Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On the Road Again

Just can't wait to get on the road (to adoption) again! Sorry for the silence, sometimes it just felt as if we were wandering in the wilderness, not sure where we were going and not able to share where we were either. After many months of waiting on God, He has shown us the direction He would have us go in rescuing older orphans.

And, He used a dear long-time (as opposed to old ;) friend to show us where the road was heading!
Amy Post and the Daytons have been friends for about 20 years. Years ago, we attended the same church and had a common love for orphans (still do share that.) It was through Amy that we adopted Daniel, our second son, though he was the first son that we met. She took him in as her foster son for the first 17 months of his life. I learned so much from her during the many hours we spent together commuting to and from Long Beach once a week when our kiddos were little and Daniel was required to go to birth-mother visits.

Amy and I would talk now and then through the years, but always had that "Just as if we'd talked yesterday" feeling to our friendship. Last year, when we started our process to adopt older orphans from the Ukraine, we discovered that Amy and her husband had found their future son in Russia and were also in the process of adopting an older, special needs, orphan. Their process moved right along it's bumpy road as ours stalled due to our girls being adopted by another family.

In October, 2009, Amy called and said, "We're home and Alex is home, too!" Charissa and I went to visit a couple days later, as Mark and the boys were hunting in Idaho, and met Alex for the first time. He is so bright and fun to be around. He has a rare disability called Arthrogryposis, which disables his limbs, but not his mind. The Post's have an older son who also has Arthrogryposis and he began asking for a brother a few years ago, so they searched the world over to find Alex! The orphanage he came from said he was the brightest child in the orphanage! We had a lot of fun playing that day and marveling at the ability that this little guy showed!

About a week later, Amy called to tell us about Jewel, her blog name as she is a precious jewel in God's eyes, and we were so surprised! Amy said that one regret they had in Alex's homecoming was leaving his best friend behind. She explained that Jewel was always with Alex. And that they were brokenhearted to know they would never see one another again. Sure enough, their photos revealed just what they told us. There was Jewel, acting as Alex's arms, when he needed it, but mostly, just being his friend. It was the extreme finances involved in foreign adoption and the strong arm of that government, because of a fluke in their paperwork, that held them back from returning for her. Amy called to see if we'd go get this precious Jewel and bring her home!

So, Russia is our new destination! Jewel is 10 years old which, interestingly enough, puts her smack dab in the middle of the 8 year gap we have between Christian and Charissa! Neat, huh?!? She comes from an institution/orphanage that is set aside for children with special needs of all sorts. When we heard her disability was a seizure disorder, another WOW! Our dear friends have a very sweet 12-year-old daughter that has had a seizure disorder for several years. The girls' given names are nearly the same name! I'm sure that they will become fast friends! The 12 year old's younger sister is our Charissa's best friend and is also 2 years older than Charissa, as the 12 year old is 2 years older than Jewel. So, not only does Jewel have a family and her best friend, Alex, to come home to, she's got a friendship circle ready to embrace her!

So, here we go. Map in hand, destination marked. Won't you join us in prayer during our journey to go get Jewel?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I just cannot believe it's been 2 weeks since I sat down and wrote anything! We had 2 birthdays in the first third of March and one of those set a certain child a-fire attitudinally speaking. (Yes, I made that word up. It worked for me, how 'bout you? Oh, wait, I just spell-checked it and it was almost in there as a word! Woo-hoo! I invented a word already invented;) Not sure what clicked in said child but it wasn't a pretty week. And, Mom was having just a bit o' trouble functioning at the level needed by the emotional demands of the week, so the thought of putting something even remotely intelligible onto paper, er screen, just wasn't happening.

For instance, one night I had decided I was going to use up some of our spinach from our Abundant Harvest Organics produce box by attempting a Spinach Quiche. I know it's a fairly straightforward food to prepare but it isn't in my normal repertoire so it required a bit of homework on my part to figure out how to make it dairy-free for the allergy kiddos and with fresh, as opposed to frozen, spinach. Early that morning, before the emotional drain of the day had opened up, I did some online sleuthing and vaguely figured out how to approach the plan that evening. By the time evening arrived, however, my brain cells were all used up for the day so we ate spaghetti, because I can make that with my eyes shut and a hand tied behind my back... As long as I have a little help opening those cans of sliced, diced, stewed and pasted tomato products!

So, I've been very much desiring to share with you my third prayer song. Just couldn't do it while I was undergoing brain-fry week. Which I find slightly humorous now that I'm a week out and can look back at what we were going through, what parts I didn't handle well, and the words of the song I've been wanting to share with you.

I am not a "FAN" per se of people in the spotlight. I love to get to know the heart of an artist or author, for instance, and that lets me understand their motivation, their desire to serve our Lord, and their drive behind what they do or say a little better. I believe we are all created equally as His beloved children. It's just that some of His children end up serving our Lord a bit more publicly than others. I've never been an autograph seeker, photo-op kinda girl. Though I've had my fair share of opportunities over the years. In our family, our Recycling truck driver, Jonelle, is someone we admire just as much as an artist that we enjoy listening to their music. No joke, we wait at the window for her weekly!

Have you had a chance to listen to an interview with Nicole C. Mullen? I love that dear sister and you know, her ministry at home seems so much more a part of who she is, to me, than when she's singing to thousands! That girl is an amazing adoptive mom. She is a mom in ministry, just like so many of us. Her ministry just takes her out front a lot of the time.

Or, what about Bethany Dillon? I had the opportunity to visit with her one-on-one last summer for a few minutes and what a dear, sweet heart she has for her Daddy in Heaven! I had my camera with me and I am a scrapbooker, but you know, it just wasn't right. Here we were, just two sisters in Christ, sharing our hearts with one another, no need for an autograph or pic with the "star." Jesus was the star of our conversation. We were celebrating Him through our sharing of our ministry efforts while here on earth.

All that to say, the reason I'm sharing music with you in these last few posts has nothing to do with my "following" one artist or another. Normally I cannot even tell you an artist's name even though I'll say something to the effect of them being one of my fave's. Meaning: their lyrics lead me into a closer fellowship with Jesus. It has everything to do with lyrics that draw me into a closer relationship with my Lord, Jesus Christ.
And, now I'd like to introduce you to Nathan and Christy Nockels, a husband/wife duo that used to be known as Watermark. I believe Nathan is now in the production end of the music industry and Christy has solo projects nowadays. Their CD's are quite often in our players!
You can hear in their lyrics their heart for Christ. And, so much of what they write has spoken to my heart over the years but during this time of seeking God's face in regards to enlarging our family through orphan rescue and the fears and worries that started rearing their unwelcome heads in my heart, this song, in particular became a cry of my heart:
You bring life to my bones
And a spring to my step
And a heart that knows what it means
To wait before You
And laughter to my house

And a time to sing and shout
And a heart that knows what it means
To really trust You...
And when the shadow of sorrow comes
I will fall on the only One I know
Is the Rock
that won't be shaken...
'Cause it is good for me
To lay it down at Your feet
It is good for me to lay the good and bad
In Your hand, my God...
It is good for me
To lay it down at Your feet
It is good for me

You are the constant One
When my life is overwhelmed
And You stay the same when all around is changing
And, oh, how good it is, yeah
Just to know the life You give
And my
song shall ever be
That my God is faithful...
And when the shadow of sorrow comes
I will fall on the only One I know
Is the Rock
that won't be shaken...
'Cause it is good for me
To lay it down at Your feet
It is good for me to lay the good and bad
In Your hand, my God...
It is good for me
To lay it down at Your feet
It is good for me

And when I delight myself in You
You give me the desires of my heart,
When I confess that You know best
Peace flows like a river and joy comes in the morning...
Father God,
When I lay it at your feet,
could you please build a fence around it so I won't try and snatch it back?

Friday, February 27, 2009


Before I had 3 boys of my own, I had 2 little platinum blonde guys as neighbors, one house down, in a huge neighborhood of 3 houses! I adored these little guys and they brought joy to my life at a time when we were struggling with infertility and those desperate feelings and thoughts of: "Will we ever have children of our own to enjoy??" I know their mother often thought they were "bugging" that young couple down the street. But, far from it.

They'd interrupt a moment of tears with a little giggle at the window and I'd join into their laughter. They loved spying on me at my kitchen window and though they were as sneaky as 5 & 6 year olds can be, I'd hear them coming up the dirt road, and, with my back to the window, know just the moment when they'd stick their noses up over the edge of the window sill. With that surprise move that got them every time, I'd wave a sudsy hand at them over my shoulder without ever turning around from my sink full of dirty dishes. Off they'd fly, giggling all the way back home! Their spying mission had been foiled again, but they were sure to get me the next time!!!

These boys were avid soccer players! We were all pretty sure these little guys would go on playing soccer "the rest of their lives" and earn college scholarships based on their soccer skills. However, God had a very different path that He asked them to walk. While their parents had been in music ministry, pre-children, in a very prominent church, they stepped down in order to focus on raising the children God had entrusted to them to serve Him. They did not fully step out of ministry, don't get me wrong, this family is all about serving Him!! They just set their music aside.

Along come Jr. High-ish years and these not-so-little guys start praising God through music. I always thought this was so awesome that God had brought their family full-circle, so to speak.

Those little guys are all grown up now and, along with a few of their friends, they are known as Dizmas. They have been together for 10 years or so, and have served Him in places and shared the Gospel with people that the average person reading this blog, it's author included, could not do. Though they'd been making music together for years and were supported in prayer by us, their style wasn't really what we listen to in our home. Very God honoring and sold out to God just a different musical style than Mom prefers around here. During my time of seeking the LORD's face about orphan rescue, one of their songs, became one of my prayers.

One of my favorite radio stations ( ) was playing this song one day and it immediately struck a chord with me. I heard something about fear and giving it over to the LORD and asking Him to hold my hand through the fear, and remove the overwhelming fear I was dealing with in the thought of doubling the number of our children. And, then the song said, "Take me where you want me, take me 'cause I want to be yours," and that was what I needed to remember. I am His and He will take me nowhere He cannot handle. I told my boys, "Now that is a good song, I wonder who it is??" But the announcer didn't tell us.

So, a couple days later, I hear this announcer talking about an "up and coming band" that we, the listener's, need to be watching for and I'm thinking, "Okay, let us hear the song already..." And, at that same moment he said, "Their name is Dizmas." Another giggle for me, all these years later, since I knew this was not a new band, they'd just celebrated 10 years together. But, imagine my surprise, when the opening line started and it was the VERY song I'd wondered just 2 days earlier who it was!!! So, without further ado, please join me in prayer...


It feels like the sky has never been so blue
But that's not the way it used to be
Because there was a time that I was without you
Before I said that I believe

Ooooh, I need a savior
Ooooh, I need a savior
I want to give this up
I want to hold your hand
Take away this fear that's like an ocean in my head
I want to tell you now, What I couldn't say before
You are everything that I was always looking for

So take me where you want me
Take me 'cause I want to be yours

I've got pride that I still have to break
It's keeping me away from you
And You stay patient while I make mistakes
I'm learning how to trust in you

Ooooh, always a savior

I want to give this up
I want to hold your hand
Take away this fear that's like an ocean in my head
I want to tell you now, What I couldn't say before
You are everything that I was always looking for

So take me where you want me
Take me 'cause I want to be yours

In the good and the bad times
It don't really matter
I want to know you

I want to give this up
I want to hold your hand
Take away this fear that's like an ocean in my head
I want to tell you now, What I couldn't say before
You are everything that I was always looking for

So take me where you want me
Take me 'cause I want to be yours.

I'm not very talented at this computer stuff,
but maybe this link to the video of YOURS will work:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lord, Give me your Eyes

During the months that Mark and I were deliberating on whether or not to adopt again, the LORD used many different avenues to speak to my heart. No joke, it was as if every sermon took me back to: Yes! If this (whatever the topic was) was active in your life, you'd be jumping at the chance to serve His children in this manner. For example, my Pastor, Jim DeVore, of Cornerstone Church of Littlerock, is preaching on the purity and sanctity of marriage and my brain goes, "Of course you should rescue the girls, have you seen the statistics? Do you know how miniscule their chance at a pure marriage is if you don't?? Bring them home, set an example of a pure marriage for them...."

Wait, how'd the rest of that sermon go after I got carried off on my rabbit trail??

Mother's Day, 2008, with Mark's Mom at Rainforest Cafe, thus the leopard!

Anyhow, songs were another powerful tool He used to speak to me. There were about three that truly became prayers for me and when I would hear them on the radio, I would take a time out and just stop and pray. My boys started figuring out what I was doing and, if I was on the other end of the house, and one of my "prayers" came on the radio, they'd turn it up for me. I'd like to share the powerful words that stirred my soul, with you, over the next few posts. This first one had me in tears just about every time I heard it! I'd start picturing the homeless men and women down near skid row that we haven't had the time to get back to in the last year. Or the orphanage in Haiti that we supported for years when our boys were toddlers. Or, our little Christian orphanage ( ) in Ensenada that we love so much but haven't been back to in about 3 years because of passport issues with the new rules, and sports schedules with three teen boys around here. Well, I could go on and on but then I'd have you in tears and I really want you to read Brandon Heath's words so no teary-eyes, ya hear??

At the bottom of today's post, I've tried to post the link to his video on YouTube, I do hope it works for you. If not, just search for Brandon Heath's own video of Give Me Your Eyes.

Give Me Your Eyes
by Brandon Heath

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black-top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breathe in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
All those people going somewhere, Why have I never cared?

Chorus: Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
Ye-ah ye-ah ye-ah ye-ah

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what's underneath
There's a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He's out of work, He's buying time
All those people going somewhere, Why have I never cared?

Chorus: Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
Ye-ah ye-ah ye-ah ye-ah

I've been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving, pass me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well, I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you've seen the people all along

Chorus: Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see...

Lord, please give me your heart for the broken-hearted, Penny

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

BOY! This girl needs a sister...

Last night, our five year old is dancing, ballet style, around the house all dressed up in her princess finery blessing everything in sight with the treasured Princess Wand. Prancing on up to her 13 year old brother in the kitchen doing his Cinderella-man dish-duty, she says, "Lean down, I'm going to turn you into a Sugarplum-fairy man."

Trying hard to divert this particular personality choice from attacking his manhood, he suggests, "Nah, just turn me into a carrot."

"A CARROT!!!! There are NO carrots in fairy-tales!!" Princess Charissa informs the poor boy, obviously lacking in fairy tale etiquette.

Just before I started typing this, little Princess woke up and was cuddling on my lap when she spied a picture of President Lincoln here on the desk. "Hey, we met him last week!" Referring to a field trip to Forest Lawn for a presentation that they call A Visit with the Great Presidents. We got to "meet" 3 former presidents. The next words out of her mouth really threw Mom for a loop, "And, the other was a toy-maker!"

Did you figure it out??
We met President Theodore Roosevelt and he was holding a Teddy Bear and explained to us about a toy manufacturer developing the little bear and dubbing it Teddy Bear in honor of him!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Our girls were stolen?!?

As careful as I was last week to explain in a positive light to our five year old that "our girls" had been adopted by another family, it has come to my attention this week that our girls have been stolen!

Aliana, Christiana & Charissa

A few girlfriends have come to me this week to let me know that little Princess Charissa had informed them that someone had stolen her sisters. I have an inkling that I used the word chosen a little too frequently and in the mind of a 5 year old: chosen by someone else translated directly into stolen from her.

Picture this: Two - 5 year olds working hard to earn the last remaining super-coveted-wonderblingie out of the prize box. At last, Dot earns her trip to the prize box, only to discover that "her" wonderblingie has been "stolen!" Meanwhile, on the other side of the room sits a very happy little Darci playing with her recently "chosen" wonderblingie. As adults, we can oversee a scenario like this and completely grasp the fact that Darci earned her trip to the prize box first and thus is the rightful owner of her chosen trinket. On the other hand, we also know that little Dot just needs to look at the prizes set before her in a whole new light. Perhaps an even better prize that she has yet to discover lay before her in that prize box. However, she has to make the decision to reach in and choose it, we cannot force her.

I think sometimes that's the way it is with God watching over us. We get absolutely devastated over things because we cannot see the big picture. While God knows that if we will perservere, He has something better for us waiting on the other side of our mountain or molehill (you choose ;).

What mountain are you facing today? God has all the hiking gear you need in His Word. He loves each & every one of us dearly, but He will not force us to choose this way or that. We are not His puppets, we are His chosen children.

'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD,
'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search with all your heart.' Jeremiah 29:11-13

As for me and my house, we will press on for the prize that He has waiting for us at the end of this adoption journey. All the while keeping in mind that:

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, February 12, 2009

While we were...

While reading a friend's blog last night, I found this very touching memorial written by another adoptive mom. Please read, pray, and if able, help one of these precious little ones get home.

While we were eating...
... they were hungry

While we were playing...
... they were restrained

While we were tucking our kids into bed...
... they were alone

While we turned up the heat...
... they laid in the icy cold

While we wrapped our children in blanket sleepers...
... they laid in their own excrement

While we sang songs and listened to music...
... they listened to the screams and cries of those around them

While we rocked our babies...
... they silently rocked themselves

While we hugged our kids...
... they scratched at their own faces and pulled their own hair for stimulation

While we cried over scraped knees...
... they moaned in their loneliness

While we brushed our daughters' beautiful hair...
... they had their heads shaven to stave off the lice

While we fought off the flu with love and nourishment...
... they got the flu and went Home.

No longer suffering... but so many more still are.

In memory of those that have never felt the love of a family, but have passed away alone. Today we learned of the passing of these two girls in Eastern Europe.


For those who have asked, please feel free to share this on your blog. Meredith Cornish

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Carrying On!

Happy Sunday! Many "Thanks" to my Blog-master Brooke for posting my last entry for me while my 'puter was misbehavin'!!
I'm having so many thoughts rumbling around in my brain, I'm having trouble sorting them to place them here in B & W! You'd think with several days off-line, I really could have worked this through, but alas, NO!

The bottom line is that "Our girls" opened up a new dream for us. We had not planned on growing our family any larger until meeting a great group of orphans and spending time with them last summer. We had our "Summer Sister" for 6 weeks and mid-trip did fun group activities with the other host families and their summer children. As a family, we absolutely fell in love with these children from afar that had lost everything including their home, family, friends, and possessions. What to do?????

In looking at what we have to offer, we realized once again how very rich we are. Not necessarily monetarily speaking. But, in so many ways! We have the knowledge of a loving God, our Father in Heaven; His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit, and all that He does for us. We have an intact family, both our own nuclear family here in our own home and our extended family. We have the most amazing church family, which serves truly as our family in a myriad of ways since our extended family is not very near by. We have a snug home that keeps us both warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We have the vehicles we need for both practical and fun times. Our God, has indeed, supplied all of our needs.

So, now that we've been shown afresh, up-close and personal, the needs of the orphans overseas, what are we going to do about it? Our plan is to continue on with our orphan rescue "project" and see where God leads each step of the way. We'll be heading to Ukraine once the home study and all of the other state-side details are completed, with what they call a blind referral. Meaning: it'll be a great surprise to see just who God does have in mind to join the Dayton family.

We would love for you to stay on our team, or join if you haven't already. Please pray, spread the word or give as you feel led to do. We feel strongly that we are to continue, with God's help, to bring an orphan or orphans home, that they will feel the love of a forever family and that very special feeling of being wanted, no longer unwanted. May God bless your day, Penny

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Best of Times, Worst of Times

Yesterday was the "Best of Times" for a sibling group of four sisters in the Ukraine. They were adopted by a loving Christian family from the Pacific Northwest. Please pray for this family as they are now in the 10 day waiting period before they are allowed to pick up the girls from the orphanage and bring them home. Pray there would be no appeals and all would go smoothly from here on out.

The very miraculous point here is that this sibling group had only been freed for international adoption about eight weeks before becoming chosen children! Highly unusual, though they were so covered in prayer, God's mighty hand moved.

From an earthly perspective, it may seem to be the "Worst of Times" for a certain Southern California family that was hoping and planning to rescue this same sibling group. Yes, friend, "our girls" were adopted yesterday. And, while we feel the loss, this is the way of Ukraine adoptions- there is no reserving children- and it is also the answer to our original prayer that they would be adopted soon by a wonderful Christian family.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Between Then & Now

Is this not PRECIOUS?? We were playing at the beach with Aliana and she'd been enjoying the sun, surfing with Daddy, stacking all the seaweed and kelp she could gather into a huge mountain, chasing down all the crabs in the tide pools and at one point I turn around and she has written "MAMA" in the sand. Now, I've done foster care and know that it is quite common for the new child in the house to use words like "Mom" and "Dad" for those in authority in the home they are living in. This is pure head knowledge. It was my heart that took this pic! For 6 special weeks in our lives, we were Mama and Daddy to this precious child of God! And, oh how very special that time is to us! It has become our hearts' desire to make real that relationship and those names, LORD willing.

So, what has occured between then and now?? Well, our entire hosting group of children returned to their orphanage in the Ukraine on August 31, 2008. And, we returned to our lives. Only it was different now. There were missing parts to our hearts. They'd gone home with the girls. Mark and I were so very uncertain about committing to move forward with adoption plans to add FOUR more precious lives to our family. That's not exactly the type of decision you make quickly, so we didn't. We "sat on it" for several months, three to be exact. And for most of that time as we went back and forth with those: "We must be crazy..." type questions running through our heads, I was nauseous. No joke. Weighing the pros and cons from all angles was unsettling me to my inner core. My dear friend told me I was experiencing adoption morning sickness and it would soon pass. Funny thing about that... It did! At three months! Funny timing. At that point, we committed to move forward and just see what the LORD had in His plan for us and be willing to walk in this path. And, all of my nausea just fell by the wayside. Interesting how those things work in our lives when we choose to TRUST AND OBEY, huh?!?

Trust and Obey
for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus
but to trust and obey!

So, for now, we are busy trying to get a small house ready to fit a few more people. Think 1950's with 9'x10' or 10'x10' bedrooms. Trying to get those procrastinated projects, of all types, done and caught up on, because we figure it is better to stop procrastinating on them now. Obviously after we have more children, it's not like we'll have more time on our hands. We are constantly thinking: as a group of 10, how would the event, situation, issue, etc. we're in right now look. Whether it's getting ready for church, driving in an 8 seatbelt vehicle, camping, cooking dinner... Whatever it is, I'm constantly re-evaluating how it will be different by necessity. We talk about the adoption ALOT! To everyone we meet. I don't remember if I've said it here or in conversation with a friend, but I feel as if I've taken on a new career. I'm a PR person for older orphans. No, I'm not a potential adoptive mom, not me. I'm in public relations. So, if you happen to end up near me (and we haven't yet had the privelege to meet face to face) just about anywhere, in line or whatever, I'm the one talking Ukrainian adoption. Just humor me and pass me your e-mail address so I can keep you updated on this exciting journey we're taking! And, just maybe, you'll choose to join us down the road in one way or another. Perhaps it'll be helping our specific orphans get home or maybe you'll feel the call to rescue a few of your own!!!
WHEE!!!! NO HANDS!!! Hmmm, what is that song my boys like..... Oh, Jesus take the wheel.

Yes, Jesus, please do. Amen

Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's All About Team Effort

Hello to you on this absolutely GORGEOUS last day of January!!! I'm loving the sun we're getting today!! I went out and cut back my roses, YAY! I'm a hibernator normally during the winter, so this warm day was fun for me to see the SUN!!! And, not be wearing three to four layers!

Well, to keep you updated on how our work is coming on our orphan rescue project (aka: older child adoption;) we've created this blog. Now, let me tell you: this was scary for me! Our adoption agency's director told me to create a blog to help keep friends, family and fellow countrymen up to date on what is the latest haps and prayer needs. My response: tears. Really, I just started crying. I'd heard the word but had no idea what a blog was! But, in a few days, when I thought I was ready, I asked a friend (oops, those nervous tears showed up again!) if one of her teens could help me. They were more than happy to and kept telling me over the next month as I was dragging my nervous little fingers... how very easy it was and I'd be fine. I tried to get my feet wet by reading about 8 other families' adoption blogs. I'm so thankful to have found them and followed along in prayer as they proceeded with their plans. Well, as you can tell, my blog is up and ready to begin to be read!!! Please stop in frequently and keep in touch.

We have raised a little over $3,000 so far. Laurel, our director, tells me that's great for the first month! I'm going to be figuring that out a little more precisely this weekend. But, I am really excited because we've come up with some great ideas just brainstorming with friends!! As I've said, there is no way we could do this on our own and we really are hoping you'll join our orphan rescue team!! Do you have any creative ideas for raising funds?? A fellow homeschooling family held a bake-sale for us last weekend and made $170 for the girls' adoption fund!!! Are you or your teens involved in a group that would be interested in doing some sort of fundraiser for us?? There are so many types and we can send you flyers or pics, whatever you need to help promote your project. Are you involved in a youth group, service club, couples group, etc. that would pull together and do a dinner, or car-wash, or bake-sale or silent (or not so silent) auction, or pass out flyers for a fundraiser "day" at any of the many food places that participate in those very generously?? Our adoption agency is a non-profit 501c3 agency. Many high schools require service hours for graduation, could you or someone you know "adopt" the girls for your/their hours??

Sunday School with "Mrs. Ocean"

We truly cannot proceed in this adoption without a team effort. If you've ever felt the tug to help orphans, but were not sure how or were not going to adopt yourselves, we'd love for you to jump on our bandwagon and give us a hand in this concert!!! The more the merrier!!! All the more beautiful music we can make together. There are so many types of instruments in a band and everyone has a distinct part. If your part is prayer, please pray. If your part is driving our boys to a class weekly while we're in Ukraine, THANK YOU! If your part is collecting recyclables for the girls over the next 6 months, you go!! If your part is helping my hubby re-roof our den so that it can become a much needed bedroom, come on over! If your part is hosting a lasagna dinner in your home for 5 couples, enjoy!! (to do this easily: buy a Costco lasagna, salad and bread, charge each couple $20 and you've just made $100 for the girls, WHEE!!!! And had a date night, too!!) What about getting your Sunday School class together to hold a huge garage sale, or bake sale or both?? Do you e-bay? Can you designate an occasional item for our "charity"? Can you send this blog address on to your contacts? Now, that's an easy one! Will your church allow a pocket change collection for the adoption?? (Tape their pics on a large water bottle and set it out each time the church is open.) One girlfriend hands me her pocket change every time we run into each other!! How awesome is that? Do you have a hobby that could make a little extra money to bring home some girls in need of a family?? Not everyone is a piano player. Just find your instrument and play and we will sing your praises as we proceed because the Lord asked you to help in this way or that, and you did.
We already, so early in this process, feel the love for these orphans from so many of you as you stop and ask "How it's going?" Thank you for your care! We love you and so appreciate your hearts, Penny

P.S. Will you please invite your friends on over to our blog?? If everyone helps a little, through prayer, giving and passing the word, the girls will be home in no time. (Just don't ask me how I feel about that comment when I'm 9 months "along"...) Also, if you know of companies looking for tax-deductible donations, we'd love to be considered;)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Orphans Need Homes

Hello, hello! Well, my blog experience is all of four days old and I realize I've been trying to play catch up and pack 6 months worth of God's working in our lives into a few entries in order to bring you up to date with us. So, from now on I'll try to be a bit more succinct, though I cannot guarantee anything. I come from wordy Scottish stock.

One thing I did forget to mention is that we are using pseudonyms for the girls in order to protect their privacy.

During our hosting experience, I heard someone on the radio say, "It's not that we want more children, it's that these children need parents," speaking of orphans. Doesn't that just hit the nail on the head?!? Last week, I suppose because it's National Right to Life month and there was a lot of adoption talk on Christian talk radio, I had a girlfriend tell me what I had already heard on another radio broadcast, "If one family in every Bible believing church in America would adopt an orphan, it would clear out all of the orphanages in __________." Oops, I can't remember the rest of that quote, but I'm sure you get the idea. Right?

Well, we were pretty sure we'd done our part. After all, we've adopted four. Sounds, pious, huh? We're really not, it just looked so in print. Without Jesus, none of this family would be a unit! He put us together piece by piece and holds us together day by day. When we began adopting many moons ago, it was because we wanted to have children in our lives to raise for Christ. When we stopped adopting 3 years ago, it was because we live in a relatively small home, weren't sure where we'd put any more kiddos and my hubby was going to attempt to build us a home within the boundaries of L.A. County, doesn't get any worse, we'd been told. (Now, we're sure that was an accurate prediction!) So, we just decided it was time to halt our family growth for the sake of sanity. Years ago, we were in the process of adopting Drew and Daniel as we were paying 2 mortgages for 2 years on 2 - 50 year old homes and taking turns living in one while renovating the other to live in, and then the big move and living in our "new" home while renovating our first home to become a rental. The whole endeavor took almost 2 years. We absolutely did not want to try building a home, homeschooling, and adopting all at once, this time around. I'm sure it's been done, albeit by families of sturdier stock than us, though!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Borrowing a Sister

About mid-way through our hosting we were blessed to be able to "borrow" Aliana's older sister for a week. We had begun to have an inkling of feeling that the Lord would be asking us to step in and seek to rescue these orphans from the sad future that Ukraine would offer them as they aged out of the orphanage stage of life at 16 years old. By this time, we had found out that Aliana was one of FOUR sisters, all under eight years old! The whole idea of becoming a family of TEN was earth-shattering to us when we thought we were done at a comfortable SIX! However, we did feel this could very well be an area of our life that we were supposed to follow along in faith and see just what the Lord had in store for us. So, we decided that the wise thing to do would be to spend some time looking into the heart of Aliana's oldest sister while she was here in America. After all, whatever caused them to become orphaned would be most prevalent in her little life as the oldest child, which in most dysfunctional families means: the little "mom." Christiana's host family lived about 6 or 7 hours north of us but so graciously agreed to rearrange their schedules and meet us halfway, not just once, but two weekends in a row!

Well, what a week it was! Christiana was a strong-willed blessing to us! She did help get her little sis in order (and vise versa) when we were having an issue and the language barrier was hindering our reasoning abilities. Normally, the one not involved in the present issue-at-hand would step in and reason it out for us in their native tongue. And, on we'd go! We found them to be very desiring of love and, for the most part, our approval. What fun it was having THREE little girls to play dress-up; watch princess movies together; splash each other in the pools around town; encourage one another to be brave at the dentist! The week, in general, opened up our eyes to rescuing older children by way of adoption. It had been over 10 years since we had last considered adopting an older child and had pretty much closed our minds to it for reasons not to be published here. During those years, we had used child sponsorship through World Vision to help older, poverty-stricken children around the world.

"But, what about the fact that there are FOUR of them?" you ask. Well, that is precisely why we began thinking in terms of a rescue adoption, at all. We were told that large sibling groups do not get adopted very often in the Ukraine and so many of the girls, after getting too old for the orphanage, enter into prostitution in order to just survive. It is so easy to go through our comfortable American lives without really considering the plight of the orphan on the other side of the earth. Sort of like scrooge says before his conversion, "Are there no poorhouses; ie:orphanages?" But, borrow an orphan for a while and no longer can a blind eye be turned upon their plight. Their eyes hold you in your memories of them. We just could not allow this large sibling group to suffer a life of being "unwanted." We don't have much, we'd say, but we have more than they have and we can share. Just ask our 5 year old, sharing is a big thing in her little life. She'll share the meal in front of her if someone else looks like they might need a bite to eat. And, with 3 teenage brothers sitting across the table, there is always someone looking like they need another bite to eat!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Orphan Hosting, What's That?

One Friday in late April, no different than any other day, I, unsuspectingly, opened an e-mail forward from a friend. Those can be really dangerous and life-changing! So, watch out! It had to do with orphan hosting. I had no idea what that meant. So, on I read... Parts of it are here for you, if you are interested: Our Ukraine partner has an appt. at the passport office next week and will only be able to process documents for kids that we have host families for at that point. We have 13 host families so far but we need 20 more! I would hate for these 20 kids to be left behind while their friends or siblings travel to the US for the summer.
Please pass this info along soon, as we only have a very short while to find these host families or these kids will not be able to come. Thank you so much. As always, call us anytime with questions. We will be working all weekend to find families so you can call day or evening for more info. Please take time to look at these kids photos and pray for them individually.
Laurel Boylan, Director
God's Waiting Children, Inc.
1865 Herndon Ave., #K125
Clovis, CA 93611
(559) 316-4823 local
(866) 468-3089 toll free

Well, like any good Christian woman, I thought, "Someone should do this!" Pointed my mouse and promptly sent it off to everyone in my address book!

By early Monday morning, I had been on the phone with Laurel several times trying to figure out the best way to get the hosting fee (which pays for the orphans' travel expenses) to her fast so that they would have what they needed to proceed. We'd decided it would be alot of fun for our only Princess to have another Princess to play with for the summer! So, there was one sweet little girl face left, close to Charissa in age and she looked so much like my childhood photos it was rather odd. "She's ours!!" we said. And, three months later, she was, for six weeks!!
We had a great summer. It was a lot of work since our Summer Sister, Aliana, wanted to be first in our hearts and at the same time our own Princess had been bumped over to share her throne and was not so very pleased about it! But, overall, it was great fun: swimming, camping, surfing, zoo trips, corn dogs and ice cream were top on her list!

Part of the idea of orphan hosting is to allow the orphans to see and experience life in a healthy family. It takes them out of institution life for the summer. And, with our particular agency, it is to be a Christian family. Another big part of that is advocating for older, waiting children. It is our prayer that more families will consider adopting a waiting child throughout the world. This hosting program is an opportunity to educate American families about life in the orphanages and introduce them to some wonderful children. It is GWC's hope that this experience will open many families' hearts and minds to adoption in the future. Host families play a large role in building public awareness of the needs of children living in Ukraine orphanages. Often people have a preconceived idea of what “older” children who live in orphanages are like. This experience typically changes that notion. God's Waiting Children's experience has been that the children far surpass the host families’ expectations! Part of hosting a child or children is getting them involved in a church family and/or other community activities. One thing that was helpful with God's Waiting Children was that we had T-shirts made with their 800 number on them so at the fair, zoo or wherever, a person could remain anonymous to you if they chose to, but call to ask questions about adoption from a foreign country. On the other hand, it also brought attention to our little group and so many people just came right up and asked what God's Waiting Children was all about!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Let me introduce myself

Well, let me introduce ourselves. This pic is a year old but I love it! So, I'm starting out with it! My hubby, Mark, and I have been married longer than I lived single now, counting from birth, that is! He works in the commercial/healthcare construction industry. Mark is almost as old as my Dad was when I was born, so, why not be thinking about adding a few more, huh? And, the bonus is we won't be starting at newborn! I'm home full time with the children and we do school here in our home and at various other locales around our valley. Starting from the left in the front row is our eldest son, Drew. Drew was born 3 months preemie due to an attempted illegal abortion in Russia, and then was followed up with NO medical care. He is our miracle baby Number 1! Doctors never expected him to walk or talk when they were first evaluating him as a toddler. He does and quite well, thank you! But, most favorite of all, he swims and rides a quadrunner! Next is Daniel, who is adopted through L.A. County foster care. His bio-mom did meth intraveneously, subliminally trying to abort. He was born addicted, but his brain today moves faster than a speeding bullet! Faster than the rest of us at home, also, sad to say. Miracle baby Number 2! She used so frequently that shortly after he was born she nearly died from the side effects of her use. Daniel, like most 14 year old boys, thinks team sports, dirtbiking, wakeboarding and skateboarding are what life is about. We're working on expanding those thoughts and this year he's learning to play a clarinet. Most of the time, we have beautiful beginner notes during practice time! My shortest son in this pic is now my tallest, about to pass me up (& I'm 5'10"!) and he just turned 13! What happened and when?!? He is Daniel's bio-sib and when his mother found out she was pregnant again, we were going thru court to adopt Daniel, and she was on prescription med's for the heart and liver damage she'd done to herself during Daniel's pregnancy. She was through the first trimester when she started seeking medical attention and 4 doctors independantly told her to abort, giving her all of the horrible scenarios that could happen to him due to the fact that the med's she was taking were normally given to very late-in-life men with heart problems, not expecting to get pregnant while on those med's.

According to them, he would be born missing limbs, with severe skin issues, possibly blind, and various other abnormalities were predicted. Rather than abort, and since she'd tried four Dr's, she just stopped everything! Stopped coming to Daniel's visits since she didn't want the county to know another one was on the way, stopped seeking medical care, stopped her prescription med's and stopped her illegal drugs, all cold turkey! While planning to give him to us at birth, the birth went so easily that she decided that raising him would be just as easy. That lasted for 23 months until he weaned himself, and then she called for the first of many "rescues" since she could not stay sober for herself alone, although she'd been sober for 2 1/2 years. "It's so hard being a single mom," she'd say and then ask me to drive 2 hours one way with 2 preschoolers to come get her toddler so that she could have a "break." Thirteen months later, he was ours!! He is a beautiful boy and has been his entire life, inside and out. No skin peeling away, no limbs departing unexpectedly. I've heard it said that this is why we say doctor's are "practicing." They are human after all, not omniscient. Christian is the healthiest (and soon to be biggest as we're sure he'll pass Dad, too!) member of our family! God miraculously protected him from major damage that had been predicted by FOUR professionals. Miracle baby Number 3! Today, he enjoys all the same stuff that his older brothers do and also, beating those same "little" brothers in all wrestling matches. Soccer is one of his passions and this past season, he played almost his entire season on a broken foot! We found out it was broken because we were at the podiatrist for something else and he decided he wanted to see an x-ray. When it came back in a few minutes, the Dr. just looked at us and said, "Did you know your foot is broken?" Christian and Mom just burst out laughing! We knew exactly when it had happened, 7 WEEKS earlier at church youth group just playing around! He'd come home and said he thought he'd really messed up his foot or something this time and {confession time} Mom said, "Suck it up, you'll be fine in a day or 2." He wasn't fine but the pain was not stopping his soccer season! No way, no how!! He even asked the doctor if he could go ahead and finish the season since it was so close to being over. The doctor didn't find as much humor in the situation as we did and the answer was, "Absolutely not!" There's always next year! And, in Daddy's arms is the Princess, Charissa. After many missed tries to adopt a daughter, Charissa moved in and went straight to adoption. Her bio name meant "peace" and we joked that that was between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. We called her Serendipity until it came time to officially name her as it fit her better than her given name. Mom lost 17 pounds in a few weeks just trying to keep up with her. Friends at church joked about Charissa being the latest diet program as it was working so well for me! Testimony time: The Thanksgiving before, we miscarried the only child we had ever conceived. Before knowing what would happen to us in the very near future, the LORD laid this verse on my heart repeatedly: Give glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace on whom His favor rests. This was in the early fall (nowhere near Christmas) and I just kept hearing that "version" of that verse in my heart, not even checking to see where it was from. Well, when we found out we were miscarrying, we had such peace from the LORD, definitely the peace that passeth all understanding! We had lost MANY fost-to-adopt daughter's over the years in very strange circumstances to bio family member's that had we seen them in a park, we would have picked up our children and found another park to play in. However, this baby was having a TOTALLY different experience! This little one was moving from my womb into the most loving arms in the UNIVERSE! Was there any better place? No. I asked Mark if we could name the baby Glory as I felt the LORD had given us, here on earth, so much peace in this loss and that we were giving our baby to God. He agreed. Fast forward 6 months. Our adoption worker calls us with a newborn and before we get to the hospital, the mother changes her mind, however noone tells us this for hours and we're sitting out in front of a hospital in a dangerous L.A. neighborhood, clueless! We basically adopt toddlers so this newborn thing was making us nervous wrecks, anyhow. So, we go home. Within a couple days, our worker phones again and says, "We found her and she's both!" (We'd asked for an Asian or Hispanic girl.) Well, you'll never believe this, but our Princess is named Peace and she shares a birthday with our Glory, had Glory been born on the due date! So, our wonderful Father in Heaven who enjoys these fun details He paints into our life stories, gives us spiritual peace to get us through a tremendous loss and a few months later gives us a physical gift in the form of a daughter named "Peace" born a couple years ahead of Glory on Glory's predicted birthdate! So, while the due date of a miscarried blessing can be quite painful as it rolls around, we were (and still do each year) celebrating the Peace He'd given us!! Give Glory to God in the Highest and on earth Peace on whom His favor rests.
Father, we do feel favored by you and thank you for your provision on so many levels in our lives day by day. As we seek to offer a home to orphans as we feel you leading, please guide our every move, thought, plan. In Jesus' name, Amen

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