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Category Archives: Baby Steps

Posts in this section are pertaining to my “baby steps”, in seeing where God is going to lead me and my family.

Treasures, Not Trash

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First off I must say a big WOW!  Wow, wow, wow, wow!  I am overwhelmed by all of the support I have received from you all, my readers!  Over the course of the last few days I have had almost 8,000 visitors to my blog and I am truly shocked and overwhelmed!  So thank you all for your support!

In light of my most recent post  No Words,  many of you were so very understandably angry at how something like this could happen.  The answer is simple, God gave us free will.  He allows us to choose, without intervening.   And when evil takes hold on someone and they act in an evil way towards someone else, God cannot do anything to stop it even though His heart is breaking.  That was a really hard lesson for me to learn and accept.  But I too was so angry once, still am, but now I get it.  It isn’t God’s fault, it’s ours (as people). So WE must rise up to change it.  I truly believe He will bless us and guide us step by step, as I have seen Him do in my own quest.  His love for these sweet kids, in every situation around the globe is so immeasurable.  He has not forgotten them.  Every hair on their head is irreplaceable to Him.

My real agenda here is to answer one big question that I got from so many of you and that question is;  “How can I help?”

Truly at first I did not have an answer.  I myself have  been waiting for God to point me in the next direction, an action direction.   But then I started thinking about it and I think I have the answer, or at least an answer for now.

Folks there is so much you can do to help.  The need is so overwhelming and the feeling of not being able to do enough to make a difference is common.    So I am going to give a simple list that may point those wanting to help in the right direction.

  • First off,  prayer is HUGE!  I cannot stress this enough!  God sees every one of these children and cares for them deeply and passionately.  They are His children.  He loves them the same way I love my own children.  They are of His heart and I know it aches for them and their plight.  When you pray for them, He hears you, every time.  So pray fervently and trust that He is listening, loving and helping.
  • Secondly, Educating yourself and sharing what you know can help.  We are power in numbers and can reach so very many closed minds with this knowledge.  I have spent so much time and tears writing the information contained on my blog and encourage you to read read read.  Then, share what moves you.  Don’t be afraid of those who say they “can’t or “won’t” look at it, just share without fear.  When you share, it could save a life.  You could be playing a pivotal role in an orphaned child finding their forever family.  Helping to open ones heart to a world they may never have known otherwise, and finding their child who has been lost in the system.  Or perhaps find their true calling.  All because YOU shared.
  •  Advocate, blog, share your love of children with the world.  I am here if you need advice on that 😉
  • Check out:  http://reecesrainbow.org/waystohelp   . Reece’s Rainbow is a huge and amazing organization who loves these kids greatly.  This adoption site has all kinds of ways you can help these kiddos.
  • My wonderful friends Kim and Jed recently moved their whole family to Ukraine to DO something to help make a difference and let me tell you how awesomely God has blessed them and what they do.  Please check it out, it’s truly phenomenal.  They are all about improving the quality of life for these kids.  http://wideawakeinternational.org/vision/
  • Pleven is known as one of the worst orphanages there is.  So many children perished there from pure neglect and starvation.  I have had the privileged of talking with adoptive parents whose children barely made it out of there with their lives and are now thriving and loved to peices!  Luckily the condition of one of these kids made it to the spotlight and changes have begun!  You can read about that lovely child, little Katie who came from Pleven, here : http://theblessingofverity.com/2013/12/god-won/  .  Pleven has now launched a new program as a way to let others help them meet the great need in this place, which you can see here:  http://www.plevenproject.org/  .  You can also read about it here: http://theblessingofverity.com/2013/12/the-p-l-e-v-e-n-project/  .
Little Katie at 9 years old

Little Katie at 9 years old

Well folks I hope that this helped to answer some of your questions.  Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have more!  Thank you all once again!  I truly believe that if we are willing to step out in faith and do something, anything, we can make a difference to even just one child.  All of these abandoned, abused, neglected children who are seen by those responsible as trash, are really precious treasures just waiting for a chance.

“God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.”
― Mother Teresa

Is it Enough?

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I have spent my life oblivious.  I had had no idea that there was so much need in the world outside my little bubble.  I certainly had no clue that there were so many orphans in such dire circumstances.  Not that I am a selfish person (at least I hope not!), I just wasn’t aware of the orphans plight.  I was never shown, and I never really stumbled onto it until recently, as you all know.  I have spent many years thinking to myself that I would be happy with one or two kids, and someday when they were all grown up and had moved out, I would get to enjoy MY life, MY way.  I never thought about adoption.  Not that it wasn’t something I thought of as wonderful, I just honestly never thought about it.  I know, I know, I was really oblivious.

Now, I must say that when it comes to my family, it pains me that these precious years with my children to go by so quickly.  I make sure to savor every moment.  In fact, sometimes I wish I could press the pause or rewind button on life with my kids (and husband).  It goes by way too quickly, and that scares me when I really stop to think about it.  Parenthood is the most beautiful, priceless adventure I could imagine in life.

But you know, in the grand scheme of things, I was like everyone else, running the race and waiting for the “finish line”  when my days of child rearing were done, and I could cash in my tickets of mass sacrifice for a more fun and relaxing lifestyle.

Well, a funny thing happened when all this new knowledge came into view.  How do I say this?  Uh, hmm…well you know that feeling when God taps you on the shoulder and then whispers something in your ear that you weren’t expecting to hear?   (I realize for many people that God tapping you on the shoulder might sound a bit weird.  I know it’s something not all of us have noticed or experienced.)   You know I have to say, every time this happens to me it’s always something I wasn’t expecting to hear so I can’t pretend to be shocked by this!

I started to feel like I had more to live for.  I am not talking about the family I’ve been blessed with not being enough.  I am referring to my own selfish desires for the future.  I began to feel like God was putting a magnifying glass on my life.  And I was beginning to see that I may no longer be a two-kid-maximum mother.  The fact that I was feeling like more children are a significant possibility for our future quite frankly freaked me out.  After realizing this, I had a much needed discussion with my husband.  Obviously it matters where he stands in all this too. What if I was alone in this?  What if God had not worked in him yet?  What if?

It turns out that my husband also feels the pang in his heart, which makes this way easier for me.  When this all started, I was terribly afraid he wouldn’t understand what I felt in my heart God was asking of me/us.  But thankfully that hurdle was removed for me, thank God!

I must admit though that it is still a very sobering and intimidating thought that God may someday tell us it’s time to expand our family.  Maybe we will have another baby?  Maybe we will adopt?  Maybe we will be asked to adopt from a foreign country?  Maybe we will be asked to adopt a child who has special needs?  Maybe we will be asked to adopt more than one child?  What about the expense?  Surely we do not have the ability to fund an adoption.  God knows, I do not.  What I do know is we just need to be willing to accept His will, and we are.

Being willing has its flaws though.  I find myself always asking “the question”.  Just about every time I read a blog where someone is advocating for a child, I ask.  When I do my regular check ups on the adoption sites to see who has been transferred/adopted, etc., I ask.   Each photo I see of every sweet baby (yes, all of them are babies, no matter the age) in desperate need of loving home, I can’t help but ask the question, “Is this our child?”  Every face I see staring back at me has me wondering if any of these children are meant for us.  They are all deserving.  They are all suffering in some way.  They all NEED a family to love them.  Who am I to decide who deserves it more than the next?

To be honest, I couldn’t choose.  So I pray.  I pray that we will know: when it’s time, which one is ours, how to provide the means necessary to do what we are supposed to do.

I never in my life knew about these kids or their plight, neither in the U.S. or abroad.

I never thought about adoption.  I was just dandy with the idea of having one or two kids of my own and the relaxing life I had always envisioned.  Now all I have to say is… here we are!

So for those of you wondering why this lady who runs and adoption advocacy (etc.) blog, has not yet adopted a child herself, there’s your answer!  I could be completely wrong on what God was trying to tell me, but I doubt it.  I suppose He could change His mind if God does that sort of thing.  Whatever may come, my husband and I are along for the ride!

A side note:

Do I think that adoption is all we are going to be asked to do?  No, I do not.  Despite the amazing gift adoption can be, I do not believe that is enough for us.  Please, do not take offense to this statement, adoptive parents!  That was not meant to say that you haven’t done an incredible thing.  All adoptive parents have made a choice to “do something” to help a child/children.  Whatever the reason behind your decision to adopt, I commend all those who have chosen to give an orphaned child a real chance at life.  I know that for everything that comes along with that choice – the hard work, the sacrifice, the tears –   there are also incredible and immensely beautiful rewards.   Here  is a very sweet glimpse of what one of those rewards looks like: 

Thank you to my friend Melanie for allowing me to share this video of her sweet son (above).  To learn more about this precious boy and his story, go here: http://happyhartmanfarm.blogspot.com/search?q=judd

So with that said, for us,  in this family there has to be more.  How do I know this?  I know this based on how God called me into this extremely foreign field of serving.  He placed so heavily on my heart orphans and children who have suffered extreme neglect, violence, and abuse.  Now I know that in many cases, these are one in the same.  However the way it was shown to me was very clearly separated.  The main goal is to help ALL of these kids.  Their circumstances ALL must change.  Their lives MUST NOT be in vain.

God Bless!

Andrea

My Revelation

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Well, it’s official!  My blog is up and running!  Hallelujah!  I first want to say thank you!  Thank you to those who believe in me and encouraged me to take this step.  Grant and Erica, your support is invaluable, and I love you guys!  Thank you to anyone who takes the time to really READ the pages of this blog which I have worked so hard to prepare.  I strongly encourage that if anyone is visiting my blog for the first time, please fully explore each section.  The goal of my blog is to educate and advocate!  I have poured my heart and soul out onto these pages and have great hopes that it will reach people and make a difference.

I want to warn everyone, I am at the beginning of this journey.  I have grand ideas about what the future might look like in terms of helping children all over the world.  Namely, improving the systems responsible for orphanages in foreign countries and in turn improving care for the children in said places, as well as somehow improving the foster care system and adoption industry in America and all over the world.  It is obvious that in all of these places, the safety and well being of the children are not the main goals, and far too often it is money driven.  So to be quite forward, I am not advocating for children so that they might end up in an abusive home living with parents who have sinister motives. Unfortunately, that happens too often as well.

Romanian orphan, tied to his bed. Oh, my mom heart!

Many things I have written for this blog may be hard to digest.  In fact, I was recently having coffee with a good friend (you know who you are), and I was telling her about the things I had learned while “digging”, as I call it.  Her response was one I sort of expected, something along the lines of, “I don’t know how you were able to watch that!” or “I couldn’t have handled reading that.  It would make me too sad!” or “That would depress me too much.”  At the time, I didn’t think about it too much, but afterwards it hit me like a ton of bricks… She feels how most people are probably going to feel.   Like they want to run the other way for fear of the raw emotion that may emerge by learning about these things.  Fear that they are just one person who cannot do anything to help or change the plight of these kids, so why go  through the pain of learning?

I will tell you, at the beginning of this journey, I was the same as everyone else, avoiding things that produced too much of a real emotional upheaval.  I didn’t want to be depressed!  But as God took me down this path, I realized that I NEEDED to feel, really FEEL!  Feeling the walls crash down around me, in my cozy life, and having my heart break was a necessary step.  I have spent many days and hours on my knees begging God to tell me how He could let this happen to children!   I have spent so many days in deep prayer, depressed and lost as to what to do.  After so long of asking God the question of “how”… I got an answer.  It’s not “how”, it’s “what”.  “What” was I going to do about it.  I realized that God did not do any of this, it’s people and free will.  It was clear to me that God wanted me to know how Satan gets a hold on people and the evil that can come out of that.  So, what I am trying to say, in way too many words,  is this: I had to be shocked for this cause, I had to be depressed for this cause, and it was necessary for me to be moved beyond my comfy perimeters and have my eyes opened to see more, to see what others don’t even realize is there (I was one of them).  I needed to see the suffering endured by these young and precious lives.  It was all needed so that I could be changed.  The way I think, the way I view others, the way I see my own children, and the way I live my life.  He helped me to see my selfishness.  My selfishness to desire a life where I get to do what I want and not think of anyone except for my little family unit and our happiness.

He heard my prayers for wisdom, and He gave me a deeper understanding about what really goes on in the world.  He heard me, and now He breaks my heart for what breaks His heart.  It has been LIFE CHANGING!  For the better I might add!  This is what clarity is!  My heart now feels free, like the sky is the limit for His glory!  I find myself wondering how could anyone go through life NOT EVER feeling this!  It’s miraculous, and it’s just the beginning!  I have no idea what God has in store for our family, but we are all on board and ready to follow when He says “Go”!  I hope that all who come here and read this are willing to go as well.  See where this knowledge takes you.  Maybe God has a plan for you in this.  And maybe not.

Please, I ask, just don’t be afraid to learn.  These children NEED us!   They need us to be their voice because they are suffering in silence.   Maybe you aren’t going to be asked to adopt, because adoption isn’t for everyone.  Maybe God will use this information as a seed planted in your heart, which will grow and lead you to adopt or to start your own journey to help the kids of the world.  We are all called to care for the orphan (James 1:27) but in different ways.   Maybe all He is going to ask you to do is to have the courage to help share a child and their story with the world.  Whether it’s via Facebook, Twitter, email lists, church groups, a chat with a friend, really whenever, wherever.   All you may be compelled to do is press the “share” button, which would be greatly appreciated.  You just never know how something that seems so small, like sharing or reading some strange woman’s blog, can change or save a life.

Thanks for visiting and God bless!

Andrea

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