Monday, September 23, 2013

Look what God has done! | 3 years

This past week we celebrated my little brother's 6th birthday! Who is that little brother? Elijah, as in handiworkforElijah.

Which means Handiwork for Orphans has been open for 3 years! THREE YEARS!

And during that three years God has blessed this ministry more than I can believe, and we're not done growing! 

Let's recap:
  • 3 years
  • Founded in Sept 2010 to help bring my little brother home from Ukraine
  • Added Rachel as the missing half of HFO in June 2011
  • Hundreds of hats made and sold
  • Hundreds of dishcloths and other items made and sold
  • 25+ craft sales
  • Several people inspired to start their own shops selling items to help orphans
  • Hundreds of people made aware of our cause and the plight of the orphan
  • Over $7000 raised (estimated)
  • 16+ orphans helped to find their families and come home
  • 6 of those have families working to get them!
  • and 8 are HOME with their forever families!

God is SO good! And we are so grateful to Him, and to everyone who made this possible.

Here's to another 3 years, to more money raised, to more children helped, to more families completed, to more love made.
Dude wasn't cooperating for pictures....
Thank you Elijah! For getting this party started!


Our current child we are raising money for is Maria.

Check all the fun stuff we have fore sale including our newest item - these infinity scarves!

Plus we have LOTS of new cute hats you probably haven't seen! (Find them here!)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting Wednesday: Sarai

Tonight, meet Sarai.

This sweet girl had a family working very hard to get her. They were in country, and then they found out she needed a family with no younger children, which they had.

With very heavy hearts, they had to let her go, and pray another family would love her just as much as they did.

So she is waiting again.

She turned (or is turning) 10 this year. Double digits!

She is HIV+, which can easily be controlled with medication.

She had a positive skin test for TB.

She has Fetal Alcohol syndrome. Which is a pretty scary diagnosis, but not one what that can't be dealt with if you have love and patience. I came across an blog post about FAS the other which I thought explained it very well. You should go read it HERE.

And she has less than $10 in her grant.

That's all I have to tell you apart from the obvious- she is so very cute, beautiful, and needs a family.

So, your mission - share, donate, and find her a family! Ready, set, go!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

3 Things: A Special Day!

Today... was awesome.

Reason 1, which isn't really a reason, is it's the 15th. And you probably know if you've been reading awhile that the 15th of the month is a special day to me. :)

Now for the other 3 things.


Today started way too early, when half of us and Rachel left to go to a church over 2 hours away.

We went to see one of our favorite Ukrainians preach - MAX!

He wasn't able to get it in his schedule to come to our church this trip to the States, so we went to see him.

The church he was speaking at is the church our friend Alice pastors. Alice has known us for probably 8 years now, and she led the mission trip my dad and I went on to Ukraine to work with Max. She has been over to Ukraine 14 times to work with Max, and is a great friend of ours, even though we don't see her often enough!

After the service we got the special treatment and got to go out to lunch with Max and Alice! It was a great time to catch up with them, and just spend some time with them we never get to have.

So grateful we got to see them and grateful they took time to visit with us!

If you don't know who Max is, go read here about the last time he came. You are missing out if you don't know who he is and about his AH-mazing ministry! Visit his website HERE!
(Side note: While going back and reading that blog post to link it here, I realized I was wearing the same shirt I am today. Whoops.)


The second thing.

One year ago today, on September 15th, Lyla Spitz came home!
It was actually after midnight on the 14th, but I count it as the 15th, because ya know, I like that day.
After the three hard but awesome weeks as I took care of Lyla's siblings, Dave and I headed to the airport in the middle of the night to for him to pick up his wife and bring his daughter home, and for me to finally meet the baby girl I had prayed for and blogged about hundreds of times.
It was emotional for sure. I couldn't believe she was actually HOME with her family and I got to witness it! I blogged about it here.
I've seen Lyla twice since then, and my oh my is she doing well!
Welcome home Beanbean! One year! You rocked it, now rock the next one!
*Visit her mama's blog to see how she's doing!



Today, someone has a BIRTHDAY!

Maxim is 9 today!!
Max, not the one we went to visit today, but our other favorite Max, has been special to our family for a long time. But he waited and waited and waited for a family.

But then he found one, the Nance family, and I ended up taking care of Max's siblings too while his mama was gone. 3 weeks last December, and another 4 in January and February.
It was by far the hardest 7 weeks of my life. But so incredibly worth it.
Sick day, for me and the kids, and definitely was not the only one!
Because Max got to come home. When I held him for the first time and looked into his eyes... all the pain and hardship, all the sickness and struggle of the previous weeks faded away. Because he was worth it.
I would do it all over again to get him home.

Because today, for the first time in his LIFE, he got to spend his birthday with a FAMILY. Who loves him soo very much. He is learning and growing, and changing the world, because a family said yes, I will love you.
Happy Birthday Max-a-million!

*Visit his mama's blog to see how he's doing!


What a day! Happy 15th to you all!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A teachable moment.

Today an article popped up on my Facebook feed.

Intrigued, especially since it was posted by someone in one of my Lyme support groups instead of a by special needs adoptive mama, I clicked and started to read it.

It's worth the read and it teaches such an important lesson, for everyone, not just parents.

And it reminded me of something that happened a couple weeks ago.

But before I tell you that story you need to go read it.

When Your Kid Sees a Disabled Person at the Grocery Store

Done? Read it all the way through? No? Go finish.

Now are you all done? Okay.

So a couple weeks ago, I was at one of our local Farmer's Markets, selling the items Rachel and I have made to find Maria a family.

A lady came up with her son, who was probably 5 or 6 years old. They decided to buy a hat.

While she was standing there getting the money out of her wallet, her son was standing next to her, in front of the pile of business cards I had sitting on the table. He was looking at it.

And then he points to Owen's picture and says "Mom, he looks like an alien."
My heart hurt inside, but I pretended I didn't hear and waited to see what his mom would say.

I was disappointed, for the reasons stated so beautifully in the article above, when she only shushed him and whispered that wasn't very nice.

I couldn't let it go, so I used the opportunity, and spoke to the boy.

"His name is Owen. He's not an alien, God just made his head a little different than yours. When he was a baby he didn't have doctors to help fix the shape of his head, and now he's growing up with it still that shape."

His mom, seeming a little ashamed, jumped on board to help me explain. "Remember how your cousin Jacob had a head shaped a little different and had to wear a helmet so it would be the right shape again?"

Happy that she was helping instead of trying to get her son away from me and my "crazy ideas", I continued. "Owen doesn't have a mommy and daddy like Jacob does to bring him to the doctor and get him a helmet to fix his head."

He looked up to his mom, who nodded in agreement.

I kept going. "Some kids don't have a mommy or daddy to love them, to play with them, or give them hugs and kisses. Isn't that sad?"

He nodded his head and said "yeah", still trying to process what I had just told him. His mom smiled at me and they walked away.


That exchange had me thinking the rest of the day. And I realized something else besides just what the article stated, and it's kinda off topic, but still wanted to add it.

The orphan crisis really is as simple as I explained it that boy. We need to see it through the eyes of a child, and be upset like a child would.

Children don't see the big picture, because they don't understand the numbers. They aren't hearing about the bad adoption experiences on the news, nor do they have firm views that they were taught growing up - their minds are open to new ideas much more easily than adults are.

They hear about the problem and do what they can to make a difference, one child at a time.

That's how we need to approach the orphan crisis. With the mind of a child.


Something else, which kinda contradicting to the link I shared above.

I know several moms who it bothers big time when people stare at their children who look a little different.

So maybe if your child is staring, first redirect their gaze gently, but don't just tell them not to stare. Explain that God made that child or person a little bit different than everyone else, but they are should be treated like everyone else. If you know what their special need is, explain that.

Let your child ask questions and don't just tell them that's not nice. And if your child has questions you can't answer, go up to the person or parent of the person and ask respectfully. "My child is curious to know why she/he/your daughter/your son looks a little bit different than everyone else, would you mind explaining to them?"

And if there is an opportunity to lend a helping hand when they need it, by all means, do it, and let your child help too. Such as helping them up if they fall.

I think what bothers the moms who don't like people staring at their kids the most, is that the parents don't anything about it, not so much the fact the kids are doing it. That the parents didn't teach them when they were young and use every opportunity to reinforce it. If your kid stares and asks a question, but you use that opportunity to teach your child right then and there, they will appreciate that.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Waiting Wednesday: Giselle

While staring here at an empty post wondering what to say to get her noticed, not just another of the 147 million, I decided to look up her name meaning.

I figured it might be something like rescued, free, redeemed, loved, or something else that I could use to say she should be.
Instead I was a bit shocked by the first word that came up. Hostage.

That name that was given to her to be listed to find a family means hostage.

And it fits so perfectly, because she is a hostage. Being held against her will in a place she should never have been in the first place.

Getting sicker and sicker everyday, just waiting for someone to come and set her free.

She's being held as hostage in the enemy's camp, the institution. And she needs two brave and loving warriors to fight their way to get to her to rescue her and set her free.
She can't keep living like she is. In the enemy camp.

No one is meant to live as a hostage, especially not a little girl.

Where are the warriors willing to rescue her??

Read more about her here: Giselle

Monday, September 9, 2013

Matthew 18:14

Matthew 18:14 used to be the name of this blog. I have since changed it to What it Means to Love, but the address remains 'matthew18vs14'.

"It is not the will of our Father in Heaven that any of these little ones should perish."

I love that verse, and it fits so well with this blog, because that is the underlying theme. Whether it's sharing about children who need families, praying for those stuck in countries no longer open, helping families with fundraising and such to bring their children home, helping families bring their children home by taking care of their other children, or loving on children already home... it's not God's will that ANY of them should perish.

Not Angela.

Not Owen.

Not Mark.

Not Ekaterina.

Not Jacob.

Not Aisha.

Not Lilly.

Not Sutter.

Not Allen.

Not Maria.

Not Hope.

Not Angelia.

He is not willing that ANY should perish. 

Let's be His hands and feet, and do everything in our power to keep them from perishing.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Waiting Wednesday: Timothy

Today, meet Timothy.

Timothy is living with a family in his country who takes care of special needs orphans.

But he is available for adoption, his papers are ready, and they want to find him a forever family.

He just had a birthday, this past Sunday in fact! He turned 12, but don't let that scare you off.

Older children are just as much deserving of families as the babies. They've waited longer, they've lost out on more.

We need to work to bring them home, and be God's hands and feet to restore what the locust has eaten.

To give these kids hope, and a home, and love. Because they deserve more than what their current future holds for them.

Timothy has 2 years to find a family, and while that may seem like a lot, the process to bring him home may take up a good chunk of that. Plus we don't have to wait till the very end to find him a family!

He is blind and has cerebral palsy. Two things that may seem like huge medical diagnoses, but once you get past the initial appts, and get used to living with them, they really aren't that big of deal. And even if they are, it's better he is taken care of here with a family.

He is FLUENT in ENGLISH! How cool is that? His family won't have language as a barrier to love him! He is also described as an affectionate and humorous boy.

Could he be your son?? I'm sure he'd make a great one!

If ou are interested in him, please email me and I'll put you in contact with the family he is living with- forhisgloryhandiwork(at)gmail(dot)com.