Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Many of you prayed for us as we attempted to adopt Deborah last spring. Obviously, even though we still feel passionate about Deborah, God has different plans for her and us. When we got the word that Deborah was not to be a part of our family, we asked ourselves if we were still to proceed in adopting. In June of 07 we applied with Acres of Hope orphanage. In July AOH sent us the pictures of Joyce and Freeman Dahn. Joyce is 6 and Freeman is 4. The initial report (of which we might never know the accuracy) was that the father had deserted the family the last year of the civil war (03/04). Their mother brought them to the orphanage in pursuit of help sometime in the spring of 07. They were classified as "waiting children" as they were in the orphanage waiting for a family to choose them. Supposedly paperwork moves faster for waiting children.
Here is the first picture we saw of them....
We had been asking our agency to work with our travel schedule since early last fall as we recognized that we were very limited in when we could actually get the children. December 21st we received the phone call that they were through the courts, in other words, in Liberia, they are legally our children. Last week it was suggested that we take the last steps and finish the adoption process with the embassy ourselves. We spent the week emailing and calling the consular in Liberia asking for urgency in setting up the interviews. We also spoke with McConnell, Whitfield and Bunning's offices asking them to also contact the consular on our behalf. Let's just say that 2 of the offices have been wonderful. We have yet to hear anything. We did hear on Saturday from the Liberian staff that their birth certificates have arrived and the passports should be released this week.
We would ask for prayer that the consular or her assistants would set up a birth parent interview asap, as in this week or next. Secondly, the birth parent interview needs to happen without causing the consular's office to request a dna test. If for some reason the test is requested, then we don't get the kids until July and $1000 is added to our bill. If the interview happens and everybody leaves smiling, then we leave for Liberia in the first two weeks of February.
I'll end this with a couple more pictures.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
So today, I'm catching up on blogs and emails and xanga posts, trying to convince myself that I really do need to do schooling with Abby today. I love absolutely love looking at pictures of my kids. I know I'm prejudice but I think they are pretty gorgeous and as I look at them, they come alive and I feel their energy and exuberance for life. It is the best remedy for bringing me out of a funk or just brightening the day.
And it seems that increasingly more of the day is filled with thoughts of Liberia. We will have visitors this week. Girls my Hannah fell in love with in Liberia. They are coming to our home...as many as 5 of them this weekend. I'm so excited.
And then I've pondered on this scripture this week. It may quickly become my favorite verses. Isaiah 58....
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
I'll leave you now with those thoughts!! Have a blessed day.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Here are a few statistics to chew on while you are munching your breakfast cereal today…..
There are 143 million orphans worldwide
35,000 children under the age of 5 die everyday due to starvation
500,000 children in the foster care system of America
118,000 of these children are available for adoption
16 Million children were orphaned in 2003
400,000 churches in America
127,000 American adoptions last year (that’s 1 child per 3 churches) and only 25,000 of those children went into Christian homes
1/3 of Americans have considered adoption, yet less than 2% actually adopt
There is a psychological theory called doctrine of limited tears that occurs when we contemplate and try to comprehend suffering. There is only a certain level of suffering that we can actually emotionally process. You can only cry and take on the burden of so much suffering. Beyond that we slip into this condition that actually numbs our ability to feel. It has been explained this way. If we were to attempt to carry all the emotions that all the suffering in the world produced, we could actually become physically and mentally crushed by the weight. So, in order to protect us, our brain goes into this mode of emotional nova cane. Learning this, I pictured Christ in Gethsemane and how he sweated drops of blood and how on the cross, water flowed with his blood. He was literally physically crushed by our suffering. Awesome picture isn’t it?
In the last year we have become increasingly aware of the suffering of orphans worldwide. And it is overwhelming. For every story we hear, we know there are thousands unheard. Just looking at the statistics above, it is easy to become overwhelmed as you realize that you or I cannot help 143 million children. But I can help one or two and hope that by changing their lives, I change their future and make an impact on every person that they touch.
You can help too. November is orphans awareness month. I would encourage you to find an orphanage that you could help financially, either through your church or through your own personal effort. Consider sponsoring a child, but please make it a lifetime commitment, not just a month or two until your conscience is soothed. Check out if there is a home in your area that helps foster children. You would be amazed at how a donation of toothpaste or a movie would be a blessing to some children in your very own neighborhood. Also, consider financially supporting a crisis pregnancy center. Your help and support could one day provide a loving home with a long awaited child. Or you can even consider adoption.
As we examined what we can do to help orphans, we decided to pursue adopting. In 2008 we hope to bring Freeman Alexander and Hadassah ReJoyce into our home to join our family. Adoption expenses, especially for a sibling group, are rather large and we’ve accepted that. Today, if you would like to help 2 orphans and know that you have had an impact on their future, please consider making a donation of $1 to our adoption fund by donating via the paypal button (www.shepherdessrhino.blogspot.com) Without violating your conscience, we give you permission to pass this email along to any of your friends if you so desire.
In closing, I would like to say thank you for taking the time to consider what I’ve written. You can make a difference, you can touch a life. In paraphrased form, here is one of my favorite verses (Isaiah 58:6-8).“Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the homeless with shelter—when you see the naked to clothe him and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear and your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer: you will cry for help and he will say: Here am I.”
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Since we started Rhino, we've missed 8 years of Murray State homecomings. Now this may not mean much to most folks, but every fall this was a major outing for our kids...the parade, the band, the game, Dunker the mascot and Racer 1 circling the track when our team scored. Not to forget M&M peanut wars and roasted in the shell peanuts.
Today was to be different. Today we were home and we got up early and dressed for hopefully crisp fall weather and headed into town for the parade. Not passing up a chance to buy some Krispy Kreme donuts at an intersection, we munched on donuts, chased candy, clapped and cheered the floats and had a completely wonderful time, even though Caleb and Christi weren't able to join us. Oh yes and let's not forget the ever-so-graceful-sl0-mo-deposit-of-me on the sidewalk when Rags (our miniature aussie) decided she needed to protect and defend me from the other 4-legged parade participants.
We came home to an email from Donna at Acres of Hope. I didn't think we would get an orphan's report because we're so early in our process. But there it was along with pictures. I haven't felt much emotion in this journey, but this time it was different. Perhaps it was a combination of things.... One of which a friend posted regarding some lost referrals,
But what brought me to tears was hearing their responses to being told they were being adopted (we didn't even know they had been told yet)
"Learning that he had an adoptive family encouraged Freeman that his dream of having a new family will come true." "She used to ask if adoptive parents had been found for she and her brother. Of course she was thrilled when she found out a family was "sending" for them!"
There was something about realizing that we had been used in bringing a bit of hope to these two children that broke my heart. There are two children who have been given a sense of belonging, a reason for existing, (who feel) validated (in) their lives here on earth. And we're the ones that have been allowed to participate. I say this in the most humble way I can.
After adequate oohhing and aahhing we went back into town for tent city and the game. It was a gorgeous day and we actually got to see a few people that we haven't seen in years. Caleb and Christi joined us for the game and it was simply joyous. We laughed and cheered and clapped Racer 1 on around the track. The band was entertaining as always. We hoped to see "Air Dunker" actually tump over and Hannah won 9 rounds of M&M peanut wars with a red M&M. Even though MSU lost, the game was well fought and decently played, the weather teasingly fall and a spectacular sunset followed us home where we grilled yummy steaks for everybody.
The day was delightful and as we prayed with Abby at bedtime, we thanked God for being allowed this moment in time with our family. Rich, deep, full and fun. I cherish each and every one we are given. They go so fast.
And to end the evening....more pictures of Joyce and Freeman. I'll post those later.
Freeman loves being outside, but is not really into sports. He's active, and likes playing games and being on the playground, but sometimes just wants to sit and cheer his friends on as they play. Unlike a lot of boys, Freeman does not struggle with being too wild or rambunctious. He has a wonderful way of being energetic at the appropriate times. Inside he likes playing with toy cars and balls.
Freeman has a great disposition and is almost always smiling. He's not really outgoing, but he's not shy, and he plays well with other children. Freeman is also very affectionate and loves holding hands and being hugged.
She's very close to her little brother and excited about being adopted.
Joyce is doing well in school and knows her numbers and letters well. She's very good with her penmanship and takes her lessons seriously. Joyce especially enjoys arts and crafts and is very creative.
Joyce is a social girl who is almost always seen playing with other kids. She's close to Freeman, and interacts a lot with him, but the majority of the time she is playing with her girlfriends.
Joyce loves all sorts of activities, indoors and outdoors. She does well in structured activities, but makes up her own games to play when there's nothing else going on. Outdoors Joyce loves the playground and playing house. Her favorite place to be is in the sand building houses and pretend cooking.
Outgoing, energetic, and full of life, Joyce is the type of person who lights up a room and is the life of the party.