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.

 

 

A New Year + Kieran

abbey and levi Xmas

I pray that everyone’s Christmas season was one of joy and peace. It is my hope that as we reflect upon Christ and what He has done for us in His birth, life, death, and resurrection that we will be strengthened in our faith and inspired to live a life devoted to God.

I do understand that Christmas is often hard for many people. I think of a young man that I have known since I moved to this country seven years ago. He died two nights ago. As I try to process this, my thoughts turn to his family and the sports teams that we were both heavily involved in. This will be a hard time for many. Instead of rejoicing as the New Year rolls in there will be heart break that at 22 he was unable to see another year.

Despite the hardship there is a few things that warm my heart. First, that his long battle and suffering in the grip of cancer is no more. Second, that our university was able to give him an early graduation – he was able to experience this achievement that he had worked towards. Third, and most important of all, he joined the family of Christ and can now see his Savior face to face. Fourth, I know his family was with him in the end. I pray that they may be comforted in this time and that his witness will also bring them into the House of the Lord.

I come now to my greatest hope. That in times of struggle, hardship, and yes, even death, we will have those that love and care for us by our side. It breaks my heart that many children, and adults, do not know the love and support of a family. May we, the Church, those of the family of God, stand alongside these people in 2018 and beyond. May we be family for these people. And for children like Kieran/Wesley who wait for a family. https://reecesrainbow.org/122861/kieran-3

Kieran was born in 2014 with Spinal Meningocele which has resulted in delayed psycho-motor development. He is able to be adopted and has $495 donated to help pay for some of the fees. Would you pray for Kieran with me?

Dear Lord,

Thank you for Kieran. Thank you for his smile. I pray that you will bring him into a family. A family that will care for him and protect him. A family that will help him to grow and reach his greatest potential.

Please prepare his heart and the hearts and minds of the family that you will call forward. May you provide support and care for them so that they may weather the hard times that are sure to come. But also have friends and family around them so that they may rejoice at the blessings and victories that will also come.

Please prepare us and show us how to be the support and care for others. Help us to know what it means to be a family and to be in a family.

For you and for your glory I pray,

Amen

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May you all have a blessed New Year!

 

Ever Thankful

Recently my sister wrote a letter to the Central Authority, Children’s Services in her birth country. This is what she wrote….

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is A_______, I live in Canada. I am twelve years old. I was born in Lithuania. My Lithuanian name was E_______. I was adopted on May 19, 2014 by C_______ and A_______. I would like to thank you for finding me a family.

Sometimes we go out to the beach on family day when we celebrate becoming a family. We take photos there and play in the water. We may go to the movies, or the park where we have fun as a family. At meal time we eat together, and talk, and laugh. When we go to bed Mummy comes up to pray for us!

On Sundays we go to church and we pray. A person teaches us about Jesus. On Holidays like Easter and Christmas we remember Jesus. On Thanksgiving we sit at the table and talk about what we are thankful for. I am always thankful for my family and friends.

Once a week I go to Youth Group where I can spend time with my friends and do Bible study! Sometimes our friends come to our house to play. We play tag, hide-and-go-seek, and other running games. We have lots of fun.

In the summer time we play water fights and take turns on the swing. We climb trees and eat cherries off of the trees in the back yard. We also say hi to our rabbits, chickens, and our barn cats.

We stay at home and do school with Mum. We can do school as fast as we want or as slow as we need. Daddy buys us the supplies we need for schooling and then the delivery truck brings the books. I read history that is about wars and about how we got governments. We read the Bible; it tells us about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and what miracles he has done! I read science books about how things work and where electricity comes from.

We also do drawing and art for school. I love to learn about different animals from all over the world. And on Fridays our friends come to do science experiments with us.

I love my family very much, I think being in a family is the most glorious thing there is. Thank you for finding me a family.

Sincerely,

A_______

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As we get closer to celebrating the birth of Jesus I am reminded that though the exact date of his birth is unknown we can still celebrate with joy. As my sister grows and learns what it means to be in a family she has shown joy and thankfulness for what she has. I think this is a testament for us this season. To be thankful for those around us that we celebrate with.

Though people we love may be missing this year and despite the hard financial times that many are in there is still a chance to be thankful. My sister has many things sheImage result for christmas could complain about and while she is not in a perpetual state of contentedness and thankfulness (who is?!) she does remind me of all the amazing things that I do have. Such as the great blessing of being able to call her my sister.

May this Christmas season find you ever thankful and looking to the One who given us so much to be thankful for.

Dear Lord,

Thank you that we can anticipate when Christ is coming again by celebrating when you sent your Son to us the first time. As we celebrate Jesus’ birth please helps us to remember why you sent him. So that we could call you Father. So that we can be joined in relationship with you as your children, saved and redeemed from the sin that had held us captive.

In your precious gift we have found life. May we be thankful for the life and for the love that you have shown. You gave Jesus, the eternal Son, so that we could be called children of God. You continually give us the Holy Spirit who cries “Abba, Father” with our spirits, testifying of who we are.

I pray that as we celebrate this year we will not forget those that still wait for families. My we show love and life to them as you have shown it for us.

Thank you,

In Jesus Christ’s holy name,

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?