Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Specifically Speaking From My Heart

I hear the comment all the time, "My heart has a burden for...". I used to wonder what all the hype was about. And I will admit it was thought by me to be a much overused phrase. But I come to you today telling you that "my heart is indeed heavy with a burden".

There are so many, just so darned many children without a family. So many children who are "nobody to anybody". And as I look around me at all my many blessings of material stuff, I admit I sometimes want to torch it all! [no, this is not anything incriminatory for the FBI as I won't be burning all my things ;)]
I would give it all away in a heartbeat to see another child welcomed into a family, or more aptly, to welcome another child into my heart and my family.

I think of the future that I am leaving for my children, and my grandchildren, and possibly {who knows}, my great grandchildren and I think "HOW?"! HOW can the world be a healthy place, a better place when more and more children are growing up not only in severe poverty, but also in a world where they are literally of no consequence to anyone?! I am living in these times just like all of you and I can NOT even conceive what that means.

Imagine going from infancy or early childhood all the way to adulthood and having NO ONE! I look at my children, ages 4 to 17, but especially my older children and think of all the talks we have had and the advice, or even just a sympathetic ear they have gotten from my husband and I. THEY KNOW we will come through for them, THEY KNOW we are here for them, that we LOVE them unconditionally and still they struggle to make sense of their life and the world around them. I have shed tears with each one of them! My heart has broken for pain I couldn't fix. They have fought boundaries we have put in place for their own good and to teach them to become responsible, loving, compassionate, honest adults. Not a one of them is perfect, except maybe in the eyes of their Grandma Jackie ;). They have everything they need to succeed, all the benefits, all the support, parents teaching them to have what it means to have a personal relationship with God... everything. And yet, THEY MIGHT NOT MAKE IT!

So segway with me if you will to the burden that has been on my heart as of late. The problem children. The children that come with baggage, and issues, and have been someone elses problem for a long time. The children that so many fear welcoming into their home. The ones that no one wants. The ones whose future looks so very bleak, and yet the VERY ONES upon whose back THE FUTURE RESTS! I am talking about the older children, and more specifically TEENAGE BOYS.

I am a huge reader/fan of John Eldrige. I agree so strongly with his statement "Femininity can NOT bestow Masculinity". I also strongly believe that true masculinity is complimented and shines brightest in the presence of femininity. Meaning? Meaning that it takes a MOTHER AND A FATHER, or at the very least a committed man or woman to come alongside the single mother or father, to bring out the best in our sons!

As I am sure you know, teenage boys, especially of African American heritage are the most challenging children to place from our US fostercare system. I can not help but look at my own boys, and my heart just breaks for all the "lost boys" out there. My teenage sons are 13, 14, and 16. I have 4 teenage nephews whom I totally adore. I think of what if it had been a different world for me, and now my own sons were in foster care. Granted they are not AA, but they are still teenage boys full to the brim with testosterone, fight, fixated on the opposite sex, angry, grouchy, rebellious, independent, questioning everything, strong, honest, loving, compassionate, and desperately searching for affirmation of who they are! I think of them being without a strong Christian family behind them who continues lifting them up, cheering them on, guiding them through, working through the latest problem, and so on.

Who would take them in? How big of a "problem" would they look like and would anyone being willing to not only take on someone "else problem", but love them through all the problems that are bound to arise. Problems that are not specific to a boy in foster care, but just the problems of growing up in todays world?

When I [since I can not speak for my husband ;)] started the journey into the world of adoption I admit I wanted a baby, and at the most I would accept a baby with "minor special needs". That was the level where we both were comfortable. So we adopted Luke as a newborn, who was born with marijuana in his system. VERY minor in the scheme of things. After Lukes adoption in my time with God I assured him my house would be open to whatever child needed a home. Still my mind was fixed on a young child, but maybe wiht more severe special needs.

Along came James, 7 years old, about to be placed in foster care for reasons that were NOT good, needing a home in the same town as his brothers and the town in which I live. So with some apprehension because of his past environment, but with no question on would we, we moved him in as we were becoming licensed foster parents. 2 years later, he was legally our son though he has been my son in my heart since way before!

Next, I felt a very strong pull towards adopting a child with more challenging special needs. Lots of prayer went into each adoption and each step, but this was the biggest leap of faith that we had ever taken. And, praise God, he intricately and specifically knitted each step together from the very beginning! We were gently and assuredly let to and through this journey by the hands of God! Not only was it an international adoption that would cost $20,000, of which we did NOT have, but it was of a child with more special needs than we had ever parented or really even been around for any length of time. And to top it off, early on in the process we felt led to say "YES" to not only 1 little girl, but 2! Both with special needs, both with DIFFERENT special needs. Don't kid yourself, adopting 2 children with special needs is a very BIG deal!!! Bigger than I realized, and much harder too! Oh, and yes, the support we could have used right from the beginning came straight from God. Family and close friends took a while to come around! But many of them did, and we saw GOD work on their hearts. The whole journey to the girls was like our own personal miracle!

So now, 9 kids later, our family should be complete. And you know what it is. To be honest it was complete after the adoption of Luke. 6 kids rounded it off quite nicely. With there being 6 years between my youngest 2, I got my last baby to spoil and cuddle till my heart was content. No majore issues, no health problems, no major behavior problems, pretty much typical if not easy sailing. Who could ask for more?

God could! And GOD did! Is it really ever my decision to be done with fulfilling the desires of God's heart that He has for me? WHO am I to say "YEP, got my perfect little life, and my perfect little family. Thank you Jesus.", pat myself on the back and continue on my way?

Someone once told me, or maybe I read it, that "when the desires of your heart mesh with the worlds greatest needs, that is where God is asking you to step into the "fire"?" My hearts desire is to see all children be in a loving family. To abollish the need for fostercare, or orphanages. A child without a family or in need of a family continues to be something I can not fathom even though I have seen these children, held these children, comforted these children and become a mother to 4 of them.

Children of all ages, from all countries, with all sorts of health conditions, or maybe none at all NEED families RIGHT NOW! God is calling us all to DO SOMETHING! IT doesn't need to be spoken to you. You don't need a message flashing with neon lights to do something. IT IS WRITTEN. That IS GOD"S MESSAGE TO YOU! You may not be in a position to adopt or foster, but you are called to act.

1 John 3:16-18 (New International Version)

16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

1. James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I am praying over the burdens on my heart right now. I find it is steering me towards older boys in foster care here in the US. I don't know what the future holds, or where my husbands heart is on the matter. This is just my heart sharing its burden with whoever reads it.

I have NO special skills for this! My boys are not especially well behaved, though I think they are jsut find. :) I don't have any special advice for raising great teenage sons. I just know that I love them to pieces, love to be around them [usually ;)], and love to share the journey of finding themselves. I know that my heart breaks for the young man who has spent to darned long in a system that caters to birth parents, and does not, in my opinion, do enough to protect the heart of the child.


  1. Kelly
    You are so amazing. Thank you for sharing your heart with me.

  2. Go girl! God has great things planned for you...hopefully He'll continue to be SPECIFIC!!! Love you:)!

  3. AMEN!!! Always on my heart. Always on my mind. We are not done....and yet we may be for now....but I don't know what God will throw at us next, but we are ready when He is. NEVER limit it to what you think because it doesn't compare to what God thinks :) Love your heart sister in Christ!

  4. It was great to learn about your adoption history. Thank you for this beautiful post sharing your heart. It seems so valuable to read where other's hearts are leading's such a great opportunity to learn more about areas most people may know little about. God bless, Jennifer

  5. I have been praying to take the feeling of adoption out of my mind and heart because I think about it all day I dream about it every night and I have been helping others in their adoption process and advocating for them but, it is not them same as being a mother to them. And, like you I would give up everything in fact when I hear friends talking about buying new furniture or going on a vacation I feel sick because that is not why we are here and that money could be used to help those who cannot help themselves. The world has lost focus of what is important and what Jesus would have us do. I wish I could take my 3 teenagers to an orphanage away from their Ipods and worldly things so that they can not only see but feel what it is like for these kids. I want them to learn about compassion and what it means to sacrafice for another's sake. I really enjoyed this post thank you