Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tough Realities

    For those who are a bit squeamish, it might be very difficult to look at this.  We prayed about whether to share this.  Thought about his own privacy and whether there would be a day he would be upset that we would reveal.  A friend helped to make this as tasteful as possible but the truth is - this is what Maxim is living with.  This is what all of the planning and preparing for we are doing right now. 
    This is why we are asking for help.  Not for anything more than mercy that Maxim will not live one day longer than he needs to like this.  It is grace that he has not become infected.  It is beyond comprehension of ours to even think on living one day of his life. 

    You can imagine the questions Randy and I are working through as you probably share many of the same.  This is why we really need a nurse to come with us and assist us coming home.  In the best of scenarios, traveling overseas has its challenges - but now imagine this. Creativity and out of the box thinking is required for certain.  Conversations with doctors turn into talks on saran wrap and building a custom foam seat with a hole. 

    And however awkward it might all be, it's not only debilitating but life threatening for Maxim to continue living like this without any medical intervention.  We thank God for preserving his life, but we are pressing in and asking (and I won't lie - crying) for a deep compassion to fall on those who hear his plight and to pray for him.  Truly pray for him.  It is all we are asking for tonight.

    Like your child was lost in the woods and you would scream for people to come help you find them- this is my heart cry right now.  It's why it's really hard to answer the question, how is he doing?  This is how he is doing.  And the fact that he can put a smile on his face does not make THIS any better.  Children who live in distress for long periods of time, may get used to living that way, but they DO NOT LIKE IT. 
    I found some appalling information about spina bifida and the history of how society has treated individuals born with this diagnosis.  This link is written by a grown man who is a survivor of having his spina bifida left untreated.    He speaks of a global plague.  We know it is not just an attack on spina bifida but on all who are viewed as weaker and costly to human convenience and pleasure.

    In Armenia, at the baby house where we adopted Jubilee from, tiny precious babies with heads so large lay crying in pain.  The pressure of the fluid continues to build but no shunt means death.  I asked the sister why this was happening.  She said, not all of the children will receive surgery.  But she could not explain why some would and others wouldn't.  Jubilee was one of the very blessed ones.   We know it is an incredible gift from heaven that Maxim must have a mild case of hydrocephaly as it often accompanies spina bifida of his severe degree. 

    I love that he smiles and I love that he sees the world with hope. I love that he hasn't given up. That his spirits are high tells me someone is feeding his heart. Someone is speaking to him. Someone is praying.

    We are in our last week of fundraising and advocating through Ten for Orphans.  For the month of October they have been spreading the word and sharing about our Maxim and Lucia in Ukraine.  I am asking that if you are reading this, will you pray for Maxim and Lucia before you leave this screen?  Will you leave a comment and let me know?  Will you share this link with a friend or bible study group?  I am shameless to cry out on their behalf.  If after prayer you are led to sow into our adoption of Maxim and Lucia you can go to Ten For Orphans to give.  

I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them. Job 29:12

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Response to a Critic

really Tina do you think you can care for all of these kids?
They have some severe issues and the Ukraine is looking forward to dumping them off. So sad for your bio kids and the American children that lanquish in foster homes waiting to be adopted in the USA that you have turned your back on.
      - Anonymous

The response:

Dear  Anonymous:

    You might be my neighbor, my relative, an acquaintance, or a complete stranger.  You might smile to my face or avoid me when you see me coming.  But whoever you are, I want to thank you for speaking your words even if you could not reveal your identity to me.  I assume it is for reasons of fear that you do not feel comfortable letting me know.  Thank you for the opportunity to address you and I am sharing my response here because I think you are one of several who harbor feelings similarly.   At first, as I read these thoughts I nearly passed on determined not to let this become a distraction by an enemy but then I remembered something written in the Bible.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  1 Peter 3:15-17

   Anonymous, I do not address from a place of defense but from an angle of edifying my other brothers and sisters who are walking with me or who are just now hearing the Lord call on them to adopt.   I want to strengthen them and encourage them that while on this walk there will be those who will come against them and question their abilities and condemn them for loving children most do not.  I want them to know that days like this will come.  Days when everything seems to go wrong and you receive a report that your child is sick or dying- this will be the day that an email or message like yours will come to them.  And these are the days, they will need to know full well what they were called for and who sent them. 

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.  Romans 6:11-14

  I do not believe that I am able to do all things in my own strength.  I do believe that I have been given every provision necessary to care for my children- the children God has entrusted to me and planned for me from before my very body was formed.  I am thankful to have experienced the joy of watching my biological children become transformed in His grace through the blessing of our adopted children with special needs.  Just coming off of a Mother/Son retreat this last weekend, I am refreshed in seeing the attributes my oldest biological sons carry because they have understood the difference between want and need.  They have seen those who have suffered and gone without.  They know that when they receive a gift- it is something to cherish.  They have learned to wait.  They have learned that in waiting- God will answer.  They have learned that perfection is not something to be seen with the naked eye but through the lens of mercy and grace.  While they have given up vacation times so their brother and sister could join our family- they have experienced an enlargement of the heart that only comes when we say no to pleasure for a temporary "high" and trade it in for joy that comes through love of acceptance of family.  My children, biological or not may only experience Disney World once in their life and they might be doomed to sales racks and second hand wear but my children will not suffer for loving more.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.  Matthew 28:19 

    My children were chosen not because of where they live.  If my children were in the U.S. foster system the Lord would lead me there.  I have also not turned my back on the children of Africa, China, South America, Russia, Haiti or any other place on the planet.  In fact, because I know we cannot care for every child, we have made it our mission to bless others and pray for others who are called to care for children in every part of God's world.  We do not hinder others by condemnation because they do not adopt from the same place as us.  We understand that all children are precious and therefore worthy of family and love.  I am so hopeful Anonymous, that because you have mentioned that we have turned our backs on the U.S. foster children, that it means your home is filled with them and that you are passionate in seeing them loved and cared for.  For this, I could only praise God more. 

    Anonymous, the irony of your message and the comment that Ukraine is eager to dump these kids on us is this-  I have walked this road before and have met up with some in Ukraine who actually believe that we Americans have no good motive for adopting their children.  Perhaps they think this because they do not see the future hopes that God has promised.  I have the experience of sneers of folks like you and sneers of those in Ukraine too- skeptical that love could be enough.  To this, I can only say that you are precious.  Your life is dear to God and you are priceless.  His love is so abundant it cannot be contained; it only grows.  So let us not limit God's love by location, or by what we think someone else should do, but let us be cheerleaders to one another who would be willing to run the race; those who understand that caring for the hurting, broken, the traumatized, the physically weak, is a marathon of grace to be ran in the power of Christ's word and with the fellowship of the body of Christ called the church. 

Redemption is too good to hinder others from experiencing.  Love too precious to withold.  Life too fragile to dismiss. 

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14