Monday, November 30, 2020

Giving Tuesday 2020 - A Wish for this Child-Headed Household



This "Child-Headed Household" in Uganda is held together by two teenage sisters looking after their younger siblings. Their mother is deceased and their father abandoned them. Well, those smiles are there because of your help, and this precious family is now the focus of our #GivingTuesday mission!
Maria and Olivia - 15-year-old twins - have been raising their five younger siblings on their own since February. The younger children are Fiona - 13, Charlotte - 9, Stella - 7, George - 5 and baby Leo - 11 months. Since they've been living alone, all of the children dropped out of school, one was trafficked (she's just been located and reunited with her siblings), and the seven and five year old have been threatened with kidnapping. The youngest was placed in an orphanage three months ago, after being treated for severe malnutrition, and the orphanage has agreed to resettle baby Leo, back with his family in two months! Because of our donors recent support, our partner organization has reunited Fiona (the sister who was trafficked) with her siblings, hired a live-in caregiver to keep the kids together, provided new bedding, clothing, food, and essentials, and installed steel doors and windows to keep the children temporarily safe.

After a full evaluation, it's been determined that their house is - tragically - not repairable. Not only that, but we'll need to provide for a plot of land for them to build upon. Because of the outpouring of support from our initial plea for this family, along with support through our Facebook Holiday shop, we've already raised $4,000 for this project, which means that we only need to raise $6,500 to make this happen!
Will you join us in giving these children new HOPE on Giving Tuesday? Your involvement is critical to our success in funding this new house for these children. Thank you!
Cost breakdown: House: $4,998, Kitchen: $405, Latrine: $473, Tippy Tap: $27, Rain Water Harvesting: $540, Solar Power: $270, Plot of land: $4,000



Sunday, October 4, 2020

Say Yes Spotlight - The Peters family


The Peters family recently adopted PRECIOUS baby Silas domestically as a newborn with Down syndrome and intestinal issues. Silas is going through a lot of testing right now, and seeing specialists almost daily, with the hope his intestines can be fully repaired. Thankfully, he is off of a feeding tube and they are planning for surgery in November. The Peters are praising God that the two heart defects Silas was born with have already healed! 🙌 They say Silas is such a joy to have in the house, and and he is doing absolutely fantastic in his new family! 
Scott and Jessica met in high school and have been married for seventeen years. They have five biological children and they are all excited about having baby Silas in their family. Jessica enjoys homeschooling their children, and Scott’s employer is allowing him to use his parental leave for Silas's upcoming surgeries. Jessica takes the book of James to heart and wants to work for Jesus. She shares, “Part of that work is to care for widows and orphans in their distress. It has been our honor to help widows in their struggle through their new lives without their husbands. God is showing us how to care for them. My next goal is to step into a child’s life before she/he could become an orphan and make them part of our family.” Scott continues, “God has given my wife Jessica a tremendous love for children. He laid it on her heart to seek out someone who did not have a mother and father to care for them. I soon caught the vision that she had and have a strong desire to see someone snatched from a life of uncertainty and neglect to a life of stability and care. We are commanded in scripture to take care of orphans and widows and I cannot think of a better way to do it then seeking out a child in need of adoption.” 
We ask for your prayers for baby Silas to adjust well in his family and for supernatural guidance as they navigate through his medical needs. The Peters brought Silas home with the help of our "Say Yes" Downright Lovable grant - and this one was made possible through royalties of the book
Extraordinary Adoption, so thank you for being a part of bringing him home! Who knew that buying a book could help make such extraordinary things happen?!? 💙🙌💛

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Stories of YES #56


She's a friend. She's a fierce mama. And she's also an adoptee.

Dani was adopted internationally from Colombia at almost seven years of age. She was adopted into a wonderful and loving forever family, and though she - admittedly - lets the unhappy childhood parts get in the way sometimes, she says, "I live in gratitude everyday for the life I have today. I recognize, as an adoptee, that I have these blessings because I was adopted. Most importantly, I've learned to treasure my own children how I wish I had been. They are blessings from God given to us as gifts to be treasured."

On a personal note, I'll never forget when our son, in second grade, entered into a new program - and a new class - at school. The entire class had been together for a couple of years, with the exception of our son who was having trouble adjusting and being accepted. Dani read my Facebook post, written from the distraught heart of a mother, and she quickly took the charge to change things for him. After all, she knew how desperately a child can long to be accepted at that age, and our son - like her - had been adopted. Dani invited our son to play with hers. Not once - but again, and again, and again. It took a few months for these boys of a similar nature to come out of their shells, but once they did it was golden. And then, she didn't hesitate - nor did the boys - to bring our other (adopted) son into the mix. Three years later, they're musketeers and we're so thankful for their sweet friendship. She feeds their bellies and their souls. She has house rules but she allows them to be kids. Dani's an open book, and the message on her shirt resonates so deeply within her heart. Our family is grateful for her beautiful open heart.

We recognize and acknowledge that adoption is born from loss and not all adoption stories are "rainbows and unicorns" but we always praise the Lord for the happily ever after..." 
- Lisa Murphy, Open Hearts for Orphans

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Stories of YES #55 - Perspective on older child adoption: Feeling Family


A couple of weeks ago we were talking about older child adoption with some friends who are currently in process for an older boy. Andrew knows them, and we were asking him if he ever got out of the orphanage when he lived in China, what did he think of the “outside world”? I recalled how he told me he once went to a wedding with one of his nannies (he was a favorite for obvious reasons ) I said, “Yeah, wasn’t it her daughter’s wedding or something?” He said he didn’t know whose wedding it was but he remembers going to one. And then he said something that made us all stop and we had to process what his words meant.
He said, “I didn’t even know what that meant...‘daughter’ or ‘son.’ I didn’t even know that existed. I thought we were all just human.”
This is my 14 year old son recalling what his 10-year-old self thought about family. To be clear… he didn’t know what family even was. Can you imagine? He realizes now, in hindsight, he didn’t know what the concept of ‘family’ meant. It’s hard for us to even comprehend that for the same reason it was hard for him to understand what it meant to be a son. When all you’ve ever known is living in an institution with caregivers who come and go, it isn’t something that crosses your mind.
Growing up in an orphanage is not how children should be raised. But for some children, it’s just all they know… until they FEEL what family is, they don’t understand what they are missing. It’s maybe one of the saddest paradoxes in our world today. They are living day to day, in a constantly changing, ever uncertain environment, and they make the best of it because they are kids and it’s all they know. But WE know better. And so we can do better, for them.
Family isn’t blood, it isn’t a name, it isn’t proximity... it’s unconditional, never gonna give-up, you before me kinda love. It isn’t always pretty, it’s far from perfect, and it will test you over and over again, but family is for everyone… and everyone deserves family.

-Alison Dewberry Dri

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Stories of Yes #54 - I didn't sign up for this



I grew up in a Christian home. I was baptized in Jr. High after many wonderful summers of Church camp. Maybe my end mindset had changed, but that didn’t change all my actions on a daily basis. Actually, I became quite wild in high school and ended up having my beautiful daughter at the young age of twenty, ending my college career and my childhood. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets ending those things for my beautiful girl. I truly believe because of her, I am alive and where I am today.

But I didn’t sign up for this.
Or at least I didn’t know that when I truly fully gave my life over - that it meant my heart would completely shatter for what breaks His. Especially shattered after every orphaned face I saw. And that's when I said yes to loving children, not just once - but multiple times - that were not born from my own blood, and that I would love unconditionally - as if they did.
I did not sign up for this though.
You see, when I gave my life over fully, which some days, (actually MANY days), I still struggle with, I didn’t sign up for the "easy." I didn’t sign up for everything to go MY way - I signed up for His. I signed up for what He needed me to do, FOR WHO He needed me to do for. I didn’t know that I signed up for the hard, for the unimaginable or incomprehensible. For the life that doesn’t make sense to the average person and is many times mocked for that kind of radical mindset.
But I also didn’t sign up for this.
For this life that has come so inconceivably easy. So easy to love, to navigate, to work as a team - I didn’t sign up for it. But I am so grateful I said yes to it. Our days are not always easy, I won’t pretend that they are, but they are worth it, every second. And if there are 2.4 BILLION Christians in this world, I pray that they start letting God break through their hearts, because you will learn, and LOVE, the life that you didn’t sign up for.
And then maybe the Church could start making a dent in our worldwide orphan crisis." - Jocelyn Piper


Friday, August 28, 2020

A Movement to Love Them All

It sounds easy, doesn't it? I mean, who doesn't agree that we should "love them all?" But, are we willing to fight for them all? Are we willing to look past race, religion, skin color, geography, illness, and meet basic needs where they're at? Are we willing to embrace the truth that ALL orphaned and abandoned children in the world are worthy and deserving of love and families - no matter what color their skin is, no matter where they were born? 
Sometimes, "loving them all" is about more than geography...sometimes it's about a journey that few will understand - a faith-driven mission to adopt and care for God's precious children with special needs - those who are medically-fragile or live with disabilities. Despite an uncertain diagnosis; despite how long these children will be granted on earth, despite the hardships these parents know they'll likely face - those who "love them all" see a different finish line. They see with a different set of eyes than the rest of the world, and they race against time to love these children - reaching far beyond earthly comfort zones. And, in doing so, they receive the most unexpected blessings. "Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Sometimes "loving them all" means meeting them in their darkest hours and being the warmest beam of light they've ever felt in their lives. Some of them malnourished or starving, some of them in critical condition and in desperate need of medical intervention, some of them rescued from a tragic situation such as abuse or human trafficking.

Sometimes we have the privilege of caring for orphaned or abandoned children face to face, when we can speak our love into their very souls. And sometimes it comes not from our own hands directly, but - rather - through the loving actions of others, and it's through our financial provision. As the world turns, will we be the ones to make a difference?

Sometimes "Loving Them All" means acknowledging the plight of child trafficking as it pertains to orphaned and abandoned children. Not surprisingly, orphaned children are among the most at-risk population to be preyed upon. The possibilities for abuse are frightening. Children are sold as cheap labor. Some may end up in the dark world of prostitution, their innocence torn from them.There are even stories of traffickers harvesting human organs for sale on the black market. Children…like yours and mine.

Children in orphanages can be easy targets for traffickers. They are especially vulnerable due to the lack of stable parental figures. The schedules and isolation of orphanages makes it easy to coerce children to leave and find ways to exploit them. Even when orphaned children age out of an institution, vulnerability continues as some of these evil humans will sit and wait for those who children to leave.

Trafficking is a documented global problem that defies borders. This evil does not discriminate in age, race, or skin color. What we can express with confidence is that God designed the family as the best environment for children. Safe, permanent, loving family must be our goal whenever possible. And when it isn’t, we must find solutions that are as close to that as possible, such as foster care. When a child experiences the protection and love of at least one consistent, caring adult relationship, evildoers are far less likely to pursue them. and if we care about human trafficking, we must care for orphaned children and foster youth wherever the need may be.
Will we respond, or will we turn a blind eye to the hurting and vulnerable because it's just easier to do so...
If not us, then who? If WE are not willing to put our hearts on the line and BE the Gospel, who will? Friends, we can't rely on others to stand in that gap. WE need to be the first line of offense in answering that call and loving them all. 

Through support of adoption and foster care, we CAN be the change. Even if we aren't able to answer that call ourselves, we can support those who do. And we can support reputable orphan care missions for the countless children who are locked away in institutions, unaware of what the outside world even looks like.

Will you answer the call to love them all?  Here's an easy place to start.  By supporting our "Love Them All" apparel fundraiser, you'll be supporting our mission to help orphaned and abandoned children around the world.  One child - one heart - at a time. Love them ALL.


Monday, August 24, 2020

Stories of Yes #53 - Fear Factor



Do you remember "Fear Factor" from about fifteen years (or so) ago? It was a reality show of challenges that marched contestants into their greatest fears that ranged from plunging off a building, to lying in a bed of snakes, to eating something incredibly disgusting like worms, bugs...or worse. The adoption process has a fear factor, too. The challenges obviously look a little different:

“How can we ever afford this?”
“Is it possible for us to love this child who doesn’t share our DNA?”
“Will we ruin our other kids by adopting?”

These fears are REAL and present factors that can enter into our minds.

One of our personal "fear factors" became special needs, and each one of our adoptions was almost like climbing a ladder with rungs of doubt to overcome that paralyzing word—FEAR.

“I could never parent a child with special needs.”
“I could never adopt a child with a serious heart condition.”
“I could never adopt an older child.”
“I could never parent a child with cognitive delays.”

I'm ashamed to admit that these were all thoughts that, at some point, belonged to me. As much as I hate it, I owned them all. One by one, we climbed another rung and faced those fears head-on. And I, ultimately, realized those were all limitations that I put on myself. God's plans were obviously so much better than mine.

I stand amazed - as I reflect on each one of those objections - how God has used every one of our adoptions as a gateway—a gateway to a more open heart. He knew there was so much more in me - in us. We now live with all of these "I could nevers" in our home, and in our hearts.

You see, alone—I couldn't. But with faith—we could.

God is the source of our strength. God is the source of our courage to say yes to all of the fears and doubts and "I could nevers" that could have stopped us from embracing the biggest blessings of our lives...all five of them. We simply needed to listen, to trust, and to be obedient. Is it always easy? Nope. I would be lying if I said it was. There are days that I literally scrape for grace. But then, there are days when I look at our beautiful crew and the very thought that we could have missed this brings tears to my eyes.

The thing is,
when you walk through that fire—
when you leap over that edge—
when you conquer that fear factor—

the reward you receive is far greater than anything you could ever imagine or dream of. 

- Lisa Murphy

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10