Join Me In The Garden

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I have welcomed all of you to share in the joys and struggles of our family since our hearts were broken for the fatherless several years ago. We have now been home with our girls for over three years, and I cannot even begin to share with you how God has blessed us with our precious Chinese daughters. I have chosen to share our family’s journey with you for one reason, that is to give God glory, and that you may see that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things if we let Him.

God called us to adopt two older girls from China, and we have been blessed beyond measure by our obedience to Him. The road has not been easy, yet it is a path I would choose to travel again.

If you take with you one thing from my willingness to be open to you, I pray that it would be that God moves mountains when we step out in faith to meet the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves. We can count on Him every time.

May God do the miraculous in your lives, and may our story inspire many to step out in faith to love a child who desperately needs what only you can give.

Blessings!

The Messy and the Miraculous

Giggles tumble in from the kitchen where our children are gathered. Deep belly laughter interupts the momentary quiet of the evening. Sophia has just gotten home from ballet, her long hair hangs in a curtain down her back, Evangeline is sitting on a stool in pajamas preparing a late night snack, and Steven is still in his school clothes. They all huddle together over one of their phones and roar with laughter at some silly meme, united, one, siblings. 



“AnJew!” Eliza calls her oldest brother in her broken, urgent, deliberate speech, “You help me? The chickens! I not go out der by myself. It’s dark. I scared. You go with me!” Then a sweet knowing smile spreads accross her face, and she speaks directly to me now, “Mudder, I make him french fries after. I come in. I make them for him. Mudder, I know he can’t. He needs me mudder. I help him.” She speaks with the empathy and maturity that embodies all of her eighteen years. 


“Well, that’s very nice of you, honey, but it would be good for him to do that for himself.” I say regarding our oldest son who has autism. 


“Mudder! He can’t. I help him. He speshal, mudder.”

“He is special, Eliza. And so are you.” I say, with feelings of joy and pride only a mother can know. I think to myself how special each one of our chidlren is, and I pause to reflect about how they care for each other, how normal it all feels now, how we belong to each other: these children, blended by time and life and God far more than biology ever could.  

“Mommy,” she transitions to the little girl now, “can you kiss me here?” She points to the middle of her forehead, and I kiss her there as I do so many times each day. 

“I love you, Mommy, forever.” 

I wonder at how blessed I am. I wonder at her amazing capacity to love so flawlessly. I wonder at her ability to forgive. 

My mind drifts back to those awful days when we’d been home from China for two years,  to the moment when I broke under the weight of all the needs. I think about how I hurt her, how I left her in respite care while I tried to find the way back to who I was, about how it was my husband who was strong and reminded me that we were family and that we’d get through the hard together. I feel ashamed, and I pull her to me, tighter now, closer. 

I love being her mother. 

I almost lost this, I think. 


Joy fills her, her body squirms in girlish delight, and I love her, in that deep motherly spot that feels warm and full and glows with a pride that isn’t my own, but rather a thankfulness, an awe at the privilege I possess. “I help you, mudder? I help you a long time.” 

“Yes. You help me.” I say the words I’ve spoken so many times before, “and when you don’t, I still love you the same.”

“I know dat, mudder!” She quickly runs off. 

“Anjew! You help me?” He grumbles something and follows her outside to close the chickens in their coop for the night. 

Laughter still overflows into the back room from the kitchen. Evangeline is steaming dumplings for her brothers and sisters exactly like the chinese make them in China. 


“I want three.” David says, and olivia tells her she wants only one with no dumpling sauce. 

I’m aware that we are a family, one family. The awkward stage of blending has passed. This is our normal now. It’s different than before. We are richer, more blessed, more loved, for having chosen to grow our family by adoption. The days of struggle and pain and wondering if our lives would ever feel normal again are gone. 

I wonder. 

I wonder when those days left us. I wonder when this feeling of normalcy and peace and joy returned to us. I wonder how we arrived at this place.  

And then it comes to me. It was coming all the time. It was happening on the days we cried together. It was coming on the days I failed and needed to be forgiven. It was on it’s way all those days we hurt each other and had to say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” It was growing in our hearts with the dawn of each new day and the rising of each new moon. 

It was on it’s way as we shared our brokenness with each other. 

And it arrived somehow with the passage of time. In some way I don’t understand, the messy and the miraculous forged a new path, a new creation, a beginning of something far more beautiful than we could have ever known if we hadn’t taken that tiny step of faith and opened our lives to more. 


Jeremiah’s life is about to change in ways he has yet to even imagine. And the Feltes lives will change too. Each journey is a different one. Yet no life is without pain and loss and grief. We can’t know joy until we’ve walked through the valley bereft of it, unable to find it. 

By God’s grace, Jeremiah’s new life is about to begin. He will leave the only life and country he’s ever known. The Feltes life, too, will change. They might cry and grieve and long for something more familiar than this new life they’ve begun. But I am here to say there is beauty and love and joy beyond our biggest hopes and wildest dreams just a little farther down the road. 

To help bring Jeremiah home, visit John and Janette’s blog, Journey Full of Blessings or click on the links in the top right hand corner of my blog. There is a matching grant in place until December 16th for up to $5,000. Give now and your gift will be doubled. No gift is too small. 

Join us in this work that is so close to God’s heart. The blessings are far more than the cost. 

Blessings All! 

The Time Has Come

Precious Jeremiah will turn fourteen on January 3rd. Once a child turns fourteen in China, they can no longer be adopted. The life that awaits children that are not adopted is often wrought with a lifetime of horrific abuse, loneliness and neglect. 

Travel dates have been set for the Feltes family to fly to China on December 23rd, a mere three weeks away. 

By God’s immeasurable grace, Jeremiah will be with his Baba and Mama this Christmas. 


He waits in China with open arms and an eager heart. He longs for the unknown, for that which he’s never had, for all that we take for granted but that he has only dreamed of; he longs for a family, for love. Jeremiah longs to belong. He longs for someone to tell his story. 

His family is fervently working to raise the money to bring dear Jeremiah home. Yet they are still $24,000 short with only three short weeks until they travel. 

God knows. He will not fail Jeremiah. 

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,

is God in his holy dwelling.

God sets the lonely in families, 

Psalms 68:5, 6a

Let the Children Come, our little group of women who meet monthly to pray for the orphans and who have come alongside the Feltes as they have stepped out in faith, know that in the end, after we have worked and prayed and given, that it is God who will bring Jeremiah home. Not us, not the Feltes, but God. 

We stand in faith, just as Mark and I did just over four years ago knowing that God will meet every need to bring Jeremiah home. We know that Jeremiah will come home by faith, and not by anything we can do apart from God. Yet we also know that God invites us to take part in His work. By His grace He offers us the incredible opportunity to join in His work of placing the l0nely in families. 


Let the Children Come has just been notified this week that a precious group of people have joined together to offer a matching grant of up to $5,000 for all donations and tee shirt sales until December 16th. (The tee shirt sale fundraiser ends on December 6th so that the tee shirts will be delivered in time for Christmas) That means that any gift given between now and the 16th will be doubled! Give $20 and your gift is increased to $40! Purchase a tee shirt for $20, and the profit will be doubled so your purchase of $20 actually donates $27 to help bring Jeremiah home! 

Will you please share this post and help us spread the word that Jeremiah is coming home in three short weeks?

We wait in eager expection to see how God answers our prayers for dear Jeremiah!

Blessings All!

I Praise Him! 

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;   Daniel 2:21

Tonight, on this eve of the appointing of the new president of the United States of America, I praise God for all that He will do to bring about His purposes. I praise Him that on Wednesday morning His appointed will be our new president. I praise Him for His wisdom and that He has blessed me beyond measure by opening my eyes to the things that are not seen, to the spiritual world, which is more real to me than anything in this tangible world will ever be. 
I praise God that I know the Savior of this world. I know the One who will bring world peace. I praise Him for the work Jesus did on the cross to make us one with Him. 
I praise Him for all those who will come to know Him as He continues in His work of drawing of all men to Himself. 
I praise Him. I honor Him. I trust Him. I rest in Him.  
I love Him. 
I pray this peace for all of you.

Blessings!

Diane

Jeremiah

One day blurs into the next with the seeming endlessness of an ocean, void of boundaries, direction, clarity. The children’s schedules fill my days, and life hurries on. My moments are filled with the minutia of life, and I lose myself there, amidst the lunches and clothes and driving and homework and signing of agendas. 


I long to write. 

My facebook page is filled with disparaging posts from both sides of the political platform, and I wonder at an America that has fallen so far from its roots that it cannot even produce two qualified candidates to lead our country.  

I am brought to my knees. 


And I find Him there, at the pause in my life, at the space between the busyness and the longing, where He waits for me. He meets me there, on my knees, and His gentle presence breathes life and peace into me and reminds me that everything is in His hands, even an America that has lost its way, even a world that has turned its back on its Creator.

Across the globe, the children wait alone, scared, lost, in a world that has forgotten them, a world that has grown cold and indifferent to their cries. 


I pray, Lord, place each one in a family.

One child, Jeramiah, has been chosen. 


I’ve written before about John and Janette and their two young children here who have chosen him. 


Jeremiah ages out in January. He will soon be coming home to his family. I wonder if he knows how much he is already loved and prayed for, even as he waits for a mama and baba of his very own. 

John and Janette have stepped out in faith to adopt Jeremiah. They have come to the end of themselves and their resources. 

And they know the One Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. 

They know the One Who places the lonely in families. 


For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. 
Romans 11:36

We can’t wait to welcome Jeremiah home!

You can follow John and Janette’s story at Journey Full of Blessings.

We praise God for all that He has done to bring the children home and all that He is yet to do!

Blessings!

The Face of Redemption

My Facebook page is flooding me with memories of four years ago when we were in China getting our girls. Each picture brings back a sea of feelings that unnerve me. 


I feel the trauma our daughters felt more vividly than I did before because now they are my own, and I know the depth of emotion they carried in their hearts that day and all that they left behind. I know of the many friends and care givers they walked away from forever with a bravery that staggers me. 


I experience again my own trauma and feelings of inadequacy at the realization that the girls needs were so much bigger and deeper than I had even begun to imagine. 


As we had looked forward to traveling, I’d felt as though I’d been carried along on a current of God’s grace and guidance for our lives and the lives of our family, and I struggled mightily once I arrived in China and saw exactly where that current of God’s grace had led us. It had led us straight into the painful reality of all that our precious daughters had borne alone, straight into the depth of abandonment and loss. I felt the gravity of adoption, and perhaps I saw too a glimpse of the cost of redemption.
 

The faces of the children waiting had haunted us for years, faces with sad longing eyes and empty looks, faces of babies and toddlers and children and teenagers, faces that all shared one thing, a vacant lonely desperation in their eyes, a need that being parentless in a world where children are meant for families gave them. We’d prayed over each face. 


We’d given our yes to God, and when after months of preparation and waiting, our girls were handed over to our care, we’d found ourselves in the midst of the work God had called us to and had found ourselves wanting. We had come to the end of ourselves, and were realizing that all that we had learned about relying on God for His provision to bring the girls home was only just a fraction of the faith that we would need in order to face the years that still lay ahead for us then. 

I may not have expressed it on this blog, but the summation of my feelings while we were in China can unabashedly be best expressed as a fear that hit me in the pit of my stomach and clenched at my throat and remained for the two years that followed bringing our daughters home. If ever I had felt that God had called me to something I could not do, it was those early days and months with our new daughters, and as I see the photos of those far away days, I feel the pain and fear today as I felt it then. 

Yet today, juxtaposed against all of those feelings of fear and inadequacy, are feelings of peace and acceptance and pure joy at the amazing miracle God allowed us to be a part of. All of the angst is gone, and in its place is the peace and love and fulfillment that loving children brings. Today, I have thirteen children of my very own. I have nine biological children who are all in varying stages of developing, two who went to heaven before I ever had the chance to hold them in my arms, and two who came to me through adoption. Each journey has been vastly different for every one of our children, and I have learned that being a mother is more about getting to know each child and encouraging each one to move forward in the gifts and abilities that are uniquely theirs than about meeting all of their needs in our own strength.

Far too often, we believe our role as parents is to give our children the most perfect childhoods we can. We want to protect them from pain and even from their own mistakes, and yet it’s the times they’ve fallen hard and grieved and realized their need for God that have built character in their hearts far more than the hours we have spent amusing them.


Before we travelled to get our girls, I had to come to a point where I knew, in the deepest part of my soul, that I could trust our biological children to God, and that whatever challenges we faced as a family as we struggled to find our new normal would be within the boundaries of what God allowed for us, and would be tempered by His immeasurable grace. I’d be lying if I implied that there were never times as we travelled through these past four years when I didn’t question God’s plan for our family or question our choice to follow God’s will against the advice and concerns of so many who loved us. To say that the years we’ve spent merging our lives with the girls have been easy would be an injustice to all that we were called to and to all that each member of our family experienced as we moved forward into God’s will for our lives. 

We were called to rescue the fatherless, and that is what we did for two of the millions of orphans that still wait. Was it hard? Yes. Did our biological children struggle in the process? Yes. Did Mark and I falter as we endeavored to meet the needs and move forward with our large family? Absolutely. 

Yet, I can’t help but see the growth that our choice to follow God has brought about in our children’s hearts. 

Eliza and Evangeline will likely always require our care. We will spend our lives caring for and protecting them. They are safe and loved, something they waited for for far too long, and we are forever blessed to have the priviledge of parenting them. The safety and security that we have given them fades away when compared to the joy we know at having chosen to love them. They have enriched our family more than we could have possibly enriched their lives. 

As I write this, one thing stands out in my mind. I am aware, perhaps for the first time with such lucid clarity, that our part in all of this was to merely walk through the stages of loss and grief, of healing and attachment, to walk forward in faith knowing that the One who called us is faithful to finish the great work He has begun in our hearts. It was God who knitted our family together. It was He who brought healing to hurting and wounded hearts. 

 
All we really did was keep walking. 

If you are in the midst of a dark place and see no way through, may I encourage you to just keep walking forward into all that God has for you. He is faithful to bring you through. 

Blessings All!

A Dream Come True

It was just a dream.

It was a tiny thought that kept appearing in my mind as I parented our daughters who came home to us through adoption, as I brushed their hair and held their tiny hands in mine. It was an idea that flashed across my mind when I’d see the girls smiles or as I’d watch them chat with their siblings in conversations redolent of connection, acceptance, love, belonging. It flickered brighter as I watched Eliza and Evangeline blossom in our oh so imperfect family.

It was just a spark of light that I hoped someday would ignite into a full blown blaze, yet I had no idea how to fan that glowing ember in my mind.

I’m a dreamer, a writer, a visionary perhaps, yet I struggle to see the path I must take to bring all those big ideas that flitter across my mind into reality. So there my dream remained, just a tiny spark inside my mind until I dared to give it words and share it with my precious, make things happen friend, Stephanie.

“I really want to start an orphan ministry.” I’d say to her from time to time amidst the craziness of our sixteen children.

She’d smile in that genuine, affirming way that has become such an endeared part of my life.

Then life would come at us, hard, painful, demanding, exhausting, and we’d get caught up in the present, in the seeming urgencies of the moment.

And the dream just flickered.

Over coffee and amidst the playful sounds of our children, I’d say again, “You know, I’d really like to start an orphan ministry.”

She’d flash that smile filled with love for my heart and empathy for the fact that I had no idea how to make any of it happen, and we’d move on to all the other things we wanted to share with each other in our limited catch up time.

The spark kept glowing inside me. I prayed and asked God to show me the way, but the needs of my family and children filled my time. For so long, I felt I couldn’t even write on my blog, let alone begin a ministry. I’d tell myself, someday, in God’s perfect timing, He’ll show me the way.

Yet in my mind the needs of the children waiting pressed with an urgency that troubled me, and I wanted so badly to begin.

Then our pastor preached a series of sermons about the fruit of our lives, about how while works won’t save our souls, they are the natural outpouring of the life of a Christian. He reminded us of the awesome blessing and priviledge we have as children of God to actually partake in His work and to allow our hearts to be broken with the things that break the heart of God. Our Pastor’s words spoke to me and reminded me of that blessed communion with our Heavenly Father that actually allows us to share God’s heart and desires, that makes us one with God.

I knew the dream inside me was one that God had placed there, and I whispered a quiet, “Please Lord, show me the way.”

The very next time I saw Stephanie, her eyes were bright and words rolled off her tongue with the energy of a child waiting to open presents on Christmas morning, “We need to start that orphan ministry. Let’s just do it.”

Today,  Let the Children Come, is an official ministry of Faith Bible Church. We are a group of mothers, many homeschooling, who gather together while our children play, on the first Tuesday of every month to pray for God to raise up families who are willing to adopt, to pray for the children who wait, to plan ways to support those in our community who may be adopting or fostering, and to seek God’s direction for our ministry.

We are a small group in the initial stages of developing with far more questions than we have answers, yet even now, God is moving. After just a few months of praying and sharing the needs, God moved in the hearts of John and Janette Feltes to adopt.

I am so excited to share with you that this very special young man has a family!

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One day during a meeting of Let the Children Come and after I’d been rambling on about all the miracles God performed to bring our girls home, one of the members of our group shared through tears about her desire to adopt.

Below are her words.

After Diane shared her story with me last November, I felt God leading us down the adoption path. I felt that if I were to stand before God, He would say to me, “Well, I’m really glad you were comfortable.” We are not called to be comfortable but to serve others and show them His love. God has a heart for the orphans. John and I have a heart for the aging out orphans. Not only to save them from a life on the streets, but to share the love of Jesus with them. We started filling out the application in December and prayed if it was meant to be, that God would provide the application fee of $300 before we received our tax money. The day we received our tax money, I received an email from someone that said they had $300 for us. So we knew that this was the path God was leading us. We took a huge leap of faith and are trusting God to provide to bring Jeremiah home to us. Jeremiah ages out in January.

Our kids are so excited. Malorie wanted us to adopt a girl; she has always wanted a sister. We were at the dinner table one night and came across Jeremiah on the waiting children list. He wrote a letter that said he just wanted a family and a mom and dad who would love him. All I could do was cry. At bedtime, we were praying with the kids and Malorie got quiet. She turned to me and said, “Mom, I really want Jeremiah.” That’s when we decided that we wanted Jeremiah to be a part of our family. Mason is so excited to have a brother to share his room with. One day, we were all in the car and John and I were discussing some adoption fees that needed to be paid. Mason and Malorie were whispering in the backseat. Mason said, “Mom, Malorie and I each have $5 from our allowance and we want you to use it for the adoption, so you have ten extra dollars.” My heart melted. God already is growing our faith! I love that our kids get to be a part of this and see firsthand how God is at work.

How great is our God! 

John and Janette have twin children, Mallorie and Mason. 

Aren’t they just the cutest?

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The Feltes are stepping out in faith, just like most of us do here in the adoption community, trusting God to provide all that they need to go and get their son. They have set up an account through Adopt Together where they can receive tax deductible donations. 

Janette has started a blog at Journey Full of Blessings. Please follow their story and join us at Let the Children Come in praying for the Feltes as they trust God to do the miraculous in their lives. 

I just can’t wait to watch God move mountains to bring precious Jeremiah home to his family!

Blessings!

Becoming

I stand in my kitchen, filled to overflowing with the clamor of children. Victoria has brought Rita’s water ice home from work today, and the joy and excitement of her gift to her siblings is palpable. 

My feet and legs feel heavy and tired, my back is aching, and my hands move methodically, robotically, clearing the counter for the umpteenth time today and filling it again, this time with brightly colored ice cream dishes and scoops and spoons for my brood of eager children. My body is present, right there in the midst of all my precious ones; yet my mind is far away in some distant place where joy resides and where peace fills me. The sound of the children’s voices jumble together in my mind like the sound of the wind rustling in and out of the trees behind our house as it whistles through the leaves like the song of a dozen whippoorwills chanting endlessly on a summer night. 

My spirit soars somewhere distant and detached. Perhaps I am praying, in that deep, wordless, place inside myself where God communes with me, or perhaps my brain is resting from the endless chatter of the children. Perhaps I am weary and tired and thankful and blessed all at the same time and the feelings are all jumbled together in some wordless place that finds rest in the midst of the never ending busyness of my days.

  
Something calls me back from that far off place inside myself. I hear the children’s words, now cohesive, purposeful, intentional, distinct.

“David wants more strawberry.” 

“Jonathan wants cotton candy.” 

“Make sure you save enough coconut for Evangeline! Coconut is her favorite.” 

“Andrew, you can’t have all the flavors together! That’s gross.” 

“Mommy, Eliza fixed the gate and now Sebastian can’t get out anymore, but Mr. Bunn can.”

“No, Eliza doesn’t want any. It’s too sweet for her.” 

“Mommy, Livi, wanted chocolate, and there is no chocolate.” 

“Who is going to carry the water ice downstairs to the freezer?” 

“Not me!” Another hollers.

And from another, “No, not yet.  Where’s Sophia? She didn’t get hers yet.”

And then I see it. 

Somewhere in the midst of the children’s voices all tumbling out together, in what feels to me like the well thought out rhythm of some flawless symphony, right there, in the ordinary, in the simple, in the common, I see it. 

   

I see what I have hoped for and prayed for and sometimes wondered if I would ever see. 

  
I see the children, integrated, united, one, not separated by the years they spent apart, by the diversity of their pasts, but instead, conjoined, banded together by the commonality of their lives now, by the new history we have built together. A history that belongs to all of us, a history that is ours. 

   

 

I see how God has interwoven our lives. I see the connectedness, the cohesion, the bond that exists between all the children. I see how God, and life, and the passage of time has knit us together as a family. I realize too, that I can no longer see the forced and uneven, awkward stitching of the seams that once tentatively held us together as an evolving family and stood out uncomfortably when our pasts mattered more than the present, when the histories of our biological and adopted children were as different as the winter snow is from the warm dew of summer that glistens on the grass, reflecting its iridescent light off the common, the ordinary, the familiar.
 

  
I wonder. When did it happen, this feeling of normality? When did it return to us?

 
  

The answer comes to me amidst the chaos of the kitchen, amidst the dipping of the water ice, amidst the ordinary.

  

It was coming all along. It was happening like the magic of the skin horse becoming real in that famous book we all know and love, The Velveteen Rabbit. It was on its way that day we were tired and short tempered and quarreled, and then cried together and were sorry. It was coming on the days we baked together and colored and rushed out the door to church, impatient and scattered, and on the day daddy and I were weary and needed their help, on the day Livi fussed and forgot her bible and Eliza offered to run upstairs and get it for her. It was on its way the day we all climbed into our crowded van after church and it was hot, and we impulsively abandoned routine and went out for ice cream together instead of getting our lunch. It was growing in us the day mommy forgot to turn off the garden hose and we giggled together over the forgetfulness of their mommy.

 
  

It was welling up inside of us on Christmas and birthdays and on all the normal days that came in between.
    

And I believe it arrived when we shared the brokenness of ourselves with each other, our weaknesses, our inadequacies, our imperfections. It arrived when we needed to forgive each other, when we had wronged each other and found that afterward the love and bond was stronger than it had been before for having shared the hard.

 
  

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit. 

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’ 

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’ 

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” 
― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

 

We became a family, bonded together by the stuff of life, the hard and the happy, the laughter and the tears, over time and after we had loved, “for a long, long time.”

Blessings!

I Have a Dream Too

I, too, have a dream, Dr. Martin Luther King. 

I have a dream that someday every orphan will have a family. 

  

I have a dream that the sex slave industry will be exposed and brought into the light, and abolished, forever. 

I have a dream that every child would cease to be vulnerable to the darkest evil in the world today, the human trafficking industry, because of the protection that having a family provides. 

  

 

I have a dream that the body of Christ would rise up and, on the deepest level, trust God to determine what their families look like. 

I have a dream that the blinders would be broken away from our eyes and that we would see God’s children waiting, cold and alone and vulnerable in the world.

  

I have a dream that words like developmental delays, autism, heart defects, HIV, would no longer scare us. 

I have a dream that we would see the face of a child, dearly loved by our Creator, behind every diagnosis. 

  

I have a dream that God would raise up an army of people who refuse to let the circumstances of their lives stand in the way of rescuing the children. 

I have a dream that God would fill each one of us with a servant’s heart, with the same heart that led Jesus to the cross to lay down His life for us.

  

I have a dream that we would begin to see ourselves as truly one family and recognize that children of our very own are waiting all over the world for us to come for them.

I have a dream that our eyes would be opened to the fact that while we are amusing ourselves, planning vacations and building our bank accounts, focusing on our retirements and on building our nest eggs, on making our lives easier, the children are waiting for medical care, for food, for a blanket, for someone to call them their own. 

  

I have a dream that men’s hearts would be as broken for the orphans as women’s hearts are. 

I have a dream that all people who call themselves Christian would have a servant’s heart, be willing to make their lives harder, to give of their finances and time, to make room around their tables, to make room in their homes and in their hearts for one more child. 

  

I have a dream that the body of Christ would run to the children, pick up their heavy burdens and carry them on our backs, just as Barrabas picked up Jesus’s heavy cross and carried it for Him.

I have a dream that God would grow the faith His people. 

  

I have a dream that noone would be limited by their finite thinking, but see God’s limitless ability to place every child in a family. 

I have a dream that we would not see obstacles, but only God’s might and power. 

  

I have a dream that the church would take that one tiny step of faith into God’s waiting arms, and bring the children home. 

Blessings!

Cherished

It was one of those long days. 

It was the kind of day mothers everywhere have experienced.

It was a day when sleep had eluded me, when I’d spent the sleepless hours praying about the burdens that weighed too heavily on my heart, when the problems felt like mountains before me and so unequally matched to my abilities. It was a day when breakfast started early and quickly turned into one long seemingly endless string of meeting needs and pouring myself out until long after the sun had gone down. 

I stood there in my kitchen, weary, exhausted, staring blankly into the void as my mind raced with all that awaited me, wondering what next thing I needed to do first. Then I felt her tiny hand on my back, gentle, soft and loving. I recognized the touch of her hand, the rhythm of her breathing, her presence was as familiar to me and as deeply embedded into my senses as any biological child’s could ever be. 

I turned to see her dark brown eyes shining at me, somehow shining more brightly because of all the loss they’d seen, and shining even brighter still, because the lack had made the having so much more precious. The years she’d spent without a mother, a father, without sisters and brothers and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, without belonging, had somehow deepened her present joy. 

  

“Mudder,” she spoke in her loud voice, her slow, deliberate words exposing the effort it took for her to form them. “Mudder, you tired. I do it!” 

It was late. The fatigue showed in the shadows under her eyes. The others were in bed, and Mark was out running taxi service for one of the older kids. Yet, here she was wanting more than anything to be allowed to stay up late to help her mommy. 

“Mudder, I can do it!” She repeated with the innocence of a child who longs to show off her skills. 

“I know you can, sweetie. But you have school in the morning, and you need to get to bed. I can do this.” I said as I looked at the counters covered with dishes, school papers and lunch boxes, with the stuff of our day. 

“No, Mudder! I do it! You go lie down!”

Her eagerness to help melted me. “Okay. Let’s do it together.”

The smile spread accross her face like morning sun begins to fill the sky. “I help you, Muddder. You like me help you?”

There it was again, the need for reassurance of her worth, of her value to me. 

“Oh yes, you do help me! And even if you are too tired to help me, I love you.” 

We worked there in the kitchen for a long time, talking, sharing, laughing, taking time for hugs.

Then, in the quiet, she told me. 

“Mudder, I couldn’t read in China either. Something wrong with me. I can’t remember. I try hard read, but I can’t.”

 
Her words filled me with thoughts of how hard we’ve tried to help her learn to read. Images of her face, looking at me with pleading eyes, hoping that I would be able to find someone to help her learn to read English, flooded my mind. The many times I’d asked her if she had written the letters she had sent to us from China by herself stacked up in line, one after the other in my mind, like a trail of dominoes, each one knocking the next one down. For three years I’d thought she had an amazing ability to write flawless Chinese as the translators had told us, and that all I needed was to find the right way to teach her. For three years…

  

I was overwhelmed with sadness for my precious daughter who had taken three years to come up with the nerve to tell me she had never learned to read. For three years she had been afraid that I might not love her if I knew that she had never learned to read. Sadness washed over me like a wave floods the shoreline. Tears filled my eyes as I took her in my arms. 

“Oh honey, It’s okay. It doesn’t matter to me if you know how to read. I love you. You are my precious daughter, and I love you no matter what.”  

I began to feel angry for the things we hadn’t known, not because I loved my daughter any less, but because I was unaware of the burdens she had carried all alone, the fears she had borne. I felt angry that somewhere, someone had felt that they had to lie to us, that they feared if the truth were shared, Eliza would never have had a family.

But then my thoughts took a different path, one that made me angry with myself. I began to wonder if I had known that my dear Eliza had such cognitive differences, would I have still chosen to be her mother? That’s a question I honestly can’t answer. I don’t know. I hope it wouldn’t have mattered to me then, as it doesn’t matter now. 

  

Much is written about the lack of information in our children’s files from international orphanages, and I, too, have often lamented the fact that far too often, vital information is left out of these files, yet I wonder if the problem lies in our own hearts, in the view that pervades our world that those with cognitive issues are somehow less valuable, less worthy, less lovable. 

I am suddenly filled with thankfulness for whomever it was who dropped the information from our daughter’s file. It wasn’t so vital, was it?  Perhaps it was someone who loved her very much. Perhaps it was due to a deceitfulness on the part of her first agency. You can read that story here. Or perhaps it was the hand of our loving Heavenly Father who loves all of us with an infinite, perfect love. Whatever the reason no longer matters to me now. I am thankful for God, who knew, far better than I could have ever known, that Eliza was our daughter, no matter what.

The most vital information in her file was that she needed a family. 

  

And now she has one.

Blessings All!

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