our work

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Say "YES" . . . Do You?

I have watched a plethora of adoption videos. Some are intended to shock while others simply pull the heart strings. A few of the adoption videos I have seen over the years are even designed to shame folks into adopting. I usually deeply DISLIKE adoption videos for the reasons above. The decision to adopt a child, older or an infant, with or without special needs, is one best wrestled between husband, wife and their Creator. God is so very good at illuminating our path - opening the doors HE wants open and shutting those we are not to walk through.
The video below,although heartfelt and touching is just as simple as an adoption video gets. REAL children sharing their REAL experiences before and after their families came to claim them.
Although each of the children in this video is an ex- US foster child, I believe their words echo the sentiments of children all over the world. The longing for a family knows no geographic limits. The heart of a child is created for family. Everywhere. All the time.
Enjoy!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cautious Corner Turning

Something around this house has changed. Tangibly. For the better.
Our most difficult child, Lem, has been Mr. Not-One-Bit-Difficult for more than two weeks now! This is the longest stretch he has been able to maintain positive behavior, attitude and interactions EVER! While I am praising the Lord, I am guardedly optimistic. I know as a Believer in Christ, being superstitious is not God honoring however, I have blogged, written and talked about how far Lem has come in the past and then, a few days later, been on my knees in my room crying and begging the Lord to let me out of this whole deal. . . but I believe some lasting changes have taken place. I am seeing new things. Good things.

Maturity is FINALLY popping up from it's rabbit hole from time to time. Our once EXTREMELY emotionally delayed child is talking, behaving and pursuing interests that are much closer to his chronological age! He has put himself on hiatus from those video games that were once such a source of joy, stress and obsession for him. Certainly, we could have eliminated those from his life completely at anytime, we are the parents, but we chose to give him a schedule for their use instead. He has shaved that schedule down to almost nothing and when he does play the games, it is for a much shorter duration with NO REAL TEARS or anger when his character loses. This is something GREAT!

He has chosen to participate with the family in pretty much everything we have done for more than two weeks now! Likewise, he has been coming to me for a hug every morning and every night. And three nights ago, when he hugged me at bedtime, he started to cry. Just a little. When I asked him why, he could not articulate the reasons. He said he was happy. That was good enough. I get it, sweetheart, I really do. I cry happy often.

Is he "cured" of his Reactive Attachment Disorder? Well, according to every web site, book and therapist I have encountered, there is no cure for RAD. Does he even have RAD? Is RAD real? Did God heal him? Will I be blogging my sorrows about his new-found reprehensible behaviors any day now? Can I trust two weeks to mean anything at all?

I don't have one single answer to any of those questions.

All I know is that in June, he will have been my son for six years and these last two weeks or so have been the best time period in that entire span. The best!

I believe the prayers of other Believers coupled with maturity on his part and not giving up on our part are starting to glimmer like pay dirt! And I happy cry as I type because I didn't know if I ever WOULD get to type this. I had to learn to be okay with that, I believe, before things could improve. Stop mourning the "whys" and "what ifs" and accept the "IS".

I only needed to give thanks publicly on this blog, to my Heavenly Father who does so much more than we "ask or imagine" (Eph. 3:20) and to share this with those who are struggling with their RADishes... I know life will never be "perfect" this side of Heaven and that two weeks is such a short time but it happened! I never thought it would and it did! All I can do is praise . ..!!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Need a Hero

A few posts ago, I shared my heart - a desperate plea really - for the children coming to our state via our adoption agency's "Share Your Summer 2012" program.
There are 14 children scheduled to come and, as of a few weeks ago, no commitments to these children from willing families.
I am floored . . . thrilled . . .honored to announce that all but a few of these children have committed families. By "committed" I mean some children will be hosted but others will skip being hosted and head straight for being adopted!!!!! My heart sings!
There are a few children who have no commitment.
Tomorrow is my birthday.
I am asking the Lord to find parents (host AND adoptive) for three specific children for my birthday. I realize my Holy, Gracious Father doesn't "owe" me a present. He has already given all that I need and more but I am asking like that pesky neighbor lady in the Bible, repeatedly and maybe even annoyingly, in hopes that God will bring this to be.

The three children in need of host/adoptive parents are boys (of course - boys wait longest - one of the great mysteries of adoption to this Mama of five amazing SONS).

The first little boy is named Aaron, just like my own first born. He is eleven and he is just beautiful! Aaron is in the same orphanage one of our boys came from and I can tell you it is a wonderful, well staffed, loving, Christ focused environment.
Aaron is about as cute as they get! Small for his age and such a beautiful face!

The second children in need of a family are brothers. Their names are JR and Jim. They, too, come from that wonderful child caring agency where Aaron is currently living. They are 11 and 13 years old, I believe. They are energetic, helpful boys who could really use some permanency as they become young men. They would benefit so greatly from a loving Dad to take them under his wing and show them all the things men need to know - how to change a tire, how to watch seven TV shows at once, how to get away with wearing the same pair of jeans for a whole week - you know, the important stuff.

The deadline for hosting has been extended to TOMORROW - MY BIRTHDAY!

I can assure you, dear readers, these are children I would happily host and adopt myself. I have no fear for their safety around other children or their abilities to bond. The only reason my family has not stepped forward to host is that we are just finalizing Francis' adoption. The rules of the Philippine authorities state that families must wait two years between adoptions. I would never want to bring these boys here and then be unable to commit for such a long time. Their childhoods are already well underway.

I have pictures of them all. Oh, if I were allowed to post them . . . take my word for it. They are something! Lovely altogether!

If God is pricking your heart toward any of these boys, please contact Jess or Jim at Christian Adoption Services (www.christianadopt.org) You can see the profiles and pictures. You can know what I already know - three boys wait who should no longer be waiting! Hidden jewels in this adoption world that favors girls and babies - young men who could grow into Godly husbands and loving fathers themselves someday. Cycle breakers. Wanted and valued, and not just by people who come in and out of their lives but by people who say "I'm here and I'm staying".
That's Huge.
Monumental.
That, my friends, is the gospel.
Claiming someone for your very own and opening every corner of your life to that person. No holds barred. What's mine is yours . . . my house, my food, my children are your siblings, my last name is your last name, the heritage of my biological children is now YOUR heritage. No differentiating.
It's what Jesus did for us.
We can model it on our own imperfect level through adoption.
I have walked this path four times.
It is an emotional roller coaster, a faith walk, a nail biter and a trust stretcher. It hurts sometimes and makes you feel like you can fly other times.
It sends me running to my Abba Father and pleading for HIS guidance more than anything else in this life. It rescues me, too.

"Like mighty arrows in the hand of a warrior. So are the children of one's youth. Blessed is he who's quiver is FULL." Psalm 127:4-5

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who Are "The Least of These"?

I am aware of the fact that the header pictures I've chosen lately for this blog are unsettling. It is not my intention to heap "affluent guilt" on my readers. We are infinitely blessed in this country. We don't deserve the good things lavished on us, which is why they are called "blessings". The fact that we can feed, clothe, educate and provide medicine for our children when countless families around the world can not is NOT a source of "guilt" for me and I hope it isn't for you.

It's a source of gratefulness.

I became keenly aware, during the surgery of our little son who has Down Syndrome, that were it not for our citizenship, I would likely not be the adoptive mother of this angel. I would not be the one to hold him as he comes out of anesthesia and feed him that first popsicle. I could just as easily have been the heartbroken mother surrendering him for adoption after finding out my baby has a heart defect and knowing, deep down, that I can not afford the cost of his care.

I was aware when my beautiful daughter had strep throat recently and the copay on her penicillin was only FIVE DOLLARS, that I am among the most blessed of women. I think of these blessings each evening when my family gathers at our dinner table and eats a balanced dinner. I pray the Lord never lets me grow cold to this knowledge. It keeps me humble. It keeps me praising Him for even the small things, like turning on the faucet and enjoying a warm shower.

God's word is clear, though "to whom much has been given, much is required" (Luke 12:48).

It is imperative for those of us who are so outlandishly blessed to be ever-vigilant for opportunities to GIVE - time, money, a listening ear, a hug, encouragement, a soft place for someone who's life is hard, our prayers- whatever God has impressed upon us to give.

And we don't do it with an eye on the return. Sometimes the return is infinitesimal to our human eyes. We do it out of love for a Heavenly Father who gave us all things, even his own precious son. We do it to obey him and to imitate him. We do it because it's all we CAN do that is of value during this short time we have here on Earth. We do it because we long for the name "Christian" to stir up images of people who love to give, who go out on a limb for others - even those who are not EXACTLY LIKE THEM- images of a people who's faith is authentic. People they might even want to be like???? Can you imagine? How rare and glorious!

I want to say "THANK YOU" to those in my own life who are teaching me to live out my faith just by watching them live out theirs. THANK YOU, my friends, who have given sacrificially but counted it all joy! THANK YOU, to those who are the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are hurting in this world. I'm sure you know who you are as you read this but are far too humble to even think "I'll bet she's talking about me" - ha ha! It is your graciousness in being poured out for the sake of the gospel that makes me want to GIVE MORE, DO MORE and BE MORE...

THANK YOU

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Waiting Child Alert!!!!!

I was recently contacted by a blog reader with a huge heart for special needs adoption. She is advocating for a BEAUTIFUL little 5-year-old boy of Chinese heritage who has cerebral palsy . . .oh, he is one cute little muffin!!!!
His name is Alex and he needs a Mommy and Daddy right away.
Alex can be adopted for a VERY small fee (somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000) and he has a generous monthly stipend and medicaid through the state of New York to help insure he receives good care until adulthood. Alex can be seen in the video below.
If you decide to watch it, hold onto your heart because he is JUST SO tiny and
cute!

Are you the family for Alex?




For information on Alex, please contact
Debra at truelymd@aol.com

Please pray about what the Lord would have you do. And do it. Let the blessings flow!!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Red Skies in the Morning, Sailors Warning

James 4:17
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.


More choppy waters on the home front. And a safe harbor at the end of the day.

Our struggling son has ONE ally in this house. ONE person who he has not injured, lied to or worn out to the point of weariness. Our newest son.
Newest Son is a Godsend for so many reasons. He not only brings extra light, life and cheer to this home but he was perceptive enough to know right away that our struggling son has "issues" and he shared with me that he feels like he can be a good influence on Struggling Brother. He has been. He is.

But last night, Struggling Brother blew it.

(side note)
Our home is structured like most Filipino homes. Our younger children are expected to show respect and obedience toward their older siblings. The older siblings are expected to be kind leaders who put the needs of the younger children before their own. Our younger kids have to call the olders "Kuya" (big brother) or "Ate" (big sister). Is is a family structure that has been in place since our first kids were born and I love the way it plays out. Our kids do NOT hit one another. Our younger children have NEVER said to an older sibling "you're not the boss of me" or "I don't have to listen to YOU! YOU'RE not my father/mother". The olders are, in fact, the "boss of you" and you DO have to listen.
Likewise, we don't see cruelty from your olders to our youngers. It's a structure I would never have known had I not married into it and it's one more reason I'm so HAPPY to be married to my Filipino hubby!Well, that and the incredible food his culture has brought into my life (can somebody pass the pancit, please?).
(end side note)

Struggling Son walks into the room where New Son is playing an NBA video game and says "I want to play". New Son says "I'm in the middle of my game. You can play next". Struggling Son says rudely "I PAID FOR THAT GAME" and proceeds to plug in a controller and pause the game on New Son.
New Son shows great restraint in putting down his controller, saying "here, have it" and leaving the room.
Struggling Son says "sorry, sorry, sorry" over and over as he realizes he's about to get into trouble.
New Son keeps walking, goes to his room to cool off (well done!).

Struggling Son, my great saboteur and self isolator was in need of putting a chasm between himself and New Son, who has been a great friend to him.
It hurt me to see this play out. It hurt me for both boys. I went upstairs to talk to New Son first. He was very understanding. He said "I see how it is with him and I always try to help him but NOW I see why nobody wants to spend time with him."
Sad but insightful. And true. But still mostly sad.

I go into Struggling Son's room next to talk through what he did, why he feels he did it and how he can now fix it. He GREATLY over reacts and ends up telling me that he doesn't want to be close to me. He will be out of the house soon and he's fine if he and I don't have a relationship. I did NOT make this event about he and I. He did. Everything always comes back to me and him in his mind. It's the "mother part" of Reactive Attachment Disorder. I'm paying for the sins of others. I think I always will. I hope not but I think so.

Struggling Son pouts for awhile but, hey', it's "Fun Friday" and we always watch a movie as a family and have popcorn and/or ice cream. Struggling Son comes out to watch the movie but refuses the food. Apparently, he doesn't need anything from US. He sits in a bean bag chair he has slid as far from the rest of us as possible. It's a small house. He can't go far. But he's here. That's progress.

We watch "Tangled" and it ends at about 9pm - still early for a "Fun Friday" so we decide to Netflix "Mars Needs Moms". It's a little dark for kids and pretty odd but we didn't pay extra for it so I eat my havarti and crackers while we watch.
Immediately, the child in the movie gets into trouble and tells his mother he doesn't need her! He tells her he wishes he didn't have a mom! A tear slips down mom's cheek as she gently shuts his bedroom door.

I hear a sniffle that is NOT coming from the television.
Struggling Son is all teary on his bean bag.

By the end of the movie (spoiler here . . . ), the son is clinging to his mother and telling her how much he needs and loves her. He talks about how she tucks him in at night and feeds him. How she vacuums the house and bandages his cuts. How she washes his clothes and cheers at his soccer games . . . gulp. . .

Struggling Son is in the bean bag and is now wrecked. He is trying to sob silently but not all that successful in said endeavor. The occasional wet snort reverbs around the room.

The lights are all off. The room is dark.

I make eye contact with hubby and slightly shake my head. Hubby is NOT to mention what is taking place. None of us do.
We leave this muscular almost 14 year old, sporting his faux hawk, with a little dignity. We wait until he pulls himself together to turn on the light. He makes a bee line for the bathroom where the nose blowing commences.

I go to my room and wait.
I hear him trying to find me and the slightest little "tap tap" on my door.

He comes in and when he sees me, the water works begin again. Apologies. Forgiveness. It's over. Again.

And so goes it with such a tough and yet fragile child.

I do love him so very much. Sometimes the love gets caught up in the circumstances and swept way like debris in a fisherman's net. But then some connection of his ability to hurt with words will float to the surface and it looks like a buoy in the storm. He's GETTING IT! I do believe he's getting it.
And it scares him so much that he lashes out. And our whole family thinks "here we go again" and some of us wish, secretly and not so secretly, that he was just passing through. And the visit was winding down.
But that's not what our Heavenly Father called us to.
We met him in that psyche hospital. We prayed to our sovereign God to show us how far we were required to go and our loving, all-knowing, always-good Father said
"all the way".
Those are facts that can not disputed. Not then. Not now.

We have to keep on keeping on so the name of our Savior is made to count for something in this little household, among our friends, in our church, hopefully even in the blog community.

We want to make a mark.

We just want all of this to matter. For now and for eternity.