Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Battlefield

There are days that arise like the one this last weekend. They are filled with tears and prayers. My tears are of a mother who so longs to hold her children. They are the tears of a mother who knows that one of her children has endured much suffering. On these days it helps to talk to Dolly and Maxim so far away. While they can't hear me, I ask Father to speak to their little spirits and impart to them the love I cannot give them. He can give them everything they need, more than I am able. I ache to hold them, to feed them, to love them. On these days I can feel so small, like an ant. The world feels large and me so helpless.

Some of the deep pain I was experiencing was rejection. I was feeling the pain of rejection Maxim and Dolly have felt in their spirits. We began to experience this rejection ourselves. We've been unfriended and ignored and disapproval shown in ways like deafening silence. It blessed Randy and I as we realized our beginning walk on the lonely road of redemption for the fatherless. The Lord began speaking to our hearts in intimate ways about his own grief and rejection. Whatever rejection we receive is nothing to what Jesus endured. We embrace this as precious growth for our own hearts and opportunities to love our enemies and forgive. We reflected on the pain of the Fathers heart as he looked down on the cruel death of His son, the Redeemer.

My sweet Daddy in heaven gave me these words to meditate on:

You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.
Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precept with all my heart. Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. I know Lord, that your laws are righteous,and in your faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I might live, for your law is my delight. Psalm 119:68-77

Part of the battle is being willing to be afflicted. Wow! This was difficult for me to embrace. My flesh screams OUCH! We are called to walk the road but we thank God that this battle is not ours. It's our call and it's our walk but the battle belongs to the one who goes before us, the One who prepares the way, the One who breaks chains and frees the slave.

This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Go out to face them and the Lord will be with you. 2 Chronicles 20:15;17

We praise you Jesus for the lives of children! They are blessings!

There is a saying that goes something like this.... On the day you were born there was much crying and rejoicing...live your life in such a way that when you die, you leave others with much crying and rejoicing... I am certain I butchered it. Someone posted it the other day and I was struck square in the face with the fact that hundreds of millions of children WERE NOT born to rejoicing parents. 150 million children are alone, starving, enslaved. God forgive us for not caring and for sitting blindly by as we pass judgment on others. "It's not our fault. We didn't do this." "That's messy and ugly." "We'd have to give up our THINGS." "We can't adopt. We like to travel too much." "Kids like that you might have to care for forever." "Don't post those pictures. Those are not for children to see."

Who will go? HERE I AM LORD!

So if I lose friends, Jesus BLESS THEM and LET THEM KNOW YOU LOVE THEM! If my family rejects me, Jesus touch their hearts and fill them with your everlasting love and grace! But Father, if there is one thing I ask it is to be found faithful. Through tears I cry, enlarge my heart and afflict me! Burden me with the love you have for the lost that I might never become numb to the cries of the hurt and broken.













Thursday, May 6, 2010

Our Adoption Announcement

This journey we have been walking on, in search of justice and restoration of the orphan has taken us along new pathways of discovery into the deeper love our heavenly Father has for his children, his creation. Randy and I are ministered to as we see the relentless and pursuing love Christ has for his children. We have been moved by his mercy and the grace that comes from living within his design for our life. It is not without trials and daily recommitment of our hearts and minds to his plan. (Romans 5:1-3, 2 Cur. 12:9) We are amazed the weaving of this plan and those innermost desires he plants within our hearts. (Psalm 37:4)

So many of you followed our journey to Grace in Ukraine in 2004 and have seen the transformation in her life. I remember so vividly our pediatrician (whom we love!) admitting to me a few years after Grace had been with us that she had been afraid for us after meeting Grace for the first time. FAS and the institution had weighed heavily on Grace and it was apparent to our doctor. I’ll never forget her looking at me and saying, I don’t know what to do to help her but I will sign anything you want for you to take her for the best help. We have been grateful at her honesty and humility. Well, the best help is the only true Healer- Jesus Christ! Unprepared and ill-equipped ourselves to “reach” her, God used this time to bring us to our knees. Like Hannah dedicated Samuel, we had to release the burden we felt inside to heal Grace ourselves. We have never known relinquishment as we have with her. She is his and he knows every facet of her. (Psalm 139:15-16)





We continue to work on many areas of difficulty such as judgment/reasoning/listening/visual perception/memory/auditory processing. With that said, she is gentle natured (most of the time- smiley face!), vulnerable, relationship oriented, loving, and is drawn to worship by the Holy Spirit. It is our prayer that she is so connected to her heavenly Father that it doesn’t matter what her brain understands, she will know Truth by her spirit! (Mark 5:34) This is true for all of us. It doesn’t matter what we can do, but it matters that we are poured out of ourselves that we might be filled up with the One who can do all. Grace is my constant reminder that with God all things are possible. God chooses the weak things, the lowly things, those despised by the world and he transforms! (1 Cor. 1:28-31)




And so now the journey continues to Dolly, our beautiful leader on the other side of the world. We already sense in our spirit that this girl will not be held back. Spina bifida does not seem to faze her. She is a warrior! We are moved once again as we have seen God provide just the amount we have needed at just the right time. When a payment was due, we would look in the account and see that within dollars, we had the funds to pay.

The update on our adoption process for Dolly is that we have about $3,200 left plus travel costs ($2,000 per person airfare + lodging)! We are almost there! So many of you ask when she will be joining our family. Because her country processes a very small number of adoptions per year and they have had some challenges with changing over to the new Hague laws, they are working through some things administratively. We are told to expect 9 months from the time of submittal of our dossier. That time should start mid-summer with most likely a spring/summer 2011 travel. We are thankful that she is in a Christian orphanage and receiving love and eating well! Oh how I long to show you updated photos of her! We have signed an agreement not to release any information about her real name, where she lives or photos. If you visit with us in person we would love to show you the hard copy photos we have so just ask! :o)

And so now, onto the reason for this letter:

In 2006, I was able to travel to Ukraine to work with caregivers of two orphanages and one mental institution regarding feeding issues with the children as it relates to failure to thrive (from lack of attention). This had been our initial greatest challenge upon bringing Grace home. Her body so shutdown, we needed to get nourishment in her! This opportunity allowed me to spend time in the bedridden rooms at Torez mental institution feeding the children. Children with special needs (such as FAS, cerebral palsey, spina bifida, Down Syndrome, epilepsy- just to name a few) are sent here to live. Several of them die within the first year. In the baby houses (up to age 4) the children receive a better care and while it may still be considered substandard to the US it is eons above what happens (or doesn’t happen) in the mental institution.

I met teenagers the size of 4 year olds- still in cribs, their legs curving from the Rickets that had set in. I was able to brush away the flies from a ten year old girls eyes as she lay dying, the size of an infant. I was blessed to kiss and hug children who were mesmerized with me as if an angel had walked into the room. I felt honored to be standing in the presence of great purity. God’s most precious; the oppressed orphan. The Lord is very serious and clear about the treating of the fatherless and I stood amongst complete violation as I watched roses being tended to outside the window only to glance over at a child lying in waste. (Psalm 68:5) God spoke to my heart that day, that this was not the end of our calling. There would be more. At the time, I thought it meant an ongoing relationship with this place.




I met one boy that I knew had changed my life forever. His name is Maxim and you can see me with him here. He was four in this photo and had only been here for a month. Maxim has cerebral palsey. He was vibrant and filled with joy and in a way God can only do, I felt like he was mine. We inquired about adopting him but the director said no adoptions were occurring

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. Proverbs 15:30

from the institution and none of these children were registered. My heart sank at the thought of his whole life being spent here.
As I went from room to room and saw the children sitting and rocking in corners or running to me in hallways just to touch my hair or hug me, I was overwhelmed with that fact that in the midst of such despair, many of these children still had hope. I was brought back to my little world and how such small irritants in my life can cause me to become frustrated: A car breakdown, another broken appliance, a build up of to-do’s. I felt so trivial and shallow in that moment. Could it be that these kids, in their warped environment, actually know what is most important? I had to wonder. After our visit was completed, it was time to say good bye and you can tell from the look on my face, I wasn’t ready to let go.



I vowed to Maxim and to God at the time of this photo that I would come back for him if he ever showed me it was possible. I took video and photos of our time together and have kept them nearby. For the last four years I have prayed faithfully for Maxim and the other children in Torez.



About a month ago, I felt drawn into a deep place of prayer and began having many pregnancy dreams. I heard in my spirit that I needed to withdraw from usual business and seek some deeper time with the Father. I found myself crying a lot for the things breaking God’s heart. I believed at the time God was calling me to deeper intercession for others and that he was preparing us for something to do with Grace Haven. I couldn’t put words to what I was feeling internally. Randy knew that something was stirring in me. On April 12th, Grace Haven had a Light for the Way Adoption Night and still I wasn’t myself. Instead of wanting to stand up and talk about the orphan the way I love to, I felt my mouth being buttoned shut, as the move of God felt closer than ever. This same persistence of getting away with the Father was heavy on me. (Matthew 14:23)

Two days later I received a posting on Reece’s Rainbow in my emails about a little girl with special needs in Bulgaria whose adoptive parents had backed out and they needed to find a family soon. I knew that she was not mine, that God had not called us to her, and yet I found myself clicking on the link posted on my cell phone. As the link pulled up, my finger touched the screen and sent the page scrolling. When it stopped, my heart came up into my throat as my eyes landed on this photo. This is Maxim today! He will be 9 on May 21st. He bears striking resemblance to my father as a child. Our prayers for him have been answered- he is registered! He is still smiling and his eyes are shining with life.



Immediately Randy and I began praying and fasting. God, how can we possibly go after him when we are in the midst of adopting Dolly? It seems so much! With both joy and being overwhelmed we needed to hear God above all else. I see now why He had been drawing me into such a place of prayer for a while. I would need to hear His voice above all others. Is he ours, Lord or are we to advocate for him? We kept hearing; he is yours. We prayed for confirmations.
We shared with a few friends and asked them to intercede. We received the word “abundance.” In obedience, I searched the Bible for every time the word abundance was written. I was taken to Psalm 66:12-13 You let men ride over our heads (speaking of oppression);we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. But it is the next two verses that gripped me. Vs 13 and 14 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you- vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble. Vs 16-20 go on Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! Praise God that He has protected Maxim and opened doors! Shortly afterwards I was brought to Psalm 72:12-14. For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.

One evening in the midst of this time of prayer, we went for a bike ride with the kids. Randy pulled Grace and Rainan in a ride behind. We joked that we would need another one for my bike if indeed this was what God was asking! Shortly upon our arrival back to the house, a friend of ours called saying they were getting ready for a garage sale and wondered if we had need of one! I quickly said YES!

As we pressed in we decided to test the waters all the while asking God to shut doors if it was not meant to be. We began checking with all of the necessary people to make sure that pursuing Maxim would not jeopardize our adoption of Dolly. Each door seemed to open. Not only open, but provide favor. We believe that God allowed me to travel to Torez and that he would pour grace on me to see firsthand and that I would not be afraid or overwhelmed by this calling. We see these and our adoption of Grace as preparations for more to come. We stand on the testimony of what God has already done. We know he is a good God and his plans are for us to prosper and for each of his children to have a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

This last week Randy and I committed to Maxim.

Maxim’s adoption situation is different than Dolly’s. With Dolly we wait on country issues. With Maxim we will be able to go for him quickly. If funds are raised, we have been told that we could travel as soon as October, possibly September. With finances being our greatest obstacle, we learned that our social worker would do our home study for $400. An incredible kind amount considering the costs of home studies so that is already in the works.

When the enormity of the calling comes on me I rest in this:
I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars. And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places, in order that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by name. Isaiah 45:2-3
The hallways of Torez are dim. The only light coming in are from the windows so at night or on overcast days and long winters, the place is dark, cold and feels of death. This verse from Isaiah gives me the images of bars being broken off the windows, the ties that are around children to their beds ripped away for THEY ARE truly the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places.

Last week as we met in prayer with adoptive parents who are seeking the complete healing of their children, who have been abused, the Lord gave me this verse. The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be! Zechariah 9:16-17
As we prayed with the children about all of this, Holden got tears in his eyes thinking about me going back into the mental institution carrying the photo of Maxim and me. We thought about the joy of bringing it to him saying, “I came back for you!” We talked about the power of that promise and testimony and what that would do for his faith!

Today we are asking you to please pray about your role in the adoptions of Dolly and Maxim. We know there will be many needs beyond just getting them home. We know this is life changing so we would appreciate your support in whatever way God lays on your heart. (A friend of ours, little girl is making Capes of Hope – “Go God” capes and 50% of her proceeds she is giving to our adoption! She is 6!) If you would like to support us right now, there are two ways you can help:

1) Prayer. Please pray for us as we make our journeys to Dolly and Maxim. Please pray for favor in every aspect of their adoptions and that every detail will be handled with utmost care and attention. Please pray as we make adjustments in our home and lifestyle to accommodate the needs of these children while we balance the needs of our children already at home. We pray that every detail of this journey is glorifying to God and that many more orphans will be touched in the process. We are also praying for a 12 passenger van for our family as we will have outgrown our minivan. :o) We trust all of this is already in His plan and are thankful that he has placed you in our lives to support us and storm heaven on our behalf!
2) Financial Support. When it comes to fundraising, every dollar counts! Whether you feel called to give $10, $100, or thousands of dollars, please know that we are grateful for every dime and stand in faith believing that God will bless you abundantly for your generosity in more ways than you can imagine. (Luke6:38, 2 Cor.9:7)

We need to raise $20,000 to bring Maxim home. This includes everything from medical exams, visa, passport, travel and lodging. Our in country estimated stay is 3-4 weeks with the possibility of two trips so travel costs take up a lot of this estimate. (We won’t know exact airfare cost until we go to purchase. Perhaps someone would be able to donate frequent flyer miles?) These costs are in addition to what we have left to fundraise for Dolly.

If you would like to give, here is what you can do:
1) For your convenience, you can donate through PayPal on our website at www.gracehavenhome.com by clicking on the Donate button. As you fill out the PayPal form, you will see a “Comment” space. Please write “preference Kacirek Adoption.”
2) You may also send a check to Grace Haven Ministries, P.O. Box 956, Rogers, AR 72757 Please write "preference Kacirek adoption" in the memo line. Grace Haven will send you a tax-deductible receipt at the end of the year.

We invite you to come along with us by following us on our blog. http://kacirek.blogspot.com I have been silent on there while we have been working through much in prayer, but I plan to begin updating to let everyone know new developments and prayer requests. Thank you if you have made it this far into our letter!

We are overjoyed, humbled, in awe at His workings!

We can’t begin to thank you in return for petitioning heaven or providing funds that will place a life in our home. There is no act, word or repayment that would ever adequately convey our gratitude. We simply get to be blessed by watching a child the world would throw away, blossom. We will be equally blessed as Dolly and Maxim.

If God is touching your heart as you have read about our story today, you can go to www.reecesrainbow.org If you click on the waiting children page you can see the faces of special need children who are facing institutions like Maxim if they are not adopted. We are advocating for Victoria (1) and Natalia (1) on the other angel’s page. If you would like to learn more about how to adopt them we would love to help you! And if God is calling you to foster/adopt, international or domestic adoption, Grace Haven would love to help you learn more!

We pray you are blessed!

With love,
Tina with Randy
gracehavenministries@gmail.com




Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27