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I have read the following passage many times before… but reading it again tonight was one of those “wow” experiences…  So I thought I would share it in light of the adoption process many of us are in the midst of.  The words are heavy with meaning — especially from the unique position of understanding the concept of adoption from an entirely personal perspective.  If you read the words in light of what adoption means to children who are facing death if they aren’t adopted, suddenly “groaning inwardly… waiting eagerly for adoption” becomes a deeply desperate cry.  I know I don’t consistently approach my adoption as a child of God with this kind of desperation and longing…  After reading Donna’s account of the agony that both children and parents face when children are relinquished for adoption, the concept of creation “groaning and travailing” is almost audible.  We are all waiting for adoption.  We are all “subject to frustration.”  We are “hoping for that which we cannot yet see”… in both simple, tangible things like our children coming home and in eternal things like the liberation of creation.  No matter where we are in this world, we are all groaning for the liberation of creation — whether we are aware of it or not…  

Anyway, here is the familiar passage for you to chew on a little.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, too. 

Romans 8:18-25 

“I consider that the present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the sons of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to this present time.  Not only so, but we, ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.   For in this hope, we are saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” 

…is like cool water to a weary soul”  Pr. 25:25

This is SOOOO true!!!

I had not realized how deeply my heart has been about worried about Henry until I opened an email this morning that let me know Henry is now with his foster family (and he is with the family I have been praying and hoping would be able to foster him!!)  God is so faithful.  I just started crying as soon as I read the first words — tears I didn’t even know were inside me… And feelings of gratitude and deep relief that I didn’t even realize I needed came washing over me in waves.  It was a deep, refreshing pool of water to my soul!!

I am so grateful my little boy will be nurtured and cared for by these wonderful people.  (I am not sure if I have the liberty to share who they are — I’m trying to be careful with jurisdictions) but they are such an incredible family and it’s an answer to prayer.  They said Henry seems a little bewildered by the change, but is adjusting well.  Thank you Lord for this blessing of good news from a distant land! 

We had a good weekend.  Peter worked a few hours at the shop finishing up a side job that is an answer to prayer since we will be able to use it toward the adoption.  We also finally built the deck out back off the addition – yay!  It turned out well and I’ve loved sitting out there the last couple mornings with my coffee before Jo wakes up… it is so quiet and peaceful.  We still have to finish the rockwork up to the edge of the deck and build the pergola over the top so I can plant wisteria to grow over it for shade.  But its nice to have another place to sit outside besides the front patio.

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We went to our little county fair Friday night with our friends, Ryan, Sarah and Zoe. We had a great time.  We have “farm” animals at home, but it was still fun to take the girls to see the ones we don’t have… and of course, to eat the fair food — ah, there’s nothing like calorie-laden, atery-clogging, deep-fried fair food!  And of course, it’s a sugar-overload waiting to happen… ice-cream, cotton candy, snow cones, kettle corn, carmel apples, candied peanuts — whew! its a good thing we only go once a year!  🙂

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 I was in 4H as a kid and raised lambs to take to the fair… so it always brings back a score of memories (mostly good ones…) when I’m at the fairgrounds.  Joanna had a great time, of course.  It was so funny — halfway through the goat barn (which was the first barn we visited) she suddenly burst into a rendition of Old Macdonald Had a Farm — completely spontaneously!  We all started laughing.  She kept singing it the whole evening and on the way home started adding verses.  She sang about the “mean scary lion and bear” that Old Macdonald had on his farm… I guess she’s paid more attention than I thought to my warning her to stay in the yard lately due to the bear and mountain lion! — Poor kid must think every farm has a mean, scary lion!  🙂 

We enjoyed the pig barn particulary because the girls were sooo funny to watch.  I think Jo was a little tramatized by the intensity of the pigs (I don’t think she has seen any this close before.)  They are smelly and LOUD  — especially when an army of them are housed under the same roof within feet of one another.  (And they are rather strange-looking creatures when you really stop to think about it!)  This particularly lovely porker, Petunia, was quite the model — I swear she knew I was taking a picture of her!  She gave me her best piggy-pose:  

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All in all Jo and Zoe had a good time.  They got balloons and stickers and saw creatures great and small.  This is a particularly appropriate shot: can you tell they were on a fair-food sugar high? 

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(Its a bit of a heavy post today.  I’m heavy with thoughts…) 

It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report.)

The current population of the United States is just a little over 300 million… to give you an idea of the enormity of the numbers… (The current population of Russia is 141 million)

Every day 5,760 more children become orphans

2,102,400 more children become orphans every year in Africa alone 

Every 15 seconds, another child in Africa becomes an AIDS orphan

There are an estimated 14 million AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa (a number higher than the total of every under-eighteen year old in Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland combined)

This figure is estimated to reach 18 million orphans in Africa alone by 2010 (only two and a half years away)

8 out of 10 children orphaned by AIDS lives in sub-saharan Africa

Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but… 

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

Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home

In Russia and the Ukraine, studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit sucide before they reach age eighteen

These studies also show that 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals 

Another Russian study reported that of the 15,000 orphans aging out of state-run institutions every year, 10% committed suicide, 5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless and 3,000 were in prison within three years…

I just wanted to share these statistics because they have been on my mind the last couple days.  And as a reminder…  A reminder to pray.  A reminder to give.  A reminder to advocate.  The agonizing reality of these numbers breaks my heart and drives me to my knees.  The tears of the children and grief of the parents who can not care for their beloved babies weighs so heavily on my heart at times.  In the midst of it, I have to believe that God loves every soul — equally and passionately — and grieves for each situation individually more than my finite mind can understand.

In a perfect world, there would be no need for adoption. Biological families would stay together.  Children would be raised by loving parents or grandparents and remain in their homeland, surrounded by their culture and connected to their roots tangibly.  Obviously, these statistics illustrate that we do not live in a perfect world.  Adoption is not the answer for solving the underlying issues of poverty and disease and famine and war.  It won’t stop the cycle of more children becoming orphans.  It is a life-line thrown out to a precious few… it rescues a small percentage from the going over the falls.  The tough question as we see the overwhelming need is how do we bring solutions to the roots of the issues?… how do we make a difference not just in one child’s life through adoption, but in the lives of the thousands left behind… and ultimately how do we stop the cycles that turn innocent children into orphans?

God’s heart ultimately is for the restoration of families.  It is a hard concept to wrap our minds around that He could bring restoration in an instant… but chooses to be manifest on earth through the actions of His people.  He holds the hurting and comforts the sick through our arms… He ministers to the poor and orphaned through our lives… He champions the cause of the oppressed through our actions… We are His hands and feet…  We are the vessels He uses to mediate His love to the forgotten. 

It can be difficult to allow ourselves to really think about these statistics and what they represent.  Its easy to respond numbly and see the statistics in terms of thousands or millions… but when we allow ourselves to become personally involved and risk the heart-grief that follows awareness, they become more than mere statistics… they become real children with real hearts that ache for their parents and real bodies that hunger for care.  Every single child that makes up the thousands or millions is a precious child, just like my Joanna… just like my Henry.   I pray that my own heart will continue to be stirred and my resolve strengthened to speak out for those that have no voice.  These precious children need advocates.  They need men and women willing to make a difference… willling to stand in the gap and act on their behalf.  

 May our hearts grow softer and our voices rise louder…     

“Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.  Deliver the weak and needy from the hand of the wicked.”  Ps 82:3-4

(Sources: Human Rights Watch: “Abandoned to the State: Cruelty and Neglect in Russian Orphanages” November 1998 ; www.hfgf.org/statistics.pdf ; www.unaids.org/epi/2005 ; UNICEF’s Childhood Under Threat: the State of the World’s Children, 2005 ; www.unicef,org/uniteforchildren/  )

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Yes, I thought that title would grab your attention!  Unfortunately, I don’t actually have an update…  But I figured it was time to post something more about the adoption, since its been awhile.  I don’t even know if Henry has been moved into foster care yet!  Its the nature of international adoption — wait, wait, wait…  and wonder!  One of the hard parts of waiting is having to inform friends and family that ask about Henry every time they see us:  No, we still haven’t heard anything… no, we don’t have any idea when he’ll be coming home… no, we REALLY don’t know anything more than the last time you asked!  Really!!   They are all so sweet to keep asking and I am so blessed to have genuinely supportive and interested friends, but I feel badly that I keep disappointing them.  I do know that the little picture album we put together for him will be arriving in Liberia soon…  So thats exciting.   I don’t think he’ll have any idea at his young age who the pictures represent — but it will give him something to play with that was saturated in prayer!!

I did finally get our adoption info/fundraising website up and running.  (Our Hope for Henry)  We wanted to have a site to share our story briefly with aquaintances and distant relatives and give our great-uncle’s next-door neighbor and third-cousins twice-removed the opportunity to help with some of the adoption expenses.  I tried to balance sharing our story, giving adoption information and asking for help with the financial aspect.  It is so hard to ask for money graciously!  I didn’t want to come across pushy… and even though from a practical standpoint, its a stretch for us financially to adopt, we know, of course, that God pays for what He orders… and He gently reminds us over and over to not fret about provision… and to focus on obedience.  I have been able to stay uncharacteristically trustful of His provision throughout most of the adoption so far… but there have been times when I start calculating the numbers in my mind and my palms begin to sweat…

So we’ve been praying alot and applying for grants and working on the website and learning to trust even deeper… Its an act of faith to let your needs be known and trust God to provide (in whatever way He chooses — c’mon Ebay items!) Its also humbling… But humbling is good. It increases faith. It draws us closer to the Lord. 

Speaking of adoption fundraisers and divine provision, I wanted to share links to the fundraising sites of some of the other AoH families.  I know I am not aware of all of them, so if I left yours out, please drop me a comment and I will add it.  It is a blessing to give.  And here is a great opportunity.  I love the one-dollar adoption fundraisers because it makes it so feasible to help these families bring their kids home.  I love how it capitalizes on the principle of small acts bringing about big blessings.   

I especially wanted to put in a word for our adoption coordinator, Donna (who is seriously related to wonderwoman…or some other super-hero — the woman has unnatural energy!)  Not only does she handle all the adoption processing on this side of the Atlantic (and thats alot of phone calls and emails and organizational skills!!) she is working on establishing her own adoption-fundfinding organization, Global Orphan Outreachand she is the mom of ten kids! (five through adoption.)  She and her husband are preparing to adopt the baby sibling of two of the children they have adopted from Liberia and they have set up a fundraiser to help with the adoption expenses.  I am excited to watch God provide for her… she is a faithful woman with such a big heart.  Follow this link to their fundraising site.

And here are the others:

Alonso’s (Charity)

Maun’s

Jocelyn’s

Borchert’s

Stewart’s

Kettlekamp’s

Lorenzen’s

Weather’s (Naoimi’s family)

Tidwell’s fundraiser

Tippett’s

Happy giving!  🙂

(sorry the pics are sun saturated; I didn’t have time to grab my filter.)

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So this was the excitement around here today.  We live in a house with the teeniest stairwell ever!  When we originally moved this couch into the house, it would not fit up the stairs, so we used a second story doorway that used to be on the other side of the house where we planned to add a 2 story deck someday. Our plans changed when we remodeled the house last fall/winter to make room for additional kids, and the doorway was changed to a regular window to make the wall better suited for a child’s room.  In our hurry to get things buttoned up before winter, we forgot to calculate which items of furniture should have been removed before closing up the large door opening.  Obviously, the couch doesn’t fit down the stairs either (believe me, we know! we tried it every imaginable way before Peter would concede! Hehee!!)  So, anyway, we’ve been stuck with this couch taking up floor space upstairs since we moved Henry’s crib into our bedroom in the space the couch used to occupy… and we knew the only way it was coming out was by removing one of the windows and borrowing some scaffold.  We put it off as long as possible.  But, my parents are going to use it in their house in Spokane, so we decided it wasn’t fair to make them wait any longer.

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So there you go… not only a little excitement (its not every day a couch exits a building through the second story window!) but also an important lesson illustrated.  Measure the items in a room before you enclose a doorway!!

Today has been one of those days we just knew something unusual was going on in the realm of nature surrounding us.  There is an entire world of animals and birds living just outside our fence.  We are aware of most of them and enjoy seeing the deer grazing in the meadow and occasionally a moose or raccoon or porcupine passes through… We don’t bother them, and they (for the most part… darn those turkeys and skunks!) don’t bother us and we pretty much co-exist in harmony… (except when the deer start eating my garden in the fall — I do get mad about that!) But some days, like today, we can just sense that something out-of-the-ordinary is going on.  There is a quietness in the woods and the horses are all jittery and on edge.  The dogs bark unusually often and stay constantly on alert.   These are the days I worry about Jo.  Our neighbor just told us yesterday that another cougar (mountain lion) was spotted crossing the road onto our property down at the bottom of the field.  I get nervous because they say that for every lion you see, there are at least ten others times it saw you without your knowledge!  Plus, the beautiful meadow behind our place that is green much of the year, now looks like this:

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Perfect for a lion to hide in… So, I was on alert, too, this morning and kept a wary eye on Jo as we worked outside.  When Peter came home for lunch, I decided to take the binoculars out to see if I could figure out what exactly was going on, and low and behold, it turned out to be our “friendly neighbohood” bear up in the same tree as the last story I posted (she must like that particular tree!) I grabbed the camera again, hoping to get better pics this time, and Peter came out toward the tree with me.  She started to climb down again, but then just stopped near the ground, looking at us:

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Then she dropped to the ground in the thick brush so we couldn’t really see her any more. All of a sudden, Peter said, “look!  she’s got cubs!”  And, sure enough, up in the tree were two of the cutest little cubs ever!!  They looked just like teddy bears peering out from behind the trunk.  Peter wanted to get closer, but I told him he was out of his mind.  After all, messing with a mama bear is on my top ten “do not do under any circumstances” list!   We could hear her making low growling noises talking to them.  So I snapped a couple pictures from where we stood and then we went back to the house…  They climbed down shortly after and disappeared too.   But, oh my goodness, they were so adorable!!   I keep looking out the back windows hoping to see them again, but I’m sure she decided to move them away from the crazy people with the camera! 

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(I wish I had a better telephoto lens for my camera (*sigh*) —  You can’t see them very well in this picture.  (The second cub is sitting farther up in the tree above the branches.)

So, at least I now know what was causing all the commotion this morning.  And it wasn’t a mountain lion.  Still, I’ll be relieved to hear when the lion has been caught or has moved on.  We always try to be extra careful when we know there’s a cougar around. 

We really do love our woods, though…  scary wildlife and all.  A friend and I went for a walk out back into the forest the other day (before the cougar warning!) because I wanted to show her the building site we’ve scoped out for the larger house we’d like to build someday when this one gets too small for all our kids! 🙂  Its such a pretty spot right on a natural ridge:

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We hiked around a while,  just exploring.  Jo loved it.  I loved it, too.  Its so good to take time to just enjoy life spontaneously like this. 

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That is our adventurous cat with Jo.  We always laugh at Mercy because she is more like a dog than a cat and is always bound and determined to follow us on walks, even though she ends up so hot and tired.  (We usually end up having to carry her home!

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Ah, good times … right out the back door!  Thanks, Dot… we’ll do it again the next time you stay with us!

A little about me…

Wife. Mother. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Student. Adventure-lover. Photo-taker. Book-reader. Organic gardener. Granola-maker. Green smoothie drinker. Snowboarder. Soccer-player. Aspiring rock-climber. Sometime health nut. Passionate about justice and mercy. Adoption advocate. Business owner and jewelry designer. Wild at heart. Crazy-blessed to live out in the country with my awesome family.

Photography Website:

Contact Me:

sunfreckled@gmail.com
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do." {Helen Keller}

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