May 18, 2014

Half a Year -Practically

Posted in Adoption, Blogging, Just Life, Travel tagged , , , , , , at 12:21 am by catsinboxes

Have you ever had this experience?  You stumble across a blog.  You read it.  You enjoy it.  You keep reading.  And then you realize that it has not been updated for months.  As my grandfather reminded me today, my blog is e pluribus unum, one out of many blogs causing this unpleasant experience.  For that I am sorry.

I do have several excellent excuses.
Boyce College

1.  I went off to college.

In January I became a transfer student at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky.  Two weeks ago, I finished my first semester.  I absolutely love college.  Not enough said, but I will move on.

2.  I have a job.

Well, I had several jobs before, but this is a writing job, a writing job involving books.  I serve as executive assistant at Redeemed Reader, a Christian book review website.  Over the past year, I have become increasingly involved with Redeemed Reader and my own blog has been, well, neglected.  But I have been writing about books as well as Ukraine!

I could keep going, but you, dear reader, are intelligent and –I hope– understanding.  Should I write about books?  I certainly have been reading!  I have read theology, and I have read history, and I have read quite a bit in between.  That is for another post . . .

Instead, I will tell you what happened after I finished my semester.

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I took a double-decker bus to Chicago, ignoring the mild undertone of vomit aboard the bus.  In Chicago, I narrowly avoided missing my train connection and only made it due to the kindness of helpful strangers and a confident ticket master.  What brought me to Chicago?

It was excellent and worthy of a post in and of itself.  My mom was there, and it was so fun seeing her and getting to enjoy the conference with her.  My favorite part of the conference?  Meeting Christians from around the world who are passionate about orphan care.  Also, getting to see and hear Karyn Purvis, a Christian psychologist.

Following the conference, we did have a little time to spend in Chicago.  It was a gorgeous day, absolutely gorgeous.

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Look at the sky!

 

Ooh, horses!

Naturally, I found the horses.

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It was a beautiful, wonderful day.  And then?  It got better because I went home.  I spent almost two weeks at home, two weeks with family and friends, and I am so blessed.  Now I am back in Louisville for the summer, and ready to work.  What else will I be doing?  Lord-willing, I will be blogging.

There, how is that for a post?  If you lasted through the end of this one, please know, tenacious reader, that it does get better!  Usually I write about much more interesting things, like books.

Your errant blogger and her faithful steed 

 

 

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March 7, 2012

Rejoicing and Weeping

Posted in Adoption, Blogging tagged , , at 10:10 pm by catsinboxes

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  ~Romans 12:15

I hit refresh and start to scroll down on Reece’s Rainbow’s page for Orphanage 39.  I stop.  No . . . I look again.  Yes!!!  Today Duncan is no longer listed in Orphanage 39 . . . He has a family!!!!  It’s so exciting.  First it was Sam and Tyler, now it’s Duncan.  I was thinking of this verse as I thought about Duncan’s new family.  Rejoice with those who rejoice . . . and what a wonderful thing to rejoice about!  Weep with those who weep?  What about that?  That’s becoming increasingly real to me to as I read through the stories on blogs.  Read about children watching as others leave the orphanage.  Read about the emptiness, the longing.

You might ask, how does this affect me?  I’m only a college student, goodness, don’t I have other things to do?  I do, and believe me, I am doing them!  But, when you get involved, when you can rejoice that Duncan has a family, when you can weep for the narrow window of time left to Bernadette and continue to pray . . . It changes you.  It changes the way you look at life.  When you realize that living out the Gospel is a much, much, bigger picture.  When you realize that you (yes, you!) can help.

So, this week, I challenge you: rejoice and weep.  How can you do this?  Renee at But By Grace had a wonderful idea today that I’m going to share:

So here’s my plan- for the next 10 days, I’d like you guys, and anyone you can convince to join you, to traipse over every day to http://reecesrainbow.org and find a child, any waiting child, who is wearing green, and show him or her some love. I’m starting with Alyssa and Yates, two sweet siblings, and she’s wearing the brightest green jacket I’ve seen. I’ll be putting in $50 as soon as I hit publish on this post, because there’s two kids in that sibling group, and my plan is to give $25 a day, but I’d ask you to give whatever God puts on your heart, or if you’re not a believer, whatever you feel good about sharing.But shhhhhhh, don’t tell Reece’s Rainbow. Just like the mythical leprechaun sneaks around, I want us to do the same. Let’s let everyone else wonder why all the kids in green suddenly have rapidly growing donations! They may notice at first, as it stays in the low numbers, but wouldn’t it be cool to see all the kids in green suddenly have substantial funds? Like something that people would notice and think “wha-huh?!?!?”
I’ll post everyday, at the bottom of my post, who I’m giving to wearing green. If you want to comment and tell me who you shamrocked, then I’d love to know!
I love that sentence; let’s do some shamrocking!

March 6, 2012

The Least of These

Posted in Adoption, Blogging, Faith tagged , , at 8:55 pm by catsinboxes

I know I haven’t been blogging for over a month.  I know that many people who find this blog are looking for information about WWII and the Women’s Land Army.  In short, I know that I don’t have much of a voice when it comes to this blog, but I want to try something.

Have you read Matthew 25:40 recently?

And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

What does that mean?  Who are the least of these?  They are the hungry, the impoverished, the sick, the prisoners.  And you know, it can be easy to leave it at that.  It can be easy for me to tithe, to help support some children through Compassion International . . . It’s painless, just contribute and know that you’re helping.  But is that the right way to look at it?

I know that each day people around the world are dying in poverty.  In the time that it has taken you to read this, at least two children somewhere in the world will have died from hunger-related causes.  Watch the clock for a moment, and each time 8 seconds pass, remind yourself that a child’s life has ended.  At the end of the day, 22,000 children will have died, the majority from very curable diseases.  Does that make you uncomfortable?

Until about three weeks ago, I knew that there were orphans in Eastern Europe.  I knew that Ukraine as a country had about 100,000 orphans.  I knew facts, I knew some numbers.  I didn’t know faces.  I didn’t know about institutions.  Do you know?

I’m still learning, but let me tell you.  And I’ll make it real.

This is “Duncan.”  He is 15 years old, the same age as my brother.  He has cerebral palsy which affects his legs.

This is “Bernadette.”  She is 15 years old, and she has my brother Joshua’s smile.  She has Down Syndrome.

Two 15 year olds, both living in an orphanage in Eastern Europe.  Two 15 year olds waiting for families.  Do you know what will happen when they turn 16?  They will no longer be available for adoption, they will leave the orphanage and be sent to a mental institution.  An adult mental institution.  Do you have any idea what that means?  For Bernadette:

She will likely have her head shaved, be stripped and placed into institution clothes, taken to a bed or crib and restrained there if she tries to wander. No toys. No books. No one to rub her back or sing her a lullaby. She’ll become a number on a case file, a name on a roster. Forever condemned to a life without a family. At her small size, likely a victim of other, older adults at the institution, as they take her food, hit her, or worse.

That’s a quote, a quote from a wonderful adoptive mother who met Bernadette.  Surely it can’t be that bad, can it?  Oh, it can.  Read about it here, and look at the pictures.  Look at them.  Do you know, as I started to read, I didn’t want to find out more.  I didn’t want to know about how bad it was . . . But we need to know.

No child, for Bernadette really is like a child, should ever receive that fate.  No teenager like Duncan should live with the fact that his birthday (yeah, we call it sweet 16, don’t we?) will mark the end of hope.

And you know, the thing is, it’s easy to just ask, “Well, what can I do?”  If you’re like me, you’re a college student.  You can’t adopt, but does that mean that you should just go on with life?

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.  ~James 1:27

You can visit.  You can contribute, this website is a wonderful resource:  http://reecesrainbow.org/category/waitingbycountry/ee-1/orphanage-39.  And most of all, you can pray.

I want to say something, and I hope it doesn’t offend you.  I hope it makes you think.  In the United States, we don’t have adult mental institutions like in Eastern Europe.  We don’t have a system that condemns teenagers like Bernadette to a living hell in an institution for the crime of having an extra chromosome.  No, we don’t.  We just take care of that problem much earlier.  9 out of 10 babies with Down Syndrome are never born in the United States.  Civilized.  Intentional.  Extermination.  That’s the United States.  Don’t ever forget that we have our own problems.

Please pray, and pray for faces.  It’s much harder to forget, to shake off a face.  A statistic can just slip away, but a face remains.  Look at Duncan.  He’s afraid no one will want him because his legs don’t work.  Look at Bernadette.  She’s so sweet, so happy, so blissfuly unaware of what is ahead.

What will you do for the least of these?