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We are glad you stopped by, we hope you are blessed, and enjoy your stay. We discuss a little bit of everthing here, from homeschool, parenting, adoption, farming, our faith, and our plain lifestyle. May God Bless Your Day!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Ministry of Adoption

An orphanage is not a home, it does not have the loving arms of a mommy and daddy
It is a facility that meets their basic needs.
Children are not meant to be raised in cribs

Not much here to stimulate and encourage any child...

Our first visit with Kendell, almost 11 years ago

Nick's roommates, all lined up on their potty chairs after lunch
Our little boy, so forlorn, on his little bed, one of 14 in the room
Lunch time for 14 little people-and lunch consisted of a very thin broth, maybe a crunchy piece of crust, and a cup of water

I have been giving a lot of thought to why people adopt. I have to be honest, the reason we continue down this road is not the reason we started out 11 years ago. We started out wanting a family. Desiring a family. "NEEDING" a family. I guess that is where many people start out, wanting children of their own.
Who knew, 10 years ago, when we made that first trip to Russia, met our soon-to-be daughter, and had to leave her there while we waited for a court date, that our lives would be forever changed by the "call" to adopt.
For reasons unexplainable to those who have not walked the road we are on, orphans, and the need to make a difference for them, becomes intermixed with your very being, the very fibre of your soul. After walking the halls of an Eastern European hospital/orphanage, after witnessing the mass-feedings, mass-potty training, mass-naptime, and huge ratio of children to care-givers, the unbelievable lack of toys, lack of adequate nutrition, and the very sterile environment the orphans are growing up in, not many come away without tears and aching hearts for the ones left behind.
But no one told us this when we signed on the first time.
No one said, "It's more than making a family"
No one said, "You'll never forget the tears, the sad eyes of the ones left."
It was all about being a momma and daddy. About getting a baby to parent.
It is really so much more than that, and only God knew what He would have in store for us over the years.
I have had my moments, ok lots of them, of selfishness. Of thinking, I'm done, I need to take care of the ones I have, I don't need any more to do in a day, I need some free time in a day, I need a quiet, restful night, I need, I need, I need.
But guess what? What does Jesus say? He came to serve, not to be served. He said, who ever gives a cup of water to one of the least of these, gives one to Him. He said, we need to lay down our lives, and take up our crosses, and follow Him.
For us, following Him has meant giving up many of the things many people consider needful.
TV, video games, jewelry, fancy clothes, lots of "stuff" that only controls you and wastes your money. Fancy vacations, fancy vehicles, LOTS of vehicles, being controlled by high-powered jobs, desiring and striving to make lots of money, the list is endless.
But really, as we walk with Him, as we seek to serve Him and become more like Him, shouldn't those things go by the wayside? As we yield our bodies to His service, and say "Yes" to His call on our lives, don't we lay down our fleshly desires and lay up treasures for ourselves in Heaven?
We had just come home with Tyler 3 years ago, and were thinking, "we need to do this again" but not sure if it was our emotion, or God. I was praying about our ministry, asking God to give us a ministry, thinking, maybe it is hospitality. I love to cook and entertain, but we had not made a huge habit of doing so, yet we had company coming that day, and I wanted to be a blessing, and not be stressed by the chores both before and after our company left.
I heard very clearly, "Your ministry is adopting children."
WOW-I had not considered it a ministry at this point. Yet, as God moved us to a special needs adoption, 2 little boys, one with a brain injury, and one with a heart condition, and we felt no fear, only peace, we got a bigger vision of what we were really doing.
Over the next 14 months, while waiting to bring our little boys home, we heard many times, "This is your calling." It was repeated by many people, and it ministered grace to our sometimes fretting hearts.
Because, sometimes our flesh does kick in, and we get tired of the issues, tired of the late, sleepless nights, tired of the sibling rivalry, tired of the questions that come at you 24/7, tired of the mountains of laundry, tired of fixing food for all those hungry little mouths, sometimes, just plain tired.
Yet, that is when we have to go back to Jesus, and beg for mercy, and for grace, and wisdom and love.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It is a 24/7, 365 day a year job.  And adoption is not for the faint of heart. It is a long road, filled with tons of paperwork, lots of appointments, lots of BIG checks written out, answering lots of questions you really don't always feel like answering, and lots of emotions that go up and down all day long.
And there are always the ones who think, enough is enough. Take care of the ones you have. It's too expensive. You can't do any more. You are overloaded. You have too much on your plate already, how are you going to put them all through college?
Really, if I kept my eyes on all this stuff, who would have the energy to do this parenting stuff right?
But, it is about more than just parenting. We are trying to disciple our children, to raise them for Heaven, not Harvard.
We have a God-given call on our lives, and obeying that call is of utmost importance, even when it is inconvenient, even when it is expensive, even when it is HARD!!!
I read on a different blog a few weeks ago about a mom's uncertainty of why they would be called to adopt yet again. I admit, it really struck a cord with me, because I feel so unworthy, so needy, so incapable, so sinful, why would God entrust more children to my care? Yet this mom's revelation was something that has stayed with me over the weeks. She was reading about Gideon, the "wimp" who was threshing his grain while hid inside a wine press, so the Midianites would not see him and come and steal his wheat.
Yet, God saw something in him, and sent an angel to greet him, "The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour." Judges 6:12
What? Mighty man of valour? Hiding away? Yet, God used Gideon in an amazing way, to defeat the huge Midianite army with a small band of 300 men.
What was so amazing about Gideon? Was he capable? Was he wise? Was he brave? Wasn't he fearful?

But what he was, was obedient! He had a heart to follow God's call, and to lay down his fears, and stand up and make a difference.
Am I fearful? Yes!! Am I sinful? Yes!! Do I have it all figured out? NO!!
BUT, I do desire to walk where He leads, to be obedient, to listen to His call on our lives.

The ministry of adoption, no we can't save all 147 million orphans, but we can sure save some. We can nurture, and love, and care for, and educate, and guide and disciple some.
Because it matters to that one, or 2 that we may bring home next.
What is your calling in life?
Are you being obedient?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Little rays of sunshine

What are little rays of sunshine in your life?
Smiles on the children's faces
Laughter from your loved ones
Good books with curling pages from so much page-turning by the children
soft beds
warm homes
wonderful aromas wafting from the kitchen 3x a day
piles of clean laundry ready to go into dressers
a closet full of games
a floor covered in baby toys
Our homes should be rays of sunshine, and how often do we take our homes for granted?
How often do you think about those without homes?
Without families?
How often do the 147 million orphans in the world cross your mind?
and if they ever do cross your mind, what do you do about it?
What do you think would bring a ray of sunshine into an orphan's life?
Brother and sister
Is there something you can be doing to bring a ray of sunshine into a child's life today?
Consider adoption
or how about sponsoring an orphan?
How about helping someone who is fundraising for an adoption?
We know God's heart is with the orphans-the fatherless
If it weren't for adoption, we would not be a part of God's family, for it is only by grace we are accepted into His family.
Be a ray of sunshine today!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides-Oh My!!

Our family had a wonderful opportunity a couple weeks ago to go for a horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Even though we live in Amish country, we have never had that chance before, and we really enjoyed our afternoon. It was a cold, brisk day, clear, and peaceful, and the 5 children and I left Daddy behind to do his work, and headed for a drive. We ended up in the bluffs, on a very quiet, peaceful road, and even though we didn't know anyone except the driver of the team, a young man from our church, we were very blessed by the outing.

We were glad the weekend event occured when it did, as the next week, we went through a pretty major warming spell, and most of the snow disappeared in a week or less. Since then, we have had a bit more snow, but spring thaws are headed our way, rain and all, and we don't think there will be much snow left by next week.
I am working on some more posts, hopefully we will get time over the next few days to make some more changes to the blog, and give a few more updates on our family and our boys!!