The Importance of Asking Questions

Asking Questions“Actually, we really need bigger size diapers,” the lady at the crisis pregnancy center told me. “A lot of people don’t realize this, but hospitals will send new parents home with the small diapers, and babies grow so fast they’re only in the small sizes for a short time. Mom’s come in and want to trade for bigger diapers and a lot of times, we don’t have any.”

“Is there anything else besides diapers?” I asked.

“Brand new car seats. It’s hard to use old ones because we can’t monitor recalls and we don’t know if they’ve been in car accidents. Pack n plays would be good too. We have plenty cute clothes because people like to shop for those, and women from a nearby assisted living place knit all our blankets for us. We have been running out of winter clothes sometimes, though.”

Asking questions is not something that comes naturally to me. If possible, I prefer to prepare ahead of time by doing research and showing up equipped to sound knowledgeable. A lot of times, that’s a good thing. It can also be a pride problem. Asking questions is an essential aspect of communicating, learning, and forming connections with other people.

When we try to assist people in ministry, questions are so important. People on the front line know the needs better than anyone else, and it isn’t helpful to them when the rest of us assume we know how to help. Several ministries I know of struggle with easily collecting the “fun” resources they need while waiting months for someone to provide more mundane items. People would rather buy baby clothes than diapers. It’s more fun to purchase craft supplies than oatmeal. Sometimes we forget that we’re making donations in order to fill a need for someone else, not entertain ourselves. Asking questions can alleviate that tendency.

When I asked questions at the crisis pregnancy center, I learned some stuff I didn’t know before and got good ideas for effectively choosing further donations. If I want to send something to the orphans I support in India, it helps to message their foster mom ahead of time to find out what they need most from their Amazon wish list.

Asking questions also shows the front line works that you care. Most people in ministry don’t enjoy constantly asking people for things. They don’t want to feel like a burden. Asking them what they need tells them that you’re behind them, thinking of them and caring for their needs and the needs of the people they’re ministering to.

But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. —Hebrews 13:16

My dad recently pointed out to me that the word communicate means both talking and sharing resources. The Greek word that translates “communicate” means partnership, participation, benefaction.

Asking questions, learning how to help, and then using your resources to participate in the work combine to equal effective communication.

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Teens in Action: Blueberry’s Bows

Blueberry_1

This post has been a long time in the waiting. Allie graciously agreed to write a guest post several months ago, and actually sent this to me soon after I arrived in Texas. Thank you, Allie, for your patience in waiting for me to get this up!

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Hello! I’m Allie and am so excited to be sharing how ‘Blueberry’s Bows’ first started. I am sixteen years old, have five awesome sisters, and am a daughter of the one true King!

In August of 2013, I sat there and stared at the computer screen. I look at her face. Her big brown eyes jumped out at me. She wasn’t smiling and deep down I could tell she was longing for a family. Longing to be loved and treasured. Longing for someone to know her name. This is my sister Rosie. Abandon at five days old with a severe heart defect, Rosie was sent to the nearest orphanage in Zhongshan City, China. There she spent the first five years of her life. She suffered from lack of oxygen and had no intervention for her heart. We saw her picture and knew she was meant to be ours. So we began the paper chase. For the next six months we prayed and prayed and prayed. Each day her heart continued to grow worse. Finally on February 24, 2014 Rosie was officially ours. It was such a beautiful day!

We arrived home on my parents’ anniversary and began our lives as a family of six. Rosie fit in wonderfully and it was as if she had always been here. Her joyful smile and contagious spirit filled our house with many days of fun. On April 25, 2014, Rosie underwent heart surgery. It was a complicated surgery and the next day she started having issues. Rosie was then put on ECHMO (Heart/Lung bypass machine). She spent the next month fighting for her life. But on May 21st, 2014 (the day after her sixth birthday) she gained her angel wings and took her last breath here on this earth. We weren’t there for her first breath and heartbeat but we were there for her last. She didn’t die an orphan, she died as a treasured sister and a daughter. She was so LOVED.

Blueberry_2

After Rosie became an angel, I knew I wanted to do something to help other orphans like her. The fire had been ignited. So I started a blog. It began as a way to document and share Rosie’s story, but it has blossomed into so much more than that! Then my older sister {Marie} and I got to thinking. While Rosie was so sick in the hospital, she never had clothes on. So Marie and I began to make bows for her hair. It was something simple that would make her look more girly and cute. We then knew what we could do, sell bows and donate the money to orphans. With the money we’ve made from Rosie’s celebration and other events, we’ve been able to sponsor a little girl at New Day Foster Home. It makes my heart happy to see another little girl with complex CHD actually get the care she needs. Marie and I have set up an Etsy shop. I invite you to check it out. Here are some pictures from the bows we currently have for sale. We named our shop Blueberry’s Bows because Rosie’s fingers were always so blue and a nurse nicknamed her ‘Blueberry’. This shop is to honor her legacy by supporting other orphans who are like her.

Blueberry_3

Because of Rosie, my eyes were opened to see the need of orphans around the world. I now have two more sisters who were also from Rosie’s orphanage. It’s been over a year since Rosie left this earth, but I feel like her legacy continues to grow. As I hear from people who are touched by Rosie, I know this is just the beginning of the story that God is writing. I don’t know all the chapters, but I know that it’s all going to work out for HIS glory. Thank you for taking the time to read our story. I invite you to check out our bows and share them with others.

Beep, Allie

Stoptofindtherosies.blogspot.com

How to Pray Scripture for Orphans

How to Pray ScriptureTwo weeks ago, in the post How To Use the Prayer Chains, I told you to keep your eyes open for a post on how to pray for children you don’t know much about. This is the post.

The concept of prayer scripture was introduced to me several years ago by a visiting speaker at my church. The speaker, who is also a friend of the family, created both a book and a pamphlet containing scriptures to pray. In the pamphlet he explains,

While spending time in the Scriptures, it is pretty easy to find prayers that have been made on behalf of others. I thought to use those requests and thoughtfully make them my own as I prayed for my brothers, my sisters, and even for those who are still in their sins.

Now, an exhaustive Biblical study of that would require a much bigger “menu.” 🙂 [The pamphlet is titled “The Apostle’s Sandwiches” and is laid out like a restaurant menu.] What you have in your hands is the result of looking through Acts and the Epistles.

Once I began to use this, I found over time that I didn’t need to have the “menu” in front of me as frequently because I had learned the wording, the phrases of the Scriptures, and was able to make the requests by memory. How wonderful to know the language of Scripture and use it in our prayers!*

The concept of praying Scripture stuck with me and has become my favorite way to pray. James 4:3 says,

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Prayer Scripture is a wonderful way to keep our requests aligned with the heart and will of God. It also makes it much easier to find requests of substance to offer up on behalf of orphans and other individuals we do not know personally and don’t have a prayer requests list for.

Here’s one prayer from “The Apostle’s Sandwiches” that you could pray for an Advocate & Pray child.

The John
Heavenly Father, I pray that _________ may prosper in all things and be in health. I pray that You would give Your mercy, Your peace, and Your grace.

A concordance and/or Bible software will be great tools for praying Scripture for orphans. If you don’t have a Bible program on your computer, I would highly recommend The Word, which is free and has lots of fun study features. You can also get YouVersion if you want an app for your mobile device.

My personal preference for praying Scripture is to spend some time finding appropriate Bible verses, usually four of them, and then writing them out before revising them into a prayer. Here’s a prayer I wrote out in my journal for Aris back in November of 2013.

A father of the fatherless and a judge of windows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families. (Psalm 68:5-6a)
Lord, please provide a family for Aris. Prick the heart of a member of Your body to be Your hands and feet to her and to love her as You love her.

…he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)
Lord, please be ever constant in Aris’ life. Never leave or forsake her, but keep Your hand on her life.

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:14)
Lord, please bring Aris unto You. Let her come into Your arms. Place Your hand on her head and pray for her. Make her one of the children of the kingdom of heaven.

And Jesus beheld them and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (Matthe 19:26)
Lord, with you all things are possible, even the adoption of a twelve year old girl who cannot see or hear. Please work this miracle for Aris.

One of the challenging aspects of prayer is that we often can’t see how it’s working … or if it’s working at all. However, there’s no question that prayer is an essential Biblical principle, and something we can all do to involve ourselves in carrying for orphans. As you can see, the Bible provides plenty of verses you can employ in your prayers for the fatherless. No need to fall victim to “prayer’s block”! 😉 Finding those verses might take some practice, but I encourage you to give it a try! I think you’ll find it well worth the effort.

Can you think of some verses you could pray for orphans? Share them in the comment section below!

*If you would like a copy of “The Apostle’s Sandwiches,” let me know. Our friend has a note in the pamphlet inviting people to contact him to request copies.

Letter Writing Challenge: Getting Started

LetterIn my post, Renewing the Vision, I mentioned an idea of doing a monthly card challenge. While I’m not quite ready to launch the first challenge, I would like to get some opinions, ideas, and help from you!

To begin with, if you know of a missionary working with orphans or an adopting family that would be uplifted by receiving some cards of encouragement, please tell me about them or link to their website/blog. My biggest concern with this idea is actually finding folks to send the letters to.

Second, how do you think this should work? Would you rather write actual notes to these people, or create scripture cards (something like this and this) and bookmarks to be included with one overall letter? Do you think it would make more sense to mail your letters directly to the recipient, or mail them all to me (perhaps with some extra money towards postage if it’s going overseas) and send all of them to the recipient in one package?

Please, share your ideas! This idea has plenty of potential, but it’s also a bit overwhelming to try to figure out.

Want an idea to do this month? Amanda Beguerie shared a link to “Messages from the Heart.” Follow the link to find directions for sending a note to a child in Tanzania.

How To Use the Prayer Chains

Prayer ChainsThe Advocate & Pray posts on this blog are our most consistent and lasting feature. What kind of orphan care and adoption blog wouldn’t want to raise awareness for individual children in addition to discussing orphan care in more general terms? The very first post was about Aris, a deaf and mute little girl in Ethiopia. Of all the children shared, Aris is the one that rests most consistently on my heart and enters my prayers most frequently.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Prayer. Prayer is a word that gets batted around a lot, but is rarely given the attention, focus, or esteem it should be. Because of that, I’ll be making several posts about prayer this month.

One of the features of the bi-weekly Advocate & Pray posts is a prayer chain. The point of these is to wrap each particular child in daily prayer for the two weeks they are featured on the blog. Praying is an orphan care opportunity wide open to ever age group and demographic, and it’s one of the most important ministries you could apply yourself to.

So how do the prayer chains work? Let me walk you through the process.

This week’s Advocate & Pray child is Felicia. (She’s got an awesome smile in her profile pictures!)

  1. Start the process by reading about her and learning as much as you can from the limited information available. For example, Felicia is learning to stand on her own, is only partially sponsored, and needs a wheelchair. These are all things you can pray for.
  2. Click on the prayer chain link. This will bring you to a spreadsheet divided into time slots. Right now each 24 hour day is divided into 15 minute segments. Starting next week, we plan to reduce it to hour long segments to make the spreadsheet cleaner and less overwhelming.
  3. Sign up! Type your name into a slot to make a commitment to pray for the child for the next two weeks (or whatever remains of the child’s two week focus on TIO). NOTE: You don’t have to pray for the full time. You are simply committing to pray for the child sometime during your slot. Feel free to customize it. If 7pm works for you every day except Thursday because you have orchestra practice on Thursday, type something like “Leah Good, every day except Thursday.”
  4. Pray! Be diligent to pray for that child every day during your time slot for the period of time you signed up for. Keep your eyes open for another post offering ideas on how to pray for someone you know so little about.
  5. BONUS POINTS: Ask your friends and church to pray for the Advocate & Pray children too.

Do you have any questions about how this is supposed to work? Any suggestions for making it better?

P.S. Thank you so much to the 5 people currently signed up to pray for Felicia. This is the best week we’ve had in a while. 🙂

Making Notecards: A Few Ideas

Making Notecards (2)The idea of using cards as a tool for ministry keeps popping up here on TIO. First the post on being a correspondence sponsor through Compassion International and now the Valentine’s Day Card Challenge. In a day of e-mail and instant messaging, the extra time and thought that goes into a handwritten card can mean a lot–both to orphans and the people working on the front lines to care for them. Homemade cards put a cherry on top. Who doesn’t like to receive a handwritten, homemade card? To make things even better, there are very few barriers teens must surmount to participate in this type of ministry.

But wait. It might not be so easy. Card making requires creativity and crafting supplies, right? To some degree, yes. Every time I think about making homemade cards, I think of my friends’ special tools for stamping, embossing, precision cutting, inking… the list goes on. I own none of that. My card making supplies consist of scissors, cardstock, and some templates from an old Klutz card making kit. [Handmade Cards, the Klutz book/kit I’m talking about would be an easy way to get started (though rather expensive for a new kit with all the supplies).]

Lest you become paralyzed, as I often am, I pulled some easy ideas from Pinterest to get you started. If you don’t have rubber stamps, don’t worry about adding words. Also, a lot of cards use raised features for added pizzazz. You can just glue the raised pieces flat, or you can buy a package of them inexpensively on Amazon.

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Teddy Bear
View on Pinterest
If you click through to the directions for this card, you’ll find the nose is embossed, but cutting a paper nose out and gluing it on would be just as cute! And you could draw the eyes on instead of stamping them. Isn’t that little guy adorable?

Piano Keys
View on Pinterest
How hard would it be to cut and glue white and black paper to make this cute pattern? Even the hearts would be easy to cut out and clue on!

Button Down Shirt
View on Pinterest
You might have a hard time finding an envelop for this one, but making it looks like a breeze.

Heart Bunting
View on Pinterest
Take out your needle and threat for this one. It looks like the cards sold on Etsy might use fabric hearts, but you could sew paper to make a bunting just as easily.

Flower Garden
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If you don’t have little 3-D stickers, you could use buttons or just paper circles for the center of the flowers.

Snowman
View on Pinterest
If you don’t have ribbon for the scarf, just use paper! Same for the beads the eyes are made of. To be honest, less dramatic 3-D might be easier to mail (and less likely to break in the mail) anyway.

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Think these ideas are still too complicated? You could always cut old calendars into card-size rectangles, glue white paper to the non-picture side, fold, and write. Or you could quarter fold printer paper and draw or trace your own picture directly onto the paper. The possibilities are endless.

If nothing handcrafted appeals to you, revert to store brought cards. To be honest, that’s what I use most of the time. A handwritten note in a store brought card is way better than no note at all!

Do you have more ideas for great handmade cards? Do you know of any children, adoptive families, or orphan care workers who could use a handmade card to brighten their day and encourage their hearts? Leave a comment to share your ideas!

 

Valentine Card Challenge

make one cards, for one child, change one life

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Crista Moriah at Uniquely Fashioned for His Glory. Some of you may already know about her challenge from her blog or her post on The Rebelution. As a commenter on The Rebelution said, this challenge is a brilliant way to turn one’s focus away from self and channel it into service this Valentines day. But, instead of continuing to talk about it myself, I’ll let you read what Crista has to say.

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Jesus broke my heart into so many tiny pieces when I learned of the imprisoned children of Uganda.  I read over my dad’s shoulder the story of how a ministry Sixty Feet was born to serve these orphans and bring them restoration and hope in Jesus’ name.  My life has never been the same since.

He captured me with a love that mirrored His.  It was fearless, bold, dreamed big, and knew no boundaries.  It was willing to do anything to be a voice, to defend these kids, taking the stance of an advocate.

You might say I fell in love with a country, a people even while they stretched oceans apart from me.  Jesus was my Matchmaker, pairing me up with who I needed.  Only He could arrange something so perfect.

A few weeks ago, He leaned in close.  Whispering a whimsical, beautiful idea gently to my heart: Cards.  Bright, hope filled messages that would serve to spread His love to the world.  To orphans.

On my first trip to Uganda, cards brightened the day of many lives in the prisons.  I knew how much they would mean to these orphans.  It made me realize just how tender, how compassionate is the heart of our God.  The Father to the fatherless, Helper of the orphan reaching down with a simple way to tell them “I love you.” My heart thrills at the thought.

That’s what brought about this Valentine Card Challenge: 1,400 Cards by Feb. 14th.

 There are approximately 200 children in each prison and 7 prisons exist in Uganda.  That means in order for every child to receive a card, we need 1,400.

Please be the balm of healing to these broken hearts.  Share God’s love letting it spill out of your hearts and onto the pages of just one card, for one child, to change one life. We are called to do this. God calls anyone who considers the helpless blessed.

This is my Valentine Card Challenge to you.

Will you take it, for one?

Here’s what to do:

1. Make a simple card(s) with the John 3:16 verse written out, and “God loves you” or in Lugandan you could put “Jesu Okwagala”; sign your name. Please have your brothers & sisters make one, your friends, parents, family, people at your church.  Anyone can help participate to meet our goal.

2.Write “Valentine Card Challenge” on the back of the envelope. (If you have a lot of cards, just send it in a large envelope or box. )

Address & send to the ministry SixtyFeet:

Sixty Feet Inc.
2451 Cumberland Parkway
Suite 3526
Atlanta, Georgia 30339

3. In order to keep a tally, please comment on this post or under “Contact Me” telling how many cards you sent in.

Also, please feel free to share this on your own blog, through email, Pinterest, whatever you like.

That’s it!  Three simple steps that can change the world with God’s love.  All it takes is ordinary people willing to do what He asks of them to make an extraordinary difference in the lives around them and across the globe.

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So, what do you think? Will you send a card (or two … or three … or more)? Let me know if you do!

5 Ways Teens Can Help Orphans (an overview)

5 Ways Teens Can Help Orphans (an overview)Last week I posted a request for feedback from the readers of TIO. I wanted to know what you do and don’t like about the blog, and what you would like to see more of. (I still do want that feedback, so please stop by that post and leave a comment!) One reader said she prefers posts that include specific ways to help. I agree with her! That’s what I would want too. It’s also the type of post I have the hardest time generating. If you have ideas in this area, please share them with me!

In the meantime, here’s a quick review of some ideas that have been posted here in the past.

1. Advocate and Pray. Every other week, Monica posts a new child who is orphaned and need prayer and support. There is a prayer chain you can click on and sign up for a fifteen minute prayer slot for that child. You don’t have to pray the whole fifteen minutes (though you certainly could if you wanted to!). By signing up, you simply commit to pray for that child sometime during your slot every day for two weeks. This is such an easy way to get involved, and it’s so important. I’d love to see more people participating in this ministry. You can also use these posts as a springboard to advocate for specific children. One of the powerful things about the internet is how fast information can be sent from person to person. You can harness that power to help orphans by asking others to pray and consider finding ways to help the specific children shared.

2. Fundraise. Helping financially can be a sore spot for teenagers. With little or no steady income of our own, helping orphans through financial means can seem like a closed door. But it’s not! Earlier this year I did a series of posts titled Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Resources). Whether you want to help a family with adoption expenses, sponsor a child, support a ministry, create care packages, or send presents, fundraising can open those doors to you.

3. Help TIORunning this blog takes a lot of work. If you feel that it is effectively helping teens help orphans, you can help orphans by helping out with TIO. I’m always grateful for help, and hopefully you would bless others through your efforts.

4. Write Letters. A post about being a correspondence sponsor for Compassion International recently met with a lot of enthusiasm from readers of TIO. To borrow the old saying, there is a lot of power in the pen. Writing letters to orphans, children living in poverty, or the missionaries ministering to them can be a great way for teens to get involved.

5. Be a Catalyst. Use your enthusiasm to get other’s involved! Brainstorm with people at your church for how you can join together to help orphans. The Bible says that God’s people are a body. Each member plays a different role, and all the roles are essential in caring for orphans. Your role might just be to exhort and encourage others to start doing.

6. (Surprise! An extra.) Support Teens Already HelpingThis past year, TIO was privileged to feature several young people who are working hard to help orphans. If you’re struggling to “reinvent the wheel,” why not throw yourself into helping someone else? I think you’ll discover some pretty exciting possibilities if you visit or re-visit these stories.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. It’s just a review of things ideas already covered on this blog.

What other practical ways could teens get involved? Do you know of “any teens in action” that we could feature here? I need your help finding them!

Get Involved: Be A Correspondence Sponsor

Compassion InternationalEarlier this week on the TIO Goodreads group, a reader mentioned the possibility of corresponding with a sponsored child via Compassion International. Here’s what she said.

Do any of you sponsor with Compassion at all? I’ve been a sponsor with them for about 9 years, and I know that a lot of people don’t realize that in addition to financially sponsoring kids, they also have a program for individuals to simply write to kids whose financial sponsors are not able to write for whatever reason. (For example, often companies will sponsor loads of children, but can’t commit to writing.) It’s called being a “correspondent sponsor”. In addition to writing letters, you do have the option of sending money for birthday/Christmas/family gifts, as well. I thought some of you may be interested in it, and thought I’d throw it out there just in case you haven’t heard of it before. It’s not something they advertise. –Rachel

Compassion Letter WritingI’ve heard of this before and always thought it would be something TIO readers would love to learn about. Rachel’s comment gave me the little push I needed to contact Compassion and learn more. If any of you are interested in writing to a sponsored child, here’s what Compassion said.

Thank you for contacting Compassion with this wonderful opportunity and for your heart for children in need. I have provided a lot of information below, hoping that some of it may be useful to you.

 We do offer the opportunity to correspond with a child in our program when his or her sponsor is unable to write. If you become a correspondent, you will receive a welcome packet with the child’s photo and biography and the child will write you about 2 letters a year. You will want to send words of love and encouragement. The requirement would be to write the child we assign you a minimum of three to four times a year, and you may write as often as you’d like.

Sound like something you might be interested in? While the focus of Compassion’s Child Sponsorship program is not orphan care, ministries like this play an important role in preventing children from becoming orphans in the first place. If you’d like to participate in Compassion’s ministry, here’s how you get started!

If you’d like to be a correspondent to encourage a child, just reply by email to ciinfo@us.ci.org or call us with your name, address, telephone and email address. There may be children available now, or you may need to wait for 2-3 months before you receive your child’s packet. You may also contact us at 800-336-7676.  We are available to serve you MondayFriday, 7:00 am to 5:30 pm, Mountain Time. Thank you for wanting to be an encouragement to a child in need!

I’m excited to see if any of you decide to give this a try! This opportunity is perfect for teens who want to sponsor a child but can’t afford it. If you go ahead and start the process, here are the guidelines Compassion sent about corresponding with sponsored children.

Share with your child information about your family, children, siblings, grandchildren, parents and especially pets. Tell them some fun stories about your life, like getting surprised by a big wave when you were swimming in the ocean. Hobbies are also fun to write about and you can send pictures of what you are working on. Let your child know about your likes and dislikes in almost any area – weather, your city/state, favorite food, your favorite bible verse or something special about God.

 The important thing is to write often. Short, frequent notes, cards and web letters are best. Sometimes when sponsors first begin writing they feel they need to write long and newsy letters. However, we’ve learned that it is the “personal touch” of a letter that counts and not its length. It is the frequency of the correspondence that tells your child that you care – far better than any words you can write.

 You cannot sent toys or clothing, but here is a list of items you may send:

  * Postcards

 * Bookmarks

* Small writing tablets

* Cartoon band aids. The children will wear them even if they do not have a cut.

* Stickers (they will stick them on anything and anybody)

* Sports trading cards

* Construction paper

* Wrapping paper (folded to 8.5 x 11)

* Gift Bags (please cut off the handles)

* Calendars (no spiral binding)

* Magazine pages

* Small posters (folded to 8.5″x 11″)

* Cancelled stamps

* Pages from coloring books

* Music/singing or recordable greeting cards

 Especially valued by the children are photographs of their sponsors and their sponsor’s family, including pets! Children can never get enough pictures and will continually ask for more. It’s best to avoid pictures that may reflect a higher lifestyle, so focus on fun outside pictures of your family outings. If you are writing your letter online, it’s very easy to upload your photos and add them to your web letter. The letter writing wizard tool will walk you through the steps. 

I’d love to hear what you all think of this? Do you find it to be an exciting opportunity? Do you have any questions about it?

Kang’s Heart of Hope

Kang's Heart of HopeLast month, a post on my friend Marli’s blog caught my attention. She shared a post about Timothy, a little boy in China who has both Downs Syndrome and a heart defect. Marli’s post linked through to the original post, written by Hannah “Jiejie,” a young woman who knows and loves Timothy. After reading the post, I contacted Hannah to see if she’d like to post about Timothy here on TIO. She replied that Timothy had received the full funding for his heart surgery, but she would love to post about another little boy. Here’s that post.

 ~*~

I was chatting with my parents via Skype when my mom told me, “There’s a new little boy at the orphanage. He seems to have a heart defect.”

When you think of orphans and orphanages, maybe the first thing that pops into your mind is a row of cribs filled with babies. This is an accurate picture. But when I think of orphans I see another image; the two, three and four year-olds who are abandoned. These are the children who have known a family, and who have been loved and treasured by their parents, but when the medical needs became too much, or when the heart defect was diagnosed and a life-saving surgery quoted at way more than the family could ever expect to borrow from relatives, hope was abandoned and the children left alone at the orphanage gate.

This is Kang’s story. I know nothing of his birth parents. I know little about why he was abandoned, but I can guess.

Kang is almost three. His lips are blue, his fingertips are blue, he is weak and he is small. He has little strength to do anything. Kang has a very complicated heart defect. I can only image that his parents took him to many doctors and most of them probably said that there was nothing that they could do – only big hospitals in the city have the expertise to do a surgery that would repair Kang’s heart. Maybe they took him to one of the bigger hospitals in the city? Maybe the hospital gave them an estimation of what the surgery would cost. They must have cried-ugly that night as they watched their little boy sleep peacefully without a clue that his parents were about to make a decision that would change his life and his story forever.

Kang_1 Kang was abandoned just a few months ago. He is almost three, y’all, almost three. Think about your own two year-olds. Are they aware that they have a mommy and a daddy? Do they understand that you are there to take care of them and meet their needs? They do! And so imagine what Kang’s little heart must have done when he woke up and found himself away from the family he had known and surrounded by the chaos that is a toddler room in an orphanage. Busy nannies scrambling to meet the needs of dozens of children… crying children who just want to be held… fighting children who have learned how to get their own way… quiet children who know that no one will come.

And so Kang’s broken heart that couldn’t provide his body with the oxygen it needed, broke again.

We worked with the orphanage and they were able to get him taken in to the local hospital for some tests. The doctor said that surgery was necessary, but impossible. We took the results to some of the excellent cardiology hospitals in Beijing, and the surgeons said that surgery could be done. They suggested that they could repair his heart with one major operation, and that it would cost $20,000.

Taking a deep breath we stepped back… wow. That’s a lot of money. We looked at some other hospitals and applied for a government grant. The government rejected Kang’s application, saying that it was too late, he should have had surgery years ago and that there was no hope.

I don’t know about you, but the thing that gets me riled up the most is when somebody says that there is no hope. I think that the hairs on the back of my neck visibly stand on end. And so when the government rejected Kang’s application and refused to fund his surgery because they said he, “has no hope,” I decided that we have to do something.

Yes, it’s true, Kang’s surgery is complex and there is a chance that he will not survive. But do we have the right to make this decision? Do we have the right to choose not to give Kang his only hope of survival? Where do we place our trust?

Kang’s surgery will cost between $16,000 and $20,000 USD. This is a lot of money, but not if we stand together, a little here and a little there. It will add up. Are you willing to take the risk, to give Kang hope? His life is worth it.

Kang_2 (1)

Kang is currently being cared for by Little Flower Project’s baby home in Beijing. His fundraising page is here.

Will you stand with me?

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I hope you didn’t mind the slightly-longer-than-usual post today! If you have time an inclination, I’d really recommend checking out Hannah’s blog, Loving Dangerously. It’s a lot of fun to read through.

If you have any questions for Hannah (or me, of course!) please leave a comment. Comments are always awesome! 😉