ARFO Summit – Why Adoption is Not Second Best

Note: I had the privilege of speaking at the annual Alianță Romania Fără Orfan (Alliance Romania Without Orphans) Summit  The following is the transcript of my workshop. It was a wonderful group of people, and the first time I have publicly spoken with an interpreter. Here is a picture of a courageous single woman Daniella, who attended the workshop and left very encouraged. She is in the process of adopting a seven year old daughter! Please pray for her and ARFO!

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Greetings to you and your beautiful country from The United States. My name is Bonnie Klein and I have had the privilege to visit Romania every year for the past four years. I have been married to my husband Daniel for 42 years. We have six children. Our oldest daughter, Marie, and her husband Christian and their children live here. Our youngest daughter Isadora was born in Romania. She had lived in an orphanage since birth. She was adopted in 1999 when she was 6 years old.

When my husband and I first married we never planned on having a large family. We had a son, Aaron and then three years later we had a daughter, Marie. Five years later we had another son, Andrew, then a daughter, Sarah and then another son, Timothy.  It was a happy family with five children. Even though by American standards we didn’t have a lot of money, we had lots of love and God always provided everything we needed.

When our youngest, Timothy, was 6 yrs. old, our hearts were stirred to consider adopting a 4-year-old girl. At first, I must confess I felt a little silly. Why would I want another child? I had three sons and two daughters! As a follower of the Lord Jesus, I did believe that every child was created in the image of God and every child’s life has value.

My husband and I had read the scripture in the Bible in James 1:27 –

“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.”

We were caring for my mother who had been widowed. This was acceptable in our culture to care for our elderly parents, but children? I already had a house full of children, then ages 6, 8, 10, 15, and 18! Was there room at our family’s table and in our hearts for one more?

We prayed earnestly about this important decision. We shared the idea with our children. Everyone was in agreement – we did have room in our hearts and we can always make room for one more at our table!

I believe every life has a story. We have the privilege of writing parts of an orphaned child’s story by adopting them into our family. We share our identity with them and our home and our love, as we add chapters to their life story. We do not have to be childless to do this.

This is why Adoption is Not Second Best. Many couples who cannot have biological children will choose to adopt and many people will think it is second best.

We discovered that adoption is not second best, it is instead God’s good plan. In the Bible in Psalm 68, it describes God as this-

“God is in his holy Temple. He is a father to orphans, and he defends the widows. God gives the lonely a home.”

This is God’s plan for the orphan crisis, to give the lonely child a family. For each of us to make room in our hearts and at our table for a child. If those who were able to, made the choice to adopt, then the problem would be solved. You being present here speaks of your heart being concerned for these children. God bless you.

It was 1996 when we started our adoption journey. A little 4-year-old girl name Izidora located in Târgu Mureș was presented as a “waiting child” to us. A “waiting child” was a child that most people did not want to adopt, either because of their age or having some kind of problem. She was four years old, had some developmental delay and a heart murmur that possibly needed surgery.

My husband and I were not nervous about these things. All children, including the ones in our home had different medical needs. When you have a biological child you do not know what you are getting – boy or girl? Personality? Hearing? Think of how different you are from your brother or sister! No two children are alike, each are created uniquely by our heavenly Father.

What I was nervous about was this – could I love an adopted child the way I loved my biological children? How could I know for sure? This was something that we wanted to do and asked God to give us the special love needed for this child.

We discovered that LOVE is more a choice than a feeling. I had chosen love many times for my biological children, from changing a dirty diaper to talking with a teen. In fact, I discovered that it was easier for me to add a child to the end of our family because I already knew that sometimes children could be hard to love!

Our adoption process was a long wait. What was supposed to take one year took three years. By the time Isadora came into our family she was just a few months less of being seven years old. I will not pretend it was easy. All children are a blessing and a burden! An adopted child, especially an older one, will come with painful memories of being very alone. They will struggle to trust you, because their experience is there has been no parent they can learn trust from.

It is a slower road, but today we have so many resources to help us connect with an adopted child. Because I had raised five other children I was able to relax with childish things Isadora did because I was already a mother. It was easier for me to mother her, because I had experience.

As an adopted child Isadora did struggle with identity. I have found this to be true with all six of my children growing up, trying to figure out who they are. It is especially true for an adopted child.

As we loved and encouraged our daughter throughout the years we saw her start to trust us and her siblings. We have told her that her life is a story that God is writing, He brought her into our home and made her a Klein. He has a good plan and purpose for her life.

In the Bible in the book of Acts 17: 26 it says, “From one man God made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and God marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.”

We believe that God also allows her to write parts of her story and now at 25 years old, Isadora works full time and lives independently of us. She gets to make her own choices, and like some of our other adult children, she sometimes makes choices we do not think is the best choice!

She does know these things though – she knows she has a family, people who will always support and love her. She has parents who will listen to her and speak truth to her. She has a place to belong during the holidays. She knows that God has a good plan and purpose for her life.

Isadora’s story is not over, she has a bright future. Her short fifteen years in our home seems like the blink of an eye now. It is a few chapters in the book of her life. Having the privilege of being her mother is one of the best things that has happened to me. I am a better person because of loving her.

I know God in a more intimate way because I now understand His unconditional love for me. Our family table would have an empty spot without her. My heart would have an empty spot without her.

Sometimes the problem of the orphan crisis seems overwhelming. We can be tempted to think that what we do will not make much difference. We have discovered that making room at our family table and in our hearts for Isadora was like planting a seed. And that seed grew and sprouted and multiplied.

Never in our wildest dreams did we think Marie’s trip to Romania in 1999 was more than to help my husband pick up Isadora. But God had more planned. He planted a seed in her heart to love the children here.  She has been back and forth from the United States several times and finally moved here permanently in 2014.

Never in our wildest dreams did we think that our oldest son, Aaron and his wife would adopt internationally, especially from Ethiopia. But God had more planned. When traveling to Ethiopia in 2009 God planted a seed in their hearts to love the children there. They are living and working in the US, while working to create a vocational school for teens in Ethiopia.

Never did we think we would have such a diverse family, but it is one that we are proud of because we believe it is a little picture of heaven, our unity being part of a larger family.

I have found Romanians to be a very hospitable people. So, I would ask you to search your hearts and ask yourself, “Do I have room at our family’s table for just one more? Do I have room in my heart? Is this something I have the ability to do?”

While you ponder those questions, I would like to show you some pictures of our family. Then if you have any questions I will try my best to answer them.

Photos:

1999

January 15, 1999 – We celebrate “Dora Day” the day she entered the United States. I am telling her here that “I am your mama!” I felt instant love for her!

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1999 – This is the picture we sent out to friends and family announcing Isadora joining the Klein family.

2001

2001 – Isadora’s school picture – she is 9 years old and her heart did not require any surgery.

2005

2005 – Isadora’s school picture – she is 13 years old with braces on her teeth.

2008

2008 – 16 years old and her favorite food is Chinese – years of braces are over!

2009

2009 – Ten Year Anniversary of “Dora Day”, so we celebrated with having our picture professionally  taken together.

2009a

2009 – Our oldest son, Aaron served on a local college board. He had a special function that his wife could not attend so he asked his youngest sister Isadora age 17 to be his guest.

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2009 – Easter Sunday and the family has grown to include our first grandchild, Spencer Daniel. Our oldest son, Aaron and his wife adopted Spencer from South Korea.

2010

2010 – Christmas photo and Isadora age 18 has glasses now.

2010a

2010 – My daughters; Sarah, Marie, and Isadora attending a church women’s retreat with me.

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2011 – Regency Ball – Isadora picked out the dress style and fabric and I made this gown for her.

2011

2011 – Mother’s Day with the four remaining children

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2011 – Isadora with her father at her high school graduation – 19 years old

2012

2012 – Isadora with her good friend Loni

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2012 – Isadora with her best friend Paige

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2012 – The family table at Thanksgiving at our oldest son’s home.

2013

2013 – Christmastime with Isadora age 21

2014

2014 – Father’s Day at church – my husband Daniel is in the middle with Isadora, beside him. Our son, Aaron is on the left with his wife Cacey, and our son, Andrew is on the right with his wife, also named Casey! We told our youngest son, no Caseys!

2015

2015 – Isadora receives a book in Romanian for her 23rd birthday from Marie. We have tried hard to help her be proud of her Romanian heritage.

2016

2016 – We had a family reunion and all six children were home at the house they were raised in. It was a special time and they re-posed the same as the original picture of the six of them.

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2016 – This is a picture of me celebrating my 60th birthday last year. These are my precious grandchildren. Aaron and Cacey adopted two more children from Ethiopia, they are on the left, Teddy and Emma. On my right is Spencer, my first grandchild, even though his brother Teddy is my oldest grandchild. The two little matching girls are Addy and Mercy and they live here in Romania and attend the public school. The youngest boy with them is Noelan. He was in the process of being adopted by Marie and Christian and much to our sadness, the adoption process failed. Christian shared in the last session about that story.

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2016 – We also have a grandson Taylor and a new granddaughter Cassidy. Our family has had our share of heartache as I have two granddaughters not with us named Eisley and Ava. It’s important to mention their names as it’s important to remember them.

2017

2017   This is a current picture of Isadora currently 25 years old. She is maturing, working at a McDonald’s and has become a manager! She is in the process of renting her first apartment. She recently has saved her money to purchase a car. She lives just 20 minutes from us. She is self-sufficient. She knows she is loved and has a family. We are very proud of her accomplishments.

Table - Holiday

In the United States we have an annual Holiday called Thanksgiving. It was celebrated just two days ago. Most people eat a traditional turkey dinner. We talk about what we are thankful for. This is a picture of our family’s table from last year. I am so thankful we adopted Isadora and she is part of our family.

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Romania will always be very special to us as this country allowed us to make our family complete.

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This last photo is of a Romanian dinner table with tradition dishes – but you might also notice some empty chairs.

So, I would ask you again to search your hearts and ask yourself, “Do I have room at our family’s table for just one more? Do I have room in my heart? Is this something I have the ability to do?”

Thank you for listening to my story.

The Table

It has been eight months since we left our family home of 29 years. We raised our family there and to downsize was a work we are still recovering from. You could call our new home an eclectic style. This is a nice way of saying that when we cut our square footage in half we kept our favorite or most meaningful pieces and nothing really matches.

Family and friends are kind and say, “Oh they don’t match woods anymore, it’s stylish to mix woods”. I’m glad to hear it as I have mother’s maple floor lamp next to the cherry bookcases, across from the oak family table, etc., etc.

With no children to blame anymore, we recently discovered a white ring on the oak dining room table, left from a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea. The table. One thing that had to come to the new smaller home because it has many memories and it was a special purchase we made.

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The chairs are long gone and twice replaced. However the table itself represents so many dreams for our family. Thirty years ago it was one of the first new purchases we made. It came with two large leafs and I imagined the family gathering around it for many years to come.

Many memories and secrets my table holds. If it could tell the stories of wild games of “spoons” and serious conversations held, that would be a treasure. Marie was sitting at that same table when Christian surprised her, dropped to his knee and proposed in front of the whole family. Much work has been accomplished at that table. The scars and white rings tell it’s story.

This home has a lovely entry closet that can hold the leafs which will rarely be needed. The hosting of Christmas has transferred to the eldest son and wife with the largest home. That’s a good thing since they are gifted with hospitality. Our table now seats just the two of us.

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As we enjoy this season together, we are well aware that eventually only one of us will remain at this table. It actually is a good reminder to love each other well and to live life to it’s fullest. Whether my precious table goes to an adult child or the Goodwill some day, I know it will serve others well.

I also know it will guard our memories and secrets and my special dreams that I had for it.

The Waves of Emotion

A tidal wave overpowers me and I’m left face first with sand in my nostrils.

Carries me out to sea again and tossed to and fro amidst the garbage floating by.

I thought I was on a hill of safety, far enough from the sea of emotions that desires to drown me.

But alas safety was not to be found, even though it appeared safe…t’was not.

I’ll survive. I don’t feel like I will, but I always do.

There are times when the exhaustion is such I’m thinking that succumbing to the waters would be a relief. A selfish relief, but a relief never the less.

But I have a beloved and even though he is beaten and battered too, we walk side by side, searching for higher hills of safety…
together.

An Open Letter to our Adult Children

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Dear Aaron, Marie, Andrew, Sarah, Timothy and Dora,

On this eve of our 42nd wedding anniversary we wanted to take this opportunity to share some thoughts we have.

Dad wants you to  know that he believes that controversial subjects and politics should never take precedence over a relationship within the immediate family. That is true for each one of us, even mom and dad. We are all very different.

Aaron Edwards said he was hoping to have CNN interview our family during the presidential election campaign because none of us are of the same opinion. We could have made some big bucks!

Seriously we want you to know we are not trying to silence your individual voices, you are all very passionate about different things. We raised passionate kids!

We are asking each family member to consider the following:

Instead of arguing over these passions, we thought it would be helpful to use some principles that Pastor Phil preached last month. If you want to listen to it, the sermon and link is as follows:

Adventures in Faith – Living a Life of Conviction, Part 12 – Daniel 3:1-30 / 2017.07.23

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/auburngrace/episodes/2017-07-23T12_00_45-07_00

On the overhead Pastor Phil had the following:

Preferences, Conscience, and CONVICTIONS

Preferences: individual choices which are NEITHER right nor wrong

Conscience choices: right or wrong for me PERSONALLY

Moral Convictions: choices that are right or wrong for EVERYONE

We all have preferences, our favorite baseball team is the Dodgers, someone else’s is the Giants, Pastor Phil’s is the Padres. No matter what we want to say truly neither is right or wrong!

Our Conscience choices are different – we called these “convictions” growing up. In Daniel 1:11-13, Daniel and his friends felt they could not eat the king’s food because of their conscience. In the New Testament some believers could not eat meat offered to idols. Some Christians are conscientious objectors and do not serve in the military. Many Christian’s feel they cannot vote for someone who is not pro-life while others feel they can.

Finally, there are Moral Convictions and with these it doesn’t really matter how we “feel”. They do not come from us, we are not the authority. They come from The Ten Commandments in the Old Testament and The Greatest Commandment in the New Testament. These are God’s Moral Convictions for ALL human beings.

The Greatest Commandment is found in Matthew 22:37-39 – Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

We know that you all agree that racism is wrong, especially when you look at The Greatest Commandment. God created one race – the human race – in His Image.

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We believe it is essential for us as a family to treat each other with love and respect, which truly is loving your neighbor as yourself.

We think where we have had conflict in the past is when we passionately think of our Conscience choices as having the same value as God’s Moral Convictions.

If we are loving the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind along with loving our neighbor as ourselves, then we are willing to humbly set our choices aside out of love. We are careful to not misrepresent the Lord or hurt another person out of love. We are more concerned with our testimony than being right.

We respect that the Lord has made all people different, including those in our family, some leaning to be more sensitive than others. So, we don’t argue with and try to change others.

We set aside our preferences and our choices are compelled by love for others.

The same principle of ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ needs to occur for our multiracial family to be healthy and whole. There are both whites and blacks that feel it is wrong to have a multiracial family. The National Association of Black Social Workers wrote a positional statement against multiracial adoption. It is not simply white supremacists that we battle against.

Pastor Phil said, “We best function as a society by living God’s ten Moral Convictions and The Great Commandment.”

Mom and Dad would echo, “We best function as a FAMILY by living God’s ten Moral Convictions and The Great Commandment.”

Social media has the opportunity for much good, but it has also created a bunch of bullies. Let’s try to be compelled by love with one another. Also know that it is okay to have boundaries and not follow each other on social media if we find ourselves hurt or embarrassed or simply sad. Mom will probably be “unfriending” some of you, but please know that she isn’t “unloving” you.

Lastly, Dad would ask you to consider this question – what is more important to you as a family member – to express your own personal opinion in this broken world or to be sensitive to each other out of love and respect?

God has richly blessed us as a couple and the six of you are a big part of that blessing!

It certainly has been a wild ride this adventure called marriage and family!

We love each one of you more than you will ever know. Dad and Mom

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A Poem for Eisley and Noelan and Ava

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Sweet Grandchildren lost to me

for a season, but not forever

My arms are full, yet empty

because you are missing

Last night I saw you

in the eyes of another

running with play, squealing with delight

cooing, crying, alive with being

Know you are missed

Know you are remembered

No-one could ever replace you my darlings,

my little ones who still live in Grammie’s heart.

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Happiest of New Year’s to You!

Hope, Joy, Peace, Love – These are the four Sundays of ADVENT that we just celebrated.

Over the years our family has lit the candles and tried different devotionals. The past five years we have been at a church that lights the candles each Sunday and the sermon will often focus on that week’s word.

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Wikipedia says- “Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming”. Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from three different perspectives. “Since the time of Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153) Christians have spoken of the three comings of Christ: in the flesh in Bethlehem, in our hearts daily, and in glory at the end of time.” The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.”

So even though the word means “coming” it involves “expectant waiting”. I now realize this expectant waiting seems to be part of everyday life, not just the for weeks before Christmas.

This hoping for good times to arrive, for the storms of life to settle. Yet it often seems that just when one storm is settling that another is brewing on the horizon. Such is life.

2016 was a good year for me. Looking in from the outside one might not think so as 2016 has brought my share of storms and I’ve had to learn to wait as never before. I’ve been brought to a place of letting go, of surrendering and riding out the storms and that’s what’s been good.

I see a subtle change in me, one that involves more Hope, more Joy, more Peace, and more Love. I have better perspective and more emotional well being. I realize this life is much like the weather, as much as we try to predict it, as each day dawns we really don’t know what it holds.

So for 2017 I’d like to embrace what each day holds and live in the advent way where I have Jesus ruling my heart daily and I am being “alert for his Second Coming.” I want to be anticipating his return for us with hope and joy, peace and love.

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I think this will give me a needed perspective when my prediction of life is “clear and sunny skies” and the day proves to be “drizzling with drama”.

Hopeful that 2017 brings you personal growth, that you might find Joy in the simple things, that you would worry less and have more Peace and Love others the way you desire to be loved. Happy New Year. ❤️

Quiet and The Cross

It’s interesting what I discover in life’s journey when I am afforded longer periods of quiet.

This trip to Romania gave me that. Quiet.

Quiet simplicity was found in the ministry of the mundane.

Yes there was noisy bustling traffic and wild dogs barking at night and grandchildren who giggled with glee, but I wasn’t responsible for any of that.

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The lack of responsibility resulted in my brain relaxing in a rare way. My thoughts were simpler and there was no phone or bustling schedule to remind me of the responsibilities of this life.

So as I went through my day, often with longer periods of quiet, pondering life and talking with God, I saw clearly for the first time my contribution in hurting someone.

I’m so thankful it was quiet enough for me to actually hear this truth. My friend Mary said if we step on someone’s toe by accident or on purpose, their toe still hurts and we need to acknowledge that.

I pondered Matthew 18:23-35 where Jesus tells the story of the forgiven yet unforgiving servant. The king forgives the servant of such a huge amount and then the servant goes out and starts choking someone who owes him a tiny amount. Much like we do. Much like I’ve done.

We’ve been forgiven of so much, yet hold such high standards for everyone. I discovered by focusing on the forgiveness I received that those offences by others seem trivial in the shadow of the cross.

So I was able to write a letter of apology and in my heart I was truly hoping the best for them. I was able to fully forgive their offenses against me when I finally acknowledged my part in it.

Then the resentment left and there came a lightness and peace I can’t even describe.

When I compare myself to others I can look pretty good, but looking at the cross is a different story. I purposed  to start focusing on my forgiveness and the cross. I started listening to music that focused on the cross. I really took a look at my identity in the cross of Jesus and I’m excited about what I’ve discovered.

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When I focus on the cross I am reminded of His sacrificial love for me. I am reminded of my humanness and I can humbly embrace it, instead of hating myself for my human weaknesses.

The cross forces me to realize there is nothing I could ever do to repay him and Jesus doesn’t want me to try to. I decided I wanted to bring back from Romania a sterling silver cross that would remind me of this quiet revelation in the glorious Romanian autumn.

I can now understand why one might find a monastery appealing. I’m pondering the idea of taking one day a month to just be alone with God, to be quiet and listen for several hours uninterrupted, to fast and pray and seek Him. Because in that quiet I hear God more clearly. I read the Bible and the Holy Spirit illuminates my mind and opens my heart to truth.

I don’t want to wait until I return to Romania for that quiet time without responsibility. If I am able to set my phone aside and have quality time with a friend….I certainly am able to do the same for the one who shed His blood for me.

#MinistryoftheMundane

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I would not want to be anywhere other than where I am right now. Not even on a cruiseship with my beloved, not on a plane to Paris, not anywhere else. I’m in Eastern Europe and in the past four years this is my sixth visit!

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I am not a big time traveler, but you wouldn’t know it considering my history here. I’ve come to Eastern Europe three times with Danny, once with Cacey and kids and twice now by myself. Note “Eastern Europe” because there is a big difference between that and going to “Europe”….which by the way… I’ve never seen normal Europe, but everyone tells me there is a big difference.

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I was that child who was happy as a clam playing dolls in my tidy bedroom, my first little nest. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have never left my present nest located on American soil had Marie not left. My love for her and her family pushed me out of my comfort zone.

I remember the lyrics of the song “Oceans” that originally confirmed to me I was to courageously go.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

With such a strong conviction that God was calling me to go I had so many ideas of WHY I was to go…To share the good news of Jesus? To work in the baby hospital? To share with the teen girls on Friday night? So trip after trip I came and I did many things, but I always left thinking my being here feels really small. Physically I couldn’t do what I had imagined, like daily going to the baby hospital. However, clarity came before I left on this trip. I’ve been called to the ministry of the mundane.

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This is a good thing….yes it is ordinary and unexciting, but I excel in the ordinary things of this world. I am slow and meticulous, that’s how I was designed by my designer. I thrive in unexciting…at home I still opt out of the Demolition Derby at our little Gold Country Fair. I guess that’s why as a child I loved my quiet room and my dolls. I still remember being scared out of my wits when everyone would holler at the TV with the Super Bowl on. Nothing has really changed.

I am a teacher at heart, so with the ministry of the mundane I can invest in my granddaughters, helping them with their English. They actually listen to me right now at their ages! We read together, we color together, we do puzzles together, we journal together, we eat together, we connect.

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I know I am helping their parents by loving on their girls, plus I love doing it! I also love doing the ordinary, unexciting, mundane job of dishes and laundry and if it gives both Marie and Christian a break then I’m thankful! You see, on the other visits I did many of these mundane things, but I always tried to weigh it against the cost and came up what appeared unbalanced.

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That is how things are in God’s economy. What I see as small, He values. I see through a glass darkly, but one day I shall see face to face. Until then I’m just your average lover of Jesus who happens to also be a late-bloomer!

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Are You a Nester or a Wanderer?

Are you a nester or a wanderer? This journey of trying to sell our home and move has been rough on me, for I am a nester. Like a bird, gathering items from my travels, I bring them home with the sole intent to line the nest with them. I think I am married to a wanderer. He loves to travel and if possible drags (oops, invites) me along. I’m pretty agreeable as long as I have a firm date to return to the nest.

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Last night my wanderer challenged me that I need to stop looking at possible new homes until our current home is firmly in escrow. He thinks it is making me anxious. The idea of having no idea where our next nest is doesn’t bother him at all. He has faith that God will provide. I do too! However, I don’t seem to be able to relax like he does. I lay there in bed beside him and prayed, “Lord help me understand what he is trying to tell me.”

I knew that looking at houses didn’t make me anxious, in fact it actually helps me relax somewhat – “Oh this could be my new nest!” “We could afford this little nest!” What was my wanderer trying to get across to me? I wasn’t getting it. He knows me better than anyone on this earth. Then my silent prayer was answered and I understood. I have been reverting to my childhood ways….

When I was a child and Christmas season came, my mother wrapped beautiful gifts and arranged them perfectly under the tree. It looked like a magazine. Daily I would sneak in there and lift each one carefully out and analyze it. I would turn it and listen, gently shake. What was it? Did I ask for it? Could it be such and such that cost so much? What if it was that thing I didn’t really want?

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When I went to bed last night I thought, (spoiler alert – this  might offend some) “Is God like Santa Claus?”. Does my heavenly father have a good gift for me and can I trust him to bring me what I need and want? A new nest to enjoy and keep ready for when my wanderer returns from his sales trips? Do I need to tell Him what I need or want, like writing a letter to Santa?

We raised our children without writing lists to Santa, but rather writing lists of how they would give to others. We never had wrapped gifts under the tree but rather the nativity, to help them focus on the real meaning of Christmas. The gifts were there under the tree when they awakened on Christmas morning.

We were trying to encourage their focus. I think that is what my husband was trying to help me with when he was talking to me last night. My focus. Quit shaking and analyzing the real estate market. Quit trying to figure out where my new nest is. I hadn’t even wanted that nest, but maybe this is it! Quit being scared my new nest is something I didn’t want or need.

This morning one of my favorite songs, “Good, Good Father” came on and it was a lovely confirmation to me.

Oh and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers only you can provide
’cause you know just what we need before we say a word

You’re a good good father-
It’s who you are, It’s who you are, It’s who you are.
And I’m loved by you- It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am.

So like an old fashioned Klein Family Christmas, I am going to focus on the now and the gifts He has given me today…my life, full with family and friends and His love and grace….and Watson.

And when that gift of a new nest comes, I’m going to just love it! I know I will, because He’s a good, good Father, it’s who He is.

 

 

 

 

A Judas Kiss

 

In February when Danny and I were vacationing, Marie and Christian contacted us about the possibility of adopting a little boy named Noelan. They wanted our thoughts. Of course we know personally that adoption and attachment isn’t an easy thing, but we also know that in this Christian walk Jesus often calls us to do things that aren’t easy.

I personally do not believe that everyone is called to adopt. Not everyone has the ability to love a child that is not their biological child. There are different callings for different people. We knew that Christian and Marie were praying and asking God for His direction. So we answered them we are 100% behind them in following God’s call and would help in any way we can.

After Danny and I had picked up and transported Noelan to emergency respite care and before the Burtts had arrived from Romania, my daughter said something so profound to me. She told me that even if they were not going to adopt Noelan that they still would have been willing to come back if only to come along side their friends to support and love them during such a difficult time.

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That was the level of love Marie and Christian had for their friends. It is a Christ like love that lays down one’s life for a friend. Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13  Most people think Jesus is speaking about death, but actually that is not what it says….it says “lay down one’s life” and that’s what I saw Marie and Christian do hour after hour, day after day, month after month as they ministered to this little confused boy from Africa, working hard on his attachment and trust.

I actually think laying one’s life down in death could have been easier in some ways. To look back and realize that we led this child to believe he was a part of our family and he was secure makes us literally ill. If they had chosen to be honest with us we could have reminded him of who his parents were going to be and treated him in a more appropriate way for his well being. The pain is so great in betrayal. I liken it to emotional rape.

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As more and more unfolds it seems a web of deceit started from very early on. It appears to be a premeditated betrayal. As victims we somehow feel responsible, but each of us know that’s not true. A person isn’t raped because their skirt was too short, it happens because there are evil people in the world who purpose to hurt others to gain what they want.

Dear God, how can something like this happen? It’s called a Judas kiss. An act of affection under a guise with fraudulent, evil motives. It happened to Jesus so I guess we shouldn’t be so surprised when it happens to his followers.

Luke 22:47-48 tells us – While Jesus was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

judas kiss

Jesus knew what was going down, He wasn’t surprised, He was simply calling Judas on it. And in our situation with Noelan I know that Jesus was not surprised either. He knew what was going to go down with this sweet baby boy and He still asked Marie and Christian to come and try to help.

We will never be the same. We can’t save Noelan, but God can. That’s one of the reasons I suggested changing the name of his page from #savenoelan to #prayfornoelan. Pray for a little boy who is now certain to struggle with attachment disorder since he has been so thoughtlessly messed with and emotionally abused. Pray for the Burtts as they prepare to return to Romania purposing to continue to lay down their lives for others. Pray for emotional healing of our broken hearts and for spiritual renewal. Pray Marie and Christian can continue to “reject fear and choose love”. Because that’s what Jesus did for us.

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