Friday, August 11, 2017

Bailing the Boat - An Analogy for the Orphan Crisis

Some days the orphan crisis weighs heavier on my heart than others. It is, however, an ever present burden on my mind.  Today was one of those days, as I once again delved into the current statistics and attempted to make sense of it all. A good friend made the perfect analogy. She stated that it was like trying to bail a boat with a gigantic hole using a Dixie cup. WOW! That really does put it in perspective and give credence to the well-meaning excuses I so often hear.

We need to focus on fixing the hole (family preservation). This one is impossible to argue with! It IS important to work with families to maintain them. We need organizations that will help fund medical needs, cutting down on parents making the impossible decision between giving a child up or watching them die/suffer. We need groups that will teach proper parenting skills. Children are stuck in the foster care system waiting for their biological parent(s) to understand how to care for them better with little to no help.
HOWEVER: EVEN if the hole does get repaired, there is still a TON of water in the boat! I pray that we can help preserve and repair biological families. That does not address the millions of children that are currently waiting for a family of their own. There is still a GIGANTIC need for families to consider and pursue providing a loving home for one of the many that do not have that experience.

One Dixie cup isn’t going to make a difference (overwhelming, why bother). It does feel this way! No one family is going to end the orphan crisis! (Trust me, I think hubby has decided I am trying to do this.) When you realize the vast number of children without families caring for them it can feel like too large of a need to ever fill.
HOWEVER: IF everyone bought into this view, the water would never get out of the boat. If no one chose to adopt, then no children would be home. You can make the biggest difference ever in the life of one child. This one child will experience love and life that would never have been felt if you didn’t dive in and start bailing.

There are already people over there bailing out the boat (I’m letting other people, who are “called” to adopt). I hear so often about the “call to adopt”. It is commonly stated that not everyone is able or should feel it necessary to adopt. That certain individuals are exempt simply because they do not feel it is meant for them. Deciding to go into the ministry begins with a calling. However, that does not exempt the rest of us from ministering to others. I was not called to be a pastor, but I do have the responsibility to share Jesus with others through my interactions. IF you do not feel the call to adopt, make sure that you are finding a way to care for the fatherless as this is a responsibility.
HOWEVER: ONLY a few Dixie cups will never empty the boat. MANY Dixie cups would!! The only way to reverse the orphan crisis is for more families to rise up than the number of children orphaned. Every 18 seconds a child becomes an orphan.


Monday, January 16, 2017

A Look Back: Guangzhou

I love when we get to Guangzhou!  It feels like home. :)  Plus, there were mamas that I had connected with online, that I would finally get to meet!

I love the Garden Hotel, the sights, smells... BREAKFAST! We even tried swimming once, but it was not a heated pool and even in this weather was COLD!

We went to all of the normal places: Chen Family Academy (for chops and some paintings), Pearl River Cruise (for the beautiful sights), Pearl Market (for wedding jewelry and fun stuff for mama), Zoo (cause you can never get enough of the animals), and Shaiman Island (for amazing deals and BAGS AND BAGS of treasures, Catherine talked me into getting a cab on the way home)!!
Stringing Emilyn's wedding pearls

Things that open to entertain Emilyn on the plane, but double as souvenirs!

Fun mama jewelry ($1-2 bracelets)

Emilyn's wedding pearls

Guangzhou zoo

Pearl River Cruise

Pearl River clown.. you can see Emilyn is thrilled. ;)

Pearl River

Lunch at Lucy's on the Island

We also hit the stores a lot to try out the crazy flavors they have.  We fell in love with Cucumber Potato Chips!!  Freshly squeezed orange juice from a vending machine was pretty fantastic also!

We also tried Cow and Bridge for the first time.  It was AMAZING!!  Super delicious food, ultra fancy, and CHEAP!

Catherine convinced me to "try a different way home" one day... We were in the "local" part of China.  We visited a few stores and got lots of crazy looks!  It was a FUN DAY!

 We had Emilyn's medical appointment, which she rocked!  Thank goodness the TB test came back negative so that we were able to have our scheduled Consulate Appointment and make her an American Citizen!

At the Consulate... No cameras or phones inside!
After the Consulate with some other Chosen mamas!

We even missed getting to breakfast at a decent time one morning.  This meant that the breakfast room (which is huge) was full! So they escorted us to the Circular Restaurant on the very top (30th) floor!!  We were a tad under-dressed, as everyone else was in business attire and we were planning for the zoo that morning!

A Look Back: Orphanage Visit

This was a TOUGH day!  I wasn't sure how Emilyn was going to handle it, but realized how important it was.  Our kiddos love to talk about their orphanage and life in China and it is tough for the three that we didn't have the opportunity to visit.  

Emilyn really struggled and cried a lot.  I didn't have the chance to interact as much as I would have liked with the waiting kiddos, but that's okay.  Unfortunately, the two kiddos that I advocated for weren't there.  I was really hoping to meet them!  I did fall in love with the cutest, kindest little guy!  He was so sweet and kept trying to comfort Emilyn.  I will be watching for his file, so I can advocate!!

You could tell how much she was loved!

The beautiful part was how strong her attachment was.  Every time I would hand her over so that someone could say goodbye, she would reach for me to take her back!  That was a blessing!!

My heart broke for the older kiddos and all of those that wait.  I did have the chance to meet two sweet boys who had mamas coming for them (one is already home).  However, it is difficult after meeting child after child after child... hundreds of them, and realizing only a handful are paper ready and able to be adopted right now. :( Even all of those aren't finding families.

A Look Back: Our Days in Yinchuan

Emilyn was attached, but still in shock with so much change.  So, I did what any mama would do... I threw my OCD nature to the wind and we played ripping up Kleenexes and blowing the pieces all over the room like snow.  That did it!  She came out of her shell and we had smiles, laughing, and babbling.

We took a walk in a beautiful park.  I even found the building that I had used as a cover photo from Yinchuan. It was a gorgeous day!  We met some Chinese mamas out with their beautiful babies and talked for awhile.  And, an outing wasn't complete until Catherine was asked for a photo shoot!  Those sunglasses and that blonde hair made her a ROCK STAR! ;)

When we arrived at our hotel in Yinchuan, I was very discouraged.  They only had a shower, no tub!  It is not easy to hold onto a slippery baby in the shower. Auntie Catherine to the rescue... a cheap pink tote became the perfect bathtub!

We spent a morning with the amazing Staffords again.  Emilyn had her first playdate and we got lunch at their coffee shop, after picking up their son (adopted from Chongqing, just like Ryan).

A Look Back: Emilyn Day

The day was finally here!  We were ushered into a waiting room at the orphanage.  We met the director and some other workers, plus multiple nannies.  I was given all sorts of gifts and mementos, from statues to artwork from children living there to two beautiful picture/memory books!  But, I just wanted to hold my baby.  The anticipation was excruciating. Then, in she came. When she was handed to me, the crying started.  She was so very loved by her nanny.  But, the attachment came fast and furious.  Seriously, the easiest attachment ever! I was completely in love!! Through the amazing technology of WeChat, Mark got to "be there" before we left the orphanage.  He got to see his daughter and be a part of the excitement!

We had lots of paperwork to complete.  So, we did a quick diaper and clothes change at the hotel and off we went to get paperwork done and make her official!!

That night we celebrated with some KFC.

A Look Back: Landing in Yinchuan, Ningxia

Thankfully, the flight to Yinchuan was easy and our luggage made it! We settled into our hotel, found out where the grocery store was, and set up a meeting with an American couple that lives in the city!!
We did some shopping, as I didn't have space to bring all of the "necessities". So very ready for baby girl!!!! We can play, eat, drink, bathe, and change diapers!!

Who writes stories like this??? Only GOD!! Met up with an amazing couple who lives in this city this evening! We enjoyed fellowship, the most delicious food, and absolutely fell in love with their precious family! Then, we get back and they blessed our socks off more! We have a goody bag with treats and toys... and homemade chocolate chip cookies!!!!!! Seriously folks-God sighting!!

After dinner, we had this sweet mama drop us off at the end of walking street.  It was AMAZING!  There was so much shopping and activity and interesting sights. It was a mile walk back to our hotel and we were in search of the "only opened for a couple of weeks, illusive Starbucks".  No one could tell us exactly where it was.  What occurred next was one for the storybooks.  We asked everyone, we retraced our steps, and Catherine... only Catherine... involved the Chinese swat team in the search.  All of the locals stopped what they were doing to observe these crazy American women who dared to approach the Swat team (heavily armed and up on a stage) to ask for directions to Starbucks!!  They ended up not having any idea, but were all smiles and helped make sure we knew how to get back to our hotel.  Then, Catherine had the brainstorm to check at the KFC, if anyone should be able to help us, it would be another American franchise... right?? At first, he had no idea what we were asking.  Then, I remembered I had a gift card in my purse.  As soon as I showed him the logo, he set out down the street to direct us!! SUCCESS!!!  We ended up there MULTIPLE times that week!!

Sweet baby girl is sleeping as an orphan for her last night!!!! She is Chosen and Dearly Loved and will be in my arms on your Sunday night!!