Monday, February 27, 2012

Celebrating our Gracie Jane

Saturday was Gracie's b-day and we had a fish party for her. She is facinated by fish, either on clothing or our fish tank or books...So that was the theme of our party. She even got her very own fish tank with a goldfish and she loved it. Now if we can only teach her that the fish does not like stickers ( she places them inside the tank)...Oh well. I love seeing her smile and she is doing so well. She is learning more signs and using them and she now loves to play with others. She will even play somewhat appropriately with them instead of just watching . She enjoys being with her siblings and playing. She colors up a storm too. She still loves Winnie the Pooh and at the consignment sale I got some play sets for cheap and she is playing with them...go Gracie. We think her medicine is helping her to focus more during her school time and it settles her spirit some later in the day as well. She loves to curl up on daddy's lap and she is affectionate and loves to rub my feet or give hugs to us all. She has been changing quite alot in the past few months....and it is such a joy to watch her smile and live a contented life.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Make a difference in the life of a child

 Jonas was eating goldfish yesterday and made this...I love it.

 Yes, you might stand out if you have 30 children and always get noticed...because you are swimming in a different direction than the rest.....but it gives you lots of opportunity to share your faith and to encourage others toward the one you serve...and it is the best feeling ever to see a child smile because they can play, dress up and feel safe and loved.

 And you get to celebrate that child's life for the first time ever and there is nothing like seeing a child know that they are valued for who God created them to be...and you get to watch your child make a difference in another child's life...

 Watching Mya taking care of Kloe just because she loves to...even change her diapers...or watching Mady feel secure in the arms of her Uncle Josiah when she needed some rocking.....

Just simple ways and thoughts about making a difference in the life of a child and the return on that investment is huge....You should try it sometime :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We are challenging Andrew a bit more now....and an update on some of his issues

He prefers to wear sandals over his tennis shoes - just keeping his shoes on used to be a challenge so we let him choose sometimes which shoes. Here Cate is working on blocks, alphabet buttons and pushing and pulling skills...and he initially complains but soon is compliant and will do what we ask...Way to go Andrew :)

Yesterday Leah was working with Andrew and teaching him to pedal a bike...He did pretty good for his first effort.

Challenging Andrew to do more is what we are attempting in his school . He can place blocks in the bowl, push toys by himself to get the desired sound of the rushing balls instead of us for him and to pedal a bike all by himself. We are encouraging him to do things for himself. He now drinks a whole cup of water at each meal...this is huge for him since he got all of his liquids before thru his solid food that we would throw into the blender.  He also has been not as happy and not sleeping thru the I called the doctor to talk about his medicine and how initially we got some positive but that has worn off...I am waiting to hear back from her. Last week Andrew had a follow up endoscope and tonite that doctor called with the results. He is still neg for H Pyloria and also for celiac disease which we are grateful for. He did see some gastritus in the esophogus and he prescribed a diff. medicine than previcid for that. He also was neg. for food allergies praise God. He has not thrown up since the dilation in Dec. and when the doctor did the scope last week he did not need it so we are done with that. Just want to treat the GERD that is silent meaning it does not go all the way up and out just enough to irritate his esphogus. This may be causing him to be irritable so hoping he tolerates the medicine well....more later.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nataly's Story

I want to share their story in their own words, in their own writing even. However, when I copied them the writing is small - but if you click on it you can then read it bigger :)

I also plan to share my version of their story . Nataly came home in Oct. 2004. She was in the same city as Luke. He was in the special needs orphanage a walk from hers. She was 11 yrs old and both of her parents were at the young age of 29 from drinking so much alcohol. Her dad like she shared I guess. We don't have much about him. We were told she had a very abusive mom . She was yelled at alot, lived in a poor, dirty old apt....We did visit it once during our trip. It was from the old Soviet era...there was one communal bathroom for the whole floor. I had to use it and it was dirty and smelled ( reeked of urine and vomit). The halls were dark and dim with little heat or cooling. The kitchen was also shared by other tenants. It was a bit cleaner but not much. I was told by an uncle and our translator that Naty spent many a nite on the elevator to escape the abuse. She has a scar on her leg from being burned and we are certain there was other types as well. When her mom died she was placed in the orphanage....A family who came one summer and adopted 2 sisters who Naty was close to ended up living very close to us. They lived within 20 minutes of us....Now if you realize that we traveled at first to adopt our Luke ( money was raised for his heart surgery and we had heard of him before ) so when we went to the NAC we chose Nataly out of many other children we could have :) The first picture is our earliest one of her taken by this family. We have met each other rather by "chance" and now the girls have been reunited and see each other when they want to. Also in the 32 yrs that the director had been there there had only been about 6 adoptions including Naty and those girls and what are the chances that we would end up so close. Actually this family wanted to return for her but never could but prayed for her to find her family :) :) God is so amazing.

Nataly was a very shy and troubled child when she came. She often wet her bed , was unable to share or communicate easily and reacted to affection given to her...but I am happy to share that she is not like this anymore. She gave me permission to share all of this so don't worry I have not outed her deepest troubling issues ...We eventually got her on some medicine to help her control her bladder issues ( nothing physical all emotional) and she was able to attend Camp Joyel with no problems and she gave her life to Jesus during this time. I remember her coming home from camp and she walked over to me placed her suitcase down and was crying happy tears when she shared , " Mom I have something to tell you. I gave my life to Jesus while at camp. " I could tell it was genuine and I too cried tears of joy with her. Then later that day she walked around out back with her sister, Lily and brought her to the Lord...oh my God is so good. He has met each one of my children in their times of need and it has been so awesome to watch them respond to Him in thier lives.

Nataly is our first adopted child to pass her GED. She is an excellent student and gets all A's. She has always been a student who loved learning. When I would offer 2 English books for her to choose she wanted to do both and did. She will attend a local college in the Fall and we will see what else the Lord has planned for this now not so quiet young lady of God...who wants desperately to follow Him . She is an excellent teacher to the younger ones and she loves to cook. She checks alot of the kids writing and loves to write herself. You can follow her blog here

Monday, February 20, 2012

Just in case you are anxious for spring.....

These are my kitchen windows over the sinks...I love to put flowering plants there especially about this time of year....I am ready for spring. Are there any others out there like me ? I was talking with Mary Kate about our vegtable garden and what we will plant this year...ahh the thought of fresh tomatoes , cukes, squash makes my mouth water. So to help me bridge to thru the next few months I make sure we have flowers around the house....just to help us remember it is around the corner :) We have gotten big snow storms in March but we have had such a mild winter here I would be surprised.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Beginning posts to some difficult questions...hoping to move in your heart something to get involved in an orphans life

I borrowed this from a kindred spirit friend blogger-

Adeye speaks volumes as to why we ALL need to have our eyes opened and our hearts moved and our bodies ready to go- If you can read this and not be moved to action....... My children all have had some reactions to this post ( all in favor) and some just had to comment on her blog to others who commented . I will be sharing my children's stories and then also their feelings about this.....


if not us...then who?

I have typed and edited this post a few times. Trying to find the right words—the ones which don’t offend people or stir up a hornet's nest when it comes to tough issues--is hard. I am not the most eloquent person when it comes to sharing what’s on my heart. Sometimes words escape me. Like today.

This is going to be one of those posts. The kind that’s hard, raw, emotional, and difficult to put into words. So if you are the kind of person who can’t handle seeing the hard things, it would probably be best if you stopped reading now. This post is not for you. Be warned before you read any further—the images in this post are hard to look at! They will almost rip your heart out. If you feel that you cannot handle it….stop here!

That’s my little disclaimer.

There is no way to share what is on my heart in a watered-down, peaches-and-cream kinda way. There just isn’t. And even if there were, I totally couldn’t be bothered with trying to find it. Perhaps it’s just the frame of mind I’m in these day. You see, this week I have watched in utter amazement as the world has been in a complete frenzy of grief, emotion, pain, and sadness over the loss of Whitney Houston. The pop icon overdosed. And the world went into deep mourning. Millions and millions of people grieved the loss of the singer while our televisions, social networks, and radio stations spoke of not much else. We were bombarded by her legacy, her talent, her fortune and what will happen to it, and the sad loss to the world.

Today almost 30 000 people died of extreme poverty. And we never heard a single word about it.

Today over 160 000 000 orphans lived in appalling, filthy conditions and went to bed hungry [again]. And we never heard a single word about that either.

Today children were confined to cribs like caged animals—left to lie in their own waste for hours and hours, banged their heads on the bars of the crib to self-soothe, bit their fingers until they bled, rocked endlessly just for something to do, and consumed a diet of not much more than cabbage broth. But it’s too hard to speak about this reality---so we don’t.

Today children who turn five throughout Eastern Europe will be given a death sentence—also known as a transfer to a mental asylum for children and adults. There they will spend the rest of their [numbered] days confined to beds or cribs and will never feel the warmth of the sun on their faces or the cool breeze blowing. Shhhhh….we don’t want to talk about that either.

Sadly, even those of us who do know about the atrocities that happen to orphans in faraway lands, we too don’t want to talk about it. We’re afraid of what people will think if we share too much. We shy away from posting graphic and tough images and stories on our social networks just in case it offends a friend--can't be ruffling any feathers, now can we?

Sometimes it’s just so much easier to get on with our lives and pretend that this stuff doesn’t really exist.

I guess it’s easier to talk about the things that don’t hold us accountable to actually DO something. It’s easier to talk about other people’s “issues” when there is not a single thing that we can do to make a difference. That gets us off the hook.

But how vastly different it is when we come face to face with calamity that we CAN do something about. That, my friends, is a whole different story. Why? Because the Scripture is as clear as daylight.

Proverbs 24:12 tells us, "Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act."

God holds us responsible to ACT!

I know how it goes. I used to be that person. I never wanted to see the hard things in this world. I was happy and content within my cushy four walls. The hard things made me feel so darn uncomfortable. Pain and suffering were something I did everything I possibly could to avoid for most of my life. After all, conviction would mean I would actually have to do something about it…and that was just too hard, required too much time, there are too many things on my plate…yada, yada, yada.

That was until the day I prayed a simple prayer…not really knowing or fully understanding that God would take my words at face value and He WOULD do as I asked. Because He’s God—the Almighty Father, the creator of the heavens and the earth—and He loves to answer our prayers.

“Break my heart for the things that break yours, Father!”

That was all it took. God rocked my world! He turned it upside down and inside out. He opened the eyes of my heart and I began to see…truly SEE!

I shared earlier in the week that something occurred to me as I was praying over the 119 children who got quickly added to this list. I remembered that there was a time in my own life when I just had absolutely no idea about what the word “transferred” meant next to a child’s name. I was completely clueless…until God began to break my heart for the things which shattered His. I began to do research. All of a sudden I wanted to know what happened to orphans. I needed to know.

The more I learned, and the more my heart broke, the more I came to realize how very little the orphan crisis was spoken about in churches. I could not remember a single time in all my years of being a Christian and sitting in church faithfully every Sunday that I had heard a sermon taught on their desperate plight. Not once. I realized that the ones who did know the truth were like an army being sent into battle with very little reinforcements—facing a giant far bigger than anyone was talking about—yet with very, very little help to gain any significant victories.

I do think that things are getting better. I do think the message of the orphan crisis is starting to be shared in congregations more now than it did even five years ago. But what a long way we still have to go! I am always shocked when people write to me after I share something on my blog and say, “I had no idea!” Even with all the social media, the internet, and continuous news channels--people still do not know.

We have work to do! The Body of Christ NEEDS to know. The world is not called to care for the fatherless. We are! It’s as simple as that. We’re the ones who are meant to be going, giving, supporting, bringing them home, advocating, praying, and doing everything we possibly can to make a difference. We’re the ones who are meant to be getting our hands dirty and getting uncomfortable (Lord forbid!) for the sake of the Gospel.


You know what I think? I think we need a massive awakening! I think the sleeping church needs to wake up and start talking about the hard things. We need to be talking about the catastrophes which happen not very far from where we live. This is reality, friends. It is not some made-up, Photoshopped picture someone did as a sick joke! This is real life.

This is the face of desperation--of abandonment, neglect and poverty!

These are HUMAN BEINGS we're talking about—with feelings, hurts, pains, needs, emotions, and desires.

Did you know that this sort of thing even existed? I am going to keep this post always, so that I can send it to the next person who writes to me and protests, "But isn't an institution in a child's home country better than bringing a foreign child to this country?" You have GOT to be kidding me!

These are the Father’s beloved chosen people! Created in His image with a purpose and a destiny—each one of them with the potential to become so much more than what they currently are. Every precious child is a gift from His hand. Why can we not see that? Why do we turn away and refuse to get involved? Why is getting the next best gadget on the market so much more important than the life of a child who will certainly perish if he remains where he is?

Why is it so easy to mourn Whitney…but not shed a single tear for the ones such as these?

When people ask me, “What can we do?” I always respond, “What can’t we do?”

We need an awakening, friends! A movement which ignites a fire and a passion in each one of us that makes us want to jump in and do anything we possibly can to help.

Some will read this and say, “Not my calling! Not my problem!” I have news for you today…IT IS! James 1:27, Psalm 83:3, and many, many other Scriptures tell us in no uncertain words that it IS our problem. It’s non-negotiable—it’s not a calling, it’s a COMMAND. Big difference.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am so out of excuses. I am completely over myself! As I sit writing this I cannot think of one good enough reason as to why I should NOT do everything I humanly can to try and help. Those 119 children with the word “transferred” next to their name? They are living on borrowed time. I was once told that 95% of them will die once they are transferred to a mental asylum. For some of them, when that day of transfer comes, so does the word “unadoptable." Their time to find a family has run out. They will literally spend the rest of their days confined to a crib, bedridden!

It IS our problem!

credit: all photos from google

AWAKEN US, Lord! Stir our hearts, ignite passion in us, show us where we can get involved, shift our priorities. Challenge us, show us what truly matters in this life, make us uncomfortable so that the only place we find true contentment is not in the things of the world, but in relationship with You…doing Your will, obeying your commands! Convict our hearts, Lord Jesus!

Wake us up for the sake of the millions who wait…and wait…and wait!


Friday, February 17, 2012

She is gifted...


Leah got this material to make this purse last week. She sat down and in a few hrs she had created this beautiful purse...Pastor Billy came by before lunch yesterday and taught her how to make this bracelet and today in 5 minutes she did it.She really does have a knack for crafts and an eye for color and design. She is also the one who often gives me some wonderful photos of our family- she captures the essence of our life many times thru the shutter of a camera. Leah is very tenderhearted with the little ones and helps them learn in a comfortable and and fun way when she is the teacher ...I see the Lord has gifted her with so many abilities and gifts. I love also seeing how she has such a tender heart towards the Lord and wants to honor and please Him with her life. I have no doubt that she is and will.....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This was part of our entertainment Valentines Nite :)

Jeremiah and Ben juggled tangerines... and then Jeremiah turned into a rooster- with Eli as a little rooster :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine Joy

 Do you think they had too much sugar :) That is ok at Nana's....

 I love how the boys are concentrating as they are making their valentines for their momma.

 It is a good thing we have lots of older hands to help the younger ones :) but our craft was pretty simple this time to encourage them to be independent.

 Our Valentine sweets...with punch.

 We hid lots of valentines all over the house and they had to find them...and the winner got to pick the first candy from that huge box of chocolates...and the winner was Selah !

 Bingo is always a hit and the winner picked a piece of candy from the box.

Happy Valentines Day from all of us... We celebrated last week when the grand babies were in...but last nite we made banana splits and did the older kids nite. I love you my precious family. You bring me lots of joy.