More Alike than Different

R and I went to the library today and the first book she picked up for me to read was called, “Lullaby (for a black mother)” by Langston Hughes. I read this beautifully illustrated story of a mother singing a song to soothe her child to sleep,

My little dark baby, My little earth-thing, My little love-one, What shall I sing, For your lullaby?

I loved how Ruthie chose this book. She didn’t care of the color of the mommy or baby’s skin, she didn’t even notice. She just saw a mommy and a baby, pointed out the stars and the moon. She looked at what was familiar to her, not what was different. 

In a day in age when our differences seem to separate us more and more, I am reminded by this little one that we are all more alike than different. We all feel, we all hurt, we have good days and bad ones. We love deeply, we laugh, we cry. We are human, we make mistakes, we share in victories. Where people may look at Ruthie because she has Downs – she may look different, walk different, talk different, she shows us all that she won’t care that you see her differently. To her, you are more like her than different and she loves you all the same.

When Ruthie and her dad pray at night, he has her repeat a short prayer with him. The one phrase she has memorized is “more like You”. :-) She’s got that Christ-like love prewired in her and it makes me want to be more and more like Him everyday.

God’s upside down economy

I’m sure many of you have seen the hashtag, #givingtuesday today. In case you didn’t know, “#GivingTuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the giving season. #GivingTuesday was started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season (Black Friday and Cyber Monday)”. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giving_Tuesday)

What amazes me about this movement is not just people and organizations who rally behind different causes and advocate for them on this special day, but the wonderous generosity that I see come from this. I’ve seen a couple who are to be wed in two weeks give away half of their wedding gifts to charitable causes in their area. Even companies like Paypal, giving an extra 1% to whichever charity you donate to using their services. Just this morning, several of us posted a link about a girl named Shari, listed on Reece’s Rainbow. An anonymous donor offered $10,000 to other orphans listed on RR when Shari’s FSP reached $1,000. And just like that, Shari’s funds exceeded $1,000, and $10,000 went towards the adoption funds of various children in need. Reece’s Rainbow is near and dear to our hearts since it is a ministry that advocates for orphans with disabilities around the world and is where God led us to Ruthie! There is so much I could say about this ministry. Did you know.. there are people who pray for the orphans on Reece’s Rainbow daily? And ones who contribute financially to these orphan’s adoption funds, many times anonymously. I could go on.. but there are many rewards in heaven for those prayer warriors and supporters, I am sure!! :)

These words are true, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ When I consider what this holiday season means, it is really all about what we give, and then watch how the Lord multiplies. To the fatherless, giving even a little, goes a long way.

While we were in the process of adopting Ruthie, we were so blessed by the generosity of many who contributed financially to help bring her home. Seriously, blessed. One family donated funds so that we could hold a fundraiser luncheon for Ruthie, and it almost fully funded our entire adoption. Mind blowing multiplication right there! We are still shocked and amazed at how God uses these situations to show that He is big enough to provide for our every need, no matter how big or small.

Show Hope is another organization that advocates for orphans and helps bring families together through financial grants. Their kind donors blessed us with a grant and we were so blown away – we totally were not expecting it, as we had been denied for every grant we had applied for. The crazier thing is that while we visited Ruthie’s old orphanage in China, we saw this big blue building with white clouds painted on it, across the path from R’s orphanage. I asked our guide what this building was and she told us that this was where many of the severely sick and disabled children go, and where many pass away. Our hearts broke to pieces. Later when we got home, we saw a photo of that blue building. It is a care center funded by the same Show Hope that gave us our grant, and is called Maria’s Big House of Hope! See their GivingTuesday video or visit Gifts of Hope site and see what an impact gifts make in the lives of orphans everywhere.

We are so thankful that Ruthie is home, we are so thankful that we have a community to rally around us to support and love us and her through this process. It still feels like a dream sometimes. When she wakes up with all her crazy hair looking like a mohawk saying, “I love you, Mama, Babaa!!”, when she sings and says, “Jesus…” through out the day, asking us to pray with each new event.. it seems so surreal that she’s only been with us two months. But it could not have happened without the generous love, prayers, and support from all of you. We are so thankful to God and our only response is to love Him and others (though we fail a lot!), and give and bless, as we have been blessed. We are firm believers of God’s upside down economy.. He is one that shows us with five loaves and two fish, he can feed thousands. His economy is the only one where when you give of your heart, there is a guaranteed return on investment! With a few people who say, I will contribute to the cause of the orphans through prayer and whatever else I can give, He will care for them and He will bring the children home.

It’s more than awareness..

“We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes…” – David Platt

 

IMG_6426November is National Adoption Month, a month to bring awareness to the orphan crisis, kicked off by Orphan Sunday – the first Sunday in November. What we are realizing is that it is much more than just awareness, there is something deep in our hearts that we’ve learned and have got to share. We are privileged to be ones who have seen and experienced the blessing and great revelation of God’s love through the adoption of our daughter, Ruthie. We didn’t know that we would be ones advocating for the lives of orphans around the world.. We didn’t know until we saw them with our own eyes, the ones who truly have no one to speak on their behalf. The 500+ orphans we left behind in Luoyang City.. We will never forget their faces. Our call is not to save every single orphan, but we can start with one. We can start with prayer- and ask God the real questions of our hearts. Because the orphan crisis is real. Many fear adoption for reasons that are completely legitimate, however we know the greater truth is that adoption is redemption. It is the greatest gift God has given to us by calling us His own- without adoption we would all be lost.

 

10689739_10153274035574056_8560730655068999623_nThis print was created by a mother who is adopting not one but two orphans who are older children from China. It will be this family’s 5th & 6th adoption. Our hearts are full thinking of families like these- who would dare to say yes to the Lord again and again.. We are blessed by the mother we met while in China who was there adopting her tenth child with special needs. Her and her husband are having to move to a bigger house to accommodate their growing family – but it’s their family, and each one is worth it. Our hearts cried with the family we met who adopted a baby boy with a heart defect and brought him home and immediately had surgery. The boy went to be with the Lord a short time later. The family continues to adopt children.. their lives being used as a testimony of God’s faithfulness in the midst of trials and suffering.

 

I stumbled across the quote by Pastor David Platt that I began this entry with and started to learn about his story. His heart broke for the fatherless and he took his faith and put it into action:

 

“One day I called up the Department of Human Resources in Shelby County, Alabama, where our church is located, and asked, “How many families would you need in order to take care of all the foster and adoption needs that we have in our county?”

The woman I was talking to laughed.

I said, “No, really, if a miracle were to take place, how many families would be sufficient to cover all the different needs you have?”

She replied, “It would be a miracle if we had 150 more families.”

When I shared this conversation with our church, over 160 families signed up to help with foster care and adoption. We don’t want even one child in our county to be without a loving home. It’s not the way of the American Dream. It doesn’t add to our comfort, prosperity, or ease. But we are discovering the indescribable joy of sacrificial love for others, and along the way we are learning more about the inexpressible wonder of God’s sacrificial love for us.” –David Platt

My husband and I were shocked when we heard this. Say whaaaa?? A pastor challenged his congregation to not just be hearers of the word, but doers. And they took him up on it! One church got involved and said NO MORE fatherless children for their community, and just like that 150 orphans now had homes. Mind. Blown. What would the world look like if we took our faith that seriously? 



We have seen the power of prayer made manifest in our lives through Ruthie and feel in our hearts, in our bones, that everything that has happened to us has been for the glory of God. Our lives were meant to be lived for the One who gave it all up for us! What does faith lived out look like? We are just beginning to see.. We have a glimpse and we want more..


“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” Proverbs 31:8-9