"A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families..."Psalm 68:5-6a

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Two more angels have been claimed as daughters!

Little Beatrice & sweet Lorelei have been found during Angel Tree! That brings the total number of Angels found to 11! Eleven! Eleven children will, Lord willing, not have to be on the Angel Tree another year. Eleven more children have families working & longing to bring them home!

Over the wall!!

This sadly neglected blog needs to be updated with wonderful news...Simon has made it over the $1000 wall!!

Honestly, I jumped into the Angel Tree this year, because they needed a few more people just before the start date of November 1st. I didn't have a very clear plan of how I was going to raise $1000 in two months, one of those months being December, when everyone's budget is stretched already. I've spent hour upon hour designing, cutting, stitching, & assembling ornaments...so much so that I'll be glad to not see a piece of felt for a few months! I've pestered my friends & family via Facebook with updates & shameless plugs to get people to support Simon. But by the end of November, I had realized that I had reached the limit of what I could do...everyone I knew had heard, some people had donated or bought times to support Simon, & his grant was sitting at $242. At that point, I decided I'd be happy if I could just reach $500!

Then one day, I checked Simon's grant & found it was up by about $300!! I was shocked...you see, I knew where every dime had come from up until that point. Looking back, I think that donation was the fruit of a $5 donation to another Angel Tree child...a donation that put Simon's picture on a Christmas tree in a church somewhere. I think a family took his picture off that tree, prayed for Simon, & asked The Lord what they should give. I am so thankful for that family...

Another day I decided at the last minute to take the few craft items I had on hand to a craft fair at my friend's church. Despite having rather a good turnout, I had only one sale, to my friend's sweet mother-in-law! But God had plans for that fair...my friend & her husband decided they would give all the proceeds from her sales that day to Simon, too. Their act of generosity caused the amount for his grant to be three times more than I would have had from my sales alone!

I continued to fill orders leading up to the date I had set for my Etsy shop to close. I knew I needed some time to fulfill my own obligations for my family before Christmas. My household was being a bit neglected as I spent my free hours working on filling orders. I didn't have any energy to spare, as I'm expecting our 7th child & was experiencing the joys of first trimester exhaustion & generally feeling ill. I earned maybe another $120-150 before I closed the shop, & I'm still filling the last of those orders. But I was still not to the goal, & I had really exhausted my options. Ever notice how God sometimes waits until we absolutely know He is the one moving the mountain? A family member told me she had received a check for $275 from her health insurance company, & she was going to donate it to Simon! Once her donation was made, Simon's grant reached EXACTLY $1000. On the nose.

I wrote all this to show everyone that this isn't my doing...yes, I worked, & I shared, but when I had done all I could, He stepped in & opened hearts to Simon's need. He is the One who powered the generosity of strangers, friends, & family. He gets the glory for the $1068+ that sits in Simon's grant from this Angel Tree fundraiser. He values these children...He values Simon enough to do that. The money isn't the biggest hurdle, though. Simon needs his family to find him, to take a leap of faith & commit to bringing him home. That is what this is really all about. Families for the fatherless. If there's one thing I've learned over the last 6 months, it's that God is faithful, & that He will make a way for the willing, when the time is right. I trust Him, & I'm praying for Simon to be home with his family before the next Angel Tree. If he ever comes to mind, maybe you'd like to pray the same prayer?

Last but not least, I want to thank every single person, from those who donated $5 to those who donated $300...thank you for seeing the need, for being a part of making a difference for this one...Simon!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Carmen finds her family...

I'm rejoicing again as another precious child has been found during Angel Tree 2012!

I can't post a photo from here, but click that link...she's a cutie! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

He works in mysterious ways...

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts."
~Isaiah 55:8-9~

This verse comforts me, when I look at the world & don't understand things that happen. Blessing & suffering happen simultaneously, rejoicing & mourning, acceptance & rejection. Bittersweet life. The Lord sees all, knows all...nothing is a surprise to Him. He has the big picture, & since I know that He works all things together for the good of those that love Him, I can rest in that...even when the part of the picture I see is looking like a toddler got hold of the paintbrush!

Last night I found out that a dear friend, who was in the midst of inquiring about a special boy she found on Reece's Rainbow, has learned that this boy is no longer available at this time. It's a matter of technicalities, really. He is still an orphan, but his citizenship is in question, so they cannot list him with a specific country. Until the issue is resolved, he cannot be adopted. She is heartbroken, but at the same time, she knows that God has given them a clear answer for now. It is not time.

I have known the feeling...the feeling of loving a child, a child who desperately needs to be loved, but of being unable to "do" anything about it. I cannot even communicate it to him. He lives in an institution, he speaks another language, & the only photo I've ever seen of him is old & outdated. The door is shut. We do not qualify. That is a mountain God will have to move. In a way, I can take comfort in that...it is beyond my control, but I know that at any time, God could change things. He just wants me to be willing to do whatever it takes. I pray that I am willing, when I'm tested, & I trust in His plan. The hardest part of trusting is when I think of the days ticking away, as he grows up in an institution with no indoor plumbing, with little to no interaction, with only 1 or 2 caregivers to a group of 20-25 boys. There is no time for affection...there is only time to clean the messes, to transport the boys from one place to another, to put them back to bed..

{"My" Heath}

It is mysterious to me, that there are so many waiting children...children who have been on the adoption lists for years, & have had little to no interest shown in them. Then there are willing families, willing hearts, who long to call one or more of these children their own, but are prevented by something...only God sees & understands why. And then there are those who don't, or won't, consider the children...those who look away, thinking that it's not their problem, or who are just so overwhelmed by the sadness of the situation that they shut it out...who see the diagnosis, & not the child that needs loving & rescuing. I'm guilty of it, too. I've prayed for every child I've carried to "just be healthy"...& that prayer has been answered, by the grace of God. But one day I realized something. I realized that I would love any of my children, if somehow suddenly they were not "typical" or healthy anymore. If I could look beyond a diagnosis for one of my birth children, why couldn't I do it for one of these orphans? Adoption...acceptance...that is the gospel. 

Jesus, give us a heart like Yours...a heart that sees the hurt of others, & moves heaven & earth to ease that pain...a heart that sees the need, & does whatever it can to meet the need...a heart that sees the lost & lonely, the rejected, & offers acceptance & a home. There is so much joy to be had in this heart! The longer I live, the more I see that You weave the tapestry of life in lovely designs & patterns...You give beauty for ashes...You make beautiful things out of us, if we just surrender to the Potter's hand.

Let me just say, again, that I know not everyone can adopt. But everyone should consider, prayerfully, what they CAN do...what their part is in the redemption of orphans. It's not a guilt thing...it's our heart beating as one with the adoptive heart of the Father. He works out the timing, He works out the provision, but we have to be willing to do whatever it is He calls us to do. We need to pray for a heart that is willing to obey. If the time isn't right, He can & does close doors. But if the timing is right, He can fling those doors wide open where they seemed to be impossibly impassible before! We just have to be willing to walk through...

another child found...

Today another Angel Tree child made her way to the My Family Found Me page! 
This is Autumn, born March 2004. According to her page on Reece's Rainbow, she is introverted & quiet, but she likes to listen to people talking (especially if they're talking to her!) & likes to play with adults. She has deformity of her lower limbs, but she can walk with support & she can stand for several seconds. She has cognitive delay, but she can do some self care & play. She is well liked & works hard to learn. Best of all, she now has a family, who found her during Angel Tree 2012! 

You never know what may come of sharing these children...if you can't adopt, you can always share! Someday someone may thank you for introducing them to their child...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wow, blogger is actually going to let me post!

I have had the worst time trying to post lately, which explains my long silence here. While I've been silent here, I haven't been elsewhere. I've gotten a handful of orders on Etsy for Simon...thank you to everyone who is contributing! His grant will be climbing up above the $200 mark as soon as I get these orders taken care of. As I sit down to get started on my work, I just wanted to share another group of children who have found their family...this time, it is four brothers! Meet Neil, Jeremiah, Barnabas, & Logan...

Of these four boys, three are developing typically, while one has developmental delays & a skin disorder. Can I just say I think it is wonderful & beautiful that a family has committed to taking all of the boys, so they can stay together?! I love it!

Now, I have 5 orders to fill, so I better get to it! I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kathi...the sister I could've never known...

Reece's Rainbow doesn't just help children with Down syndrome. Some of the special needs I've seen on RR are blindness, severe burns, mental delay, cerebral palsy (which my oldest sister has), arthrogryposis, HIV+, deafness, congenital heart defects, autism, fetal alchohol syndrome, hydrocephalus, microcephaly, & even spinal muscular atrophy, a rare form of muscular dystrophy that my own nephew also has. I personally have seen what a difference the care of a loving family can have in the life of a person living with special needs. 

As I mentioned, my oldest sister Kathi has cerebral palsy. She turned 45 this year, & everyone who knows her loves & is delighted by her. She is active in her school, in all sorts of sports including downhill skiing, basketball, & horseback riding, & she is an incredibly hard worker. Every birthday she makes a handmade card for each of her sisters, & she knows & loves each of her nieces & nephews. She is partially paralyzed & cannot speak, but she certainly can communicate! But her life could have turned out much differently. You see, when she was diagnosed with CP, around the age of one, the doctor recommended that my mother put Kathi in an institution. He gave a grim prognosis, stating that Kathi would never walk, be toilet trained, be able to communicate, or even know her own family. My horrified mother refused...she knew that her baby needed one thing most of all, & that was a mother.

Kathi has proven that doctor wrong many times over. I often wish that somehow that doctor could see the life that Kathi has led. I hope he became better informed on what is "good for" children like her, & I cringe when I think that other scared, new parents probably took his advice. The difference between Kathi's prognosis & her actual life simply comes down to the love of a family, & the hand of God. It all began with my mother's willingness to lay her own life down & do whatever it took to be a mother to her baby...

I am praying that people would see these children. That they would really see them & realize that they each deserve the best chance at life that they can get. I'm praying that families will be raised up to bring the children home. I'm praying that people would do whatever they can to help the cause of the orphan. Christians out there, this is specifically addressed to you. We are told that true religion is caring for the orphan & widow. Every single one of us should be asking ourselves & God, "What is my role? What can I do?" There are people like me, who long to adopt but cannot...but there are also people who are able in every way, but who just haven't ever thought about or who are kept back from adoption by fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of what it will do to their family. Fear of never having their child-free golden years. Meanwhile, the children wait, & suffer, & long for the love that they need.

It's not my job to convict anyone...that is the work of the Holy Spirit. All I can hope is that my words can help someone to stop & think...to ask themselves what they can do, & maybe even to come to the realization that they are called to adopt. Oh Jesus, open the eyes of your people to see the need, & speak to them to do what they can to meet it.