Friday, November 25, 2016

It's Too Quiet Here Tonight


28 people descended upon our little house in the woods yesterday.

My family.

My brothers and sister. Dad.


All the nieces and nephews and their wives.


28 people who didn't all make it into the same picture at the same time... but we had a place at a table for every single one.


It was a precious time.

My mom died in 2001 and this was the first time since then that the entire family... every single solitary member... was together.


We played.


We stuffed ourselves.

We took sides in the Dallas/Redskin football game and cheered wildly.





We were blessed with a gorgeous day and evening.  Trampoline fun. Bike riding. Flashlight tag.


The next morning 16 of us shared breakfast together. Rob and I had a blast making bacon and eggs and waffles and cinnamon rolls.


It went by too fast.  Goodbyes are hard. 

Dad was sad to see his children and grandchildren leave. 

Our little house in the woods is too quiet tonight.

I miss them.

My family.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Yep. He's tied.


I am so far behind this year!!

Sweet little Ronald is my MACC child this year, and I have only dedicated ONE bitty blogpost to him.





I AM SO SORRY LITTLE GUY!! You deserve so much more than just one little blogpost. 



Sweet babe deserves a family who will surround him with love.

He doesn't deserve being tied in his crib.

Yep.

He's tied.

Look closely at the picture.


Now maybe they have him tied because he is going through a treatment on his legs and they don't want him moving.  Maybe that sounds like a good excuse. Maybe.

NOT IF HE WAS MY LITTLE GUY!!

Not if I was sitting by his bedside.


Both my boys have surgery in January and I can guarantee you right now that neither of them will be tied down!


No way would I let anyone tie my babe to a crib and keep him there 24/7. He's tied because there isn't anyone who has the time, energy or love to lift that baby boy out of that crib and hold him in their arms. They have him tied because there is no one there to entertain him in his absolute boredom. His caretakers are too busy with all the other children in all the other cribs. Plus, they are responsible to keep the rooms clean - spotlessly clean - and wash clothes and bedding - and feed and change all those babes  - and wash them.  And often there are only two women to care for up to 12 babes.  So, I get why they have him tied. I get it.

I hate it.

I hate it because I know deep in my being that both my boys suffered in much the same way that Ronald is suffering. Hours upon hours stuck inside bars.  Their little feet prevented both of them from walking until surgery gave them hope.  Until then they sat on the sidelines. They sat inside their cribs. They watched through their bars.  Hour after lonely hour.

Oh, Please, someone see Ronald.

He's little.

He has so much potential.

And maybe you are saying no to him... okay. I get that.

There IS only ONE family out there for him.

But you can help me yell for him.

So yell.

How is anyone going to know about him if we don't tell them!!!


You can help me get money in his grant account.  Time and again I have had adoptive families tell me that the money in the account often played a HUGE PART when they were wrestling with the Holy Spirit tapping on their hearts.  Relieving the money-fear is a burden lifter.

So give. Advocate.

AND SOMEONE ADOPT RONALD!!






Friday, November 4, 2016

Words on Paper



I wish with all my heart that I had adopted them when they were itty bitty.

For a million, trillion reasons I wish they had been my babes back when they were teeny tiny babes.


They both came with a list of diagnoses that most definitely would have frightened me silly.

Words on paper tend to scare us.



I know now what I didn't know then.  Those diagnoses are not scary.  They do not have anything to do with the little boy inside the body.


They are just words on a paper that define a tiny part of who they really are.

They are much more than labels.

They are living, breathing little boys with strengths and weaknesses, gifts and abilities, joys and sorrows that enrich us and challenge us daily.




He's just a bitty little thing. 


A teeny tiny little angel.







His list of diagnoses can be scary.

With just two little pictures and that list it is really easy to let fear blind you.

But those words are just a tiny portion of who he is.

And someone out there is one day going to discover that those words hold no fear once they hold him in their arms.


He's my little Angel for the Reece's Rainbow tree this year. They changed the name and it is now the Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign. MACC.  I'm a creature of habit and change is hard so please forgive me if I say he is my angel on the angel tree!! 


Isn't he precious??  I get to yell for him for the next 2 months. 






If I could back up time with both my sons and had the opportunity to adopt them when they were this small, I would do EVERYTHING in my power to race as fast as I could to get them. Early intervention is such a gift!


If his diagnoses are correct then he really truly needs a Mama and Papa to fight for him.


But please know that he is much more than a bunch of words on a paper. He's a living breathing, precious little soul who would thrive in a family. 


Oh please, someone see Ronald.

Mama, Where are you???

Please don't be scared by the words on his paper.

-----------------------------------------

Click HERE to help me raise $1,000 for Ronald's MACC grant account! The goal is $1,000.00 in his account.

The real goal... A family!




Wednesday, October 12, 2016

He WILL Do It

He never ceases to amaze me.

Aaron.

He's inside a Ga-Ga pit.

My boy who can't use his arms is inside a Ga-ga pit with a bunch of kids whom he barely even knows.


He saw them playing and climbed right in. 

You know how to play Ga-ga right??

It's about using your hands. 

It's a game for people with hands.

Don't tell that to Aaron.  Don't tell him he can't play inside that pit.

Because he gets right in and what is the most amazing part of all.... he has such a sunny, happy, open disposition that no one ever tells him to get out.  He just matter of factly tells them that he has to use his feet and that is that.  He's in.  No questions.  He plays. 

YOU CAN'T PLAY GA-GA WITH YOUR FEET.

But Aaron does.

And it is OKAY.

And every kid who plays with him in that pit is quietly changed.

They are changed.


How can you not be changed when you get to rub shoulders with a boy who never ever lets anyone say he can't do something.

Because he will do it.

By golly, he will find a way to do it!

Because he's Aaron.

The Ga-ga pit champ!




Friday, October 7, 2016

Starving to Death



What can I say? How can I convey the horror of the situation?


In a country across the ocean, crib bound children are starving to death.  They are literally starving to death.


A family walked in this week to rescue their tiny little desperate bird. She's hanging on by a thread in that grim, dark place. Her body so broken and frail. Leilani.


 



She has been wasting away to nothing. But when they lifted her in their arms, whispered love into her ears, kissed her little head and held her as close as they could, she smiled. Mama and Papa have come little bird. They have come. Hang on. Hang on through the paperwork and court and waiting period. Hang on for a few more weeks until they can finally, finally carry you out forever. Hang on starving little babe.  Your seven year wait is almost over. Mama and Papa have come. Please, Dear Lord, preserve her life!


Another family is here. On this side of the ocean.  The agony is desperate.  Pictures and eye-witness accounts have sunk their hearts to the deepest level. Their boys are in that same starving place. The one is also just hanging on by a thread.  Denzel. For privacy sake I cannot share more.  They are waiting on travel dates. Waiting and praying and praying some more. Sweet Jesus, sustain their lives.
 



Please Lord, let them live. Let them live. Please, Dear Jesus.


And still a third family.


I've shared often about them.  They are adopting four. Two of them are also in this same place. One is also wasting away. Rotting in his crib.  Starving to death. Lee. They are so close. So close to whispering love into his heart.  They travel in only a few weeks. Hang on Lee. Breathe. Breathe.



How can I convey the desperation all three of these families feel right now.

The one family there. The smells. The sounds.  The horror of it all assaulting them from every angle.

The other two families here.  Desperately waiting.  Praying with every ounce of their being.

Dear Jesus, let them breathe one more day. Two more days. Three more weeks. A month.  Three months. Breathe life into their broken, frail, starved bodies so that they can be carried out of that place and into arms that love them. Let them live so they can be a treasured part of the families that love them.  

Please, church, Please.

Pray for these children.

Pray life for them.

Leilani. Denzel. Phoenix. Lee

They are starving to death.

Starving for food. Starving for hope. Starving for love.

They are not the only ones. There are more there.  More starving children. These three are wasting away in that same dark, grim place.  All three available for adoption.

Quinn.   Zoey.   Posey.


What can we do?

What can we do?

Pray first. Pray hard. Pray with broken hearts before the Lord.

Oh, Please church, Pray!

What else??

We can give.

None of these families are funded.  The Nichols family is IN country and still in need. The Bloom family is less than 3 weeks from travel and are still 15,000 short.  The McQuinn family is about 8,000 short. 

That's a lot of money.

Some would say none of these children are worth it. Some would say they are better off starving to death. Some would say that the money would be better used for better-abled orphans. 

Not me.

I take Jesus' words seriously.  Whatever we do for the least of these....

Well church, these are the least of these.

These are the ones.  These babes.

Little bird, Leilani. 


Hope has arrived for you. Mama and Papa have found in you the greatest of treasures. Just hang on a bit longer, little bird.  Soon you are going to fly away, forever free!

Denzel. Lee. Phoenix.

They are truly the least of these....


Donate to the NICHOLS here. UPDATE - THE MATCHING GRANT FOR THE NICHOLS WAS MET - THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED!! They are bringing home Leilani, Becka and Delmar. They have court for Delmar on the 12th and court for Becka and Leilani on the 18th. Pray, church, that the 10 day wait for Becka and Leilani is waived so that she can be freed right after court.


Donate to the McQuinns here. They are adopting Ricky, Elizabeth, Phoenix and Denzel. They are waiting/praying for travel dates.  They should be traveling in around 4-6 weeks. They are about $8,000 short. Pray that their travel dates come quickly. Pray Life for Denzel. Pray for Phoenix. Pray, church!


Donate to the Blooms here.  They are adopting Amos, Daisy, Lee and Violet.  They are traveling in less than three week. They are $15,000 short because they have to have court in three different regions.  Pray for Lee. Pray breath into his tired, weak body. Pray strength. Pray!

Pray. Donate. Advocate. Adopt.






















Friday, September 30, 2016

Chasing Time


I've been chasing time but can't seem to catch it. It just slips through my fingers like sand in an hourglass.  August is our crazy month.  A whole host of homeschooling families, co-ops and schools wait until the last minute to get their books for the year.  Between non-stop phone calls, an e-mail box that fills as fast as we can empty it and orders that need to be filled, we hardly have time to breathe.


Rob is under the gun writing the second book in our newest series. It is supposed to be finished in January.  He writes 10 plus hours a day with me trying to scratch out time to edit behind him.



But that is just a small part of busy. 


School started for the little boys in August and with that teaching duties. This year I am there teaching history three afternoons a week.  Add being a mom, cooking, laundry and cleaning a house which has become the last thing on the to do list. 


September brought with it more teaching duties.  At the homeschooling co-op I teach six classes every Monday.... my hourglass shattered a few weeks ago.



It's too many hats and I haven't been wearing any of them well.



Last week I had a convention in South Carolina.


It was a different convention.  The kind where you aren't working every single minute. The kind where your hotel room is right on the beach and you can sit in the early morning and watch the sun wake up over the ocean. The kind where you get an entire afternoon to go down to the water and swim.  The kind where you can sit on the beach and read.  The kind where you can take a break from the one little boy who has drained every ounce of energy from your body. The kind where you can sit and relax and pray and allow the Lord to whisper peace into your tired soul. The kind where you have with you a dear friend who not only is helping you work the convention but giving you space to rest. The kind where you come to the end of the few days away ready to go back home again. 


Back into the arms of my husband who loves me best of all. Back to my family who I love with all my being.


We are in an intense season in our lives.


Some days we love it. We love writing, teaching and parenting our former lost boys. Other days we wish we could back up time to when Rob was building houses and I was homeschooling, babysitting and selling junk on e-bay to make money. It was much simpler then.


But not really.


I don't really want to go back.


I do love writing. I love our business. I love our little boys. I love all that they have brought into our lives. Even the hard.  Even the exhausting.






I just sometimes need to take a break.


And sometimes I need to be reminded that my hard is nothing compared to the hard of others.


This week the Blooms had it confirmed to them that their Daisy who is across the ocean waiting for them will not be moved to where Lee and Violet live. This is what they have been counting on for the entire adoption.  With all three kiddos in the same institute, they don't have to pay for the extra orphanage fees.  Unfortunately, Daisy is too far away from Lee and Violet for her process to be lumped together with them.  Thus, she has to have a separate adoption process. 


Amos is already in a different region.  They were already going to pay extra for him.


What do they do?






Leave Daisy behind?


Leave Amos?





Leave Lee and/or Violet?


 


Or fight like mad to raise the extra funds to get all four?


They were 8,000 short before finding out this news.


Now they are 17,000.00 short.


That's hard.  That's exhausting.


My hard and exhausting doesn't even compare to that hard and exhausting.


I wish I had a big fat check I could write to them to take that hard and exhausting off the table.


All I can do is yell. And pray. And pray some more.


If there is a donor or two or ten or twenty out there who is realizing that their giving this year is way off from what they have been making... this family....


They are worth the investment.


Four children.


Every single one of them desperately needing to get out.


I know that many many of you dug deep in July to help me raise close to $12,000 dollars for the Blooms. 


I'm asking again.


Just read a few of these blogposts to understand why I care so much.  Go HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE.


The Bloom's Reece's Rainbow account is HERE where you can donate.


Their blog is HERE.


One of the things you will notice on their blog is that the vast majority of the blog is NOT DEDICATED to fundraising. Seriously? When you are short on funds... shouldn't you be writing post after post begging for money?


Go read their blog. Yes a few of the posts lay out their need.  But the vast majority of the posts are dedicated to advocating for the Least of These.  Just read through the blogposts and you will get a tiny glimpse into where the Blooms put their focus.  They care from the deepest part of their being for the children languishing in cribs and institutes across Eastern Europe and Asia.  It's why I am here in Virginia yelling alongside of them.  I love their hearts.


I love their passion.


Not many are out there yelling for crib-bound mental-institute-bound babes. 


Not many are willing to go rescue FOUR who are all destined to spend the rest of their existence locked away in mental institutes.


They are.


I know I am not the only tired and weary mama, business owner, teacher, cook, writer and/or housekeeper out there. I know that there are many of us who are trying to catch time and losing the race.


Can we stop racing for a few minutes and pray for the Blooms? Can we stop racing and see if there is anything we can do to help ease their financial strain? Can we stop racing and join voices with them in shouting for the Least of These?


DONATE HERE.


Pray wherever you are.


Thank you!


And now back to chasing time....






























Thursday, September 1, 2016

Battered Suitcase Battered Lives

 
 
They are alone.
 
Adrift.
 
Out in the world with their battered suitcases.
 
 
 
 
Yesterday they were given their walking papers.  The gates that had contained them for so many years were flung open and they were escorted out.
 
These were not criminals.  They were not freed from behind bars.
 
They are orphans.
 
Just 15 or 16 or 17 years old.
 
Kids.
 
Immature. Untrained.  Most of them completely lacking in knowing how to make good choices. Experts in manipulation, lying, cheating and stealing. Experts in surviving on the inside. 
 
They have few options.
 
Some will wander back to the families that abandoned them to the system.  Some will enter trade schools that are woefully ill-equipped to do more than just teach them a job that they are too often ill-prepared to master. Many will be swallowed up into the dark world of trafficking and slavery. Others will turn to drugs for solace. Many will steal to survive. Most of those will find themselves back behind gates that are locked forever. Some will seek escape through suicide.
 
Only a few survive. Only a few.
 
That is the realty.
 
Of the hundreds of orphans who were let out on the streets yesterday with their battered suitcases, the vast majority will shipwreck.  They will be battered by the waves of life and crash and burn on the shore.
 
There are some who work around the clock to rescue these battered kids.
 
There are ministries who do whatever they can to support them, train them, equip them to survive in the outside world.
 
 
These are a few ministries. There are more.
 
But the flood of battered suitcases coming out of those orphanages is overwhelming.
 
There are so many.
 
And not enough.
 
It's not enough, church.
 
It's not enough.
 
Please find a way to get involved.
 
Educate yourself. Educate your church.
 
Give to a ministry that is actively involved in orphan care. 
 
Get involved. Go. Minister.
 
Adopt.
 
Find a place at your table.
 
Yesterday in the van, while we were waiting for their favorite Papa in the whole world to come out of the mechanics shop, my two little boys and I talked about those battered suitcases. We remembered the orphans. We discussed the world they left behind.
 
Yesterday I rejoiced that two little boys in my world are safe and secure in our family.
 
Today I grieve the hundreds. I grieve the thousands.
 
I grieve the battered suitcases. I grieve the battered lives.
 
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
    uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 82:3-4
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back from Italy

I gave them my camera.
 
 
I told them to take lots and lots and lots of pictures!!
 
 
And they did... they took lots of pictures of buildings...
 
 
and statutes...
 
 
And famous Domes...

 
And inside churches....
 
 
 
And outside churches....

 
and stuff in museums....
 
 
Beautiful pictures. Wonderful pictures.....
 
Pictures full of stories they will tell and many that are definitely going in our books.
 
But not ONE... NOT ONE PICTURE OF THEM.... Not one picture of Ben or Elijah or Rob in the entire lot!!
 
Insert banging head against the wall!!
 
These two are happy though because Papa brought them some cool shirts that they wore to school today!
 
 
At least I know how to take pictures of PEOPLE!!
 
Sigh!
 
 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Today is YOUR Day!

12 years old.
 
 
Happy Birthday, Aaron!
 
 
 
 
We had to celebrate on Sunday before the big boys left for Italy.
 
 
 
 
You didn't care.
 
 
Cake. Presents.
 
 A special double birthday celebration with your cousin at a local restaurant.
 

 
Celebrating early was fine with you.
 

But today is really your day.
 
 
 Happy Birthday, sweet boy.
 
I love you to the moon and back!
 
 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Italy, Italy!



 
He's been scruffy man ever since he agreed to be Reuben in the Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat musical.
 
24 years married and he never had a beard until now. 
 

 
Yes. I thought it was cute.
 
 
Yes. I'm glad to have my smooth-faced husband back now that the show is over.
 
 
But I didn't get to enjoy his clean-shaven face for long.
 
Right after we took these pictures...
 
These three hit the road.
 
 
 
Little boys were a bit sad about their leaving..
 
 
So was I...
 

This morning they landed in Italy for a 9 day fast blitz across the country. Their welcome to Italy was a cab driver who promised them a smooth ride from airport to hotel.  Smooth except that he drove like the Mafia was chasing him and then he dropped them off on the wrong street.  Poor jet-lagged, car-sick men had to walk the streets of Italy trying to find their hotel! 
 
Considering where they are and what they get to do for the next 9 days... I only feel a TINY bit sorry for them!
 
Little boys and I are going to enjoy easy dinners, lots of Olympics and the start of the school year....