Thursday, June 15, 2017

5 Months Home!

5 Months ago today we were walking out the door of the orphanage where Nic had spent his first year of life.  We carried him out of the only building, the only room for that matter, that he had ever seen.  He was seeing the outside world for the very first time.
 


I have tried to be sensitive to all the new sights and sounds that he is exposed to at once, but he has quietly enjoyed taking them all in with no objections or anxiety. 
I will never forget his first time at the park looking back and forth at it all, tilting his head all the way back to see the tall trees and waving his hands and feet to feel the grass, or the way he calmly looked all around at his first track meet at the crowds with their loud cheers and the busyness of the action on the field.  


He went in the pool for the first time yesterday.  He wasn't so sure about it but he was calm as always. 

It seems like everyday he experiences something new. 
As he smiles back at friends and strangers who wave and talk to him when we are out and about I can't help but think about that baby who had never even had a visitor for his first year of life, the baby who spent his days laying in a crib, bobbing his head back and forth for any type of stimulation.  The baby that had no idea he had a family that loved him and was frantically trying to get to him. 
    

I really don't know how to describe in words the feelings of my heart when I see the love and joy surrounding Nic now through people and experiences. 

But through God's love, provision and providence we have been able to see a vivid picture of love and redemption.  It is not because we are a special family or extraordinary in any way but simply a family who can only love because HE, Christ, first loved us and our love pales in comparison to His. (1 John 4:9) 

Charles Spurgeon wrote in a commentary on this verse, "The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in Christ's love for him and in the offering of his love to Christ." 

Then describing the early believers he wrote,

"Love for Jesus was a flame that fed upon the core and heart of their being and therefore by its own force burned its way into their demeanor and shone there...

Because of their dependence upon Christ's love they dared much, and because of their love for Christ they did much, and it is the same now."  (Evening by Evening, Charles Spurgeon)

I pray that out of zeal and love for Christ our family will depend on Him and dare much so that we may do much in our short time on this earth and by doing so we will continue to see these example of God's love, faithfulness and redemption. 

Thank you for following our journey and if you are looking for the courage to step out in faith and adopt or to follow wherever the Lord might be leading, you don't have to take my word on God's faithfulness, simply open up HIS word :0)

--Kelsi

Full Quote From Spurgeon's "Evening by Evening"
"The love that they felt toward the Lord was not a quiet emotion that they hid within themselves in the secret place of their souls and that they spoke about in private or when they met on the first day of the week and sang hymns in honor of the Christ Jesus crucified; it was a passion with them of such vehement and all consuming energy that it was visible in all their actions, evident in their conversation, and seen in their eyes, even in their casual glances.
Love for Jesus was a flame that fed upon the core and heart of their being and therefore by its own force burned its way into their demeanor and shone there.  Zeal for the glory of King Jesus was the seal and mark of genuine Christians.
Because of their dependence upon Christ's love they dared much, and because of their love for Christ they did much, and it is the same now"




Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Three Months Home



*** If you want to see more pictures of Nic and regular updates just go to my Instagram "downrightwonderful"***

Nic has been home for three months already.  In some ways the time has flown by and in other ways it's hard to believe that it has only been three months because it seems like the whole adoption journey was years ago and that Nic has always been a part of our family. 

I continue to be amazed at the way he blossoms every single day.  His smiles come easier every day and little things that we take for granted with our other children, such as a giggle when something delights him, can brighten our whole week. 

I never thought that I would WANT a baby to cry, however, a baby is supposed to cry for his mom or dad or when they need someone to take care of them and love.  Nic does not cry very often, but he is now crying for us and that is a beautiful development.  Several weeks after being home he cried in the middle of the night for the first time.  As I rubbed his back he became quiet and as I slowly got up to leave his bed he started to cry again.  I returned and rubbed his back until he was quiet, only to have him object to my leaving a second and third time with his cries.  The cycle continued and I stayed there in the dark and praised the Lord that Nic now knew love.  He knew that we would be there for him for no other reason then just to rub his back if needed and his cries would be answered.

His continuous head bobbing and rocking has completely stopped.  I learned that rocking and bobbing is a very common trait of children out of orphanages because it is the only way they get stimulation of any kind in their crib.  I don't know anything more behind this, but I am so amazed at how soon after he was home that this constant habit came to an end.  I just can't fathom what life must be like for these children in the orphanages. 

One of the hardest parts has been figuring out how to feed him properly.  He will not stop eating when he is fed and cries when his food is pulled away.  Knowing that he went hungry we want to feed him until he stops himself, however, we learned the hard way that he will NOT stop.  He will eat three days worth of food if we continue feeding him and then have a stomach ache and throw it all up.  Finding the tricky balance of giving him enough until he is full without giving him too much has just had to come down to measurements, trial and error and nutrition.  His blood tests showed how malnourished that he really was and so we know that it will take time and healing for him to learn that he will not go hungry. 

He is so loved by his brothers and sisters and of course us, mom and dad.  Watching our children love and take care of their new brother is a special gift that I couldn't explain in words.  When adopting people often ask, "what about your other children?"  I wish those people could see my "other children" with Nic.  There is too much to write here, but I'll just sum it up with the fact that they have learned more about God's love and giving of ourselves for others with every child that we have added to the family and to see them embrace and show that love even deeper to their newly adopted brother keeps me constantly thinking, "thank you Lord!" 

Adoption isn't easy and it isn't all "rainbows and unicorns", to quote someone else, not sure what that really means, but we went into it trusting in God and God is faithful.  He does not change.  He was faithful through the whole process and provided for every last detail and we know that in the hard and easy times, everything was and is in His control.  We continue to praise Him for bringing Nic home and for His love. 

Once again, thank you all for your prayers, love and support for Nic and our family.  There are so many orphans who need you.  They need your prayers.  They need you to take the leap of faith and adopt or to support someone who is adopting.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends
John 15:13

Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.   
Luke 9:23

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.
James 1:27                 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Our Adoption Journey



After spending his first 11 months in an orphanage in Ukraine we celebrated Nic's first week home and his 1st birthday on Sunday!

Here is a short video that we put together of our adoption journey.

We began it with nothing but trust in God. He is faithful and provided above and beyond for every detail through your prayers, generosity, love and support!

Thank you for being a part of His amazing plan!



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



After Luke and Ryann were born we discussed whether we should have more children or "stop while we're ahead." We thought we had two "perfect", healthy children and with each child we run the "risk" of upsetting our "perfect" world with a child who might have a disability or problems or more than we can handle.

As ignorant as we were, at least we knew a few things that allowed us to have the beautiful gifts that we have today: God's grace is sufficient 2 Cor 12:9, Children ...are a gift from the Lord Psalm 127:3, Wonderful are His works Psalm 139, Gods love has been poured into our hearts Romans 5:5, He'll never give us more than we can handle 1 Cor 10:13, love is to lay down our lives for another John 15:13 and to take up our cross daily Matt 16:24, among so many more truths.

So now as I'm watching Colt smiling while getting ready to fly back to Eastern Europe for our 7th child and newest baby boy who shares Colt's same special gift, I can't help but think about what we would have missed out on if we hadn't trusted in the fact that God's word is always true and He is always faithful! We do not expect easy days ahead but we know that they will be filled with a deeper love and faith through it all. ❤️❤️❤️

And so, from our bunch of weak, fearful, sinning failures apart from the strength, grace, courage and love of our Lord, to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and that you may trust the faithfulness of our Saviour through the hard and easy times this year!

Monday, November 28, 2016

HERE WE COME!!


We received the exciting call on Thanksgiving that we will be traveling to Eastern Europe this week to be there in time for our DAP (Department of Adoption) appointment! SO, here we go!!

Here are the steps that we have left:


At the DAP we will hear any medical and background info on Nic. We might not learn much but I am just excited to learn what his birthday is and anything at all! We will accept his referral there. I am hoping we will get to meet Nic for the first time by the next day! AHHHHHH!!!!!! My heart is hurting for this moment!!


Next, we will receive an assigned court date. We are praying this will be very soon because if it is we will stay in Ukraine until court. If it is scheduled for say a week or more away we will fly home and have to fly back for court. Praying that court goes smooth and that we get an adoption friendly judge.
There is a mandatory 10 day waiting period after court. Some regions will waive this 10 day waiting period. Ours is not one of those regions from what I have heard. HOWEVER, we are praying for the judge to waive the 10 days. If the Lord wills it, He can certainly make it happen, so we are asking with strong faith! We will fly home during the 10 day waiting period if we must wait and then fly back to get Nic out of there!

The last step is to get Nic his Visa, passport, medical, etc. and bring him HOME!!

Praise the Lord for this fast DAP date!!!!!! Please pray, all Lord willing, for our DAP appointment, our court date to be immediate, our judge to be for us, waiving of the 10 day waiting period, our travel, Nic, and our children at home and that through all of this whether things go the way WE want or not, that we will bring glory to God and be witnesses for Him through every step.

Thank you all again so much for your support through all of this!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Almost There!


We  have been officially approved by USCIS (US immigration), which was the very last piece of paperwork that we needed!  I don't think I could put into words the emotions, relief, elation, you name it, when I answered my phone and heard our USCIS officer on the other end of the line say that we are approved and that the letter is in the mail!

Thank you all so much for praying and praise the Lord for His hand in this.  We had been told that this step in the process could take days to months depending on the officer that you get.  I am so thankful that we got an incredibly kind and efficient officer who approved our file within a few days of receiving it.  He was so amazing!  It could not have gone any faster! 

As soon as that letter arrives in the mail, I will hustle to get it notarized, then certified at the County clerk's office, then apostilled at the Secretary of State's.  This only takes a few hours and is the process for every document (approximately 40) that has been sent to our facilitator in Eastern Europe. 

This last piece in our process should be submitted in Europe early next week and then all we have to do is WAIT for our travel dates!  Travel dates are all over the place too.  They could be 8 days away or they could be 8 weeks away.  There is no way of knowing. Please pray for fast travel dates, Lord willing, and an adoption friendly judge!

If I could describe for you what this is like, I would say it is sort of like being pregnant in your ninth month and you just cant wait to get that baby out and hold him.  All the excitement, anxiety, running around, waiting, sleepless nights and you feel like you're going to burst if you don't get your baby in your arms at any moment!

One major difference though is that unlike my pregnancies, I can't feel him or see him through an ultrasound, or have a doctor check on him to know he's ok.  We can't talk to him so he hears his mom, dad's, sisters and brother's voices to know he's loved.  He is thousands of miles away laying in an orphanage crib.  His picture on the cover of my phone is as close to him as I can get and that still catches my breath and sends my emotions all over the place at any given moment.  That part is painful. We just continue to pray that our Father in Heaven will wrap Nic in His love so that he might feel how loved he is while we now count down the days until we can get there!!

Thank you again and again for all of your prayers and support!  You are just as much a part of giving Nic a family and love as we are!  We are so grateful for all of you! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Christians and Adoption


Alright, here I go again.  

In my adoption resource room I have before me every single day the faces of children that we are all praying and fighting for, fighting to find families who will trust the Lord and take the leap of faith to save 1, 2,3,4...of these children.  

The orphanages in these Eastern Europe countries and all over the world are not what us here in the United States could ever imagine.  These special needs children are starved, sedated, left alone in cribs for days that turn into years until they can no longer hold on or they are transferred to adult institutions where they rapidly "deteriorate" to die alone.  

I continue to write about and post about these children, not to tug on your heart strings, but to open eyes to what is going on.  I know that I had no idea.  Ignorance is bliss.  It is painful knowing what's going on and wondering, praying every day about what MORE can I do?! How many can we bring home? Who can I "get" to bring "this one" home?! 

Visit Reecesrainbow.org to see hundreds of children with special needs of all ages that need to see the love of the Lord through you! We don't know why we are led to certain children that you will know the Lord is telling you to pray for, give money for or to bring home, but isn't that like our own adoption by our Father?

Here are a few children that were posted about in my resource room recently that need you...
Jayce, beautiful 14 year old boy with Down syndrome.  Where does he get the energy to smile as he is clearly starving to death?

 image2.JPG
image1.JPG

And...
"This beautiful boy, Carter, with cerebral palsy, turns 5 next month.

That's 5 years of no one celebrating his birthday. 5 years of laying in a crib. 5 years without love.

Can we make this birthday the last one he spends alone?"
Above is an old picture but Click here to see a recent video of Carter.

And...
Sean, precious 3 year old boy with Down syndrome.


There are babies up through teenagers (until they are transferred), that need us! 

Just since we have begun our adoption process, we have received news of four children in Eastern Europe that have been added to Reece's Rainbow's "In Loving Memory" page.   They couldn't hold on any longer waiting for their family.  We know that they are healed and in the arms of our perfect loving father now and we rejoice in this but can't help but weep over the fact that these children never knew the love of family on this earth.  We have been commanded to care for these children who died alone in pain and starvation and we as Christians are failing them.  

Adoption is not charity.  It is gospel. It is missional. It is spiritual warfare. 

 As gospel it "tells us about our identity, our inheritance, and our mission as sons of God...Adoption tells us our purpose in this age as the people of Christ.  Missional adoption spurs us to join Christ in advocating for the helpless and the abandoned... Adoption is about an entire culture within our churches, a culture that sees adoption as part of our Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself." (Russell Moore, Adopted for Life) And as a picture of the gospel and a missional fulfillment of the great commission it is extreme spiritual warfare.  The Prince of this earth, the demonic powers, hate adoption, hate babies, hate "the least of these", the most vulnerable among us and want nothing more than to destroy this picture of Jesus.    

I know that many Christians cannot adopt for whatever reason but we ALL need to be serving them!  We have all been called to serve "the least of these" (Matthew 25:40).

I have posted this quote before but it is one that stays with me: 
"Kids in crisis can't afford to wait until it's most convenient for you to care for them. They don't have that luxury. They need you to stop rationalizing what you know God is calling you to do - and just do it. Your "no" is a lot more difficult on them than your "yes" will ever be on you. Perhaps these kids needs your family as much as your family needs these kids. One is given comfort and security for likely the first time in their life while the other is freed from comfort and security, and as a result, actually finds life. Jesus Himself said, "Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." (Matthew 16:25) In perhaps one of the most counterintuitive and countercultural statements He ever made, we find what life is all about - losing ourselves for the sake of someone else's gain. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. What you stand to lose pales in comparison to what everyone, including yourself, stands to gain. There's never really a perfect time to foster or adopt; just a lot of opportunities to say yes to losing yourself despite the many reasons you have to say no.” –Jason Johnson B

I had the intention of writing a quick message with a couple of pics of children- oops.  
If you're still reading, then thanks for hangin' in there!