our work

Friday, July 24, 2009

Grateful, Humbled

Donations for Ezequiel's adoption are starting to pick up a great deal lately! I want to issue an enormous THANK YOU to all who have donated, prayed and spread the word. Each little gesture has landed in a pile of other acts of kindness to create a HUGE tidal wave of blessing for our family.
Ezequiel gets all of his shots on August 9th if he is in good health. Please pray that he is. He has to be fully vaccinated before he can get a visa/medical appointment.
That Christmas goal is still within reach! God has been and continues to be faithful in this adoption to the point where I just have no words to express how awed I am by Him.
He is God and does whatever He sees fit. The fact that He has chosen to rain down love and care for our family and for one little special needs boy across the ocean is further
evidence that EACH LIFE is precious to Him.

You may have all read this story many times but if not, let me share a favorite adoption story of mine:

The Starfish Story
One hot summer day, a young man was jogging on the beach. He spotted an old man in the distance crouching, standing and tossing something into the water. As the young man drew closer, he realized the beach was littered with literally thousands of starfish and the old man was tossing them back into the ocean one by one. Curiosity got the best of the young man and he stopped jogging and said to the old man,
"What are you doing?"
"These starfish became beached last night", said the old man "and if they don't get back into the ocean they will scorch and die when the noon sun hits."
"But" the young man countered "it's almost noon and there are so many starfish. What difference can you possibly make?".
With that, the old man tossed one more starfish into the ocean. "I made a difference
to THAT one" he said.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Forward . . . March!

Progress with Ezequiel's adoption has been stellar the last couple of days! We have ALL of our required paperwork turned in to the agency and we wait for the last document . . . our homestudy from the social worker. In August, we have the three visits scheduled so the social worker can write his report. We have been through this process twice before but each time, it evokes many strange emotions. I wonder if the social worker will see what a great family we are . . . how much we treasure our children . . . how badly we want Ezequiel. I wonder if he will think our house is too small or our plate is too full with the four children we already have. All of these impressions are things over which I have no control. That is probably the heart of my worry. I like to be in charge. God is continuing to teach me the same lesson again and again . . . to trust and obey. It's a hard fight but I know that ultimately, He can do it all so much better than I ever could.
As soon as the homestudy is written, our dossier goes to The Philippines and then, God willing, a few months later we have our precious boy. I know we are at a distinct advantage in adopting a child with Down Syndrome as opposed to being surprised with a biological child with the same issue. We have a choice. We have lots of time to read up and prepare and understand his issues without the deep emotions pregnancy can draw to the surface. We didn't have hopes of a healthy child only to have those dreams shattered with a diagnosis and then rebuilt with adjusted expectations. We realize this. It has given me a heart for families with biologically related special needs kids that I can't say I ever had before. When I see a family with a SN child, I wonder about them . . .when did they find out? How did they take it? Do they still wish their child was average? Have they come to see the beauty in this child and declare they wouldn't change a thing? Those are questions I'll never have answers to but I wonder.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blessings Defined

In the Christian circles I run in, I hear the word "blessing" a lot. I often sign my letters and emails "Blessings, Nikki". For the first time in a long time, I stopped today to consider the word "blessing". So often, we tie that word to things such as an unexpected check in the mail or being pulled over for speeding but getting off with just a warning. We rarely apply that word where it fits best - to our children.
The Bible is clear that a man who has a quiver full of children is BLESSED. What I love about that verse is that it does not quantify the type of children that make a man blessed. It does not say "blessed is the man who's quiver is full of healthy, able-bodied, quick witted children" or "blessed is the man who's children are outwardly beautiful and score 1600 on their SATs". Obviously, I'm being facetious here but I think you get the point. My oldest son, with his temptation to be lazy and his penchant for hiding his emotions . . . he is a BLESSING. Our only daughter, with her tendency to occasionally roll her eyes, who just ruined my decorative bathroom towel with bright orange nail polish . . . she is a BLESSING. Our 11 year old adopted son who is so very emotionally behind his peers and struggles to write a simple sentence that is coherent . . . he is a BLESSING. Our youngest son, with his limited vocabulary and speech that is at least two years delayed . . . he is a BLESSING. Ezequiel, with his Down Syndrome, heart defect and probable need for lifelong care . . . he, too, is a BLESSING.
Let me close this post with these two verses I love so much . . .
"Like mighty arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who's quiver is full of them."
Psalm 127:4-5

Friday, July 10, 2009

Why?

I just found out that a very well respected adoptive family in Florida, Byrd and Melanie Billings, were found shot dead in their home this morning. This couple has four biological children and twelve adopted children who are now without their parents.
Please pray for the children of the Billings' and for God to raise up caring family members to keep these children together. You can read more about this family
at:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/07/10/Florida.couple.killed/index.html

One thing we know for certain, God is still on the throne. I just don't understand why He allows these things. I probably never will.

Questions Answered

Wow! I have to admit I'm a little taken aback by the wonderful, positive response to our announcement about adopting Ezequiel. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect to be chastised or ridiculed but I certainly didn't expect the outpouring of love and support that has come our way in just one days' time . . . THANK YOU!!!!!
Let me take a moment to answer questions that some have asked and some might like to ask but are afraid:
1. Why a foreign child when there are so many kids in America who need homes?
because that's where our son is, The Philippines . . .if a domestic child
drew us, we would be open to that as well
2. What will you do when you are old and Zeke can't live on his own?
Zeke will be one of five siblings. We will trust the Lord to provide
a home for him through a sibling if/when we are too old to care for him
3. How do you know for sure this is the child for you?
What we know for sure is that God has, so far, allowed this process to move
forward. We know we CAN'T rely on our feelings and we don't hear audible voices
so, we stand on God's word and move carefully through the adoption process. If,
at any time, God closes the door to this child for us, then He will have spoken.
4. What is the time frame for this adoption?
Adoption is a process prone to snags and slow downs but our heart's desire
is to have Zeke in our home by his second birthday (December 17, 2009). This
goal will take a miracle to reach based on the process itself.

Please, Please, don't stop praying!!!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Want to Help?????

During our previous two adoptions, friends and family often asked us how they could help us along the way. Our first answer always was and still is . . . PRAY FOR US!!!!
Our second answer, which always makes me squirm, is DONATE to our adoption fund.
My pride runs deep and makes my fingers resist even typing the words "donate". My
desperation to bring Ezequiel home has, in this case, trumped my pride so I am humbly asking that anyone who feels led to help us, please do so. No amount is too small . . .
God can turn your "loaves and fishes" into bounty. Our prayer is that He blesses you mightily as you join with us to bring our sweet baby home.


"Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger and invite you in? . . .and the King will reply 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these . . . you
did for Me'".
Matthew 25:37-40

A Journey of a Thousand Miles . . . make that 8,000

This is the first entry in the blog that will keep you updated and informed as we go through the adoption process . . . AGAIN! God has been so gracious to give us two beautiful biological children and two special adopted children from The Philippines. We feel extremely undeserving of yet another precious blessing but God has seen fit to lavish us with His goodness, nonetheless.
Our new child is a beautiful little boy (from The Philippines, of course) named Ezequiel.
He is less than two and was born with Down Syndrome.
At this point, we are working overtime to fill out paperwork, get medical appointments and fill all the requirements so our dossier can be sent to The Philippines for the official matching process.
We covet . . . no, we plead . . . for your prayers for our family. There are so many facets to adoption that can only be accomplished through prayer. Please stand with us as we start this
journey. Are we scared? YES! Uncertain about taking in a child who will likely need lifetime
support? ABSOLUTELY! Worried that our other four children will somehow "lose" if we bring
Ezequiel into their lives? YUP! But we serve a great and glorious God who does ALL things
well! Blessed be HIS name!


"This is religion that the Lord sees as pure and undefiled, to care for orphans and widows in their distress . . ." James 1:27