Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Next to Godliness ;)

One of the major things on our agenda besides paperwork as we prepare for adoption is picking up our house. If you know me in Real Life, you are probably aware that this is not our family's strongest points. "Stuff" accumulates on our shelves, on our tables, and you have never even seen the computer room. So/Because that's where we just throw piles of stuff when company's coming.

We have been (slowly) working on this. There was the night I found every empty cardboard box in our house and broke them all down. Probably 40 of them. There was the day our friends watched our kids for the morning so we could work on the aforementioned computer room (so. much. better. now.) There was the day we took 4 totes, 4 boxes, and 2 bags of toys up to the attic. I've worked out a plan for rotating them. There was the first day I rotated the toys, which also resulted in cleaning a couch and organizing the kids' books in the computer room (the ones that aren't out). There was the day I cleaned under the couches. And there are still many days and many little things ahead of us... but we are working on it. Putting stuff away. Donating stuff. Cleaning stuff.

If you are reading this and have advice on these:
hard water stains in tub
getting that last bit of dirt off hard floors when you sweep
robotic vacuums
vacuuming carpets in households with long-haired persons
teaching one-year-olds to clean up after themselves
I would love to hear from you in the comments!

My adoption blog has a post about why to advocate for specific orphans, if you are interested.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Lord of this world is hard at work...

As I have mentioned before, there is a lot of need in this world.

Children are dying. Some are dying due to neglect because they do not have a mommy and daddy, some are dying because their mommy doesn't want them, and some are dying because our medical science simply cannot save them. People are hurting and need our help.

Satan is at work in our world. There can be no doubt that those who give in to the evil side of human nature are serving him. But Jesus is also at work in this world. With miracles? With signs and wonders? Not precisely. Like all of us, Jesus uses His hands and feet to do the work... but we are His hands and feet. We are called to do His work in our world. You don't need to worry that you aren't doing everything. You can't do everything. That's why Jesus' body has so many parts. But if you are doing nothing... are you sure you're part of this body?

I want to share 3 stories I have heard today about people who need help. If you had time to read this, you have time to pray for them. There's no reason not to do that much. And then I'm going to share 3 stories about how Jesus (in the form of His servants) is at work in the world, because we all need some good news too. But you will have to get through the hard stuff to read the good stuff.

Caleb is an unborn baby boy. He's due to be born in less than a month. And he has been given less than a 50% chance of survival. Caleb has a diaphragmatic hernia that will require surgery as soon as he is born. He may also have a heart defect.

What you can do:
You can pray.

Joshua is a young man with spina bifida and a host of other diagnoses. He has 8 siblings and a very hard-working mommy and daddy. He has just been placed on hospice care. Spina bifida is not fatal, but because of the other issues Joshua faces, including cancer and genetic differences, he does not have long to live. He is five years old.

What you can do:
Joshua's daddy is a great provider who has been working 60-hour weeks to make sure his son (and other children) have excellent medical care. At this point, though, he needs to be home with his family, spending precious time with his little boy and his grieving family. But he has no more vacation or sick time. Joshua's mother is seeking donations to help her husband take some time off to be at home with them.
UPDATE: You can read about and donate to the Parker family here.

Dakota (not his real name) is an orphan in Eastern Europe. He is 8 years old. I don't think I even understand what his special needs are, but because of them he lives in a mental institution. On the Reece's Rainbow board, someone posted pictures of Dakota from an organization called His Kids Too. I don't know for sure whether this was taken before or after his RR profile picture, but no child belongs in an underfunded, understaffed mental institution. We--the body of Christ--need to help these kids, who are images of their Father in heaven.

What you can do:
You could commit to adopt Dakota. You could not officially commit before completing a home study, but if you start NOW, Dakota will not have to spend another year in the facility he is in now.
You can donate to Reece's Rainbow. Younger children--who might already be in an institution like Dakota's, and will definitely end up in one if they are not adopted--have specific grant funds. You can donate to an adoptable child (like 5-year-old Oleg, who has Down Syndrome), and their grant will help them get adopted. You can donate to a family in the process of adopting, like the Warner family. Because older boys are rarely adopted, you can't specifically donate to Dakota (until a family commits to him), but you can donate to a fund for older boys with special needs, and the next boy 6 or older with special needs will have that money toward his adoption when his parents come for him. You could also donate towards Reece's Rainbow's administrative costs.
Or, you could donate to organizations that are making a difference in the lives of children in Dakota's country, like His Kids Too, Life 2 Orphans, or Project TLC.

Now for 3 more positive stories:
My friend Jodi is adopting a beautiful little boy named Niko (Kody on RR). Niko has a craniofacial difference and lives in Eastern Europe, in a different country from Dakota and my little girl. But soon he's going to live in Pennsylvania! Every day families are stepping out and committing to supply the needs of the least of these.

Here in the US we are making legislative inroads to prevent children from being killed by their families. The latest in a long line of pro-life bills making sure that women know what abortion is, stopping federal funding for organizations that kill babies, and criminalizing doctors who kill viable children is a bill from Ohio, signed yesterday. It would prevent doctors from killing children deemed viable, and the governor estimates it will save 700 lives a year. We can't rest until every person's rights are upheld from fertilization to natural death--but we are making great strides toward protecting at least some children.

Elizabeth Anikuzhikattil, a mother of 15 children, passed away last week at the age of 94. Eleven of her children are serving the Church as priests, nuns, and a bishop. She goes to join her husband, who died in 2006. No doubt she and her husband were extraordinary parents, as they raised 11 children willing to give their whole lives to the service of Christ.

What will you do to make more happy stories and less horrible ones?

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Proceeding with the adoption

We are proceeding with our adoption! We resubmitted our application, I presume with all the necessary information this time....

My other blog is probably going to be where I put most of the information on our adoption process... as well as pictures of other adoptable kids who have touched my heart when there's no adoption progress. This blog still kind of doesn't know what it's for :)

Hannah very much wants a big sister. She wants us to be the family of the little girl we are going to adopt. I have been careful to say that we hope this girl will be in our family, not that she will be... we have already had the experience where we thought we would adopt a little boy, and it turned out another family in-country adopted him. I have reminded Hannah about this and told her that the little girl is not her sister yet, we just hope she will be. I am hoping everything works out though!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New beginnings...

I am setting up a separate adoption blog to chronicle our family's journey as we pursue the adoption of a little girl I have fallen in love with.

Our adoption will be a private, facilitated adoption from Eastern Europe. There is a little girl there that we want to bring home, but with this country, there are no for-sure guarantees until we go back for a second trip for court--even after we are referred to her.

We are hoping to submit our application very soon, and then we can begin our home study.