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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Swept Away

This week I received a new photo on Facebook of Lemuel's (our adopted 12 year old) brother, Ariel. Ariel has been the subject of some of my former posts as we tried as a family to find a way to bring him to the US. Ariel is cognitively delayed and is 20 years old. In the photo below, he is in the orange t-shirt.
(I know, he's super cute and looks a LOT like his little brother) In any case, US immigration law has no provision for Ariel to come legally to the US.  The Embassy in Manila denied him even a tourist visa to come and visit us because they felt no assurance that he would return to the country. Truthfully, I don't know how that would have played out.  We have sent him care boxes  and, even now, an open box sits on my counter as I need to hit one more store before sending it off.  I contacted one of the directors of the fantastic home for "street kids" that cares for him. I asked her to inquire of Ariel what he would like in the next box. He asked for more  pictures of our family, letters from us, shorts, t-shirts and underwear.   Yeah . . . that's what I thought, too. . . "that's it?".   I probably would have found a way to shove a pony in that box if he asked for it and yet, his requests were so simple.  The request for photos and letters told me what I already knew in my heart. He wants family connections.  He has the same unquenchable desire at 20 that even a young child has - the need to belong.  
I write this post for several reasons. First, I covet your prayers for Ariel's future. With limited literacy skills and the fact that he is not all that "employable", I'm concerned. Second,  I hope some of my readers who are looking for a mission trip or a place to direct donations will consider "Children's Garden of The Philippines" where some truly precious young men have been sheltered from the streets.  Finally, I share this slightly off-topic news because it weighs on my heart daily and the Bible tells us to "bear one another's burdens".
Life was so much easier before I knew about the needs.  It was so much simpler when I had my two small biological children and we homeschooled, went on field trips, had play dates, went to church and tossed exactly 10% in the offering plate but I don't long for those days. I don't miss them. Orphans and street kids always existed, just not for our family.  Now that they're here and we're here, God is using THEM to teach, refine, mold and sharpen us.  He is showing us our calling and, as we respond, life just gets more fulfilled and abundant.   Of course, it's not all roses and lollipops.  We struggle with knowing exactly what we're to do, how much to give, who should come into the family and who we support from afar.  We trust the Lord to direct our paths but so often our fervor and fear blot out His instructions.  I have begged God countless times to send our family to The Philippines as missionaries.  I have become cynical of our comfortable lives here in the states but even to this very day, God has not called us to go. He has called us to stay, to adopt, to donate, to pray and to wait on Him.   Nothing is harder than that last request. NOTHING.


  1. Beautiful post...as usual. Just wondering if you've had time to read the info that I sent to you???? I also just saw your new chip in total...is that all that is left of your goal??? I KNOW that is still a LOT, but considering the original total....WOW!!!

  2. WOW that was a beautiful post, but hard to read. Especially the part about Ariel wanting family connections. I wish I could bring all these kids home just to give them that. It is so wonderful, though, that you are able to be in contact with him and be able to send him those boxes. Our son has a sibling somewhere...I think of him/her often wondering if they are o.k.

    Thanx for sharing

  3. My heart is breaking for Ariel. How I wish there was some way he could come here. It is so sweet of you to have him on your heart and send him whatever you can.

  4. As you have so beautifully put, it never feels that what we are doing is enough. Prayer is so simple but it's the simplicity that makes it so difficult. And sometimes doing NOTHING is way harder than doing something. It just doesn't make sense does it? But the only thing that makes this whole mess do-able is the knowledge that God is control and that prayer does work.

  5. This post touched my heart. It was easier when we didn't know either, but I wouldn't change where we are now.

    I also wish there was some way for Ariel to come to you. But I think it is awesome that you all have considered him yours in your heart and done what you can from afar.

  6. What a touching post. I love your heart for Ariel and for many others who need the love of a family. Praying for you and those you love!


  7. What a beautiful post. My heart breaks for Ariel, but it is wonderful that you are able to give him something. Have you contacted your senator about bringing him home? He needs someone to care for him, especially with his cognitive delays. I'm sure you see in Zeke what we see in Jonalyn - the pure joy when she perfectly wrote JON in Brian's birthday care all by herself. Oh, these precious children need someone to love them and help them reach their full potential - as individuals and as children of God.

  8. i can think of an organization in metro manila that could use a few extra pairs of "gentle hands"...;)