Wednesday, September 28, 2011

So Excited About J! and other news...


I can't begin to tell you how excited I am this week. My bestie, Arl, has received a referral for the most beautiful little Ugandan boy! I can not wait to meet this little one and cover him with kisses and hugs. Arl went to the c4c retreat with me this year and was excited for the retreat but kept insisting she wasn't going to be adopting any time soon. I smiled and nodded, but knew otherwise. She came home with a heart bursting at the seems for Ugandan orphans and could not wait to start the process. Well things came about that didn't seem like the right time at first... but she prayed about it and knew she had a son there. The Lord even whispered his name (J) to her. So when she got a call about a boy named J she knew quickly that though it didn't seem what the world would consider a convenient time, it was exactly what God had in store and had been whispering to her heart. Yesterday I got to see a picture of beautiful J. His eyes show a kind heart. I am so beyond thrilled to see this boy come home to a family so madly in love with him already. If you want to learn more about them, or even donate to their adoption fees visit their adoption page on engendo.org.


In other news... in my journey to shed some padding... I have started running (well... walking with spurts of running)... and was excited to see consistent weight loss continue yesterday at my doctor checkup. Also, Mr. Awesome and I are signing up for our first 5K. I am able to run 5k regularly so am not too scared of it, but am really excited to give myself goals and things to work towards. My long term goal is to be able to run walk a half marathon by the end of next year. We shall see.. :)


On the adoption front... we are currently taking MAPP classes with our county so that we can be certified to adopt from the foster system. We feel like no matter where our journey to adoption takes us, this is a good coursework to complete to make us better prepared for any scenario. We also feel like we would like to adopt from the foster care system at some point so it is good to take the classes now. We have also reactivated our Ethiopian adoption journey with WHFC. We are currently at almost 17 months of waiting for a boy 0-3. The current time families are waiting in that range is 14 months, with a range of 14-18 months. We are told boys are usually on the shorter end of that range. So... hopefully we will have good news in the coming months. We shall see... never know.. By December we should also be licensed to adopt from foster.


I will write more in the future about what has gone on in the past couple months. It has indeed been a wild ride and I am just now starting to catch a glimpse of what God has been working on in this.



"Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be." – John Ortberg

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Marshall McClain Died Minutes After Getting His Last Wish: To Adopt Baby Girl


SHARON, S.C. — With everything she had to do that morning, Marshall McClain could not believe his wife was wasting time making the bed.


"What are you doing?" he gasped from the brown recliner where he spent his nights.


Tracey McClain was killing time, waiting for the lawyer's call, waiting to hear whether the adoption was a go and 11-month-old Alyssa would finally be theirs.


Alyssa's mother had long since given her consent, but attorney Dale Dove hadn't been in a particular hurry to locate the biological father. In the case of absentee fathers, he told the McClains, the longer the child can bond with the prospective parents before an adoption notice is filed, the better.


"Time is your friend," Dove had said.


But time had suddenly become the enemy.


An infection raged through the 61-year-old Army veteran's withered, 115-pound frame, and the intravenous antibiotics couldn't keep up. Doctors said he had just a couple of days.


But the man who'd survived 60 combat missions in Vietnam had one more task to complete. He wanted to give his name to the little girl who'd been the light of his life these past six months. More importantly, he wanted Alyssa to have the right to collect his benefits after he died.


During the past few days, Dove and others moved heaven and earth to make the adoption happen. An opening had suddenly occurred in the judge's docket, and Tracey was scrambling to get herself and Alyssa ready and over to Rock Hill, about 40 minutes away.


By the time Tracey returned to the bedroom to say goodbye, the hospice nurse had arrived.


Even with the oxygen tube at his nose, Marshall's breathing was labored. He was unable to speak, but his eyes were open, and Tracey knew he could understand her as she leaned down to kiss him.


"I love you," she said. "I'll be back."


___


Tracey and Marshall McClain's life wasn't perfect – but it was pretty darned close.


They'd met on the job. He was a long-haul truck driver, and she – 17 years his junior – was his dispatcher.


Married on New Year's Day 1994, they started their own trucking company a year later. Over the next 16 years, they'd built their Charlotte, N.C., business from five tractor-trailers to a fleet of 32 owner-operators.


The couple constructed a spacious three-story house on 33 wooded, northwest South Carolina acres that they shared with three racking horses – Rudy, Hunter and Little Girl – and a pair of goats named Thelma and Louise.


Each had a grown child from a previous marriage. Marshall's daughter, Amy Lane, lived about three hours away in Summerton; Danielle, Tracey's girl, lived with them. If there was any diaper changing in their future, they figured it would be for their first grandchild, who was on the way.


But all that changed one Sunday morning last fall, when an 18-year-old stranger walked through the doors at Sanctuary Hills Church of God of Prophecy.


The 2-month-old girl in her arms was pale and spitting up. The young mother appeared distraught.


"I'm not sleeping," she said. "She's not sleeping."


One of the women in the nursery offered to take the baby home for a while. The mother agreed without hesitation.


The McClains added mother and baby to their prayer list, but that was the extent of their involvement – until early January.


The church friend told Tracey that Alyssa had been hospitalized for breathing trouble and dehydration. When Alyssa was ready to be released, the friend asked if the McClains could keep her for the night.


After they got her home, a winter storm hit. By the time the snow had melted off, the McClains were in love.


The mother already had a 3-year-old son. She wasn't ready to be a mother of two.


"Alyssa ... has been passed around to several families that mom did not know much about," a social worker wrote. The mother "has not bonded with Alyssa."


On Jan. 28, social services granted the McClains temporary custody. Less than a week later, the mother signed away her parental rights.


___


About two years ago, during a family vacation, Marshall became violently ill. His skin turned a sickly yellow, and the already painfully lean trucker began dropping weight.


Over time, Marshall underwent numerous surgeries to clear blockages or take biopsies. He would bounce back after each operation, only to relapse later.


The business was doing well enough that Marshall decided to retire. When Alyssa came along, he was able to devote full time to raising her.


He was the one who, when she awoke crying, declared that she'd just have to cry herself back to sleep. Five minutes later, he was up to comfort her.


He would sit in his recliner and bounce Alli on his leg, singing "Ride the Horsey" or "Jesus Loves Me." He worked hard to make sure her first word was "Daddy" – and it was.


When Marshall first became ill, doctors feared it was pancreatic cancer, but tests came back negative. In late March, that initial suspicion was confirmed.


He had just started radiation and chemotherapy when physicians discovered abscesses in his liver. They ordered intravenous antibiotics.


Danielle and her fiance, Kevin Susigan, moved their wedding up a year to May 14 so Marshall could walk her down the aisle.


The first week in July, Marshall went to Carolinas Medical Center near Charlotte for some tests to see how the abscesses were responding to the treatment. While he was there, one of them ruptured.


When doctors said there was nothing they could do to halt the spreading infection, Marshall decided to spend his last few days at home, with family. Tracey asked him if he was frightened.


"The only thing I'm scared of is leaving you here with all this responsibility," he told her. "But, other than that, I'm ready."


___


Dove, the lawyer, was on vacation at the beach with his wife. They weren't scheduled to come home for several days, but something told them to cut their trip short.


He was in his office Friday, July 8, when Tracey called with the news about Marshall.


"Holy cow," he said. "We need to get this thing DONE."


Dove's staff had located Alyssa's biological father just days earlier. He was at the Moss Justice Center in York, awaiting transfer to prison to begin serving a five-year sentence for drug distribution.


The lawyer had two options.


He could file a notice of adoption proceeding, which would give the father 30 days to respond – days he knew Marshall McClain did not have. Or he could go to the jail and get the man's consent.


At 8 a.m. the next day, Dove was ushered into a closet-like room with a thick glass partition and a telephone receiver on the wall. On the other side sat a slight young man in an orange jumpsuit.


Dove explained how the McClains had been taking care of Alyssa. He told him of adopting his own daughter 26 years earlier, and what a blessing it had been. Finally, he explained the situation with Marshall McClain, and the need for urgency.


The father – a baby-faced 19-year-old with blond hair like Alyssa's – was visibly moved. He was leaning toward signing the consent, but demurred: "I don't know these people."


"Well," Dove said. "I can help with that."


Dove stepped outside and called Tracey McClain. He told her to write a letter introducing herself and Marshall to Alyssa's father, and to get it there as quickly as possible.


By 1 p.m., Dove was slipping the hastily typed page through the slot at the bottom of the window.


Tracey told the man about Marshall's service in Vietnam, and about the successful trucking business they had built together. She wrote of their supportive church family, and of the older sisters and cousins who would love and help care for Alyssa.


Tracey promised to send him reports on his daughter's progress, and to "uphold you in a positive way" to her.


"You would be giving us the greatest gift by allowing us to make Alyssa part of our family," she wrote.


Tracey had also sent several photos.


"They look like good people," the young man behind the glass said.


He told Dove he wanted the weekend to think it over. But he didn't need to wait that long.


Later that day, he sat down with a pen and a piece of yellow legal paper.


He said that he had never known his own father, and was grateful for the McClains' offer to let him be part of Alyssa's life. He wanted her – and them – to know that, "Just because I'm locked up doesn't make me a bad person."


"The last thing I ever wanted to do was give my daughter away ... ," he wrote. "But you are the parents now and truely have been since the beginning and I have faith in God whatever decisions you make for her will be the best ones."


___


Dove was gassing up his truck around 9:30 a.m. Monday, July 11, when his assistant called from the jail with news that the father had signed. He immediately called Family Court Judge David Guyton's office and explained Marshall's condition to the judge's assistant, Sandy Neely.


"Is there ANY possibility for the judge to hear the case?" he pleaded.


She put him on hold. After a short time, she came back and asked if they could be there by 1:45.


"Sure," he replied.


He immediately called Tracey McClain. He was still on the phone with her when he got a beep.


It was Guyton's office.


"We JUST had a cancellation," Neely said. "Can you be here by 11?"


Dove looked at his watch. It was nearing 10, and he was still in his jeans. He would have to get home and change into his suit while his staff drafted the paperwork.


"I'll probably be a few minutes late," he warned Neely.


As Dove raced home, it dawned on him that he'd have to make sure Alyssa's court-appointed guardian would be there. And since Marshall would be unable to attend, he wanted the woman who'd done the home study present to attest to the loving atmosphere in the McClain household.


Miraculously, both were available.


Back in Sharon, Tracey McClain hastily pulled on some slacks and a dress shirt. When Danielle came downstairs with Alli still in her pajamas, she told her to go back and change her into a dress.


Dove reached the court building at 11:09. The hearing did not get under way until 11:31.


___


With his close-cropped flattop haircut, chiseled features and ramrod straight posture, Guyton looks every inch the Marine captain he once was – and Army National Guard lieutenant colonel he still is. But he has a special place in his heart for adoptions.


Taped to the inside rim of his bench is a photo of his 7-year-old daughter, Hannah Grace. Dove represented the Guytons in the adoption.


For the record, Dove noted that Marshall McClain was not present in the courtroom.


"This adoption, though, is something that he wanted," he said. "Is that correct?"


"Yes," Tracey replied as Alyssa let out a yelp. "I believe that's what he's holding on for."


The guardian and other witnesses were quickly called, heard and dismissed. Squirming in a cousin's lap, Alyssa cooed as the small pendulum clock over the judge's left shoulder ticked away the minutes.


Toward the end of the hearing, Dove noticed a serious error in the adoption decree. The couple's name was misspelled "McCalin" throughout.


Breaking with protocol, Guyton allowed Dove to make the corrections by hand.


The hearing ended at 12:05 p.m. Dove wanted to snap a photo of judge and family, but Tracey said she couldn't wait, and hurried to her car.


A couple of miles out of town, she dialed home. Danielle answered.


"Tell your dad we've got her," the mother said. "I'll be there in a few minutes."


Danielle repeated the news to the room. Her sister Amy leaned close to her father's ear and whispered, "She's ours."


McClain's breathing eased. The muscles in his face relaxed.


The clerk's stamp on the final decree reads 12:09 p.m. Marshall McClain's official time of death was 12:17.


___


Allen G. Breed is a Raleigh, N.C.-based national writer for The Associated Press. He can be reached at features(at)ap.



http://www.aol.com/2011/09/25/marshall-mcclain-died-min_n_980331.html?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl1|sec1_lnk2|98862

Adoption Comic

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweet Linny and Beautiful Ruby Grace

ruby grace

I wanted to request prayer for my friend, Linny, and the beautiful little girl that she is working to bring home. You can read more here. Ruby was starving and the Lord has provided a beautiful family for her. This story is truly a miracle and testament of God's love for the orphan. So please pray she comes home quickly so she can get the medical attention that she very much needs!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Video :: Come By Here by Shawn Groves

Adoption Book Recommendations

Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore

There is no Me Without Youg by Melissa Fay Greene

Choosing To SEE by Mary Beth Chapman

Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections

This Is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes

Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents

Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft

The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years

Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow

There are so many more I would recommend, but here is a start...

Adoption Stat

According to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption nearly 40% of Americans consider adopting, but only 1% move forward. Which percent will you be?

Abba Changes Everything - Why every Christian is called to rescue orphans

Russell D. Moore | posted 7/02/2010 08:59AM


I stopped and pulled on Maria's elbow. "Why is it so quiet? The place is filled with babies." Both of us compared the stillness with the buzz and punctuated squeals that came from our church nursery back home. Here, if we listened carefully enough, we could hear babies rocking themselves back and forth, the crib slats gently bumping against the walls. These children did not cry, because infants eventually learn to stop crying if no one ever responds to their calls for food, for comfort, for love. No one ever responded to these children. So they stopped.The creepiest sound I have ever heard was nothing at all. My wife, Maria, and I stood in the hallway of an orphanage somewhere in the former Soviet Union, on the first of two trips required for our petition to adopt. Orphanage staff led us down a hallway to greet the two 1-year-olds we hoped would become our sons. The horror wasn't the squalor and the stench, although we at times stifled the urge to vomit and weep. The horror was the quiet of it all. The place was more silent than a funeral home by night.

The silence continued as we entered the boys' room. Little Sergei (now Timothy) smiled at us, dancing up and down while holding the side of his crib. Little Maxim (now Benjamin) stood straight at attention, regal and czar-like. But neither boy made a sound. We read them books filled with words they couldn't understand, about saying goodnight to the moon and cows jumping over the same. But there were no cries, no squeals, no groans. Every day we left at the appointed time in the same way we had entered: in silence.

On the last day of the trip, Maria and I arrived at the moment we had dreaded since the minute we received our adoption referral. We had to tell the boys goodbye, as by law we had to return to the United States and wait for the legal paperwork to be completed before returning to pick them up for good. After hugging and kissing them, we walked out into the quiet hallway as Maria shook with tears.

And that's when we heard the scream.

Little Maxim fell back in his crib and let out a guttural yell. It seemed he knew, maybe for the first time, that he would be heard. On some primal level, he knew he had a father and mother now. I will never forget how the hairs on my arms stood up as I heard the yell. I was struck, maybe for the first time, by the force of the Abba cry passages in the New Testament, ones I had memorized in Vacation Bible School. And I was surprised by how little I had gotten it until now.

Gospel and Mission
When someone learns that I'm going to speak at their church about adoption, typically the first question is, "So will you be talking about the doctrine of adoption or, you know, real adoption?" That's a hard question, because I cannot address one without addressing the other. We cannot master one aspect and then move to the other, from the vertical aspect of adoption to the horizontal aspect, or vice versa.

Families, the Bible tells us, reflect something eternally true about God. It is God's fatherhood after which every family in heaven and on earth is named (Eph. 3:14-15). We know what human parenting should look like based on our Father's behavior toward us.

The reverse is also true. We see something of God's fatherhood in our relationship with our human fathers. Jesus tells us that our fathers' provision and discipline show us God's active love toward us (Matt. 7:9-11; Heb. 12:5-17).

The same principle is at work in adoption. Adoption is, on one hand, gospel. Our identity and inheritance are grounded in our adoption in Christ. Adoption is alsomission. In this, our adoption spurs us to join Christ in advocating for the poor, the marginalized, the abandoned, and the fatherless. Without the theological aspect, the growing Christian emphasis on orphan care too often seems like one more cause wristband for compassionate conservative evangelicals to wear until the trend dies down. Without the missional aspect, the doctrine of adoption too easily becomes mere metaphor, just another way to say "saved."

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/july/10.18.html?start=1

Ever thought about adopting a child who was HIV positive?

Things I never knew about HIV positive status. Make sure you check out this blog series, if nothing else but to be informed!

 

Intro: A Series is Born
Part 1: How God Opened Our Hearts to HIV
Part 2: HIV: I Want That Kind of Faith
Part 3: The Stigma is a Lie (& Satan is the Liar)
Part 4: (today) Talking to Mothers of HIV+ Children
Part 5: What to Do, Now That You Know
End: A Few Random Facts

Video :: Third Day Adoption Video - children of God

Video :: Adoption PSA

Video :: Depraved Indifference

Video :: Waka Wakka by Shakira

Video :: Meant to Be by Steven Curtis Chapman

Video :: Say Yes

Video :: Dave Ramsey on Adoption

Video :: Lucy Lane's Adoption Video

Video :: God's Heart for Adoption

How To Help

If you have in some way been inspired to get out and do something to help others, then feel free to email us, but here are some ideas to get you started:








Prayerfully

  • Pray for an organization

  • Pray for an adopting family


Financially



  • Support An Organization

  • Support An Adopting Family

  • Purchase Products that Donate


Get The Word Out!



  • Post buttons on your blog

  • Post links on your facebook

  • Email your friends links

  • Create an adoption ministry at your church

  • Get informed, and then inform

  • Organize a missions trip



Lifesong for Orphans

If you have a link you would like added to this page email me at maggie at engendo.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What the Bible Says about Adoption

In you the orphan finds mercy.
Hosea 14:3

Never take advantage of any widow or orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, you can be sure that I will hear their cry.
Exodus 22:22-23

You are the helper of the fatherless. LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.
Psalms 10:14,17-18

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1:27

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.
Psalms 68:5-6

When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.
Deuteronomy 24:19

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Isaiah 1:17

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Proverbs 31:8-9

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
Matthew 18:5

I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!
Matthew 25:40

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Orphan Crisis

I have been doing some research the past couple days prepping for a trivia game for our Both Hands meeting this weekend. When I saw one of the websites mention "the orphan crisis" I had mixed emotions. Crisis to me implies something that requires prompt drastic action. My first reaction in seeing that term was to think "overdramatization" "emotion manipulating". Isn't that interesting that despite my research and strong emotion about orphans when I see someone say "hey this is a serious problem that needs addressing right now" my first reaction is "it can't be that bad".

Well if I really feel that way why does my heart break and my eyes fill when I even so much as think about a child rocking himself to sleep at night. I know that this strong emotion my body is wracked with in response to the orphan is something God has put in me. The closer I have drawn to Him the stronger this pull has on me. So maybe parts of me are still catching up to what God is doing.


Regardless - I continued reading and the more I read the more I thought - it really is a crisis - it really is. I feel like because we don't walk past it every day, because its not on our tv at nights, because we fill our lives with enough crap we can't see the world around us... because of all that we can comfortably ignore the orphan crisis.

~147 million orphans worldwide
~33% of all americans have considered adopting
~2% of all americans have adopted
~800,000 ethiopian children are orphans because of aids

Lord I pray you open our eyes. Break our hearts for the things that break yours. Let us no longer live self-serving complacent lives.






It is the desire of my heart to not just open my heart to what orphans the Lord brings to our family, but hopefully one day to be one of the reasons someone else makes the same choice.

The Starfish Story



Once upon a time, there was a wise old man,
who went to the sea to contemplate.

One day, while walking along the shore,
the wise old man looked down the beach,
and saw a gracefully dancing human figure.
The wise old man wondered out loud,

“Who would be dancing all alone on the beach?”
He began to walk faster to catch up.
Getting closer, the wise man saw that the dancer
was a child, who was not dancing at all.
The child was reaching down to the sand to pick up
something, and was very gently throwing it into the sea.

The man called out to the child,
“Good Morning! What are you doing?”
The child paused, looked up and replied,
“Throwing Starfish into the sea.”
Surprised, the man said,
“Yes, I see that, but WHY are you throwing Starfish into the sea?”

The child smiled brightly, pointed upward and
with perfect simplicity replied,
“The sun is up, and the tide is going out.
If I don’t throw them in, they will die.”
“But, don’t you realize, “asked the man,
“that there are miles and miles of beach and Starfish all along it?
You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The child listened politely.
Then bent down, picked up another Starfish,
threw it gently into the sea, just beyond the breaking waves,
and joyfully declared,
“It made a difference for that one.”