November 12, 2012

JOY in raising a wounded child

Thank you to so many of you who have been sharing Ryan, Margit, and Kaleb's desperate need for a family.  SO many people have read their story and word is getting out.

All we need are THREE!

Just three families to say yes!

As I have been praying for these three precious angels over the last few days, I realized that many people would read their stories and the agency recommendations of who the ideal kind of parents for these children would be.  Readers would think that it is a daunting, impossible task. It was not that long ago in my own life when I would have felt the exact same way--terrified at the mere thought of bringing a wounded child into my home.  "Thanks, but no thanks, Lord...send someone else!" would more than likely be my prayer.

The TRUTH is that raising children who have suffered at the hands of others in institutions really is not all that scary.  Yes, they're wounded.  Yes, they can potentially act out in different ways.  Yes, the road to their healing may be long and winding.  Yes, raising them stretches our faith....


They're children like all others.  Children who are so desperate for someone to love them.

I have many friends who are parenting hurting children.  Not one of them will tell you that it is easy--but they will ALL tell you that their children are WORTH IT!  In parenting our own child who suffered more abuse in an orphanage than our hearts can comprehend, I totally agree with my friends.  She is worth it!

Sometimes it is so wonderfully encouraging to read the journey's others have taken.  Testimonies are inspiring, they're a beautiful gift from God.

I have asked a few of my friends to share their own stories of parenting their hurting children.  Some children were older when they came home, others have special needs, and some were adopted "typical."

They all have one thing in common--they are all wounded children!

As I begin to share some of these precious families with you, it is my prayer that, like us, you will be encouraged by the extravagant love these families have for their children--and you will see that it IS possible to raise a child who may struggle a little more than others in this life.

After all, we can absolutely do ALL things who Christ who gives us strength...

And calls us to rescue even these.


Shared by Mandy Rhodes--blessed mom to one of the children who was on that very first list with our Kael way back in 2007.  Her son too waited for years in a horrid orphanage to be chosen!  This is Mandy's unfolding story in raising a child who was abandoned, abused, and neglected.

I read a post this morning and I knew that it was time to share.

Time to tell you what it's been like these past 5 months to Love a Wounded Child. Adeye's words always pierce the heart and I'm thankful for her passionate advocating for the least of these, for her willingness to answer the command of God for the orphans, again and again.

You see, my boy, our precious Vaylo was on that first list with Adeye's Kael. He was number 31 and for years that's all he was to anyone--except to my precious friend, Toni and to God. I'm struggling to get through this post, because it's raw and it's real and it still hurts. Five years. Five long wasted years...when he could have been chosen. He made the list when he was 2 years old and didn't come home until he was 7. 

Today, I want to tell you what it's like to parent a wounded child.

That's what he is. Our precious boy, who is the light of our family. I think, you may read a post like Adeye's and be terrified about what life will be like with a child that keeps getting passed over. Surely, there's a reason no one wants him?

I'm here to tell you. It's the best and the hardest thing we've ever done. There is more reward here, more JOY than anyone can imagine. As we walked our adoption road to the boys, the Holy Spirit just kept whispering JOY into my heart. He kept quietly calming my fears with the promise of JOY. If you read back through our blog posts, you'll be surprised how often I anticipated the JOY that was coming. I was also terrified.

We'd never done anything like this before, but God...God was promising JOY in exchange for our obedience.

almost ran! I understand the fear that one faces when thinking about parenting a wounded child. I'm not proud of those moments where I wanted to hand Vaylo back to the staff and hit the door running.

I am proud that in my weakness, He is made strong. Logistically speaking, life is harder, now. It takes twice as long to get anywhere, but I do have twice as many kids. We're looking at ordering "equipment" because Vaylo is not walking, but gets heavier everyday. I'm learning a new language (of special needs) and I'm learning to be my child's advocate.

We're also learning more about Jesus than we've learned in years of church attendance. We understand more fully the work of grace that allowed us to be adopted into the Kingdom family. We witness redemption in our living room floor every single day. We wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. There's not a day that goes by that at least one person in this house doesn't marvel (aloud) that we can't believe no one chose this boy. Vaylo is like one of God's best kept secrets. God was pouring out His goodness on our family to allow us the great privilege of loving this boy.

The reality is that he doesn't talk, he doesn't walk, he doesn't enjoy eye contact, but he's learned to love and hug and he seeks out our attention and affection. He's made more progress in 5 months home than we expected to see in the first couple of years.

He has a laugh that you need to work for, that you're willing to work for, because it's infectious. He has a smile that lights up a room and his older brother says, "When Vaylo smiles, you HAVE to smile back. It doesn't matter what kind of mood you're in." Is it because we know where he came from? Maybe. Maybe it's because we know how long he waited to have a reason to smile, but his JOY is more full and complete than anyone else I've ever known.

I feel like I'm rambling a little and I can't really explain what it's like to love this boy. So, I'll leave you with this. Marty and I are privileged that God trusted us with this boy. We feel like this is the very thing God created us to do, to love all of our children well. Often people say they don't know how we do it. It looks harder than it is.

The reality is the JOY outweighs the work and it's not surprising...

"For my yolk is easy and my burden is light." ~~  Matthew 11:30

Hidden in Christ,

You can follow the Rhodes family right here as they head back to Eastern Europe to bring one more precious, precious angel home.  Please prayerfully consider supporting them as they trust the Lord for every dollar they still need!  Thanks!

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