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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nutcracker Video: Matea's Interpretation



Friday, December 10, 2010

Amazing Adoption VIDEO: Depraved Indifference



This is what I strive for..To totally adopt God's heart and live fearless faith....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

God plays Santa and is Relentless for Orphans



My family has been committing to praying for the orphan in a very personal way. So we post pictures of these sweet children on our refrigerator or in a frame and pray for them. Often we have celebrated when we find out these children find homes. One of these children is a beautiful boy that my family loves even though we haven't met him. We have been praying for him for several months now. He is 4 years old, HIV positive and living in Eastern Europe. I have a friend who is a strong advocate for many orphans in this country and has connections in over 20 of these orphanages....Through an amazing act of God we had come to find out what
orphanage our virtually internet adopted son is living in.
This was an orphanage she had not visited yet but because of her advocacy we were able to find out orphanage needs etc of his current home....We just had this conversation recently and in this conversation she mentioned how her organization had already sent or were about to send most of their Christmas packages to the orphanages and this orphanage did not have anyone sending gifts....So of course I volunteered to send boxes to these orphans but also told her that we would not be able to get them there by Christmas...(they celebrate in January)....
A few weeks ago, I posted a note on my Facebook about needing toys for 40 boys and 40 girls ages (2-6) and then additional items (pacifiers, baby wipes for 150 infants).No one responded or volunteered to help...But in all honesty I dropped the ball not pursuing it further and then started to get concerned because I had promised....so even though finances are very tight i figured I would somehow be able to spend the money etc to get it done..or I was just going to tell my friend we couldn't get our act together....In all honesty, I had no idea what Iwas going to do because I haven't even shopped for my own kids..don't have discretionary income...and had to cancel two fundraisers due to lack of response or contributions. Things are tight very very tight now not only for myself but for many so I totally understand people needing to prioritize and spend for their holidays etc..But still..I said "yes' I will help...and no matter what my family 'needs' for the Holidays...they pale in comparison to the 300 children at this orphanage...My intense passion for these particular children is spilling over into most of my extra time...I can't stop feeling anxious about the HIV children especially at this orphanage and the fact that when it snows in winter..there are windows that are broken so it snows inside (winter is coming fast in Eastern Europe)....I had decided I was going to find a way to help via MOTHER THE WORLD NFP by offering to videotape the orphanage/raise awareness etc...Somehow I am determined to visit there but not sure how or when...

Being the mother of 4 adopted children I have noticed that God does allow the orphan to get to the front of the line of His priorities...It sometimes seems like every other seemingly important thing in the world can take a backseat when His orphaned children are clamoring to sit in the Father's lap....If God were Santa...there would be a VIP line at the mall for these children. The sea parts for them...but sometimes requires someone to lead them to the opening...We oftentimes are called to help to deliver the goodness of God to them...and it is serious business...

So, this morning I experienced an intense Jesus encounter. I woke up with my heart broken for these children...and I prayed and prayed for God to move mountains for these children...while not thinking much about the ball I had dropped regarding Christmas or at least February gifts for this orphanage...I prayed for families and that God would not forget them...I then went out to open the garage door because i had an errand to run and found this blocking the entrance to my garage...(I could have backed into something)....
On the way to see what was outside of my garage (in the way of my leaving), I received a call from a mother of my daughter's friend saying "Hi this is Linda, I just decided to drop by some extra items our store had and i thought you would be able to figure out what to do with them!" This woman had not seen my email requesting help for this orphanage...I had not called her to ask for anything and she is not on facebook and doesn't know hardly any of my friends...as I walked up to the boxes and looked inside I saw that there were 5 boxes filled with age appropriate items for all of the children in this orphanage for the holidays...dropped at my house in NC to be delivered from God to these children in Eastern Europe that I had forgotten but He hadn't...
There were about 200 little cars, dolls, action figures, yo yo's, books, mittens, stuffed toys, crayons, playdough, jumpropes...on and on..brand new...
I walked into the door of my house deciding the errands will have to wait....I fell to my knees and cried like I was a little child myself....I couldn't get over the relentlessness and extravagance of God. My Ethiopian daughter Ella asked me the other day if Santa and God are the same....my older Ethiopian daughter very wisely looked at her sister and said "God is like MANAGER to Santa!" In this case this is very true...sometimes Santa may forget but God doesn't...I am humbled at how God can deliver stocking stuffers to a busy mom in NC (right behind her minivan in case she would miss it)..so that she will NOT FORGET what GOD'S priorities are....and it is very clearly the orphan....I pray this season we remember how insignificant our needs and desires are to the needs of the least of these who have made it to the top of the list of the MANAGER AND SUPERVISOR of Santa....


If you would like to donate to MOTHER THE WORLD to help with shipping or help me to get there to video tape the orphanages and Mothers and help these children find homes please consider donating to my non-for profit...Mother the World..





MOTHER HIV PLUS



Please consider browsing these amazing adoption testimonies at our MOTHER HIV PLUS site...

MOTHER THE WORLD: FAMILIES NEEDED for Adoption of Sibling Groups

Reminder that I am posting more frequently at our new site MOTHER THE WORLD

I encourage you all to follow that blog...

We have two new inquiries looking for families for two situations abroad:

Three toddler siblings in an Asian country (the youngest -age 2- is HIV positive)...looking for a family to take all three...Please contact PROJECT HOPEFUL.

AND

2 Sibling groups of 4 in Poland ranging in age from 2-9 (see below for contact)
A woman (Anna Maria), who adopted 3 Polish children 10 years ago (just recently returned to the orphanage in Poland for a visit), has been asked by the sisters (Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Czestochowa ), to help get the word out that there are two different sibling groups of four children each (ages ranging from 2-9), that they are trying to find homes for. These nuns who run the orphanage do not want to see the children split from their siblings.

If you all know anyone who might be in a position to adopt a sibling group from Poland, please pass on this information! Anna Maria's number is 703-203-2901. She is here in the U.S. and does speak Polish. If anyone is seriously interested, Anna Maria said she would be glad to talk to them.

The Directoress' name is Sr. Alina Syliwoniuk. Her phone number is (011) +48(0)34-324- 67-51. Dom Malych Dzieci Home of small children (Orphanage) im. E.Bojanowskiego E. Bojanowski ul. sw. Kazimierza 1 St. Casimir Str 42-200 Czestochowa

Monday, November 29, 2010

Auntie Denise shares her recipe for Left over Mashed Potatoes-Cavatelli



Try this recipe for left-over Mashed potatoes....yummy cavatelli

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

THANKSGIVING: Gratitude and the ADOPTED CHILD



PLEASE DON"T FORGET TO FOLLOW US HERE AT MOTHER THE WORLD Eventually all of our posts will be found there as we transfer all over to MOTHER THE WORLD...




I grew up as the youngest of 4 girls, with one bathroom (without a shower) in a tiny bungalow in Illinois. My mother was a single mother from the time I was 8 years old. I dried my hair by sitting in front of the furnace. My mom worked 4 jobs to pay the bills and there were times when I ate mayo and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch.

This morning our bedroom door bust open at 7:15 am. Our adopted children woke us up to inform us that they wanted to change rooms and that their plan was for us to change our plans to accommodate their idea of FUN on the day before Thanksgiving in moving furniture, dresssers etc. My agenda had included getting the turkey defrosted and preparing for Thanksgiving. As I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, somewhat annoyed because I wanted to sleep in until at least 8am, I informed them that there would be no room changes now or in the near future. My 9 year old Ethiopian daughter Ella wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer and in her usual spirited fashion kept pushing for HER WILL TO BE DONE….. . Eventually, this led to her proclaiming how she never gets what she wants and that all of the other kids she knows basically are parented by people who always say “YES” to every whim of their children. I then sent her to her room because I have come to the realization that I have no patience for any individual who feels entitled or is ungrateful.

When you go through the adoption process you have to take these DVD parenting classes required by the HAGUE. Most of them are extremely helpful. We still use 90% of the techniques that are recommended. But I have to say that I disagree with the advice to never let your children think that somehow you have done them a favor by adopting them and increasing their life span by 50 years through adoption. Okay…let me explain. Many child psychologists recommend not pointing out to your adopted kids how fortunate they are to have what they now have. I take exception to this because I don’t care if a person is from Park Avenue, Beverly Hills or the streets of Guatemala City or Addis Ababa…I HATE WHEN PEOPLE ARE UNGRATEFUL FOR THE BLESSINGS GOD HAS GIVEN THEM….

Oprah had this segment that she promoted often which included a ‘gratitude journal”. Oprah I know is not perfect…but I do think expressing gratitude for all that we have is an awesome thing to do. If we expect this from your average American why do we decide it is best not to remind our orphaned children of the same? I want all of my children to be grateful to God for our lives. I realized as I pondered what Ella may be thinking while I had her ‘reflect’ in her room., that the reason Ella is constantly dis-satistied, is that she still is mentally coming from a place of lack and a place of being robbed. She lost her mother, she lost her culture in some ways…she lost life as she knew it. I don’t want to diminish her pain in anyway. But I also don’t want her to grow up to be an adult with a chip on her shoulder thinking the world still owes her something. She is not living in lack and seems to have her eyes closed to the treasure that abound all around her. It is my job as her mother to open her eyes and direct them away from the lies of lack and the truth of the treasures. She has been blessed. She has the word CHOSEN all over her in spite of her past. She has an opportunity to give a testimony of how God redeemed her life. But if she lives her life waiting for THINGS to fill that empty space and if I allow her to grow up with that chip present than I personally don’t think I would be helping to nurture a healthy adult. If we keep ignoring the awesome blessings God has placed on their lives by bringing us all together then we are being ungrateful to God Himself. There are still many children in Africa, in Guatemela, Ukraine, China that don’t have 3,4, or 5 bedrooms to choose from.



It had been announced to me that Ella wanted to run away after being denied ‘a different room.” I told Ella to make sure not to take any of the clothes we had given her, or shoes, or food or bike. I know!.I know! Not really the DVD parenting advice you get on the adoption DVD’s. I went up to see Ella and she had been writing a scathing letter of how much she hates us for not doing what she wanted when she wanted it….I sat down calmly and asked Ella these questions. How big was your house in Ethiopia? She said she didn’t remember. I told her that I remembered because we had visited her great grandfather’s house where she lived after her mother had passed. I told her it was the same size as her current room. I said “Did it have a bathroom attached and was it air conditioned?” I know! I know…awful parenting. Then I told her the horrific stories of how when I was little we had to put air conditioners in the windows…”OH NO!” She gasped!!! And how we didn’t have computers or even a cell phone or a dishwasher…OH NOOOOOO….to her I had been an abused and neglected child…Then a light bulb went off in my mind….I thought I would discuss why we had THANKSGIVING and how people who came to America had no food then PILGRIMS AND INDIANS shared their food (sort of like we do with eachother and friends)…I then told her how sad and sorry I am for her for the death of her parents and how it makes me sad too…but then I told her…”isn’t it amazing that God loves you sooo much that he brought you a new family? Isn’t it incredible that you can even choose between bedrooms? Isn’t it awesome how you have so many friends and that you can live a long life and that one day you too can adopt a baby from Ethiopia because you will grow to be a healthy strong Ethiopian/American woman? Not all Ethiopian girls can grow up to be Ethiopian women or mothers or grandmothers (their life expectancy pales by many years to hers)…. I told her that she has an excellent chance of all of the amazing milestones that were stolen from her mother….



Why shouldn’t the orphan be grateful? We all should be grateful…Why shouldn’t the orphan be reminded to praise God for where they are and what they have? We all should Praise God for where we are and what we have….Why shouldn’t the orphan be reminded to speak with respect to the people who took a leap of faith to commit their lives, hearts and finances to love them? We all should respect our parents when they put their lives on the line for us…I don’t want Ella to feel condemned or that she should be constantly shouting THANK YOU to us…but I certainly don’t think it is healthy for the memories and realization of blessings to be stripped from them because of some advice from a psychological study that may or may not work with my real life child in my bedroom at 7:15am..


Ella is upstairs making pumpkin pies with her Aunt Denise right now. Her room is clean, She played with her 2 Chinese girlfriends today. Tomorrow she is in charge of collecting a list from each child of what they are Thankful for ….I am so grateful for the parenting DVD’s we were required to watch in order to be qualified as parents…but sometimes there is something to be said for parental instinct and a divine HOLY SPIRIT intelligence that sometimes dominates in our parenting….

I am grateful for my beautiful children but feel free to join me in reprimanding them if they pull any entitlement crap in front of you…it is THANKSGIVING and we will be giving thanks in spite of what they WANT!!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Matea out Stares Herself



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sephora with Ella, Grace and Matea

Monday, November 1, 2010

Orphan Sunday: Is the Bride of Christ Dancing? Mother the World

InCulture Parent

Check out this new online magazine. I am a contributor InCulture Parent...



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Street Kids in Russia-DISTURBING VIDEOS

Documentary of street kids in Russia. Be still my heart. Some have run away from home, the orphanage and abuse in both places. But the life on the streets and what it does to these kids is just heart breaking....All I can say honestly is that we have to remind ourselves to always think about how precious they are in HIS sight and that as the hands of feet of God...maybe we can do our little bit to help. Children often times who age out of the orphanage system have the options for government programs but because of lack of proper parenting often still end up on the street after using govt funding for vodka and foolish spending..it is a crazy cycle...just pray...







THE CHILDREN OF LENINGRADSKY 2 OF 2
Uploaded by Top-Notch112. - Explore more family videos.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Orphans are like Potato Chips...can't eat just one!!!



I am reposting this...but have been blogging at MOTHER THE WORLD Expressing my feelings...about orphans and potato chips and my need for a fix (this isn't an adoption announcement..just a post about my frustration...)..but anything can happen..LOL!





It's like eating potato chips...You reach your hand in and get a taste of the sweet salty crunchy snack and you just can't resist having another. I never struggled with addictions (although I am a little nuts for chocolate and yankee tea-three quarters unsweet one quarter sweet)...But HELP ME RHONDA!!!! I need an intervention. I have come to the realization that just when I get a bit of satisfaction in having relieved myself of the 'orphan adoption yaya's"...there is a deep need in me to stick my hand back in that bag for another bite.....I couldn't sleep at night when the addiction first hit me in 2004. I would wake up with night sweats (way too early for the change of life--no comments from the peanut gallery..MOM)...dreams of hearing cries of babies motherless from across the sea somewhere. This went on until I finished my homestudy, sent in the dossier to Guatemala...then it commenced as I waited to get the green light to go to embrace my sweet baby girl Matea... and bring her home.
You would think being filled up with a chubby, raspberry blowing, Guatemalan baby doll bundle would cure me and satisfy this hunger. Afterall, it seriously was as if God had brought to life one of MichaelAngelo's cherubic paintings and handed it to me in human form. Matea was and still is a total 'gift from God!" But like I tell my kids.."Love is like a giant balloon that expands and never pops!" The heart can simultaneously feel immense love for a child and then another and another....(like a craving for salty chips)

So, a few years go by...my cravings, desire for another salty crunchy chip is intensified by three...as we head to Ethiopia...
A great feeling of peace came over me as the chaos erupted in my home...the addiction seemed to have been cured. Six kids, the critics would say is more than enough..."we are tying the tubes of your adoption yayas and taking that bag of chips off the counter...."
Perhaps, if I knew that the statistics were going down and that the number hadn't moved from 147 million to 150 million orphans...maybe I would be able to sit back in my recliner satisfied that I could get a good nights sleep and not be haunted by the cries and pictures of the orphans I have encountered first hand. But the numbers are growing and I know that in some countries less that one hundredth of one percent of the orphans will even be adopted...The chip bag never empties...it keeps getting fuller and fuller...and is overtaking the pantry shelves of my psyche...

I guess I would sleep better at night with the realization that if no one goes to care for the HIV+ kids in Uganda, Ethiopia or Eastern Europe they would still live...But I remain sleepless and restless in the knowledge of knowing that if nobody goes for Baxter, Sveta, Lori, Valentin...that they WILL die very very very young...But if we GO and reach into the salty bag of humanity to pull one out and yield to the addiction a life or lives will be saved...

I long to be cured! I long to not feel this need and this desire! I long to be able to sit back and continue to cheer and support the ones that go...but if I am being honest that isn't enough...My donations...my advocacy is just not as good as going in to pull a child out of a drowning sea...Do I sit in the boat and just continue to give others direction on how to save one orphan from the vast salty ocean when more lifeguards are needed....or do I dive in again because I know how to swim...?There is a prayer inside of me that screams "LORD TAKE THIS FROM ME!!" I spend
my days waffling between my middle class suburban common sense that says..."YOU CAN"T DO ANYMORE...MAINTAIN YOUR COMFORT...YOUR STATUS QUO....don't stretch anymore".....then there is that voice that wakes me up at night...

If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10

'He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so
all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" declares the LORD." Jeremiah 22:16

It is not so much a voice that wakes me up at night...but there are visions of the places where little Baxter, Valentin, Addison, Lori, Katia could be sent and left to die because I was 'being practical.' I don't like to be labeled impractical. But we live in a topsy turvy world where we prefer to take a sleeping pill and not to wake up to the reality across the sea or even in more disadvantaged areas of America.I don't have 20k-30k to spend on another adoption...we are underemployed at this point. But I also know that with God all things are possible..And I know that most of my beautiful addicted friends also don't have a penny and somehow manage to scratch and claw their way to satisfy the need for another salty chip...I know I cannot possibly partake of all of the 150 million orphans in that vast salty ocean...but while I know how to swim and while more are being tossed into the salty orphan chip bag...I just have a hard time staying in the boat and not reaching in my hand.....I am rambling and I wait.... for an answer, a cure or a miracle....and I hate waiting...
If there is a 12 step cure to my addiction can someone intercede?
Step 11-Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out...

OKAY..I did that and it is HIS WILL that is making me more ADDICTED....

Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs...

ADOPTION ADDICTS UNITE---practice biblical principles in waking up those addicted to complacency and denial
Those of us who have this addiction have been labeled by the reasonable world as having some kind of psychological disorder. To answer that charge I say...'well then it is a sickness God has given me and encourages in the bible..." I really wish more were afflicted by it... we know there will always be suffering...we know we are not God and can't change that aspect of the world..but we also KNOW what God does say...TO GO AND PRACTICE PURE RELIGION...
But while I wait...sleepless...children are taking their last breaths because too many people were being practical....and because I have been told that going in for another chip is CRAZY....HELP ME RHONDA! (who is Rhonda anyhow?)
I need an intervention or a fix....or about 30k and more income and better health insurance...and a cure that will only come when the bag is empty....

In case you feel like throwing 20-30 thousand potato chips in our bag and contributing to this addiction go here..

CLICK HERE OR GO TO THE DONATE BUTTON ON THIS PAGE:




( i don't really expect anything but am addicted so am a little outrageous and insane for the orphan left in the bag...so thought I would give it a shot---so I'll have more leverage when I try to convince my family I shouldn't be committed to the looney bin....or you can allocate this money for counseling due to our PURE RELIGION insanity...)...



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Our trip to Target, Dollar Tree and 5 Below...

Hey guys we are trying to consolidate our blogs so moving everything over to http://www.mothertheworld.org ...
there are more videos there...but here is one I made yesterday..

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Falchook Family Montage-Gravy


Monday, August 30, 2010

@Adoption The Orphan: THe Pro-Life Missing Link






It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." Mother Teresa

About a year and a half ago, I was very excited to attend my first national pro-life conference. I was about to release my book “TO BE A MOTHER: ADOPTING GOD’S HEART.” It is a book that chronicles my experience into motherhood following the abortion I had when I was a teenager. I had originally intended to write a book solely on adoption until through much prayer and meditation I was sure the abortion story must also be told. I have since been blessed to have given birth to two children and blessed through the adoption of 4 additional children (one from Guatemala and 3 from Ethiopia).  I was very excited to attend my first pro-life conference. I checked in and was given a lanyard to place around my neck with a name badge. I was given a giant plastic bag filled with literature of pro-life organizations.  I couldn’t wait to sit down and browse through them.  I truly soaked up this conference experience. I loved the people and learned so much about the ‘Life’ issues that were outlined during the weekend breakout sessions. They included the following topics:

Stem Cell Legislation
Eugenics
End of Life Care
Starting a Pro-Life Ministry at Your Church
Domestic Open Adoption
Pregnancy Support Clinics
Sidewalk Counseling
Counseling and Caring for the Post Abortive Woman
Medical Procedures for Late Term Abortion
Roe V. Wade decisions
Students for Life
Global Abortion Issues
How to Cope with Infertility
Blogging for Life
Talking to secular people about abortion….


The list went on and on.  I was enjoying this conference but I found myself looking through the bag over and over for something. I emptied the bag and practically turned it inside out. Something was missing.

In between sessions, I walked from booth to booth, table to table and continued filling up my bag. I saw T-shirts. I bought T-shirts. I bought books. I signed my name on lists for newsletters. I enjoyed conversations with many people. I added contacts to my phone.  Still, something was missing…

My book “To Be A Mother” was released a few months later. It became a number best selling Amazon adoption book. I started an organization to instill pride and understanding of issues pertaining to Mothers and children globally called MOTHER THE WORLD.  I spent the year in what felt to me like two separate universes. I would give my abortion testimony at pro-life conferences.  The following week I would talk to adoption conference attendees about adoption. This went back and forth. I kept asking myself “Why does it feel like something is missing? Why does God have me in these two seemingly separate circles?”

Three of my four adopted children are from Ethiopia. They are what some call AIDS orphans (although most of us who have adopted don’t call them orphans anymore).  My children are orphaned because their parents died from AIDS. If they had never been adopted they would have either been on the streets to eventually get a disease and die at a young age or just die much earlier than most Americans due to poor health/environment. In a nutshell, their ‘lives’ would be shortened, meaningless and doomed.

My Guatemalan daughter was born in an area known for murdering girls as young as 5 after they are raped by gangs. The gangs do this to maintain control over the villages. They are terrorists. My daughter just turned 5.

My passion has grown so intensely for the orphan over the past 5 years. More specifically I am brought to tears at the thought of many of the 150million orphans who today are left to die.  Children in many countries who are HIV+ will die due to lack of proper care. In America we rarely hear of AIDS babies anymore because medical advancements have made it so that babies born to HIV+ mothers can be born without the virus. 

Also, children adopted with the virus if brought to America and given proper care will live a long full life. But still they are dying in many countries without anyone to even pray, hold vigil, protest or counsel the mother who has abandoned them at the orphanage steps.  These children in some facilities in Eastern Europe are left to starve alongside children with cerebral palsy, cleft palates and down syndrome. Some abandoned children that have been given to the orphanages healthy will go insane due to lack of stimulation, eye contact or tactile touch. In some countries if children are not adopted or fostered by the time they are 7 they will be left in an orphanage to languish, starve or to be sold into trafficking.



One story that I heard recently was of a 7 year-old child in Eastern Europe who was living at an orphanage and asked a friend of mine if she could bring her books next time she visited the orphanage. The little girl wanted to learn how to read. The orphanage director looked at my friend and said ‘Don’t bother her life is meaningless.”

Some girls in India are murdered when born as second daughters due to an outlawed dowry system that still continue to this day. There is an Indian village called “The Village Where They Kill Their Daughters” because there are no girls. They are either aborted or killed shortly after birth. And we know of the little girls discarded and abandoned in China due to the population controls.

My girlfriend Carolyn from Project Hopeful tells me that children orphaned in Ethiopia with HIV will die faster if they don’t think they are going to be adopted. They lose hope and would rather die than live without a family.

There are still 150 million orphans globally. Very few will be adopted. Many are suffering as they starve, are in pain from their diseases or acutely lonely waiting for someone to say “you matter.” For most of them that means that they will die believing they did not matter to anyone.

So, in the past few weeks I have had a clarity that I have been praying for. I have had an epiphany of something so simple. I know so clearly what the missing link is. It is the orphan. When I mention this to my pro-life friends they usually nod in understanding that this is something so simple that they can’t even believe we missed it. Yes we talk about adoption at these conferences but we rarely discuss orphans internationally and how so connected it is to the sanctity of life issue. I don’t recall ever seeing a pro-life break out session titled “How to Practice Pure Religion by acknowledging the Vulnerable Orphan.” I haven’t seen any break out sessions even remotely close to that.  Why has this issue been omitted? I believe that because the orphan is so close to God’s heart that somehow this has been so hidden right under the noses of the pro-life movement that we have lost our ability to smell and see what is so clearly evident. The unborn are so important. I know because I grieve the choice to abort my daughter everyday. The sick and elderly in America are also important. All of it is crucial. But that is just the point. It ALL is important. I can no longer attend another pro-life conference that is a broken chain. We can see these children, minister to them and give them life. How can we possibly consider ourselves pro-life when we ignore 150 million human beings whose lives are being disrespected?. How is it that we have avoided this topic in our breakout sessions?

I will say that on the other hand I am not totally comfortable at the avoidance of the abortion issue at adoption conferences either. There are 1.5 million unborn human beings killed in America every year and more globally. I consider them orphans defined in James 1:27 too. 

Adoption doesn’t necessarily mean pro-life and pro-life doesn’t necessarily mean adoption advocacy. This fact really gets to me. I have met many Christian adoption advocates who believe in abortion. I have also met many pro-life individuals who have never ever even given a second thought to the 9 year old left to die in Russia due to the fact that no one has bothered to take him for a walk in 9 years. It is twisted to me!

Choose life! Respect life! Sanctity of Life! Chosen! Are these just cute t-shirts and bumper stickers to us? If we believe that we are created/woven by God, how can we discriminate based on age (whether an 8 week embryo or 80 year old alzheimers patient)? How can we omit the 150 million missing links in between that chain in pro-life conferences?  As pro-lifers we have miraculously and thankfully remembered the unborn, the ones we can’t see. I am so grateful for that. But we are blinded to children that we can reach out and touch if we make a choice to offer life back to them through adoption, orphan advocacy or proper medical care.

I am making this observation and presenting it to the pro-life community because I believe in my heart of hearts that it is going to be received well. I would love to see a 40 days for the Orphan Campaign or a new pro-life fund started to support those who want to adopt HIV+ or down syndrome baby. But let’s remember that a chain with a missing link is not strong and will be broken.

Jesus wanted us to take care of the orphan. Jesus has been and is being stripped away from this world. To be blunt: there is a battle to abort Christ from the hearts of people everywhere. In many countries the orphan crisis is due to a lack of respect for life that has developed due to the fact that the message of loving the least of these is non-existent. Christianity is dead and dying in many countries. Christ is not welcome. Soon discarding children, disrespecting life becomes accepted as the norm. In America now we are killing people that we cannot see (the unborn, those in nursing homes, in hospitals). Today, in other countries children are left to die in plain sight on the side of the streets and in soiled cribs in government orphanages. If we think we are immune to this happening here in America then we are wrong.  If we as a pro-life community don’t step up for the 150 million children that some call in-valid (invalids) then we are just being hypocritical. If we only advocate for the unborn and elderly, then aren’t we as bad as those who tell us that a human being only matters once they are through the birth canal? We cannot become guilty of discriminating against the missing link of living children that have been given life and then abused, discarded, ripped apart, raped and starved. We need to be consistent in respecting life…all life and the orphan is no exception.

My plea to both the pro-life and adoption community is to please fight from being habitual and predictable in your approach to your causes.  For the adoption circles I ask that you stop trying to be careful in avoiding the abortion crisis. I ask that you become bold enough to focus on the truth that we are alive because He has knit us in our mother’s wombs. When mothers decide to abandon them they become orphans.

To the pro-life community I pray that we hold ourselves truly accountable. I pray that we don’t get so caught up in our typical routine of only praying at clinics and fighting against abortion legislation. All of this is important! But it is incomplete because the missing link is ignored….Those we call pro-choicers ignore and disrespect the unborn...if we ignore the orphan then we are choosing to invalidate their lives too..

I know some of you may think…”I can’t do everything. I have to decide on what I am standing for.” It is true we can’t do everything. But we don’t have to do just one thing either. And if we stand for one thing let’s stand for the lives of Human Beings of all ages. We can advocate for the unborn and the orphan. We can pray during 40 Days For Life, write a letter to the senator, and hold a fundraiser for an orphanage. I will stand in front of our clinics and pray and I will also be happy to advocate for a viable human being to be kept on life support. I will do this even though my passion leans heavily to advocating for the lives of the orphan who have remained totally invisible in some circles even though they are massive in number.

The next time I attend a pro-life conference I really hope there are brochures and literature advocating for children like mine and the ones still without families. I hope and pray that I can watch as my passionate pro-life friends take the plunge to “unorphan” one of these discarded children whose lives have been forgotten in places like Africa, China, Russia……I know that if I can get my hands on any of the bags given away at the next conference I will be filling it up with MOTHER THE WORLD brochures to encourage orphan awareness. I am starting to work on them tomorrow in anticipation that the pro-life community will no longer be comfortable holding conferences with a broken chain and missing link…MOTHER THE WORLD!


@ChristianAlliancefororphans "Pure Extravagant Religion"


In 2000, I was blessed to be the contracted band for the wedding of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It was an exciting time for me. I was in my element on the Plaza stage leading my band of 16 musicians, surrounded by A-list Hollywood cele
brities and honestly, I didn’t feel out of place. Granted, I didn’t feel like a movie star but I did feel confident in my abilities as a young band-leader. This was not a typical wedding. It had been reported that they spent 3.5 million on the wedding. And while most of my weddings were not 3.5 million dollar weddings most of them were in the 200-500k range and several a year were million+ dollar weddings. I had played the Plaza hundreds of times before thiswedding and on this night felt at home and at ease enjoying gazing at the movie stars on the dance floor and at their tables from where I was at center stage.
At one point during the night, I stepped back from my position in the front line of the band to hand the microphone to Art Garfunkel another to Jimmy Buffett, Steven Stills, Jimmy Webb, Bonnie Tyler and Mick Jones from Foreigner. I then sat down giving cues to the band while they performed. I remember being infinitely aware that this was probably the pinnacle of my success as a NY bandleader. I have done many parties for celebrities since then and before. But this wedding stood out. But as I sat on the stage, surrounded by Grammy and Oscar winners, a thought passed quickly through my brain. “NOW WHAT?” I was acutely aware that even though I enjoyed being there and loved my job, the level of fulfillment was only ‘so-so’. In the months after this wedding I started to become annoyed with people wasting 80k on flowers
that I would see thrown into a garbage bag or the dumpsters filled with filet, salmon and caviar. This also was just about the time that I started to feel pulled toward the orphan, adoption and other issues related to children and people struggling and suffering in America and around the world. I developed a really bad attitude about the spending that occurred at these weddings, parties. I would tell myself “there are children dying of Aids in Africa. All of that food could feed a village in Guatemala!” I became a bit undone….
But something changed a few years later as I started to indulge myself in thinking about the Extravagance of God. I am not going to suggest that we should be wasteful, but sometimes it really is okay to use the best wine all throughout the party. Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding….(and really good ‘port’ wine apparently). My oldest daughter and I watch ‘SAY YES TO THE DRESS.” I am shocked at the 7000 dollar dresses. I hope my daughters know that the $7000 dress is probably not in their future, but there are times when it is appropriate to be extravagant with your children and throw a wedding or party to celebrate their life. I pray we can be extravagant in our love to each other like Jesus is to us. Sometimes this will come in the form of extravagant food, clothing or parties… but mostly I hope our actions can become invaluable treasures and contributions to the world.
When we decided to adopt our children we had to make a conscious decision to sacrifice our lifestyle, our prior way of existing in order to pour out our hearts and souls to these children. Most people I know who have adopted children are not rich but it is as if they have consciously made a decision to ‘bank on God’. In other words, they are playing the ‘God market’ not the ‘stock market’. If we believe that the center of God’s call to us is to serve and take care of orphans and widows (James 1:27), then are we also willing to invest in the church of PURE EXTRAVAGANT RELIGION? God calls this type of service to orphans and widows and diminishing the world’s influence on our lives- PURE RELIGION. Do we have more faith in our worldly pension plans and new 30k cars and big houses than we do with taking a leap of faith to pour all we are and all we have onto the feet of Jesus’ call?
I love the story of Mary (the prostitute) who poured out the most expensive oils onto Jesus’ feet. She took her life savings in the form of oil to anoint the feet of Christ and fill the environment, the house, the community with fragrance. Extravagant love really means pouring it into God in a gesture of faith without boundaries.
John 12:1-11
Jesus arrived in Bethany where Lazarus lived. The home that they were in didn’t belong to Lazarus though, it was, according to Mark 14:3, “Simon the Lepers” home. Most of us would never ever think of eating in a lepers house. And many of us would never consider adopting an HIV+ child or allowing the HEP C child to play or wrestle with our kids in our living room. But Jesus went there to eat. Jesus would play with the HIV+ kid, He would give His love extravagantly back to the down syndrome baby and the child crying at the side of the road. Jesus gave His life extravagantly. It was a good time at Simon the Leper’s house. It was also a place where something miraculous and truly great took place.

Mary enters the room and brings Jesus a God honoring offering. She approaches Him, breaks open her alabaster jar, and pours it all over his head. She then falls to her knees and pours what is left on his feet and wipes it with her hair.

The fragrance of the perfume fills the room as tension fills the air.
 Judas rebukes her.
 But the Lord Jesus is just as quick to honor her.
Jesus blessed her gift and made sure that her selfless act would be remembered forever. Jesus visits the home of the Leper, dines and then allows a prostitute to pour out the oil she bought from selling her body in sin to men onto His feet. This boggles my mind. Jesus enjoys when sinful people extravagantly honor Him in serving Him, in glorifying Him. Mark 14:9, “I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”


So a few months after the famous Plaza wedding I stood at another wedding at the Plaza. The father of the bride told me that they almost lost their daughter to cancer when she was a child. They popped the most expensive champagne for her wedding. The father gave a toast in celebration of his daughter being given life when they were sure she would die. I watched on realizing that an expensive wedding was appropriate…I still wondered and was frustrated at what seemed like wasteful spending at other events and then I realized that each one of us is precious….

Today my (neice in law-that means my brother in law’s niece-) was laid to rest. She was 10. Her name was Giovanna. She died of cancer. I think about how blessed she was to have extravagant love poured onto her as a child surrounded by loving parents and family. I know that had she lived to see her wedding we all would have wanted to pour the expensive champagne.

I think about Gio and I then think about all of the children in the world who do not have one person to lay vigil as they die. I think about all of the children who will never have a champagne toast in their honor because they have no mother or father to shower them with love.
I think specifically about a little boy named Baxter in Eastern Europe who is HIV+ who may never have a chance to learn how to read or ride a bike because no one was extravagant enough to ‘bank on God’ and pour extravagant love onto him…I cringe and am brought to tears in thinking that he could die without one person laying vigil at the side of his bed. And I think about how he has a ‘disease’ that if treated is totally manageable…if only someone was willing to be extravagant enough to bank on God and pour their savings on him (like Mary did to Jesus).

Today I was at a birthday party where two adopted children were pampered and surrounded with love. I think about my little girl and my friend’s daughter and I can understand how their lives are worth well more than extravagant love..the kind of love that would fill a room with expensive flowers on their wedding days. I remember how my girlfriend and I prayed for these children and how it seemed risky to ‘invest’ in these children who were qualified and considered by some to be ‘unplanned’ and ‘unwanted’.’ But in ‘banking on God’ with them the incredible thing is that we are the ones that feel like we are soaking in some kind of expensive oil of Christ’s love.

What is more risky? To commit to abiding by Pure Extravagant Religion by ‘banking on God’ or sitting comfortably while the ‘world’ or ‘wall street’ brokers control our life savings….? Shouldn’t we want to be saving lives rather than committing our lives to saving?

When the groom comes back to His bride (the church) after being gone for awhile, and asks, “So how are my children? Have you been making sure that you are caring for them?” What are we going to be able to say?

I hope we can turn to the One and say….”Beloved I poured out everything we have on these children because you told me that in order to honor you I had to take care of them and not be influenced and polluted by the world…so I took all we have saved, every flower from our garden I have bathed them in, every rich fruit I have fed them with and with the most expensive linens I have clothed them with…….and I am amazed to see that new flowers are growing, new fruit is budding and I have filled your closet with the finest silk and velvet from gifts that have been laid at our doorstep…”

What do we believe in ?

There are 147 million orphans…many are dying today. Some of these children do not have one person to care enough to even pray for them. Some are left to starve naked because they are handicapped and have no one to even bring them a banana. Christ wants us to clothe them, feed them and open our homes to them (Matthew 25:31-46).

I remember being on the fence with not knowing whether we should throw an investment onto our children via adoption. I remember being afraid but I know now that I am not going to ever regret the choice we have made to ‘bank on God’. I will never regret pouring what we had saved onto the feet of God’s call to ‘go’ and adopt these children. I know that had I been a goat standing in front of God as someone who failed to recognize the face of Jesus in the eyes of these children I would have wished I had taken the step to join in participating in “Pure Extravagant Religion” while I was still able to.

My children may never get the 1 million dollar wedding. But I no longer judge or criticize the work I do. I realize that there are times that as parents we should pour into our children in celebrating their lives extravagantly. It just grieves me knowing that each life deserves celebrating but for 147 million orphans that rarely means a birthday party. It grieves me to realize that each birthday deserves the special party with tea and dress up and gifts, but so many children have no one to say “we are so glad you were born!”

Get out the good oil….pour it into God’s bank…live your life extravagantly for Him. Believe in Him and be able to look Him in the eye and say “we recognized you when you were a stranger, an angel unaware in the form of the orphan child .We took you in and poured out the finest scented oil on you….then we celebrated Your life and lived and practiced Pure Extravagant Religion for the rest of our days!” And it is a pleasure to be where we are surrounded by the pleasure of Jesus.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Boy am I Getting Ugly!!!



It was a long ugly year. It was also one that I will never forget. I learned so much about ugliness this year and discovered pure amazing beauty as well . I learned that when we step out to reveal our own ugliness, we disarm pretense, we create a safe house in our presence for others and we find that there is liberty in expressing truth and ugliness. It is sort of like washing off the thick make up we had been wearing for weeks on end just to go ‘au natural’ with a clean and freshly washed face. Each wrinkle, sunspot, pimple, mole, in the light of day is beautiful in its authenticity. Kicking off the three inch heels we have worn to give us stature only to run barefoot, feeling the sand, mud, water, in-between our toes, shows us how alive we really are when we walk in humility. Exactly a year ago I released my book, “TO BE A MOTHER.” I was reluctant at first to tell my story about the abortion I experienced and the deep pain, regret, shame, guilt and remorse that I felt. But through prayer it was clearly revealed that this story of God’s grace and redemption must be told. The day before the book was released it dawned on me how naked I would be and how ugly the truth was in my past. I was so afraid and doubtful but knew it was God’s will for it to be written in all of its naked ugly truth. The best lesson I have learned this year is that God loves me as ugly as I can be and as ugly as I have been. I have stood in front of women (whether it is one woman or a crowd of women) in my ‘ugliness’ and reminded them that they are loved and of value because God tells us that we are significant in our imperfection and ugliness. We try so hard to keep the make up applied, the high heels on and the pencil skirts pressed. But sometimes our quest for beauty just makes us feel dirtier and uglier by worldly standards, when we refuse to let the scars be shown. Sometimes the most beautiful parts of us are our scars, moles and age spots that we try to hide.

I expressed my ugliness to a Mexican woman walking into her abortion and gave my testimony for the first time ever in bad Spanish. She ended up keeping her baby. She smiled and waved to me as she left the clinic. I felt beautiful even though I was wearing sweats and a baseball cap.

I told a crowd of women of the ugly day that I wanted to kill myself post abortion. Later, after the event, a woman volunteered to help me carry my things to the car. She confessed her own abortion. I was the first person she had told in 27 years. She cried. We laughed in liberation in the empty parking lot outside of a conference center. We both saw how free she felt once she confessed. It was a beautiful day even though it was cold and rainy .

This summer I was present when a baby was born that had been close to being aborted. I had shared my ugly story with the mother. She shared many ugly stories of her life to me. We both saw Jesus in the face of this child and felt beautiful even though we both hadn't slept in 48 hours.

I was present when a friend of mine had a nervous breakdown in front of my eyes. I don’t believe she would have been able to express her ugliness had she not known of mine. I watched later as she pulled herself out of it and developed an acceptance of her own ugliness. We found beauty in Christ’s grace that day….

I am a different woman now. I have been transformed through ugliness this year. I am so grateful to Jesus for moving the mountains inside of me to make me comfortable enough sometimes to sit in the ugly valley and know that I can make it up to the mountain top to view His beauty too. The ugly valley in all of its ugliness is sometimes where He wants us to be in order to show others HIS true beauty.

I thank God for surrounding me with women comfortable with the ugliness of this world. I thank God for friends like Carolyn, Traci, Leslie, Cindy, Diana who will pick up an ‘ugly’ HIV + child and open their arms and homes to them only to see God in their eyes.

I am grateful for my new friend Teresa who will go into orphanages in the Ukraine and hold and hug an ‘ugly’ child left to starve to death because he has cerebral palsy.

I thank God for Lynette, Sundy, Deborah who will shine a spotlight on the ugliness of human trafficking.

I praise God for Denice and Pam who are relentless in their passion to save the ‘ugly’ unborn babies.

I thank God for Rebecca and Madonna who hold their 'ugly’ down syndrome babies and love them unconditionally.

I thank God for Jodi who is willing to go to ugly places like Haiti and Uganda or advocate for the orphan in DC revealing the ugly truth about an at times flawed process...

Thank you Jesus for Eileen who with her relentless Kolfe Mama attitude unorphaned Solomon who is sure to breathe new life into America representing all of the 'ugly' street kids and discarded children in Ethiopia.

Thank you God for Elaine who has never met a teenager or young adult that she didn’t want to put her arms around and call ‘child.’ There are too many young adults who never know the comfort of a mother. I have to believe the world is a better place because she faced her own ugliness and was able to embrace their’s with joy and acceptance.

I am not the same as I was a year ago. The ugly truth has been a direct and fast path to witness unbelievable beauty that was unavailable to me when I tried to cover up my spiritual blemishes. My friends are beautiful with dirty fingernails that have dug into the messes of this world. I feel so much more put together these days as I walk with these ‘dirty fingernailed’ women. We dig deep, searching to find, as Mother Teresa put it “Jesus in disguise,” in the orphan, trafficked, post abortive and so called flawed children of God with their ugly diseases, birth defects and so far from ‘Gerber baby’ demographic faces. The women I call my friends these days are not the ‘pretty women’ type by worldly standards either. But I believe it is fine with us because our quest is not to fulfill an image of acceptance from the world. We are ‘ruined’ for the world and may never be perceived as beautiful to anyone looking at us with expensive designer rose colored glasses. My friends and their children are beautiful even if the world calls them ‘ugly’ sometimes…WHO THE STINK CARES!!!!! We are alive and more beautiful walking with mud in our toes, dirty fingernails and our messy, imperfect children. Such an honor to dance next to girlfriends like mine with their muddy feet and scars exposed for all of the 'pretty perfect people' to see….

Thank you Jesus for beautiful friends bold enough to run, walk, stumble and fall in a very ugly world!!!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Do it Yourself Laundry Detergent

Okay i am so excited. I am going to share this recipe for home made laundry detergent which I believe originally came from the Duggars but I got it from my really good friend Carolyn Twietmeyer the wonderful mother of many amazing kids from birth and adoption....I have been noticing that detergent has been priced around 12-15 for a large bottle and because we go through so much I have
been opting for the extremely cheap laundry detergent but this is saving me tons of money. I think for the recipe below I probably spent 2-3 dollars......it will fill up 8 bottles ....



Ingredients:
4 cups hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar ... See More
1 cup washing soda
½ cup Borax
Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
Fill a five-gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (It will gel.)
Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per two gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons. Top-load machine: 5/8 cup per load (approximately 180 loads). Front-load machine: ¼ cup per load (approx. 640 loads).