Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Doesn't this Pumkin Roll look fantastic?

Well, It was!

Our friends Dominic and Tiffany Moro have spent the last several months preparing to welcome a little girl from Korea into their home. As so many of you will remember, the process of international adoption is exhausting, emotional, and expensive!

Tiffany started selling cakes as a fundraiser and I ordered one (a pumpkin roll) for our Sunday School Class just recently. MMMmmmmm......! It was such a delicious treat! Thank you, Tiffany!

They have also had a yard sale that netted, unbelievably, almost $2,000.00! God is providing for them on their step of faith!

Surprisingly, they have just received the referral photo and information of and about their little girl! This is way sooner than expected! Dominic and Tiffany are expecting that little Isabella will be joining their family in January or February of next year!

If you feel like helping them financially is something you can do, please consider contacting this precious family. No matter what, please pray for them on this, their endeavor to God's love for us in giving this sweet little baby a home to grow up in. What a blessed little girl Isabella is. And what blessings await the Moro family!

The Moro family has a website and a blog. Their main page is:
www.faithfullyadopting.com

They have the picture of their little girl on the site.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Winter Hosting

We are coordinating a local Knoxville hosting program of Ukrainian orphans from the Kharkov region. We will be posting more details over the next few days but if you may be interested in hosting this Christmas please post a comment with your contact info.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A follow up to the How-We-Do-It posts from a while back...

(I don't remember posting this picture when I took it.
If I did, then you can enjoy this unrelated to the post content photo
of the boys and their daddy again.)


At our family reunion the other day, some of us girls were talking. I don't remember how it came up but I found myself saying that in some ways six kids is easier for me than three. (I think we were talking about the Duggars) That sounds unbelievable and, surely is a matter of my own perspective so let me explain:

Before the six, there were three. Three girls who would happily sit and play Barbies, My Little Ponies, or read books and color. It was quieter. The mess wasn't a lot different, however.

Some things are different. The noise level. Boys, it turns out, make a lot of noise. Dents in the walls appeared thanks to flying space men, or cars, or even Barbies-- but always flying out of the hands of boys. ha, ha!

The noise is one of those things that becomes normal to me after a time. I don't allow excessive amounts inside (that's what the great outdoors are for) but I try to keep it real. There will be noise. There will be dents. There will be mess. Spackle is my friend.

Now, what to do about it? That is my job: I am a manager. The managing is different for me than being managed by the mess, which is what I was before. This is not to say my house is not messy, just that I had to implement a system which would work for us and keep our "situation" under control.

I often see things and tidy them up. But there are times that we just don't worry about it. Instead of the work never being done, we have clear cut lists for each child per day and everyone understands that we are a team. There is a sense of accomplishment when a daily list has been completed and there is benefit to working quickly. (Unlike a we-all-work-till-it's-done system)
I also have the peace of mind that, once a day, for a few minutes, the house will all be tidy (sans bedrooms).

This clean-up and maintenance time is my down time. It happens right after breakfast and before school so that I can come down to the computer with my coffee and relax after the morning "rush". The kids understand this and I made sure early on that they understood that I have my jobs and they have theirs but that mine happen at different times of the day. No one wants my job and that is fine with me! :-)

This is getting long so perhaps I will elaborate in a Part 2. But just wanted to say that I am, by nature, a messy, disorganized sort. Haha! Six kids has, remarkably, forced me into being a better, more organized me. (Notice that I did not label myself simply as "Organized"!) And, for the most part, a happier me. We all--one child or two children or, in my case six children--we all go to bed wiped out sometimes. Wiped out is wiped out; it doesn't really matter too much how many kids did the wiping! But I get to enjoy six times the hugs, six times the laughs, six times the funny things that come out of their mouths! It is a good life. And worth it all.

Questions? Comments?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Smart.

My silly boy is at it again. Oh, the things that come out of his mouth.... LOL!

Today the little kids were doing their morning jobs. Ivy had brought out two bathroom garbage cans to empty into the big kitchen bag. On her way back to the bathroom with one can she turned around and thought to take both cans at once, saving a trip.

"You are so smart, Ivy!" I complimented. "That is a good idea to take both cans at once!"

"I am smarter than her." Vitali reminded me.

"Oh?"

"Yes. Her don't know 1+1 is 3!" Was his boasting reply.

"But 1+1 isn't three," I countered.

"Oh, well then, 2+2 is!? "

"Ummm....no."

Silly boy!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Memory Prodigy, or not...

Look who beat Daddy at Memory. Again! We were so astounded at Vitali's sudden proficiency at the game until he started narrating his moves: "Hmmm, The giraffe has a black scratch on the back, the snail is light colored, the dog has two bumps, the ox has a polka dot, the bird..."
Yup, the Memory game that we have is wooden. We love it, the pieces are nice and never get dog-eared. It was a gift from Aunt Lynn years ago. It wasn't until these past couple of weeks that someone (Vitali) cracked the wood grain code. I guess it does require memory usage, but still...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Family picture and a couple others...

All of us!
(Believe it or not, this is the first of only three tries! haha!
Once in a lifetime experience, everyone looking in the first shot!)


Max, holding a very tiny Ivy and Vitali

Silly Vitali and Daddy

Misha and Papa

Thursday, July 02, 2009

I have had a spurt of productiveness lately. The urge to clean the house. When I get that, I go with it!! LOL!! Yesterday, I was cleaning out our basement family room and laundry area.

While I worked Max found me and put his hands on my arms and said he needed a hug. So, I stopped and gave him a hug, pet his head a second, looked him in the eyes and told him that I loved him. Often, that is what he needs and then he runs off to play again. But not on this day.

This day, he stayed. In fact, he kept interfering for so long that I declared that he must let me get back to work. "I will help you", he replied. How could he help me with cleaning off the dryer? I admit to being slightly annoyed that he was hanging around, getting in the way and messing with the piles of stuff that I was sorting out, though I kept my mouth shut.

Instead, I said, "Okay, you can help". I gave him some run-off-and- put-this-away kind of errands thinking that he would find Misha along the way and they'd run off to play. But he kept bounding back down the stairs to me every time.

This made me think of when the girls were little. How that, sometimes, a cranky, clingy child just needs a few moments of your undivided attention. My stopping for five to ten minutes to play or cuddle, read or tickle, to sing songs or color and the child was readied to squirm away from me and explore the areas outside of the two-foot radius of my ankles again!

In many ways Max is still an almost ten, two-year-old boy. He giggles with abandon when he plays with toys like the big exercise ball he bounced himself around on at my friend's house a few weeks ago, obviously suggestive of a toddler's squeals of delight. And while he can be mature in ways beyond his years, he has an underlying current of a childhood that is replaying itself as he continues to blend into this new life he has with us.

And now, in my basement laundry area, I looked around, saw that the mess and collection of old lint-coated pocket miscellany could wait while I took some time to sit with my son. It was pretty high compliment Max was paying me, after all, working by my side simply for the privilege of being by my side.

My almost-ten-year-old son just needed me to help him be a little baby boy for a moment.
melissa

Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Open Letter To The President of The United States of America

I am the father of six young children. My oldest son Max was born in Eastern Ukraine in 1999. He was subjected to some of the vilest abuse one can imagine. At the age of four Max suffered a catastrophic head injury at the hand of the person who should have been protecting him. My son at the age of FOUR through no fault of his own found himself with a fractured skull lying in a snow bank!

Thankfully my son survived. Max moved to an orphanage. For four years Max lingered in that orphanage before he and his two younger brothers became a part of our family. Given Max’s significant medical history, citizens from places like Canada, Great Britain, France, and Spain probably would not have been able to adopt him.

Mr. Obama, the reason my son would not have been able to be adopted by parents from those countries is because of "health care reform" that the governments of those countries passed. In those countries children like my son are weeded out by bureaucrats so that only the pure and healthiest children are adopted. That is sick!

President Obama, you are suggesting similar type reforms. That scares me! I want to know if your plans for health care would have denied my son a family? Are there provisions within your health care plan that would prevent a child like my son Max from being adopted? Would your plan DAMN my son to a life in an orphanage without a family? Would your health care plan have left my son lying in that awful snow bank in Eastern Ukraine ?

Mr. Obama, the lost children of this world deserve to know whether they have a friend or a foe in the President of the United States . My son deserves to know whether his president’s health care plan would have allowed a bureaucrat in Washington DC to sentence him to almost certain demise. Mr. President, I love my son and he deserved a family whether he was deemed perfect by a bureaucrat or not!

Respectfully,

Stephen Eimers

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Adoption and Questions About 'The Will of God'

How are things working out? How are the boys adjusting? Would you adopt again knowing what you know?

These are questions we are often asked regarding the adoption of our sons. The next statements are ones that we have heard several times.

We had friends who have adopted and it has been awful. IT is pretty clear it wasn’t God’s will for them to adopt!

There was a man who after becoming a Christian:

  • Lost his position on the preeminent political body of the day
  • Was jailed unjustly numerous times
  • Was shipwrecked and bitten by a poisonous snake
  • Was beaten, stoned, and tortured repeatedly; several times almost to death
  • Finally lost his life when his head was cut off on the Apian Way outside of Rome

Was this man a failure? Could we infer based on all these consequences the man was outside of God’s will? Would that be a fair assessment?

Of course not! The man to whom I am referring to is St. Paul. The man who through the work of the Holy Spirit is most responsible for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Using the consequences of obedience to God's call as the metric of success or failure is completely unfair. By those standards every Apostle would have to be considered a failure and outside of the will of God. St. Peter was crucified upside down. St. James was stoned to death. St. John was banished and was the only Apostle not to suffer an early death.

Obedience to God’s will and commands has consequences! Adoption has consequences but so does not adopting.

The child not adopted will almost surely be sexually exploited. The child not adopted will face an almost certain untimely demise. The child not adopted will most likely never find the grace of adoption by the Heavenly Father.

I would be negligent if I didn’t acknowledge how hard adoption can be. I know many a family that has been broken or bankrupted trying to help a lost child find healing.

There will be consequences if you choose the adoption journey! The hurt child will find and expose every character flaw you have. However St. James made a simple statement care for the orphans. It was not qualified! It did not guarantee a smooth path!

So how can you know if it is God’s will for you to adopt? How does one know if they have been ‘called?’ Do you need to hear some mystical voice or see some sign?

If you are a follower of the adopted Christ than you have already been called to care for the orphan. The scriptures are clear about God’s love for little children. The example of adoption throughout the scriptures is clear. The case for Christians adopting lost children is self evident!

So should everybody adopt? Of course not! Maybe you are disqualified from adopting lost children because of a health, moral, legal, financial, or other issue. The fairer question regarding whether or not it is God’s will for you to adopt may be; Is it God’s will that I not adopt?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In the spirit of Father's Day

One of those things dads often do with their boys is beat them up. Now, I mean this in the nicest way, really! LOL! But dads and their sons have wrestled in living rooms threatening the safety of mother's decoratives for eons and I suppose there is not much chance that this type of playing will disappear anytime soon. In our house, I am guessing that it will continue until one of the boys gets big enough to win (I could be wrong).

So, this is the activity the boys chose the other night before bed. (I forgot to say that this is another thing dads don't mind doing; getting the kids riled up before bed. Most moms would never do this.) I sat safely in my chair and took pictures without the flash. I like the blurriness of these photos. Gives a sense of the movement. I did try for one picture of all my boys at the end of the playtime but it was hard to get much with them all keyed up like they were!

Max and Misha made some initial attacks and were subdued temporarily but Vitali kept coming back for more. He loves this sort of thing.

I mean, he really loves it!

But Max wasn't gone for long. He tried a sneak attack. Unsuccessfully, I might add.
Then, a little practice wrestling which involved some foot-tickling. Very effective against Misha. Smart move, Max.

And lastly, I got this picture. Four quite sweaty, breathlessly content boys.

And, they didn't even break anything.

Melissa

Monday, June 15, 2009

Adoption Story

Some friends of ours from church are in the early stages of adopting from Korea. They have started to blog their process. If you like to follow adoption stories, then this is the time to start watching theirs. They only have 2 posts so far!

I know they covet prayers as they are truly stepping out on faith in this new phase of their lives. Please take a moment to "drop by" and leave them an encouraging note.

Right now there is a little baby or small child (or both!) in South Korea who thinks that the life she is leading is all there is. Imagine her surprise when she finds out what a forever family is and how life will change for her because of love. Love that is already in action, seeking her out to give her the gift that she never knew she always needed.

Visit Dominic and Tiffany here:
www.morofamily.wordpress.com

I have also added them to our sidebar.
Melissa

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Its 11 O'clock!

Its 11 O’clock! Do you know where your children are?

This was the lead in question every night right before Irv Weinstein would start the 11 O’clock news on WKBW. I heard that lead in hundreds of times but just the other day as I was remembering it, I HEARD it in a totally new way.

Looking back I often wonder where I was when important events occurred in my sons’ lives. I wonder what I was doing on September 27, 1999 when my oldest son Max was born. Where was I eleven months later when he suffered his first traumatic brain injury? Where was I on July 12, 2001 when his younger brother Mikhail was born? What was going on in my life when at the age of four Max was beaten nearly to death and thrown into a snow bank like yesterday’s trash? Where was I while my son lay clinging to life for two days in that snow bank in Eastern Ukraine?

Where? What? Why? The idea of adopting was out there during these times but it never hit me that I had children that were alive! It never crossed my mind that I had children who were vulnerable and that I could not physically protect them. My greatest regret was that I wasn’t praying for my boys while they were living through the hell I was impotent to prevent!

Adoption may not even be on your radar right now but it might be in a few years.

Maybe you are in college? Single? Facing your own crisis? The reality is that child who will become your son or daughter might be alive TODAY!

Your child could be facing untenable circumstances right now. Every one of these lost children faces incredible loss and difficult odds. Many will witness unspeakable violence. Others will suffer the vilest of abuse. The broken road that brings them into your home is never pretty!

If I could offer just one piece of advice it would be for you to pray for the child you don’t know that you may have. Your son! Your daughter!

Don’t have the same regrets I have.

Steve

Sunday, June 07, 2009

That's not what she meant...

(Misha playing in a toy boat and making that sound
with his lips that all boys make when imagining motor sounds)


We went on vacation to the beach a couple of weeks ago! We had a great time and you can see pictures on our family blog.

While we were gone, our good friend Ginger Shamblin offered to chicken-sit for us. Misha asked us several times if he could call Ms Ginger and check on Indiana Jones.

Finally, at the hotel we dialed the number for him. I could hear both sides of the conversation as he talked. Occasionally I coached him on what to say since he depends a lot on watching people talk to follow their dialogue. At one point I heard Ms. Ginger ask , "Is it raining where you are?"

Misha answered confidently, "No. We are inside."

Motives

I have been asked if I am judging people’s motives for adopting. In one sense, yes I am, on the other hand no. (Nice political answer right?)

I can honestly admit that our motives when we started the adoption of our sons were an inward desire to altruism. I wanted to do something of significance. Something that mattered! It was about our feelings.

Is it wrong to adopt to fulfill a dream? Of course not! I can however tell you this dream at times can be a nightmare!

Is adoption a natural solution to infertility? This is an obvious yes. I have talked with countless couples who say “I wish we hadn’t started with the idea that adoption was our last resort.

Adoption is a worthy choice in and of itself!

I accept almost any catalyst towards adoption but I can assure you that reason will likely not be enough to hold you up during the tough times.

I try to refocus attention repeatedly to the purpose of adoption because ontologically speaking these lost children were created in the image of the holy and just God. When (NOT IF) you hit the hard times in adoption this will be what sustains you.

The hurt child will find and expose every character flaw you have. If we move our focus on adoption away from our own desires and for that matter the lost child’s desire and towards the need and ontological value of the child this is what will carry us through the trials.

Adoption and all life issues surround one central theme: the inherent transcendent value of the human soul!

Steve

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I wrote this for Hope Resource Center to use in their adoption counseling service. Thought I would share it here.

Steve

The Gift of Life

Somehow in our culture a misunderstanding regarding the purpose of adoption has developed. Many of us have come to believe that adoption was created to resolve a problem or a desire for the adoptive parent. Whatever that desire may be? Historically this is the farthest thing from the truth. One of the finest examples of how an adoption should occur is the adoption of Moses in the Bible.

During the reign of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ahmose, a decree was issued for all the male Hebrew children born to be murdered. The mother of the baby boy who would later be named Moses could not bear to have her son killed. The mother of Moses carefully planned the adoption of her son.

Moses’ birth mother searched for a woman who was compassionate and would love her son as her own. She watched this woman and noted her routine. She carefully constructed a tender reed basket in which to place her son. At the perfect time she placed the young child into the basket and floated him gently into the Nile River as the Egyptian princess bathed. Moses’ birth mom had her daughter waiting on the river bank to offer help to the woman she had chosen to raise her son. Through these deliberate and intentional actions the birth mother of Moses facilitated history’s first open adoption.

Moses’ birth mother made this sacrifice not to help this young wealthy Egyptian woman "fulfill a dream." She didn’t offer her son because the princess was "having fertility problems." She didn’t even give up her son because “she wanted to give him a better [material] life.”

The woman who gave Moses life chose adoption to preserve his very LIFE! Her love for her son led her to the choose the only option that would save him. Moses’ birth mother’s choice for life gave US one of the most important men to ever live.

Through the courage of this woman we were given the man to whom God presented Himself to mankind as the “I Am.” Through the courage of this woman we were given the man to whom God gave the Ten Commandments. Through the courage of this woman we were given the man whom God chose to lead His people on The Exodus. Through the courage of this woman we were given the man whom God chose to write the first five books of the Bible.

The story of Moses and his life is well documented. The adoptive mother of Moses, the princess of Egypt has been clearly noted. There is however one who remains anonymous. The young Jewish mother who courageously chose life and by her choice blessed all humanity.

It is often said that adoption is about giving a gift. It is indeed a gift. One of the most important gifts that can ever be given! Adoption is about giving a child the opportunity for life!

We have been negligent in not honoring those women, like the mother of Moses, who have chosen life. Those women who have sacrificed to give their child the option of living. We must never forget these women and the difficult choices they had to make in the most desperate of situations.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thank You, STAR!

Max and Misha went to their last riding session at STAR this past Tuesday. They took pictures of themselves with their horses and wrote on their papers that they loved their horses and thanked STAR for their time there. Their pictures cracked me up!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Star


STAR is a therapeutic riding facility that our boys have been able to attend for the last nine weeks. Although STAR is for handicapped and/or mentally disabled kids, our boys qualify because of some problems with Fetal Substance Exposures. Max and Misha each struggle in different areas because of this but really are highly functional. In some ways we feel guilty taking them to ride alongside other kids with much more visible issues. That said, we are increasingly aware that the boys have difficulties in ways that we don't see with our eyes but that do impact them significantly. (I have mentioned before the challenges with schoolwork)

STAR has been, without question, the highlight of each week for them and they count the days from one week to the next with eager anticipation!

Each session is one hour long and the boys start by caring for their horses: brushing, cleaning their hooves, saddling, etc... Then they ride. they learn to follow directions as their instructor calls them out.

Max loves his horse and loves all animals. This has been something that he has really had to teach himself to do and we are proud of him for taking the initiative to be brave. His horse's name is Breeze. He draws pictures of Breeze every Sunday in Sunday School using a little horse stencil that they have. Then he delivers his pictures to his helpers with pride.
Misha has made great strides since he has come to live in our family! Once terrified to the extreme of everything from puppies to primary-colored plastic bugs, he has readily looked forward to riding his horse, Freckles, and brushes him with little indication of his sensitivities. I do still notice a little timidness near the horse's face and neck but as he brushes the rest of the horse, he looks like any other little boy happily brushing a horse! The best thing is that he tries. He pets the horse's head and talks to Freckles when he walks by. He does this partly to show others that he is not afraid but he doesn't realize that he is actually teaching himself not to be fearful!

The boys have one more week of riding. I have yet to warn them. They have loved it and we have loved giving them this opportunity!

The rest of the family watches the boys ride. Today Hannah finished her homework and the other girls picked flowers. Vitali took care of Misha's hat.

Max's new specs

Max's lazy eye has been immensely helped through six or nine (I can't remember) months of patching but after a three-month span of trying no patch, there are some residual control issues. The Dr. recommended trying these glasses which he will wear all the time for three months and then perhaps, if necessary, three months more. This is all in an effort to avoid surgical correction.

We all think he looks very handsome and smart in his new specs. Don't you agree?

Below is a picture where he is being silly and looking over his glasses but it distinctly shows how his eye jumps away in certain circumstances--especially when looking straight up. His left eye is the trouble-maker.

Max is very proud of his glasses but the newness will wear off soon, I am sure. He was listing all the characters on Walker, Texas Ranger today for me that wear glasses! Haha! I had never noticed!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

All six. All looking in one direction. :-)

Max,
Hannah, Misha, Annette,
Ivy, Vitali

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Willful Ignorance

Here is another of my recent writings

Occasionally I find myself wishing I was ignorant of the plight of the lost child. I think about losing the memories of the smells and sounds in the orphanages. Above all I find myself wanting to forget the faces of the children. The children that unless somebody intervenes are destined for tragedy. I want to go back to a time when they, the lost child, were out there and not in here. I don’t want these memories because they haunt me. They compel me to action. I sometimes just want to go back to a time when I was ignorant!

This primal urge reminds of the lines below from the movie, The Matrix. The character Cypher is struggling with his own desire for ignorance. He longs for the days when he was “plugged in” and was unaware that his entire world was a farce.

…. I know what you're thinking, 'cause right now I'm thinking the same thing. Actually, I've been thinking it ever since I got here: Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?

… I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?

[Takes a bite of steak]

Ignorance is bliss…

Would my willful ignorance of the plight the lost child faces really change anything?

Would my ignorance change the fact that a little boy named Vladik in Eastern Europe will almost certainly be dead before his 18th birthday simply because he was born without legs?

Would my ignorance change the fact that a little girl named Chan in China will be dumped on the steps of a decrepit government orphanage?

Would my ignorance change the fact that a young girl named Grace in Sub-Saharan Africa will be raped because local folk legend says ‘sex with a virgin cures AIDS?’

Would my ignorance change the fact that a young boy named Hector in South America will be conscripted into a violent street gang?

Would my ignorance change the fact that a young man named Jason in the United States will join over 250,000 other former foster children who have aged out of foster care and are now in prison?

The reality is my fleeting wish for ignorance is really nothing more than a desire to not confront myself with the fact that the statistic in my mind is an actual child! A REAL child that if I or somebody else does not intervene will face certain untenable odds.

Would my willful ignorance be any better than woeful arrogance?

Steve

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Indiana Jones


Just in case there are any chicken fans out there,
I thought you all might enjoy an update on Indiana Jones, the Therapy Chicken-hopefully-not-a-rooster.

Indiana is growing and I admit to enjoying having a quirky chicken for a pet. Well, maybe I'm the quirky one since my pet is a chicken. Anyway, Indiana is kind of interesting and humorous.

Misha is doing very well as a chicken Papa. He never complains about his duties. And, fortunately, Indiana is not adverse to being held even though I would never dare label this pet chicken as cuddly! Maybe "tolerant" is a better word. I.J. does follow us around the yard ( I guess we are the "flock" to Indiana) when we are out there and, no joke, when we have left him/her outside while we were away, our return has always been heralded by Indiana Jones hurrying in run-hop-flap fashion towards our car! Haha!
:-)

I didn't take a picture of it, but Steve built Indiana a coop in the back yard. Regardless of the fact that our feathered friend likes the coop just fine, our house is sooo inviting that he/she tries to walk in on occasion! I am not kidding, we have six or seven steps up to our front door and the other day I heard a loud peeping from outside. When we opened the door to see what was the matter out there, there was Indiana Jones on the threshold, peeping to come in. When I opened the door his/her little chicken feet and clumsy wings got busy as he/she "marched" right in!
And then the other night we finally had to close the door because every time it opened there was Indiana! And, last night I heard a light knocking on the glass door in the back. Our neighbor occasionally comes to that door if she drops by but I suspected it might not be Myrtle. Sure enough, Indiana Jones was "knocking" on the door to come in. "Knock, knock, knock." Then pausing, assured that we would shout out, "Come in! All chickens welcome!"

Didn't happen.

Melissa

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Adoption and the Christian

Here is another excerpt from my recent writings.

Steve


Adoption and the Christian

The purpose of Christianity is redemption. The means God chose for redemption was adoption. Adoption [by God] is, in fact, the very basis of Christianity. Adoption has been described by John Piper as being “greater than the universe” and he goes even further and says “adoption is the purpose of the universe.” These are bold claims and assertions but the book of Ephesians solidly backs this up. Adoption is not only the purpose of the universe; it is a recurring theme throughout scripture.

The Hebrew people were living in Egypt and had grown so large that the Pharaoh perceived them as a threat and ordered all male babies to be killed. The mother of one young boy, unable to bear having her child killed, placed him in a basket. She then slid him into the river near where she knew the princess would bathe. The Egyptian princess was touched with compassion when she saw the infant. She took him as her adopted son, and named him Moses.

It was Moses to whom God presented Himself to mankind as "I AM." It was this same adopted son of the queen of Egypt who led the Exodus from Egypt and was given the Ten Commandments. It was Moses who wrote the first five books of the Bible.

Later, the Messianic line was preserved through adoption. The Jewish people had been led into exile. A young girl, Hadassah, lost her parents and her uncle took her in. He adopted her, and raised her as his own daughter. The Persian king Xerxes was compelled by this young woman’s stunning beauty and took her as his wife.

The king’s evil advisor, Haman, hated the Hebrews. He plotted to destroy them and wipe them off the face of the Earth. It was the courage of the adopted daughter of Mordechai, better known as Queen Esther, who "at such a time as this" rose to the occasion. It was this adopted daughter who risked her very life to approach the king to seek his favor to save her people. Through her actions not only were her people saved but also the Messianic line and eventually, through the death of Christ, all men.

Jesus, The Christ, was the adopted son of Joseph. It was the adoptive father of Jesus who refused to have Mary, the mother of God, stoned or put away privately. It was the adoptive father of the Christ who took Mary to Bethlehem fulfilling the prophecy of Micah. It was Joseph who fled to Egypt with Jesus, saving the adopted Christ Child’s life. It was the adoptive father of Jesus who brought Him "up out of Egypt.”

The adoptive father of our Great God and Savior had every reason and right under the law to refuse the responsibility of a child he had not fathered. However, Joseph knew that God’s plan was greater than his own. He raised the Son of God as his own.

As Christians it is by adoption that we cry "Abba" or "Papa" Father. Our adoption was known even before the foundation was laid for this universe. Redemption is by adoption. We were desperately "lost children." It was through the most evil and vile act in history that our adoption into God’s family was facilitated. Through adoption we have a heritage we don't deserve and a destiny forever altered. It is by adoption that we are “joint heirs” with the Messiah, Jesus.

Today there are nearly 150 million lost children worldwide. The outcomes they face are staggering. Almost 2/3 of the children who age out of foster care in the United States will end up in the prison system. In Eastern Europe estimates run as high as 1 in 10 orphaned children killing themselves before their 18th birthday. In Africa millions of lost children will die of AIDS. In South America the orphan is often conscripted into violent street gangs and militias. In Asia young girls are left wholesale on orphanage steps due to oppressive laws of tyrannical regimes only to later end up on the streets as prostitutes. Regardless of where a lost child is, he faces an almost certain untimely demise if parents never come for him.

St. James wrote “… Pure religion is to care for the orphans…” The lost child has a simple need. A family! Some say it is na├»ve to expect to find families for 150,000,000 children. However, there are an estimated TWO BILLION people worldwide who claim to be followers of the adopted Christ. If just one of every eight us were moved to action by the plight of the lost child the problem would be solved!

Without adoption we have no chance for eternal life. An orphaned child who is not adopted has virtually no chance for earthly life, much less eternal. God gave adoption to us; can we offer any less to them?

Adoption is not natural; it is supernatural!

Earthly adoption of lost children is one of the highest symbolic forms of worship one can offer a Holy and Just God.

Steve

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Ukrainian in the South

Our neighbors are great. They are dyed-in-the-wool southerners. His name is Cletus and her name is Myrtle. They have a grandson named Will.

Will was out the other day and Max saw him and said to Melissa "His name is Wheel." Melissa told Max that his name was Will. Max responded, "His dad calls him Wheel!"

Steve

Monday, April 06, 2009

Too Old: A Rwandan Adoption Story

15 years ago today the most efficient genocide in history began. On April 6, 1994 under the impotent noses of the UNAMIR troops a slaughter of innocent Tutsi Rwandans began. This slaughter turned the hills of Rwanda into graveyards and the rivers ran red from the blood of nearly one million murdered souls.

The French were likely involved in the execution of the genocide. The UN was impotent. The USA knew within hours what was occuring and specifically Richard Clarke blocked early attempts to stop the genocide. The Clinton administration went so far as to prevent this butchering from being called a genocide.

While the world did nothing one women became an unlikely hero. This is a short essay that I wrote about that women; Rosamond Carr, it is titled Too Old

I'm Too Old!

Rosamond Carr was a New York City socialite who married a young photographer during the 1940s and moved to the country of Rwanda. Some time later, Roz and her husband divorced but Roz never left Rwanda. Roz stayed in Rwanda until the 1994 genocide when in a period of 100 days nearly 1,000,000 people were slaughtered.

At the age of 82 in 1994, Roz Carr was the longest living foreign resident in Rwanda and one of the last non-native plantation owners. When the awful violence of the Interhamwe descended upon Rwanda, Roz did the only thing she knew to do. She sheltered her neighbors from the genocidal madmen. When the mobs learned of this Roz was forced to flee to the Democratic Republic of Congo. She then returned to her native United States.

Roz was already a hero for saving her neighbors and nobody would have thought less of her had she decided to live out her days in comfort in the USA. What happened next though is one of the most amazing stories of modern times. Rosamond Carr returned to her “home” in Rwanda.

When Ms. Carr returned to her home she found her country in shambles. The bodies were stacked up. The rivers ran red from the blood of a million Rwandans. Roz’s personal residence was ransacked. There was absolutely no reason to stay and every reason to just go back to America.

Instead Roz walked to the road in front of her plantation. She found an orphaned child and a short time later another. A kind hearted woman, she tried to find help for them but the more she looked for help the more children she found. It soon became apparent to Roz that she would need to be the help. At the age of 82, single, and never having had children Rosamond Carr became a mother to 40 children in a matter of days.

Roz Carr was 96 years old when she died in 2006. At the time of her death Roz had become the mother to over 400 lost Rwandan children. Roz Carr in her memoir Land of a Thousand Hills wrote “I can only surmise that God didn’t feel I was ready to have children until I was 82 years old. Then he sent me forty all at once.”

There are many reasons that people think they can’t make an impact in a lost child’s life including that they are “too old.” Fortunately for hundreds of lost children in Rwanda, Rosamond Carr realized that even an 82 year old divorcee with no kids and every reason to leave could be a mommy.

Scripture verse:

Genesis 21:1-8

Steve

If you have not seen the movie Hotel Rwanda please consider watching it



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What the boys like to do on nice spring days...

Swing shirtless,

Practice muscle-showing,

Play Perch-the-Chick,
Practice not Freaking out over little baby chick pecks which, I can assure you,
do NOT hurt in the slightest.

Swing with a pretty girl--even if she is your sister,

Anything involving sticks. Here they are guns complete with sound effects.
(and just so you know that I am not a negligent parent,
I did tell Vitali not to chase people with sticks after making sure I got a good shot.),

"Picking" flowers (another stick activity),
See? Ivy got her flowers! Thank you, Vitali!

Pose nicely for your mom who is always waving that camera around,
Take the chick for a ride in the wagon and the dump truck at the same time...
I could go on and on. :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Simple matters of perspective...

We ate pizza in the car this evening while we were out doing this and that. I handed Misha's piece back to him and a moment later he complained, "Mama, My pizza is stuck!"

"Where?!" I asked him.

"Down there--" (pointing to the floor) "I did not drop it!" Was the reply.

"Well, How did it get there?"

Quickly came the reply, "It just fall down!"

"From where?" (can you tell I was suspicious?)

"My hand."


Oh. Well, at least he didn't drop it...


And then this one:

The boys were playing a game together when Misha came to me with a mournful wail, "Mamaaa, Max is cheater!" and then he proceeded to tell me more detail of Max's transgression. In the distance I could hear Max piping up, "Misha! You did it too!"

So I asked the poor puppy dog eyes and the wringing hands in front of me, "Misha, did you do it too?"

He tried to keep the soulful expression on his face but knew it was too late. "Yes." And with a sheepish grin he headed back happily to play with the others. I just put my head down and laughed!

Maybe you had to be there...

Melissa



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chicken experiment: Day 6

(Max is looking up to watch for hawks and eagles.)

I am very pleased with the difference we already see in Misha. I wish I could tell you more specifically what we see but it is such a slight shift that it would be difficult to explain. I am hoping that this brief encounter with 'parenting' will continue to be a good chance for us to teach compassion and concern for others.

Misha is doing a great job with his chick! Steve and I were in bed last night and we could hear Indiana Jones peeping loudly. (He has really turned up the volume now) Just then, Papa Misha called out from his dark bedroom, "Indiana Zhone, be quiet, go sleep!" Haha. Unruly children do need to be told to quiet down at bedtime, after all!

Misha often runs out to the kitchen or wherever I am to find me and report on Indiana. "My Chick is drinking a lot water!" "My Chick is eating food!" He doesn't bat an eyelash at cleaning out Chick's home, either.

The warm weather these last couple of days (which has disappeared today) meant Indiana could chase us around the yard. We were hoping Misha would be his favorite but he doesn't seem to care who runs past him, he'll just dash off after them, tiny wings at the ready and little orange legs doing their surprisingly speedy chicken dance across the lawn.

(Ivy, Max, and Indiana Jones--who is enjoying his flower bouquets immensely)
(See?)


(Ivy is offering Indiana a drink from her teacup. A moment after this picture was taken,
she turned around and said, "Oh no! All my tea is gone!")

His first day outside, Indiana ate a tiny worm, this meant that three more worms were dug up by eager volunteers and presented to Indiana. Another tiny victory here is that Misha surprised even himself by announcing that he is no longer afraid of worms! The second day outside, Indiana just wanted to run and run and run. So we did. Today, he went out for three minute sessions but at the third re-entry into the house his little chicken feet were shivering so I think it is just too cold!

I think Misha is making progress in some small ways. I see him mimic what Steve and I do with our children. For instance, the first night Indiana Jones was here, Steve prayed with the boys in their beds and then suggested that Misha should pray with his baby. Misha hurried out to the living room and knelt beside the box he had helped us prepare for Indiana and prayed with him. The next night, I tucked the boys in and prayed with them. Misha sat up as I was going out of the room and said, "Mama, I do not pray mine little chick!" I just told him that he could lay in his bed and pray for him tonight and that is what he did. But the next night, on his own, Misha made sure to pray with Indiana as soon as he got his PJ's on. He didn't want to miss out on that very important part of parenting. We take every opportunity to say things like, "that is good, Misha, babies like to be held and cuddled by their papas." or "What a good papa you are to check on your baby so often!" --and he does, too!

Tonight, Misha handed Indy to Steve before he went off to clean the box. Indy peeped a little. "Oh!" Misha deduced, "He afraid! It's okay little chick..." It is something to notice because he showed genuine concern and tried to evaluate the emotions of little Indiana. More progress.

Also, before we left for church last night, Vitali called to Misha, "Misha, let's go to the car!"
Misha looked very sternly at Vitali and scolded, "I was saying goodbye to my chick!"
And he had been for a while. I had heard him over there, not 'performing' for me to hear (I wasn't all that nearby), but just explaining to Indiana Jones about what he was going to do that evening: go to church, eat pizza, come home again...

Indiana was listening intently the whole time. I think he was taking notes. It's hard to tell because his writing looks like chicken scratch.

Melissa