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Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Children are Coming, The Children are Coming!

As you prepare for Thanksgiving this week and then, on to Christmas shopping and decorating, let me toss one more item at you that will require some time, prayer and energy . . .


SUMMER HOSTING 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!


It's THAT time again! Christian Adoption Services has received the profiles of the beautiful children, aged 7-14, who will be coming to North/South Carolina this summer in hopes of finding their forever families.

I am looking at their pictures right now!

And . . . WOW . . .  pure sweetness!   There are 2 sibling groups of 2 and there's even a sibling group of 4! The group of 4 is made up of a big sister and her 3 little brothers. The youngest brother is just 7 years old.  . . and they prepare to spend another Christmas among the fatherless.  It makes no sense to me that children this healthy, cute and hopeful do not yet have parents.  (They are 12, 9, 8 and 7).


Let me tell you a bit about the other children . . .

1. Jonalyn is a thin, cute 9-year-old girl. She loves to dance and play with her friends. She is suspected to have some ADHD.  She is not being placed with any siblings. She is very tiny for her age.  In this photo, she is wearing shoes that look to be too big and you can see her "spunk" in her eyes! Adorable!

2. John is 12. He is handsome and outgoing. John loves to  play basketball and garden. He is very polite and friendly.  A side note about John:  he was hosted 2 winters ago by a family that very much wanted to adopt him but could not due to NO FAULT OF JOHN'S . . . the mother in this family is more than happy to communicate with any interested parents about John. She said so many wonderful things to me about John that I wished we would be here this summer so MY family could snatch him up.  He has waited far too long. He's a good boy but I fear he's losing hope . . .

3.The brother/sister sibling duo are Jeffrey- 13 and Jean-9.  And I know looks shouldn't matter in the adoption world (or any world) but reality is reality and these kids are BEAUTIFUL! They  are very small for their ages and had a rough life living under a bridge being passed to various relatives before coming into care. They have suffered loss but still hold out hope that there is a family out there with room for them. They need to stay together and find their healing place in a loving, accepting family.

4. Daniel takes ballet, jazz and hip-hop classes at his orphanage. He is 12 years old quite handsome.
He loves to draw and is good at making friends. Daniel desperately needs Christian parents to guide him through his teen years and help him pursue the things that will help him to become a successful man.  At 12, very few children are chosen. Even fewer boys. Won't you consider taking a leap of faith on a child who is destined to wait and age out simply because of his God-given gender?

5.Raydelle is 13 although he looks much younger. He loves attending church and is listed as athletic and coordinated. He has a smile that lights up the photo I am looking at right now.  He is one of the  many, MANY children I have read up on over the last few years who, on paper, might not catch your eye but if you could just SEE him . . . precious!

6. This next boy is a small, thin 14 year old named Sonny. To be honest, HE is the one we want the most for our own family . . .partially because he looks like "one of us" but even more, because he is  a redemption story waiting to happen. But we are moving to The Philippines and he needs to be chosen long before we will be eligible to adopt again.
 Sonny is the victim of physical abuse by his father and step father (not sexual abuse!) . . . his step father even cut off one of his fingers in anger! Sonny is described by his caregivers as a very helpful and compliant child who is also shy and withdrawn.  Wouldn't YOU be ?? He is good with younger children and talented at playing guitar and drums.  Sonny is one of the waiting children who has watched others be adopted and, I would guess, is beginning to wonder if his turn will come.  And I don't mean to sound like broken record but . . . Sonny is extremely handsome.  I notice that he is getting a longer write-up than the other children and so, I'd better stop now and keep it balanced but PLEASE, SOMEBODY COME FOR SONNY!!!!!!!

7. Next is the sibling group of 4 (Rosalinda, Ramil, Rammel and Ryan). They are cute and well-bonded to one another.  As most Filipino children, they are tiny by US standards. They were voluntarily surrendered by their birth mother she could not care for them financially. But they know what it is to be loved and, no doubt, are missing terribly being in a family home. Not only would you be blessing four gorgeous kids through adoption but their mother as well. I have no doubt that this birthmother unselfishly placed these children in hopes of a great life for them. How humbling that YOU could be the answer to the prayers of a woman living in poverty on the other side of the world.
God's interwoven mercies blow me away!

8. Jerome is a 14 year old boy who was left in a box on the porch of an older couple as a baby. It took many years for him to be cleared for adoption because The Philippines does a thorough job of looking for responsible birth family prior to clearing children for adoption. Jerome likes to play drums in his church band and is considered polite and a good friend to the other children in his center. Jerome is dangerously close to aging out. He is one child I would probably just adopt and not spend time hosting if God led me to him, because he ages out at 16 thanks to US immigration law (and don't get me started on US immigration law . . . grrrrr).

9. Rico and Rex are adorable brothers who are 11 and 7.  They look very much alike - doubly cute!
Rico loves to sing, dance, play with legos, cars and watch cartoons. Rex is an active little boy who likes to work outside in the yard and water the plants. These brothers are firmly bonded and get along with each other well. As I read their files, I was impressed with their test scores. These are bright boys who need a family to challenge them academically and foster that intellect that is there and ready to be cultivated.  These boys are not noted to have any behavior challenges but have agreeable dispositions and are always up for something new.  They are going to be wonderful sons.

And here is something to consider: you don't have to host.  These children are available for immediate adoption. If you choose to adopt, you don't have to be living in NC or SC.  You can contact Jim or Jenica at Christian Adoption Services (www.christianadopt.org) and get the ball rolling. You can get lots more information on any of these children and seek the Lord as to whether or not they are YOURS.  Adoption is hard work. Adoption of older children can be especially challenging but anything worth doing is going to require you pour yourself out and let God use you!



In the adoption community, Filipino children are considered especially desirable and here are a few reasons for that (aside from their natural good looks - to which I am shamelessly partial).
A. Most orphanages in The Philippines have a low staff-to-child ratio and children are well supervised and cared for.
B. The Filipino culture places a high value on children and their orphans are generally loved by their caregivers and treated with the care (and discipline) any family would impart.
C. Adopting a waiting child in The Philippines takes about a year from application to travel - much shorter time frame than most adoptions (we did two of our adoptions in less than a year each).
D.  Travel in and around Manila is not overly difficult. English is widely spoken and Western-style hotels and restaurants make the trip easier than many countries.
E. The Philippines is a Hague Convention country.  You will NOT be bribed or asked for additional money in country. You will NOT travel only to find out your child is no longer available or much more disabled than his paperwork indicated. This is a transparent process, as much as possible.
F. The Filipino caregivers are brutally honest about the shortcomings of your child in his paperwork. Sometimes the write-ups seem a little negative or harsh but for good reason. The Inter Country Adoption Board does not want any potential adoptive parent to claim to have not been adequately informed of a child's needs and "issues".  They want to avoid adoption disruption.  The rate of disrupted adoptions from The Philippines is significantly lower than many countries.

If you have read this far in this lengthy post, I can't help but wonder if God is pulling your heart toward Philippine adoption and/or one of the children coming for Share Your Summer 2013.

Philippine adoption has changed my family for the better . We are so blessed to have entered the adoption world and we are extra lucky that we found The Philippines . . . or maybe The Philippines found us!  Either way, we have fallen in love with the country, the culture and especially the orphans.  I believe you will, too.

Seek His Face! Ask Him what you are to do with what you now know!

For HIS Fame,
Nikki
proud Mama to six angels
two the "old fashioned way"
and four through the miracle of Philippine Adoption




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The "Don't Regrets"

There are choices in my life that I will NEVER regret.

Here are just a few . . .

committing my life to Jesus

marrying outside my own culture/race

quitting my teaching job to stay home with my children full-time

adopting my boys

adopting a child with Down Syndrome

selling our big house and moving into a small one

getting lasix surgery

taking a stand, even though I lost a friend

cutting up the credit cards and living below our means

going to college at Appalachian even though I was accepted at UNC

the  nights I spend reading until 2am, even though I'm exhausted the whole next day

taking up running

giving away our Corgi to a lonely older lady

letting my oldest child get tattoos and piercings - because I love his heart

saying "no" to a bunch of commitments outside this house because my people come first

I encourage you to make your own list of "don't regrets".  When the enemy of our souls tries to accuse you, remind you, of the bad choices you've made in your life - the ones you've been forgiven for, the ones you've tried to forget - take a look at your list of  "don't regrets".   See the hand of God woven throughout your life and how He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).  

Make your list!   You won't regret it!




Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tribute

Today, November 4th, 2012 is Orphan Sunday.     All around the country, churches are promoting adoption and orphan care in one way or another.  Facebook is rife with adoptive families sharing first photos of their adopted children.  Scripture and touching video inundate my "inbox".

I love it!

It draws my mind back to our first adoption in 2005. We had two biological children, a boy and a girl, and had surgically sterilized ourselves to make sure that's all we ever had.
But our BIG God had a BIG plan . . . to shake us right out of our comfort zone and give us the indescribable gift of a beautiful almost-four-year-old little boy with hearing loss and developmental delays. . .

 He has grown into a sweet, thoughtful, AMAZING 11 year old who reads well, is achieving his goals in math and has the kind of servant's heart every parent dreams of!  Ky was the perfect first adoption, as God well knew.  He bonded quickly, drew every family member in with his adorable face and sweet ways and rarely, if ever, misbehaved.  He made us eager to adopt again!

And then came Lemuel . . .
At 8-years-old, Lem was a firecracker of a child! He had the energy of a dozen children and had been through several disrupted adoptions. Lem was wounded and he challenged us at every turn. We can now say, with full confidence, that God has healed our sweet boy and he is proving to be a trustworthy young man with a fierce sense of right and wrong.  He is a star athlete and yet so humble about the gifts he has been given in that department.  Whenever the phrase "it was worth it" comes up in a television show, casual conversation or something I'm reading, my mind goes to our precious Lem.  We waited a long, long time and went through many MANY trials before this child grafted into the family but here he is and yes . . . it was worth the wait!

Four years later, God gave us the blessing of a child with Down Syndrome. . .
This tiny "baby" was 2 1/2 years old when he found his way into our family and along with him, came the most remarkable changes in all of us!  Appreciation for the smallest gains, compassion for those who struggle with developmental disabilities, the kind of protective love for another person that makes you ready to spring into action at the slightest sideways glance . . . we have to temper this in our older children. We have to assure them that not everyone who looks at our Angel Baby in public is thinking something unkind.  But more than what he represents, we love who he IS.  He is shy with strangers, he loves to dance and "sing", he eats with great gusto and he can be as stubborn as any child I've ever met.  Watching him sleep is precious and holding him while he sleeps can still put tears in my eyes.  When we hear "God's ways are higher than our ways", we can agree with complete certainty.  We might not have pursued the adoption of this Angel had not the Lord pricked our hearts so clearly . . . but oh, what we might have missed!  He is as close to perfection as a human can be.
The irony of that statement might be lost on some but if you have a child like ours, you understand completely.

But Our Father was not finished stuffing this family full just yet. . .
Into my hands came the file of an almost 15 year old boy.  And I saw his picture. And I knew he was MINE . . . just as sure as I knew I was living and breathing, I knew this young man was destined for our family . . .
And he came- terrified and uncertain, having been so long in his caring center. Having built relationships that were real and strong with so many who raised him, hating to leave yet needing to move on at the same time.  But this young man had been prayed over. He had been committed to God many times by many Believers. And we have been blown away to have been chosen to step into his life at this juncture and be the ones to say "forever". . . that is a privilege we will never take for granted.  God could have chosen anyone, but He chose US.   Thank you, Father!

And our crew has grown so big and beautiful, I often can't believe they are mine . . .


So as Orphan Sunday draws to a close,  I pray that families around the world are prompted to open their hearts and homes to just one more child, or to give to a family going through the adoption process, or to pray for orphans in every country.

The knowledge that there are children with nobody to call "mommy" or "daddy" lays me low. I choose to focus on all the "found" children today, like my own sons, but I am keenly aware that many remain unclaimed, feel unwanted, feel "less than" and in this broken world, that will always be a bitter truth.   But my prayer for those priceless treasures is that YOU, my readers, my friends, will notice, and care, and pursue them, even to the point of tremendous personal sacrifice.

There is no child too disabled, no land too far and no price tag too high for our Father.
He pays for what He orders. He guides. He equips. He sustains.
Always.
On time.
And sometimes, he even says "keep the change". . .
Won't you ask Him what He wants of you on this Orphan Sunday?

"God places the lonely in families . . ."   Psalm 68:6