not a statistic

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You have probably heard them before...
the statistics of children who age-out of orphanages.
They are staggering,
and they bear repeating.
Each year 14,505,000 children grow up as orphans and age out of the system by age sixteen.
Each day 38,493 orphans age out.
10-15% of these children commit suicide before turning 18.
60% of the girls become prostitutes.
70% of the boys become hardened criminals.
Of the 15,000 orphans aging out in one study, 10% committed suicide, 5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless and 3,000 were in prison within three years.
It is truly heart-breaking.
David and I have prayed about this situation over the years, but recently the reality of  what it means to "age-out" of an orphanage has gripped our hearts in a new way.
It has gripped our hearts, because there is now a face to connect with those horrible statistics.
It is this face...
This is the face of a 15-year-old boy who is aging out of his orphanage soon.
This is the face of a boy who lost his parents 5 years ago, and is a true orphan.
This is the face of a boy who loves Jesus and wants to go to seminary when he is older.
This is the face of a boy who is an excellent student, who likes to write poetry and who wants to work with struggling families and children when he is older.
A kind face,
and a gentle heart.
So, even though the timing is crazy (and I mean crazy, crazy, crazy!!).
And even though we never imagined that we would consider adopting a boy his age.
And even though we thought that our next child might be a little one with down syndrome.
We believe that God has called us.
And it is our great pleasure to be obedient to Him!
We will be hosting Sergei this winter (which is a miracle-story in itself that I'm going to share more about soon!). Then, after he goes back to his home country, we are trusting that the Lord will grant us the ability to jump into high-gear to pursue his adoption.
This one will not be a statistic.
Praise God!
He will be a son.

KC Lions

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Jadon started football season pretty late, but he had an awesome experience with the Kansas City Lions. The Lions are a homeschool team who really exemplify what it means to work hard, do their best and encourage one another in the process. We've been so proud of how Jadon jumped right in and gave it his all...on the field and in getting to know the coaches and other players.

Today was the Lion's last game of the season and Jadon was able to get right into the action.

Do you see our awesome number forty-nine???


Jadon had a big cheering section at the game today.

We even brought along our own mascot!

The Lions played a great game and experienced victory after all of their hard work.

But, far more important than who won the game, ALL of these boys are making strides in sportsmanship, perseverance, character and life. Way to go, guys! We're looking forward to a great season next year.

a day in the life...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I may just be nosy, but I often wonder about what other people do with their days. A few years back, I regularly read a column in a homeschooling magazine called, "A Day in the Life." I loved it! Readers would write in to the magazine, sharing the details of one day in their family's life. These articles were so fun to read, and I often gleaned a snippet or two that I could incorporate into our family's day. So, in the spirit of "A Day in the Life," I'll share about a typical Saturday here in Kansas City. I'd love it if some of you shared about your days, as well!

6:00--Like clockwork, our littlest guy is up. My wonderful hubby loves spending time with Kaikai in the wee hours of the morning so that I  can pray and read my Bible. The Psalms have come alive for me over the past month-and-a-half, so I often find myself there. I'm also trying to keep up with one of the books that Yana and Adam are reading for school. Church History in Plain Language is a wonderfully readable overview of the Church throughout history. Chapters three and four (which I'm reading today) are about the early martyrs, such as Polycarp. Lord, give me a faith such as theirs!

7:15--I shower and get ready for the day. David and Grace, have already made breakfast. We're having raisin bread, scrambled eggs and pineapple. We always eat breakfast together as a family on Saturdays. David P. (our housemate) eats with us, but then has to head off to work. "R" (a man who used to live in our neighborhood, but is now without a home) stops by to use David's phone.

8:15--It's time for our weekly chores. Yana mops the floors, Adam cleans two of the bathrooms, Lily cleans the other bathroom, Jadon deep-cleans the kitchen, Kaikai helps David wash windows and Grace dusts. We do the vacuuming during the week, so it doesn't need to be done on Saturdays.

9:30--Our good friend, Stephen arrives for Chinese class. What a blessing! Stephen brings baozi (large breaded dumplings) with him and Kaikai is so excited! Kaikai has his lesson first, and then the rest of us have a class in conversational Chinese. It's fun to learn together, and Stephen is such a patient, gentle teacher. We love him and are so grateful that God brought he and his wife, Jean, into our lives. They both lived through difficult times in China and are literally history, come alive, for us. We have learned so much from them.

10:45--Lily and Yana go to garage sales for a couple of hours with Alyssa. David, Grace and Kaikai play a game and read books. The rest of us finish up our cleaning.

12:00--David, Grace and Kaikai go to our neighbor's house to get some recycled planters to plant blackberries. Yana, Adam and Jadon are hoping to sell blackberries in the spring.

12:30--Lunchtime and clean-up. It's hummus, pita chips and veggies today.

1:00--David goes on the KC historic homes tour in order to drum up some work. He had a second surgery on his hand a week-and-a-half ago and isn't supposed to work for 2-4 more weeks, but he's hoping to bid some larger jobs during that time.

1:30--Grace, Kaikai and I go out to jump on the trampoline. Two neighbor kids see us jumping and want to join us. We end up spending about an hour-and-a-half playing with them. Jadon, Lily and Adam join us outside. They are great with these two little ones. Brett and Gracie Joy stop by at about 2:30. GJ has fun with us on the trampoline.

3:00--I send all of the kiddos home so that Adam, Yana and I can have a homeschool meeting. I love homeschooling high school. The discussions that we have about their schoolwork are so encouraging to me. Grace and Kaikai watch Happy Chinese on Youtube so that we don't get interrupted!

3:30--Yana goes to a neighbor's house to paint. I cut Jadon and Adam's hair.

4:00--David comes home and I start a load of laundry and get dinner going. Okay, I'm feeling tired now. Adam helps me with dinner and David plays with Grace and Kaikai. David had picked up our on-hold books from the library, so Lily and Jadon devour those.

5:00--David gives a homeless man who is walking down our street, some medical supplies. The man's hands are in rough shape, but due to David's recent surgeries, he providentially has all of the supplies necessary to help this man. While David is outside, he sees our neighbor shooting pop bottle rockets at a pit bull who has gotten into his yard...always exciting in the 'hood. When David comes in, the mailman comes in for a chat, as well.

5:45--Yana is home and it's time for dinner. We're having soup, salad and bread, with cookies for dessert. We set aside some cookies to take to the neighbors tomorrow. Tonight is the Sabbath celebration and we love lingering over dinner.

7:00--We relax on the couches in the basement. David P. gets home after a very long day. He's been sick, so he chats for a few minutes and goes to bed. We've missed him today!

7:15--Family prayer time. Lord, prepare our hearts for worship tomorrow!

8:00--On Saturday nights everyone goes to their rooms early, so that we can read and pray. I finish up my chapter in Church History, and then say goodnight to all of my kiddos. David and I talk for awhile and then we're ready to sleep.

Oh, how I love each and every ordinary, extraordinarily blessed day here in Kansas City!

desperate love

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I am desperate for Father's heart.
I am desperate to live in the center of His love.
When I stray, even an inch, from the depths of His kindness, I find myself faltering.
Some days it is almost imperceptible; this stumbling.
It may start out as a simple comparison with someone who has something (some attribute, some position) that I desire. My thoughts stray and I begin, without even realizing it, to question my Father's goodness. I wonder why I did not get the recognition that I think I deserve. I wonder why He hasn't given me more talent or natural ability.
It's ugly.
It's sin.
And it can always be traced back to my turning from Father's heart. For when I remember and meditate and live in that place, these sort of thoughts do not even enter my mind. Instead I remember that I am a beloved daughter, absolutely adored by my Father, and the constant recipient of His great kindness.
There are many days when I am desperate for Father's heart because of my own sin.
Today, however, I am desperate for my Father for a different reason.
Today I had to say "no" to something that I greatly desired.
Today, I had to say "no" to something that I believed was His desire.
But the "no" that I said was for the sake of love, and love is always His higher desire.
 That doesn't necessarily make it easy, though.
And I'm struggling to find joy in the midst of this obedience.
But friends, my Father loves me, despite all of my failings. I am His beloved daughter, and when I struggle He is desperate for me to live in the midst of that love. When I am hurting, He is desperate for me to run into His presence and lay my head on His shoulder and let Him carry the burden. My Father is desperate for me to know the depths of His kindness when things are scary and lonely and difficult, just as He wants me to know His kindness when things are beautiful and easy and fun.
desperate:  a reckless or violent act, undertaken out of extreme urgency
Though Father never experiences the sort of hopeless, anxiety-ridden desperation that we here on earth display, it is clear that He loves us with a desperate love. When He sent His beautiful Son to His death, it was an act of violence against heaven and earth. When the darling of heaven endured the pain of the cross on our behalf, it was most certainly a reckless act, undertaken out of extreme urgency. Father holds nothing back in order to shower us with His love.
So today, I turn to Father with desperation in my heart. And when I look into His gaze, I see that His eyes are full of loving desperation for me. He has given all for the ones that He loves, and when I am full of sorrow, the only place where I can truly live is in the midst of that great heart; that magnificent, desperate heart of love.

My sweet baby is nine today!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This little darlin' is nine years old today!

 She started out the day with a cup of joe, which was a special birthday request.

 Then, she made time for some hugs:)
My daughter is growing up, but she's still mama's little girl. I'm so glad that she isn't in too much of hurry to be older!

These two really are the best of friends. And now they are both nine! They would like to be twins, but at least they're the same age for four months of the year.

 For the past two months, Kaikai has saved his money so that he could buy Grace this betta fish for her birthday. They were both super-happy because they discovered that Kaikai had saved enough money to get TWO for each of them. Grace's fish is blue, and Kaikai's fish is red. They love their new aquatic friends. They named them Fire and Ice.

 This nine-year-old is just so kissable!

Happy ninth birthday, my sweet girl. You are such a delight! I love you more than words can say and am so glad that I get to spend this birthday with you. When you were turning four years old, we were just 2 1/2 weeks away from seeing you for the first time. Oh, how hard that birthday was for your mama and daddy! But, now we've been together for more birthdays than we've been apart...hooray! What a gift it is to celebrate with you today, and to be able to hug you and love you each and every day of the year!

Precious Rachel

Monday, October 14, 2013

This sweet girl has my heart. Her name is Rachel and she lives at Sarah's Covenant Homes in India. Rachel has endured so much in her 12 years of life and now she needs to have her left leg amputated at the knee and have a new prosthesis made. Would you consider helping Rachel, by donating to her surgery fund?
I love this girl so much. 
Rachel waits outside the ortho surgeon's office while three doctors confer about her leg. $851 of the needed $4000 has come in for the knee disarticulation amputation and prosthesis Rachel needs. She understands the need and the reason we having to do it earlier than expected, and she is as emotionally prepared for it as a child can be, but I imagine it will not be without some sense of grief and loss. Her close friend Stacy will be spending time in Hyderabad with her while she's in the hospital. Pray for her! Link to give:

Knowing Who You Are (on the Sparrow Fund blog)

Monday, October 7, 2013

One of my blog posts is being featured on The Sparrow Fund (We Are Grafted In) blog this week.

is a post about adoption, a child's identity in a family and our ultimate identity in the family of God.

Thanks for checking it out!

An Inheritance

Sunday, October 6, 2013

There have been many times over the past month in which I have looked around and asked the Lord, "What in the world could we have possibly done to deserve such an amazing place?"

The answer is always the same...


You have done nothing, my child.

But, dear one, it is my joy to share all that I have with you, so this too, I give  freely, out of my great love. 


An Inheritance

An inheritance from the Lord and
an inheritance from those who have gone before us in this place.

You see, there have been others.
There have been precious ones who have cried out to the Lord for the heart of Kansas City.
They have toiled and labored to build a Home for Him in this place.

And we have received an inheritance through the work of their hands.

"He gave them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for."
(Psalm 105:44)

Some of these people still live and love in this neighborhood, some of them are serving the Lord elsewhere. Many of them will be joining us here, in the heart of Kansas City, this coming weekend. They want to rejoice with us in all that the Lord has done and they want to confirm that yes, indeed, they are pleased to share this beautiful inheritance with us.
It's going to be a party!
(And we'd love for YOU to join us, too, if you can!)

What a privilege and a joy it is to be an heir of the King of Kings. Please pray for us--that we would be faithful with the inheritance that God has given to us, and that we would honor the Lord and those who have gone before us in this place. God is building a spiritual family here, and we are so pleased to be a part of all that he has done, is doing and will do! Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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