Saturday, November 8, 2014

Orphan Care and Adoption

November brings Orphan Sunday and awareness as well as the celebration of National Adoption Month, all of which are very close to our family.

A few thoughts.....

Each time we travel to China, I am made more aware of the orphan crisis that the world faces.  One cannot fathom the need to care for these children.  There are MILLIONS of children who suffer without a family, without food, without medical care - seeing just a small portion of these children during our orphanage visits has changed our family.  One simply will not totally appreciate the need to assist in the care for these children until you have seen it firsthand.  Period.  Ryan and I were recently asked what we would/could say to encourage others to support a local ministry for adoption.  Our answer was simple - give.  Give your time to a family who is fundraising to bring home their newest family member - your donation is not to the family; it is to the CHILD - you are changing the life of a child whether you give $10 or $100. Give your support through prayer - prayer is what gets adopting families and orphaned children through each day. Give a monetary donation to an organization that is assisting in orphan care - there are many, hundreds to choose from - some even allow you to support a specific child with care and give updates on the child each quarter while others allow you to support education or health or medical needs for many children....the opportunities are endless.

This is an orphan.  A sick little girl who was recovering from a recent surgery.  10 months old.  What you can't see from this photo is the little guy beside her.  The one who will never be able to sit unassisted.  The one who drools uncontrollably while he cries out - maybe he is communicating or maybe he is in pain?  And the other little one, the one with Down Syndrome.  He or she, I honestly can't remember, is tucked over in a corner crib just laying there.  No toys to play with.  No parent to cuddle with.  These are the orphans.  And what about the hundreds of others that are enclosed in the same building?  These are children, babies, all of whom are having their physical needs met - they are some of the fortunate ones! - yet they do not know the feeling of unconditional love.  This is why adoption is so important to our family.  This face is why we will not ever be able to turn our heads from the children who wait.  Every child deserves to know love.  Every child deserves to have a family!

Many know our family.  Many others know our story.  Hundreds know our girls' faces through pictures and just from being out and about in our city.  One does not think about the fact that they were once orphans....they were once the babies in the crib recovering from a surgery, they were once the babies who cried out in hunger or because they were too cold....they were the children who had so much joy to share yet their caregivers were too busy meeting the needs of the other orphans to notice.  When you hear their giggles, when you see their bright smiles, it is so easy to forget that these three beautiful girls came from a life that not many of us can even remotely relate to.  They were orphans.

They are why we adopt.  They are why we will continue to support adoption.  They are why we will advocate for those who wait.  They are why we cannot turn our backs on those who wait.  They are why we will always strive to support orphan care.  They are why we are who we are.

"It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone.  To serve someone.  To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light.  This is the dream, and it is possible."  Katie Davis, Kisses from Katie

Thank you, girls, for opening our eyes and changing our world!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Halloween - 2014

Halloween week was an ongoing party for our crew!  Monday was pumpkin carving, Tuesday was our homeschool co-op annual Harvest Party - a party no-one wants to miss out on! - Wednesday was Fall Fest at our church - a night of jumping and sliding and train-riding fun! - Thursday was a little B&B - ballet and baseball with a visit from Gran and Pop to boot! - and Friday was the big day - Halloween!  Our sweet neighbors invited other neighbors as well as our family and we all gathered together for a little warm chili before heading out into the cool evening on our trick-or-treating trek!
 MK made the perfect cat for Halloween this year!  Watching her dance is always makes my heart happy - there is a peace about her as she twirls and her beauty shines.
 Miss Maddox, our stunning Sleeping Beauty.  
 This little one just makes me smile.  She may have changed her mind a gazillion times on what her costume would be, but each idea was fantastic and she would have rocked them all!
 Whether she is soaring solo through the air or twirling with her friends, she always radiates happiness!
 Everyone was glad to have some time with Gran and Pop!  So thankful they were able to come over and enjoy watching our talented young kiddos!
 Pryce played a fabulous game - catching a ball in midair and then hitting several good balls into the outfield!
 Halloween morning finally arrived....MK was most excited to discover our "Boo Bucket" tradition lived on!
 With treats for everyone, they all wasted no time digging in to the treats!  Fortunately, for them, there were no tricks involved:)
 Gran found this cute Monster Mash cake and Colin could not pass on the opportunity to see what it would look like on his own face???  Teenagers = fun times!
 Once all treats were opened, the children dove into their monster cake for BREAKFAST!  Yes, it was for breakfast and that is just how we chose to roll on this particular day.
 Our little pumpkin.
She makes us all giddy.
And brings smiles like no one else can to her siblings, they are amazed by her.
 The pumpkin tradition lives on - all five of our children have donned the pumpkin costume on their first Halloween and my biased opinion says that they are all the cutest pumpkins ever!
 Sweet Maryn took the evening all in.  When Maddox chose to forego a few homes, Maryn was full speed ahead shouting, "trick or treat."  She may or may not have let a few adults know that their candy distribution was not enough for her....and, as luck would have it, they would say, "awww, she is so cute!" and then give her ANOTHER piece!  One has to love being little!
 Our girls.  
 Four out of five....what a handsome young man that these girls get to call brother!
 I share these photos to remember how Maryn always imitates us........take not of MK's tongue.  I think she was adding this little detail in as part of her costume and her little sister was watching intently!
 I noticed MK's tongue and asked her to put it in her mouth and smile....she did and then wouldn't you know that our little Maryn popped hers right out for the very next photo!  
 Our biggest guy!  He manned the candy stash while we were out and about the neighborhood!  Then he joined some friends the following evening for a costume party - and I didn't even get a picture!  Ack!  He went as Facebook....very clever indeed.
 Our Princess
 Our Cat
 Trick or Treat
 Pryce headed out with his big kid friends and had no trouble filling up his pillowcase!
And with a little rain coming in, we called it a night but not before Maryn took one last house in!