Saturday, March 30, 2013

Take Us to New Places in You Lord!


 
 
     Our weakest ones are priceless; treasured by God.  This one begs for any help to those who will listen.  Lord, break our hearts to see them as the priceless jewels in heaven.  Help us to lift them up!
 
You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. Exodus 22:22
 
    His love is so powerful, it causes us to rejoice in victory!  This precious lady truly loves and devotes her life to helping the orphans under her care.  Thank you God for Vera and send more!
 
Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
 Psalm 66:5
    The love of Jesus, when received in our hearts, manifests itself in our desire to join our brothers and sisters in their time of need.  He fills us with thankfulness for our daily bread as we remember when He came to us in our own need.

“Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”  Luke 3:11

    Channels of grace He pours out not that we ourselves could be the cure, but that we would possess His love so pure, doors are opened and Light is able to penetrate into places yearning to know Him.  Thank you God for opportunities to love more.

And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.  Isaiah 42:16
 
Thank you God for giving us joy and comfort. Touch the hearts of your children that they might know you in your gentleness, Oh Lord! 
 
For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.  Isaiah 51:3
 
Love will never be earned for then it would hold NO value and thus, no power.  Love comes and with this love, prisoners are set free that they might go into another prison with this same free gift to break the chains of oppression.  This is what it means to live in a grace haven.  It is the dwelling place of Christ in our hearts that conquers our sinful nature through confession and forgiveness and arises favor through humble means.  It does not make sense to man's mind yet rests perfectly in the longing heart who knows itself needy for the One True God.
 
Service to the weakest ones produces the richest Love of life.  By denying selfish ambition, we arise in the knowledge of peaceful Light that does not fade and with satisfied bellies we return to God for all of our refreshment.  By drinking from the the River of Life we no longer live according to man's way but according to the blood shed for us on the Cross.  This is PROSPERITY.
 
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:2
 
It's time for us to shake off our old ways of living in faith and come up higher into Christ to begin to see the way He sees these precious Ones.  We will never see another until we SEE Christ in them first.  Church, did you hear me?  We will NEVER see another soul underneath flesh until we feel and recognize the heartbeat inside of them as Jesus Himself. 

You shall put the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony in the Most Holy Place. Exodus 26:34

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Finding the Right Fit


       We are trying some new positions.  Lucia wants to cuddle, reaches for my neck and wants to pull me close.  This padded table just isn't big enough for us both.

So I asked if I might try holding her and she was happy to hear it.

 

After a bit though I could feel it. Her own weight leaning forward was too much.

 
Here I am lifting her all the way upright.  She looks itty bitty this way because her back is actually twisted and facing in towards me so although her legs are facing forward her body is facing mine with her head turning to the side.  This is the most comfortable for her if she has to be in an upright position for any period.  She feels the most secure.
     If she were to have to sit up forward facing in a regular chair, this is what her body wants to do.  She is curled to the side hunched over and with her weight being in her upper body, it creates pressure on her chest, forces her to have to hold her head up in an awkward position.  Pillows surrounding her still cannot alleviate this in a tiny airplane seat.  This is why we are working so hard to see if the airline will help us find a way to place her in a large comfy reclining seat.
    To simply lay her straight back means she is putting pressure on the area of her ribcage that has been expanded and rounded out due to the severity of the scoliosis and she is too long for a pack n play stuffed with pillows.
 

 So while I don't love that she has laid in this same position for so many years, for the present it seems to be the most comfortable for her. 

 Thank you for continuing to pray for our Lucia and Cephas!
 
 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Healing Begins


The days went by and the routines stayed the same.  With so much to do and with regimens in place, sadly, a life can become a number.  We do this too in America.  We label, organize and put in order. In our efficiency, our convenience, our ever seeking comfort, we forget that there was only One who was ever meant to prioritize and structure our lives. 
I wonder what it feels like though to be the one being filed.  To see the same person show up, do something to you and then walk away.  Day after day for thousands of days.  Cruelty may not be intended, but what did it feel like?  Maybe today they will talk to me.  I am going to smile really big and look into their eyes. Hope lingers.....
Will someone look inside of me instead of AT me?
Do they know I am real?  I am, aren't I? 
Oh yes, precious daughter.  You are more than real. You are LOVE.  Created in love, with love, FOR LOVE.  What others could not see in you was never because of you, it was because they didn't understand LOVE.  Your light has been bright, shining steadily and because of a strength unknown to any man, you are here and ours and never again will your light be hidden away.
Fear was never your portion.  The grace of God has protected you for this day.  Your wait is over.
 
So for today, let's start anew. 
 Let me hold you, kiss you, hug you and fill you with tender whispers of God's promises. 
 He will give you more than you ever dreamed, more than you could imagine.   
You are home and safe in our hearts forever. 
We'd  choose you over and over again.
 
 
To watch Lucia have her first dance with her Daddy:

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Matthew 5:14-15

 


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Link to Help Lucia




Project Hopeful is collecting funds to help upgrade two return tickets to the US so that Lucia can lay down.

If you would like to help you can go to:
http://www.projecthopeful.org/waiting-kids/matched-children-and-families

You will need to scroll down to Kacirek family.

Here is the link to see a short video of radiant Lucia!
http://youtu.be/fvtf86iJ7pw

Friday, March 22, 2013

Announcing Lucia Marietta Kacirek

 

A Radiant Light Who Overthrows the Darkness

January 20, 1997

   Born only weeks after our wedding, this brilliant jewel has been waiting for this day. 
 
 
She was born with cerebral palsey and orphaned.  Until 2004 she resided in a rehabilitation type center.  She was then transferred to a hospital for several months until she was moved to the level 4 invalid institution, the adult home where the most unfortunate are sent.  Here she lay from 2005 until this last December 2012 when she was moved to an internat and some more focused attention. 
 
** Thank you to Life2Orphans for your efforts at Torez to bring care in some of the most difficult circumstances.  And we are thankful to the director for allowing L2O's work there.**
 
I first met this little sunshine in 2006.  Her face could not be forgotten.  A smile was always present.
 
What was under that smile?  Was she aware of her own needs?  Was she able to understand anything around her?  I just didn't know at the time.
 
 
 
Well, let me tell you how awesome this teensy ray of light has blasted away at our wonderings.
 

"I knew you were coming for me.  I remembered you gave me the bracelet."

She remembered when we adopted Maxim in 2010 and when our friend gave her the bracelet late last summer! 
 
 
I asked her if she worried when we didn't come sooner.  After all, many months had passed. 

"No, I wasn't worried.  I knew you were coming."


Right then her caregiver left the room and returned with her bracelet and relayed to us that when she arrived to the new facility, she let them know that she wouldn't be staying because her parents were coming for her.

  Faith..... Hope..... Love....

She was laboring a bit with her breathing and often trying to find a comfortable position.  It was concerning us.  "Is it hard to breathe?"  "Yes," she said, "very hard."
 
With graciousness she allowed us to look at her back.  We were wondering what was going on.  While we could tell just by looking at her that scoliosis was creating many problems, we couldn't quite grasp what was going on and the doctor hadn't mentioned her breathing troubles.
 
 
 
The best we can understand right now is that she has a very tight contraction on one side of her that has been holding and pulling her.  That mixed with laying in the same position for a long time has curled her spine and ribs.  She has a very large "hump" - rounded ribs on one side.  It is most definitely pushing on internal organs and we think her lungs (or atleast one) is being pressed. 
 
Some tears came to my eyes as we were putting her clothes back on her and laying her back.  She looked at me and said, "Don't cry.  I will be okay.  I am strong."
 
 
I looked over at her caregiver and saw tears falling and her face turning pink.  True beauty and humility tends to cause that reaction.  16 years and she is going to comfort me?  Yes it appears to be her nature.
 
It's always me who keeps learning.  I show up, but the precious ones do the teaching.  Whatever little I will give to them, will never compare to what has happened in my heart, the deepening of my faith, the tenderizing of my will to more easily succumb to His.  How can I ever turn away from an opportunity to see more of God?
 
Little bits about her personality....
 
She loves to know about people.  Wants to know how they are doing and feeling.  She loves stories with happy endings (she stressed that point) and dreams to learn to read.  She cries when she sees another hurting and loves animals.  She has not been out in the grass and would like to smell flowers. And she asked if she would be able to learn how to use a real toilet.  Oh Lord, wreck me!! To have your mind trapped inside of a body that won't do what you want.  Then to lay and lay and lay for thousands of days on end.  God, have mercy, how does a spirit like this still shine?! 

Only you, LORD! Praise be to God, our Redeemer!

So here's the best she can sit up right now.
 
She can do this for about 20 minutes and then she needs to lay down because she becomes very tired. Because of the curving, you can see that finding a chair will take some looking.  Our greatest concern though is on the airplane coming home.  I think Cephas will be able to handle sitting up now that his surgery has been completed but I really think Lucia is going to need a big comfy chair that reclines.
 
I know how big the cyber world is and I am asking you if you might share her need to see if there is someone out there with a business class ticket or two (she will need someone with her) who would desire to give it us at an economy price.  In this case I don't think we are only talking about comfort but the inability for her to sit for any real length of time.
 
We are flying home Lufthansa/United.  No date set yet but it will probably be the latter part of April.
 

He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.

 

Psalm 40:3-4

 
 
 
 


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Silent Cries

I've so much I want to share and then nothing at all.......  It all comes billowing up and then I don't even know how to start to express all that stows inside.

Saw a few photos from the past of my children that were listed on a website...out on the net.  Faces....they are faces my heart knows well.
Cephas is lying down the second child back.  I can tell by his leg hanging to the side.

So many thoughts....

Our journey here will end. The process will soon play out and a new life will begin for both Cephas and Lucia and yet, my ache is still here.  As long as I breathe, tears will fall for the thousands of little faces left behind.

I am bits and pieces.....    here and there.......   full of aches for what I see and hear......

And at the same time overwhelmed in the grace God has poured out.

Stories that stay with me....

A girl coaxed away with promises of a better life to be abused then to give birth and have her baby thrown down in a moment of rage- to never be the same again.  Without help, she pleads to keep her child.

Precious women clinging to the word of God for their children and grandchildren who face very special needs in a society that does not openly accept them. Please pray for them!!! They have touched my heart!!!


A woman encouraged to leave her newborn because he was born with Down Syndrome but she chose love over fear and calls herself BLESSED. Sweet Misha!!

Vova (in black) who spends his life in a special needs institution because a doctor wrote, "mental delay" down on a chart one day.  He has no special need except to be released and taught what he missed all of the years he has been housed here. 

Moms pleading for care for their children so they can be all they can be. 
They need our prayers and support.
 

Missionaries who have spent decades in steadfast faith visiting the orphan. At times not knowing how their own need would be met but trusting God for it all.  Life spent on behalf of the weak ones.

  It's beauty without measure.

 
 
           Randy and I had a day free and decided to go into Kiev on our own.      We visited the World War II memorial and I found the ache of the orphan there too.  

Oppression 

 

                                        Who were these little ones?  What were their names?


On display - their tattered clothes and the remnants of pain.

 
Somehow in all of that fight for freedom, after the war, some children were still forgotten.

But the value of these children standing behind barbed wire hold the same value of the children tucked away in the level four facilities in Ukraine today. 

Priceless

Their images are not on display though.  You will not find many who will discuss them. In fact, it would be preferred not to talk about them at all.  The weakest ones.  Poorest quality care to the frailest.  Fewest caregivers for those who have the least to offer. 


So we will go home.  And it might be different for this one but what about the others?  Who will come for them?  Will you?
Can you see that glimmer?  He's looking at a picture George gave to him of Randy, me and him together.  If I could read his mind it would be something like, "This is my family. Sigh." And the boy in the background...what is running through his mind?  His face speaks something so different.

There may be many things I don't understand.  Societal, cultural and historical pieces that root back farther than my mind can go. I can be told hundreds of times about how clueless I am because I am an American.  I can be belittled, made fun of, ridiculed, and hated.  Even still, I am left with the same facts.  That there are children shut behind doors for a lifetime never knowing love.  And this much I do know well.  I understand yearning eyes, pleading cries, thankful tears, and tugging hugs that scream,

"I don't want to let you go!"

 I know beauty that resides in the darkest of places. 


Please pray for the children left behind, who are hidden away and who desperately need to know Jesus loves them.  They need to experience His love through His people. Will you bring the light? Will you promise not to be irritated when you hear of a family fundraising for an adoption?  It is not for selfish reasons we are to go to the precious ones.  They belong to God.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:14







Saturday, March 9, 2013

He Sets the Lonely in Family

Today I found this comment to a recent post about Cephas:

Please tell me u realize that a kid latching onto u like this boy has - immediately upon meeting u, who r strangers -- is a gigantic red flag 4 attachment disorders.

It's not cute, it's not sweet, it's indiscriminate affection!
 

I knew that being public opened us up to all kinds of critiques and I have decided to use all of them to respond honestly and with sincerity.  I know we don't have to reply and most of the time it will not benefit the original critic, but I believe it blesses those who walk with us and for those who are about to take a leap into adoption.

Alisha,

Cephas wasn't a complete stranger, but you are right.  I am certain if it were not us who came to call him son, he would have reacted the same.  It's not that Randy and I are so very special to Cephas at this moment.  He hasn't built up experience with us to bond.  Bonding takes time and attachment is a process.  But we are his answered prayer and his capacity to love is huge.

I have three others at home who were adopted.  One of them took years to attach after slowly coming out her shell of  counterfeit coping by eye poking, feces smearing, cramming her fingers up her nose, "zoning out" on metal amongst other things.  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and isolated time in the baby house while she could not keep down food took her there to that false sense of security that only promised to harm her.  Intensive time, prayer, work, and lots of tears were poured out for her as she continued to reach for strangers who didn't require any kind of effort from her.  She didn't get to experience a mother to soothe and when I came along my efforts to soothe felt threatening. 

Yet, today this same girl sings to me, cuddles up, calls for me because she knows that Mom is for her.  She knows mom makes things better or atleast tries too.  It broke my heart not to be close to her.  It was an ache unlike any I had ever known to pour out and not have a return on my investment for so long.  But she was worth the wait, she is worth battle in prayer.  She no longer runs up to just anyone and kisses and hugs them and she wouldn't trade me in for the next lady she comes upon.

Family means something to her. It's proven itself reliable.

And Maxim after spending several years in a level 4 institution in Ukraine came home wanting to hug everyone too.  Starvation of meaningful contact will unleash a most desperate cling in some children who haven't given up yet and curled into themselves.  In his case, he just wanted one mom and one dad but because he was surrounded by children left to themselves to figure out how to entertain themselves in a shut room with benches and a window they often gnawed on eachothers hands, banged their heads on the walls, and rolled around on the floor.  And children who kept their minds, like my son, sat and stared at the door waiting for the knob to turn.  Without any concept of time, he stretched his ear to hear for any sign that food would be coming or an opportunity to get out might arrive.  He still describes one of his greatest aches being the sound of the key going into the door and hearing the lock turn. 

Without any relational teaching and no idea of ettiquette when he first came home he wanted to rub everyone's hands and put his mouth on them.  It's what he always saw.  And as soon as we taught him that was not how to make friends and that families are something special and different than anyone else he would ever meet he began to change.  For him it wasn't brain damage and neurological damage as my daughter Grace.  For him it was training.  Lots of reminders and his check ins over time on what to do has done wonders.  He's deeply attached to his family and still is very warm and kind to others. 

And then there is my daughter who was adopted at 4.  She came from a loving orphanage and was given constant attention, affection and her every need was met on demand.  She had a rotation of caregivers and missionaries that came in.  She lacked nothing.... except the kind of love that comes from having discipline and gifts come from the same person.  She learned that if someone gives me what I want, they are good and if they don't give me what I want I will not like them and I will scream.  And when she did scream at the orphanage they gave her something or distracted her or put her in time out and she never had to follow through.  There wasn't consistency in place.  She feels she needs to control everything around her and is always looking for a way to manipulate any situation to fit her. 

She is behaving in ways to try and protect herself.  She is still grieving loss of the world she once knew when her fits were met.  She is most definitely insecure and yet she is in the same home with all of my other children.  She will lie to strangers and try to hug or touch them.  We are in the thick of it.  There are some very hard days but God has built our endurance and our faith.  I have the faith that the day will come when I can report the breakthough for her too.  She carries great gifts inside of her that we can't wait to see her use for His glory.

Do I recognize indiscriminate friendliness?   Yes I do.  You are right.  There isn't anything cute or sweet about it.  It's a behavior created from LOSS.  Like each of my children, their situations were different and the result was not exactly the same but attachment issues were there with each of them.

All of us have an attachment disorder when we find a way to meet our spirit need with material.  We experience attachment disorder when we live a life apart from our heavenly Father.  When trust is compromised, there is great separation and pain.  Orphaned by parent or orphaned in our spirit.

So when I write of Cephas, I have all of the histories of these journeys with me.  And while the many "holes" in development and the great suffering his body has experienced over time are not sweet,  truly I cannot think of anything sweeter than the feeling of hope and joy he is experiencing right now.  Soon he will work through new discoveries and feelings and we will walk with him through disappointments and frustrations and surely behaviors will arise that will not be appropriate for the everyday world we live in. 

The truth is that while God's love is pure, our love is not.  Man cannot live by bread alone.  We need the living water running through our veins.  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4  We did not become lovable first, and then God loved us.  It was because he first loved us, that we came to know His love.  He takes the lonely and puts them in family. 

 



Friday, March 8, 2013

I Waited A Long Time: Going Deeper


Today was filled with insights into Cephas' mind.  He's been quite overwhelmed with the past days.  He told George that he remembered us coming to see him at Torez and described in detail a bit about our visit.  He has incredible memory.  He said that he had been waiting a long time and described it in a way as though he knew we would return. He kept his faith for it.  He said that first we needed to get Maxim Ivanov (our Maxim at home) home and then we could come back for him.  "I just had to wait a very long time." He has learned the fruit of patience.  He is meeting the goodness of God in the land of the living.  He doesn't know bitterness.

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.   Psalm 27:13-14



The caregivers explained that all he talks about is his new mom and dad when we are away.  He's dreaming and planning out loud.  He's trying to gather all of his facts together and very concerned with details.  Not worried concerned, but thoughtful concerned.  "You will go to see Julia and then come back, right? How many days will that be?  What time?  What will we do?" He held my face in his hands over and over and then I did the same with him.  He ran his hands through my hair and studied my face.  After a big sigh, for the first time he said, I love you.  While he had been hearing us say those words, this was his first and with it came a rush of emotions in his little heart and I thought he would burst!

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 5:11 


We brought him some juice and yogurt.  While he loved it, he ate it carefully to keep his face and hands clean.  Once he finished the yogurt, he said he wanted to wait for the juice and to drink it slowly so he could savor it.  He wants to drag out each of  these new moments as long as he can and frankly, so do I.  The caregivers said he likes sit at the head of the table and oversee everyone receiving their food.  While the others shovel it in fast, he takes his time enjoying all that is before him. 

I brought cars and balls today.  While he played with them, he seemed unfulfilled.  He seemed a bit tired.  Maybe bored.  I asked the caregiver what he likes to do.  She said, "Talk."  She said he wants to talk about everything and know every detail about what things are and how they work.  We asked him if he wanted to stop playing and he said, yes that he thought he had enough.

 And as we began exchanging in conversation he perked back up with lots of questions about his family waiting for him at home.  He has returning focus to the cats.  He loves them. Wants to know what they look like.  Wanted to know if Chloe our dog will lick his face.
"I am going to ride on an airplane!  It's night time there now."  Someone had taught him about the time difference and he thought of that often...wondering what his family was doing in America at any given time.  I often wondered the same.  He thought of his new home, like I often do about heaven; with expectation and joy.  He'll soon learn that unlike heaven, his family is not perfect but is steadfast in seeking the One who is.  He will know prayer.  He will know acceptance.  His heart is safe to dream lofty.
He enjoyed scooting back and forth between Randy and I.  It has been overwhelming for him to think about having his own parents who love him.  He told his caregivers and friends yesterday when he returned to his room, "Can you believe it?  I have parents who want me!"  Makes me want to bawl and leap for joy at the same time that a child would live with a huge hope for LOVE.  To be the one who gets to look into their eyes and say, "I will love you," is to live bigger than you ever have before.  There are no words to express the journey of adoption.  In every piece of grief, pain, discovery and hope is LIFE.  It's a traveling place.  It takes you to places lower so you can release and go higher. 

Causes you to look at things you once turned away from.  And you look because its no longer fear of pain that rules you but the desire to see LIFE returned to the robbed one.  And truth is, life spent in service for the lost (in whatever capacity) is the walk we were called to when we received our own adoption.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.... John 13:34 


His love is whole. It cost Jesus all comforts and took Him to great grief so that victory would be eternal.  Jesus' actions taught us that death was only conquered through love.  And yet he experienced death first in his body to show us that our bodies were not what mattered most.  I can risk loss and love deeply because LOVE does not die.  In fact, it grows without limit because God is love.  If only we will really grasp that our search for fleshly comfort is what keeps us from perfect security.

Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.”
 With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.

 In that day you will say:
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Isaiah 12:2-4



And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. Hebrews 6:15