Sunday, March 28, 2010

Poetic Moments Galore

Much time and energy have been devoted to our journey to Keemberlie. But two other beauties occupy my day as well and every moment with them it poetic. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the last few days.
hip hop hat wearing beauties (left) and Gracie's last bottle (right). And yes - I cried.

Gracie is soooooo close to walking. She stands like this all day long but will not take steps (at least not when I'm watching).
Libby was posing for me in this shot. Our neighborhood has the best soccer field with soft, winter grass. We've enjoyed many afternoons just rolling around and playing in that field. 
This was Libby's Lemonade stand at our garage sale. She made $9.50 and is very proud of it! The garage sale was successful for us. We raised $400 to go towards our adoption of and the needs of Keemberlie.Gracie can't reach the pedals yet, but she wants so badly to ride like her sister. We cleared out the garage so they could bike in the shade...a true sign of their princess status - LOL!

New Pictures of Keemberlie!

Rosanna, a RN from San Antonio, was in Haiti working at HCRM when Katie dropped in to meet Keemberlie. Rosanna later found me on FB and told me she was headed back to SA and had many pictures of Keemberlie! I was so excited, but I have a swamped schedule through Easter so I had no time to meet with her. Tonight, I was very happy to find that Rosanna had posted the pictures on her fb page and tagged me to them. Keemberlie is so beautiful and seems to happy in these photos. Thank you, Rosanna, for sharing these priceless photos with us!

In this picture Keemberlie is holding a coloring book page that she colored for us. Rosanna brought it back to SA and when I can meet with her she has it for me!
Keemberlie with Rosanna
Keemberlie and JamesonLooks like they're having fun!
Keemberlie with her best friend and a cute little boy.
Love the cute dress she is wearing in this oneI LOVE this picture of Keemberlie in her cute little sundress. And below is a picture of a boy named Rood. His story is amazing. He is the only amputee at HCRM. He lost his arm when his mother covered him with her body during the earthquake. She was killed protecting him and he was buried in the rubble with her laying on his arm for 2 days. His arm had to be amputated, but he lived and he is an amazing boy with a huge testimony. We actually know the family here in San Antonio that is matched to him if he is able to get a medical visa! Pray for Rood!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Few Details

1. The picture of Keemberlie with her best friend... We found out today that her best friend's name is: Frantina Pierre. She is a post-earthquake orphan and so she is not matched to a family yet. We will have to keep up with what God has in store for her.

2. In the video, Frantina is wearing the same outfit that Keemberlie wore in the picture featured in the SA paper.

3. No one knows what this means, but is seems that Haiti has begun processing some adoptions...not sure to what extent, but things are moving along in Haiti faster than what anyone had imagined after the earthquake in regards to getting things going...but that does not mean its any faster for us. No one knows how this could change the process we are going through to get Keemberlie home. I am still praying for the Hope Act to pass because, in my mind, that would get her here faster and we could finish her adoption here. But if adoptions are fully being processed then we will have to do the adoption while Keemberlie waits in Haiti. Before the earthquake some adoptions were taking YEARS. And that makes my heart sink. Keemberlie can't wait years. She's 6. I am so burdened for her need to come home. Makes me cry. Please pray that God will move and make a way for her to come home as soon as possible. On the other hand, adoptions becoming open in Haiti is a GREAT thing. It means more orphans will be given the chance to have families. That is wonderful news!

4. The lime green blanket given to Keemberlie in the video was made, originally, by Mrs. Billie Gill for our trip to China to get Libby. The blanket traveled with us to China to keep Libby warm. Then it traveled with us to Ethiopia for Gracie and now it is in Haiti with Keemie. I love the way she takes hold of it and puts it to her nose to take a sniff, and then she smiles. Love that!

5. Katie was also able to find out for us that Keemberlie was living with her grandma when HCRM found her. The grandmother was sick and dying so she gave Keemberlie to HCRM. I don't have any information on her actual parents. Just that the grandmother had custody of her and was unable to care for her any longer. So Keemberlie has only been an orphan since the summer of 2009.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Meet Keemberlie

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Keemberlie Julien With Her Best Friend

Today I received 2 more pictures of Keemberlie. She is with her best friend. We are not sure of her friend's name. It is either Francis, Francie or Francine... I am hoping she is being adopted by a family close by so Keemberlie can keep in touch with her. Wouldn't that be glorious!?

I've also viewed some SWEET video clips of Keemberlie. After watching them and reading some of your blog comments about her name, I am considering keeping her name just as it is. I'm even thinking of keeping the pronunciation the same with the "lie" being the stressed syllable. It just sounds so pretty on the video. They also call her "Keember" (with the stressed syllable being "ber"- which sounds like "bear") which is so cute! Libby puts "bear" after all our names. She calls me "mommy-bear" and Billy is "daddy-bear" and Gracie is "Lulu bear" so Keem-bear will fit right in! When I can get the video in a small enough format to share, I will do so. Until - here are the 2 new photos.

My heart doth swell!  Oh, And I wonder if "Francis" is also the girl laying behind Keemberlie in the picture featured in the SA newspaper. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Her Name Is Keemberlie

Keemberlie Julien. That's her Haitian Creole name. The one thing she has to call her very own.  And above, is the first and only picture we had of her until recently. Today I discovered that we can share her name and her pictures with you. And, as her mom, I am eager to do so. She is a Christmas baby - well, late by one day - December 26, 2003.

The meaning of names is important to me. But because Keemberlie is 6 years old we don't want to change it. So I decided, early in this process, to see what her name means. I believe I shared this with some of you before, but I don't believe I blogged about it. Her name, Keemberlie (pronounced like "Kimberly" as we know it), actually means, "From a royal forrest". When I read those words it immediately came to me that Haiti is probably one of the most de-forested countries in the world. And right then it was as if God was showing me - This girl's life, though she is a citizen of Haiti, is not under the authority of Haiti as much as she under the authority of The Royal Forrest - the lush, life-giving Kingdom of God. And as a child of the King she is under his care and the Power above all powers. Her name is a promise over her life. A promise of royalty. A promise of abundant life. A promise of salvation.

We probably will, at some point, change the spelling to: Kimberlie and change her other name "Julien" to Jewel - so Kimberlie Jewel Foote. And I can easily hear us calling her "Kimmie" - in fact, we already do. Yesterday Libby and Gracie were stuck in the car for much longer than they expected, but they were so great about it. I kept telling them - "I have the 2 best girls in the world" And Libby said, "Mom, what about Kimmie?" To which I said, "You're right! I have the 3 best girls in the world." Kimmie is already here in many ways.

My friend, Katie, was able to visit HCRM where Keemberlie resides! Praise the Lord! She was able to deliver our care package to Kimmie and show her our picture, explaining who we are - her family! She shared with me that Keemberlie RAN to her. Keemberlie is called "Petite Keemberlie" because she is the tiniest of 3 Keemberlie's at the orphanage. I'm told she smiled the entire time, and beamed when she saw our pictures and gifts. MANY MANY THANKS to Katie for doing this for us! Enough words - here's the photos Katie brought back for us!

The last one includes Pastor Jean Fritz (far right) who runs HCRM and his wife (far left)

All of these pictures were water to my soul. I really feel like we have something missing in our lives without her. While I was eager and ready to travel to get Libby and Gracie, I also knew they were babies and did not know they had parents coming for them. But Keemberlie is 6. She knows our faces through pictures. She knows our names, her sisters. And yet, she is too young to comprehend why we are taking so long to get to her. That is breaking my heart. In that regard, this adoption is taking me to a new host of emotions and thoughts. She belongs here and there is nothing in our power/control to change the fact that she is not. We are dependent upon God to move mountains and bring her home. Please continue to pray with us for her sake!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another K Update!

Today in my FB inbox I found this delightful note (Katie, you are going to love this!)

Hi Cindy,
my name is Rosanna, I am a RN volunteering right now in Haiti at the orphanage where K is at. I hope you do not mind me witting to you. I saw a picture of your family with your name and got your name from there. I am at the orphanage currently and will be heading today back home to San Antonio. I have lots of pictures of the children and K. I have a coloring that K did, and I would love to give it to you as well as the picture of her holding it for you. I met a group that visited her, I believe they are friends of yours, and she loves that baby doll they gave her, she is always carring it around. I will be home Tuesday if you want to meet.
Love from Haiti

I can't wait to see the picture of K holding her artwork for us! To families that are waiting on their children at HCRM - if Rosanna has any pictures of your kiddos I will get them to you!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chocolate Cake at Bath Time

Tiny toes in the tub
Chatter of chocolate cake
"I'm gonna eat you up"
I overheard her say

Sister smiles, sister love
Splishin, splashin around
Joy- dripping, fun-spilling
Happy, heart-melting sounds

(c) 2010 Poetic Present Poems

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On This Good Day

My dear friend Katie was able to visit "K" in Haiti today. In an effort to describe my thoughts based on what I know of their brief time together, I wrote this poem.

On This Good Day

Expectant at the door she'd wait
Swinging wide was an open gate
On this good day, for this one girl

Running out with laughter spilling
Love came in, for her soul's filling
On this good day, for this one girl

Longing eyes on jubilant face
Given hope of a future place
On this good day, for this one girl

Gripping baby doll and blanket
No one is allowed to take it
On this good day, for this one girl

Soft spoken voice says hard goodbyes
Love hopes now not to weep and cry
On this good day, for this one girl

Petite in frame she lays to rest
Our pictures held against her chest
On this good day, for this one girl

Love, love was dispatched over sea
Delivered too, a little peace
On this good day, for this one girl

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thoughts for Thursday

In this culture, it seems too easy to forget what should not be forgotten. My thoughts coming into Thursday go back to what I cannot forget and what I do not want you to forget. Stare at her for a while...take the image in and let it make home in your mind's eye.

This little girl represents MILLIONS of orphans all around the world. They have no voice in our politics, no room in our comfort, no hope in their despair without our voices on their behalf in politics, without our death to comfort for their sake and without our awareness of their despair.

Today, I received good news. The Hope Act (H.R. 4603) now has 13 co-sponsors in the house judiciary committee. The more co-sponsors the better. But mostly what we need now is for a Senator to rise up and sponsor/introduce a mirror bill on the Senate floor. What is the Hope Act, you may ask? Right now, the only Haitian orphans allowed to receive humanitarian parole (and therefore come to the U.S. to have a family) are those who were in the adoption process and matched to families BEFORE the earthquake. But Haiti had 380,000 orphans BEFORE the earthquake and now there are estimated to be 200,000 more. Many of the pre-quake orphans have documents proving their orphan status - meaning signed papers from parents/guardians/or extended family relinquishing their rights to that child. Those orphans have no laws set in place for them to receive humanitarian parole at this time. And because Haiti is unable to process paperwork for adoptions right now, that means these pre-quake orphans with such documents have no chance (outside of the Hope Act) at having a family to call their own for possibly years to come. If you have a child, can you imagine your child in that situation....not only orphaned by whatever tragedy brought that to be, but also without hope of being adopted? Destined to be alone, to live in an orphanage with different staff coming in and out... And add to that... can you imagine your child being that orphan, with that kind of loneliness and also having no roof over his/her head out of fear of after-shocks or another earthquake? The orphans of Haiti Children's Rescue Mission (HCRM) have been living outside under ragged tents, sleeping on rocks and broken tables for over 2 months. No family, no hope, no security.

The Hope Act is just that: HOPE for Haiti's pre-quake orphans. It allows and makes way for Homeland Security to give such orphans humanitarian parole - and therefore - HOPE. Families all over San Antonio and a few in Ohio and Iowa have been matched to many of these orphans at HCRM. Approved families who have proven themselves over and over through every adoption-related required paperwork, FBI fingerprints, USCIS fingerprints... etc. etc. Families who have been proven to have the finances, the emotional stamina, the knowledge of caring for a traumatized child, the support needed, - you name it... QUALIFIED families who long to love and nurture these precious ones.

We are one of those families. I don't enjoy politics and I should make my voice known among my representatives even when I am not personally impacted. But in this piece of legislation, I am impacted and so is the girl in the picture above. I have to speak up. And I have to ask you to do the same - for her, for us, for every orphan in Haiti destined to lonliness and hopelessness without the passing of this legistlation.

Let your thoughts lead you to action. Please contact your Senators and Congressmen by PHONE (or by email) (their contact info is easy to find on-line wherever you live) and express your support of this bill. And then, pray with us that God will direct the hearts of our leadership to pass this precious bill!

I'll end with these thoughts for "K" today:

Dear K,

How do you sleep tonight? I hear you lay your head on rocks to sleep, so tonight I pray that the Rock your head rests on is Jesus. For "God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

I wonder how dark it is where you sleep. Are their any lights other than the moon and stars to light your way, any campfire burning to keep you warm? So I pray that Jesus will be your light, because "You, oh Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darness into light."

I wonder what you are feeling. Are you scared? Do you feel lost among the many orphans there who also need attention? Do you ache for hugs, belonging, a long glance from eyes that really see you? And so I pray for you to know that God sees you. He hears you. I pray this because, "In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help....[and he] reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy...He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." And He delights in you too.

And I wonder if you know that the laws of nations must come together in order for you to be home with us. I wonder, if you could understand that, if you would have "child-like faith" and just believe that God would do this for you... because I do. I don't always have that kind of faith, but He has given it to me for this moment. For "The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! He is the God who avenges [you], who subdues nations under [you]...Therefore [you, K] will praise [Him] among the nations....[you] will sing praises to [His] name."

I love you. May God make a way for me to be with you, for a lifetime.
(all verses from Psalm 18)

Wacky Wednesday

Mid-week comic relief... we all need it! 

1. Sometimes I wonder if Libby has bad hearing or if she is just a typical four year old trying to process what she hears. Yesterday Libby was asking me how "K" is going to come home to us from Haiti. I went on (probably too long) to explain that "the Hope Act needs to pass first". A few minutes later Libby asked, "Mommy, what's the Poke A**?"   I said, "WHAT did you say?" "What's the Poke A**?" she asked again. Somehow she had taken the word "pass" and mixed it in with "hope" and "act".... I laughed so hard I cried when I figured out what she meant! And then, not realizing that she was saying a bad word/phrase but seeing that I was tickled beyond words, she just started saying it over and over again... OH NO!

2. A couple of weeks ago I found out about a great hair product for our Ethiopian princess with curly black locks, Gracie. But the only store that carries it is "Whole Foods" which is not close to our house - but is close to an outdoor store that Billy likes to visit occasionally. So, when Billy informed me he was headed that way I had a brief moment of thinking he could go pick this product up for me while he was out that way... UNTIL I really thought about the name of the product and pictured Billy asking a store clerk to help him find it....See for yourself:

Yep - It's called "Kinky Curly Curling Custard"  - and Billy is BALD!

3. Libby is a gold-medal nose picker. I try with all my might and wit to stop this from happening, but is not my nose and not my finger so I am rendered powerless. Anyway - I was driving home one day and as I glanced in the rear view mirror I could see Libby digging for gold. I explained all the reasons why she shouldn't do this. Still, she dug. But eventually she started to get sleepy and her finger quick its labor while her head began to bobble. Not wanting her to fall asleep in the car I excitedly suggested, "Libby, stay awake. Let's talk so you don't get sleepy!" In her slight slumber she managed to mutter with confidence, "I'd rather just pick my nose."

4. Last but not least: Most Embarassing Moment EVER:
A few weeks ago I was eating lunch with a dear friend and her two kids. We talked over lunch for a long time and our girls were getting a little unsettled. Libby came to my right side to play with Gracie while I continued to face forward and talk with Angie. I saw Gracie give Libby a sweet kiss on her cheek and then kept listening to Angie's story. Gracie kisses with an open mouth. She's a baby and that's just how the kiss is given. Libby must have found that very interesting in that very public moment, because next thing I knew I could see Angie's face take on a look of unusual and intense curiosity...maybe even a little PANIC. I turned my head slowly to the right, not sure what I was about to see and there in front of rush hour lunchers I saw Libby open mouth kissing Gracie's mouth - both with slober all over their faces. I didn't know what to think, I was so taken back. I bursted out laughing (the best option out of the ones circling in my head) and began to turn a thousand shades of red. I asked Angie, "were they just..." and she finished my sentence/question with "they looked like they were full on making out." OH THE HORROR!!!!!!!!! Really, are spit, drool and lips so interesting that they had to play like that in a restaurant at lunch time????? I found myself looking for a quick exit out of this lunch date. On the way home I was overcome with embarassment at what people must be thinking.... OH MY GOSH!!!!! I'm sure glad Angie still wants to be my friend! Its funny now, but innocent as they were - it just didn't look right! 

What's your most embarassing moment???....if you dare to tell!

Witty, Whimsical, Wacky Libby

Wonderful, Watchful, Welcoming Gracie

God is SO GOOD!!

The money needed in order to give 40 mattresses to HCRM (an orphanage in Haiti - and where "K" currently resides) is now accounted for!!!!!! In less the 24 hours God put it on all of your hearts to give and spread the word and it is DONE! Harvest International has received most of your donations through online giving and I know of 2 donations coming by way of snail mail. So, hopefully Harvest International can move quickly to buy the mattresses in Haiti and deliver them to HCRM. I will ask for a picture or two if possible so you can see for yourself their sweet blessed faces!

I believe we may have even exceeded the goal amount of $2310. I am hoping the extra funds will go towards other needs of the orphans there at HCRM like blankets, shoes, underclothing and peanut butter (for protein for kids). I will let you know when I receive a confirmation on that.

This had been an exciting 18 hours or so! Thank you for giving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

God bless each and every one of you. We pray you know that He will finish the work He has begun. May His favor rest on you. May His peace fill you.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mattresses for Orphans In Haiti - YOU CAN HELP! (online donations accepted!)

Hello All, It came to my attention that the orphanage (HCRM) in Haiti could use mattresses. So I've done a little research and heard back from Dr. Leininger today. Here's what he said: "It is much more cost effective to purchase mattresses in Haiti. The twin mattress's I purchased on this trip cost $81.00 US. HCRM needs about eight or ten more. A thin (3" thich mat, which most kids are sleeping on now, as there is no bedroom space available, runs $50.00 US. HCRM needs probably thirty of these. Anyone wanting to donate to this should send it to Harvest International and label it HCRM mattresses." You can do this via snail mail (the address is at bottom of post) OR for faster/more efficient way to donate click here:
JUST MAKE SURE TO WRITE: HCRM MATTRESSES in the "description" line!!!! (Harvest International is a 501 c3 so it is a tax deductible donation.)

ALSO!!!!! I would also like to ask that anyone who makes a donation would email me at: and let me know you made a donation and what amount so that I know when our goal has been met AND I can keep Hope For Orphans in the loop. If you cannot financially donate, you can still help by getting the word of this need out whether facebook, blogs, network of friends, church, etc. The orphans at HCRM have been sleeping outside for over 2 months now and they are sleeping on rocks, broken tables, etc. The mattresses will be a huge blessing to them!

GOAL: 10 mattresses at $81 each ($810) PLUS
30 mattresses at $50 each ($1500) .... 
Total costs: $2310 - WE CAN DO THIS!!!!

Harvest International 
PO Box 6690 
Ocala, FL 34478

Thank you! Cindy Foote

Monday, March 15, 2010


Without being able to share details, I just want to say this... I came in contact with the rest of the families in our "boat" waiting for the Hope Act to pass so they can bring HCRM orphans into their homes. Several of the families are LARGE families....most of the families, it seems, are strong believers, most home school, and the kids currently in those families are both biological AND from all over the world. To top that off -  they include children with a wide range of special needs and many of those families are matched to a sibling group (or MORE!). I am humbled...really, really humbled tonight by these families. God is doing amazing, miraculous things among these large but quiet, humble families. There has to be a lot of "mundane" in their lives...lots of laundry, lots of cooking, lots of the same routines over and over again, lots of things not-so-fascinating...but there in that mundane rhythm are lives lived so gloriously there are no words to express. They are on the real adventure.

I have no other way to say it but this....its like I met Jesus all over again by "meeting" these families.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Unconventional Poetry

House church is unconventional. Maybe even more unconventional is house church without the usual members - meaning, church with just the 4 Footes (= 8 literal feet) that live under this roof. Today is a family Sabbath day. And what a perfect day it is. The windows are raised to let in the soft breeze and perfect temp. The sunlight is radiant and energy giving. The stillness and quiet of the day are relaxing, soothing the soul.

Around 1:15 pm I found Libby in her room looking through a new Bible a friend gave her this week. Its called "The Jesus Storybook Bible" and with the few glances I've taken, I'm a fan! Libby asked me to read it to her. As usual she picked the part where Jesus is praying in the garden through the story of his resurrection.... a.k.a. the best part! As I read to Libby there on the floor of her bedroom, my back leaning against the wall with Libby in my lap, Gracie played next to us listening and smiling as we read along. At the end I told Libby we should sing songs to Jesus now because of what He's done for us. Right then, Libby burst into her own, impromptu song. The melody was undecipherable. The rhythm even more unsteady. But the words were perfect. "Jesus, we love you. You live in our hearts, You are in our house. Jesus we love you." As we clapped and sang a few more tunes, Gracie hummed and clapped along with a smile the size of the sun. Ahhh... this is what its all about.

Poetry doesn't have to rhyme to be good. Sometimes the structure of rhythm and rhyme get in the way of what really needs to be said. Jesus was rather unconventional himself. Talking to the woman at the well he "risked" (in quotes because I don't define God as a risk-taker in that He is Sovereign and already knows the outcome...which sort of takes the "risk" factor out of it... He just is who he is and does what He does because he's God... and the word "risk" tends to mean that something can be lost if it doesn't go right... But God always wins...never loses...ok, end of that bunny chase) - he "risked" what others might say. The woman did have a colorful reputation, after all. And no righteous Jew would walk through Samaria in broad daylight, much less have a private conversation with such a woman as he found at the well that day. But unconventional is what it takes sometimes to set a new standard, to carve out  a new way of thinking/living.

Which brings me to an entirely different point. The other day I was at a mall for a playdate (no, I wasn't shopping... there really was a playground there for the kids to play). A kind and friendly lady was very interested in the white woman with a Chinese daughter and a ....hmmmm... no one can ever figure out Gracie's ethnicity... but Ethiopian she is. So she was asking some of the normal questions we encounter on a daily basis. I don't mind at all. But sometimes I do find that I'm not sure how to respond. For example, this lady kept saying, "you are so noble, such a noble thing to do". I know what she is trying to say and I don't ever want to discourage people from asking and talking about adoption. But I kinda cringe inside when I hear "so noble of you". I realize first, that Jesus put the desire to adopt in me. So, the act of adopting is not of me. But I think what bothers me about those words is that it indicates to me and reminds me that adoption is not the norm, that caring for a child "outside of our biological bloodline" is not the average thing to do. But it should be. There are too many children without families for us to just be conventional in how we create family.

I've heard some say they don't know if they could fully love a child that wasn't "their own" and I've heard others say, "I love my heritage, where I came from, who my family line is and I want to continue it in that way so I don't think adoption is for me". Well, adoption may not be for that person, but it shouldn't be for that reason. Tradition is great. And growing a traditional family is a godly, healthy way to create family. I'm not in any way putting that down. But what I want people to see is that tradition doesn't always break the mold and make a difference. It may be more familiar, more comfortable. But it doesn't make it the only way or always the best way. I'm excited that my family tree has been changed in how it will visibly look forever. But more importantly, I have come to understand that we serve only one King and work within only one Kingdom - the Kingdom of Christ. And in that Kingdom of Christ is someone or many someones of every tribe, tongue, nation, color. My family doesn't look like it always has in the past. My family looks like what it will look like in the eternal future! The Kingdom of God. We are a little slice of that on earth!

In Scripture there are many references to "running the race as to win the prize" and "not looking back" but rather, "looking ahead". In the light of eternity, will it really matter if your family line stayed just white or just American or just German, or just Canadian, or just blue eyed or name it. We serve a creative, unconventional God with the power to adhere hearts together from all walks of life. It may be hard to love someone that is "not your own" but a child that is adopted IS your own... God is the one who created the concept of family AND of adoption. It is God who weaves hearts together and bonds and mends and makes good out of the unusual.

When God created mankind he said it was good and he said they were made out of his image. We, like God, want to create families that resemble us. But I don't know that what God meant was that we have 2 arms so he must have 2 arms and we have 2 eyes, so he must have 2 eyes. No. We resemble him in the sense that we were created to think, reason, believe, hold to convictions, make decisions, feel, have emotions, and have souls that have the opportunity to live forever with him. Its at our core, the things that make us like Him. And so it is with any child that becomes our own - whether biologically or through adoption - they are like us on the inside - all with hearts that beat, stomachs that growl and need food, brains that require stimulation and lives that become more and more like us the more we show them/teach them how to live. We can re-present ourselves in our children, but better yet - we can teach them how to represent Jesus to the world.

This is for someone today. Not for everyone. This is for just one person struggling with the desire to please man, or please parents, or keep tradition for the sake of tradition. Be obedient to the call God puts on your life. Let go of fear of the unknown and reach out for the creative expression of obedience God keeps waving before you.

Behold, what manner of love the Father has given unto us.
Behold, what manner of love the Father has given unto us.
That we should be called the sons of God
That we should be called the sons of God
(© 1978 Maranatha! Music Words and Music by Patricia Van Tine)

A new manner of love is among us. We are children of THE creative God. May it change the way we live! Be the unconventional poetry!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Katie in Haiti, Prayer needs, Orphanage Needs

Katie will be flying to Haiti tomorrow with a team from We Hear Your Voice. Please pray for her. Click on her name in that first sentence and you can read her blog and her personal prayer requests.

Katie was able to buy a baby doll in Miami for K. AND we found out that HCRM could use peanut butter for the kids because they desperately need protein and the pb is too expensive in Haiti. So Katie was able to buy some pb to take with her. But if you have a way to get more pb to Haiti - DO IT! And also, I found out that HCRM could use mattresses for the orphans. They orphans have been living outside since the earthquake (over 8 weeks now) and they are sleeping on rocks, broken tables, etc. Don't know how one could go about getting mattresses out there - but if you have any ideas - do it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It Just Keeps Getting Better Today!

Dr. Leininger asked the missionary couple with him in Haiti to respond to my request to know more about K and they wrote me back today!!!! Here are a few of the things Tracey shared with me:

K  is a very happy little girl who is always smiling.... She is very petite and simply adorable.  She has a tiny, quiet voice although she loves to sing. She also says that she likes dolls, however since my time here, I have yet to see any of the children with dolls. Perhaps in her short past, she may have had the experience elsewhere.

I have truly enjoyed holding her in my arms and sharing with her that she is loved and will someday soon have a mommy and daddy that love her.  Thank you for the chance to know you all and to be a part of your lives and the life of your little girl.

In His Service,
Tracey Herrera

Katie... can you buy a doll in Miami and take it to her!!!???? The girl needs a doll!!!!!!: 

What a day!

Forgotten No More, Part 2

After praying last night against the spirit of "forgotten" and praying for God to reveal to K that she is not forgotten (a prayer time which I could not bring to an end and therefore, could not go to sleep!) I received an interesting email today.

Dr. John Leininger is from San Antonio and has worked among orphanages/orphans in Haiti for many years. He has been in Haiti for 8 weeks - since the earthquake - giving medical attention to the children at K's orphanage and many others as well. He is a HERO!!! I have not had the chance to communicate with him during this journey to K. And I have never heard from him either... until today. Today he sent out an email to the families matched with orphans at HCRM saying that his time in Haiti is about to come to an end for a while and that from this time forward we could send letters and pictures to our children at HCRM through a missionary couple there (by email) or mail our letters and pictures to a certain address. As I read his words I was taken back because up to this point I have assumed that the orphans were not told they were matched because -well - what if the Hope Act doesn't pass and we can't get to them? How awful if they were attached to our names/photos/letters and then something happened to keep us from getting there? So I emailed Dr. Leininger right back and asked, "are you saying that the orphans know they have been matched and have families waiting to adopt them?" And he immediately wrote back saying, "the children most definitely know they have family waiting on them and they want pictures!"

And then it hit me... She knows.... She knows she's not forgotten!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And God has yet again answered the prayer on my heart the night before. More than that - God revealed to me that any concern about "K" knowing who we are before we have final word she can come here is based on my own unbelief. He has been saying to me this evening, "Haven't I shown you over and over again that I am in this? Believe this will happen because it will." (Just when I thought I wasn't a square anymore!) And then, in that conversation with God I realized - No matter how long it takes, no matter how hard it is we cannot and will not let K down. With God, we will see this to the end. She will be our own because the Lord has started this and he will complete it!

In addition to this amazing revelation today there is still more wonderful news. My friend Katie Tankersley is headed to Haiti this weekend - an opportunity that came out of nowhere! Instead of partying for her spring break from nursing school, she will be taking hope to the hopeless. She is with a medical team and a film team through an organization called "We Hear Your Voice". She talked with her team leader on our behalf and it looks like she will have a chance to visit HCRM at some point during her stay and will get to see K, take pics of K, deliver a care package to K and ask the orphanage director some questions about K. If by some chance Katie can't get to HCRM, the team leader said he would make it his personal mission to make sure K gets the care package. So one way or another, she will be receiving a special package from us in the next 10-12 days!  And apparently, now we can continue correspondence with her through letters - AWESOME!

In the package we included: bubble gum and jelly beans to give out to her friends, a couple of toys, a stuffed animal, a sundress with cardigan sweater, a blanket, a letter from us with a picture of our family AND I found a cheap mp3 player and downloaded all our songs on it so she can hear our voices. I was also able to record a message on it for her. It is battery operated, so I sent a bunch of batteries as well. I was also able to package up a gift for the orphanage director and his wife (a thank you letter, CDs, silk scarf and other goodies), 3 beach balls that Katie can blow up and play with the orphans there, a frisbee and some CDs for Dr. Leininger and Katie's team leader. Thankfully, Katie is SUCH A SWEETIE to do this! Katie leaves for Miami in the morning and then heads to Haiti on Saturday. She will be visiting many orphanages and ministering through medicine, hugs and quality time to dozens if not hundreds of orphans during her stay. Please pray with me for Katie to have strength, courage, safety, boldness, joy and everything else she will need to be Jesus in Haiti.

Here are some pictures of our care packages and one of precious Katie!

Forgotten No More, part 1

Yesterday I was looking at "K's" face in the SA paper and was trying to think of a word to describe the expression on her face. It was more than sad. The word that came to my mind was "forgotten". She looks like she feels forgotten. So, I started praying for her. That she would know that she is not forgotten.

Later in the night I was reading Psalm 10 during my time with the Lord. What word do you think shows up in that poetic passage? Forgotten. But it says so much more and I found it the perfect passage on which to reflect and pray as I thought of "K" and the enemy's plan for her vs. God's plan for her. Read for yourself the power in that passage and when you read the words "wicked man" think "Satan" and when you read "helpless, weak, victim" think "K" or "orphan"  --especially from verse 8 on.

Psalm 10:
Why O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, "Nothing will shake me; I'll always be happy and never have trouble." His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. (VERSE 8) - He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims. He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless, he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net (think of "K's" face in the picture. Doesn't she look like she feels "dragged into his net"?) (and, btw, I do not mean that her orphanage is that net - I just mean her state of loneliness and despair). His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, "God has FORGOTTEN; he covers his face and never sees." (I think Satan and his demons whisper such falsehood into the ears of orphans all over this world, everyday. BUT HE IS WRONG!) (Verse 12)- ARISE, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. DO NOT FORGET the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, "He won't call me to account"? But you, O God, DO see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; YOU ARE THE HELPER OF THE FATHERLESS. Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out. The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, DEFENDING THE FATHERLESS AND THE OPPRESSED, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more!"

When I read this passage I knew how to pray.. that "K" would know that God has NOT forgotten her, no matter how lonely she may feel right now; no matter what she hears the enemy say; no matter how long it takes for her to come home. She is NOT forgotten! And furthermore, God has not forgotten the enemy either and he WILL be held accountable. Our God is a just God! Until his justice comes fully, may "K" be given extra strength to stand up to the wicked ways of the enemy. This is how we need to pray for "K" and for every orphan. Oh God, be the lifter of the orphan's head.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Define Poetry

Poetry: the art or the work of a poet.

Poetic: anything resembling the essence of poetry like, grace, beauty, harmony

God:  the Poet

My Life: his art, his work

Oh that my life would be full of grace, beauty, harmony.

Poetic Moment doesn't even come close to describing it....

Not sayin' this is her or anything...uhem...but here's the photo we saw in the San Antonio paper:

Hip to Be Square, NOT! Part 3


Over the last two weeks I've had an ache in my heart to know more about the girl to whom we are matched. All we know is her birth date and a few things she likes - dolls and singing (got that one covered!). All we have is a small headshot photo. No medical history, no family history, no idea how long she's been in the orphanage. All we know is that she has documents proving her parents/guardians relinquishment of rights to her and that she belongs to HCRM (the orphange in Haiti). Having adopted internationally twice before, I know the importance of searching for all the information you can get on a child. After all, its her story and she doesn't have the power to search for it herself. Its our job to find that out for her to the best of our ability. But also, selfishly, I just wanted another picture of her; one that showed her whole body rather than just a head shot -  to get some sense of her size, personality, etc. I knew it was a simple request, but I kept asking God anyway - "please send me another picture of her." I emailed Hope for Orphans. I emailed the orphanage and I even emailed a man in Boerne who spent some time in Haiti after the earthquake and had visited HCRM. I asked them all if there was any way I could get another picture of her. I received no response, but I kept asking God to make a way.

That catches us up to Sunday, March 7. I was preparing our home for our evening house church and was about to put Gracie down for a nap when I saw a text from a friend who had also reviewed the waiting children's list and had seen a picture of our girl. The text said, "Have you seen the paper today???" I immediately called her wondering what was in the paper. She said, " There's a picture - a BIG picture of "K" on page 18 of the San Antonio Express Newspaper!" I couldn't wrap my head around what she was saying. I knew that 11 kids from HCRM were released to the U.S. the night before. They were orphans who had been matched to families way before the earthquake and they were finally released. But I began to wonder if somehow there was miscommunication and "K" was already matched and given to another family. Why else would her picture be in the newspaper? My heart was beating so fast. Jenn explained that the article mentioned the 11 kids who arrived in the U.S. but went on to talk about the orphans at HCRM still left behind but who have families in San Antonio waiting for them if the door opens for them to come here. I finally grasped what she was saying and thought of my many requests to the Lord for such a picture. I just never EVER thought He would answer me with a HUGE photo in my own city's newspaper!!!!!!!!!!! The amoeba became anemic and couldn't stop shaking!!!!!!

If ever there was confirmation that we are hearing the Spirit and on the right track - this was it! I can't tell you how overwhelmed we are by God's clarity with us and his love for us and this girl. I called Billy as soon as I received word from Jenn and sent him to buy the day's paper. He came home with FIVE copies. He took one and cut the picture out and framed it within seconds of being home (That's my man!). Neither of us can stop staring at her. Did I mention that the picture is HUGE... like 7"x10". (btw - its not included in the online version of the paper - probably because its so big!).

I giggle with delight every time I think about how big that picture is. God was not about to let me miss it. He made sure Jenn saw the children's waiting list for a reason. I don't receive the paper. I would never have known "K's" picture was in there. But Jenn receives the paper and Jenn had seen "K's" picture previously. God is so good! There are several other pictures of other precious orphans left behind,  but the picture of "K" is so giant its as if Jesus were talking straight to us saying - "Hello! I told you I'm not a boring square. I'm big! I'm powerful! I'll answer you clearly in ways you can never think to imagine! Your faith be increased, my child!" Think about it - of the 380,000 orphans in Haiti (a number recorded before the earthquake) God chose one orphan's face to spread across the continuation page of the cover story for our very own city newspaper. Seriously - that is CRAZY AMAZING!

The picture has had some other unexpected impacts on me. "K's" face is so sad in the picture. It compels me to pray for her in a whole new way. Its also makes me think about all the huge transitions she will face once she is home with us. There is so much to pray about for her sake. And there is so much to pray about for our family as well - particularly for Libby who will lose her "oldest child" place in the family. But maybe God is wanting "K" and Gracie and Libby to be amoebas too...putty in his hands for His glory.

Have Thine Own Way Lord:
Have Thine own way, Lord
Have Thine own way
You are the potter
I am the clay
Mold me and make me
After Thy will
While I am waiting
Yielded and still

Have Thine own way, Lord
Have Thine own way
Hold o'er my being
Absolute sway
Fill with thy Spirit
Till all shall see
Christ only, always,
Living in me.


Hip To Be Square, NOT! Part 2


In order to be considered a possible family to host/adopt a Haitian orphan that may come under humanitarian parole, we were told we should be "paper ready" but that there were no promises in this journey and each family would have to decide on their own if the cost and energy involved with being paper ready was worth the risk of never bringing one of these children home. I can't explain it except to say that once we stepped out of square-dom we realized the life of amoebas is way more cool! We began updating our home study right away - a complete step of faith.

At the same time we began sending emails to our house church and immediate family to tell them what was unfolding and how they could pray. One of the first replies we received was from our dear friend Firoozeh. She is from Iran and is a beautiful woman inside and out. She attends our house church. Her and her husband are prayer warriors and full of faith. She wrote me to tell me that a couple of weeks before (a few days before the earthquake) she had a dream that Billy and I were adopting another dark skinned child. In the dream she kept assuming that we were going back to Africa, but by the time the dream was over it was clear to her that it was not Africa at all. She woke up from the dream confused. But we were out of town and she just put the dream aside and had forgotten to share it with me. As I read the email I could sense the confirmation God intended through her words.

In the following couple of weeks there were highs and lows. More lows than highs, actually, as it seemed that everything was coming to a standstill and nothing was happening. Even when all seemed more than impossible, still we felt the desire to complete our home study. To make a long story short and for the privacy of friends, the orphanage and the orphans, I will leave a lot of our journey out of this blog. But just know a whole lot took place that lead us up to February 8. By this day we had reviewed a list of waiting children and submitted a request to be matched to a particular girl. I can't share her name publicly, but she is 6 years old and beautiful! However, we had no official word that we would be matched to her and no certainty that she would ever make it to the U.S. On the evening of Feb. 8 I was attended a meeting about an entirely different group of Haitian orphans that were thought to be coming to the U.S. under medical visas. By the end of that meeting I was so discouraged and confused. The organization trying to bring these particular orphans in were taking a whole different approach than the one I had been working with. And the woman who spoke with me that night truly felt that the group of orphans I was advocating for had little to no chance of coming into the U.S. I didn't know what to do. Which group was going about it in the most effective way? Which group included the child that God had chosen for us? Was I setting our family up for a huge disappointment? etc. etc.

That night I got on my knees before the Lord and asked for some kind of direction or confirmation; some certainty that we were on the right track. I had no idea what God was about to do! The next morning God made doubly sure that I was a square-no-more and that I realized He was never a square! I received an email from a friend, Allison, with whom I had not spoken to in months. In her email she said that she had been dreaming about a dark-skinned, 6 year old girl for about two weeks. She said the dreams led her to some intense prayer times for this girl and she even began to wonder if God was calling her back to Ethiopia. That morning, however, a mutual friend, Kara, who was aware of the journey Billy and I were on, called her and shared with her our story. Right then Alli knew that she had been dreaming about the girl we were seeking. As I read the email I almost fell out of my seat (amoeba's don't sit in chairs well at all). I wrote her back and shared the one picture I had of this girl. She wrote back and said... "That's her. I know its crazy, but that's the girl I've been dreaming about." And then I knew... God was confirming in a huge way that we were walking the right road!!! R.E.L.I.E.F.!

Four days later - a BIG day! On Feb. 12 we had our completed home study in hand (done in just 3 weeks - amazing!) and scanned it in to Hope for Orphans who was then submitting it to HCRM (the orphanage/agency in Haiti). That evening we received a special, unexpected call! We were OFFICIALLY MATCHED to this precious girl by HCRM! We were also told that Rep. Hoestra had submitted a bill proposal to Congress called the HOPE Act (H.R. 4603) which, if passed, would make way for pre-quake orphans who were not matched to families before the earthquake to come to the U.S. as unaccompanied minor refugees who would then need families to take care of them and eventually adopt them. This was a huge step forward. It meant that what was an Everest mountain that needed to be moved was now Mt. Denali...still huge, but NOT Everest (and who cares anyway - Our Savior moves mountains any size!) Interesting side note: we've been working with refugees in our city for 3 years. How cool that God has been using that experience to prepare us to bring a refugee child into our own home!

For the next 2 weeks there was little news...lots of quiet. But our not-square-at-all-God was still moving. And we were putty in his hands!

Hip To Be Square, NOT! Part 1

Our family is on a huge faith journey that developed a heartbeat shortly after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. We were driving in our car headed to Tucumari, NM for a ministry event. As we listened to XM radio, orphans in Haiti became a constant theme in the news. For those passing by on the road and looking in on us, it was obvious that we had a heart for adoption. Petite, golden skin with almond eyes sat in one car seat and soft, chocolate skin with curly locks sat in another while their pasty white mom and dad drove them to the middle of nowhere. But that's the thing -  we've already adopted - two times...haven't we done our part? That is where my husband's mind was in the days leading up to this car ride. (To Billy's credit, we have had a really tough year since getting Gracie. She's an easy baby, but we faced some pretty major illnesses upon our return home and it was rough! So he's been through it!) I had been praying that God would open his heart to just one more child, but had made a promise to Billy, one month prior to that day, that I would not bring up adoption again and would just let the Lord change his heart if the Lord was so inclined. Two days into our time in Tucumcari, as we ate lunch with our band a conversation about children came up between Billy and Kevin and I overhead Billy say, "No more kids. We're not having a third child." And that was that.

Twenty-four hours later we were in the car listening to stories about orphans again. You can imagine why I didn't take Billy seriously when he asked, "So how do parents go about adopting the orphans in Haiti?" I sarcastically replied, "Why? Are you interested?" To which he said, "yeah, maybe." I sat in the front seat wondering what in the world just took place. Did I miss something?

Yes. I missed something. I forgot that God is NOT a square... I forgot - He doesn't live in a box. He's not boring. He's up for the adventure I'm asking for. He doesn't just hear. He answers and makes things happen. He's powerful!

I had assumed God would take forever to change Billy's mind/heart. I even assumed at times that God would never do what I had asked of him. But in that one minute conversation with Billy God stepped into the car as if to say, "Cindy, you are such a SQUARE. So little faith...but I answered you anyway. Now, follow me."

But I kinda like being a square most days. So safe, organized and simple. And within 24 hours I felt it was hip to be square again.  I had done a little research on Haitian adoptions and the wave of families interested in helping these orphans and I quickly realized that everyone in America was lining up to take in these children while Haiti wasn't letting any out (not even the ones that had been in the process of adoption for years!). And before I knew it, I decided what God seemed to have started in my husband was unlikely to be fulfilled. Shrrriiiiink...yep, not just a square, a very small square.

On the drive home from Tucumcari God had plans to destroy my square status. A form and letter arrived in our inbox via our iPhone. As I read it I realized my square had a name - Humpty Dumpty  - and I would never be put back together again. The letter was stating that a particular orphanage in Haiti had more than 50 orphans for whom they hoped to get humanitarian parole and if they got h.p. they would 1. need parents/families to take them in (ME! ME!) and 2. would be flying into San Antonio to stay (wait a second - THAT'S MY CITY!! WHAT????) I shared the email with Billy and we both sat there in awe of what was unfolding. Square pegs don't fit into round holes...time to break the equal sides and morph!

Have you ever tried to type a letter and fill out a form on your iPhone in the car (side note: I was not driving!)? Not fun...especially when you feel like you're in a race to get in that "line" to host/adopt one of these orphans. I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity (as if that's possible when God's in it) since God had so evidently changed my husband's heart AND made it clear that San Antonio was on the "list" to take these children in. After an 11 hour drive we arrived home, completed the form and the journey of faith began. I was determined to be square-no-more. And I began asking God to mold us for the adventure to come. I think I faintly heard him say, "Ever heard of an amoeba? Its shape is constantly changing as it moves along."

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Pimples AND Wrinkles? Where's the Poetry in THAT?

A good look at myself in the mirror reveals a host of pimples amidst a growing number of wrinkles. "What in the world," I think expressively to myself.  I'm 35, hanging on to some memory of youth and longing for the wisdom of age - you know, the "beauty within".  In the background I hear the loves of my life bouncing around looking for mommy and fun...not always found together. Liberty Song ("Libby") is four, adopted from China at 9 months of age. Aria-Lu Grace ("Gracie") is 13 months, adopted from Ethiopia at 4 1/2 months. Freedom and Grace...they are every bit their given names.
I wash my confused skin and find my makeup bag...Time to cover up the blemishes, soften the lines. In the fleshy moments like this, I am sure glad my husband REALLY loves me. I'm not easy on the eyes this morning. Coming out of my thoughts I see Freedom and Grace staring at me. Mom has been is still hiding.  I mention to Freedom that I don't know why my face is so broken out...not that she cares, she is only 4. And she says back to me, "maybe it is snot coming out all over your face." Imagery delete please! And now, fun has come out of hiding. A day of laughter in the midst of routine has dawned. Life with Freedom and Grace = NEVER A DULL MOMENT!
I'm no poet, but I find myself in poetic moments everyday. Moments that I don't want to forget and can only wish I had the words to express. I've decided (this is my beauty within talking now) that I want to be the woman/wife/mom that smiles at the future - carefree, hopeful, expectant, joyful. Seems to me, the only way to be that woman is to live fully in the present, discovering the poetry of the now. And maybe, just maybe if I live in the poetic present with a smile at the future, one day in the future I will look upon my poetic past and smile with no regrets. And maybe in the future I will not have pimples...they do go away at some point...right?

A Pimple and Wrinkle In Rhyme
Pimples I find, More wrinkles are mine
Now what am I going to do?
Stamp my foot, shuffle my skirt
And say a curse word or two?
No, not this time. I found a new rhyme
New rhythm comes in to take over
Freedom speaks, Grace takes a seat
And laughter my bad mood does cover.
(by: me, March 6, 2010)
Blog Design by Delicious Design Studio