Archives For adoption

A gift two times over: One, the adoption of our girls, Marni Veronika and Jubilee Larissa, from an orphanage in Ukraine a tad over a year ago; and two, our dear and incredibly talented friend, Austin Abbott, who was waiting at our home with other friends and family to capture the girls homecoming on film. Thank you, Austin, for this wonderful gift to our family this Christmas!

And thank you, family and friends, for taking the time to watch this six minute film and enjoy this gift with us. If you want the back story, details, struggles, joys, tears, and miracles of God as we experienced it during our adoption journey, click HERE

(To view more of Austin’s work go HERE.)

Our daughter, Marni, whom we adopted from an orphanage in Ukraine in 2012, has a best friend named Masha. Masha remains in an orphanage there (In fact, that’s Marni with her arm around Masha at the orphanage, below). Masha is the last little girl left from a close group of little girls at the orphanage who have all since been adopted. Can you fathom her fear and loneliness? Breaks my heart! (To read more details about Marni and Masha, click HERE). But Masha is soon to get one of the greatest Christmas gifts she will ever get in this lifetime. She is getting a mommy, a daddy, and two brothers! Personal friends of our family, and Grace Community Church family members, Cynthia and Andy New are leaving for Kiev, Ukraine in less than four days (December 16)!

Yes, you read that right. First of all, Cynthia and Andy are sacrificing Christmas with their sons in order to get to Ukraine for Masha. Secondly, they are flying into the teeth of the darkness and the upheaval of that country with faith and confidence in Christ, and on mission to bring this precious little girl home!

Would you join my family in praying for them? Pray for their finanical, emotional, relational, and practical needs. Pray for their safety. Pray for their patience and strength. Pray for their favor with all the officials and red tape they will encounter. Pray for Masha, who still doesn’t know (or just very recently found out), that she is being adopted by the New family. Pray for instant connection and joy when she meets her new mommy and daddy. Also, if you are able to give toward Masha’s adoption, you can do that by clicking on the poster below. To catch up a bit on the News Family Adoption story, click HERE! Please pass on! Thanks!

Because of love….

October 21, 2013

photo“Veronika (Marni) says that she will be a great daughter. She wants you to know she can wash dishes, dust furniture, vacuum floors.”

These were some of Marni’s first words to us through a translator in Ukraine last year. Marni wanted us to know that if we would adopt her, love and accept her, she would serve and obey us.

Does this translate spiritually into your view of God? Are you living with a haunting sense that if you serve and obey God enough then He will love and accept you?

Been there.

Joy-full obedience is all about motivation. “I obey God so that I will be loved,” is misery. “I am loved by God so I obey,” is life.

We told Marni (through her translator): “We do not care one bit what you can do for us. We just want you. We love you.” It’s been one year since Marni became our precious adopted daughter. Most times after dinner she is the first to clean the table. A year ago, Marni would have asked, “Daddy, if I clean the table will you love me and accept me?” Today, however, she looks at me with joy in her eyes as if to say, “Daddy, I clean the table because you love me, you accept me, and I love you.”

Whether cleaning a table, serving an enemy, or obeying painfully, may there be joy in your eyes that declares the same to your Daddy who first loved and accepted you.

 

Masha2

Masha1

Jarrod and Christie, I never do this. But would you please find Masha [aka Naomi] a home. The orphanage workers say she is the most precious little girl. But due to her features and health, she will never be adopted. Please find her a home.” – Our facilitator in Ukraine

That was nine months ago. Those were the final words of our facilitator in Ukraine after we adopted Jubilee and Marni. I promised her we would find Masha a home.

See the top picture above. See the girl that Marni is hugging? The little girl with the crossed eye? That’s Masha. She’s crying because Marni is leaving.

Now brace yourself for this one. The other little girls in the next picture had been like family to each other all their short lives. One is not pictured because she was adopted a year before we adopted Marni. The little girls in that picture above have now all been adopted and have a mommy and daddy. Except Masha. 

Masha remains in an orphanage with mostly older kids in a very poor region of Ukraine. I am horrified by the loneliness that she must feel, and potentially what she’s experiencing.Tears come to my eyes as I write this.

In October 2012, after arriving back home in America with Marni and Jubilee, I resumed my pastoring and preaching duties. Following a sermon, a couple came to me at the front of the stage, weeping. The lady said, “I know that God is calling us to adopt.” I said, “Okay, do you know who?” She said, “I have no idea.” To which I said, “I do. I know exactly who you are supposed to adopt. Her name is Masha.”

Since that moment, the New family has been on a mission to get Masha and bring her home. She is already loved and called “daughter” by the New family. They are now in the final stages of paperwork. Their home study is complete, dossiers being finalized, and they should be able to adopt Masha at the end of the summer. However, there’s one major obstacle for the New family to overcome to bring Masha home at all, or sooner rather than later: Financial support.

I’ll tell you from experience that this adoption is not cheap. It is a tremendous financial sacrifice to adopt, not to mention medically caring for and parenting Masha once they arrive home. The New family needs financial help to adopt Masha. They are currently doing all they personally can to raise funds. With help from family and friends, they are doing yard sales, raffles, parties, on-line auctions, and so forth.

Andy and Cynthia New are part of the Grace Community Church family. Christie and I have gotten to know them a bit over these last few months. We have been impressed with their story, their passion, their fight for Masha, and their resolve to bring her home.

On their behalf, I come to you Grace family. And I come to you my friends and family from abroad. Will you prayerfully and financially help bring Masha home?

To get to know the New family, go to their adoption journey blog, HERE.  If you are willing to give on-line, you can give through their blog. In the right margin of the blog, underneath Masha’s picture, you’ll see a donation button and link. Click on the link to give. Again, go HERE to their blog.  If you would rather give by other means, please email Cynthia personally at cynnew24@gmail.com .

If you are a member of the Grace family think about this with me: How amazing would it be to help the New family adopt Masha and reunite her with Marni? How powerful would it be that we as Grace Community Church financially contribute together and join the New’s in being her “family”!? How joyful would it be to know that ALL those little girls pictured are rescued from a potential future of doom and death? Of course the invitation to give is not just for the Grace family, but for any who read this and are moved in their hearts to give.

Will you join me and my family in financially supporting the New’s journey to bring Masha home? If you’re willing, please go to their blog HERE and give, or contact Cynthia (cynnew24@gmail.com) for more information and/or to give or support in other ways.

Also, would you please share this post and opportunity with all your friends and family to be a part of something very special: Helping provide a family for Masha!!!

Let’s do this!

I can’t help every family adopt in the ways I would like. But I hope to do for at least one family what I wish I could do for every family wanting to adopt. And it goes without saying, this opportunity is especially close to my heart. Personally, on behalf of my family, and especially the New family, thank you for whatever you are willing to do and give to help bring Masha home.

How I got exposed…

April 10, 2013

denial“I never would have believed that the Lord would take me halfway around the world to expose my sin.” That is what I wrote in my journal on August 2, 2012, from Kiev, Ukraine. This entry followed the absolute darkest time of our trip—our trip being extended week after week after week, which led to great financial stress, personal and marital stress, our two little boys climbing the walls and under our skin, not to mention road-block after road-block to adopt, and no idea if we would be able to adopt one little girl, two little girls, or any little girl, along with not even knowing what girls we would be allowed to adopt.

During that time all I kept thinking was, “What is up with this Lord? Our whole family came in obedience to You to rescue two little orphan girls from sex trafficking and death, and this is the deal we get??? Don’t YOU love orphans?!?! Why are you making this so brutal for us?” Spiritually and emotionally, I was in a very dark place, although I can fake it with the best of them.

Then came the breakthrough. Here’s the journal entry:

“Peace. After Rage. The last 48 hours have been awful. Within me has been unbelief, rage, frustration, selfishness, and entitlement. I have sinned. I have spoken sinfully. But I’ve spoken from the wound, not from the soul. My words of complaining and doubting the Lord’s goodness—all words for the wind, and from the wound, not the soul. God you know this.

Sat down with Christie and repented in prayer before her and with her, and to the Lord for all the above with tears running down my face.  Everything that I have ever preached against had root in me. If it wasn’t for this LONG wait in Ukraine, this ‘cancer’ would have remained hidden. I feel as though I’ve come through the fire of purging.

I never would have believed that the Lord would take me halfway across the world to expose my sin—my negativity, my spoiled-rotteness, my sense of entitlement, my ingratitude, my unbelief, my anger, my hypocrisy. I see now why my/our four years of praying to adopt wasn’t answered as soon as we arrived here in Ukraine. I understand now why the way has been anything but smooth. If the way had been smooth, my spoiledness, self-deception, blindness, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, entitlement, anger—things which I know lurk, but fail to realize how deeply rooted they are—I would have remained sick and infected with the cancer of these sins.

As I’ve gone through this exposure, I’ve fought it tooth and nail! WHY DO I DO THAT???? Christ is after His glory, my good, my freedom, and others joy! 

Last night I surrendered, submitted, gave up. I took off the gloves and fell to my knees: “Lord, have your way in me. Thy will be done.”

The reality is God! Not the adoption. Not our frustrating circumstances. CHRIST IS THE REALITY! Everything else is secondary. There is such sweet peace coming to grips with this. I’m not sure if the Lord is completely done with me, but in a sense, today, I feel like the Lord has set down his saw. He has released the circumstances to become smoother now. I can sense it. We will behold our two little girls very soon, I’m sure of it. The Lord will meet all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Wow. The Lord has been as much (or more) interested in my heart, and Christie’s heart, as the rescue of orphans. To Him be praise and glory.” 

Yes, God has a greater work to do in us rather than just through us. Are you under great stress right now? What might He be exposing in you? Your breakthrough is nigh. And when He finally breaks through, and you are fully and freely His, you might just find miraculous pieces start coming together.

[You can read about this supernatural journey on Christie's blog, by beginning HERE (click to read).]