11.17.2013

A Place at the Table


This is a picture of Tucker right after Ryan got him out of his crib this morning. Every morning when Tucker wakes up, I hear him crying in the monitor. Each morning, we open the door to his bedroom and sing our "Good Morning" song so that he quickly knows where he is. 

"Good morning! Good morning! Good morning to you!"

"Good morning! Good morning! Good morning to you!"

When we reach the crib, Tucker scrambles and stands up as fast as he can with his arms outstretched. Many times, it feels like he is climbing up our bodies and wrapping his arms and legs as tightly as he can around us. We just hold him, tell him what a good boy he was in his "night night," and say, "Mommy loves you" or "Daddy loves you" depending on who retrieved him. 

This morning was no different from every other morning since we met our new son. Tucker was super disoriented and glazed over, almost not recognizing where he was or who we were. 

Each morning it makes my heart sad for him. I can't imagine how difficult this transition has been for him. He went from waking up everyday in the same crib and seeing the same nanny to waking up to us in hotel in Chongqing for 4 days and then waking up to us in a hotel in Guangzhou for 6 days and finally waking up to us in our home...his home...for 23 days. 

If I were him, I would wonder how long I was going to stay here. I would wonder how long these two new faces...the ones who want to be called Mommy and Daddy would be in my life. So sad.

After several minutes, Tucker seemed to snap out of his disorientation and soon was playing with his brothers like he has lived here since the day he was born. Oh the progress we have made as a family in the last 23 days since coming home!

We had a wonderful day together as a family. In order to get some Christmas shopping done, we ventured out to the mall with all three kids. They really did great! Mealtime is always a little hectic because for some reason, Noah and Liam cannot just sit and eat food. What a terrible expectation we have as their parents! Tucker eats really well (gained 4 lbs. last year in China but gained 2 lbs. with our family in just our first 3 weeks together). Other than that, though, they all did great. Tucker was as quiet as a mouse, looking around at all the people, stores, and Christmas decorations displayed everywhere, totally overstimulated by all of the sights, sounds, smells, etc. We know he was overstimulated because whenever we venture out like that before nap time, Tuck sleeps for only 30 minutes before waking up screaming...probably a night terror...from being so stimulated. Fortunately, I was able to get him back to sleep, and he stayed that way for another two hours.

Fast forward to dinner time. 


Ryan's cousin and her husband (and their granddaughters) treated us to a delicious dinner and Christmas cookies (thank you again!!). Tucker was in his high chair at one end of the table. Ryan was sitting in a chair to the Tucker's left. Noah was sitting to Ryan's left. Liam was in his booster seat to Noah's left at the other end of the table. I was sitting on a bench to Liam's left. There was an empty space on the bench between Tucker and me. 

I said to Ryan, "I am so thankful to be home. We've been home for over 3 weeks, and still everyday, I am thankful to be home."

All of the sudden, we heard a familiar song come on the radio.

"Lord I come. I confess. 
Bowing here. I find my rest.
Without you I fall apart.
You're the One that guides my heart."

The next thing we knew, I heard THREE little boys start singing in unison...

"Lord, I need you, oh, I need you.
Every hour I need you.
My one defense, my righteousness.
Oh God, how I need you."

ALL. OF. THEM.

SINGING.

Ryan looked place at our table sitting empty. 

He said, "Hey Amy," and nodded his head toward the empty place. I turned to my left and saw the empty bench, really noticing it for the first time...

...and it hit me what he was trying to say.

Before I knew what was happening, tears filled my eyes, and I was crying with my face in my hands. Ryan came around to my side of the table and lifted me up. We just embraced while I cried for a few minutes, Ryan doing his best to hold himself together.

You see, adoption changes you. It has changed me. It has changed Ryan. It has changed our marriage. It has changed our family. We cannot help but see an empty place at our table and think of a child who does not have a mommy, a daddy, or three beautiful brothers to eat with every night. That spot deserves to be filled.

There is room at our table. 

There is room in our hearts.

Someday, God will lead us to another child. And I've never believed it more in my heart than I do tonight.

11.12.2013

Family Update: 4 Weeks Later

Yesterday we celebrated four weeks of Tucker being in our arms, and on November 14th, we will have officially lived our first month together. Honestly, it feels like we've been together for so much longer than 4 weeks. Tucker has really transitioned to our family so beautifully and almost seamlessly. In so many ways, I can see how he was created to fit perfectly into our lives.


 
Although we've only been home for 2 weeks and 4 days, I am amazed by how much our love has grown for one another. I have prayed every single day that God would continue to pour His love in my heart and that I would feel a deep rooted connection to this sweet boy who I just recently met. God is answering that prayer! My love, affection, praise, and serving have all become more and more natural with each passing day. 


People have often asked us how his English is progressing. We are constantly working on building Tucker's language repertoire - please, thank you, help, more, all done, up, down, etc. in order to increase his ability to communicate wants and needs and decrease whining. It is paying off! His receptive language has already grown so much. This is no different than teaching a baby the English language, and so much of what we are doing is exactly like what we did when Noah and Liam were learning to speak. I bet he says around 15 words now, which is more than we could hope for in just four weeks. Tuck's language is coming along!


Another huge celebration is Liam's acceptance of Tucker. I have seen HUGE changes in a positive direction. He is really initiating play with Tucker now, and they laugh and get super silly together! While they still fight over toys from time to time, it isn't ALL they do, which is how their interactions were when we first got home. A week or so ago, Liam told Ryan, "Tucker not my brother...." Ryan glared at him, so Liam added, "...anymore," like that was better. Ha!! Last night I had them in the bath tub together, and they were seriously having the best time of their lives. I got a great video of them together, just squealing and splashing. They are both initiating hugs and kisses with each other. Liam's love for Tucker is a huge answered prayer.


Tonight, when Noah was praying, I told him I wanted him to think of two things for which he was super thankful. He said his standard prayer, "Dear Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for everything you have given us. Amen." He then added, "Tonight I am very thankful for my games, and I am also thankful for my brothers." BROTHERS...that is brother with an "s." Be still my heart! Even Noah had some initial struggles when Tucker came home - more toward Ryan and me rather than toward Tucker - but again, these challenges have smoothed out. He is an incredible brother and seems to grow more mature and more caring with each passing day. I sometimes cannot believe that my 5 year old is SO big.


After delivering both Noah and Liam and coming home from the hospital, I remember this incredible euphoric feeling that lasted for a couple weeks each time. The birth of our children had caused me to fall in love with Ryan all over again...but each time deeper than before. I'm sure I even blogged about that at some point. Although Tucker was born in my heart and not of my body, the same has been true this time around. I have truly fallen head over heels for this man again. The way Ryan is supporting our family and providing for our every need is exactly what God calls a man to be to his wife. We seriously are having so much fun together and are great at tagging each other in when the other needs a break. On Sunday, Ryan let me sleep in (I made it until 9:15 a.m....woohoo!) and took the kids to out for breakfast and let them eat in the car while watching a movie. It was GLORIOUS! To not be woken up by crying or someone saying, "Mommy, I'm all done!" was wonderful. Ryan is such an incredible father and pours himself into our family. 99.9% of the time, Ryan will choose to be with us over anything else. He is such an shining example of the kind of men I want our boys to be someday. When we were in college, we were going through a really rough time in our relationship. I prayed to God and said, "God, if we make it through this, I know we will do incredible things in Your name." I can't believe Tucker was part of that promise! We just want to keep living out God's will every day now that we feel like we are finally doing just that.


I'm not going to lie. When we were in China, especially on the days when Tucker was pushing me away, I was thinking, "Nope, I don't want to do this again. The paperwork, the waiting, the pain, the rejection after all this time...not interested." It wasn't as though I had resolved to that thinking...but the thought did cross my mind. On the plane ride home, I thought to myself, "This trip home is seriously enough by itself to make me NEVER ever want to adopt from China again."

This is just another way adoption is like pregnancy, folks. Childbirth is no joke, and I had two deliveries without medication (Noah and Liam's birth stories). While both the labor and delivery were intense and at times painful, before you know it, you forget how badly it hurt. You start to see how the experience was so temporary and that the result was totally worth it.


Adoption is the same. The piles of paperwork, the 132 day wait for LOA, the wait to come face-to-face with Tucker, 17 days away from Noah and Liam, and the plane ride home were all difficult and taxing. We were home just over a week when I already started thinking, "I can't wait to go back. I can't wait to adopt again." I'm having those thoughts and life isn't all peaches and cream...but we are getting there! I can see how each of our individual fabrics are being pieced together and intertwined in a way that makes our family roots run deep. The thread stitching us together is becoming stronger with each day that passes. The time is not right for us to go back yet. There is much work to do as we become a stronger and stronger unit, but someday, I am hopeful that we will return to the country I fell in love with and bring home another child. A piece of my heart will always be in China. I miss it already. The experiences we had there are ones that are still so alive in my thoughts each day. This country allowed us to bring a treasured son of the King home to live with us. I love him more with each passing day. He is ornery, silly, affectionate, clever, and super snuggly. Seeing so many children waiting for families every single day leaves an ache in my heart that I hope never goes away.

Seeing children with heart conditions waiting - while they get sicker and sicker - and knowing they will most likely die unless adopted, it breaks me.

Seeing a 13 year old boy or girl waiting for a family - knowing that they will age out of the adoption program at 14 years old and end up living a life of crime or extreme poverty tears me apart.

Seeing a child with cleft lip/cleft palate who needs surgery and a family, it makes me think of Liam and how that child deserves a family just like our son.

Seeing a 7 year old child who has lived in an orphanage his/her entire life and not knowing if he/she will be "chosen," it crushes me.

However, I am so encouraged to hear that several families at our church are having serious conversations with one another about adopting! A friend sent me a message last night saying that all six couples in her Life Group shared that they were so moved by our story and are seriously considering adoption. So thankful that "God sets the lonely in families...." (Psalm 68:6) and praying this leads to more children coming home.
 
Ryan completed paperwork to receive the $5,000 benefit that his company offers to families who adopt. If you remember (or in case you are a new to reading my blog), we held a puzzle fundraiser in June with the idea that if we raised $5,000, we would give Ryan's $5,000 from work to another adoptive family. In 9 days, our family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers donated $5,425 to help bring Tucker home. NINE DAYS. I am still blown away by the generosity that was shown to us during that fundraiser, as well as the one the Bauermeisters held. We are keeping our promise and will be praying for God to show us which family to gift the $5,000. I can't wait to see who He reveals and then to share it with you. We so badly want to see more children experience the love of a family.
 
After an editor of South Magazine heard our story at church, she asked one of her writers to see if she could interview our family for their December issue. We met her at our home in September, and her questions made me relive so much of our experience. I was brought to tears so many times! The photographer came to the house and took pictures last Friday. I can't wait to see the article and for more people to hear what can happen when you let God's will for your life become your reality.
 
Since there seems to be a growing interest in pursuing adoption, I am thinking about putting together a Q&A session sometime soon. If you would be interested in attending an event like that, please leave a comment on my blog, a comment/private message on Facebook, or email me. I want to do whatever I can to support those who are in the initial stage of consideration to families who is ready to fill out their application today.
 
Thank you for your continued encouragement, prayers, and love for our family. For the past 2 1/2 weeks, we've had meals brought to our home every other day, and these meals will continue through Thanksgiving. It has been such a blessing to just focus on our family and to be fully engaged with them rather than be distracted by grocery lists, shopping trips, and cooking. Thank you to each person who has already blessed our family with a delicious meal, and thanks to each of you who will be bringing us dinner in the next 2 1/2 weeks. We are so very grateful!
 
One thing is for sure. Our home is much louder and crazier with three boys, but I wouldn't trade the squeals, laughter, love, and affection for anything in the whole world.
 

11.06.2013

Happily Ever After?

And we all lived happily ever after!

Right?

Well, kind of yes and kind of no. :)

I've been processing so much about our trip to China since coming home. Everyday my head spins about what we experienced in our son's birth country. Someday Tucker will have questions. Someday, we will start talking openly with him about what we did, what we saw, what was so much fun, and what was so very difficult. We will someday look at pictures of the orphanage where he lived for 2 1/2 years...the little cribs, the areas where he played, the children and nannies who were his family, and view from his crib. Someday we will talk about where he was found and how he was found...a story that I still cannot wrap my mind around but remains true.

I keep asking myself, "When will I see him only as a small boy - my sweet son, and not look at him and remember that he was an orphan 23 days ago? When will I stop looking deep into Tucker's eyes and wonder about the memories that fill his mind about his life before our family? When will his expression of sadness - the peering out the corners of his eyes with a defeated frown - stop breaking my heart because it makes me wonder about all the times he was sad and not comforted?"

You know, when we first brought Tucker to our hotel and for the two weeks we were in China, that baby laid down in his crib without making a peep and would fall asleep. For the first week, when he woke up, he didn't make a sound. This is the result of a child who has lived in an institution for 2 1/2 years. Why cry when no one will pick you up until it's time to wake up? It was heart breaking.

The first week in China, if Tucker fell down, bumped his head, or got injured in anyway, he never cried or sought comfort. Again, we knew this was a side effect from his past. When you have 25 babies to care for every minute of every day, you cannot comfort every child upon getting hurt. Ryan and I were very intentional to overdramatize if he was hurt, making a big deal to kiss whatever hurt, comfort him, and ask him if he was ok.

Twenty-three days later, and Tuck still calls Ryan "Mama." We learned that this is the name the children at Tuck's orphanage called their nannies. I'm working to have him call me Mommy, and Ryan is working to get Tucker to say Daddy. We are keeping him quite secluded right now in order to build our bonds with one another and in an attempt for Tucker to understand that we are his Mommy and Daddy, different from any other adults he will come into contact with in the future. Since coming home, our plan has been to have only Ryan, Noah, Liam, Tucker, and me in our home until Thanksgiving, and we are also not taking Tucker into anyone else's home. He has ran errands with me a couple times, and we have taken all three boys to the park twice. Tuck also had his first doctor's appointment yesterday with our pediatrician. He was quite nervous around the receptionists, the nurse, and even our doctor, which I was glad to see. Previously, Tucker would have said hello and goodbye and interacted quite a lot with all of them. This is helping us see that our work to stay a close unit is having the desired effect. We also had our first post-adoption visit from our social worker on Monday. He was very unsure about her, too, but quickly warmed up...probably a little more than we would've liked. So, we also see that more "cocooning" is needed. Our hope is that after having 6 1/2 weeks together, we will have built a strong foundation as a family. If Thanksgiving doesn't go well, we will just cocoon a bit longer.

Not only are we working to build a relationship as mother and father to Tucker, but we are seeing how Noah and Liam are also having to work on their own relationships with him. Noah has behaved very kindly and helpful to Tucker, just as we hoped and kind of expected. We have worked to be intentional with Noah, carving out special time with just him and special activities for just him. At the same time, I can see how Noah is sometimes weary of his two younger brothers. When he sets up his army men and wants to have a big battle, it's super frustrating to have Tucker and Liam destroying what he has set up. A couple days ago, we found out that he was having a little trouble at school following rules and just wasn't acting like himself, so we know the stress of our new situation is carrying over a bit. When I asked Noah how he was feeling about Tucker being home, he said, "I'm glad he is home and has a family. Sometimes I just wish there were two adults and two kids." So sad. :( At the same time, I get it!

I've debated about sharing my own feelings. I've had so many friends come home from China with their children, and no one has shared having these feelings. I'm sure there is somebody else out there who has felt this way, so for the sake of being honest and authentic, I am going to say it. The first weekend we were home was tough in terms of my feelings for Tucker. I had missed Noah and Liam so much, and I had spent quite a bit of time in China being rejected by Tucker. Although I wish it didn't, that rejection was hard. I felt SO good to come home and be lavished with kisses and hugs and affection from Noah and Liam. Being together as a whole family made me see how different my attachment and bond was with our biological children in comparison to the relationship I had with Tucker. It honestly felt a bit like I was babysitting Tucker or caring for someone else's child.

I HATED IT! I was ashamed to feel it...felt terrible for thinking it. What was wrong with me that I felt this way? I loved this boy so much, so why did I feel this way?

Ryan and I made a commitment to each other in China that we would share anything and everything we were feeling and thinking in order to keep good communication during our time there. We didn't want any negative thoughts to make us feel isolated, so no matter what we were feeling, we had to say it. I told him how I was feeling after being home, and he shared that he was feeling that way sometimes, too. Ryan told me that it took him 3 months to really feel bonded to Noah after he was born. For me, I think the experience of being pregnant and breastfeeding the boys for the first year of their lives helped our attachment to one another occur immediately. It felt so instinctual. I wanted to feel that same way about Tucker.

When I'm completely honest with myself, I can see how my relationship with Noah is even different from my relationship with Liam. It's not that I love one more or less than the other. I know Noah in a deeper way simply because I've known him longer. Our relationship has been growing for 5 1/2 years, so it is naturally in a different place than my relationship with Liam. I adore my little 2 1/2 year old buddy, and Liam's silly and free-spirited personality brings such a huge smile to my face. Our relationship grows deeper and deeper the more time we spend together. I have lived 23 days of my life with Tucker in it. I know I cannot expect my relationship with Tucker to be as deep as the ones I have with the other boys. BUT...I am CONFIDENT we will get there!

Satan does not like what our family is doing. He hates adoption...especially adoption into healthy, Christian families. He does not want these children to know Christ. He does not want them to come home. Shame, guilt, isolation, fear...those are Satan's weapons, and I could feel him trying to work in my heart and mind. He wants to do anything to bring a poor light to our experiences, but God is so much stronger, and His light is always going to push out the darkness.

From the first day home, I've been praying that God would fill my heart with love...real and deep love for Tucker. I have prayed that God would help feel that Tucker is naturally my son just like Noah and Liam. When I was growing up between the ages of 8 and 14, I had a stepmother who disliked me very much and treated me in ways that brought a lot of pain for several years. It was a really dark time in my life, and I always wondered why God allowed it to happen. Now I know...17 years later I know the answer. I needed to know how badly it felt to be treated that way by my stepmother so that I would be hypersensitive in how I treat Tucker, Noah, and Liam.

I am super intentional about being fair to all of them. If one gets a kiss, the others get a kiss. If one gets to hear that he did a good job, then you better believe I'm going to find an opportunity to tell the others that they are doing a good job. If one gets a high five for eating a good dinner, the others do, too. I'm saying I love you to each of them and meaning it! Although it doesn't always feel completely natural, these actions are becoming more and more so every single day. I am giving myself grace, being honest about my feelings, and praying a lot for God to fill me.

He is answering my prayers every day. Our new life is really feeling more natural everyday. Our first day home, I may have felt moments of natural. Today, I have felt hours of natural. The issues I'm having at home in our in day to day life feel more like challenges anyone would have with two 2 year old boys versus "adoption" challenges. Being home full time with Liam and Tucker requires a lot of social skills lessons on sharing, taking turns, being kind, etc. I am very thankful for nap time and a break from little ones each afternoon. :) Noah just got home from school, and the little guys have woken up from their nap. My heart felt full seeing all three of them...real, natural love kind-of-full. 

Tucker is thriving in our home, and we are all figuring out how to be a family together. Whenever you add anyone to your family, be it biological or adoptive, there is an adjustment period. I am thankful for each positive step forward. Tucker sleeps ALL night long!!! This is the BIGGEST praise right now because I can take on anything with some sleep. :) He is also napping well each afternoon. I will say that I have noticed a HUGE difference in Tuck's ability to fall asleep peacefully when I use Lavender Essential Oil (DoTerra - Thank you Beckie!!!). He is consistently using sign language, some English (maybe 10 words), and gestures to communicate with us. I can see his receptive language improving each day! Teaching him English is much like how you teach a baby language (sign language, picture tools, gestures, and short, simple phrases). I love hearing him talk in Mandarin...only wish I knew what he was saying! We turned on a popular cartoon in China that is in Mandarin, and he started jabbering so fast and was so excited! It was super funny and cute.

We've been together for only 23 days, and when he gets hurt now, Tucker will run from another room to show me what hurts so that we kiss it and comfort him. When he wakes up from a nap, Tuck cries like a typical child to let us know he is done sleeping. Tuck is responding so well to me, and our love for each other is growing. I'm so thankful that he attached to Ryan first because with Ryan gone so many hours at work each day, there would be little time for them to grow their relationship to where it is now had they not had that foundation in China. God knew what He was doing in Tucker's heart, and I am so thankful to have that perspective now. 

Twenty-three days, and we've seen so many steps in the right direction. I can't wait to see how life looks and feels at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, a year, and beyond. So thankful that we are all home and learning to live as a family together! This clever little guy even figured out how to make himself some American chopsticks. See, we are all adjusting! Our happily ever after is happening more and more each day. :)




11.03.2013

Celebrating Our First Week Home

Today is such a special day in our world, a day I didn't even know existed before adoption became part of our reality. Today is Orphan Sunday! Thousands of churches across the world will use this day to spread the message of one common goal:

That people would share God's GREAT LOVE for the orphan by:
 
DEFENDING the fatherless
 
CARING for a child who has no family
 
AND
 
VISITING orphans in their distress
 
In the Bible we can find verse after verse asking us to care for orphans, yet for so long, I always felt like adopting was optional. God dropped hint after hint, but I just wasn't getting it. I was hearing him, but I was putting it off. Someday...later...maybe we would adopt. I am so thankful that God made it so perfectly clear on July 19, 2012 - that He got in my face and asked us to bring one of His children home.

So many people, many of you reading this blog post, feel the same way I did. Adoption is something you have considered. Adoption seems neat, but it's totally optional. If it happens, awesome. If not, that's ok, too. You have a house. You have a steady income. You may or may not be married, and you may or may not have children. You're healthy. Your life is already fulfilling.

But I can tell you this - this life is WAY more fulfilling than the life I was living before our adoption journey. Anything that this world tells you is important never satisfies, never quenches the desire for more and different and better. Living out what God asks us to do in His Word provides more fulfillment than I could have ever imagined.

It is so easy to think of excuses. I thought of every single one of them, too.

The time isn't right...
 
We need to do X first...
 
How will we ever afford it?
 
I don't even know where to start...
 
Let's finish having "our own" kids first, and then we'll adopt.
 
I don't know if I can love a child who isn't "mine"...
 
I'm too old to adopt a child. My children are already or almost grown...
 
I have other plans for my life.

You guys, I have either pondered those same thoughts myself, or I've known others to say/think them. That kind of thinking is a big reason why there continue to be 147 million orphans in the world. Only 8,668 adoptions occurred in the United States last year, 2,696 of them being from China. More than 300 million people live in the United States but a tiny fraction of those people are bringing these children home. I was one of those people for years. Then God rocked my life, and I am praying He is rocking yours.

Adoption into God’s eternal family is the ultimate expression of His love. So what does that mean when we accept an orphan into our earthly families? I think it's one of the best ways to replicate what God has done for us.

I didn't understand that until we saw our son's picture for the first time.

I didn't know until I we fell in love with him over the months while we waited.

I couldn't comprehend until we saw his tiny self on Gotcha Day.

I couldn't fathom until we visited the orphanage.


Now I get it. Adoption is not optional. Adoption is not something people with super powers do. There will never be someone who is more equipped, someone who is wealthier, or someone who is a "better" believer than you. All we have to do is say YES. God then steps in and fills in all the gaps...all the needs. He doesn't want us to do this on our own. God wants to be part of the process, the everyday joys and sorrows. He wants us to lean on Him always. Our world tells us to take care of ourselves on our own. Our God tells us to come to Him for help in all we lack. I lacked so much as we started this journey. God continues to fill me and provide for our needs every step of the way.

I don't believe it is a coincidence that we are celebrating our first week home the weekend of Orphan Sunday. There has been an incredible momentum building this past year as we got closer and closer to bringing Tucker home and then again while we were in China. Between 900-1,400 people are reading each of these blog posts now, and it is my hope that God is using our journey to spread His truth: "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). The world will pollute you with lies to prevent you from taking this journey. That's a promise. But God will equip you His Truth, the love and support of family and friends, and every dollar you need to give these children a family and a home forever.

If we wouldn't have made the decision we did, Tucker wouldn't wake up on a Saturday morning to play with HIS brothers...




...or have HIS picture taken by HIS mommy.


...or have the chance to become friends with HIS pet that initially terrified him.


...or laugh and play ball with HIS daddy.


...or feel the slime inside of HIS very own pumpkin.


...or be "all boy" with HIS shirt off with HIS brothers while carving pumpkins.


...or have a pumpkin on the front porch of HIS house.


...or dress up like a frog and go Trick-or-Treating around HIS neighborhood.


...or pose for the classic Halloween picture with HIS brothers that will end up in HIS wedding slideshow someday.


Today, on this Orphan Sunday, there is one less orphan in the world because God brought Tucker home to a family that will love him forever. I am praying that more of you have the opportunity to feel the fulfillment that comes when you align your life with God's desire for His people to defend the fatherless, care for a child who has no family, and visit orphans in their distress. These children are our future, and it is such an honor to love them every single day.
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