Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reclaim Orphans in Uganda

  I have mentioned before our friends John and Amber Heeley and the organization they started called Reclaim Orphans.  It exists as a resource to those who are interested in orphan care, in every aspect, not only through adoption.  There are so many ways to get involved in orphan care even if you don't feel led to adopt.  There is great need in the local foster care system, there are adoption funds you can donate to for those who want to adopt but can't afford it and you can help fund orphanages internationally for those children who don't have forever families.  The launch event of Reclaim Orphans was Saturday and it was a huge success.  There were over 100 people gathered together to find out how they too could become involved in the care of these sweet children.  It warmed my heart to see so many people wanting to live out a calling they have in their lives. I am excited to see how God is going to grow this organization!

  Thom and I have had the privilege of being a part of this group and seeing it grow from an idea to reality.  In August, Thom and I are joining 12 other members of the Reclaim Orphans team and traveling to Uganda.  We are going to witness first hand the orphan crisis and how we can best use our resources here to help so many in need there.  We will be visiting orphanages, of course, but also HIV/Aids clinics, and IDP camps among others.  On a personal note, there is a very good possibility that Thom and I will be able to meet the child/children that will one day be members of our family...they will be Astas!  This just gets me so excited thinking about it even though it will be very hard to leave them!

 This is where you come in. In order to make this happen Reclaim Orphans needs to raise funding for the trip. We hope to buy plane tickets by the end of April so time is of the essence!  Any amount can make a difference.  You can share in our journey there as many of us will be blogging and keeping in touch via facebook and twitter.  If you feel led to donate beyond that, Reclaim Orphans also appreciates your donation to our general fund and/or adoption fund as well.  How exciting to be a part of something new and to watch it grow from a fledgling organization to a huge movement that gives hope and saves the lives of so many children that were once without hope.

  I know that not all of us are called to adopt, but we are all called to care for these forgotten children.  Will you please join us in making a difference today?  

  To make a tax deductible donation please visit this link

  With much love...

** If you'd rather donate by check, just let me know and I'll give you my address or you can send it directly to Reclaim Orphans.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just Breathe.

 Wow!  It's really funny how you think your life is crazy busy, then you decide to adopt and suddenly you are wondering what you used to do with all your free time! This packet has been consuming my thoughts.  I feel like every free moment should be spent reading to get my adoption training hours in or making lists of things I need to do and questions I need answered. All this while homeschooling the girls, chasing a toddler, staying connected with my husband and all the other things that go along with running a household.  Needless to say, there have been many late nights.

  It's all still a bit surreal for me right now.  I think of and pray for a child who is waiting for us in Uganda, but until I see his face or know his name it's all just paperwork right now.

  What keeps me going when I feel like it is all just too much?  Knowing there's a little person whose face we will see the sooner we can get this in the meantime, I will just breathe and take it one day at a time.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's here, It's here!!

 Finally! The packet arrived today!  Now I know what will completely consume my thoughts the next week or so.  I say week because I won't rest until it is all filled out, in an envelope, and on it's way back to the agency!  We really haven't got a moment to spare.  We are planning a trip to Uganda in August with friends who have started a new organization called Reclaim/Orphans.  Our hope is to be able to have our first court date scheduled while we are there and then I can stay and complete the process at the next court date.  Of course, this is out of my hands and I don't want to stress about it, so I'm putting everything in God's hands right now.  Besides, as I have learned, His plans are always much bigger and more beautiful than our own.
 An interesting thing happened today that I'd like to share as well.  Thom ran into an old friend at the grocery store.  (to give a little background necessary for the story..she is a friend whom we haven't seen in atleast a year...maybe more and she is a physician who has worked in Infectious disease.)  While discussing our plans to adopt from Uganda, she asked about the HIV situation there and Thom filled her in on the statistics that of the 2.5 million orphans, 1 million are HIV positive.  After discussing the advancements in HIV/Aids treatments in this country she left him with this thought....Do we give a healthy child a family or do we give a child with HIV a life....Yes, adopting any child is beautiful, but a child with HIV in a third world country, basically has a death sentence. Here, especially in this area, he could get the treatment needed to live a long, healthy life where HIV just becomes a chronic disease, manageable with drugs that could literally make the virus undetectable in his system.
 We are completely fine with bringing a child with HIV into our family.  I know that it is not spread through casual contact and has never been spread from one family member to another in a family setting.  Although, I try to not base decisions on what others think, I am already defensive of a little child whom I have never met or seen.  I know there is still a stigma about HIV in this country and I would hate for someone to ever pass judgement or be prejudiced to this child because he was born with a disease that he did not ask for.  It already breaks my heart!
 So this is where we are right now....filling out forms, gathering documents, making Dr's appointments, taking adoption courses, reading, researching everything I can about HIV, and above all praying! I am praying for wisdom and guidance in all of the decisions we make.  I'm so thankful to put my trust in God, who has humbled me and changed my heart to be open to something that a year ago I wasn't even thinking about. 

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why adoption?

I tried not to be too disappointed on Friday when another week had gone by with no word from the adoption agency....BUT thanks to my wonderful husband for putting in a phone call to Amazing Grace, we found out that our packet of info should be here next week!  Now it is starting to feel real!

People have been asking why we have chosen adoption.  This isn't something that we decided over night. For a few years, Thom and I have always thought that one day maybe we would think about adoption.  We didn't know when, or how, or what it would look like but the seed had been planted.   I think that is how God works.  He plants a seed, waters it and sits back and watches it grow.  In the last few years, it seems that slowly we have become surrounded by families who have a heart for orphans and adoption and suddenly the idea has become reality.

Recently our hearts have been broken for the orphans of Uganda....a country the size of Oregon with 2.3 million orphans. The northern half of the country has been  ravaged for 20 years by Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army.  Because of the HIV/Aids crisis, half of the population is under 15 years old.  The numbers are overwhelming, but I can no longer sit in my nice comfortable world and simply read about it and do nothing.  I heard a quote from a recent adoption conference- "you can't change the whole world but you can step into the world of one person's and change theirs".  I have a feeling the ones whose lives will be changed the most are our own.

I am so thankful that God has put this on our hearts.  Ultimately at the end of the journey we hope to have a new child in our family, but no matter the outcome, I hope we learn a lot about ourselves and grow closer as a family... and grow closer to Christ in the process.

If you are interested in learning more about the children in Uganda...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm blogging!

I've always wanted to "blog" but I've never really thought I had much to talk about until now...

Two weeks ago we mailed in our application for adoption from Uganda.  We have now begun the "hurry up and wait" game that I have heard is just part of the process.  This blog will give our friends and family an opportunity to share in this journey with us and hopefully inspire and encourage others who are thinking of adding to their families through adoption.  Enjoy!