Thursday, April 21, 2011


Today she's coming home!!! The one I placed in the carseat and watched pull away 2 months ago is coming home! There will be "technicalities", paperwork and struggles to understand again I am certain, but tonight, tonight will be a celebration! I can hardly wait! To see her sweet face, to kiss her and hug her, to watch the children surround and smoother her with their love, to feel the peace of knowing where she will sleep her her her home. Her name fills the air again as the excitement rises and the anticipation grows while we prepare for her. She will travel with us, so everyone is a buzz helping to gather and pack her things. And, if it weren't enough of a blessing to have her come back, and to get to take her on vacation with us, we will get to celebrate her birthday with her this coming week! Very cool!

I love the mystery that is God! His ways are completely unpredictable and perfect. And no matter what lies ahead, I trust He is at work. If we had tried to script this scenario it would have sounded well, ridiculous and certainly impossible. But, our God is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us". (Ephesians 3:20) I will trust Him. The God of limitless resources who knows all that is to come and is allowing me to be a part. Wow. How can I do anything but celebrate?

Her time away has been many things, but a learning experience like no other. For now, I understand that which I did not before. Regardless of where she is, she is a part of this family and will forever be!

With a Heart FULL of Gratitude,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Sure is a bumpy ride! The roller coaster that our experience with foster care has been just continues! And it's far more interesting and unpredictable than I could ever have dreamed up! We are simply HANGIN' ON and saying "Yes, Lord!".

I was recently offered the opportunity to write an article for a popular baby product company about foster care. Normally, I would have jumped at the chance and had a mouthful to share on many given topics if given such an opportunity. I have remained speechless on this. Not even an intro to work from. Total blank. I determined that if I were indeed suppose to write this article it would have to come from God, and I have resolved to wait. Not shut the door, but just place it on the back burner until God moves it forward and turns up the heat...if He so desires. So I continue to pray about it and wait. I don't want to let a rare and wonderful opportunity pass, but I don't want to open my mouth without His absolute direction. Trusting that my blankness is not an accident and perhaps the story that I am to tell just isn't fully written yet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Standing Firm...Believing!

Isn't it interesting and even overwhelming when you feel a stirring within you, something that you can't fully explain or even put your finger on, THEN....when you pause to seek Him, He answer clearly? Why should that even surprise me? He wants me to seek Him for everything and He wishes to provide my churning heart and brain with answers. He does not desire to leave me hanging. I think perhaps, I do that to myself.
I like to have "the plan". I like to know what to expect. Funny thing is, God just wants me to believe. Believe what He says. Believe He can do all things. Believe that He will....yes, for me. I find myself in the midst of the unpredictable, and while the possibilities roll within my mind, and there is certainly a bit of unrest that I can't explain, I believe. While I look forward to answers, I am not dependent on them. This is very new to me! Right now, it is enough to know He is in control. And wow! That is good!
And this reminder from some writings of Charles H. Spurgeon I read this morning speak straight to my waiting heart...

"Stand firm. I must maintain the posture of one who stands, ready for action, expecting further orders, and cheerfully and patiently awaiting the Director's voice. It will not be long until God will say to me, as distinctly as He told Moses to tell the children of Israel, "Move on" (Ex. 14:15)."

Friday, April 15, 2011


My timely readings today...

Psalm 119:42  I trust in your word.

My reminders of Faith...

Faith rests on the pure Word of God alone.

Faith has nothing to do with feelings, impressions, outward appearances, or probability of an event.

God delights in causing us to exercise our faith. Delights. I can't read that word without smiling.

"Oh, may we leave ourselves in the hands of our heavenly Father! It is the joy of His heart to do good to all His children." Do I believe this? Do my actions represent that belief? Does my heart?

I am learning. Learning to fully appreciate His gentleness and kindness, so I will be able to say just how good He is, and so I will know what a delight it is to His heart to do good for me.

When we take Him at His word our hearts are at peace.

"I will patiently wait to see the good God will do in my life, with the calm assurance He will do it."

 Reading and quotes from Cowan's Streams in the Desert.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Distraction, Daydreams and a tad of Conviction

That just about sums up right where I'm at! Let's take it in reverse....

The sweet little What Every Child Needs flip calendar that sits by my desk, yes, the one that only gets turned on the appropriate date randomly, provides the conviction...

Affirmation: Crazy-About-Me Love

What are the obstacles that keep us from responding to our children's need for affirmation with our undivided time and attention? For most of us, the answer is clear. It is busyness. It is the tyranny of the urgent, those tasks that are not more important than our children, but which we somehow find ourselves responding to first.

UGH!!!!!! Foot in the gut!

I've heard His sweet voice whispering this very thing to my heart for weeks now. It's not so much lack of my physical presence, but that of my mind. My mind is in constant race mode. Getting done, catching up, preparing for what's next. I have a very hard time sitting still in my own home, as there always seems to be something that needs my attention. But certainly nothing as precious and worthy of my UNDIVIDED attention as my kiddos. Keyword in CAPS there in case you missed that. Most of the things swimming about would all be considered "good" things....well, assuming keeping the laundry up is "good". :) You get the idea.

We are only days away from this...

Now you understand the Distraction and Daydreaming part of my title! While we are churning about getting the house all tidy...I hate to leave a dirty house, because coming home from a break like this is hard enough, I at least want to come back to a clean house! One of those thing embedded in me by my mother I think! Nonetheless, I want it all in order and have already begun packing and making the checklists for meals and travel items needed. This is amidst the normal daily operations of lessons, laundry, work and so on. I keep telling myself that when we get there, it will be a week of no "busyness". A week of undivided attention for my family. A week away from all the distractions that prevent this day to day. While I am so excited for this time, it also aches my heart that the "busyness" robs so much the other 51 weeks of the year. I feel a soul reset coming. I am looking forward to this time of staying up too late, playing in the ocean, building sandcastles, getting sunburned, winning all the card games, but my prayer for this time away is a deep reconnection with my family. That we will not only enjoy the break from going through the motions, but that we will also not return to it. I am hopeful that we will come home both refreshed and re-focused! Freely reminded that most importantly, we need to "Be still and know that He is God". Ps. 46:10

Daydreaming of warm sand between my toes,

Friday, April 8, 2011


Today my heart breaks for a mother I do not know. A mother a world away from me who made the most difficult decision of her life just hours ago. The decision to give her child life....but without her. For that was his only chance to live. I simply can't imagine. I weep for her.

You see, the country where she lives, she doesn't have access to medical care the way we do here in the US. When one of my babies was born with something that had to be medically addressed, it was immediately taken care of. No real thought involved. Even times when treatment took place in the comfort of my home. While I knew there would be co-pays, medical bills and our monthly insurance premiums would continue, I had no fear that my child's care would be rejected because I didn't have the money for it. I simply can't imagine.

Now, I sit watching the face of a blue-mouthed baby on my computer screen knowing that somewhere not far from him, his mother is aching for him. I can imagine her heart was shattering around her as she prepared him. Clothed him, swaddled him tightly, tucking in his necessities of diapers and formula and getting in the taxi with him in her arms for the last time. I can imagine the desperation as she lay him at the gate of the children's home, kissing him a final goodbye and leaped back into the taxi to drive away, broken. Fully broken. My eyes blur as it plays out in my mind. This child will be called abandoned, but I call him loved.

This mother knew this was his only chance to survive whatever ails his tiny body and robs him of the oxygen he needs to live. He had obviously been well cared for, had even recently been in a hospital it appears. This was not what she wanted for her precious son. She wanted to be his mother. To nurture and grow him into the person he was meant to be. To teach him, to cuddle him, to bathe him, feed him, love him every day of his life. I'm certain she will love him every day, think of him over and over, wondering what ever became, but she will not be able to do any of the rest.

He is now in an orphanage where he will hopefully get the medical treatment he needs very soon. Then if he does, he will be cared for amongst others with possible similar stories. Then, if he meets the qualifications and has someone to go to bat for him, he may be available for adoption one day. Hopefully, his medical condition will not cause him to be overlooked and he will find a "forever family" quickly. Hopefully, he will grow up surrounded by their love and support. Hopefully, he will only have limited long-term effects of his medical condition. And hopefully, when he sees the scars on his body caused by his life saving surgeries he will be reminded of his mother that made the ultimate sacrifice for love. Hopefully, his confidence in this will outweigh any other doubts.

I'm one of those that in the past naively believed that all children in orphanages were "abandoned", "unwanted", even "unloved". I am severely convicted by these thoughts now. While I'm not foolish enough to believe that there aren't children who fall into these categories, remember, I've worked with the US foster system...I do now consider the possibility of a parent who felt there was no other choice. A parent forced to make a decision that makes my insides clinch within me. This is true injustice.

It leads me back to my thoughts of Family Based Care. What if instead, this mother had a place to get the medical/financial assistance needed to care for her son? What if instead of providing for him through the orphanage and adoption system, supporters were able to contribute to his care while he remained with his family? What if the heart-wrenching scenario just described never had to play out again? That families who truly loved and wanted to care for their children were given every chance? Then, only those children who desperately needed someone to stand up and fight for them would remain in orphanages awaiting families. Perhaps this would impact the overwhelming numbers of the current orphan crisis? Perhaps this would allow for fewer parents who carry the guilt of their difficult decision the rest of their lives and children who always wonder why? I can't help but think so.

I am aware of one organization that has earned such privileges in China, Love Without Boundaries. They have been able to assist families in getting and funding healing surgeries for their children. This excites me!
And until there are no more orphans, there are also amazing organizations like the Starfish Foster Home who spend their lives daily caring for these children in need. For them I am eternally grateful!

Pray for God's hand at work. Support those making the change. Spread the word to others.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"We need to get real."

I have been so blessed to get to know an amazing woman behind a ministry called Children In Families (CIF) in Cambodia. Thanks to the gift that is the internet, I have been able to correspond with her, learn about her, her family, her heart and her ministry. Today she shared this video that spoke straight to my heart...

I recently read this article about Cambodian orphans and was particularly struck by the idea of orphanage tourism. While I am not an adoptive parent, I have had the privilege of serving orphans and adoptive parents in a variety of ways and countries over the past several years. I have observed, that something that is very common when families travel to adopt, is orphanage visits. While as a parent, I have always thought how if I were adopting, I would of course want to see where my child had come from, I must admit that I hadn't stopped to consider the fact that an orphanage is a child's HOME while they are there. How confusing and threatening to have strangers visit and "tour" your home. How many times in my church-filled life have I witnessed and even supported these type of most well-intention but often short sighted mission attempts? All the while, dreaming of a chance to go myself. Is it possible that we have indeed missed the mark? For me, I have been challenged in the depths of my heart to reconsider my own definition of "orphan" and it has not been easy.

I'm a somewhat fidgety person. A person who needs a tangible way to serve. You know, a Martha! Yep. I'm a Martha. Practically minded. Busy, busy, busy DOING for the Lord. Funny thing is, He doesn't need my doing...He needs my heart. It's easy to see a need, especially when that need involves a suffering child and want to find a solution. But doing so in haste can often intensify the issue. Even worse, what if my efforts are fueling the very thing I wish to see solved? This makes me shiver! And Oh! how it challenges my impatient desire to just fix it!

Frankly, I hadn't stopped to connect orphans and human trafficking. Those two were entirely separate issues requiring entirely separate services and solutions. Not so. As much as it aches my heart to consider, the orphan is the most vulnerable to trafficking. They are often an unprotected market for predators.

Another fact, that from where I sit in the US seems incredibly far fetched at times, is that children classified as "orphans" or living in an orphanage aren't always without parents (which is what my original definition of orphan consisted of...a child without parents either by death or abandonment). I think the first time I had to consider this reality was when the earthquakes happened in Haiti early last year. It's easy to have a quick response that if a parent would allow their child(ren) to live in an orphanage then that child would be better off with a different family. The fact is, I have never been faced with some of the decisions, poverty, lack of food, water, shelter and basic needs that many of the parents in other parts of the world have, so I can not collectively judge. Culture is entirely different all over the world, and must be considered. Assuming that because I have more education, money and resources than I have more to offer is a dangerous slope.

Now, this does not in anyway discredit the genuine need for adoption in many cases. As I mentioned, I have been ever so blessed to follow and witness many adoptions both domestic and international. The gift that adoption is to these families and those that know them is remarkable! Lives have no doubt been forever changed. I think what is important though, is to realize that adoption certainly is not the first option to consider and may often not be the best option either. The orphan crisis is certainly a reality. The solution must come from a variety of measures and a joint effort.

Family is something I hold extremely dear....the absolute most precious and important thing on earth to me. Partly because of this, I find myself pulled to the idea of investing in Family Based Care. This really shouldn't seem too new an idea to those of us in the US, since this is exactly why there aren't orphanages in the US. Family Based Care offers what institutions can not and prevents additional orphans, therefore lessening the possibility of child trafficking and providing an opportunity for developing a more healthy, connected individual. For this practically minded Martha, it just makes sense to start where the issue can be prevented rather than solved.

Trusting Him to continue showing the way,

Monday, April 4, 2011

Climbed that mountain!

Today I cleaned THE room. The room that has been shut since the baby left. The room that I have avoided at every measure. I didn't do this by my own initiative either, I must admit, but rather on the motivation that the caseworker will be coming for her first visit since the children left. Yes, apparently she will visit once every three months as long as our home is "open". And, our home is still open. We haven't felt clearly lead for it to be otherwise. Just on hold. Not sure for how long, and feel no hurry in this area right now. BUT, I did need to clean the nursery, as it had become little more than a storage room for every piece of anything baby that came into our path to be tossed.

This was not something I really wanted to do, but it was good. And I was reminded of what I do have by the message on the wall above the crib,

The children and I were all crammed in the tiny, messy space at one point talking about how it made us all feel to be back in that room. The roller coaster of emotions spilled again as we giggled and cried and questioned what's next. To the what's next? there isn't an answer quite yet. But we faced it with conversation today like we have been avoiding as much as the room itself.

As we talked, and speculated on the "what ifs" I could sense that like me, the children wanted to be open to another baby in our home, but at the very same time were guarded. Rightfully so! Their hearts have been broken like I would never wish. But, I believe they understand love like few their ages. True love, love like Christ showed for us on the cross and shows us in His acceptance of our brokenness everyday. This kind of love isn't always pretty and it certainly isn't fairytale romantic! Even better though, it is real.

At one point in the conversation I asked what we were suppose to do, just have our hearts broken again and again and again and then glued back together until there was nothing but glue??? To which my 6 year old replied, "We don't use glue mommy. We use God." OH YES!!!! You're exactly right my precious, wise son! And if we come to the place where our lives are nothing but God then we have indeed made it to where He wants us!

I am thankful today for lessons learned and for the gift of solitude. I read from my favorite devotional today, Streams in the Desert, about the widow and her two sons in Kings. Kings 4:4 says "Go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons." They were to be alone with God. I understand so well, how God works best in these times of little distraction. These are the times that I'm reminded how dependent I am on Him and what really matters.This quote stood out to me from what I read today,

"Most Christians lead a treadmill life-a life in which they can predict almost everything that will come their way. But the souls that God leads into unpredictable and special situations are isolated by Him. All they know is that God is holding them and that He is dealing in their lives. Then their expectations come from Him alone."
Oh to cling to that truth!

These are not easy times, but they are beautiful times! And the further up that daunting mountain he brings me, the more breathtaking and awe inspiring the view.
From our "mountain climb" hike this weekend...

Trusting, absorbing, wondering,