Family Day

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Last Sunday was a very important day for my family and it broke my heart to be on the other side of the planet away from those I love the most. Every year on the day that our family, our whole family, became official a certain ritual takes place. For five years our family has celebrated my youngest siblings being grafted into our family. Due to the blood, sweat, and tears of many people, their adoption took place. Our family of five became a family of nine and I cannot express the profound thankfulness that I feel to be a part of my family.

I can’t imagine (nor do I want to) what it would be like if I didn’t have any member of my family with me in my heart today. It has been a hard road, and no doubt there will be plenty more bumps along the way, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Because of the love and dedication of my parents, and those blessed few who have walked alongside them from the very beginning, my siblings are growing up healthy, happy, and with opportunities and support they would not have received otherwise.

img_0585-1It is in part because of them that I am inspired to continue my studies, to connect and invest in other people’s lives, and I pray, one day to adopt. I am so thankful for all of them and while I could not be with them on the annual celebratory trip to the beach my heart, thoughts, and prayers are with them every day.

 

I cannot think of a better way to honour the love, time, and effort that my family has given to one another than to pray for another child (or in this case, three) to be given the chance of a family.

A particular trait is shared by Duncan, Bradlee, and MaryKate. I chose to pray for them specifically because of their shared medical condition. When I first entered university I began in the sciences because I had a desire to be a pediatric hematologist. I was, and if I’m honest, still am, interested in blood, but I started on this path because I was interested in thalassemia. I wanted to be a part of helping kids with this condition to be given the best opportunities to have a bright future.

While my path may not have lead to a medical degree, one thing I can do is pray for these kids. It is my hope that you will join me and that they will soon be home with families who not only provide a loving, safe, nurturing environment but are also able to provide the medical care that they so desperately need.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the family that you have blessed me with. Thank you for showing your steadfast love, care, and patience towards us while we stumble through life, learning how to love as you have loved us first.

I pray that as we continue to grow as individuals and as a family you will continue to point us towards each other and that through our relationships we can demonstrate and show who you are to those around us.

I thank you that we could and can live out within our lives the story of adoption. Through your love and compassion, you have welcomed us into your family, the family of believers. We can, because of Christ, stand before you with joy and call you ‘Father’. You welcome us into your arms. I thank you for what you have done, for what you continue to do, and for what you will do. I pray that by living out the reality of adoption we can be a mirror of our adoption into your family.

Lord, I pray for kids like Duncan, Bradlee, and MaryKate.

I pray that they will be seen. I pray that they will experience the love and support of a family. May they get the medical attention that they need so that they can live out their lives as you have designed them to.

You call all of us to live in community with one another in love. I pray for the strength and support for those who care for them now and for the family and friends that will walk alongside them in the days to come.

May you be glorified.

May we rejoice at your great work.

In your name I pray,

Amen.

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Duncan, Bradlee, and MaryKate all have Beta Thalassemia Major and have profiles on Reece’s Rainbow:

https://reecesrainbow.org/130143/bradlee

https://reecesrainbow.org/130083/marykate

https://reecesrainbow.org/130086/duncan-2

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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.

Kiddos

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?

 

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.

http://reecesrainbow.org/118285/hailey-hugh

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

Single Dads

Wow, so I haven’t written in a LONG time. I’m sorry about that. I could make excuses about how I’ve been studying for exams or how my sister’s wedding is in a month but that’s not going to change that I haven’t done anything.

Today I was looking on Reece’s Rainbow and clicked on the ‘available to Single Dads’ tag ( http://reecesrainbow.org/category/available-to-single-dads ). One of my good friends is a single dad and he is amazing, he loves his daughter dearly and she adores him. He has talked about how he has thought about adopting but is in school at the moment so he understands that right now may not be the best time.

Thinking of my friend reminded me of how very few countries allow for international adoption by single dads. I know there are wonderful men out there who would open their arms and welcome a child as a son or daughter. So I thought that today I would showcase some of the awesome kids who are able to be adopted by single dads.

Kids like:

Ryan who was born in 2012 and has a repaired cleft clip and palate, an amputated right ear due to infection, and a loss of vision in his right eye.

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Lianne who was born in 2014 and has down syndrome.

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Ricardo who is 10 years old and has a Cochlear implant and had a colostomy.

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And Charity, Levi, and Micah who are a sibling group waiting for a family. They are 12, 9, and 6 respectively. Charity is a few years behind in school because she didn’t have the chance to go to school before. Levi has untreated strabismus and has some learning disabilities. Micah has some mild speech difficulties but is doing much better.

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Dear Lord,

Thank you for all the single dads who love their children and do their best to care for them and help them to grow up to be the best that they can be. I pray for the dads who want to adopt and become a father for a child who does not have a family. I pray that they won’t be discouraged but will be encouraged and will walk forward in this path You have called them on.

Lord, I pray that the children who wait will have hope that they will be loved and that they are loved. Please help them to know that they are loved by You.

Lord, You have adopted us all. You are our Father. I pray that as we begin to understand what You have done for us that it will inspire us to also love those who are lost. That we too will open our arms and welcome children into our families as You have welcomed us into Your family.

In Your name I pray,

Amen.