Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ten things people with Down syndrome would like you to know

For those of you who don't know much about down syndrome, I found this video, it explains a little about it.

I just read that 92% of babies with a pre-natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome are terminated. That is so sad.

"...For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Monday, August 30, 2010

The waiting is so hard

Today has been so hard. I just wish we didn't have to go through all of this legal stuff, and could just go pick her up tomorrow. We won't be able to even submit our dossier to Priscilla's country until February. Then, after that I have no idea how long it will take. Hopefully not too long.

I just can't stop thinking about her, is she sick or healthy, scared, lonely, sad, happy. Are they treating her well? I just wish that I could have updates. I am just praying constantly and will just have to trust in the Lord for her safety.

I just want to hold her and love her. I hope the days go by quick.

My sweet little girl, some day you will read this, so I just want to tell you that I love you, and Daddy loves you, and we want you more than life itself. If we could, we would jump on a plane now and bring you home. We will do all that we can to get you as soon as possible. I can't wait to hold your sweet little face in my hands and tell you how much I love you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No Eye has seen, no ear has heard...

What God has prepared for them. This is the verse that keeps coming to my mind lately. God has totally blown me away in the last few weeks. I have been reminded of things in my life that have brought me to where I am now.

My first memory is when I was 10, there was a boy named Yassin in my class that had what looked like cerebral palsy. He had forearm crutches. No one would play with him or talk to him, I remember becoming friends with him. I walked with him to lunch and anytime we were in the hall, I waited for him and walked with him. It wasn't fair to not have friends, so I became his friend.

When I was in 6th grade, there was a little girl in the special needs class, her name was Janie. I remember thinking she needed a friend. I don't know if she came from a family with money or not, or whether she had toys to play with. But, at the time, I remember thinking she needed something to play with, and I had plenty. So, I went home and got my best barbie and put it in a tissue box and wrapped it up. I remember giving it to her, like it was yesterday. I played with her after lunch. People even made fun of me, but I still played with her.

The Lord has reminded me of these memories, to show me that He had purpose in my life. It didn't just happen, it was orchestrated.

When I was 15, I was at church looking at the missionary bulletin board. That was when I decided I wanted to be a missionary. It stayed in my heart, until I was married. Josh didn't have a heart for missions like I did. He didn't want to just give everything away and live in a hut or an orphanage in Bolivia. Right after I met Josh, I went on a mission trip to Moldova. While there, I prayed and asked God what He wanted me to do. I loved Josh and wanted to marry him, but also wanted to know what God's plan was for my life. That was when I knew I was to marry Josh, but still didn't know what God's plan was for my life.

Josh and I are very different (if you know us, you know this is true), but have always agreed on the important things. Many times over the last few years I have wondered if I made a mistake. While, I was living the life I thought I wanted, being a wife and mother. But, I still felt like my dreams of doing great things for the Lord died.

That is until now. I see now that God has a purpose, it is even bigger than I had hoped, because it is MY purpose. It is why I was created.

I don't know what tomorrow holds or what ten years from now will look like, but what I do know is that I have a little girl that needs a mommy and I want to be her mommy. What I thought my life would look like was only a glimpse of what God has revealed to me.

God purposefully put me in those situations with children with special needs, to open up my heart to be compassionate to those that weren't like me. He gave me a heart to be a missionary so He could bring the nations to me, and I wouldn't fear traveling across the world to pick up His blessing. He put Josh and I together, because He knew what the future would hold and knew that ..."For such a time as this..."

What is your purpose? You have one. If it isn't plain to you, just know it is to God. If you don't know what to do, Do what you know to do.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Imagine a different life

I saw this post on another family's blog. After reading this and seeing these pictures, I knew we had to get Priscilla. It breaks my heart that children, gifts from God, have to suffer this way. They aren't trash. These little children are people, they deserve a mommy and daddy. They deserve to know what it is like to feel the warmth of a mommy's arms. 

Imagine you're a newborn baby. Born in a land far different than where you are now. A place where the value of human life is much different than it is in developed countries. Now imagine that you were born with something like Down Syndrome, or something as minor as a hand deformity.

Your parents will be told to send you away, that there is no care for you, and you're going to die anyway. So your parents follow the advice of doctors and bring you to an orphanage. But remember, this is an orphanage in a 3rd world country. You spend your days, weeks, months and years cold, hungry, and without medical care. If you're lucky, there will be one caregiver who takes a liking to you and tries to give you some extra attention each day.

But there's something looming over you. Something that most children in the world celebrate...your 4th birthday. Only for you, this birthday brings a death sentence, because in many of these countries, if you turn 4 and have not been adopted you'll be moved to a mental institution where you are no longer available for adoption. For all intense purposes, to the rest of the world you are dead.

There you well spend your days like this
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

You will be straight jacketed in sheets. Why? Because of the intense boredom and lack of human physical contact you will resort to desperate measures, even if it means gouging your own eyes out. The only contact you will get with people is if you're lucky, someone will notice that your sheets are full of urine and feces and decide to change them. You will never see sunshine. You will never smell fresh air, only the overpowering odor of urine and feces from several hundred children just like you crammed into the same building getting the same lack of care. You will likely die within the first couple of years from some terrible illness, severe dehydration, or hypothermia from lack of heat in the decrepit building.

Or perhaps you would be like this little girl. Bound by her wrists for years already, left alone in a state of severe dehydration. TIED TO HER BED!!!!!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

If you don't die within the first couple of years, your body might continue to grow. But don't think it will get you a bigger bed. Instead you'll be forced to spend more years in the same crib, just like these TEENAGERS have been crammed in.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

But it doesn't have to be this way! It doesn't! While governments and organizations like Mental Disability Rights International will have to deal with the indidual countries, there are ways to save these children! Reece's Rainbow is an adoption organization dedicated to rescuing children with Down Syndrome from certain death in these countries. There are many children who are approaching their 4th birthday. While not everyone is in a position to adopt a child, Reece's Rainbow has established a fund for each child to help with the adoption expenses so that nobody can say, "I would do it if I had the money."

Even if you can't adopt a child, can you spare $5, $10 or more so that someone else can? Please...this makes me sick to know these children are dying. Read through the child profiles. You'll find children that have nothing wrong with them other than an eye that needs surery, or a hand that has a mild deformity, yet they have been thrown away. But we can save them!!!!

click here to see the blog this came from

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Being Frugal

Since starting this adoption process, Josh and I are trying really hard to stick with our budget, and even cut back on things we've budgeted. We are trying not to spend any money unless it is absolutely necessary.

I didn't realize how much we spend and how many things are not really necessary. Before, if I needed something, I would just get in the car and drive to walmart and get it, now I am trying to figure out other ways instead of buying things.

I have come up with so many ridiculous ways of saving money, if I wrote about it on here, you would seriously think I was crazy. But, I don't call it crazy, I call it love. I will do whatever it takes to bring Priscilla home to be with us. If it resorts to standing on the street corner holding a sign, I am there.

I do believe God will provide, and I am not even worried about that part (must be God, because I worry about EVERYTHING :). But, I also believe that when God says He will do something, he expects us to do our part. I can't just sit back and do nothing and just hope the money will fall into my lap. It could, and maybe it will, God is able. But, I will also do my part, even if it means not eating out, drinking only water, or rationing the toilet paper (jk on this one).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why we are adopting

Crystal's story:
 Last week, I read an article in Above Rubies magazine, the article talked about adopting international children with down syndrome. I looked up the website they gave, which was Reece's Rainbow. I did not look it up because we were interested in adopting, I was just curious as to what it was all about. As soon as I opened the website, I saw the scripture proverbs 24:12. When I read it, my first thought was, " I should not have read that". When I am convicted about something, I have to follow through with it. I still did not think I would really fall in love with any of the children, but I did. 
 The moment I saw Priscilla's face, I just knew she was ours. I don't really know how to explain it. I showed her to Josh, as I was doing that, I noticed her birthday was only two days after Justus'. This may seem silly, but I felt like that was a sign that she was ours. When I was pregnant with Justus, I really wanted twins, a boy and a girl. When I found out it wasn't twins, I said, we could adopt another little baby the same age as Justus and raise them as twins.
 I could not stop thinking about her for days. I was obsessed with these precious little ones, especially her. All I could think about was her, I couldn't even sleep at night. 
 I talked to Josh about it, and at first he did not feel anything for her, but said he would pray about it.  The next day, I sent him an email with her picture, titled our daughter. He wasn't especially thrilled about that, but still prayed about it. Since he wasn't on board with it, I prayed and asked the Lord to take away my deep desire to have her. Later in the day, I was watching Praise Baby with the kids and there was a down syndrome child on there. It broke my heart to think that I could not have Priscilla when all I wanted was to be her mommy.
 I asked God how we could even do it, because it is very costly. He showed me that $25,000 is like 25 cents to him, and that He alone is faithful. He showed me that He can and will supply all my needs according to His riches in Glory.   I knew what the answer was, and knew I did not have to even pray about whether we do it, but to start praying that Josh's heart would be open to it. 
 We prayed together. Instead of Josh saying if we adopt her, he started saying when we adopt her. He even brought it up to one of his friends, and asked him to pray. Then we started talking about how we could do it, and if we could really do it. 
 We went out on a date, exactly a week after I first saw Priscilla's picture, I could not even get through dinner without crying several times. I could not imagine her living her life without someone to love her.  Earlier in the day, I read a blog of a down syndrome girl who died at 23 with Leukemia in the arms of her mom and dad. If we adopted her, and she later died, it would be so worth it. Worth it, for her to know love. Worth it, for us to have given love. 
 I was willing to lay it all down if Josh said to. Of course, I would not have given up on Priscilla, I couldn't. I would have done everything possible to find her a family. 
 The next thing Josh said was, " so what do we need to do to adopt her?" Those were the sweetest words I have heard. 

Josh's story:
Not long after Crystal and I met, somehow we discussed our desire to someday foster children. This common, God-given desire is actually one of the things that cemented our relationship. It was our belief that we would someday be able to care for children who had no one else to care for them. Our intent was to do our very best at loving these children no matter their circumstances and no matter the difficulties that they might present to us. We also believed that it was very likely we would adopt at least some of these children as our own.

Fast forward five-and-a-half years: two children of our own and many scattered discussions and prayers about fostering over those years. When would be the right time? When would be the best time? When would God want us to do this? The “right” time seemed far off, maybe after our children were starting to become teenagers. Maybe sooner, but certainly not right now, right?

When Crystal first brought up Priscilla, my heart and mind were still latched onto the timing not being right. As I saw the pictures, and read the stories, and prayed, I was reminded of the charge of James to “care for orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). Some translations say to visit them, but when I recite this verse in my mind, I have always said “care for.” As I pondered all that Crystal had told me about the ministry and the orphanages and Priscilla, and as I prayed for guidance, God opened my eyes just a little bit more so that I could see that this charge is really not optional. Realizing this blew away the concerns about timing.

Further down my road of thoughts, of late, I have been critical of myself for being lousy at living out the charge of Christ to go and make disciples. The opportunities to share my faith with co-workers generally intimidates me. Though I’ve grown to be a little bolder in this environment, I’ve become discouraged with myself. I have prayed about this asking for continued opportunities and the courage to speak up when those opportunities come up. I believe God has shown me in my heart that every believer’s call to disciple will play out differently. Though I struggle to share my faith with co-workers, I have not experienced that intimidation when teaching my daughter about Jesus. Though she is still young and often does not understand what I teach her, she is an open canvas ready to be filled with all the things of God. She is excited to learn and I am eager to help fill her with the things of God. When I realized that I do well with teaching my own daughter and again considered Priscilla, I saw that we may be Priscilla’s only chance to learn of the richness of a life filled with God. If God will make all of the provision to adopt her, financial and otherwise, how can we not step up and seize the opportunity to bless this little girl with the love of God and the opportunity to help her come to know Him deeply?