Our journey started back in October. We had seen many people fully funded in a matter of months, weeks, days, even hours. We thought with some hard work, some fundraising, we would surely be fully funded by the time we got our travel date.
But God wants us to learn something in this journey. He wants to teach us to obey and have faith. Our journey to rescue Sydney and Lucien is a one we feel has been orchestrated by God. He has set in motion many things in our lives to prepare our hearts and minds for a special needs adoption.
When I was two years old, my maw-maw (grandma) was hit by a drunk driver and never walked again. She was so badly injured that from then on she was bedridden and spent the next six years of her life in her bed until she passed away. I remember how wonderful it was to cuddle against her and read stories with her and listen to her sing.
There were the summers that I would go to the pool and see a mother with her son who had an intellectual disability. I was only about 10 when I saw him the first time, he looked to be about 6 or 7. I asked his mom about him and she was very nice and polite and answered my questions. I spent the rest of the day playing with him in the shallow end of the pool while some of my other friends played jumped off the diving board or swam in the deep end. I remember when it was time to go home his mom thanking me for taking time to play with her son. I told her not to thank me, I had lots of fun, and I meant it.
Years later, when my uncle was getting married, we went to the reception after the wedding. My aunt's brother, David, has an intellectual disability and he was there at the wedding as well. I was about 12 at the time and her brother was probably in his early 20s. I stood back and watched all the grown-ups dance and talk and wasn't sure what to do with myself, but my aunt's brothers came over one of her brother's said that David would like to dance with me (David is non-verbal so he could not tell me himself). David and I spent the next few songs dancing and laughing. Even without words we were able to communicate and have fun.
When I was pregnant for Brandon, almost 14 years ago now, the doctor said that he would have down syndrome. The doctor kept trying to insist I should come in to have an abortion, but I refused. A few weeks later, after more testing, the doctor came back and said that Brandon did not in fact have down syndrome, it was an error in the testing.
With a spare room in the house we knew we wanted to adopt. At first we thought of a child with no special needs, but my heart kept leading me back to children who were blind, deaf, have cerebral palsy, or down syndrome. We did not want to make a hasty decision, so we prayed for many days, weeks, even months.
Then one day while we were in church, we prayed, "God, please, give us a sign. Show us what you want us to do." Moments later, in walked a group of teens and young adults, and they sat down, right in front of us. And all of them, had down syndrome. We later found out that once a month on one certain day of the week they have a down syndrome get together where they make crafts, and attend service. It was a God moment... we did not normally attend that service but we had an event for one of the kids at our normal service time so we switched at the last minute.
It was then we knew. We found Sydney in October and Lucien in November and we committed to them right away. I had been following Reece's Rainbow for a while, just hoping and dreaming, and thinking of how amazing it all is how everyone pulls together. I thought our journey would be just as easy.
But we have had some struggles along the way. I know some people say that Satan is trying to stop us from doing God's work. Maybe that is true. Whatever it is, we can only rise to the moment, and not let it over take us. But again, we were sure that before we got a travel date we would be fully funded. But, we are not.
Sometimes, God has a lesson for us to learn. One that can not be learned quickly. In my life, I have had times when I have needed help, and no one has been there. (At least that is what I thought since God is ALWAYS present). I
In Luke 17:5 the apostles asked something of Jesus. "Increase our faith." They felt that if they had more faith, they could do what Jesus did. So they decided to go the easy route and ask Jesus to increase their faith.
What better person to ask! Jesus was full of faith—just look at all He did!. Jesus knew the truth—Satan had no power whatsoever unless it is given to him. God backs Jesus up—every time!
Jesus's response shocked them. He told them they didn’t need a large amount of faith. A mustard seed size would do!Well OK they thought, Jesus won’t increase our faith. But how do we get mustard seed size faith?
I wonder if they went out looking for mustard seeds to try and measure how much faith they needed.
Take a look at a mustard seed. So tiny, isn’t it? You can barely feel it, it is so small. If you don’t have a mustard seed, then look at a point on the end of a pencil. That’s about the size of a mustard seed.
Now, imagine what a mountain looks like. It is Huge!
In man’s eyes mustard seed faith could never remove this mountain. But God keeps his promises to us.God will not make something out of our reach.
Matthew 17:20 says, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
Mark 9:23 says everything is possible for him who believes.
Mark 10:27 says that all things are possible for God.
So, how do we obtain Mustard Seed Faith?
God gives us the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).
So we have it already... we just have to use it. But we live in a world that sometimes lets us down. We start to rely on "things" too much. Instead of putting our faith in God where it belongs.
TWO WEEKS... that is how long until we travel. $6300 is how much we are short.
We are stepping out in faith. We have all the money to fly there, we have our tickets already. We have enough money to get us to our court date. We even have enough for Mark to get back home to work. What we do not have, is enough beyond that. We still need enough money for the 10 day wait after court. We need the money for the train that will get us back and forth to the capital city where we will be filling out paperwork that will allow Sydney and Lucien to fly home. We still need the money for their passports, visas, medicals. We still need the money for the last week in the capital city after they leave the orphanage. And we still need the money to... FLY HOME!!
A friend of mine asked... what happens if you do not raise all the money. Then we are stuck. We will be stuck in a foreign country, with no way to get home. Another friend said, I want to help but I wont be able to until after you have already left, won't it be too late then? No, you can donate to our FSP until we get back home! With the money in our FSP, Reece's Rainbow can use that money and get the tickets we need to return home for us!!!
So we are calling on faith. Like we have never done before. We are accepting this is a lesson in faith by God. And he will NOT let us down. We are obeying his call:
- "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, "Give them up!" and to the south, "Do not hold them back." Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth" Isaiah 43:5-6
- "A father of the fatherless, and a defender of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God sets the lonely in families. (Psalms 68:5-6)
- "He defends the cause of the fatherless" (Deuteronomy 10:18)
- "You are the helpers of the fatherless." (Psalm 10:14)
- "It is not the will of your Father that one of these little ones should perish." (Matthew 18:14)
- "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress." (James 1:27)
- "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18)
- "Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." (Matthew 18:5)
- "Remember those…who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." (Hebrews 13:3)
- "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." (Matthew 25:35)
- "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me, declares the Lord." (Jeremiah 22:16)