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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Let's Get Real ... or perhaps this one is JUST FOR ME ?? !!! ??

This post is going to go all over the place, so try to keep up with my babble ... I am sitting at the table the other night with friends and family - our friends have decided to adopt and we were going over some of the details and began looking at WAITING CHILDREN ... I am not even sure I can describe how the word "WAITING CHILDREN" and their faces send me into a sort of depression ... I know God has them in His hands and He is with them, but that does not excuse all those sitting ON THE FENCE back in 2010 from stepping up and becoming a FATHER to the FATHERLESS and a MOTHER to the MOTHERLESS ... I brought up a sweet boy's face (he is probably 11 or 12) and just stared at him AGAIN ... I said how sweet his eyes were and my sweet aunt not meaning anything by it said, "oh he is to old, we want a baby (talking about my friends that are adopting)" and I just sorta of lost it in my gut ... I said, "So he doesn't deserve a family, he is suppose to just sit in an orphanage till he graduates out in to the world alone." ... Now I know that my aunt wasn't meaning anything by it and each family has to choose what will fit into their family dynamics, but there is a HUGE need for families to take in these precious older children both HERE and AFAR ...

Now the question you may be asking yourself is WHY NOT YOU GWEN ... WHY NOT MAKE HIM AN OATSVALL ... I have been thinking about sweet Chendi (that is the 11/12 year old boy I was referring to) for a few months now (he is one of the children on Ordinary Hero Speak Up that my friend Kelly Putty founded) ... I have asked myself that question a bunch about why we can't adopt CHENDI - I have lots of excuses and reasons right now - more surgery for Maggie, hearing aids for Joseph, speech and therapy for Joseph, trying to manage a family of 8, going crazy in toddler world right now, and just my sanity  ... All that aside, I have asked the Lord daily for a few days WHAT, WHAT, WHAT, WHAT - and this morning I was talking w/ Scott just about orphans in general and why more BELIEVERS don't adopt and then he brought so much scripture to me about all the things God is calling us to - sell all of our belongings and give to the poor, caring for widows, justice for those enslaved, and the scripture goes on and on ... THEREFORE, I was even more baffled and twisted in my heart than I was before - maybe we should !!!!  Maybe my family should give our possessions away, maybe we should be giving more of our selves and our talents, maybe we should open our home again to another child, maybe we should be visiting those in prison ... I KNOW WE CAN'T DO IT ALL, but we CAN DO MORE ...

There is always more room for living closer to the LORD ... It is super hard I know ... I feel like I am living super hard right now EVERYDAY ... I can't get it all done, so what makes me think I can do MORE ... That is actually an easy answer - I can do more w/ the LORD !!! I have to get my day in order w/ him before I make any decisions ... WHICH ALWAYS MEAN DYING TO SELF MORE... I have to spend time w/ him so I know which areas he is calling me to say YES to and which areas he is saying WAIT and which areas he is telling me NO ...

At times when I feel like I am slipping into an icky mood, I stop and evaluate my feelings and it actually turns out to be that I AM BURDENED  ... I am burdened for all that I know is God's hearts and my desire to follow HIM and the battle the comes from my FLESH to say NO MORE ... I am so fleshly on some days and just completely DROP THE BALL ... I am no good to anyone and I pray that NO ONE is watching me to closely ... I hope you never think of me as someone to be like ... I pray that the LORD shines through me and it is HE who inspires you to act on behalf of HIS PEOPLE that are hurting, alone, hungry, abandoned, in need of a family, in need of medical, or simply in need of someone to tell them they are worthy ...

I warned you this was a babble fest of a post ... I know 2011 will be exactly what we make of it ... God has given us free will to FOLLOW HIS SCRIPTURE ... It is very clear all that brings HIM glory in the bible because HE made it very clear for us ... Praying that much GLORY is brought upon the Lord this year by the OATSVALL team ...

Thanks for always checking in and praying for us ... You are a great strength !!! 

29 kind words.:

Lori said...

GREAT post. I could have written it myself. I cringe constantly that the biggest majority of Christians don't even consider adopting. I seriously get so frustrated...and saddened, deeply.

And as for older child's tough, but also full of blessings. We adopted our daughter a little over a year ago, just before she aged out in China. Now we are almost ready to travel for our new 12 year old son...AND 4 year old son. Giving us a grand total of SIX. And it will only be by the grace of God that I don't lose my sanity! But I can't wait!! Our lives are crazy-chaotic too but you are so right...why not do MORE with God's help?! It CAN be done!

Thanks for your tender heart!

We Are Family said...

Can I just say.... "I hear your heart"

Katie said...

Great post Gwen! Just sitting here thinking about it all... I wonder what the world we be like if all of the Christians in it had the heart that you do for orphans!?? Hope God uses this post to touch and soften hearts for adoption!

Jewels of My Heart said...

You were not all over the place sister.... you were right on TARGET!
Oh, how I share your heart.... I am begging the Lord for the final provisions to bring our Isabella home in the next week or so and am already asking Him to lead Jeremy's heart to say yes to the rest of our children waiting for us somewhere. With God NOTHING is Impossible! Stay the coarse.... keep shining bright.... we see Jesus in you and through you!
Love you,

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Thanks for keeping it real!

I love you and look forward to praying with you through 2011!

Happy New Year,

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

I am with you.....heart feels and longs soooo strongly for faces that need. PRAYING!!! Asking God to be clear to you in your life. Just so you know- you may feel like you are all over the place, but you inspire me and encourage me. thank You!!!

Kristi J said...

just for the record...Chendi was a sweet, wonderful boy..I gave him a sucker and he LOVED it and hid it from the other kids..then i saw him pull it out and give his 11 yr old friend a "lick"....he was very caring and giving and walked around helping with the babies and carrying around toddlers...maybe he'd be great for your fam with your preschool going on :) love ya, kj

Alison said...

Love this post!! Thanks for challenging and encouraging me through it! My prayer for 2011 is that we make the most of every opportunity God gives...that we lay ourselves aside and commit to being ALL IN for Christ!!!

Lara said...

Not babbling at all! I find myself so frustrated that the church as a whole does so little for the fatherless. I don't even have words for how it gets to me.

Treasures Evermore said...

Hi Gwen: I loved this post but wanted to share a little from experience about adopting older children.

Our last two adoptions (one still in process) were adopted over the age of 10...our other two were 16 months and 7 years old. But even with those ages, we did NOT adopt out of birth order.

I truly believe that families who adopt out of birth order are in for a very difficult time. I am the owner of a closed group for families that have adopted from the same orphanage as us....we are a large group...and I have to say that there have been a lot of disruptions on our group...we are adopting one of those disruptions right now.

I won't list the number as it is very high....ALL of the families who disrupted, adopted out of birth (except one). These families who adopted older children and I am meaning over the age of 12, have no other children on older than 10. Or they adopted teenagers and their oldest bio is 12 etc...these parents do not have a clue how to parent teenagers when they have not gone through with their other children.

Now I'm not saying it cannot be done...but it is way more difficult and the other children in the home MUST come first. Yes, the older children deserve to be adopted, that's why we are doing it as well...we are also at the age where we can adopt older children. And there are alot of parents our age who very well could adopt older children....but my point is, please do not feel bad because you might not be called to adopt older....there are lots of things to weigh....and children already in the home is vitally important. You are the age and the age of your children where you are adopting exactly whom God has called you.

Sorry for rambling myself....I have just seen and been part of so much hurt for families and disrupted children all because they had good intentions of providing for the older children...and then marriages fell children rebelled and couldn't handle their older siblings...other abuse that I don't need to mention...etc.

This is definitely not to scare anyone...but I felt so bad for you because I could feel your pain....I feel it every day for the older children. Maybe I am wrong, but I feel like you are trying to justify to everyone why you are not or possibly not adopting this boy...but truly, families have to seek God seriously before adopting an older child if they are not the age to do so...or their children are so young.

I know that in Canada now, you cannot adopt out of birth order for these very reasons I mentioned.

I definitely will be praying that families who are of age to adopt older children will feel the spirit move in their lives to do so.

BTW: I am not saying this about every family...just my two cents worth.

Praying for are an amazing woman...and you have a wonderful family. You truly are an inspiration to alot of families.

Blessings for this coming year.

Scrappy quilter said...

Wonderful post. I just wish we we're younger. We adopted 3 with disabilities 20 years ago. Now our age dictates we can't adopt more. Yet we can do more to help those who are. Thanks for the gentle reminder.

Anonymous said...

You are doing enough. You are enough. You continue to do enough. Do not be burdened. Be at peace. Do not take on more children. The ones you have need you. There will be other ways to give back.

Amy Murphy said...

Great post. Very challenging!

Andrew and Esther said...

Thank you so much for your post and honesty! I loved reading your thoughts. Hopefully this inspires some who CAN be doing more to do just that - MORE - and to do it to the glory of God! We can all do something more for our great Savior.

4 Blessings said...

Wonderful post friend! As always you are right on. God's blessings to your family this New Year.

Kim said...

Thanks for putting words to all that is on MY heart!
How I would love to steal a few hours catching up around your kitchen table.
When God prompts you, please remember us in your prayers. I still believe we have a daughter waiting for us in China. Despite the obstacles and those doubts that Satan's plants.
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

Sarah said...

Well, here's the thing...the church in the U.S. is in crisis. If the church were what it is supposed to be, you'd have a lot more support for your daily life AND orphans would have families.

God's first (and only) plan is for the church (His Bride on the earth) to bring Christians into a totally new way of life. Then, those Christians can transform the world.

I used to feel like if individual Christians just adopted more, the orphan crisis would be taken care of. Now, I realize that the church must take its place so that Christians can die to themselves within the church. When that happens, there will be no more orphans crisis. I'm rambling.

I appreciate your heart of love.


Julie said...

My heart is burdened as well. Each day I'm so convicted and conflicted on how I can do what I "know" I need to do and what it looks like in my everyday walk. Knowing that God is at work is encouraging. Knowing that he is stirring in our hearts is exciting. Be encouraged. You are inspiring many daily by your obedience. Let the world fade away..and listen to His still, small voice. He's there..waiting to reveal piece, by piece, bit by bit, in His own good time...His perfect plan for your sweet family.

Erin said...

Great post, Gwen! My prayer for the year is to LISTEN and OBEY...if I LISTEN more, I will hear more, and pray more, and trust more. And, I pray I will OBEY what the Lord is directing. These were great things to think through in this post! Thank you!

Jessi said...

Perhaps in this season of your life you can do the next best thing for Chendi...advocate for him. Talk to everyone you know and plant those seeds and then sit back and allow God to move where He will.

And just to clarify... some of us on the fence in 2010 are there not of our own choosing. Sometimes God's timing doesn't align with ours. I am learning that the hard way to trust in God's timing for this.

You have so much on your plate right now and God did not give you the wonderful family you have now to become too overwhelmed to care for them properly. (NOt implying you are not caring for them.) Just relax in the presence of God and set more hearts on fire to be moved for adoption just as you continue to do. I know God is pleased with you and your heart.

My heart has always been for the "waiting children." Seems to me the babies and toddlers aren't the true needy because there are always people wanting to adopt them.... hence wait lists for adoptive parents in those age groups...what breaks my heart are those older children who continue to wait. Our kids are 6 & 4 and we have been advised numerous times not to go out of birth order... but my heart breaks for those kids. SO I get your pain...I do.


Lexi MacKinnon said...

Amazing post! Like others above have said... I so fervently wish more Christians would have a heart for the lost, lonely, and hurting children in our world. We can ALL being doing more! Thanks for the powerful reminder!

dgporter said...

Honestly sharing our challenges is part of our testimony...very powerful. We brought our daughter home last year,and I continue to be an adoption advocate. Sometimes it saddens me to see so many people that LOVE our daughter but don't pursue adoption themselves. I will continue to tell anyone that will listen about the blessing and joy of adoption. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I am humbled by the snap-shot into your deep places.

I want to confess that I am "one of them." I twiddled my thumbs for half of my life, attending PTA meetings, and baseball games, living ignorantly of what was going on in 2/3rds of the world.

Thanks be to God, He moved me out of the fog of suburbia, as I began reading about the marginalized. As a result, my husband and I quit our jobs, and went back to school at 49 years old. I became a nurse and my husband is trained in international development.

We are headed back to Uganda tomorrow morning. I am working with orphans, and my husband is teaching hand-dug well technology.

Isn't God creative??? I mean, we are beyond the age of being able to adopt, but we, nonetheless, can be Jesus' hands and feet to the orphans, widows, and the poor in dark places where the exploited live with no hope.

We want to bring them Hope, and Living Water in the name of Jesus.

God is at work among us. . .

Because He lives,
Sherry Gregory

Kristin said...

Thanks for your babbling!

Angela G. said...

Simply amazing! I have been so blessed by knowing you , Gwen. I was talking to a friend the other day about how we met and I know it had to be by divine appointment. 2011 is my year to define what my purpose on this earth is for. I know that I want to live in a way that everyone even knowing me a minute knows I am being used by God to fullest extent possible. Thank you for your honesty and openess.

Anonymous said...

Gwen, I understand your burden for the orphans of the world, but I also appreciate the wisdom of Treasures Evermore. Adopted children often come to us with little (or big!) holes in their hearts that often take much time and attention, and many years of intentional, therapeutic parenting to heal.

That has been my experience with several adopted children. Sometimes the very place to which God calls us is one of pouring into those precious, but wounded little souls He has already entrusted into our families, and then advocating for those who continue to wait.

Like Treasures shared, I have witnessed too many families with wonderful intentions implode when they took on a child(ren) solely because their heart felt soft for an orphan (obviously those of us who have adopted will always feel that tug), when the dynamic in the home was just not what the child needed, and his or her needs far exceeded what the family could provide.

And while we certainly want to see more Christians adopt, we also don't want to see just "any" family adopt if they are not prepared for the long-haul and the hard work these children deserve to heal from the abuse and neglect that many foster children and orphans have suffered.

There is a very real reason that agencies and even countries have policies about birth order, length of time between adoptions, etc. It isn't because they are being difficult, but because they recognize the demands of parenting children with special emotional needs.

I applaud your tender heart. I just think it is also important to remember that caring for orphans involves so much more than just the initial act of getting children into homes. If those homes aren't equipped to recognize and handle the children's needs and maintain their current families, then the children will not be served well, and they deserve to be.


Over Caffeinated Mama said...

Gwen, I am sorry that I read all these comments, actually. From the patronizing to the preaching, it's discouraging and quite honestly a little belittling the way folks think that they can speak into your life as to whether or what God is calling you to. First of all, i think you are intelligent enough and in tune with God's heart enough to know what you can handle and just HOW God is calling you to more. Secondly, I'd hope you've been friends with me long enough to know my entire heart on the "everyone should adopt" and motivation for adoption that I don't even have to speak to all the preaching that was done on that topic. But third, I'm concerned about the fact that folks want to blame disruption solely on the fact that these children were adopted out of birth order. It's concerning for me that one particular group would have such a high rate of disruptions. I can tell you from experience that the attitude of a like minded group can VERY MUCH influence the outcomes of a situation. I've seen it. So, while it is more difficult, yada yada yada, I think this is just another example of how misguided we all can become when we speak into the lives of others out of our positions of "wisdom." I've seen many adopt out of birth order and, though it can be difficult, it can be done if done right. I don't think you are in need of me or anyone else to tell you whether or not God has called you to another child into your family, but if He does call you, He will also equip you. And you have at least one of the nations best attachment and transition therapists at your call with just a call. So, sweet sister, you continue to pray for me and I will continue to pray for you and we'll muttle through this burdened and broken life together, with or without the support of those who "know".

Think I've angered anyone? :)

Love ya! O

mamamargie said...

I hear your heart. Oh, how I hear your heart. All I can tell you is to spend much time in prayer and fasting. If it is God's will for you to add another child, He will make it known to you and your husband. He will also equip you with the tools you need to handle it all. Not saying it will be easy, but if it's His will, it will be worth it.

I adopted as a single mom. My first child was 2 when I got her. My second child was 9 when I got him from a group home. Five years later we adopted a daddy. Not the way people said I should do it. Not the easiest route in the world. But definitely worth every minute, every tear, every struggle.

Pray, pray, pray. God will start opening doors for you or He will shut them. Let Him guide you. What do we know about what you can or can't handle anyway?!

Erika Chapman said...

Thank you for your heart that stays tender to what the Lord might ask you to do. Thank you for sharing the good, bad and ugly with transparency. Thank you for serving beyond yourself both at home and through 147 and your blog and when you speak. You are making a difference. Life is crazy.. but that doesn't always mean He won't ask us to do things that make it crazier:) My unemployed and disabled parents moved in with us along with my teenage brother. Blessings but still requiring lifestyle changes and character growth. At the same time the Lord asked me to start homeschooling my oldest of three little boys. And we just started the process to adopt a little girl/possibly sibling group from Uganda. Seemingly in my flesh too much for MY plate...however the Lord has given me your blog and Suzanne's blogs to come to for encouragement, inspiration and mentoring even on those days that I question I have what it takes to be obedient. Thank you for ministering to me and being my heroes!! Your obedience to Christ and your dependence on Him help me turn to Him and be brave enough to say "Yes" when He asks if I will press on. Thank you! And thank you for introducing me to Katie's story!! I would love to meet that beautiful young lady some day. Thank you for pouring yourself out so people like me can be strong!