Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What it means to be held....

I am not sure of the status of my precious Tommy...

I have asked and asked this morning with no reply, so God must have a reason to keep me in the unknown...

As I was going through my day, the ache in my chest grew unbearable....What if he wasn't saved by a family?  What if his time of redemption here on earth faded away with only a few hearts to cry for him?  What if I had prayed harder?   Yelled louder?  What will happen to his precious little boy now?  If I thought too much farther, the horrors were enough to undo me...

The song that came to mind is one that has always haunted me...Held by Natalie Grant.  I don't know for sure what the writers of the song meant, so I want to be very careful that I am not endorsing an unBiblical viewpoint...The words of the song were written for a mama that lost her little boy at two months old.  The song says, "To think that Providence took a child from his mother while she prayed is appalling." 

I grappled with this very thought while I begged God for the life of my precious daughter, Mimi.  Was God still good, if He took her from my arms? Could I praise Him as I buried my child?  Could I even lay her in that grave?  How could I let go that last time?  I wasn't supposed to be planning a funeral for my baby.  Where was God in all of the hospital beeps and noises and pitying faces of the doctors?

"Who told us we'd be rescued?
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares?"

I realized in that hospital room, that there was no promise that my baby would be healed.  I went to a fairly conservative church - no outright "health and prosperity" teaching going on....but it was always implied in the Christian community.  "God would not ask you to go through that."  "God always works for the good of His children..."  But I realized none of that was true - or if it was, it was used out of context.  God would work for my good....even if it meant taking my Mercy home to Himself....

Where is the comfort in that? 

"This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows."

Oh, how I wanted to let that bitterness numb the pain growing in my heart every time I saw my little one fighting to survive...every time another I.V. attempt failed...when the two minutes we delayed to stop and pray, turned into the two minutes that were life and death for her.  I wanted to be numb as I sat in the waiting room with the pitying looks of the social worker as they tried one last time....

"This is what it means to be held.
How it feels,
When the sacred is torn from your life,
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell,
We'd be held"

Although God, in His perfect plan, spared my Mimi's life, the "sacred" was torn from my life - precisely because I made a lie "sacred."  I had put my sacred trust in something that God never said.  He never said He would always heal...or save.  He said to look on His goodness, His compassion, His mercy, His justice, His redemption, and trust whatever He chose to do would be perfect.....even if I could not understand on this side of heaven.  And that His strength, His grace, His love would carry me through it.

How often do we, as believers, put our trust in something that God didn't promise - and then hurl our bitterness at Him for not doing what we expected?  I have learned that God's Word is always true.  If I end up in a situation that I think He has not done what He has promised, it is because I have misunderstood the promise - not that He has broken it.

Another sacred lie I held onto was that God would give me strength for all situations....Some of you are saying, "God does promise that!".  I agree with you - but my definition of "strength" was wrong.  As I sat in the PICU again, I raged at God because I could not find the strength to go one more moment in that hospital.  I would sit in my car in the parking garage after being home visiting my other children (while my mom stayed with Mimi) and I would lay my head on my steering wheel and sob.  I could not find the strength to face walking through those hospital hallways again.  Where was this strength He promised me? 

I finally latched onto the verse "And when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor 12:10.  What did that mean?  I chewed on, wrestled with, cried over this verse for weeks and weeks... I didn't want to be weak, I wanted the strength He had promised me!  I finally realized it was only when I was weak that I was truly strong.  Because it was not my strength.  The moment I started feeling strong, I released my grip on my Savior.  There was no miracle infusion of strength that I had expected - and had searched for for many years - it was God putting my one foot in front of the other to walk through those hospital doors again.  It was God who gave me the breath for one more moment, when I couldn't even feel my heart beating through the pain.  He has promised strength - but I was not understanding the promise.  I was looking for this great infusion of powerful strength so I could go on....instead He gave me a Savior to cling to.  One who would carry me though those moments and days.

I have found this real strength from Him on the mornings after long nights with no sleep, sick babies, financial troubles, abandonment by friends, and heart-weariness too deep for words.  It is the strength to cling to Him and to do the next thing.  It is not super-human strength - it is super-human weakness carried by an amazing God.

I need to draw on that strength again as I face Tommy's uncertain future... Is God still good if He chooses not to place Tommy in a family here on earth?  Is God still good even though there are millions of Tommys?  Is God still good even when I cannot understand?

"If hope is born of suffering,
If this is only the beginning,
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our Savior?"

God has not promised to save every orphan on my heart....I have known as I prayed for them all that eventually there would be one that I would not see saved.  Even as I write that I want to bellow in rage and sorrow.  "No!  Please save this one!  Not this one!"  I feel a piece of that hopelessness and suffering I felt in Mercy Anne's hospital room.  I feel the temptation to let the bitterness drown out my pain.

However, I must cling to my Savior.  I must trust He will give me the strength to cling for yet one more moment...and then one more...and one more.   I must cling to His mercy, compassion, goodness, perfection...even I cannot conceive of how this could be good and perfect, on this side of heaven.  I must cling to that strength even as I know that Tommy will be the one to suffer the consequences.  Is it wrong to beg Him to just take Tommy home? 

I will watch for my Savior....He may still choose to answer and save little Tommy...how I pray for that!  I will continue to lift Tommy to the Savior until I can behold him in Heaven, standing right next to our Savior, full and whole.  God has only promised one place with no more suffering and no more tears.  Only one place with no more pain and fear.  God had made a perfect place for His creation and in our sin and selfishness, we destroyed His perfect world.  In our sin and selfishness we have created a world of our own making - one in which precious lives are left in cribs for lifetimes as we go on in ignorance or indifference. 

The sacred is being torn from my life again...yet, I will trust Him.

I will trust little Tommy to Him, though my heart breaks.

To Him be the glory.

Friday, July 27, 2012

I know what breaks God's heart......it's me.

If you are looking for the FUNdraiser post - it is down below.....

I have prayed for months that God would break my heart with what breaks His - today I realized that part of what breaks His heart is me.  I am ashamed to even write this post, but I have to - I have to for little Penny.

I am having trouble even typing this out…I saw little Penny's picture with the rest of the B* kids and I read her file.   She is 12 years old and weighs 21 pounds.  Her needs are so huge “on paper” - I also saw a brief video.  I am one that has always declared that every child is worth saving!  But after I read her file, I mentally put her "aside".   The needs seemed so great...maybe she wouldn't even know?  There are so many others to save...I am completely overwhelmed with guilt and shame for even thinking that!  Please know how it hurts me to see my sin out in true black and white.  

A woman met her today as she was at Penny's orphanage.  She truly saw her - not her diagnosis, not a couple of bad pictures - she saw Penny.   Now she is screaming to everyone she can.   This is what that wonderful woman wrote:

Mommy - where are you? I MET THIS CHILD TODAY. Please, Mommy, find her! I know her situation looks grave but the child I saw is ALIVE INSIDE. She is precious. Please help her find a family. I will answer any questions I can about her. She is in the bad orphanage in B but there is LIFE inside this child and when the authorities know a child is going to be adopted they are treated much better.”

After I read that, I just had to put my head down and sob for a while – even now I can barely see through my tears.  God has used this to break my heart and humble me.  This has hit me especially hard because I can remember the doctors acting like my precious Mimi was just a “vegetable.” (I am sorry for such a crass term – but that is how people think)  I was so overwhelmed with her issues, the unexpected, the unknown that I was lost in a sea of grief and doubt.  So I begged God to show me that there was a little person “in there” – I needed the hope and reassurance to be able to fight for her. 

Mimi was only a couple of days old at the time, wrapped in bandages and wires.  But immediately after I whispered my plea to our precious Father, she turned and looked at me.  I mean really looked at me and God allowed me to see her soul, her little personhood.  She was there!  She felt, she knew, she needed.....she need me!   I KNEW beyond the shadow of a doubt that she was “in there”.  A nurse came in and was blown away – she said she had never seen a newborn look at someone that way.  From that day on, I KNEW she was a person, a little soul to be treasured. 

If you could see little Mimi now - so full of life and personality - so beautiful, so loved - you would never understand my struggles then.  Here is my precious girl with her favorite older brother, The Warrior:

This gave me great courage and passion when Grace's orphanage came back three times to be sure that we really wanted her.  They kept asking us to read her medical files again and finally sent a video to watch.  Three times.  I know why.  They had never had anyone express interest in this little girl who on paper looked so bleak.  But, I knew that Mimi's file would look just as bleak to someone else - yet God had shown me her little soul.  I know Grace is there, too.  Worth every price - worth every sacrifice.  How can you say there is no life here?

Yet, knowing all of this - all that God has chosen to show me - I chose to dismiss the life inside of  another.  To hear this about Penny – whom I had mentally written off – just tore my heart right out of my chest.  I cannot stand the pain.  I am what breaks my Savior's heart - I, in my arrogance and my foolish scales to weigh who is worthy and who is not.  What a wretch I am - who but a perfect Savior could save me?

Little Penny - you are precious beyond measure.  Your life is of infinite value - your Savior loves you - and even now is with you.  You probably already know that. 

It would be a such an honor to be your Mama - an honor that I am completely unworthy of.  I would praise Him every day that you were with me for such an amazing gift.  I would treasure each time I could look into your eyes and whisper, "I love you.  You are such a precious gift."  I would definitely change your name - "Penny" does not describe your worth, your value.   God would have to move many mountains - and honestly, He has probably already chosen someone else to be your Mama that has loved you from the first time they saw you.  The loss is so much mine and I feel that loss pressing on my soul tonight.  Please know that you will always be in my heart and I will pray you home to your Mama. Someday when we meet in heaven, I will wrap my arms around you and ask for your forgiveness.  I love you, daughter of my heart.

To those reading this - each child is precious.  Each child is worth every sacrifice, every cost.  When you feel the whisper, "This one is not worth it", remember with me, that neither are we without our Savior's precious blood.

Please pray for a family to rescue her and treasure her. 

To Christ be the glory!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New agency doing B*lgarian adoptions!

P.P.S.  Here is one more of little "K" - I couldn't resist, she is such a doll!

P.S - I just heard there will be more files on Saturday...I will post pictures as soon as I have them...

I just wanted to pass along that our home study agency - Agape Adoptions - is just beginning their pilot program for B*lgaria.  Because this is a pilot program, they need flexible families.

I have worked with Myriam personally and have been absolutely thrilled.  She is very quick to answer questions and is extremely personable and passionate about adopting.  In fact, I am hoping we will be able to use their agency again very soon! ;-)

Here are pictures of two of their first little ones available..

There is also a precious little boy that I am having trouble getting his picture to load.

 If you want more information, please contact Myriam at myriam@agapeadoptions.org or 253-987-5804.

Their fees are extremely reasonable, at this point approx $22-27K - with the in-country fees being extremely variable depending on how many traveling, etc.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Some days you just have to cry...

This is one of those days..

Little Amelia is from "the very bad place" - an orphanage horrific beyond description.  She is 12 years old - AND WEIGHS 12 POUNDS.

God called and a family raced to get her....they are in the country now.  Her mom is an RN - but she cannot get Amelia stabilized enough to travel.  Just this morning, they took her to a hospital in country - NOT GOOD.

Today is one of those days I just want to lay my head down and sob.  I want to cry for this family and their precious little girl.  I want to cry for all those babies still lying abandoned and neglected in their cribs...such a Hamilton who is 5 years old....

As the body of Christ, are we doing all we are supposed to?  Or will we someday realize that our ministry lay in a crib overseas?  These are truly the least of these, yet people can dismiss a CHILD with concerns over how to care for their "own" family in the future....

Do you not know what your Bible says?  Do you not know that GOD is the one who provides for you?  It even says that He is the one that gives you your very breath to be able to work and provide for your family?  How arrogant we are to assume that WE are the ones that do this?

How foolish for us to present our concerns - finances, abilities, time - to our Holy Father as a reason to disobey His command to care for the widows and orphans?  For those of us with children, would it fly if they said to us, "I am sorry, I know you asked me to do this, but I have very good reasons to disobey.  You obviously don't know what you are asking."?  We would ream them with verses on obedience - yet, we do the same thing with our Father's commands.

I cannot believe how many people say, "I am not called."  Okay, I am willing to grant that not everyone is called to adopt - but EVERYONE is called to care for the widows and orphans.  How are you doing that?  Where is your sacrifice?  We are called to pick up our cross and follow Christ - yet we keep trying to make that cross lighter by casting off those things that seem too hard.

What if someone said, "I am not called to a monogamous marriage?"  Aren't we doing the same thing?

Also, for those that would throw out a vague reference to Proverbs about not "presuming" on God to provide;  I would challenge you first to actually find those exact references in the Bible - write them down on one side of a sheet of paper....then look up all the references to God calling us to GIVE to and PROTECT the cause of the orphan....also write down how many times in the Bible God tells us that HE is the provider.  I think you will find a very short (or non-existent) list on one side and a very long list on the other....

With all love and humility - I have been there.  As a young wife, I resented - truly resented- the money that would go to our Compassion sponsored kids.  All I could see was how I could use that money for my family - Oh, foolishness and arrogance!  Selfishness beyond description....It was truly Christ alone that has opened by eyes to see a tiny bit of His Heart.

Okay, so you don't feel the call to adopt?  How much time do you spend in prayer for these little ones?  Honestly....We say that we don't have the money - prayer is free.  It can be done at any time - yet, I find I can be more stingy with my prayers than with my money!  It is probably because, as I pray, my heart becomes involved.  On days like today, it means my heart is breaking and I don't want to start my day.  As one friend told me, "Once you know, you can't NOT know..."  I go camping and I think of the little ones in the cribs...I go shopping and think of those without food...I tuck my children in at night and think of those that are not touched with love - EVER.

It is hard to have your heart in two worlds...but I think that is very close to what the Bible describes as living as pilgrims in this world.  We are not supposed to be caught up in the baubles and trinkets of this world - things that will break, rot, rust, become dust, or burn in the flames.  We are supposed to be storing our treasures in heaven where they are protected for eternity.  YET we use those very baubles and trinkets - security, finances, time for self, worry - as an excuse not to store up those eternal treasures...we are exchanging the truth of God for a lie....and wrap it all up in a pretty package of "calling".

Caring for orphans is not our only concern - we are to preach the Gospel and pray for/support those who do; we are to set the captives free; we are to speak out against injustice (true, Biblical injustice, not our imagined "rights" being stepped on); we are to care for the widow; we are to make our godly leaders jobs a joy and not a burden; we are to show Christ to all in the way we live (which should be markedly different from the world!).....how many of these things are true of your life?  I have a LONG way to go.  On days like these, I can understand how the heroes of the faith could spend HOURS in prayer every day.  There are so many to pray for - so many needs - so many persecuted - so many who need Christ's love.

I have hesitated for a long time to write a post like this....I truly feel like I am looking around the plank in my own eye.  HOWEVER, it took others laying the Truth out there in boldness, for the blinders from my eyes to finally fall.

Pray that God breaks your heart with what breaks His...then be prepared to have your heart broken.  For His heart is continually broken - not only over the sin in the world - but for His children who walk in their own understanding, instead of trusting Him to lead them.  Every Christian's life does look different in the details...but the "bones" always look the same.  We are called to live a life of SACRIFICE, not self-indulgence.

I think this anonymous quote sums it up best, " Sometimes I ask God why He allows so much suffering and pain in this world when He could do something about it; but most of the time, I don't ask because I am afraid He will ask me the same thing..."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why, God?

I know how easy it is to see precious face and precious face and be overcome with heartache.....How can we save them all?  Each one is worthy of love, a home, and a family.  I know.  "Why, God?"  my heart cries....

There are some questions that will not have answers in this life....this is one of them....

Starting in Job 38, God begins to answer Job's questioning...

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand. 
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
“Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,  
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,  
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place, 
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place, 
that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it? 
The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.

 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?  
Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness? 
Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
“What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside? 
Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail, 
which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle? 
What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? 
Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,  
to water a land where no one lives,
an uninhabited desert, 
to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?  
Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens  
when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt? 
Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
    or lead out the Bear with its cubs? 
Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water? 
Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
Who gives the ibis wisdom
    or gives the rooster understanding?
Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens  
when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together?
“Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions 
when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket? 
Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food? 

God's answer actually goes on for several more chapters!  I dare you to read through the above slowly .  By the time you get to the end here, go to Job 39-42 and read the rest....

I can only say with Job, "I am unworthy —how can I reply to you?  I put my hand over my mouth."  (Job 40:4)  Please notice, God's response to Job does not answer Job's questions!  He instead prompts Job to trust in His power and faithfulness.

Instead of focusing on "Why?", we need to focus on God's character...

Ex 34:6-7 "...The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 
 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin...."

Psalm 86:15 "But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, 
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness."

Psalm 103:8 "The LORD is compassionate and gracious, 
slow to anger, abounding in love."

Psalm 13:5 "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation."

The verses that testify to God's compassion, love, graciousness, and mercy abound throughout Scripture.  His Word is truth.  I have to cling to that.  No, it does not answer the question of why God would allow these babies and children to suffer....but I need to instead focus on the attributes of my precious God and Savior - and trust He knows.

I would also encourage you to pick one or two children to focus on, instead of lists and lists of faces...print out the one or two pictures, put them in your Bible, put them on your fridge, share them with your children, share them with your church.  (We asked permission from our pastor to pass out a prayer-baby card for the entire congregation to pray for!)  Focus your prayers on these children...pray until they find a home or God brings them to their forever home...then print out some more. 

Here are my "prayer babies" right now...

This is Anita....

This is Serenity...

I will pray these babies home....then I will pray some more home...I will keep doing this until He comes or He calls me home....Someday, face to face with Jesus, I will either ask my "Whys" or I will no longer need to once I behold Him in His glory.

Won't you join me?  Until He comes...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Time for an update.....

Wow, we have been crazy busy here.  I think it is time for a Grace update!

After all the paper chasing and notaries, our dossier is almost ready to be sent to Taiwan.  Praise the Lord!


Um...there is another $6,000 payment due with the dossier.  How did it escape me that this was needed now?  Maybe because we just made another payment a few days ago after a lot of hassle?  Maybe because I was so busy putting together paperwork, I wasn't looking at the payment chart?

Now it is time for some serious prayer!

Fortunately, I know that whatever the Lord asks us to do, He also provides the way....that doesn't mean it will just miraculously appear - although He could do that - so I will pray that He provides it in His time and His way....

A little hard to wait for His provision, knowing that it is what is needed to finally get this show on the road - but I say that I trust Him for all things....I guess this would be included in "all things".

Please pray with me for this money and I will update when He provides.

Please keep praying for all the sweet babies that need families.  It is so much easier to look away then to carry the burden around with you.....but it is part of the cost of a heart being broken with what breaks the Lord's heart.

To Christ be the glory!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another precious little one....and more about us.

I have to share another little face that fills my prayers along with Grace, Tommy, and Serenity....this is Anita.  She is about to turn 4 - I truly love that little face.  Sweet Jesus, please bless her with a family quickly!

The Boss has a fever today and just wants to snuggle, so I thought this would be a good day to continue our story...

During our trip to Seaside, OR., Handsome told me he was now ready to pursue foster-adoption.  I was so excited, I didn't want to finish our trip to the beach...I wanted to go home and get started!  I was to quickly learn that nothing happens according to my plans - I should have known that already!  We took the foster care training classes in September, October, and November.  Our home study was finally ready in February - this was not going fast enough for me!!!  We had decided to pursue a placement of a drug-affected baby.  Unbeknownst to us at the time, we were attending training classes for a baby on the very day our daughter was born!  However, while at the training, we were told that another baby wouldn't be ready for a home for at least six weeks!  Six weeks?  Would the wait never end?

I went right home and made a huge "to-do" list.  I was going to keep busy so I wouldn't be overcome with despair!  A week later, our social worker called - she had a baby for us.  I was in shock - so much so, I couldn't even clearly talk to my husband on the phone.  God had brought us a treasure.

Much of her story needs to remain private, but our Testy Chef was nothing like what we had expected and planned for.  She was (and still is) breath-takingly beautiful.  However, she screamed all the time.  All the time.....like Handsome and I had to take turns sleeping at night!  But nothing went quickly or easily with her adoption.  It took a little over three years to finally adopt her.  Testy Chef's story is filled with God's faithfulness, tears, and so many amazing things that God did in saving her - but it is a story she will need to tell by herself some day. :)

About a week after Testy Chef was placed with us, I found out I was pregnant.  WOW - I couldn't wrap my heart around it!  I was so excited - now we would have two babies when just a week earlier, I sat sobbing in an empty nursery, wondering if God would ever make me a mommy.  Soon though, I became completely overwhelmed.  I was sick most of the day and Testy Chef screamed all of the day - how was I ever to take care of two babies?  I would have dreams of trying to take care of them both, but always failing.....Did God really know what He was doing?

At almost 13 weeks, I miscarried.  I can still see the ultrasound with that tiny baby; a baby not moving.  How could God have answered my prayers and then taken the treasure away?  I was quick to question every thing that God did that was not something I could understand.  How my heart was broken and in despair.

According to God's perfect plans though - despite my lack of faith and trust - our son, The Warrior was born when Testy Chef was 17 months old.  Now I had a spitfire toddler and a baby to take care of...life was very busy.....

The Helper was born 20 months later....now life was very full and we were ready for a bigger house to fit them all.  God had been blessing Handsome's business and we were searching for bigger and better.  I spent a lot of time being discontent with the home God had already given us.  I very much believed if we just had a couple more things -that seemed truly necessary at the time - that I would be able to settle in and be a "good", content mommy.  I was still trying to fit in all of "my" pursuits with being a mom and not doing well on any of it...but how I LOVED being a mom.  I loved each of my children so much it hurt.

We eventually found our "dream" house.  It was old and looked very much like a big box, but it was almost 5000 sq ft!  We thought that now we could settle in and be happy.  Many of you who are more mature in your faith than we were at the time, know already that happiness cannot be found in temporal things - only in our Savior.  How I wish we understood that, then!  I set about making our house simply "perfect" - moving from one project to the next without keeping the house clean and focusing on my kids.  I was frustrated that nothing was getting done and looking like I wanted it to. 

We quickly learned some of the drawbacks of a large house.  Everything costs more - from heat to water to paint to landscaping.  Everything takes longer, from cleaning to organizing to maintenance.  We would end up so frustrated all the time. 

It was very cold those first two winters, so we began to look into replacing the windows, hoping that would help.  We had an estimate done.  Because the house had so many windows and the windows were so big, the estimate was $20,000.  We decided that even though we didn't like debt, we would take out a loan.  Our policy was to pray about thing at least overnight before making a decision, so we told the sales rep that we would get back to him.  A little later my mom dropped off a Christian magazine that had been given to her.  She had no idea how God would use that magazine to turn our lives upside down.....

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


See this precious face -

This is Tommy.  What a treasure.  Do you see his beautiful eyes?  If you click HERE you can see a brief but priceless video of his smile.  He has cerebral palsy.  Tommy is dearly loved by a family who met him when they were adopting their daughter.  They assumed by his size that they had time to go back and save him.  They knew they didn't qualify to adopt again this year, but were making plans to go get him as soon as they could.  The woman who loves him knew he is malnourished and severely neglected because her adopted daughter was in the very same orphanage....she looked at his size and guessed he was nine?  Maybe ten?  She thought she had time to save him....

But Tommy is 15 years old - yes, 15!  He is the size of a three year old.  By U.S. immigration law, a child cannot be adopted after they turn 16 - even in special needs cases!  Tommy turns 16 early next year.  HE IS OUT OF TIME.  I have learned that sometimes this is said about children because their file goes "back" into the system - but I have found out that even though it is MUCH more difficult, they can still be adopted.  This is not the case with Tommy.  HE IS OUT OF TIME.  He needs a family to begin racing to save him NOW.

Please pray for that family and for Tommy.  Pray that God moves the hearts of a family to give their life for his.  Pray they can move quickly.  Pray that God provides the amount needed to ransom him.  PRAY.....PRAY....PRAY.

If you think you may be that family, please contact Shelley Bedford directly at shele337@gmail.com.

From his official file:
Male child at 15 years of age, with the following diagnoses: Infantile Cerebral Palsy – Hypotonic form; Severe lagging behind in the physical and neuro-psychical development; Severe protein-caloric malnutrition – unspecified; Ectopic [undescended] testicle – condition after surgery for correction.

It needs to be perfectly clear and understood:
No agency has Tommy’s file yet. Here’s what needs to happen in order for an agency to obtain it and here’s what the process will look like:
His file can only be requested from his government at this point if there is a specific family “seriously” interested in him and “considering to adopt him” – according to the authorities’ official wording. They will need to file a notarized (apostille is not necessary at this point) application with their personal data and some other specific information. On the basis of this application the authorities will decide whether to assign the agency with his file or not. As soon as the agency receives the file, they will obtain additional information (written, photos, videos) and will provide it to the family. Then the family will officially and finally decide whether to commit to him or not. From that point on, the adoption process would follow the usual procedure.

Please print off a picture of Tommy...please commit to pray him home.  One of the greatest lights we can shine in these countries is to adopt in Jesus' Name.  This countries have no value for these little lives - they are trash and worthless - they cannot even comprehend why someone would come from the other side of the world to adopt a "worthless" creature.  To tell them we are saving them because Christ saved us is one of the most direct paths to the Gospel there is....

To Christ be the glory!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My heart hurts...

I am spending much time praying right now, "Your will, and not mine."  I have seen God do amazing things this last week.  So many precious waiting children being found by families!  I know each and every one is because God has touched hearts.  "Every good and perfect gift" is from our precious Father as the book of James tells us.  Each child is saved by God moving families to step forward in faith.

But Tommy, sweet Tommy, still waits....I have learned that sometimes people say that a child is "running out of time" - but there are still opportunities for that child to be adopted.  It may be much harder, but they can still be adopted.  That is not the case with Tommy.....he is truly running out of time.  When his 16th birthday comes early next year, if specific paperwork has not been filed, he is out of time - yes, even by U.S. immigration law.

What a precious face....he smiles and laughs when interacted with.  He has a heart and a soul, but he is a captive in a dark place, a prisoner of wickedness.  He may remain a prisoner because of indifference.  He lives in a culture that cannot see the Hand of God in his little life, because they long ago denied that very God. 

There are families that would race to adopt Tommy, but God has, for His perfect purposes, tied their hands one way or another.....I cannot know why at this point in time....so I come back to, "Your perfect will, not mine."  I am praying it is because God has marked out another family for Tommy - one that He is calling even now. 

I am whispering to Him for strength and faith and trust, even if He chooses not to save.  How it hurts my heart to even think that....I am praying that he will be saved just like Beacan and Gabby and so many others whom God brings families at seemingly the "last" moment.

Please continue to raise Tommy before our Father - trusting His perfect plan - but asking for His mighty Hand to save....