be praying for these children. My doing more would be giving so that others could bring home these children. Those were my plans - my plans. We were still adjusting to adding two more amazing children to the family. In fact, I was still in China with our newest children.

And yet, God had different plans. Out of nowhere, on the way to the airport, I asked our guide if she had ever met a specific child. If you know me really well, you know there is a girl in China I have loved for a very long time. In fact, if you know me really well, I have probably tried to talk you into adopting this amazing girl. But, she had been the last thing on my mind this adoption trip. I was focused on our two newest children and the faces of the children we were leaving behind. And, yet, out of nowhere, as we are on a bus late at night, on the way to the airport for home, I get this sudden urge to ask about her. Our guide had been to her orphanage several times, but she couldn't place her. And yet, I still couldn't get her off my mind. 
 
A few days after arriving home, I learned my friend was going to her orphanage. While at the orphanage, she met this girl and had the chance to spend some time with her. She sent me an updated picture of her, and the moment I saw her face, it took my breath away. I knew in that moment she was meant to be ours. It didn't matter that we had only been home for a week, she was meant to be our daughter. Just 8 days after coming home from China, we said yes to bringing her home.After years of living in an orphanage, she was going to finally belong. She was going to know what it meant to be loved. There would be no empty words, only words full of hope for the future. Her beginning may have felt hopeless, but her story would have a happy ending. We found our Happily Ever After.

And so, we would like to introduce you to our amazing, almost 12 year old daughter, Ever!!!!!


If you don't recognize her face, she was listed as Saige on Reece's Rainbow!!!!

Yes, we are bringing home TWO children again!!!! We actually started the process for Ever first, and already had our approval from China for her when we found Brave. We had to change agencies in order to bring them both home, and then resubmit our paperwork for her again. We now have approval for BOTH of our amazing children! We are SO EXCITED to bring them both home!!!! 


There are millions of children out there still waiting for their happy ending. 


Will YOU help them find their Happily Ever After??

Friday, October 24, 2014

Journey to Happily Ever After

This is where my heart is today. 


It is where my heart is often. My heart is with the children we left behind. The faces of the children longing for hope....longing to belong....longing to finally be chosen....they are forever etched in my heart.

While in China adopting Stori and Anchor, we were able to visit both of their orphanages. We brought some snacks and toys and spent some time loving on the children.



   
Before visiting the orphanage, we learned of Stori's friend who had recently aged out. We had the privilege of meeting this incredible girl when we went to visit the orphanage. I cannot tell you the heartache I felt the moment I had to walk away from her. That moment was the single hardest moment of the entire adoption trip, and I could not hold back the tears any longer. This incredible girl was filled with so much potential. If she were here in this country, I could envision her going to school, and one day to college. I can envision her happily married with children of her own. But, that will never be her reality in her country. She is forever without hope at the young age of 14, and I cannot help but feel that we somehow let her down, not just individually, but as a whole. If I had only known. But, the fact is, her face represents the countless children who are running out of hope every single day, and I am having a really hard time understanding it. 


Did you know that in Stori's orphanage full of children, there were only FOUR children listed for adoption? Our daughter was one of those four, and she waited YEARS to finally be chosen. We got there the month before she aged out. Of those four, our daughter's friend aged out with no one ever coming for her. Of those four, the other two are still waiting, every day becoming one day closer to a lifetime without hope. Out of that entire orphanage, there were only four listed, and it isn't because the other children aren't orphans or wouldn't be available for adoption.  It is because they know WE AREN'T COMING!!! Preparing adoption paperwork costs the orphanage money....money they don't often have. And when no one is coming for the children they have already prepared paperwork for, then why would they spend more on listing the others? Did you hear that? Only one of the four has found a family, while all of the other children don't even have the hope of being seen. WHY? WHY aren't we coming??!


In Anchor's orphanage, only ONE child is currently listed, and so far, no one is coming for him. The director BEGGED me to find him a family near us. They told this little boy that I was going to help him find a family, but so far, I am failing. He thinks he will one day leave the orphanage with his family, just like his friend, Anchor, but every day, he is one step closer to losing hope.


The children you see listed for adoption in China are just a tiny, tiny fraction of the children who are waiting for a family. They represent just a tiny fraction of the orphan crisis world wide. I dream of the day when families are lined up waiting and ready to adopt children as they become available. I dream of the day when we show it by our actions that ALL children are wanted. I dream of the day when "pro-life" in the church also means "pro-adoption".


This was not the first time I had visited an orphanage. Nor was it the first time my heart has been broken by the children I have had to leave behind, but this time felt different. This time, there was  no masking my pain. This time the tears flowed as I knew that many of these children would never know what it meant to belong. This time broke my heart to the very core. This time I left even more determined that we weren't doing enough. This time I left knowing that we had to do more. They very lives and future depends on us doing more!




Every single one of these waiting orphans are God's children. If we say that we follow God, then are we not His hands and feet to the world? We are His only physical presence here on this earth. He desperately wants to rescue His children, but He is waiting on US, friends! If WE aren't being His hands and feet, then who is? If WE aren't willing, then who will be? He is waiting for us to bring these children into our homes and show them His hope and His love. What are we waiting for?

No, adopting a child may not change the world, but for that child, their whole world will change.

Stori and Anchor have been home now for a little over 3 months, and the changes in both of them have been absolutely amazing! They were just waiting for someone to show them love....show them hope....and show them they belong. This is their happily ever after.



Millions of children across the world tonight in orphanages and foster homes are still waiting for their happily ever after.



Will YOU be a part of their happy ending?

TO BE CONTINUED