Bloom…

Each of our three children have come home to us having suffered  trauma.  They each had to and in some ways, still are battling and overcoming the affects of being orphaned and living in an institution.

This post has been on my heart for some time now… As a mama whose heart has broken numerous times  as I see my child suffer from the terrors, neglect, and abuse that has haunted them… I wanted to share this in hopes that it will encourage someone who perhaps is traveling a similar path as our family has.  I understand Read more »

Categories: Adoption Musings, Orphans, Post adoption | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A Prayer Away…

For years we have been praying for our families to become Christians… It’s heartbreaking when you know the truth, and your loved ones do not.  The thought of even one of them spending an eternity in hell is more than one can truly fathom…. yet, why is it easier for me to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with a complete stranger, than with my beloved family?  One thing the devil tries to do to dissuade me is to use my past, my sin, all of the times in life I was deceived, as an instrument against me.  The enemy reminds me that my family knows the good, the bad, and the ugly about me… he tries to convince me that they won’t believe what I tell them…. why should they???  “Look at how many times you messed up!” says the accuser of the brethren.  This is a lie.  My past is part of my testimony that shows the before and after of God in my life.  It glorifies Him and points to the goodness of Jesus Christ.  It is part of God’s story in my life, to be used to help others know Him too.

I have witnessed many times over the years to one of my aunts who is like a mother to me.  Each time I have done it, I have shared the truth of Jesus Christ with her, speaking as if she too was a believer…. that she too knew what I was saying and agreed with me…. all the while knowing that this was not the case, but hoping that one day it would be.  Today we spoke on the phone and once again God opened the door to share His truth.  She was asking questions about death, etc and I knew that after the death of my Aunt, her sister last year, that this was weighing heavily on her heart….  She once again spoke of how scary the unknown is for people.  God gave me His spirit of boldness and gave me the words as I shared about how she doesn’t have to fear death…. that she can KNOW what will happen when she dies.  Once again I shared the Gospel with her….. only this time….. I felt God leading me,  encouraging me, convicting me, and empowering me to lay it on the line.  So, I stepped out in faith,  and asked her if she wanted to pray and ask Jesus Christ to be her Lord and Savior.  To become a Christian and KNOW that when she dies, she will go to heaven.  She said she did not know how to do that….  I told her as I prayed, she could repeat after me… she said she wanted to do that…. So we prayed….   The Aunt that I love so dearly, and have prayed for for so long, confessed to God that she was a sinner, that she was sorry, that she knows Who Jesus is and that He died on the cross for her sins.  She asked Him to be her Lord and Savior and please forgive her.  To wash her clean….  My Aunt  was born again.  Thank You Jesus!

Through tears I told her how thankful I was that she is saved from her sin, and now we both KNOW that she will spend all eternity in Heaven.  I asked her to please forgive me for all the years I have not found the courage to ask her if she wanted to receive Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.  Of course she said there was nothing to forgive.  I told her I was always so afraid she would say no, that I did not dare ask….

I have often wondered what my family must think when they know I am out there telling people about Jesus, yet do not share with some of them very much about Him.    I pray God gives each of us the courage to share His truth with our loved ones….  and then ask them if they want to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Their salvation is only a prayer away…

Romans 10:13-15

For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?  And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

God has called you to share the Gospel…

that they may know Him,

 

 

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His Beloved

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

How wonderful…  God loves you more than you can begin to imagine.  He rejoices over you with gladness.  He calms you with His love.  He rejoices over you with singing!  God delights in you!  When He looks upon you, he does not see all of your mistakes, all of your failures…. all of your sin… He does not see how you were grumpy today and lost your cool.  He looks upon you and He sees His beloved child… forgiven, washed by the blood of Jesus Christ.  He sees you as He created you to be… holy, set apart unto Him.  The Lord looks up0n you and it makes Him rejoice!  So much that He sings because of you!

The next time the enemy tries to oppress you by bringing to mind how many times you have blown it… how many times you have missed the mark…. remember that if you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then God forgives you when you repent, He wraps you in Jesus Christ’s robes of righteousness… He looks upon us through His agape love that overflows with grace and mercy…. that He calls you friend… that He knows the number of hairs on your head…. that you make Him break into song…. that He rejoices over you…. that you are His beloved…

 

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We would like to share the stories of some of our grant recipients.  Enjoy and be encouraged as you hear their stories.

 

We currently live in Port-Au-Prince Haiti, but we call Scottsville, KY home. We hope by the time you are reading this that we are home with Daphnica our 7 year old Haitian  princess.   

Ever since before we got married, over 19 years ago, we have considered adopting the way we would like to become parents. When we went on a mission trip to China, we decided we would adopt because there were too many children without families. Everyone said we would change our minds, but we never did. I have dreamed about what my daughter would be like. After the earthquake, I felt called to go to Haiti on a mission trip. I fell in love with Daphnica. The last day I was there I remember holding the little one asleep in my arms and praying, “God if you can make a way, please let her be mine.” Sometimes it is difficult for me to think that seven years ago I had a daughter born. I feel so blessed that I will be her Mom, and I can’t wait until the day that we come home.  We have been on mission trips to China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, & finally to Haiti after the earthquake. Out of all the places we have been, Haiti has made the most profound impact on our hearts, & lives. 

We started the Haitian adoption process almost two years ago.  It has been one of the most difficult and blessed journeys of our life.  Some days I wonder how we got so blessed to get the child we did.   We have lived in Haiti with Daphnica for the past 6 months. We had to move here for her health as she stopped eating and was less than 30 lbs (at nearly seven) when we moved here. In the past two years I have cried, laughed, prayed, felt like God was no where to be found. This is been my desert season.  In the end I have had to learn lots of patience and God does things all things well and I his timing. To him be glory forever. I could have never made it through this time with out faith and trust in God. We had  wonderful support from our family, friends, all the wonderful staff our adoption agency All Blessings International.  Even with this wonderful support there came a point where we felt like giving up. God sent Katelyn's Fund to us as a sign to press on and that he was still with us. 

The Katelyn's Fund grant came at the perfect time in our adoption process. We will be using our grant money to pay for refingerprinting, Visa, and tickets home. More that the money we received we were most thankful and blessed by the prayers, love, and support they have given us. We had the pleasure to meet some of the board members in Haiti. That meeting meant everything to us. Thank you for that. 

Love to all and blessings. 

Please feel free to check out our adoption blog   http://myhaitiangirl.blogspot.com/

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Testimony Tuesday

We would like to share the stories of some of our grant recipients.  Enjoy and be encouraged as you hear their stories.

It was Christmas Eve 2010. Along with the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday, we were also busy trying urgently to finish our adoption agency application, and get it in the mail.  After 2 years of contemplating adoption, we were so excited to finally get the process going.  After a few months of finishing paperwork and home study visits, we became a waiting family.  

6 days later, we got the call that changed our lives forever. We had been chosen by a birth mom. She wanted to meet us, and she was due in 10 weeks. It became very clear to us then, that this was why God had laid such urgency on our hearts to turn in our paperwork, and get everything finished.  With only days to spare, we had become a waiting family, and our daughter’s birth mom had started to look for a family to adopt her child.

On June 1, 2011, Larkin LeNeta was born, and placed directly into our arms. We had the absolute privilege of getting to know her birth family, and creating an amazing bond with them. We were there when our daughter was born, and spent her first minutes, hours, and days with her and her birth mom at the hospital.  

We look at Larkin every day, and are simply amazed that God would entrust her to us. Although this adoption process had its ups and downs, it has blessed our lives beyond our wildest dreams. Part of that blessing has come from Katelyn’s Fund, both financially and relationally. We have learned to so much from the support group meetings, both learning about adoption related issues, and making relationships with other adoptive families.  The supportive community of prayer partners from Katelyn’s Fund, and people who love adoption has been such a blessing in our lives. 

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Testimony Tuesday

We would like to share the stories of some of our grant recipients.  Enjoy and be encouraged as you hear their stories.

 

Our adoption journey began when Jeanine was just a teenager. She listened to Dr. Dobson on a radio program as he interviewed women who had recently returned from China with their children. The stories that were told on that program made an impact on Jeanine. She was changed after hearing of the conditions of the orphanages. The orphanages were also severely short-staffed, which affected the care given to the children there. Jeanine knew in her heart that the Lord allowed her to hear that specific program for a reason that is now being revealed. 

 We were married in December of 1995 and we both knew we wanted a larger family. We both shared Jeanine's desire to adopt from China but we were young. When we married, Jeanine was 19 and Jeremy was 21. Three years later, we welcomed our first child into the world. He was perfect! Then two years later, we welcomed our second son into our family. We were a busy young family. When Micah was only 16 months old, our daughter was born. She was not so perfect. Rebecca was born six week premature with under-developed lungs. She required immediate care to breathe using a ventilator. She is a fighter and came home just 8 days after her devastating delivery. She has been a healthy child ever since. Then when Rebecca was 17 months old our youngest son was born. Unfortunately, he was born with spina bifida and a tethered spinal cord.  

As our world drastically changed, Ben's health seemed to deteriorate. He has had RSV and pneumonia. This has left him with terrible asthma. He has had several surgeries in his short little life. He walked when others doubted he would. If you didn't know his history, you would never know there was a problem. He has since had multiple health problems requiring six specialists in three different hospitals. 

 Today, Ben is an eight year old boy that is full of more energy than all of us put together. He has overcome many obstacles. Yet he has many more to come. He is our special needs miracle.  

In December of 2010, we knew that the Lord was working in both of our hearts. We decided to submit the matter to prayer.  As we would talk about it, it was clear that the Lord was leading us back to our hearts' desire from when we first married…….to adopt a little girl from China.  We officially began the process of March of 2011.  We knew without a doubt that the Lord was leading us to China for a daughter. As Jeanine continued home schooling our children, the missionary biographies that the curriculum called for were those of George Mueller, Amy Charmichael, and Gladys Aylward. All of these missionaries gave their life's work to children in orphanages. God had his hand in the smallest of things. Our devotions also seemed to be screaming to us that we were to continue to move forward. 

To be completely honest, the one thing holding us back was finances. We were fully aware that adoptions are very costly. The legal fees and agency fees easily top $30,000. We do not have that kind of money, and not many people do.  We had a decision to make. Either we wait until we had the money or put it in God's hands. We both knew how the Lord was dealing with our hearts and we decided to move forward with our adoption. 

An adoption friend and mentor encouraged us to apply to Katelyn's Fund for a grant. We filled out the application and mailed everything in to the board. Our phone call came in November when we were struggling with agency fees and Christmas for our four kids here at home. They spoke with us at length on the phone. It was one of the most heart-felt conversations we have ever had with anyone. We both could feel the Holy Spirit comforting us as we shared our testimonies. They closed the conversation with a powerful prayer.  

About a month later Katelyn's fund called again and gave us the news that we were awarded a grant from them for $3000. That came just in time for the agency fees that were due. God is so perfect in His timing! 

Two days before Christmas we received a phone call from our agency. We had a referral of a little girl who had just turned a year old. We reviewed her file and submitted our Letter of Intent to China. We were granted approval to begin the paperwork process for Chang LuPing's adoption into our family. 

We are likely traveling to China in June and will meet our daughter for the first time. Mariah is our daughter! She was intended to be ours from the beginning of time. Without the help of Katelyn's fund, we do not know where we would be. We intended on using a home equity loan, or Jeremy's retirement money to help fund our adoption. We will be able to complete this adoption without incurring any additional debt. Thank you so much, Katelyn's Fund, most of all for your prayers for our family as we walk through these waters of our journey to adopt. It was a blessing to us to be able to speak with you and get to understand your heart for God's children, especially the orphans. Secondly, thank you for the generous grant awarded to our family. We know that words cannot possibly convey how we feel. God bless you and you continue to carry out His work. 

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Change of Seasons

Well, it’s here.  Autumn has come.

Ok, well maybe not OFFICIALLY.  But the sounds of school, football, garage sales, combines and falling leaves supersede what the calendar actually says.

Change.

Some look forward to this change.  For others, this change is hard.  But change keeps happening. Seasons keep changing. 

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”  Genesis 8:21-22

As someone missing summertime…whose kids are off and running and Momma’s trying to keep track of their schedules…whose husband is about ready to start harvesting corn…

It’s comforting to know Who’s in control.  Starting today, I’m going to savor this season.

For the next is around the corner!

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The Value of Tears

You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book? Psalm 56:8

 

Put my tears in Your bottle…  Isn't that a sweet picture of the Father's love for you?  There has never been a single tear drip down your cheek that God has not noticed.  When your pain is too deep for words, so deep that it pours from your eyes, God takes account.  When your prayers are the prayers of anguish, God goes into the depths with you. 

Do you remember when Jesus came to the home of Mary and Martha after Lazarus died?  Mary ran out to meet Jesus, and do you remember what deeply moved Jesus' spirit?  He knew that Lazarus was going to be fine as soon as he said his name; but still something moved Jesus deeply…the sight of Mary's tears. Mary's tears moved Jesus to tears.  You know, his Father put those in a bottle too and held them close.

All of the tears you have cried for children that are homeless and without a family tonight, all of the tears that those children have cried while scared and alone, all of the tears that your child and my child have cried as they wait to feel safe and secure in our arms…God is holding those.  Dear One, He is holding those and they are moving his heart.

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Testimony Tuesday

We would like to share the stories of some of our grant recipients.  Enjoy and be encouraged as you hear their stories.

 

Before we were even married the topic of adoption came up.  We very quickly came to the realization that adoption was something we were both open to, but were unsure how and when God may ask us to pursue it. 

God continually guides and prepares us through all of life’s experiences.  He placed us at the same college after growing up almost two thousand miles apart.  He called Peter into youth ministry after working in the business world.  He opened our hearts to many children through our work at school and church and gave us a passion to serve them.  He prepared us to be open to the many wonderful opportunities of adoption. 

Over time and reflecting on all the interventions and guidance God has had in our lives, we began the process of domestic infant adoption in 2009.  On February 2, 2010 we were blessed by a wonderful young girl, Brielle, who came into our family just before her first birthday.  God had once again intervened and created a family the way he intended.  Over a year later, after many unexpected legal fees and extra paperwork, we were able to officially welcome Brielle into our family. 

The support of Katelyn’s Fund blessed us as we completed the adoption process.  Both expected and unexpected fees can be overwhelming, but God provides.  We are thankful to Katelyn’s Fund for their support of adoption (in more than just the finances) and for continuing to provide numerous resources for adoptive families.  We are humbled by their willingness to step out and be a part of the community that is needed to help raise our children in God’s love and pray that you would consider being a part of that community as well.

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the poor widow

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury..  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  "I tell you the truth, he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."-Luke 21:1,2.

The song "Empty Me" comes to mind when I think about this woman giving her 2 copper coins.  It was all she had.  Maybe it was what she was saving for something wonderful, or worldly, or frivolous.,  More likely, when she put it in the treasury, she left there not knowing how she would eat or live.  Jesus noticed.  He also noticed the rich folks donations.  It doesn't say he didn't approve of the wealthy people giving gifts to the treasury.  I'm sure He was glad they did, so that there could be a treasury.  He wants those who have, to share….and he also wants those who barely have, to share…..and I think, maybe, he desires that we "have not" sometimes.  He didn't step in and tell the poor widow to keep her coins.  He didn't present her with a husband, so that she wouldn't be a widow.  He watched her put everything she had in the treasury.

In some seasons of life, I have felt like the very rich and when I gave generously, it felt good.  I also know God was pleased.  In other seasons, I had just enough….and when I gave, it hurt a bit.  Jesus saw that too, and provided not just what I needed, but amazing wisdom and understanding and blessing in it.  I trust Him.  I trust Him to take what he needs from me to  cleanse me, to refine me, to allow me to be a vessel for His love, poured out for someone else.  I also choose to trust Him when He asks me for my last 2 coins.  He wouldn't ask if He didn't have a plan.  Even if I don't have a plan, I have a Lord who does.  I'll give my last 2 coins because part of me….the heart and soul part, not the mind part, desires to be emptied out.  I want to know that bottom of my self, of my plans, of my provision.  I want to scrape the bottom of it all to know that there is nothing left.  Empty me. 

Much like the fridge….it feels good to use up all the stuff in it.  If you get to the way back of the shelves and bottom of the drawers, there is a surface that needs some attention, some scrubbing, some serious cleaning.  Isn't a clean fridge wonderful?  It can only be enjoy when it is empty.  Soon enough, a trip to the grocery store is required, and it fills up again, and we eat and drink and feast and understand how much we have, with full bellies and happy conversations around the table. 

For me, in my heart and in my soul, but also in my "coin purse"….it's time to empty out.  I know Jesus is watching, even if I'm not technically a poor widow.  In ways, I can relate to her so maybe others can as well. 

Lord Jesus, allow me to have the courage and faith that the poor widow did that day as everyone gave their gifts to the temple treasury.  Allow me just a glimps of the temple treasury you are leading me to, Lord, so that I can see where my coins are going.  Empty me, God, of all that causes me to pause and not move forward.  Empty me so that you can fill me up again.  Amen.

 

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