Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hidden Treasures, for Penny's Family!

August's Hidden Treasures auction begins tomorrow, and it benefits Penny's family!



I  am very excited about it, of course. You should all go check it out!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Link

Here is the web address to the FSP for Ally's family. Hopefully I can get a proper link up soon.

Update: Ally's picture on my sidebar now links to her family's FSP.

http://reecesrainbow.org/63347/sponsorwelsh

Monday, July 29, 2013

God Works

I suppose that is a bit of a silly phrase, perhaps more appropriate for drain cleaner or something.  It's manifestly obvious to those who care to see it that God is at work.  Always, everywhere, providentially sustaining His creatures, working that which is well pleasing to Him, and working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

But Ally has a family.

It's awesome to see God answering prayers.  It's awesome to see God answering OUR prayers.  Prayer is an amazing condescension of God - He makes it plain that we are to earnestly participate in the outworking of His will in the world around us.  We cannot take credit - "Oh, yes, I prayed for that.  Mhm.  Maybe you should thank me." - is as absurd as it is blasphemous.  The dog cannot take credit for the crumbs falling from the children's table.  Yet we are commanded to beg God just so.  Jesus says "when you pray...", "ask, and it will be given...", "if you ask anything in my name...", and God, who loves Jesus, hears us.  Paul urges us to prayer, for all people in all places, and this first of all.  John gives us some of the most intimate prayers of Christ himself in his gospel, and closes the Revelation with a prayer that echoes throughout the succeeding millenia - Come, Lord Jesus!  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

God hears prayer, rightly offered and rightly desired (see James), and God does His work.  Ally has a family (and so does Madeline!) .  Praise God, and keep praying for orphans.  You never know how God will work, just that He will, and it will be for His glory.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Praise The Lord!!

Guess who is now on RR's My Family Found Me page?














Ally!!!!!

I am praising the Lord that this beautiful girl's family found her just in time!

Pray that all roadblocks are cleared for them, and that they are able to bring Ally home as soon as possible! Pray that Ally will be prepared to meet her new parents.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hooray!

Look whose family found her!


http://reecesrainbow.org/category/rescued

Madeleine has a family coming for her! 
What a blessing!





Miss Ally is running out of time;
pray that her family would find her quickly!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

6 years!

10 years ago

These kids met.

They got along pretty well. They both made big accommodations in their plans for their lives so that 

This could happen.


6 years ago today I married the love of my life.

Our life has gone in unexpected directions since then, but it has always been amazing. We have been guarded, guided, and protected by God.


And sometimes we even get to go on dates.


I am so thankful for my kind and loving husband who has lived with me and loved me for six years. I am thankful that he loves Jesus, that he loves me, that he loves children, and that he loves the church.


The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

Psalm 16:6


Friday, July 12, 2013

A reason to adopt - The other side of the story

My dear wife makes it seem like I was calm and cool in coming to the conclusion that we should adopt.

In truth, I have always been partial to the adage about the duck, you know, look serene on top but paddle like the blazes underneath.

And, while billing this post as "the other side of the story", I'm actually in 100% agreement with my wife's conclusion.  God told us to adopt, and we had the choice of obeying Him and opening our family to this little girl, or trying not to obey Him (which never ends well).

Once again, I am a cessationist in my expectations of continuing revelation, but it's also very true that the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing even to the joints and the marrow, and when God wants to pry open your heart, don't argue.

Psalm 27 is the first page of our adoption binder.  I have highlighted v1

    The LORD is my light and my salvation;
        whom shall I fear?
    The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
        of whom shall I be afraid?

and v10

    For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
        but the LORD will take me in.

So I figured there was no reason to fear anything God sent our way (but much to fear in going our own way), and being quite convinced that God generally does His work through the means of His people, v10 hemmed me in behind and before and gave me no choice but to adopt.

I reiterate, I'm sure we ain't seen nothing yet, so it's best not to dwell on "our adoption journey" before it has really begun in earnest.  For crying out loud, all we've done so far is paper, money, and words (and that's what I do all day as an engineer).  When it is flesh, blood, and tears; when it is skin, bones, and sleeplessness; when it is pain, love, and bitter herbs; when it is years of time and months of progress, aches and age and finding caregivers when our flesh and our heart may fail; when it is the last day and we stand in our flesh before our Redeemer and (Lord willing) see our little girl freed from the cruel effects of sin on her body and mind; then we can talk about "our adoption journey".  But (thank God) it still won't be about us.

    O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
    You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
        you discern my thoughts from afar.
    You search out my path and my lying down
        and are acquainted with all my ways.
    Even before a word is on my tongue,
        behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
    You hem me in, behind and before,
        and lay your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
        it is high; I cannot attain it.
    Where shall I go from your Spirit?
        Or where shall I flee from your presence?
    If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
        If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
    If I take the wings of the morning
        and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
    even there your hand shall lead me,
        and your right hand shall hold me.
    If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
        and the light about me be night,”
    even the darkness is not dark to you;
        the night is bright as the day,
        for darkness is as light with you.
    For you formed my inward parts;
        you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
    I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
        my soul knows it very well.
    My frame was not hidden from you,
    when I was being made in secret,
        intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
    Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
    in your book were written, every one of them,
        the days that were formed for me,
        when as yet there was none of them.
    How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
        How vast is the sum of them!
    If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
        I awake, and I am still with you.
    Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
        O men of blood, depart from me!
    They speak against you with malicious intent;
        your enemies take your name in vain.
    Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?
        And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
    I hate them with complete hatred;
        I count them my enemies.
    Search me, O God, and know my heart!
        Try me and know my thoughts!
    And see if there be any grievous way in me,
        and lead me in the way everlasting!
-Psalm 139 

Newly listed: Madeleine

Today I was looking at newly listed children on RR again.



Do you remember when I wrote about my little sister, the dancer? Madeleine loves to dance, too! Reading her little bio on RR made me so sad. This sweet girl so badly wants a family to love her!

Madeleine's family, are you out there? We are praying that you find her soon!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A reason to adopt; or why talking about our adoption is difficult for me

There are lots of reasons why a family might adopt, and there are lots of reasons why we are pursuing adoption, but I haven't really talked about the biggest one.

When people find out that we are working on an adoption process, they assume that we are going for a newborn (or as close as you can get to that in an international adoption). I tell them, no, she is actually an older child. Eleven years old, to be precise. 
No, we aren't worried about birth order, you see, she has severe special needs. She is cognitively younger than our son, and smaller, as far as we can tell from our year-old file. He will be her big brother. We pray that he does a good job!



Then people ask "Why?!" 
"Why would you do such a difficult thing?"

There are a lot of answers to that question, ranging from the trivial to the profound. 
We like being parents.
All adoption has the potential to be very difficult, medical needs or not.
Orphans need families.

But the big one, the one that can be hard for me to say, is this: God told us to.


I have been interested in adoption ever since I was little, but not in special needs adoption.

God started planting seeds in my heart shortly after my son was born. I remember looking at my tiny boy and knowing that I would love him no matter what (by the grace of God). It didn't matter if he didn't grow up to be like other kids, if he was brilliant or delayed, if he was robust or sickly. He is my son, I thought, and I will love him always. 
Around the same time I started reading Susanna Musser's blog and becoming aware of what needs there were in the world.

Then God started to yell at me. 
(Side note: I am a reformed Presbyterian and tend to be pretty un-Pentecostal. I don't say that God told me to do things very much.)
I did not actually literally hear God's voice with my ears, but in order to be any more obvious I think He would have had to use audible speech. Every sermon I heard, every scripture passage I read yelled "do something!"
I tried some "somethings". I started donating to Hidden Treasures and writing notes to adoptive families. We had a family from our church over to dinner to talk about adoption (they had adopted their two daughters.) 
The instructions didn't go away, though. God kept telling me "this isn't enough, you aren't there yet."
I started praying for specific orphans (ask any adoptive family, that's a "dangerous" thing to do).
I shared everything I read with Mr.
He too was shocked by the condition of some of the orphanages and was fervent in prayer.

Scripture and sermons kept saying "adopt!" to me, but nothing could happen if Mr. wasn't on board.

One morning, I had slept in a little bit and Mr. came in to wake up me and Jr.
He had been reading the Psalms, and looked at me and said "we should adopt."
It wasn't long before we had found Garnet and decided that she was our daughter (we thought it was Penny at first, but God led us right to Garnet).

Once we had been through all that, actually paying the commitment fee was pretty easy. 

So, no, I have not always been interested in special needs.
Garnet's Eastern European country was barely on my radar before last year.
I was never looking to adopt an older child.

But God knew better than all of that, and by His remarkable guidance, here we are, waiting to meet our Eastern European darling.

So the simplest, but most profound answer to "why are you adopting Garnet?"

... God told us to.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

John 16:33

33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


Friday, July 5, 2013

A Thought from Pastor Shishko, Franklin Square OPC


"Know what God wants.  Make it your want" - Leadership Qualities (link is to a Word .doc)

This one hurt.

It is easy enough to know what God wants.  That's the (comparatively) simple task of study of Scripture, formulation of doctrine, and a synthesis of facts into a cogent idea.  The scribe who answered well was not far from the kingdom of God.  He knew that to love the Lord and to love your neighbor was more than all burnt offerings (he'd read the Psalms).

But, as a dear retired PCA minister in our congregation pointed out in an excellent sermon on Mark, "Not far is not in."

Maybe I know what God wants.  But I sure do know what I want.  I want convenience, I want comfort, I want security.  God wants some things, too.  Holiness, obedience, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, wisdom, prayer, meditation on His word, love for His bride and service to her, etc.  Yeah, I have a decent idea what God wants.

But exterminating my wants and replacing them with God's wants is hard.  It's so hard, in fact, that it takes the power of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit to conform me to the image of His Son, Jesus.  I think the adoption process has been good in this regard, but I know that the process will be nothing compared to having Garnet home with us, learning what she needs, and doing it regardless of our/my wants.  Because (we think) God wants her to be our daughter.  God wants us to care for the orphans, that much is plain.  Making a love for orphans, the widow, the stranger, my want is hard.  Just doing is a necessary but insufficient condition.  If we want what God wants, then we will work heartily, as unto the Lord, no matter what task He assigns.

So thank you, Pastor Shishko, for the godly challenge.  May we rise to it in the strength of His might, and remember always Ps. 115:

    Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
        for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Common Interests

This past weekend, I (Papa), took the youth of our church out to SoCal for an outreach project to help a new mission work (Trinity OPC in the Dana Point area).  After worship on Sunday morning, I got to talking with a nice fellow who was keeping an eye on his kids, one of whom has Down syndrome.  We chatted for a while, and it finally came out that he and his wife were working on an Eastern Europe adoption of their own (http://reecesrainbow.org/57778/sponsorfrancisco)!  We rapidly fell into adoption shop-talk, and later at the church picnic I got to meet his wife who (as I suspect is the case with all adopting couples) had even more adoption shop-talk to discuss.  They introduced me to yet another new friend and her children, including a six-year-old girl with Down syndrome from Eastern Europe! (their blog here: http://ahomefordarya.blogspot.com/) 

It truly is a small world in the body of Christ!

It is a wonderful thing to fall in quite accidentally with people who have so much in common with you, who share unique perspectives on your own situation, who are further along the road than you and can encourage you, and who are aligned with you on a very deep-seated and important issue.

Adoption is a compelling mutual interest.  Yet the adoption of the Christian as sons and daughters of God through the work of Jesus Christ is a much, MUCH bigger deal.

I'm assuming that most of the readers of this blog have a compelling interest in adoption, for some reason or other.  So I want to challenge myself (and you) to have that same ready "Oh really! That's wonderful!  Tell me about..." response to your fellow Christians, especially when you meet a new one.

Now, I'm a deacon in a very conservative Presbyterian church, so I very much understand the wariness that develops when you have the repeated experience of seeing a nominal Christian act contrary to their profession.  Jesus and Paul give good guidelines for dealing with this when it's in your bailiwick, follow those.  But I am reminded of the apostles' urgent complaint about the man casting out demons in the name of Christ who was not one of them!  (Mk. 9:38-40)  Jesus does not interrogate the man about his creed.  He simply says "Do not stop him", and let time tell. 

Adopting demands an opening of yourself to the world.  It was (and is) quite uncomfortable to me since I am usually a very private person.  Yet a profession of faith in Christ entails an unreserved opening of yourself to His demands, which includes loving those who profess to be His people.  Who do you suppose wounded Paul more deeply?  The Jews in Thessalonica who stoned and beat him, or John Mark who turned back from the work (to be later restored, praise God)?  Nero who probably killed him, or Hymaneaus and Alexander who made shipwreck of their faith?  Jesus asked God to forgive those who crucified Him, but calmly observed that the son of perdition was lost.  The Christian life will hurt, and I bet that most of that hurt comes from those we thought we knew.  Nothing for it but to love Christ and love His people, and we'll wait until glory to hear the roll call of the kingdom.

Come Lord Jesus!