Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Ones Left Behind

"Margie! Answer me quickly!" the text lights up my phone. It's Karina. The urgency in her message is tangible. She needs to connect. She needs to be reminded that she is important ... that she is loved ... that she is human. If, for some reason, I am unable to answer immediately, the next communication I receive from her will be a wave of angry words hammering across my screen. "Why you no like me?" "Why you not my friend no more?" "Okay, I go away. I not bother you no more." "Good-bye!" "I hate you!"

But as soon as I pick up my end of the line, that self-protective facade simply melts away. "Margie! How are you! I am so HAPPY to see you."

It's not Karina's fault her emotions are so unstable. She is one of the unlucky ones. Never chosen for adoption, she remains another faceless statistic, a name on a file, a broken child left behind to try to figure life out on her own.

Being an active member of the adoptive community for more than 20 years, I never thought much about the ones who weren't adopted. Theoretically, I knew they existed ... but ... somehow, I focused mostly on the happily-ever-after stories. The ones where the lonely orphan is engulfed in the loving arms of a forever-family and they all step out wrapped in smiles to face their fairy-tale future. I liked those stories. They made me feel good. They made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

But they didn't tell the whole story.

What happens deep in the hearts of those who have through the years watched in pained silence as one after another of their friends gets adopted, but no one ever comes for them? What does it do to a developing psyche to know you are not wanted ... not desired ... not valued enough to be invited into a family.

Four months ago, through the wonders of social media, Karina reached out to me across the ocean because, as she said, my profile picture "looked happy." Happiness is a mystery for her. She chases after it endlessly, but it is as elusive to her as a shadow in the sun. What she thinks will bring her happiness offers only more heartache and problems.

Bounced from home to home and from orphanage to orphanage, she now exists as an outsider in society. Legally an adult, inside she is still very much a child longing to be held and rocked and loved. There is a tremendous void in her life. Where she should have a core of security built into the very fibers of her being by stable and loving parents, there is only an aching emptiness.

Phone calls reach me from a "friend's" apartment, from beneath a stranger's house, from a psychiatric ward after yet another unsuccessful suicide attempt. I never know when or where I will hear from her next. But I do know what she will ask. "Will you pray with me?"

Somehow, in the shambles of her life and despite the predominant atheism of her country, she has met God and she knows He loves her. Despite that knowledge, hurt and loneliness sometimes overwhelm her and, without human love to lift her spirits, she slips back into the darkness of her empty world. "Why does God hate me?" she asks through her tears. Listening to her stories, it is very difficult to explain that it's not God's hate that has done this to her. It's the apathy of His people.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

From Book to Video ... Look Out Hollywood!

My friend, a marketing guru, suggested I make a video promo of my book. It can't hurt, I thought, and gave it a shot. I finished it last night, previewed it with my family, and received a smashing review of five thumbs up from some of my toughest critics (my hubby and four daughters).

Here, my friends, is the final product:

If you now feel inspired to order your copy, click the book button in the margin on the left OR go here.

Your purchase helps us bring our daughter home. For that, we thank you immensely!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Easy Peasy Chores - Is That Even Possible?

My friend AlinaJoy over at the Good Old Days Farm Blog, told me about her Easy Peasy family chore system. Needless to say, after looking through her easy-to-understand system, I was impressed. I almost wanted to say, "Now why didn't I think of that." The good part is, now I don't have to. AlinaJoy did all the thinking for me ... and you too.

What is the Easy Peasy Family Chore System?

I'm so glad you asked...




This innovative approach to household maintenance includes the following:

* 300+ color cards and also in black and white, in case your family is the artistic type and wants to color your own

* Detailed photo tutorials to help you set up, customize, and use your family's system

* 6 additional pages of ideas to make chores fun

AlinaJoy is a homeschooling mom of four kids under the age of 11 and managing director of The Good Old Times Farm. This amazing lady knows busy! Her system has received rave reviews from many, many other busy moms. You can read them here.

But there's something else I want to tell you about AlinaJoy. She donated the profits from her extremely popular e-book to me to help me fundraise for bringing our daughter to the U.S. from Ukraine. I was really touched by her generosity.

And then ...

She and her husband got matched with a set of four kids from Ukraine and jumped into their own fundraising frenzy. I began to feel really guilty about selling the ebook AlinaJoy donated and began to wonder if AlinaJoy was regretting her decision too. I hesitated. I prayed. Finally, the Lord impressed me with the truth that we all go farther when we work together.

So, although AlinaJoy doesn't know this yet, whatever sales I make from her ebook are going to be split 50-50. That way your purchase benefits TWO fundraising families and ultimately FIVE kids will receive the blessing of a family this December. And you, my dear friend, will enjoy the blessings of a clean house.

Order yours today! This $17.95 investment will save you hundreds of hours of time. Priceless!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Homeschooling Lesson

We're dipping our toes into the homeschooling world. Not taking the full-on plunge, just testing out the waters. As a private school teacher with twenty years tucked under my belt, this is a whole new jungle gym. But, we're surviving. That, at least, has to be a good sign.

Reviewing the girls' assignments tonight, I had to laugh over a free-write assignment I had given. The question was, "Describe what it would have been like to live in Noah's time." Two paragraphs of creative prose straight from an 11-year-old's imagination was supposed to follow.

Allow me the privilege of sharing:

Living in Noah's time was pretty bad. Because no one, except Noah, believed in God. They were killing each other. It was horrible. Very horrible.

Noah and his family were made fun of. But they stayed strong. That was good. Because if they didn't, we would all be extinct.

Her facts are a little off, but her last line really hit me. How often do we think of the very long, I mean eons long, effects our obedience or lack of obedience causes. What if Noah quit his job? What if he refused? What if he didn't build the ark? Yes, God could have found another worker. But what would the consequences have been for Noah and his family?. And, let's face it, ALL of us are descended from Noah's family. The bottom line is, if Noah had disobeyed God, you and I would not be here today.

How often are we called to do something for God and hesitate? It's too hard. It's too expensive. It's too different! We worry that people will laugh at us. And we put God's plans and purposes at risk of extinction. Our fear and excuses kill the very plans and blessings God has in store for us.

I think I'm going to learn a lot from homeschooling my daughters. I just hope they learn something too!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Footsteps in the Dark

The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as the sound of heavy footsteps coming up our front walk broke the early morning stillness. Who could be outside our house this early on a Sunday morning? From the safety of my bed, I stared into the blackness beyond our bedroom window, straining to see who was there. Was I imagining things? I am will aware that my imagination can, on occasion, run away with my fears like an unruly child.

But the footsteps continued. Nearer and nearer our front door they came. Finally, I heard them ascend the front steps and stop on our front porch. I held my breath and tried to quell the wave of panic I felt rising within me. Maybe if I was really quiet the stranger would leave. "Oh, please go away!" I breathed anxiously. Blissfully unaware of all the trauma I was experiencing, my sweet husband lay snoring beside me.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

I jumped up to a sitting position. That stranger was not going away! He was knocking at our front door! All pretense of bravery now completely evaporated and I dove headlong under the covers towards my husband's side of the bed. Grabbing Shawn's arm, I whispered hoarsely, "Someone's knocking at the door!"

One eye peered out at me from under his cocoon of covers.

"Am I snoring too loud?" he mumbled sleepily and rolled over.

The knocking came again with more intensity. It was obvious that our predawn visitor wanted something, I didn't know what, and I wasn't about to find out by myself.

I shook Shawn's arm once more. "Someone's knocking at the door!"

This time Shawn, finally realizing that something might possibly be amiss, opened both his eyes and took out his earplugs. "Whaaaat?"

Nearing panic mode, I opened my mouth to repeat myself, but the knocking came again. This time both of us heard it. Now it was the whites of Shawn's eyes that showed.

He leaned over to turn on our bedroom light, but I quickly pushed his hand away. Since our bedroom window is only a few steps to the left of the front door, I did not want to inadvertently draw attention towards us. What if the stranger had a gun? Which, since we live in the freedom-loving South, was a likely scenario.

Shawn felt his way across our bedroom fumbling blindly for his robe. I tiptoed towards the wall beside the window, using the cover of darkness for protection. Despite my pounding heart, a measure of sanity prevailed as I decided to check to see if the stranger we were dealing with was a friend or foe, sane human being or crazed lunatic.

Flattening my back against the wall to avoid detection, I inched my way closer to the window, finally sidling up to its frame. Once there, I peered outside, straining to pick up any clues as to why this stranger was targeting our house. The outside world appeared completely normal as it lay sleeping, wrapped in early morning gray. My eyes scanned the lawn and sidewalk, then zeroed in on a dark vehicle parked along the curb.

Strange. It hadn't been there when we had gone to bed. I noticed writing on the door of the car. Rubbing my blurry eyes, I could just make out the letters.

P - O - L - I - C - E

An extremely apologetic officer met us at the front door and informed us that a neighbor had complained about our dog barking and disturbing the neighborhood peace. We had heard nothing, but promised to do something about our dog. The friendly officer left as quickly as he had come, leaving us to scratch our heads and wonder which of our neighbors had turned us in. Maybe there was a crazed lunatic in our neighborhood after all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The "F-Word" and the Orphan

I absolutely hate it!

When I hear the word my blood-pressure rises, my stomach ties itself into knots, and I literally feel the strength drain out of me.

It makes me want to run to the high hills...

Bury my head under a pillow...


But, no matter how it makes me feel, I just can't seem to escape it.



Asking people to help fund something I believe in ... but can't produce all the necessary money for on my own.

This time around I'm trying to bring over our daughter from Ukraine on a student visa - not an easy thing to do when her former address is an orphanage.

Eight months of intense fundraising to raise $20,000+.

Well, kind of ...

I've avoided it mostly.

I've tried to pay as much out of pocket as possible...
Hoped I'd find my name attached to a hefty inheritance...
Wished I'd stumble into an abandoned gold mine.

No such luck.

I've sold the book I wrote and the CD my husband created. (Thankfully, people have given rave reviews on both.)
We've done yard sales. We've started a small side-business to offset costs.

I'd so much rather sell something than ask for donations, although I have written a few letters.

Some people have helped with various sized contributions.

Some have said they are financially unable to help at this time, but have committed to praying for us. (These people are the best. They understand that prayers are so much more valuable than money.)

A few, there are always those few, have had some negative comments ("Why add another expense?").

But, the vast majority say not a word.

And, maybe, that's what gets me the most. That nothingness. That feeling of not being heard at all. That empty realization that my heartfelt request just doesn't matter to the rest of the world -- it is NOT important. I am NOT important. Our daughter is NOT important. That is the message carried across the deafening roar of silent disregard.

And, yet, our daughter is important to God.

There are too many miracles in this fundraising venture to think otherwise. The $1000 check that appeared in our mailbox before we even asked. The money that appeared out of nowhere sent by people who didn't even know us. The answered prayers. It just shows me that this isn't our fundraising project. It is God's. And it isn't even our daughter we are bringing over either. She belongs to God too. He is touching hearts on her behalf to bring her here ... one dollar at a time.

Maybe the "F-word" of working with orphans isn't really fundraising ... maybe it's faith.

And God is teaching me how to trust Him through our efforts to bring our daughter home.

He is also showing me that it's not my efforts at fundraising that are most important. While it is vital that I do my best, it is more important that I seek Him first. I cannot lose myself in a fundraising frenzy and expect to be successful. I must keep my eyes on Him constantly for it is He who has woven our daughter's life into ours through events to miraculous to deny. It is He who put the desire to bring her here in the first place. Before we even knew what our plans were, He had a plan.

So today, as the shadow of another payment deadline looms menacingly on our horizon, I quietly reflect on the verse from Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you." King James 2000. Humbly, I murmur a prayer, " Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Mark 9:24, KJV.

Say Yes

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dramatic Cooking Ad - Must See!!!

So, my kids attend a small, private school where gardening and food preparation are required parts of their school day. I love it. Evidently, they do too. Together, they filmed and edited the following video clip advertising this area of our school. Never has cooking looked so inviting to me. Good job, kids!

Click HERE to view it! Enjoy! And happy cooking!