Monthly Archives: August 2013

{Hitting Repeat} 10 Ways to Care for Orphans (without adopting)

This is a question I get asked a lot: How can I answer the biblical call to orphan care if I am not able to adopt?

God does not hide his will from us and if you are someone who has earnestly sought God’s will concerning adoption and he has not led you to adopt (or has not led you to adopt right now), there are other very valuable ways that you can serve the most vulnerable children in our world today.  If you have a heart for orphan care—whether or not you are able to adopt—here are ten invitations to orphan care for you to pray over:

Original photo by flickr user Moving Mountains Trust, creative commons.

1. Host an orphan in your home: This is one of my favorite ways to get involved in orphan care without adopting. New Horizons is an international orphan hosting program. US families host children for 4-6 weeks in their homes and pour love into them. The children see what it is like to live in a family and have opportunities and they have their “horizons” broadened. The goal is not for the host family to adopt the child, although sometimes either the host family or family friends will go on to adopt after the experience. The goal is to show the child a life other than the one he knows and give hope for a better future. Please take a moment to sign up for the photo listings and ask yourself if you have 4-6 weeks to give to one of these children.

2. Get your church connected to an orphanage:  I found our about the organization The Hope Epidemic through an instagram hash tag of all ways (although I #cantrememberwhichone) and I am so impressed with what I’ve seen through them. Their mission is to connect American Evangelical Churches with orphanages all around the world. They want these churches to connect in order to share the gospel, to build relationships, to better the orphanage environments, and to advocate for the adoption of children in the orphanages. I’ve always wondered what it would look like if the church arose to take care of our orphan crisis once and for all. The Hope Epidemic is trying to do just that.

3. Donate on behalf of children with special needs: Reece’s Rainbow is a Down Syndrome adoption ministry. You can look at pictures of waiting children with Down Syndrome or other special needs on this site donate to a specific child’s adoption, whether or not a family has been found for them.

4. Support an orphan graduate program: There are a few different orphan graduate support programs out there but Hearts for Orphans caught my attention because it is run by adoptive parents and shares the gospel with orphan graduates. When orphans age out of the system most turn to crime, prostitution or suicide simply because they don’t have any support systems or life skills. Orphan graduate programs work to equip teens with life skills, like cooking and budgeting, and help them find meaningful work. Hearts for Orphans works in the Ukraine. If you have a specific country on your heart, do a google search for “orphan graduate support” + “country.” If you can’t afford to donate to these ministries, consider volunteering for one in your area! Organizations like these always need volunteers to do tasks like photocopying, putting mailers together or even cleaning.

5. Advocate for a specific child: Project Hopeful is an organization that educates and advocates for the adoption of children with HIV and other special needs. Their FIG program (Family In the Gap) exists to match families with orphans overseas. As as a FIG family you would pray for, sponsor, and fundraise for the adoption of a specific child. You can also be matched with an unadoptable child (in their home country’s foster care system) and you would support the foster family as they care for the child. This is such a cool program and I love how you can get your whole family involved. I can picture families with children working together to brainstorm fundraising ideas (summer lemonade stand??) to help with the child’s someday adoption costs.

6. Help parents and families in crisis: Safe Families is a movement by Bethany Christian Services that serves families who need safe, temporary care for their children. From the website: “This network of host families help parents who need to temporarily place their children due to unmanageable or critical circumstances… this temporary care for children in need gives parents time to establish stability in their homes. Can you open your home to a family going through a troubled time?” There is a video on their site that’s worth watching if this movement interests you at all.
 
7. Sponsor a child: Most of us are aware of these programs that help provide food, water, and education for children in developing countries. If you have a heart specifically for orphans, you can use Compassion International’s search tool to find and sponsor a child who has been orphaned. You can also select country or special need if you desire. I’ve heard of families sponsoring children who share birth dates with little ones. Some couples honor the loss of a pregnancy by sponsoring a child who was born around the time of the expectant due date of the baby they lost. When you sponsor a child you have the opportunity to do more than just give money; you can correspond with the child, send gifts, and share the love of Christ with her!

8. Give to an adopting family: Whether you’re able to write a $500 check or sell knit-wares online for cash, donating to a family who wants to adopt is a much needed and very fulfilling way to answer the call to orphan care. If you are wondering how much a $30 donation could help just take a look at my son and know that he didn’t come home via a few enormous donations. He came home though a ton of small ones. Every.penny.matters. Also there are nonprofits like Lifesong and The Sparrow Fund who give grants to adoptive families if you want to give to them so that they can continue to serve adoptive families. If you have no money or wares to sell you can help by offering your services. Maybe they need babysitting or volunteers at a fundraiser. Maybe they need someone to mow their lawn because they just don’t have time between working and completing the home study. If you look hard enough I know you can find a way to help!

9. Send care packages to orphanages: In the end of January, my church asks all the congregation members to use one Sunday for an act of service. This year our small group used the Sunday to put together a care package for Arie’s former orphanage. If you know anyone who has adopted, consider sending a care package to their child’s former baby home or foster home.

10. Support Antihuman trafficking efforts: Because orphans are so vulnerable and too often without protection, they are at increased risk of being trafficked.Take a minute to visit WAR International’s website and view the video on their about page to learn more.

_______________________________

Jillian Burden is still adjusting to this beautiful thing called motherhood; she and her husband are still new parents to a son by way of a Russian adoption. While her belly might not have expanded, her heart and her faith sure grew as her family did! You can read about this soul stretching journey to parenthood on her blog.

{Hitting Repeat} Meeting Her.

Last month, before leaving for the DRC,  I wrote about what was weighing heavy on my heart – the day I would take my son from the arms of his foster mother.

Every time I talked about it with someone, I was in tears.  Every time I thought about it, I was tears.

As a foster mom of a son that I have loved since the minute he was placed in my hands at two weeks old, my heart was filled with gratitude for this woman whom I would soon meet.

The days leading up to our meeting were filled with nervous trepidation, as I knew that I would never be able to voice to her just how much I understood her role in our son’s life.

Because of our baby J, I know what it means to love a little one who is not promised to you.

I know what it is to be up at all hours of the night, rocking, cradling, and snuggling a child that I did not birth and whose sweet little toes I may never get to see fill the shoes of a grown man.

I know what it means to pour everything you have into a child that may never thank you, and in fact, never remember you.

There was so much I wanted to say to her, my Tyson’s Mama Isabelle.

As I walked out to meet her and my baby boy, the tears were flowing.

She greeted me with a huge smile and I hugged her as tight as I could.

She spoke no English and I spoke no French.

Through our lawyer, who spoke minimal English, I shared with her everything I could muster in the shortest and most succinct amount of words.

“You have loved him so very well.  Thank you.”

It wasn’t enough.  But nothing I said would have been.  Nothing could have conveyed how full my heart was at that moment.

As I held our smiling, cuddly son, with chunky thighs and full cheeks, it was quite evident that Tyson had been well-fed, held tightly, and cuddled often.

And believe me, I fully realize that this is not always the case in international adoption.

Because of Mama Isabelle, our Tyson bonded quickly to us.  He craves snuggles, makes great eye contact, and smiles and smiles and smiles and smiles.

It’s been three weeks since I met my son.  Three weeks since I took him out of the arms of his Mama Isabelle.

When I talk about it or think about it, it still brings me to tears.

But it isn’t out of sadness.

It’s out of a heart that overflows with emotion for the gift of a son who now carries my last name.

It’s from a heart filled with thankfulness for the selfless love of a foster mom caring for our baby 4,000 miles away.

It’s because of a heart bursting with love for my own foster son who is a miracle and gift that I one day may have to return.

I can’t guarantee the tears will stop anytime soon, because they are filled with gratitude and awe at this life we’ve been given.

Thank you, Mama Isabelle. You were an answer to five months of prayer for our son and a tender reminder to me of my call as a foster mom.

________________________________________

Leslie Word

Leslie has been married to her husband Brian for almost three years. They live in Montgomery, Alabama where Leslie works for a nonprofit agency and Brian is a student pastor. They are passionate about caring for the orphan and have helped start ONEfamily, an adoption, foster care, and orphan care ministry in their church. Their free time is made up of watching football, eating Mexican food, and spending time with their rambunctious puppy, Knox. They have chosen to adopt first and are currently fostering a little guy and just returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo with their son. You can read more about their adventures here.

{Hitting Repeat} I Love You As Is

When I started dating Nathan I knew the central truth that if I didn’t love him exactly as he was right at that moment then I shouldn’t marry him based on how I could change him. Of course time would change him in some ways but it wasn’t going to be because I catered him to my desires. Well God blessed me with a man I did love as is and we later married.

I was reminded of this foundational piece of our marriage the other night as I was ranting and raving about how little progress I felt we were having with Jaydn. Sure there are some steps forward but not the ones I needed. In my fit of frustration I found myself revealing the true nature of my desire- change. I wanted Jaydn to change. It hurts to even see myself type that let alone admit it to all of you. But here I was saying that I wanted to seek healing for Jaydn and for her to be whole, but when it comes down to it the destination of the path I have been on was to change her. But that’s not love.

Love doesn’t come in the form of wanting to change the other person all the time- its meeting them where they are and staying there unless they decide to go elsewhere. Even their choice to move may not be in the direction you would want but a commitment to love that person means going with them there anyway.

What if Jaydn never stops chewing on her tongue? What if she never stops trying to manipulate people and situations? What if she never starts understanding the meaning of words and not just what they sound like? What if she always gets out of her bed in the middle of the night and wakes up her sister? Etc. Where will my love be then? Over and over again you hear about how love is a choice and this relationship is no different- I have to CHOOSE love regardless of whether anything changes.

As I was making this self discovery, I had a mental flash of the words I etched onto my living room wall that I adapted from the book Captivating by Staci Eldridge. It says, “May you find here the grace to be and the room to become.” Like a dagger to my heart those words dredged up in me my deepest desire to love others as they are. That philosophy applies to strangers, friends and yes Bethany, even to your children.

_______________________________________________

Gaddis-bio-picI have been married since 2003 to a worship pastor/ a rock star/most involved and intentional dad I have ever seen! Together, we have the privilege of parenting three amazing children. (Jaxon, Jovie  Jaydn and Lyrick)  Jaydn came to us by way of adoption from Uganda, Africa. I enjoy photography, adventure recreation, and teaching high-school students about Jesus.

{Hitting Repeat} I was crying and you weren’t there

I watched the sun and clouds shadow the mountain as the morning rose up from the night. Praying as I watched for the clouds to stand aside so that I could see it all. But, not to see the mountain this time, covered with oaks, pines, and cedars. This morning I longed to see passed the clouds of uncertainty.

It was his words that triggered it all, his remembering days of loneliness and the days he cried alone in a Ugandan orphanage. And though he is only 5 years old, his words spoke a volume full when he said to his new mother, “I was crying and you weren’t there.” I remember Psalm 68:6: “God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing.” But, a secret that I never knew before is that He causes a family to be lonely for the ones He plans to set among them.

And I feel the words stirring me. And the question pressing hard on my heart, “Is someone crying and I am not there?” And do they know that I am crying for them, too?

But those pesky clouds; always descending on me, always blocking my view of His will. Causing me to look through the mist and wonder what it is I exactly saw before, back when it was lightening clear? And I imagined that Mary wondered too. She was full of the Spirit’s plans for her, full of this divine DNA stretching at her abdomen, reminding her daily that she was set on a course beyond her own imagination. But surely people looked at her and wondered if she was “one of those kind of girls”; a shame, a disgrace. And Joseph might have thought so, if not for a dream. Did she always believe that she carried the Liberating King in her womb and at what moment was she seen as fully legitimate in all the eyes around her?

And I long to feel legitimate here in my little cabin, sitting at my computer, watching for the bread crumbs to continue to drop and lead me inch by inch on this journey of adoption to it’s glorious conclusion. You may be carrying a dream as well, something uniquely your own, birthed deep inside your heart/womb. No, not as grand as Mary’s, but His plan anyway, and all those hours and mornings before all is fulfilled we wake up and go about living with the “life” growing in us, affecting our choices and behaviors, our thoughts and our plans. And I suppose the temptation to be afraid, or to doubt the plan doesn’t change it, just steals the joy from the journey–just lays a wedge between us and Him.

So here in the black and white I speak softly. With the black and white keys I peck out a confession to the bright white screen. “I feel like a mother full with child, but such a strange gestation it is! Because if I am to hold my offspring in my arms, I must follow a path of uncertainty, filled with questions, with governments, with forms, with deadlines, and with astonishing price tags. This journey, already taken by others, has sometimes ended in failures, heavy financial losses, disappointments, yet also with great success. I feel my abdomen stretching and I pray to see it all through to the end.”

And to my cry to feel “legitimate” as a prospective adoptive parent to dark skinned beauties far away and across an ocean—he seemed to answer me with 10,000 God “yes-es”. He took away a bit of the “shame” of not knowing how a girl like me, and an already full family like ours could even begin to afford an impossibility like this. All of the the “yes-es” were in the form of dollars and each one provided by way of the new job that the “man of this house” secured just a short while back; a company reimbursable grant for adoptions for up to 2 children and up to $10,000. They were 10,000 reasons to keep trying, to keep praying for miracles, to keep hoping for more.

So during this gestation period where fear sometimes grips, and uncertainty sometimes clouds my view, but where hope keeps pulling me up and forward I am asking Him for more “yes-es”.

_______________________________

Rhonda Drain

I’m Rhonda and I live in a house full of “menfolk” on a small hobby farm in the Ozarks. My husband and I have been married for 22 years and have four sons ranging in age from 12 to 21. I tiptoed into the land of blogs in the spring of this year after immersing myself into the stories of some amazing people and writers that were willing to share their lives in very generous, sacrificial, and honest ways on their personal blogs. Most were telling of the miraculous ways in which they entered the realm of adoption and followed it to a life changing conclusion. My family felt the call of adoption tugging at our hearts and I wanted communicate about it as well. I am yet amazed by the people that I have met through this new venue and hope to always follow their example of sharing from a heart of gratitude and ambition to encourage others along the way.

{Hitting Repeat} Lots of you asked for it, so here you go.

Ok….like 5 people asked for it.
But since I am a stay at home mom and interact with exactly no one most days during the day
5 people is like a lot.

So here you go
my thoughts on older child adoption.

The question of how we “do” older child adoption
how the intricacies of that play out in our home
how their adjustment is
quite honestly sets me back a bit.
When asked about “Older child adoption” I have to wait for that “older child/hard to place” label that used to define them rise up from the recesses of my brain and come back into my frontal lobe….errr…cerebral cortex?…..I dunno….so that I can remember
because I truly don’t look at them as “older children”.

They just fit.
They fit perfectly into our family.

I don’t know that it is harder.
I don’t know that it is easier than adopting younger kids & cute squishy lil babies.

It’s just
well
different.

In the beginning in China it was fabulous.
They were old enough to somewhat have a grasp on what was happening.
All 3 came right to us.

(other than Joshua apparently thinking he was going to live in Italy….sorry buddy)

There were
No tantrums.
No tears.
Just pure
adrenaline induced
excitement.
For them
for us
we were one big group of really, really excited people.

Yet, ironically, if anything illustrates the udder brokenness of these orphans
it is that moment
because really,

children should not be that excited to be handed to
and walk off
with perfect strangers.

But they somehow know.

They know that what is to come

love
life
hope
a future
food
a bed
warmth

simply must be better than what they have now.
Because when I try to picture my biological children being handed over to strangers at the age of 7
and the definite opposite reaction that they would have
it illustrates just how big a void these kids sitting in those orphanages have.

There is nothing like a family.

There is
no
thing
like a family.

Practically, older kids just aren’t as needy in the physical sense and since we were far beyond diapers and nap times this worked well for us.
They could walk, go to the bathroom, understand that it was time for bed, shower, dinner.
(Man I am SO good at charades now. If anyone ever wants to play, let me know. I’ll kick your butt.)

This I knew was a key to our families successful transition.
These kids were in the same phase of life that we were already in so the adjustment on our part was minimal. (Not to trivialize adoption itself but in this specific context(as it pertains to age) it was a minimal impact.)
I think had we chosen to go back down baby lane it would have been much more difficult (for us).
We just weren’t there.
Our hearts weren’t there.
Our sports filled evenings and weekends weren’t there.
Our older kids weren’t there.

I knew how to do 7 year’s old.
Our youngest 5 are all within a 21 month block of time.
The twins are 6 minutes apart.
Push em out, push em out, waaaaaayyy out!
Sorry, that was a throwback to my brief cheer-leading days in high school.
But I digress…

Jacob is 14 months younger than the twins.
Joshua is 3 months younger than Jacob.
Joey is 4 months younger than Joshua.
If we could do anything,
we could do the 6-8 year old age range.
I knew what their maturity level was, what would appeal to them, how to speak to them.
We were there.

Granted, some of it may have been lost in translation but I think the message is this…
Kids are kids.
Red, yellow, black and white they, at their core, are kids.

Obviously

Experiences will color that,
Trauma will cover that,
Abandonment will change that,
Institutionalization will harm that

but somehow I could see right through all of that muck and mire
and I could see that underneath it all
there was a little boys heart.
I didn’t know how long it would take to unearth.
I didn’t know the hardships would come along
I didn’t know how much pain was in the process
but the heart
the heart is there
it’s just waiting.

It’s the uncovering of all of the “stuff” that comes along with adopting older kids that is where the challenge can rise up
and
smack
you
in
the
face.

So though I don’t change diapers
or warm bottles
or wake up for 3am feedings
and I don’t hurry home for nap time
I fight a battle that is larger than myself.
A battle that will consume them
if it weren’t for love.

So yes.
It’s hard.
I do sleep all night
They do go to school all day
but I have to be ever mindful that though their neediness doesn’t lie in the physical sense
there are still 3 little hearts under my roof that are still in a state of mending.
Because not only do I have my own parenting wisdom, tips, techniques and training to impart on them,
I am simultaneously un-parenting all of the bad habits, harsh words, and lack of love that they endured when I wasn’t there.

Have you ever tried un-parenting and parenting at the same time?
It’s ummmm……fun?
Nope.
Pretty sure that’s not the word I am looking for.

It’s not just “Hey buddy, this is how we do this.”
It’s “Hey buddy, I know that was how things were done before and I’m sorry that happened, ~ hug ~ hug~ but here’s why that’s not ok. Now let me show you what we do. ~ teach. train. model. ~ hug ~
Then it’s “Good job! I knew you could do it!” ~ hug~
All whilst speaking Chinglish and having about 50% of what you are telling them get lost in translation.

Repeat.
8,000 times a day.

They will be 14 years old before we ever even break even.
They will be 14 before their time in our family becomes longer than their days spent in an orphanage.

This is a marathon.

I am not who I used to be.
My patience is bigger
My heart is heavier
My joy is tempered.
Just like a normal marathon
it’s exhausting.

It takes an inordinate amount of energy
of patience
of love
of patience
of patience
of teaching
of training
of patience
of love
to bring these kids out of the darkness.

And if I’m being honest….

it.
empties.
me.

And if I’m being more honester. (yep I know, not a word)
it’s the reason I haven’t been blogging.
It takes SO much to be continually pouring love, encouragement, discipline, and training into these kids that I often find myself

empty.

And most days
when the sun has set
when 7 sleepy heads are happily snoring on their pillows

I have nothing left to give.

Are we happy?
Yep.
Would we do it again?
No doubt, yes.
Is it the hardest thing I have ever done?

A
b
s
l
u
t
e
l
y

Are there moments when I think to myself,
“Am I being punked?”
7 boys? Seriously?
Totally.

I vastly underestimated the amount of life training that they would need at their age.
Things like

A stove is hot.
You knock on the door before you walk into people’s houses, you can’t just walk in.
Seatbelts.
Walk on the sidewalk, not in the street.
Kindly do not remove the food from your plate that you don’t care for and place a big blob of it directly on the table.
Don’t walk down the hallway from your room to the bathroom stark neked. You’re 8.

Small things of course.
But when each and every moment,
each and every action
each and every transition
requires explanation it takes awhile to get the hang of that.
Rather…
it took me awhile to get the hang of that.

But last I checked my goal isn’t to take up residence on Easy Street,
I think that is a crowded, overpopulated neighborhood.

go.
serve
love.
be more like HIM
It’s what I want to do.
It’s where I want to live.

So is older child adoption really more difficult?
I don’t know.
It’s just
different.

________________________________________

Sonia M.

Sonia and her husband John are an Air Force family with 7 boys. She stays at home part time and spends the other part of her time shopping at Stuff-Mart buying large quantities of food to feed said boys. Sonia’s hobbies include cooking, cooking, cooking more, cleaning, cooking, and cleaning bathrooms. They are navigating their way through life attempting to glorify God in all that they do — follow the journey here.

{Hitting Repeat} Tension

We’re experiencing the tension of being foster parents.

Our foster baby’s mom has come into the picture for the first time since he was born. He’ll start to have regular visits with her next week.

There is much tension in my heart as I want the woman who birthed him to know how much we love him and how we have done everything we can to protect and nurture him.

And, I want her to know that SHE is loved, because I know this life hasn’t been easy for her. She’s where she is in life because of some things that aren’t her fault.

And, I want her to know I’m not the enemy. That I want the best for him. Whatever and wherever that may be.

I want redemption for her: restoration for her body, her spirit, and her life.

But, I love this sweet baby boy who currently lives in our home. As all this has played out this past week, I’ve wanted to grab him and hold him and not let go.

And, I want to make her earn the right to see him because she’s left him for the last three months.

I want to grab her face in my hands and say, “Don’t you know what you’ve missed? Was it worth it?”

But, I realize that she has given me a gift for the past three months. And her gift is the result of a life that has been littered with heartache and devastation.

And there is the tension.

We need loads and loads of prayer as we navigate these new waters.

________________________________________

Leslie Word

Leslie and her husband Brian are passionate about caring for the orphan and have helped start ONEfamily, an adoption, foster care, and orphan care ministry in their church. In thirteen months, they went from a family of three {Husband, Wife and dog} to a family of 7 {Husband, Wife, 3 boys and 2 dogs} by becoming legal guardians, foster parents and adoptive parents.  You can read more about their adventures here.

{Hitting Repeat} I think I’m always looking for a baby.


Large baskets by the roadside, dusty corners… dark alleys. My eyes are always peering intently into those forsaken locations, wondering if today is the day that I’ll hear a kitten’s cry and it won’t be a kitten. It will be a baby.

I don’t want to find a baby, and yet I do. I’d like to stay in denial that babies actually don’t get abandoned. I’d rather believe that they ONLY suffer in institutions, thrive in families, survive in foster homes and blossom in foster families. This would be so much easier to believe… if only it was the truth.

It’s a stereotypical “awkward” question from children, “Where do babies come from?” They ask because they want to know. I don’t ask where the orphan in my arms or in that bed came from because I do not want to know. And yet… I do so very want to know.

She was abandoned in a field… he was at the foot of a bridge… the local village, a hospital, the orphanage gate…. At the foot of a mountain….

…by the railroad tracks. That’s the one that gets me the most. Who abandons their baby by the railroad tracks? The hospital – I get that! A poor woman has just given birth to what should be a healthy son but instead it’s a weak baby girl who’s struggling for breath, looking quite blue and has a heart defect according to the doctor that would cost the family more than they could ever afford.

The culture here allows for borrowing and lending. I recently heard about a family who, when they discovered that their child was quite sick, spent every fen they owned. Then, as they cared for their child in the hospital, relatives went amongst one another, borrowing money. In the end, the child died. As the parents recover and grieve the loss of their one child, these sacrificial, unconditional-loving parents must work their fingers to the bone to repay their relatives.

A sick baby is born to a poor family. This is their reality, their situation and, ultimately, their choice. High-quality care costs a literal fortune and you must pay up front.

How high is life valued? I think that I can see an important yet devastating chapter to each little orphan’s story just by hearing about where they were abandoned. The girl abandoned at the hospital was meant to live. The boy abandoned in the town square was meant to be found. The baby in the flower bed was to know that she’s always been cherished… and hopefully will be found by one who loves. The little boy abandoned at the foot of a mountain was meant to be forgotten. The little guy by the railroad tracks… he was gotten rid of.

I want to throw up just typing it. A vibrant, healthy, living child was never intended to be found, to be loved… to be wanted. Of course I could be reading into the story a little bit or a lot, but in reality… he’s not a “perfect” baby and those imperfections could have been seen as negating his value as a human being.

I don’t know why I look for the babies. I think that maybe it’s because I have to prove that this sort of loss and pain exists in the world. But why? Why must something so awful be confirmed? This I don’t know. Could it be that God’s heart is for the fatherless and His eyes are on the little ones at the orphanage gate and in the flower bed and that His passion is to bring children to himself? When I look into the eyes of the children here, I see Him. I see Jesus, because in many cases… His love and care is all that they have to live on.

How much realer and truer is this for the one who hasn’t been found yet? What about the baby who was just given up, who has spent her first night in the cold without arms to keep her warm and a voice to keep her comforted? She has nothing, and if she had anything at all, it’s quickly escaping to leave room for the cold hard facts of the cold hard world.

But she has Jesus. That’s what I want to see; that is what I see.

I’m not looking for babies, I’m looking for Jesus. I’m looking for His love and His provision; for His peace and for His grace. I know that He has His eye out for each tender cry and delicate life.

I hope that I never stumble upon a bundled up child left by the roadside, hidden in a basket or at the public gate, but I do hope that I see Jesus in the eyes of every empty heart.

________________________________________

Hannah Samuels

When Hannah traveled to China in 2002 with her parents to adopt her sister Elisabeth, she fell in love with the country and people. In 2004, when her other sister Naomi was adopted, she started dreaming of going back. It took 5 years for that dream to come true. She now serves in a foster home for special needs orphans in China. Hannah spends her days studying, writing for the foster home and on her personal blog, Loving Dangerously, and most importantly, holding babies. Hannah loves the adventure of living overseas with her family. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.