Monday, March 30, 2009

Orphanages Can be Used Greatly by God

This article by our mission board's founder spoke to my heart for orphans.

Orphanages Can Be Used Greatly by God (Why We Cannot Just Leave Street

Children on the Street) by Doug Nichols (Missionary to Children in Africa, Asia, and Latin America since 1968)

It is very discouraging to read articles which are basically negative in regards to caring for orphans and street children in orphanages. Of course, a loving home is better than an orphanage, but does that mean we should give up on orphanages altogether? We do realize that there are some unacceptable orphanages in the world, but creating more loving God centered orphanages could bring glory to God and save
thousands of children the pain and abuse they face every day on the street. We need to support both adoption and orphanages.

Although placing a child into a loving family should be our goal, it is not always possible. An orphan or a street child is not taken directly from the street to a home. There is usually some type of government orphanage or childcare agency in which the child is placed while proper records are made. Then the child is placed into a loving family if one can be found.

So, why shouldn’t the church of Jesus Christ start many more orphanages around the world to place street and underprivileged children and orphans into a loving, Christian environment? Orphanages can be safe harbors where children can be lovingly protected and cared for until a home can be found.

The following are simple plans for a Christian Children’s Village in Africa as an example. A Christian Children’s Village with separate homes housing 12 children per home could care for 280 to 500 children! The village would have staff, supervisors, house parents, a school, an all-purpose building, a chapel, a clinic, a play area, and gardens for each house.

Children from neighboring villages could also attend the school. This would enable the orphans to be incorporated into society with other children, families, and loved ones, with the purpose of being adopted whenever possible.

To those who are criticizing orphanages and children’s villages, please, stop doing so and consider what could be done through well-run orphanages. What is the alternative? I believe you would agree that we should not leave the street children and orphans in the sewers, and streets where they are likely to be abused, but that we should place them in a loving environment where they can be cared for, nurtured and ministered to by the grace of God and the Gospel?

Children are tortured, abused, spit upon, kicked, starved and burned on the streets of the world. Why don’t you and I, as Christians, do something about it? Please, encourage your government and church to protect these children, get them off the streets, and place them where they will be loved and cared for in Jesus’ name.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27, ESV)

(This article was adapted by Pastor Kevin Hollinger, author of Reactive Attachment Disorder.)

Doug's blog address:

"Knowing God, taking action" (Daniel 11:32b)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Poor sick Gracie!

(Multi-tasking is my middle name! Two snuggle bugs often need my attention at the same time, like at this bridal shower a few weeks ago!!)

Gracie is recovering well from the surgery after a miserable weekend. She is apparently allergic to codeine so she spent the entire weekend without adequate pain control at home and was so extremely itchy that she scratched herself bloody. (we can't give benadryl because it lowers the seizure threshold so she would be more likely to have a seizure.)

By Sunday night, I was really struggling with not being able to help my sweet miserable daughter who was arching and whining and fussing constantly. I realized, as I broke down and Josh sent me to bed, that I hadn't slept more than a few hours since Wednesday! I slept 12 hours, Gracie (mercifully) slept all night, and I went to work all day Monday. Monday night Gracie developed a fever above 103 that took hours to get down with tylenol, motrin, washcloths, and pacing our tiny living room with Gracie stripped to her diaper trying to cool her down (without waking up Josh and Ana with her fussing). By 5:00am, when Gracie finally fell asleep and I lay next to her waiting for a seizure from the fever (which she never had!! wow!!!), I realized that I was going to call in my first "sick day" to work so that I could take Gracie to the doctor's without bothering Josh who is completely swamped with his seminary courses this semester (Hebrew and Hermeneutics) on top of preaching, teaching, leading the music team, and discipling!

My worries about a post-operative complication were quickly dissolved when the doctor found a nasty ear infection! horray for ear infections! Just amoxicillin and we're on our way! (who's ever been happy to have an ear infection?!)

Today, I got to be "the doctor" for Gracie's preschool class as part of their "community helpers" series! It was so fun to go in dressed as the doctor that I am and talk to a class of 4 and 5 year olds! The best question I had, though, was from a kiddo who said, "If you're Gracie's mommy, why is your skin white and her skin brown?" I love it! :) All the adults loved it and were smiling as I got to explain adoption to the kids and when I said that Gracie was born in Africa, one of Gracie's friends said, "whoa!" Cute!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gracie doing great

Gracie's surgery went well - she received some morphine so still asleep with occasional eye opening to glare at us if we make too much noise... ;-) good to see her looking fine! We're settled into our room on the neurology floor for the night.  thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Surgery is at 7:30am - pray for us!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Prayers... great and small

(Gracie has been sitting up so strong lately, especially enjoying Grandma's rocking chair! Ana enjoyed her first day of being able to play outside on our patio! It's still too cold for Gracie to enjoy being outside, our little Liberian princess!)

Gracie goes to surgery on Friday - I'm nervous mostly about the post-op period as I'm not sure she'll realize that she can avoid certain movement to avoid pain... pray that the surgery to implant the vagal nerve stimulator goes smoothly and recovery is FAST so that she doesn't miss out on too much of her therapies.

As always, at our LONG pre-op appointment today, the girls attracted quite the attention between beautiful Gracie the jokester and (relatively) obedient adorable Ana helping her big sister and walking with her hand on the wheelchair. Gracie got weighed (16kg), sitting up on her own on the scale, then Ana wanted to get weighed (10kg). As Ana got off the scale she turned around and saw letters on the scale, pointed to the S and said, "S?" - the nurse almost fell over and said to me, "she just said "s" - does she know that's an S?!" She sings the alphabet all day long (or she could have just been saying, "this" which is one of her favorite word these days). I told the nurse, "I would not be surprised! I have amazing girls and they never cease to surprise us!"

(I do promise to post about our trip to Honduras some more - we were so encouraged to meet missionary families who are living in community with each other and passionate about the Lord! We have a much clearer sense of how we need to prepare for the field in the next year, including searching for the right language school where we need to spend 3 months to 1 year (or more?) to get Josh especially ready to TEACH in a foreign language. We are still awaiting our assignment to a specific area, but are moving forward with learning more about latin America and Spanish.)

Prayers of a little one

Our 15 month old Ana loves to repeat everything, so while I was praying with Ana before bed the other night, our prayer went like this:

"Dear Jesus..." (Mommy)
"Jesus!" (Ana)

"...Thank you..." (Mommy)
"Tank you!" (Ana)

"...for..." (Mommy)
"Five!!!!" (Ana with a huge smile)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Gracie and I went to see the neurosurgeon today to discuss Vagal Nerve Stimulator (, I figured that it wouldn't be the right option for Gracie since her seizures have dramatically improved off lamictal, but... Josh and I are praying about whether it might be the right option for Gracie! It's a day-surgery procedure where a small cable is connected to the vagal nerve in the neck and a small implant is placed near the chest muscle (kinda like a pace-maker). It runs a steady low dose of electrical stimulation to the vagal nerve which somehow prevents seizure activity. If she looks like she's going to have a seizure, we can pass a magnet over the implanted battery and it bumps up the voltage slightly and aborts the seizure. No one really knows why or how it works... that's the field of neurology for you!!

The median patient has a 50% reduction in seizures, so for Gracie that would be fantastic. PLUS the possibility of a non-sedating treatment for her seizures so that we could avoid diastat. PLUS avoiding more medication side effects and, God-willing, maybe we could even get her OFF some of her meds. That would be so wonderful. I had a great discussion with the surgeon about us moving overseas and he felt that this is as good an option as any for overseas and that either I could learn to program it or we could find someone who already knows how to program it. (In fact, he trained a neurosurgeon who currently practices in Bogota, Colombia!)

If we decide to do this, we could get it done this month even, although we might wait till April... Either way, we appreciate your prayers! Gracie has become a different child off the lamictal - she is bright, perky, loving games, sharp, and much much faster. She had been in slow motion for the entire fall and early winter. It's amazing to see what she is like with less medication side effects and less seizures slowly her brain down!

Monday, March 2, 2009


The girls fared well in our absence - no seizures, no sickness, they slept pretty well (sounds like better than average, at least!), and Grandma and Bapa stayed sane! We've spent the last few days in "re-entry" with some discipline issues and a little insecurity on Gracie's part so she's been back in the Ergo being carried around again. But she seems to be doing better now.

Now, Gracie is just itching to get back to school. She really misses it when she doesn't have school - home is so boring!! After a week of school vacation, our new foot of snow today got us yet another snow day! She also didn't get to go to speech therapy or physical therapy and tomorrow she'll miss horse therapy because of a consultation with the neurosurgeon who places the vagal nerve stimulator. I'm not sure that we'll do VNS at the moment since her seizures have been excellent since stopping lamictal. But it's worth finding out more about.

The trip.... well! It was interesting! It was a lot of fun to be in Honduras again, enjoy the warm weather, and... not travel with the girlies! We were so encouraged by the missionaries that we met and we were so burdened with the spiritual need in Latin America. BUT... more to follow...

Now to rescue the whining child off the floor - Gracie seems to forget that she can play with a toy sometimes... or move... but she always remembers that she can whine very very VERY loudly!.... 'sigh!'

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