Friday, March 13, 2009

Enlarge the Place of Thy Tent

I have felt like a blind man trying to maneuver a maze as I have searched for and researched adoption agencies. I am thankful for the internet and all the resources at my finger tips, but I am definitely growing tired of the all the dead ends. The list of incompatibilities is daunting. Some can’t work with us because we are not US citizens. Some cannot help us because we are just outside of their district. Some just plain aren’t interested enough to answer their emails or to send us information. Some only do International adoption. A lot of them have their required classes on Saturday and are not able or not willing to make any kind of change or exception. Every program is different and every program requires different things from us and most interestingly the costs range varies incredibly. One by one I have tackled each agency and read every word of information I could get on them, and I have asked for more and laid out just who we are and our status in the US and where we live. For each one I have set out with the thought that “this might be the one”.

I really got excited about one and almost sent in the application money. Communication was happening; answers were clear; people were helpful; their costs were reasonable and I felt pretty safe and then we hit a snag. I was disappointed but not discouraged. I immediately turned my focus to other programs I had bookmarked in my head and emailed them all. I kind of forgot who I emailed and who I hadn’t by this time, so to be on the safe side I emailed everyone on the list that I had not heard definite word back from. The responses were really not what I was looking for. One suggested I call another agency, etc…. I still had high hopes for Bethany Christian Services but for some reason they had never answered any of my emails and I was getting fearful that I would annoy someone if I emailed them too many times. I finally received a packet from them in the mail and for the first time, as I read the information, I became very discouraged with the whole thing. I went to bed wondering if this really was just my idea after all and not prompted by God.

The next morning I gave the whole thing to the Lord again and told Him that I wasn’t looking to do something that was outside of His plan for us. To adopt special needs children I would need His blessing and if He didn’t open the way for us then that was okay for me. Perhaps He has other plans for us of which I know nothing. I decided to stay away from researching anymore agencies for awhile. I would just let it be and trust that God has a road mapped out for us and I would just relax and walk it and try not to question why I had been led the way I had thus far.

I opened my Bible as I needed some words of peace and I found myself reading a few verses in Isaiah 54. Now, I realize that chapter is primarily referring to God’s people and His church and presenting prophecies and promises in regard to that, but at the moment the verses seemed to be speaking directly to me. I felt like God was right beside me telling me not to give up hope but to look forward to "enlarging my tent " to accommodate some of His little ones. A few minutes later I checked the email and found another agency that I did not recognize had emailed me. I quickly scanned the information and saw evidence that this was really worth looking into. I closed the email and thanked the Lord. I felt no need to investigate further at the moment but only to savor the hope and the comfort the Lord had given.

I will look into it later, but for now I am enjoying the peace of resting in God’s will and knowing He will reveal His will by and by.

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing… thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.

Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;

For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

Fear not….

For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called….

All thy children shall be taught of the LORD;

and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Isaiah 54:1-5, 13

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Children of God

This particular quote I am sharing here is very intriguing to me. This, written a hundred years or so ago, recognizes the issues that traumatized children face today. Does it mean I pray any less hard for "my children" so that they are as protected and unscathed as possible? For sure, no! but whatever we will face is already known to God. It does mean there is hope for those damaged children we know are everywhere.

There is a wide field of usefulness before all who will work for the Master in caring for these children and youth who have been deprived of the watchful guidance of parents and the subduing influence of a Christian home. Many of them have inherited evil traits of character; and if left to grow up in ignorance, they will drift into associations that lead to vice and crime. These unpromising children need to be placed in a position favorable for the formation of a right character, that they may become children of God.

Are you who profess to be children of God acting your part in teaching these, who so much need to be patiently taught how to come to the Saviour? Are you acting your part as faithful servants of Christ? Are these unformed, perhaps ill-balanced minds cared for with that love which Christ has manifested for us? The souls of children and youth are in deadly peril if left to themselves. They need patient instruction, love, and tender Christian care. ~Welfare Ministry 221

In placing among them the helpless and the poor, to be dependent upon their care, Christ tests His professed followers. By our love and service for His needy children we prove the genuineness of our love for Him. To neglect them is to declare ourselves false disciples, strangers to Christ and His love.
If all were done that could be done in providing homes in families for orphan children, there would still remain very many requiring care. Many of them have received an inheritance of evil. They are unpromising, unattractive, perverse, but they are the purchase of the blood of Christ, and in His sight are just as precious as are our own little ones. Unless a helping hand is held out to them, they will grow up in ignorance and drift into vice and crime. ~Ministry of Healing 205

Read in Ministry of Healing the chapter called *The Helpless Poor

Feed My Lambs

Think of the wants of the fatherless and motherless. Are not your hearts stirred as you witness their sufferings? See if something cannot be done for the care of these helpless ones. As far as lies in your power, make a home for the homeless. Let everyone stand ready to act a part in helping forward this work. The Lord said to Peter: "Feed My lambs." This command is to us, and by opening our homes for the orphans we aid in its fulfillment. Let not Jesus be disappointed in you.

Take these children and present them to God as a fragrant offering. Ask His blessing upon them, and then mold and fashion them according to Christ's order. Will our people accept this holy trust? Because of our shallow piety and worldly ambition, shall those for whom Christ has died be left to suffer, to go in wrong paths?--Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 282-284.

Read in Adventist Home the chapter called *Caring for Needy Children

Closer to Jesus

Good deeds are the fruit that Christ requires us to bear; kind words, deeds of benevolence, of tender regard for the poor, the needy, the afflicted. When hearts sympathize with hearts burdened with discouragement and grief, when the hand dispenses to the needy, when the naked are clothed, the stranger made welcome to a seat in your parlor and a place in your heart, angels are coming very near, and an answering strain is responded to in heaven. Every act of justice, mercy, and benevolence, makes melody in heaven. The Father from His throne beholds those who do these acts of mercy, and numbers them with His most precious treasures. "And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels." Every merciful act to the needy, the suffering, is regarded as though done to Jesus. When you succor the poor, sympathize with the afflicted and oppressed, and befriend the orphan, you bring yourselves into a closer relationship to Jesus.-- Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 25.

Read in Welfare Ministry chapter 27 * The Care of Orphans

Also read chapter 28 * Adopting Children

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

To Undo Heavy Burdens

I am convinced that the only way to know our Father’s will for our family is by spending much time in prayer and study of the scriptures. The more I try to understand the words and themes of the Bible the more convinced I am that God has a definite plan for us to be more directly involved relieving the suffering of others.

Isaiah chapter 58 has provided much food for thought the last couple of days. One can read with the heart and clearly see our duty as the people of God. Many blessings are promised for those who spend their energies loosening the bonds and heavy burdens of the oppressed. We are told that “we need to study more carefully the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. This chapter marks out the only course that we can follow with safety…” 4BC 1149.2

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor that are cast out? When you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from you own relatives?

Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and your health shall spring forth speedily: and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

Then shall you call, and the LORD shall answer; you shall cry, and He shall say, “Here I am”. If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness; And if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light dawn in obscurity and your darkness be as the noonday:

And the LORD shall guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones: and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

And you those from among you shall build the old waste places: you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called, The Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Paths to dwell in.

Isaiah 58: 6-12

Precious are the promises given to us in these verses. When we obey we will be given direct access to heaven so that when we call the Lord will say to us, “Here I am”.

All my fears are melting away. Should the Lord see fit to open the door for us to help orphans He will be there to provide the wisdom and patience necessary to see their needs met. He will meet the needs of our family and our girls. He will be close to us and work with us. The promises covers all the bases and I have nothing left to fear.

The only thing that I am having trouble with is that every door I have tried thus far won't open. There seems to even be a lock on WACAP's door. I have their packet, I have received great emails, and answers to my questions and everything. After all the research they seem to be the best suited for our needs...except for one thing. They do their training classes on Saturday and they are not able to change that...and well, you know the rest of Isaiah 58!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Beauty for Ashes

I was reading in Isaiah during the Sabbath hours and I was impressed by the first verses of chapter 61. It seems pretty clear that we have been given a commission to go and help other more unfortunate people and exchange their heavy spirits for praise, their mourning for joy, and the ashes of their ruined lives for beauty. One Bible version actually says, "Give them bouquets of roses for their ashes". Obviously, we must be anointed with God's Spirit to be able to do this and in fact He is the one who will do the work through us.

Can you think of more brokenhearted and bound captives than the orphans of our land? When you think of children, particularly older foster children, doesn't their brokenheartedness come to mind? Aren't they bound by fear and trauma, captives of circumstances and their parent's poor choices and totally in need of comforting? What a blessing it would be to exchange their ashes for beauty, their mourning for the oil of joy, their heavy hearts for ones of praise, and to train up these broken little twigs to become trees of righteousness.

The good tidings is that Jesus loves each one of these little children and He is able to make good come out of the mess that miserable humans have inflicted upon their lives.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
ISAIAH 61:13