Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

Remember that song from Veggie Tales? "A thankful heart is a happy heart" Well that's how I feel this morning...

Posted on FB and just have to share on here too....



Yvonne Mock Clanton

Woke up thinking how very blessed I am! Five great kids, all who have their own unique story (including Steve who we were blessed with after years of trying & he had quite the traumatic birth story himself) My husband pastors a sweet church where the folks are REAL:) He loves his job at the prison where the folks are really REAL LOL. We live in a cute house out in the country, God has provided for all our needs & many of our wants over the years. I get to stay home with my little ones and be there for the older ones after school. We may shop mostly at thrift shops & I may coupon alot but it's a good life:) Wouldn't trade it for anything in the world
And it's been TWO full years since Sam has been in the hospital...we used to have the frequent flyer's pass at Lakeland Regional!!!! god is good And I forgot to add we have great friends who love us and our family! How Blessed we are!!!

Just really thankful for the life God has given me. I'm content with it and just wanted to share with you a reminder to be content where you are at....

I have not always been content in my life, I've strived for things in the past...wanted to change somethings instead of accepting...then I learned to accept things and guess what? Things changed and I changed....

I am NOT saying passively let life roll over you...NO! Work hard do what you need to do BUT have a thankful heart about your life! No matter where you are at...maybe you think your situation is so bad, there is nothing to be thankful for...

Well I've been in some bad situations, life & death situations and there is always something to thank God about! I'm not a Pollyanna...but I can thank God even for the bad times (looking back of course LOL)

But this morning I just have to say thank you Lord! Thank you for working in my heart, not letting life make me bitter...I've had plenty of chances to become bitter and at times did! But when Sam was born & I grasped the significance of the situation, I prayed & called out to God in the hospital and asked him to hold my heart and not let me become bitter because my child was so handicapped and sick. He did his part and I did mine. Everytime I'd start to find bitterness welling up, I'd fall back on Him. And now I can say God blessed my obedience. I didn't know back then that He would lead us to adopt THREE kids, each with a special need! Believe me that was NOT on my radar!!!!!!!!!!!

But God kept our hearts tender & open and now we look at things so differently! God allowed this situation to happen and He still brought glory for it! I don't believe for a minute that God caused Sam's disabilities BUT we live in a fallen world, stuff happens.... He used our love for Sam to grow and we were able to love three more children and bring them into our family! Wow the way God works, I would have never imagined those dark LONELY days in the hospital...But out of the sorrow, He has brought so much more joy than we could have ever imagined!!!!!!!

My heart is full....

So let God into your dark times, He alone can bring light & restoration. Don't let yourself become a victim of your circumstances! Trust God no matter what you are going thru and I KNOW He can bring you joy! I KNOW because I have "been there done that'. My heart was broken and I wept for Sam. for us, for all the dreams we had...now our dreams are different but they are GOOD! And more than anything we have an eternal HOPE that one day, our little guy along with our other three children will be whole! And the pain is gone as we trust in Him!!!!!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Going out on a limb.....so what's new?

This blog is going to be different than my last 6 months or so. I blogged for years before our adoption & adoption is just a part of our life, it doesn't define our family...although we love it! but now back to controversy LOL!

We unconsciously have become a part of a movement...it happened out of necessity for us...

Our kids sit in church with us! GASP! NO children's Church...they actually sit & behave themselves thru Sunday services! GASP!

It started because we didn't have anyone ot do children's church...since pastoring here 6 yrs we've had people come & go. We were never happy with anyone except a young girl from the college nearby. However she became a missionary right after graduation and was gone....We've seen children's church be just a baby sitting service, a place where women could hang out, miss church & gossip. I tried to teach some but it just didn't feel right for me. I'm not a "kid" person except for my kids who I adore.

Jon & I both grew up going to church and sitting thru service. He was Methodist so at times it was extremely boring for him. I, on the other hand, was crazy Pentecostal, so it NEVER was boring to me...I've got some crazy stories!!!! But the bottom line is we learned to sit thru church & somehow we absorbed "something" that got us through as we got older & had to make decisions about our faith on our own. Jon only had to go an hour a week. I went Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night , revival services ( at least 2x a year- and they were really interesting LOLOL) During the summer, I had to go to women's' ministry prayer meeting on Thursday morning...but wonder of wonders, I behaved myself and sat thru.... And for the most part WITHOUT any distractions ( like coloring, books toys etc)

So as we were "evolving" to this new place, we'd talk about how we were raised. Nowadays you hear parents gasp with horror if every service is not covered by a separate place for children to go & leave them alone! But is that really how it was for thousands of years in Christianity? Or Judaism? Of course NOT! It's a new phenomena that has swept our nation since the 70's. when I was a teen, our church started having children's church on Sunday morning.

But you will say, my kids WON"T sit thru church, they'll be a distraction....well I have 5 children now, three of them handicapped & delayed far below their years. they sit thru church! Sam our 8 yr old bio son, has been sitting thru church for almost a year now. He actually will come into church, climb up in his chair and sit, the whole time. How did we accomplish that? We just kept bringing him and sitting him down. We didn't discipline him the times we had to take him out, because we didn't feel he would have understood why he was being disciplined. But we stuck with it and now we have a child, who is probably not even 2 yrs old mentally who will sit thru service. Our new girls both made it thru service last week and the two weeks prior both made it almost to the end of service, one leaving one week and one leaving the other lol. Shad & Steve have sat thru services for years. One of them did get disciplined a few times, but it only took a few times for him to understand what the expectations were!

But you say you don't want a child to associate church with discipline....HOGWASH! You take a child to the store, to a restaurte, to a movie, to school and they are expected to behave and know that there are consequences if they do not...so why should they be allowed to get by with that excuse about church? If they get in trouble at Walmart, does that mean they never want to go there again? Of course not! They just learned a valuable lesson on LIFE and how to act right in public!


I read one mom who wrote "the only way to teach a child to sit thru church, is to have them sit thru church" pretty true huh?

And this extends to teens!!!! I know of churches that keep families divided during all their services, I really do not think that is a good idea at all! And I hate to say it but I think research will show me to be true, when we start looking at the rates of church kids leaving the church when they turn 18 yrs old. wonder why that is such a high number? My opinion is it is because they have not been taught to be a part of the church as a whole, instead of a sub group.

I'm not against Sunday school, the old fashion kind before church service. Jon & I both grew up going to Sunday School, but then we were in the main service with our families. What memories for me now...my family is gone so all I have are memories and I do cherish the times in church. We had "our" pew and spent many years sitting there , hard wooden pew by the way LOL!

I'm not against the youth having a service on another night of the week and doing funny teenage stuff together. Just be sure of the person who is working with the youth that he/she has a vision to build the kingdom of God and not just numbers.
But some of my most intense spiritual experiences happened as a teen in church service...not sure if it would have happened if I'd been in a frivolous teen service, playing some silly game.... In teen youth groups, I have seen a lot of disrespect towards adults. Alot of times, it's been in humor BUT looking back ( now that I have kids) I don't think it's so good to segregate a young impressionable group from their families. Personally I don't want my kids looking to a youth pastor as their shepherd. I think that all teens should learn to look at their pastor as their shepherd.

So there is actually a movement that believes families should all be in church together...I was talking to a friend about how we felt and she told me. Maybe God is restoring the hearts of children to their fathers. Then another friend shared with me that she actually felt some of her older children fell away from God because of being in a youth group. That really got my attention, she is a serious person & if she felt that....maybe it was true.

So if you are reading this and somethinhg just clicks inside your spirit that what I'm saying is true, then start practicing it! The older boys often discuss the service with us after church and ask questions of things they didn't understand, sometimes quite probing questions! So it makes them think beyond a silly little "Veggie Tale" type of service.

Now as a disclaimer, my husband is the pastor so when I say "we" I really mean me LOL and also my kids sit on the FRONT row so if they misbehave everyone sees it!!! for some years Steve our oldest & I would trade off with Sam but that just didn't work so we decided to try and work with him to stay during the service ( he loved the music but when it was done, he was done) and it just started happening.

I believe kids, even handicapped ones, will rise to YOUR level of expectations. I have alot of expectations of my kids to behave themselves and not act like fools! Believe me, nothing bothers me more than a kid who can't behave especially when there is "nothing" wrong with them! We've been out places and seen kids act like complete idiots and the parents do nothing! I can promise you I don't allow ANY of my kids to act like idiots and I guess if I can say that "ANYONE can! And now with FIVE kids , no one can say we just "got lucky" with our kids. We've been told that before, that our kids behave because we just got lucky....hogwash! We have 3 handicapped, 3 kids from different sets of bio parents...and we can go out, we can eat out and not have complete disorder. I don't mean that everything is perfect, and we make allowances for the kids but I can promise you if you see my crew out, you'll see kids who will sit, eat and are happy without having fits ( most of the time) Kids are kids, but parents need to "man up" and be the parents, the leaders of the family without letting the child lead the family!

So I'm interested in hearing from you guys. Write some comments...if you are in our area, and this speaks to you, visit our church ( of course our kids will probably be acting crazy that day LOL) But think about this!

Remember we have ONE chance to raise our kids! and we will stand before God one day. We've not been perfect parents, I've not been a perfect mom & I'll tell my kids that, but I can say with complete confidence that if my kids leave God, go out in the world, they will have to go through Jon & me to get there! We won't make it easy for them! It's not the easiest way to parent, but I do it knowing we will stand before God one day and give an account. Our parenting approach is 'old fashioned" (not exactly Duggar style ok) but very conservative in our approach to everything and we've kept our kid grounded in OUR family. They go to friends' homes but not alot as we invest our lives into them. Even in the simple ways of hanging together and going to the store together. Just being with your kids, builds memories...

We've been careful with the things they watch and never have allowed anything but Christan music in our home. Now we all like some christian rap/hip hop :) But the words are what I'm concerned about NOT the beat. The other day, our oldest son turned to me in the car, put his arm on my shoulder, looked me in the eye and thanked me for us never allowing him to even know non christian music (much less have it in our home!!!) We were waiting for a pizza, listening to the new FLAME CD, to set the mood. I got tears in my eyes....and it meant alot to me!

So hang in there parents, guard you children's hearts in everyway possible. They are never too old to start changing things either....Remember YOU are the parent!!!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

HOME!

Yes we have been home for almost 3 weeks! It's been wonderful. The girls have fit in like they've always lived here. We have had no major issues, they've stayed healthy & seem really happy:) Life has been easy:) but we're still getting used to the logistics of going out with 5 kids, 3 of them handicapped! Other than figuring out the best way to do stuff, it's been great.

I sure have enjoyed buying little girl clothes too! LOL someone hide the debit card, checkbook & cash! I love dressing them in new outfits and keeping them looking good!

Our time in Kiev went good & fast. The plane trip home was uneventful except for the plane skidding on the runway in Frankfurt! The kids did great on the flight!

We got home at 10pm and was at the doctor's at 9am the next morning. All their tests were good, except they are very low on Vit D. But hey we don't live in the SUNSHINE state for nothing LOL

Our ped is sure that Sarah has Peter's Anomaly just like Sam. She reaches for light up toys. She has gained FIVE pounds since she's been home. We just adore her. She is a snuggle bug & will just giggle with happiness. She certainly lives up to her middle name JOY:) She has lots of joy now and we do too. So thankful to have my little girl home. Sometimes I get so sad that we didn't know of her for so many years. I hate that she had to live in an orphanage for over 5 yrs. I wish with all my heart, that we had found out about her years ago. She was so meant to be our child...Her little body that she used to have clenched up so tight, is relaxing. She will lay against me and sigh with contentment...and I do too! I love holding her & she loves being held!

We began thinking that Selah has Downs Syndrome. She was tested for DS but not sure if they tested her for all the different kinds of DS or just the main kind. We will be seeing a genetist. She has been a wonderful surprise for our family! We have no diagnosis for sure but know we are looking at something chromnosal. We adore her too! It doesn't matter to us what she has but it would be great to have a diagnosis so we can better help her learn and adapt

The boys have adjusted well to having two new sisters. Sam thinks it is the greatest thing ever! Thank God we were afraid of how he'd relate to them but there has been no trouble whatsoever. He seems to think that they are his personal toys, he just cracks up listening to them bable or make noises. Its so sweet.

Steve had a great time in Ukraine and it was an eye opening expirence for him..He loves America!!!!!

Shad did good with our friends. We misssed him so much, there seemed to be a part of us missing. It's so good to be home with him.

So life is wonderful, we are blessed. Thank you again to all who gave to their adoption. You have NO idea how much we appreciate your gift! It gave us two wonderful daughters & gave them a family! We are blessed!!!!!!!

ps. tried to post some pics but the weather is messing it up...we are on satillite

Monday, May 7, 2012

Gotcha!!!!!





Saturday was "gotcha day" and it was sweet!!!! I just bawled as I was dressing Sarah! It was so sweet!

Then the director of the orphange, who has become our dear friend, drove us to catch the night train to Kiev. I don't like the train but it had a/c! Selah was so happy and excited she couldn't sleep at all, but she was quiet.

Today we did our embassy appointment and medical, it all went quick. Tomorrow we get their visas and Wednesday morning 5:35 am we leave for the US!!!!! Please pray that travel will be smooth with THREE handicapped kids:) Pray for our safety! I HATE to fly!!!!!!!!!

We love the girls, they seem like they've been with us forever. We;ve had no issues, they are happy and eating and calm despite being taken all over the place:) We are in love with these precious girls! Can't wait to get them home and show them how life is really going to be for them:) Can't wait to be reunited with Shad:) We miss him so much. Can't wait till we are all under one roof and everyone is tucked into bed! SWEET~~~

Sarah has been doing fine with her eating, neither have any unusal tummy issues going on, thank God. Not even a runny nose:) Sarah ate 3 jars of baby food today without gagging!!!! I was afraid she'd need to be taken to the hospital but if she keeps doing good, we'll just see the doctor on Thursday morning.

What a wonderful expirence this has been, long but great! We LOVE Ukraine and Torez (I don't like the food...but hey I need to lose weight anyhow lOL)
Everything has gone smooth for us, we have had a wonderful facilator George and just really couldn't have asked for a better expirence! Thank you Lord!!!!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My day

RUNNING all day & waiting...got the offical adoption decree, got registered for new birth certificates ( took hours) FOUND THE GIRLS THEIR "GOTCHA OUTFIT" ...took kittens to the orphange. Their new mamas are young ladies who are residents there ( they house kids and women with SNs) They are leaders & when we walked into their nice neat room, there was a big old calico cat on a bed:) They were thrilled with the kittens & we were thrilled with them taking them & thankfully to the director that let this happen:) Bet we're the FIRST couple to "give" an orphange kittens in Ukraine history LOL. Gave out our few remaining bibles to some older neighbors & our friend the owner of the internet cafe, pray that their hearts will be touched! This might be the last time we have a chance to post until we get to Kiev. And guess who offered to drive us all the way to Donesk (70 miles)....the orphange director himself in his car!!!!! We were speechless! I was so worried about how hard it would be to come here & know I'm so worried about how hard it will be to leave here....we will certainly leave a part of our hearts here!!!! Just in awe of what God has done...less than 6 months ago a little girl's picture kept me up all night, praying for her....now she is going home with us & our extra blessing is too!!!!! all I can say is listen to God's voice & He will take you places you never dreamed of!!!!!


The above was my FB post today....

All I can say is this has been the biggest unintended (by me- what I mean is it was not on my bucket list lol) adventure of my life AND I get to take two wonderful soviners home with me!!

I just want to tell you listen to God and be open...you have NO idea where · He can take you if you are obeidant! A year ago I could not have imagined any of this... Certainly, 8 years ago I could have never imagined where God would take us after we chose not to become bitter because of our little boy being born blind... Since making that choice & it was a choice, God has taken us all over the world and added three kids to our family! I thank God that He helped me to trust Him all those long nights in the hospital. he helped me to trust when sadness would wash over me like waves. He helped me when I was all alone with a sick baby, no friends in sight...it was hard and lonely but God was faithful and He was preparing my heart. Thank you Lord for being there in our darkest hours! now tht long hard walk has paid off, Sam is doing good, he has some sight after 40 plus surgeries/procedures and we have three more children to love! God knows best and he will order our steps....So no matter where you are right now, God can give you a future and a hope and use your situation to bring glory to HIM!!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

ORPHAN

Exodus 22:22-24

You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.



Deuteronomy 10:18

He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.



Deuteronomy 14:29

The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.



Deuteronomy 16:11

And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is in your town, and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name.



Deuteronomy 16: 14

And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and widow who are in your town.



Deuteronomy 24:17

You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge.



Deuteronomy 24:19-21

When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.



Deuteronomy 26:12-13

When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. You shall say before the Lord your God, “I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.”



Deuteronomy 27:19

“Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.” And all the people shall say, “Amen.”



Job 24:9

Others snatch the orphan from the breast, and against the poor they take a pledge.



Job 29:12

Because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper.







Job 31:16-18

If I have kept the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the orphan has not shared it (but from my youth he grew up with me as with a father, and from infancy I guided her),



Job 31:21-22

If I have lifted up my hand against the orphan, because I saw I had support in the gate, let my shoulder fall from the socket, and my arm be broken off at the elbow.



Psalm 10:14

You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan.



Psalm 10:17-18

O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.



Isaiah 1:17

Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.



Jeremiah 5:28

They are fat, they are sleek, they also excel in deeds of wickedness; They do not plead the cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; and they do not defend the rights of the poor.



Jeremiah 7:5-7

For if you truly amend your ways and your deed, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave your father forever and ever.



Jeremiah 22:3

Thus says the Lord, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”



Hosea 13:3

Assyria will not save us, we will not ride on horses; nor will we say again, “Our god,” to the work of our hands; for in You the orphan finds mercy.



Zechariah 7:10

And do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.



Malachi 3:5

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.



ORPHANS

Job 6:27

You would even cast lots for the orphans and barter over your friend.



Job 22:9

You have sent widows away empty, and the strength of the orphans has been crushed.

Job 24:3

They drive away the donkeys of the orphans; they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.



Psalm 94:6

They slay the widow and the stranger and murder the orphans.



Isaiah 9:17

Therefore the Lord does not take pleasure in their young men, nor does He have pity on their orphans or their widows; for every one of them is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth is speaking foolishness. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out.



Isaiah 10:2

So as to deprive the needy of justice and rob the poor of My people of their rights; so that widows may be their spoil and that they may plunder the orphans.



Jeremiah 49:11

Leave your orphans behind, I will keep the alive; and let your widows trust in Me.



Lamentations 5:3

We have become orphans without a father, Our mothers are like widows.



John 14:18

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.



James 1:27

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.



FATHERLESS

Exodus 22:24

And my anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.



Psalm 68:5

A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation.



Psalm 82:3

Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute.



Psalm 109:9

Let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.



Psalm 109:12

Let there by none to extend loving kindness to him, nor any to be gracious to his fatherless children.



Psalm 146:9

The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked.



Proverbs 23:10-11

Do not move the ancient boundary or go into the fields of the fatherless, for their Redeemer is strong; He will plead their case against you.





Ezekiel 22:7

They have treated father and mother lightly within you. The alien they have oppressed in your midst; the fatherless and the widow they have wronged in you.



ADOPTION

Romans 8:15

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have receive a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”



Romans 8:23

And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan with ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.



Romans 9:4

Who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises



Galatians 4:5

So that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.



Ephesians 1:5

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.



INSTANCES OF ORPHANS IN SCRIPTURE

Lot in Genesis 11:27-28

The Daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 27:1-5

Jotham in Judges 9:16-21

Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9:3

Joash in 2 Kings 11:1-12

Esther in Esther 2:7



INSTANCES OF ADOPTION

Moses “adopted” by Pharaoh’s daughter in Exodus 2:1-10

Job cared for unnamed orphans in Job 31:16-18

Mordecai “adopted” Esther in Esther 2:7

Jesus “adopted” by Joseph in Matthew 1:18-24

Every Christian has been adopted by God through Jesus Christ in Ephesians 1:5


I borrowed this from "Precious In His Sight"

Lots of scripture to think about!!!

Orphans~no excuses

Orphans....what do we do about them? If we are Christians, the bible is FULL of scriptures pertaining to taking care of orphans in both the Old and New Testament.




1.God calls Himself the Father of the fatherless.

· Psalm 68:5, “A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation.”


2.God considers spiritual service the purest when His people are taking care of orphans. (and) A religion that does not care for orphans is no religion at all.

· James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”

3.God’s people are commanded to care for orphans. To see an orphan afflicted, and to turn a deaf ear, is sin, even rebellion.

· Exodus 22:22, “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.”

· Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”

· Isaiah 1:23, “Your rulers are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless.”


4.We can be the hands and love of Christ Himself by providing practical care.

· Deuteronomy 10:18, “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”

· Psalm 10:14, “But You, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.”

· Matthew 18:5, “Whoever receives a child in My name, receives Me.”

· Matthew 25: 45, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these, you did it unto Me.”


5.Orphans are to be taken care of with the same honor and provision as a Pastor or Priest.
· Deuteronomy 14:28-30, “The Levite (priest), because he has not portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.”


6.A portion of all that we possess is sacred and belongs to the orphan.

· Deuteronomy 26:12-14, “You shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.”



So what is our response? For many Christians, the response has been to do nothing....but what will we do when we stand before God on that day of judgement? I never heard a sermon ever about the respondabilty of taking care of the orphan in ALL my years of churchgoing... I had one friend who had adopted a child and I'd read a few articles about the plight of orphans... God help pastors to see beyond their four walls and talk about things that will make people uncomfortable.

Adoption is not easy. Your life is looked into, your parenting abilty questioned. It is expensive, travel is not comfortable, it COSTS, it COSTS alot, no doubt. But what is a human life worth? It is not an easy road. Soemtimes once the child gets home, it is very hard. If you are adopting internationally, chances are your child will have some issues. They maybe older, have been malnurished, may have attachement/bonding issues, physical issues...You probably won't get a nice clean smelling child who is perfect. You'll probably get a dirty smelly snotty child with diaper rashes and tummy issues....but guess what? That child will be perfect to you.

So what should you do? for some, there are reasons ( age, medical history, mental health or past criminal history) that would keep them from adopting....BUT if you don't have a barrier, you should seriously consider adoption. When you stand before God, you won't be able to say "it just wasn't the right time, we didn't have the money"

It's never been the "right " time for us, we've never had the money before we stepped out in faith to do it! If we can adopt ANYONE can! If you are one who has a valid excuse, then give to someone else who is adopting or help raise money for a waiting child to have a grant but if you don't have a valid reason....then do it!

People want to say "you have to be called to adopt" I don't believe that. The bible doesn't tell us to wait for a calling, it commands us to take care of the orphan. Granted I've felt a special connection with Shad and Sarah since the moment I saw their faces in a picture BUT that doesn't mean tht soemone has to have a calling. Selah was our surprise...I didnt' feel really drawn to her picture like I did to Shad's and Sarah's but she is our girl now both legally and in our hearts. It was more of a step of faith to adopt her. At first when we lost Seth, we thougt we'd just adopt Sarah and resisited all efforts of others to get us to pick another child. But we decided on Selah because she needed us. We both had reservations (not at the same time thank God) but we committed and then the love came...and it came in waves for our funny little girl with the unknown diagnosis!

Those scriptures are very weighty and other than my husband, I've nver heard a minister base a sermon on them! Soemthing is wrong there....

Do don't argue with me, argue with God, if you dare. I didn't write the book!

Maybe you are in a situation where your spouse does not want to adopt, all I can say is pray that God will change his/her mind!

Maybe you think you are so poor you have nothing to offer a child. Their are financial guidelines in some adoptions (international) but in some ( like thru the State Foster Care there often is not) But even with international adoption which is my heart, some guidelines can be waived in some special situations. I know we've had soem waived and some friends have also. God can make a way!

And I just have to say personally, I am thankful for the American foster care system. It's not perfect but I know some great foster care parents and there is a safety net that is not there in most every other country. I feel the need to talk about international adoption because there is such a great need and such poverty. I've been honored to go into two orphanges and have seen great need first hand. We do not have the needs in America like there is in international situations. There is no comparison...at all....

If you are interested and would like to contact me, feel free to leave a message. We've adotped from two different countries, one was with an agency , one was independant... God worked so many miracles for us and our children.....He can and will do the same for you!

Just a few more days....



We only have a few more days in our girls' town. Tomorrow is our last "normal" day. Thrusday & Friday we have alot of paperwork (new birth certificates, passports, and we have to go to both of their birth towns) Saturday morning we will go to the orphange for the last time to pickup our girls and say good bye. I KNOW that will be hard. We've been allowed to play with all the other children and get to know the staff (as well as we could communicate) it will be hard to say goodbye. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it.

BUT the anticaption in my heart to be able to take Sarah & Selah out of there and into our family is so high, I can't even let myself think about it too much:) Cause I can't hardly wait to do that!!!

It's been so hot here. We had packed light winter clothes for the girls but even that would be too hot. I'd been looking for some cute things for them but the girls clothing here isn't quite my style to say the least BUT I found some pretty little girlish things today woohoo!! I can't wait to dress them up:)

This trip has been amazing....we have "lived" here. We shopped in the markets, walked the streets, made Ukraine friends, found a church....we haven't been tourists (although I'm sure we stick out lol) In so many ways it will be hard to leave. My heart has been shattered a few times here, seeing the needs....but I love this country. Didn't really expect to feel like this....Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to getting home and FOOD...and Shad, our family & friends and FOOD....our home and having a car instead of riding in a 1960's van with no air....my bed...A/C and ceiling fans....FOOD... but Ukraine will be in my heart in a special way forever. It's been a trip of a lifetime. Jon is kidding mow how he took me to Europe for 6 weeks...he is so funny!

I haven't posted alot since we've been here. The expirence has been so intense, that all I could handle was remarks on FB:) I have so many pictures to post on here also but we use an internet cafe & it just is hard to do everything. Ilove to post the girls picutres on here, FINALLY to have them in my arms, it is such a wonderful feeling!

Everyday, even on the weekend & holidays we see them and we both take turns with both girls. When I hold Sarah on the swing, I tell her how I saw her little face & KNEW she was meant to be my girl! I tell her all about her room, toys, new clothes and ALL the people who are waiting to love on her! With Selah I tell her how God surprised us with her and we talk alot about FOOD:) She likes to eat, she is chubby, short and round, not what you'd expect LOL but so cute:) This month has helped us to get to know them & really understand what their lives have been like for the last few years. Honestly, even tho it's been a LONG trip, I really think it is best for the children to do it like this. (In china, I was taken to the orphange, handed Shad and we left and went to the hotel-we had to get used to each other in a much more invasive way. Here it's been gradual and every week, you could see their trust and love for us grow. The last few days it has been so hard for us to leave them. I am so glad that they just have 3 more full days there and then they'll wake up on Saturday morning and we'll dress them in their new clothes and shoes and we'll be on our way:)

Saturday we will take the afternoon train to Kiev & get there about 11pm. I am so thankful NOT to have to take the overnight train. I can tell you that was pure misery....Next Monday we'll have our embassy appointment and their medicals appt. then we will get their visas on Tues and leave on Wednesday morning! We will probably leave our apartmentat about 3 am, our flight leaves Kiev for Frankfurt Germany at 5:35am! then we fly to Dulles (Washington DC) where the girls will become US citizens!!! Then we'll fly to Tampa, getting there at 8:05pm! We will have traveled for about 24 straight hours...FUN with THREE handicapped kids, 2 who have not been out of their orphange for years...I apologize in advance to all who will share our flights....LOl Anyhow I know we're going to have some folks at the airport to greet us...CAN"T wait to see everyone espicially SHAD!!!! I'll probably start crying :)

I just think of that scene from "The Inn of the 6th Happiness" when the missionary comes hobbling into town with two kids in her arms after going thru many trials....it's very insipring...I can just see it in my mind's eye now:) What a feeling that will be!!!!!!!

Sarah has some major eating issues, even when I'm feeding her. So depending on how she is, we may or may not take her straight to All Children's. I'm afraid after traveling for 24 hours I may end up in jail if we have to go straight there! I get a bit over protective with my kids and medical people. I've never had good expirences there at ACH & don't have the relationships like I do at Lakeland Regional, but I know Lakeland would just send her to ACH anyhow...they dont' run diagnosistic tests on kids there. If her food & drink intake is ok, we may wait and go see our ped on Thursday morning. We'll see...there are pros & cons to both!

Selah is very healthy but has some issues with her legs, she was diagnosised with CP and is stiff. Otherwise besides the usual tests and shots, she should be fine.

So soon we will be home and leaving as a family of 7! Who would have ever thought I'd have 5 kids? Not me that's for sure!!!!!! I can't wait to show them LIFE:)