Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Hands and Feet of Jesus!

Two weeks ago, my husband and I were involved in the 5th annual R.O.C.K. event at a local church. It was a joint effort between members of four churches to plan a day long conference for Orphan Care Education.  It was very successful and God was so evident there during that day.  My heart was full to overflowing just seeing all the children represented who were once orphans and now are precious chosen children that He has placed in families!

I am not gonna lie - this is where I thrive.  The adoption "arena" is like oxygen to me.  It drives my passion and fuels my desire to educate and advocate.  Many of my close friends in the adoption world helped with this project and I was "all in" from the start.

Right before Bill and I began our session on "Special Needs", I was introduced by a friend to a lovely lady named Darlene.  Many of the other faces in the session were familiar to me as they were already parents to special needs children.  Our session was informational and had a "pick my brain" Q&A at the end.  Bill and I told stories of our calling to adopt children with special needs and how God has equipped us for these children.  I know its not everyday you meet a family with 10 children so we always get some funny discussions revolving around family size and our kids abilities (which some call disabilities)

Some of our discussion was based on how to pay for services and other adaptations after we get our children home.  We have been investigating the opportunities out there for our family based on non-profit and government help.  Something as simple as an accessible home may keep a family from adopting a child with mobility issues.   Where do families find the cash to pay for things such as ramps into their home or a vehicle equipped for a wheelchair?  

The answer is complicated.  Many times you have to apply for help and wait for the funding.  Meanwhile, your child has a hard time getting from place to place and the grunt work falls on the parent.  (such as lifting/carrying)  We have faced this with our kids.  Even though we are still able to physically help our children up steps or into our van....they are growing and getting heavier every day.  Driving a 15 passenger van is a necessity in our family due to its size.  The van is awesome but sits very high to be lifting a boy about 43 pounds up into his booster seat who is dead weight and top heavy because of hydrocephalus.

Once into our home, our children who have mobility issues are able to navigate the main floor of our home.  Two of our girls share the main level bathroom and bedroom.  We do have to carry our son up and down the steps once a day but everything he needs can be found on the main level of our home except his bed.  Ideally, one day we will have a stair lift but we are doing fine right now.

The ROCK event was a huge success and I was filled to overflowing with the new faces I met and the knowledge that more people left the event informed about adoption, foster care, and orphan care in general.  The event was God breathed and surely promoted His command to care for orphans and widows. 

James 1:27   King James Version (KJV)

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

 As soon as I got home I checked the computer for new e-mail and jumped on Facebook for a few minutes.  I noticed I had a new friend request and after checking her profile realized it was the same "Darlene" I had been introduced to at the event.  I "friended" her and closed the computer.   Later that day, I was notified that I had a message on my phone.  I have the Facebook "messenger" app on my phone.  

Darlene had sent me a message.  Not just any message either...
 It said, "Hi Kelly! I met you thru Donna F. just before your session today and then sat in the session with you and your husband. My husband and a friend (very experienced men in construction) and some of our family (sons, grandsons) would like to build 1 if not two of the ramps you need for wheelchair access and can do it next weekend. When you get a chance could you call me please. They'd need to stop by to see the area and what materials they will purchase to do this. Honored to serve! xoxo Darlene

WOW - a complete stranger with a heart to serve!  I am certain she had NO IDEA what a difference this would make in our day to day activities!  Quite frankly, until I loaded all the kids in the van for church the following Sunday  -- even I didn't know how much it would help!

So Pete and Paul came to our home the following Saturday set to serve the Lord by building a ramp into our home.  Not only did they build a ramp.....they allowed our children to help them.  It was amazing to watch my kids screw in nails with an electric drill.  It was amazing to watch them feel a part of this process to become less dependent on us.  We were SO BLESSED!

Eli watching Paul (Darlene's husband)

Cassie helping with the nails

Elijah taking his turn with the electric drill!  

 This, ladies and gentlemen, is God using people for orphan care!!  You are right, they are no longer orphans but, let me tell you, this was serving the orphan!  If you wish to serve the orphan and you have a skill....maybe this is the way!!  Use your skills to help a family.  BE Jesus hands and feet.

Oh, what a blessing you will be to the family.  Praise God for those of you who have a heart for Him.  May He use you mightily today in someones life.  It might be a smile, a much needed meal or a ramp for a family with special needs kids.   Praise God for your willing heart!