Friday, January 11, 2013
I woke up this morning to the reminder that today is Human Trafficking awareness day. As I pondered and reflected on this, I was drawn back to the streets of China. While walking the streets with our newly adopted children, we passed by several beggers. All the beggers we passed were special needs in some way but most were physically impaired. They were missing arms and legs, had club feet that were never corrected, they couldn't walk and crawled on their bellies, they were barely clothed, wrapped in rags, dirty. Some were down syndrome or were mentally impaired in some way. WHat really struck me as we passed them by was that someone was horribly taking advantage of them. Many of them would have had to be carried to their begging spot. Someone would have had to lay them on the ground and set a cup in fromt of them for money to be dropped in. My guess is that same someone that put them there collected their money at the end of each day and threw them in some disgusting environment to "rest" until the cycle started again. I would imagine they are probably given crumbs to eat if anything. Many that we passed were shivering from the cold. It's truly heartbreaking.....This is modern day slavery. These poor souls have been taken advantage of by a cruel master. Their lives are no longer their own. My mind immediately went to my Mei as we passed the by the beggers. My first thought was "oh Dear Jesus...would that have been Mei's future?" We know that Mei at some point would have been so crippled that he wouldn't have been able to walk, his poor deformed feet would have not been able to support his body as it got bigger. At the age of 16, would he have been turned onto the street like all other children that age out or would he have stayed in the orphanage? Who knows....but I know that many of those we passed had the same deformities as Mei and it broke my heart... Orphans in China age out of their ability to be adopted at their 14th birthday. They are typically allowed to stay in the orphanage until the age of 16. At that point, they are given some pocket change and released to the streets to make a go of it on their own. A huge percentage fall prey to human traffickers. The predators win them over with a promise of money and a better life and before the orphans know it, they are owned by a master. This slavery comes in all forms....sexual, prostitution, brothels, hard manual labor where they are working from very early to very late and get paid next to nothing. There are hundreds or thousands of Mei's and Elis in the world. This is my prayer that I am copying from Lifesong for Orphans, "Praying for families in countries all over the world who have room in their homes and hearts for a fatherless child. Asking that the Lord would be speaking to their hearts even now, leading them to consider adopting an orphan." This is the ultimate protection for orphans to keep them from being vulnerable to the human traffickers around the world. "To be engaged in orphan care is to be fighting against human trafficking and slavery. For every orphan that finds a family, is one less likely to be victimized."
Thursday, January 10, 2013
It's been about two weeks since the last update so I thought Id share how things are going. Lots has happened in two weeks...school starting is the big one! Zoe started school this past Tuesday and is taking it like a champ. Her teachers are amazed by how smart she is and her ability to communicate in such a short time. They say she is happy all the time. She really loves to learn and write and read and color so she fits the school environment well! She wants to be a doctor when she grows up so if she continues with that ambition...she has lots of school ahead. She really is picking up English amazingly fast! She communicates in fragmented sentences and knows many words. We have done nothing to help teach her English other than bring her into an English speaking family. She and Briena are together all the time so I think so much has been learned through just play with Briena She has adjusted wonderfully, handles discipline well, and I really couldn't ask for her to do any better! We will attend a meeting today to meet Eli's teachers and he will start school tomorrow. He is really excited to go to school but I am not sure he grasps the whole sitting still, quiet, and he won't understand a thing! I pray for very patient teachers for him!! His English is coming much slower...He has just a few words and relies on charades for the rest. He isn't as eager to learn or to speak as Zoe. We are told to not compare them because Zoe is only 7 and her "language window" is still open where at 13, Eli's is closed and language at this point is much harder to learn. His adjustment is definitely more of a process than Zoe. He is happy almost all the time. I think he geniunely loves being a part of the family but I think he is still finding his place here. At the orphanage he was the big brother/father figure and he doesn't have to fill that roll anymore. I think he probably got by on his wit and charm with the nannies and we do a lot of tough love here! All in all, and comparatively speaking with other families that have adopted older kids, he has done very well. We haven't experienced a lot of the negatives that other families have and that is a blessing. That doesn't mean that won't come in time but so far, so good! God is teaching us so much through having him here...we've had to be very patient and self-less which is very hard at times! Tracey has had to learn to slow down and communicate rather than reacting which he says he is blessed to be learing this lesson! Please continue to pray for us that we would grow a deeper love and bond with and for Eli. We know this is a process and we can definitely see how far we've come over the last month! I sat yesterday and just glanced at all my adopted treasures and was overwhelmed by such a sense of gratitude. I was thinking back to when we first felt God was leading us to bring home both Eli and Zoe. I was just drawn to Zoes picture because she reminded me of a Chinese Briena and I couldn't get her off my mind or heart. It was so hard to commit initially because of the fear of the financial implications of bringing home two kids. As soon as we made the decision to pursue them both, we had some sweet Godly friends call and tell us that God had laid on their hearts a specific amount of money to help us bring these kids home...that amount of money was $10,000 and it was the exact amount of money our agency had said we would need to bring hom a second child. grateful for that moment because that was our confirmation and over the process of this adoption my emotions swung back and forth...can we handle her special needs? How will we afford both kids? What the heck are we doing/thinking. I am so grateful as well for friends that encouraged us through this along with our adoption agency that continued to encourage us. It saddens me greatly to think of the blessing we would have missed out on had our friends not followed through with what God was laying on their hearts to give and the confirmation that provided. Everytime we doubted, we were able to go back to that moment, that phone call and be reminded that God said in that moment, bring Zoe home. There are so many friends and family that helped us in our journey to bring Mei, Eli, and Zoe home....that helped financially, bought shirts, prayed us through itand are still praying us through it...and I pray that when we get to heaven, I get to stand with Jesus as he says to you, "Well done Good and Faithful servant...what you did unto the least of these, you did unto Me." IT reminds me of a song from years back.....and I can just picture Mei, Eli and Zoe in my minds eye singing, "Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am a life that was changed. Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am so glad you gave." You have truly changed their lives forever. We still have a long journey ahead, God is teaching me everyday complete dependence on him. SOmetimes its easier to trust God in the big things like providing for a $60,000 adoption but forget he wants us dependent on him in the small things too I am learning to trust Him alone as our provider, to give us what we need each day emotionally, financially, and in every way, He is our daily bread. I will close this with a verse I read yesterday that greatly encouraged me as a was fretting medical bills... "But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop prodducing fruit." Jeremiah 17:7 James Davidson, a local photographer took some photos of the family and you can take a look at them via mine or Tracey's Facebook page...you just log in with your email and first name to view them. Thank God with me as you scroll through these pictures...for all God has done and the family He has blessed us with!