Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Modeling our new Reece's Rainbow shirts

These are the logos on the shirts we hope to wear to the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit VI next week!
And THESE are two very real examples of former orphans whose lives and futures were saved because of the ministry of Reeces Rainbow. Before, they were just pictures on a page and were hidden away in orphanages on the other side of the globe; now they are our wonderful sons with their own mommy and daddy and brothers and sisters and poppy and grandma.

Wow! This smile is absolutely priceless. Those of you who have followed Steven's story know it has been a long time in coming!

Sorry, Caleb was a bit bummed that I called him away from Clifford, the Big Red Dog to model a shirt and take endless pictures. He was not interested in standing anywhere near still.

ZooBoise--April 19

Steven on the baby tiger near the actual Tiger Exhibit--above and below.
Below: B on the same little tiger.
Here's Steven the tortoise
Here are B and Steven astride the Komodo Dragon

Here's Steven inside an imitation termite or ant hill
J on the camel
J waiting to be hatched
Look Mom! There's two hatchlings in that shell.

On Monday the 19th our kids were all out of school for a teacher in-service so after Caleb and Steven's occupational therapy we all headed for Boise. My Dad was to be honored later that night at the Southern Idaho District Council of the Assemblies of God in Nampa for 50 years as an ordained minister and I wanted our family to be there to show our love and support. (Kevin wanted to go, too, but it didn't work out due to job schedule.) Funny thing was that as we turned into the Rose Garden there by the zoo, who should be standing out in the parking lot but my mom, dad, brother and sister-in-law!! So of course, we all had to pile out of the car and exclaim and hug and chat and fan ourselves (82 degrees!!) Finally we went our separate ways until the evening service.

The Crew and I went on into the zoo. I was pleasantly surprised at the addition of lions and giraffes since I'd been there last and I really was impressed with the whole Africa exhibit. Sorry the pictures don't show everyone but the girls took Caleb and kind of went off on their own.

By the way, the evening service was great (the speaker was absolutely hilarious while getting across the eternally significant meaning of the word "grace") and afterwards there was a time of finger foods and chatting. It was about 2:15 am on Tuesday when I tumbled into my beddy-bye.

Attack of the Monster Bubbles

"Mom, you'd better go check on the boys!" Those were the famous words my daughter said as she came (grinning?) out of the bathroom. Yes sirree!! Somehow (no one will admit doing it) the jets got turned on in the bathtub and a little bit of bubble bath grew and GRew and GREW! There was no way I could get the bubbles off of Caleb and Steven in that mega-mountain of soap so into the shower they went for a rinse and a scrub and another rinse. Shaking my head, rolling my eyes, and chuckling.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Christian Alliance for Orphans-Summit VI

Guess what! Kevin and I are planning to attend the CAFO Summit VI in Minneapolis later this month!! And we just received our approval for individual membership in this wonderful organization. I am so excited. As far as I understand it, this summit is a meeting of organizations, churches and individuals who are passionate about caring for orphans in their distress. Besides the general sessions there are 6 different break-out times and during each of those break-outs a person has to select from a list of about 8 different sessions (close to 50 sessions offered). It was so hard to decide because ALL the classes sounded so beneficial. Some pertain particularly to adoption ministry, some to foster care ministry, some to overseas orphan ministry and some are required classes for people actually in the adoption process from a Hague country.

Here are the classes I signed up for:
1. Understanding childhood development of overseas orphans
2. Orphan permanency: How can we achieve it?
3. Church-based orphan ministry 101: Overview
4. Church-based orphan ministry 201: Foster care
5. Church-based orphan ministry 201: Adoption
6. Understanding HIV/AIDS and the orphan

Kevin signed up for:
1. Church-based orphan ministry 101
2. Church-based orphan ministry 201: Adoption
3. Engaging church leadership
4. Orphan care ministry where there is no local church presence
5. A theology of adoption and orphan care
6. The church as an alternative to the foster system

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adoption: What a Beautiful Option

While our family was in Mexico over Spring Break I was surprised to have the opportunity to speak in two different churches there about my passion for adoption (through an interpreter, of course)

Here is the gist of what I prepared to share with those lovely people.

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep one self from being polluted by the world.

It is estimated that there are 143,000,000 orphans in our world today.
*God created every one of them in His image
*God personally knows and loves each one
*Jesus died for each and every one

But to me, 143,000,000 is a number I can't truly comprehend. Maybe this will help: if you were to read the names of each of these precious children at the rate of one per second it would take over 4 1/2 years just to list each one one time--and that is assuming that no more children were orphaned during that time.

So what do we as followers of Jesus do?
First, I plead that we not do nothing. Sometimes when we are faced with such an overwhelming need, we just want to throw up our hands in despair, but we must not do that. Orphans are among the most vulnerable people on the planet subject to terrible abuses of many kinds as children and as adults much more prone to lack of education, difficulty finding a job, owning no property, poverty, resorting to prostitution, drug abuse, criminal activity or suicide.

143,000,000 IS a huge number but it is estimated there are at least 2 billion Christians in the world. Imagine what we could do if we ALL looked after orphans in their distress.

There are many good things we can do for orphans: build an orphanage, work in an orphanage, send money, send food, send clothes. These are all good things and if this is what God is calling you to do--do it. But I would like to challenge you to consider the adoption option. I believe adoption best mirrors what God has done for us.

God could have remained very neat and sanitary up in Heaven and just dropped money and food and clothes on our heads from time to time. He could even have packed up the money and food and clothes in a pretty gift box, tied a big bow on top and had angels deliver the box . . . but instead God sent his Son so that through the cross we might receive forgiveness of our sins and be brought into his family.

Ephesians 1:35 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will . . . .

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons, and because ye are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Romans 8:14-17 . . . because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. (KJV "adoption") And by him we cry, Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ . . . .

We who were spiritual orphans have been adopted into the family of God. We can call the Mighty God--the Creator of the Universe, "Abba" which is a child's name for his father like "Daddy" We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, given all the rights and privileges of sons and daughters.

Now hear what God does for those who are physically orphans:

Psalm 68:5,6A
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widow, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families
. . ."

I believe that God calls us as his kids to provide those families for the fatherless.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Birthday Girl--April 12

Happy Birthday, Sweetie. S chose to wear clothes from Aunt Debbie to school today. She was supposed to wear white on top and dark on bottom for a special band concert that was to be judged at our school today.

Then on Monday evening we completed the birthday celebration. Kevin brought her a single lighted candle and then we gave her a couple more gifts: a stuffed rabbit, chocolate frosting in a can, and her own package of pepper jack cheese. Don't laugh! She very much enjoyed them all.

Caleb and Steven looking on.

My daughter's birthday party--April 9

Our oldest daughter turned 14 this year. She wanted to have an over-night slumber (ha!) party so we had to schedule the event for a Friday rather than the actual day. We were so pleased that 5 guests came--in addition to sister and brothers and grandparents, of course. The decorations had a luau theme. The games were from "A minute to win it" Sorry, I guess we are stuck on that but I think everyone that participated had a lot of fun. We did cards, cups, water bottles and M&M games. The party started at 7:00 and it had to be around 10:00 pm when we were serving ice cream. My parents were the only ones that weren't staying overnight.
S and guests waiting for the party to start.
Here's T waiting to try her hand at the card game: 4 Kings, 4 queens, 4 jacks, 4 aces, 4 10's and 5 chairs circled around the central table. You have to put each kind on its own chair one card at a time in a minute. I can't do it but several participants succeeded.

Below S is showing the card and some of the sweet gifts she received from her birth mother. This was the first package she wanted to open.

The next several photos are of the lovely clothing items she received from her Aunt Debbie. Thanks so much.

The hair do-dads and aeropostale shirt were from my parents which were about the only things on her birthday wish list.
I was so tickled that we were able to totally surprise her with a cell phone and minutes card. She was ecstatic and almost crying. I think she had given up on asking. I have been pretty hesitant about a cell phone but this is one where she is totally responsible for buying more minutes so it will not only be lots of fun for her but also provide good practice at budgeting, etc.
She got some of that wonderful "green spendable stuff" from Grandma Kathie and Uncle Ed.
She even go a coupon for some free food item--ice cream, pizza, I can't remember what?
Our last contest was a cake decorating contest where the girls were split into two teams and S was the judge. She wisely decided that she liked them both. Our kids have decided they like homemade cake better than store-bought which suits me fine.

Here's a birthday kiss from the birthday girl. You can see that Kevin in the background had tried to dress "tropical" to fit the luau decorations.

Here's the living room what seemed like SEVERAL hours later. Most of the guests were still holed up in S's room laughing and talking. T, B, and J were out in the living room watching a movie. I had to move the boys out of there so the rest of the girls could move in. In spite of the continued racket--or maybe because of it--I think the party was a success. And I must say the girls really tried to hold it down to a dull roar.