Break the Hold (a poem)

Broken GlassBreak the hold of evil here
Silence all the evil jeers
Put Your love in place of fear
Wipe away these children’s tears

You are present in this place
With the dregs of human race
Reach into the filth and waste
Show the victims Thy great grace

Lord, we know that right makes might
Giants fall when shepherds fight
Evil thieves in dark of night
Lord, burst forth with rays of light

Trampled underfoot are these
Only you can hear their pleas
Break their bonds and set them free
Give them hope their eyes can see

So break the hold of evil men
To their strongholds armies send
Infiltrate the wicked dens
All the broken hearts to mend

(Copyright 2014, by Leah E. Good)

This poem was inspired by a quote in Terrify no More, by Gary Haugen.

Originally posted on May 12, 2015.

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Do You Know the Four Types of Adoption?

Every adoption story out there is different from the rest, but most of them (at least in the US) can be categorized into four different types of adoption: International, Foster Care, Private Domestic, and Embryo. Let’s explore all four.
Four Types of Adoption

International Adoption

As it’s name indicates, international (or intercountry) adoption is the practice of adopting children from different countries. International adoption is, in most cases, the most expensive adoption route. The rules for adoption vary widely between different countries open for foreign adoptions from the United States. A lot of controversy surrounds international adoption as people worry that a western “demand” for adoptable children increases the risk of child trafficking. However, approximately 8 million children live in institutional care with no hope of being adopted within their own country. Statistics indicate that of the children who graduate from institutional care, the majority turn to crime and prostitution. Approximately 1,530,000 orphans are available for adoption by American citizens. For these children, international adoption may be their only hope of finding permanent families. International adoptions can take anywhere from 1 to 10+ years to complete and cost an average of $30,000.
Learn More
CAFO Articles on International Adoption
Both Ends Burning/Stuck Documentary
Intercountry Adoption | Bureau of Consular Affairs
Becoming Home
The Global Orphan Crisis

Adoption from Foster Care

Around 400,000 children live within the United States foster care system. Of those children,over 100,000 are waiting to be adopted. Adoption through foster care is the most affordable way to adopt, though it also results in the highest level of governmental involvement. It generally takes a year to have a a child placed in a family adopting through foster care and costs between $0 and $1,000.
Learn More
CAFO Articles on Foster Care
Adopt Us Kids
iCareAboutOrphans
Small Town, Big Miracle

Private Domestic Adoption

Private domestic adoption usually occurs when a birth mother decides she cannot adequately provide for her baby and chooses to create an adoption plan.  These adoptions can be closed (the adoptive family knows nothing of the birthmother and vise versa), semi-open (some information is exchanged between the two parties), and open (long term contact is maintained between the birthmother and adoptive family). While the birthmother sometimes asks an agency to select an adoptive family for her, often the birthmother looks through prospective families’ files and makes the choice herself. Voluntary newborn adoption generally costs between $10,000 and $30,000. The typical wait is one to two years.
Learn More
Open Adoption
Other Types of Adoption
My Name is Sonya & I’m a Birth Mom

Embryo Adoption

I don’t know much about this one, and I’m still trying to decide what I think of it. If you have opinions, I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment. I first learned of it on the Nightlight Christian Adoptions website while putting together the Resource page for TIO. If you want to learn more, you can visit Nightlight’s Snowflake Embryo Adoption page.
NOTE: Younger teens, please check this with your parents before clicking. Thanks!

Originally posted on May 30, 2014 as Understanding the Four Types of Adoption.

Advocate & Pray: Monica

A&P MonicaI have to admit that my eye was first drawn to Monica because she shares my name! But once I dug into her profile, I found many other reasons for featuring this twelve-year-old girl. Monica is very close to aging out of the system–according to her profile, there are only 17 months left for a family to get to China to adopt her. She has some physical disabilities, but she is independent, smart, and loves playing piano. Monica also has a grant associated with her agency for qualifying families. Pray with me for Monica’s forever family to be able to find her quickly!

Monica is listed with No Hands But Ours
China

Monica is diagnosed as having meningomyelocele and a deformity of her lower limbs. Madison’s in-China facilitator recently met Monica and said this about her: She had surgery before she was found abandoned. They sent her to Guangzhou for another surgery after she came into care of the orphanage. Monica can walk, but she does need to hold the bar to walk upstairs and downstairs. They put her in a wheelchair when traveling outside for a long distance. Monica is incontinent, but she knows how to take care of herself and changes the diapers on her own.

Monica studies in the orphanage and is quite smart. She can recite several children’s rhymes, sing some children’s songs, and talk about her experiences. She easily adjusts to new environments and new people. Monica can get along well with other kids and cares about her friends. She has good concentration and she likes learning how to play the piano.

Read more on Monica’s profile

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Join the prayer chain for Monica

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Join me in praying for Monica to find a forever family.  Click to tweet

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Borrowing God’s Smile

Borrowing God's SmileLast Saturday, I had the privileged of hearing Joni Eareckson Tada speak as the keynote at a banquet we attended. Everyone agreed that her presentation was powerful, but one part of one story stood out to me. She said that many mornings, if her husband needs to run errands, she wakes up to hear one of her girlfriends making coffee in the kitchen and finds herself unready to face the day. Soon her friend will walk into the bedroom with a cup of coffee, a cheery good morning, and the intent of helping Joni through an arduous morning routine necessitated by her quadriplegia. On those mornings, Joni said she begins to pray, telling God how tired she is, how little energy she has, and that she lacks a smile to give to her friend when the woman walks through the bedroom door. As she reached that part of her illustration, Joni smiled at the audience and said, “I don’t have a smile. But God does.” When her friend comes into the room, Joni has a smile for her. The secret is getting God’s smile instead of relying on her own, non-existent smile.

Hearing Joni’s message was a good reminder to me. I tend to want to do things in my own strength. Far too often when Mom asks me, “Well, have you prayed about that?” I have to admit that I forgot to ask God for help or guidance. Oops! Bad idea.

In one of my personal favorite blog posts, Just Buy Diapers, we considered how David wasn’t intimated by the size of Goliath (his problem) because he knew the size of his God. I think the idea of borrowing God’s smile runs along the same lines. Before we look outside of ourselves for a solution, we have to recognize and acknowledge our own lack. After we realize we need help, we can turn to God for his strength, wisdom, creativity, peace, patience — His smile.

This past week, considering Joni’s smile from God prompted me to go to the Lord and tell Him how hard writing has been for me lately. Progress on the sequel to Counted Worthy has been at a standstill for months because my creative well was dry. So I asked Him for His creativity to mold the story and push it forward. Guess what? He’s been giving it to me. A little every day.

Whether we’re struggling to write, smile, do our school work, reach for excellence at work, reach out to others, or minister to orphans, the answer is recognizing that we lack and God has. He has everything we need, especially when it comes to the resources we need to serve Him.

Advocate & Pray: David

DavidDavid is a six-year-old boy who is in Virginia, waiting for his forever family. According to his profile, David loves to play but is also willing to be patient, and he is described as energetic and curious. You can tell from his picture that he is working hard in his kindergarten class! Join me in praying for a family who will give David the structure and encouragement that he needs.

David is listed with Adopt US Kids
USA

Jairo David likes to be called by his middle name, David. David is an energetic and curious six year old boy who loves to play outside. He also enjoys riding his bike and playing with Legos. He is friendly, empathetic, sweet, and likeable. David is also intelligent, persistent, and patient. When he knows what he wants, he will work until he gets it.

David enjoys adult attention and being with others. David responds well to positive encouragement and is eager to receive praise. He does best with structure and clearly defined expectations. He is capable of many self-care activities such as washing, dressing, oral care, and toileting. His first language is Spanish, though he is fluent in English. He is currently in Kindergarten.

Read more on David’s profile

Take Action

Pray
Join the prayer chain for David
Read this post if you don’t know how to use the prayer chain.

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Join me in praying for David to find a forever family.  Click to tweet

Share David’s story and help him find a family to care for him!  Click to tweet

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.

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!

~*~

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

Where on Earth Has Leah Been?

Where on earth...The more appropriate question might be, “Where in the US hasn’t Leah been.” Over the past four months, I’ve been doing a full time internship in Texas which was polished off by a family vacation to several national parks. As you may have noticed, blogging fell by the wayside during the whole experience.

I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Monica for faithfully writing the Advocate & Pray posts in my absence. She does an amazing job keeping on top of those and finding children who can really benefit from our prayers. Please don’t forget to sign up for those prayer chains.

Getting back to a regular posting schedule is on my to-do list for settling back into life in Connecticut. Please be patient as I try to get that rhythm back. It’ll be starting out with a wonderful Teens in Action guest post tomorrow morning.

Here are a few pictures from my time in Texas and the National Parks we visited.

My beautiful roommates

My beautiful roommates

DSCN0617

The biggest petrified tree we found in Petrified Forest National Park

Cliff jumping. (Leah, are you crazy?!)

Cliff jumping. (Leah, are you crazy?!)

It’s been a great few months. I’m looking forward to seeing what adventures are next and reconnecting with you all. What did you do this summer?

Advocate & Pray: Joyce

joyce

Today’s featured child is another sponsored child from Watoto Child Care Ministries in Uganda. This ministry provides children with a home with other children and a house mother, an education, and the opportunity to participate in the Watoto church. Some of these children come to Watoto with their mothers, but many are orphaned or abandoned by family members who can no longer take care of them. You can read more about the program here on the Watoto website.

After the death of Joyce’s parents, her grandmother was unable to care for her and her siblings, so they were brought to Watoto. Through their ministry, Joyce accepted Christ as her Savior, and she loves going to church and reading good books.

Watoto’s villages, school, and church are funded through donations that enable orphans like Joyce to have a home and an education. You can get involved in this orphan care by becoming a sponsor! Check out the Watoto sponsorship page to learn more.

Joyce is listed with Watoto
Uganda

Joyce’s parents both died, leaving Joyce and her siblings in the care of their aged grandmother. Grandma could not meet the basic needs of the children and life was very difficult. Concerned authorities and the local church asked Watoto Child Care Ministries to take the children under their wings. Joyce was brought to a comfortable Watoto Village. A devoted housemother welcomed Joyce to her Watoto Home. Joyce is well cared for and loving Watoto brothers and sisters provide good companionship. Mama really appreciates Joyce’s help around the house. Joyce is grateful to the Lord for all the blessings she enjoys at Watoto and thanks God for her sponsors. A quality education is being given to Joyce at the Watoto School. She is encouraged to become any thing in life she dreams to be. In her spare time, Joyce likes to read good books. On Sundays Joyce attends the Watoto Church, where she loves to praise and worship the Lord. She has accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Saviour. Please pray for her to continue to develop a deeper relationship with Christ. Thank you so much for your financial support.

Read more on Joyce’s profile (you can find it in the middle of the page–no direct link)

Take Action

Pray
Join the prayer chain for Joyce

Sponsor
Check out the Watoto sponsor page to learn more about sponsoring

Share on social media
Join me in praying for Joyce, who is in a Watoto family.  Click to tweet

Share Joyce’s story and help her find sponsors to support her!  Click to tweet

Advocate & Pray: Joel

JoelThis cutie’s picture made me smile when I came across it this week. Joel is a five-year-old boy who loves to dance and talk to friends. According to his profile, he has hydrocephalus and cerebral palsy.

Joel is listed with No Hands But Ours
China

Joel is a sweet loving little boy who is five years old and is currently listed with CCAI. He loves to play with other children and he loves hugs when he sees someone he is familiar with. According to a volunteer who spent a lot of time with Joel at a recent Bring Me Hope Camp he can walk very well, he loves to sing, enjoys busting a move on the dance floor and is a very talkative little guy. Joel can also eat independently. His fine motor skills seem to be on track. Joel is a wonderful child who is very well liked. His special need is listed as Hydrocephalus and Cerebral Palsy.

View Joel’s profile

Take Action

Pray
Join the prayer chain for Joel

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Join me in praying for Joel to find a forever family.  Click to tweet

Joel is a sweet little boy who needs a family that can meet his medical needs.  Click to tweet