Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Lady Who Loved The Lord

I was reading today about "Grandma Holt."  Bertha Holt, and her husband Harry, were farmers in the 1950s, raising their six biological children in Oregon.  Then in December 1954, Harry and Bertha watched a documentary film showing children in Korean orphanages after the Korean War.  The images stirred both of their hearts.  First the couple sent money to help the orphans.  And even though they felt they had done all they could, they could not forget about those waiting children.  The money would provide them some food and clothing.  But what the children needed even more was a family.  They needed somebody to love them.  

This is the part I found especially fascinating.  You see, "international adoption" barely existed at that point in history.  There was not a page full of adoption agencies in the phone book to call up to get the process started, because it had almost never been done!  And yet Harry and Bertha both, separately, felt that the Lord was giving them a clear message:  "Go!  Adopt!  Love my children."  As Bertha tells it, Harry announced, "I think we ought to adopt some of these children."  And she told him she felt the same way.  Then Harry asked her, "How many do you think we could take care of?"  Bertha considered the question and told him, "I suppose we could care for six of the Korean war orphans."  And it was Harry's response that is my favorite of all:  "Oh my, we have plenty of room for eight, or ten, or even more."  Love this guy!

So they decided on eight children, and wasted no time in writing to Washington DC to start the adoption process.  They were informed, however, that they would be allowed to adopt only two children from Korea.  They stood firm in their belief that they were being called to adopt eight.  Impossible, they were told.  The only way that could possibly happen would be to convince both houses of Congress to change the current adoption laws.  The Holts did not take that as a closed door.  They took it as a to-do list!  They petitioned Congress.  They wrote lots of letters.  They rallied for support.  They prayed.  Then, before Congress had even made a decision, Harry packed his bags and headed to Korea to search for their eight children.  Talk about faith, right?  He felt that God would lead him to four little boys and four little girls that were to be his children, and he did not want to be away from them a moment longer than necessary!  

Bertha stayed home to run the farm, care for their six children, and wait for God to work a miracle in Congress.  And in just two short months, special legislation was introduced in the Senate and "The Holt Bill" was unanimously passed allowing the Holts permission to bring eight Korean orphans into the US.  When photographers and reporters requested an interview, Bertha told them, "Oh, we're not nice looking.  And I'm only a farmer's wife.  But the children will be home from haying around five."  

Meanwhile, Harry had searched the orphanages for the children he felt the Lord had in mind for them.  He confided to his wife in a letter, "I don't allow myself to get too wrapped up in the cute, fat ones.  They're the babies others will want.  I want the kids that look frightened and lost.  I just wish I could take all of them."  He selected eight children and took them to his hotel room to care for them while waiting on Congress.
He began to get to know his new little blessings and spent his days caring for them, but little Judy, weighing less than ten pounds, was too weak and sick, and she went to be with the Lord before ever making it to America.  

Finally Harry arrived home with the children, and Time magazine covered the story.  The magazine article described Bertha rocking a pair of babies to sleep the first night home as "a picture of contentment."  
The Holts received a lot of criticism from the public for this adoption.  In the 1950s, adoption was supposed to be a secret!  At that time, agencies took great care to match a child to a family based on hair color, eye color, skin color, etc, so that nobody would ever know the child had not been born to those parents.  The fact that the Holts brought home children from Korea, and EIGHT of them, and the fact that they were so open about the adoption, caused many Americans to do one of two things:  criticize, or re-examine their own ideas regarding adoption.  After all, the Holts all loved each other EVEN THOUGH they didn't all look alike!  The Holts found time to nurture a houseful of little ones all at the same time.  Harry and Bertha, a simple farmer and his simple wife, had changed history.  
Harry and Bertha soon received hundreds of letters from parents across the country asking how they, too, could adopt Korean war orphans.  Those letters inspired the beginning of Holt International Children's Services, which is now the largest international adoption agency in the world.  And even after Harry died, Grandma Holt felt led to carry on the ministry of Holt International.  She said, "This work was always God's work.  If He wants it to continue,  it will."  Because of her unshakable faith and her deep love for children, just think how many children are now a part of a loving forever family!  When asked how she would like to be remembered, Bertha replied, "That lady who loved the Lord."  And what better way to remember her?  

(quotes from My Family, A Symphony by Aaron Eske, and

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Can Do All Things

The next time you feel like God can't use you, 
just remember........

Abraham was too old.
Joseph was abused.
Moses wasn't a fluent speaker.
Gideon was afraid.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young.
David had an affair and was a murderer.
Elijah was suicidal.
Jonah ran from God.
Naomi was a widow.
Job went bankrupt.
John the Baptist ate bugs.
Peter denied Christ.
The Deciples fell asleep while praying
Mary Magdalene was demon posessed.
The Samaritan Woman was divorced..... more than once.
Paul was "too religious" to see the truth.
Lazarus was DEAD!!!!!!

......... no more excuses now.  God is waiting to use you to your full potential!!

(I'm not sure who wrote this first, but it is so true!)

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!

Philippians 4:13

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prayers and Blessings

My Prayers Today:

  • That somebody would hug Gideon and Micah today.
  • That somebody would smile at them.
  • That their tummies are full.
  • That the Lord would whisper into their ears, "Soon, little one, very soon," and that He would wrap them in His peace.
  • That we would get an update on the status of both of these boys before we travel.
  • That we would get a travel date.  

My Blessings Today:

  • Cozy home out of the cold, drizzly rain.
  • Fridge full of good food for my family (and freezer full of nice home-cooked meals ready to be cooked for my kids while we are traveling.)
  • Three sweet cuddly children who never complain about my off-key singing and never get tired of hearing stories read aloud to them.
  • Hubby has steady work and rushes home from work every day, changes out of his sopping wet clothes, and then rushes into the living room to get mobbed by his adoring fans.
  • My favorite new neighbors, a.k.a. my wonderful parents, who are currently living in their RV in our driveway, ready to swoop in and take over the care and feeding of my children whenever we get a travel date (not to mention the farm animals, housework, homeschooling, and extracurriculars!)
  • Still having trouble even comprehending this one.  We have been trying to juggle numbers to figure out how to cover travel costs to and from our boys' country.  Three round trip adult tickets (first trip times two parents, second trip for me, two one-way child tickets.)  Well, today I got a phone call.  There is a lovely lady who wants to pay for all of our airline tickets.  They are paid for!  BLESSINGS just isn't a big enough word!  This is amazing!  And the most amazing part of all?  I have never met this dear woman.  She heard about us through some wonderful friends from church, and she wanted to do something real.  And this?  This is real!  Two real live little boys will, God willing, be home very soon because a faithful daughter of God chose to make LOVE a VERB today.  I am just in awe!  Our God is an awesome God!  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Praying for News

Praying for news . . . We are waiting . . . there are so many lovely families waiting on news from the country that we are adopting from.  Rumors abound.  Could they be true?  Could news be coming soon?  Could adoptions start moving again in the near future?  We are just waiting for an update.  Waiting on a travel date.

Praying.  Hoping.  Preparing.  
Dreaming.  Packing.  Waiting.  

Hang on, dear little boys.  
Mommy and Daddy are coming for you.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Today is Their Day (?)

Today is Orphan Sunday.  Not really feeling much joy in reporting that my *future* *hopeful* sons are still orphans.  Wish they were here.  Longing for my boys so much today.  

(Yes, we are hoping to adopt another little boy in addition to Gideon, but no, we are not yet free to post his photo or identity publicly.  Sure wish we could!)

You may know that our adoption process is at a stand-still currently.  (Or if you didn't, then you do now!)  Our boys' country is undergoing some pretty major changes in their government, and reorganizing their entire adoption process.  This takes some time.  Perhaps lots of time.  And some of the rules are probably going to change in the process.  Which ones?  We don't know yet.  Will our boys still be available for adoption once everything is ready to go again?  We don't know yet.  We may need to submit new paperwork.  Which papers?  We don't know yet.  How much more will this cost?  We don't know yet.  How long of a delay will this cause?  You got it . . . we don't know yet.  

So for the last few weeks we've only had the above information.  Which really stinks!  Well, we got somewhat of an update on our adoption process today.  Finally, right?  How exciting, right?  Except really the update is:  No new news.  Keep on waiting.  How long?  Nobody knows.  We know that no families are being given travel dates at this point, and who knows how long until things may start moving again.  Yuck.  Happy Orphan Sunday.  

This is Orphan Sunday.  Apparently the one day each year that the church sets aside their busy schedules for a moment to remember the orphans.  You know, the ones Jesus commanded the church to care for?  Just seems like if we are the body of Christ, then shouldn't every day be Orphan Sunday, or Orphan Monday, or Orphan Tuesday?  Really?  They just get one day?  All 147 million of them, and they get this one day.  Well, anyway, I hope the church really made it count!  All I know is, my boys are still there, and we are still waiting.  

Recently I heard something said in a movie, "The Grace Card."  (Great movie, by the way!)  One of the characters said something like, "Sitting in church on Sunday morning, that's like the locker room.  It's just a pep talk.  The rest of the week?  That's the game."  You think?  
So if you missed Orphan Sunday, that's okay!  You can make tomorrow Orphan Monday!  You can make every day Orphan Day.  You can pray for an orphan.  You can donate to an orphan's adoption fund.  You can do a fundraiser for an orphan.  You can donate time to an orphan.  You can share an orphan's story with others.  You can support a family who is adopting, or has adopted an orphan.  You can consider adopting an orphan yourself!  You don't need to save it for just this one day each year.  147 million kids are waiting, each and every moment of each and every day, waiting to see whether anybody in the whole wide world will love them.  And Jesus commanded us to care for them.  
What do you say, church?  

"I'd like to ask God why He lets 
poverty and injustice exist,
why there are so many orphans,
and why He does nothing about it,
but I am afraid He would ask me
the same question."
~unknown source