Running

DSC_0789 (2)This week has been a challenge for my family. My brother ran away in a heat warning with only a pair of shorts on and my Aunt died. While my Aunt isn’t going to come back I am relieved to say that my brother did come home. We had to call the police and thankfully he came home before search and rescue came.

It was stressful not just for us and our friends as we looked for him but also for my youngest siblings. They have a fear of the police due to being removed from their home by the police in their birth country. My youngest sister burst into tears just at the mention of them coming. However, when they did come, the kids were very brave and I am so proud of them.

Despite the struggles that this week has brought it has reminded me of the importance of family and the reality of running away. Don’t we all run from something? We run from our fears and from uncertainty. We run to escape and sometimes in hope of finding something new.

Running away is not just running in the sense of hitting the pavement, it might be, but more often we run in other ways. We might run by pushing ourselves into our work or losing ourselves in books, tv, or video games. Running is not just about running or losing ourselves in harmful substances.

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I wonder what or who we are running towards. When we run do we have someone to run towards? I’m ever thankful that my brother came back. Though he left in anger and a whirlwind of emotions he knew he could come back. He knew where he was loved and would be safe. He knew where he could run to. Sometimes we run from the very places that we should be running to. I wonder how many times I’ve run from God only to realize that he is the very place I need to be running towards.

A greater concern for me at this moment is the thought of those kids who don’t have a place they can run towards. They don’t have the arms of someone who loves them that they know they can return to, who can hold them tight and safe. Someone they know that they can run towards.

It’s not just adoptive parents who can be this place of refuge for kids who used to have no one. We can all be a place that someone can run towards. That might just be a kind word or a helping hand or it might be something much bigger. Whatever the case might be, we can mirror the acceptance, hope, and love that we find in Christ. We now have a place of safety in the presence of our Father.

IMG_1309There is a little boy that I have talked about before – Zaki (https://reecesrainbow.org/76448/zaki). I’m writing about him again at the request of my youngest brother. It has been more than two years since I told him about Zaki and he still prays for him every night. The two boys were born in the same year (2009) and though being born in different countries (Eastern Europe and The People’s Republic of China) my brother feels a connection.

My brother periodically asks me if Zaki has been adopted yet, he’s worried that Zaki will not get adopted and will die. He remembers the time when he was still in the orphanage and was very sick, a far cry from today where he is healthy and flourishing. He fears that his future as it stood without a family will be Zaki’s future. A future that has changed and opened up to encompass many possibilities.

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My brother has even promised to go to China and adopt Zaki himself if he doesn’t get a family. Though this is not a possibility it shows the dedication that he has to this other little boy. Would you pray with me that Zaki will get a family soon? That he will have a safe place to run to? That there would be good news to give to two boys who are on either side of the planet?

Dear Lord,

Thank you that you are a place of safety and refuge. Thank you that we can run to you even if we were first running from you. Please help us to model you and also be a place of safety and refuge for others.

Lord, I pray for Zaki. He has been listed for more than four years and has yet to have a family come forward to call him their own. Please bring a family forward for him. A family that can love and support him. A family that can provide a place of refuge for him.

You know that my own brother has loved him and petitioned you for the life and future of Zaki. May his prayers be answered and a joyous sound be heard around the planet.

In your name, I pray,

Amen

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Siblings

media-share-0-02-06-64ecf59403b5d5a6f4c11aa7cfa51a628c7082cd2b3e5caf1588e4d20c8b8b9e-f7cd31a4-cbea-40af-b51e-82bc520a895a (2).jpgI was reflecting on my family this week. It is an easy thing to do when your Dad is out of the country for work and you have finished your studies. I have been able to put more focus into helping my mum and my siblings.

They are amazing kids and I love them all so much. This time while Dad has been away it has been very hard for my youngest sister. Dad’s traveling is not an odd experience but this trip has been especially hard for her. While the others also find it tough they have been doing well.

As I was saying, my youngest sister has been struggling. Seeing how the others interact with her has shown me how much they have grown. It used to be that they didn’t understand why she would act differently or be “naughty” but they are starting to understand that she isn’t feeling well. They are also starting to understand what it looks like when she isn’t feeling well.

My youngest brother went up to her the other day and put his hand on her arm and told her that it was going to be OK. He had recognized that she was struggling and was choosing to share in her struggle. This is a big step for him as he is three years her junior and has to work through what it means to pass her developmentally.

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Additionally, my other sister, who is only a year older than her, has exhibited remarkable patience. She used to struggle with showing our youngest sister patience and forbearance. She would snap or loose her temper. Watching her over the last few weeks I have noticed a change in her. She will talk calmly when our sister is struggling and help my mother and I as we navigate different struggles and triggers.

In reflecting on my family I thought of sibling groups that are waiting for families. As I looked through the sibling groups on Reece’s Rainbow (https://reecesrainbow.org/category/waiting-children/siblings) I was shocked to see Hadden and Hadley. https://reecesrainbow.org/82877/hadden-and-hadley

boys1I remember seeing their faces on the site a few years ago and I was sure that they would have a family quickly. It broke my heart to see that they were still listed. These twin boys were listed in 2014!!! Their pictures are old. The only information that is given is that they were born in 2009 and that they have a hearing impairment. It is my hope that they will NOT have to wait much longer for a family. Will you pray with me for a family to open up their hearts and lives to them?

 

Dear Lord,

Thank you for families. Thank you for siblings. Thank you that we can have someone who is there for us and that we can be there for them when they need it. Please help us to be better siblings not only to our biological, adoptive, and foster siblings but also to our siblings in Christ. May our Church family be marked by the love, concern, and care of close siblings.

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I pray that Hadden and Hadley will be able to stay with each other. Many siblings are ripped apart in order to try and find them a family who will adopt them, please bring a family forward to love and care for them that will welcome both boys into their home.

I pray that the boys’ connection with one another will develop and strengthen. I pray that they will be able to rely on each other. I also pray that they will learn to trust and love the family that you have for them.

May you be glorified through our relationships and the decisions that we make. May you be the one we turn to when the going gets tough and when there is reason to celebrate.

Thank you for the lives of these young boys. May they be enveloped by the love of a family who will support them and care for them. May they get the help that they need to succeed. Please grant them a family soon so that they do not have to wait any longer. They have waited long enough. May the tide change and a family come.

Thank you,

Amen.

 

 

Thankful

There is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! I am thankful for thought provoking classes. I am thankful for amazing professors and mentors. I am thankful to be able to coach an awesome swim team and work with some great students as their TA. I am also thankful for good friends and amazing family (my parents have been married 25 years this month!).

Speaking of my family, there are some challenging circumstances that they are going through at the moment. It has been and will continue to be a hard time in my family but I want to say that I am exceedingly proud of all of them. They have truly shown what it means to be gracious under pressure.

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As we continue to walk through this challenging time in life I am exceedingly thankful to our Father who is heaven. Despite our circumstances and those times our actions are less than gracious He continues to love and care for us. In His gracious love and mercy He has given us the gift of salvation through Christ and continues to sustain us through the Spirit.

Truly God is a good God. He is holy and His holiness perfects His love; a love which He chooses to show to us despite the trials we may face. For this I am so very thankful. I choose to rest in His love and strength as I walk with my family through this time and as I work towards the completion of my thesis.

These three are Sophie, Bronson, and Brenna (http://reecesrainbow.org/category/sponsorafamily/newcommitments). They have families that have committed to them and beginning the process of bringing them home. They are embarking on a long hard journey that won’t end when their children come home. Lives will be changed and it will not come easy but that does not mean that it is not worth it.

This year many beautiful children have made it home (http://reecesrainbow.org/category/sponsorafamily/alreadyhome2017). Surely this is a wonderful thing! May God be praised for His provision! Daniel, Mikayla, and Poppy Mae are among these children that are now home. Would you pray with me for God’s continual providence over their lives and their families? Would you also join me in a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness?

Dear Lord,

You have done great things this year. You have shown Your love and mighty power in the lives of children like Daniel, Mikayla, and Poppy Mae. Thank You that they now have a family to call their own. May You be glorified through their lives.

Please be with them and their families as they learn what it means to be a member of a family and what it means to love and be loved. Please be with them and strengthen them. May they know that You are with them both through the times of hardship and the times of great joy.

To You be the glory forever!

Amen

I just want to make one more comment – I am extra thankful for my wonderful sister. We are very close and though it has been hard since she got married and moved with her husband (a wonderful man) to the other side of the country she has remained a rock in my life. I am eternally grateful that God has blessed me with her. She is a great encouragement in my life and I do not know what I would do without her.

Tori and Nick

May we always be thankful!

Sibling Group in Latin America

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The picture above is of my four youngest siblings during the time my Mum and Dad were in country to adopt them. I look at this picture from three years ago and I am blown away by how much they have grown. Not only physically but also emotionally. They have adapted to a whole new way of life and a brand new language.

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We have become a family group that is learning to help each other through the hurts of the past and the struggles of the present. To accept our differences and love our ‘weirdness’. It is my hope and desire that children will not be left behind to work through their pains and struggles alone.

We have not been designed to be alone but to be in community. To have family and friends and people that we can rely on. At church this morning the sermon was on the hope that we have in God and how we can rely on His faithfulness. He is faithful through His promises.

As a children of God we can rely on our Father’s faithfulness but we are also called to action. We are to be people of faithfulness, not only faithful towards our God but faithful to other people. In our love of others we are to act as someone who they can rely on.

It is my hope that we can follow God’s example of faithfulness and be a faithful people. A people that children who are hurt and broken and looking for love can rely upon.

5-sibs-LA There is a sibling group in Latin America that is waiting for a family. They need the faithfulness of a family. Of parents who they can rely on to support them through the past hurts and the present struggles. A family that can help them cling to hope and grow into faithful people. http://reecesrainbow.org/121366/5siblings

Would you please pray with me that a family will come forward and bring these children into their home and call them beloved.

Dear Lord,

Thank You for Your love towards us. Thank You for Your faithfulness and for Your grace towards those that You have welcomed into Your family. Please help us to act in the same love, to act with faithfulness towards others in times of great joy and great sorrow.

I thank You for the close relationship that these beautiful children have with each other. I thank You for their love of art and sports. I thank You that they have the opportunity to attend school.

Please bring these children into a family so that they may continue to grow in their relationship with each other and have the support that they need. May You be glorified through their lives and through Your work in bringing them into a family of love and support.

May Your name be praised!

Amen.

 

The Un-Photographed Ones

There are many children who are on the waiting list for adoption who due to legal requirements are unable to have a photograph posted. Unfortunately that makes it a lot harder for them to be chosen. It’s hard to fall in love with a child’s face when all you have is a black silhouette to go by. However, this does not mean that they need a family any less than a child who has multiple photographs on their small profile.

On Reece’s Rainbow this week alone, there have been nine children newly listed who do not have the benefit of a photograph. Children like six year-old Marlon (http://reecesrainbow.org/120130/marlon), two year-old Barric (http://reecesrainbow.org/120121/barric), three year-old Mordecai (http://reecesrainbow.org/120119/mordecai), and five year-old Branden (http://reecesrainbow.org/120093/branden).

To make matters even harder a sibling group of five was listed this week and they are unable to have pictures of themselves shared (http://reecesrainbow.org/120126/5siblingsl5). It is so challenging to be adopted when you are apart of a sibling group. This is not without good reason as it takes a very special family to be able to adopt and raise a sibling group. It is hard work but that does not negate the importance of the children having a family TOGETHER.

Would you please pray with me for sibling groups like Friedrich, Kurt, Liesl, Louisa, and Brigitta? And for the other children who are waiting to be adopted but don’t have a picture to go along with their profile on the waiting children list? Thank you.

Dear Lord,

Thank You for children all around the world. Thank You for their smiles and laughter. It is hard to imagine children without a family. I know that You have a heart for the oppressed and the orphaned. Thank You that these children have a chance to get adopted. I know that the sad reality is that some children never get the chance.

Lord, please give these children a fighting chance. Please bring forward families to adopt them, to love them, and to care for them. May they be orphaned no longer. Please bless those that care for them currently and prepare those that You will bring forward for them.

For Your glory and Your kingdom, I pray

Amen

So you don’t go into visual withdrawal here’s two picture of me with my youngest brother. 🙂 Isn’t he looking good?

 

Wonderful Boys

It is often harder for boys to get adopted. While this is a sad reality there are many boys who are waiting for a mum and dad. Two of my brothers are adopted and they are wonderful kids. They are great and I am so glad that I get to call them my brothers. I hope that other boys who are waiting will soon be able to be called son.

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Avery has been waiting for a while, it was almost four years ago when he was listed in 2013 with Reece’s Rainbow. Avery was born in 2004 and has HIV (the theme for today). http://reecesrainbow.org/63522/avery-2

 

 

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Henley (b. 2008) also has HIV. In addition to his HIV he is listed as having a slight mental delay. He is described as being a very quiet boy. http://reecesrainbow.org/113974/henley

 

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Dryden was born in 2010. He has HIV and possible FAS, he is also listed as having hepatomegaly with splenomegaly (enlarged liver and spleen). http://reecesrainbow.org/98988/dryden

 

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Now on ‘my family found me’ page! Yay 🙂 Harrison and Henry are brothers who need to be adopted together. The older boy was born in 2011 and is listed as being healthy. His younger brother was born in 2013 and is listed as having HIV. http://reecesrainbow.org/119052/harrison-henry

 

 

Every one of these boys are ready and waiting for a family. Please pray with me that they will not have long to wait. If you feel called to do something more I encourage you to do as you are being lead! Thank you for your care and prayers.

Dear Lord,

Thank You for boys around the world. Thank You for their smiles and laughter. Thank You for their wide range of personalities and their potential to be strong, caring, kind, gentlemanly, and passionate. Thank You for the people that care for the boys who are still waiting for families. I pray that You will give them wisdom to look after them.

I pray for the families that You will bring forward who will call Harrison, Henry, Henley, Dryden, and Avery ‘son’. Please give the boys hope as they wait. May they have the medication that they need to be healthy so that they can grow to be the men that You have planned for them.

For Your glory and Your kingdom I pray,

Amen.

Hailey and Hugh

Yesterday was my youngest sister’s birthday and today is my youngest brother’s birthday. We have been having a lot of fun and our sister has come back for a visit so we are all together. Thinking about birthdays with my younger siblings always makes me happy but a little bit sad. I know they missed out on birthdays with family before they were adopted and I am so glad that they can now celebrate with people who love them.

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Hailey and Hugh are siblings who are waiting to be adopted. I chose them today because they are the same age distance apart as the birthday girl and boy in my family. Also like my littlest sister, Hailey can remember her birth family. It is hard when they can remember but it also brings about a greater joy when they choose to love both families.

Hailey is nine and while she struggles with developmental delays and vision issues she is described in very positive terms. Hailey is said to be easily distracted but is making improvements in her comprehension. Despite her small size, Hailey loves to help others and wants to be adopted with her brother.

Unfortunately Hugh is unable to live with his sister at the moment because of age and gender but they miss each other very much. He is said to be a very curious little boy who is reported to be cooperative and is able to follow rules despite the tendency to get distracted.

For families that qualify there is a $4,000 grant to help pay for the legal fees. Please pray with me that Hailey and Hugh will be adopted soon and be able to be together again.

Dear Lord,

Thank You for Hailey and Hugh. Thank You that You love them and have a plan for them. Please bring a family forward to adopt them, may they get to grow up together, to laugh and to love together.

Please bring a family forward to help them be all that they can be. To support Hailey and help her to grow into a beautiful young woman both inside and out; and to teach Hugh what it means to be a man who cares for others, who loves others, and who stands up for others. Thank you so much for this family, give them strength and patience when things get tough and the ability to celebrate the little victories.

May You be glorified in all things! Thank You for what You have done, are doing, and will do. May You be praised!

In Your holy name I pray,

Amen