Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wounded Children in Healing Homes

I went to a training last night, it was called:

Wounded Children, Healing Homes
The workshop was given by Jayne Schooler and she authored this book pictured here. (Yes, I'm totally going to get it on my Kindle!!)

I learned more about the impact that trauma has on children...

the 5 critical times when trauma can be inflicted

and how






Children hurting. Children who were victims.

Innocence. Robbed.

Then the workshop shifted to how to become and maintain being a


for the children who suffer from trauma, neglect and abuse.

It was fascinating.

Some people would say, "there's no way I would mess up my family and take that risk,"

others might say, "I might do that after my real children have grown up and moved out,"

still others might say, "that's really heroic what you are doing for those kids, but I never could."

And then there are those of us that have said

to the fatherless
to the hurting
to wounded
right now:

we know the work that it is.

the feeling of utter exhaustion.

the daily wondering if we can do it all over again.

But then we find strength in HIM.

He who called us.

His Word encourages. It lifts us up.

I hear His Word in my mind as I climb the stairs on an exhausted evening with toddlers hollering at various levels throughout the house, "Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength..." Isaiah 40:31a

I wonder, do those who say they could NEVER do this,

        do they wonder what they are missing?

We almost backed out of adoption back in 2010. We had been told a horror story that was enough to scare the eyebrows off of anybody.

But the Lord softly spoke to my husband's heart, "Let Me bless you," and we trusted and moved forward anyway.

I watched a video tonight posted by my blogging friend, Adeye.

She and her family have adopted many times. (I just did a re-count. They have 9 kids!) Recently they brought home a beautiful but very wounded daughter, a 14 year old who weighed just 14 pounds from the neglected corner of an orphanage in Bulgaria.

I cannot speak to what it must have been like to first meet her, and see her condition in the moment by moment.

But I see NOW the video she just posted a few hours ago of their daughter, deeply traumatized, horrifically delayed






She has for the first time experienced love.

For the first time felt safe.

For the first time known that her cries would be answered.

And that does something amazing for a wounded child.

For the first time, she can laugh! LAUGH! Can you imagine?! When your entire life is based in fear and wondering if your most basic needs will be met...she is LAUGHING NOW!!!

Please, I encourage you to take a look at the "laughter and everlasting joy" on the face of their beloved daughter, Hasya. Click here to read this post and watch her video of her daughter responding to the loving touch of a brother and her father.

And you'll want to stick around and read more. It's deeply inspirational.

And I take great courage, and I want you to as well: we CAN be a healing home for wounded children.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's Time to Party!

This sweet girl has been waiting in China for a family...
At 4 years old

And waiting...
at 7 years old

and waiting...
at 9 years old (current)

But it's time to PARTY!!!!



This precious little girl who has lived so long waiting, wondering, hoping she would be chosen and loved has finally been chosen.

This kind of news bring me joy unlike any other!!!

But this little girl has a particular family that is close to my heart...

Look below and you will see why!

keep going...

Yes! She is OURS!!!

We joyfully announce our daughter waiting in China...

Esther Marilyn HanHan Shaw



It IS TIME TO PARTY!!!!!!!!!!

"The Lord has done it this very day, let us rejoice and be glad!"
                                                                             Psalm 118:24

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Help! Emily Needs a New Family!!

Sometimes things go differently than we plan them.

This is the case for Emily.

Oh, she is precious, friends!! I have seen her sweet face. I have read her story.

But her story is FAR from over...and I suspect it might include YOU!

Let me tell you a little bit about this situation and WHY she needs a new family.

Sweet Emily was found only days old in southern China and has been raised in an orphanage.

Sweet girl waited for TEN LONG YEARS to be chosen for adoption.

Finally, she was chosen!!

A precious family with other daughters previously adopted from China came forward for her. They were given Pre-approval from China to adopt Emily.

They even sent Emily a care package with clothing and pictures of them so she would know how she is cared for, loved, and wanted.

Sadly, something has happened that stops this adoption short.

Her almost-adoptive Mommy calls Emily, "The Child Who Saved My Life" and here is why...

In order to update their home study, the mother needed to have a physical. (Trust me, with many kids at home, our own regular healthy checks definitely get forgotten!) But because of the desired adoption, this Mama went in for a check up.

At that visit, the doctor discovered it had been a while since she had undergone a mammogram. So one was ordered.

Very soon afterwards, she received a frightening phone call.

She had a mass that was very dense. She needed an ultrasound.

The results came back that she the density was Triple Negative Breast Cancer. She had a biopsy to confirm and then soon after a lumpectomy.

The cancer is very aggressive and had grown even within that time.

This Mama begins chemotherapy this week.

Meanwhile, as is customary, she shared the news of her cancer with China. They gave her some devastating news:

She was no longer able to become Emily's mother.

This completely wrecked her.

Can you imagine? Such double bad news??

But we know that in ALL THINGS God works them for good to those who love Him!! (Romans 8:28)

And so, we search now for another family who can step into the vacancy created by cancer.

A family is needed for 10 year old Emily who is a healthy little girl. This precious orphan who must be very heartbroken to learn that after waiting for so long and finally being chosen...that it isn't going to work out.

Will you consider adopting precious Emily? Her file is listed with a particular agency, but they are willing to release her file to whichever agency will process her new adoption.

Pray for Emily...as well as for the cancer treatments and the devastated heart of her almost-mommy!!!

Please contact me if you want to learn more about how to become Emily's family.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Letter of Love to 2 Unknown Birth Mothers

Dear Unknown Birth Mothers of my Two Sons,

I do not know your names. I have not seen your faces. I do not know your stories.

But I love you.

You carried the flesh and blood of my two sons. You nourished, carried and hosted the miracle of life given to you by our amazing God.

You did not terminate the lives of my two children.

You could have.

You didn't.

I cannot thank you enough.

What hardship you endured, I cannot fathom.

You each loved of them so intensely.

I know you did. There are clues all about their stories that indicate your love.

You cared.

How it must have broken you in two to make the choice to allow someone (me) to come along in their future to raise them.

I cannot walk a mile in your shoes, but I respect you.

And I cannot stop thanking you.

The laughter and joy that Zeb brings my heart---oh how I wish you could know it too! Perhaps you treasure memories in your own heart on a day like this? Perhaps you think daily of your son you have lost. Wondering. Hoping.

I promise you: I will raise him as if you were here with me. Holding him in my arms when he is frightened.

Wiping his tears (and that ever runny nose) when he is hurt or sad.

Guiding his heart to trust.

Leading him to Jesus--where all sorrows melt into joy.

And to Toby's birth mother, oh you precious woman! How can I thank you for so carefully placing him in a spot where he would be immediately found?

Your heart knows exactly how old he is.

I understand...

I lost a son too. He would have been 6 1/2 now.

You know very well that your son is 2 1/2.

Please carry no guilt. You don't need that on top of a broken heart.

Know that I treasure Toby as my very own flesh and blood.

I promise to you as well: I will raise him as if you were here with me, looking over my shoulder, listening to how I comfort, train and teach.

And those scary things about his body that didn't look "right?"

Worry not! We are working with those and will be seen by the best doctors in the West for his condition. His differences are not scary for us (who had plenty of months to research and prepare), as they must have been terrifying for you. We are surrounded by supportive people who also have children like this. We are in good hands.

Oh how different it is when we CHOOSE a special need versus you who had it sprung upon you without warning or explanation.

I planted a rose bush in my garden for each of you:
Red for Toby's China mommy

It is a memorial garden to honor your memory. To teach my sons that they have been loved from their very beginnings.

A place for them to be when they feel they want to just thank you.

Or cry for you.

Or even be angry.

Pink roses for Zeb's Uganda Mommy

There is so much loss in adoption, but much gain.

You ladies each gave to them.

You gave to me.

And so today, on this Mother's Day, I honor you.


Adoptive Mommy to your birth sons

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pleading Prayers for Matthew

I have advocated for several orphans over the past year.

Usually I choose the ones that particularly grab my heart, and in some cases completely break me.

Matthew is one of those.
Ever good natured and kind, Matthew needs you!

I want nothing more than to find his family.

I have sought God's face intensely about him becoming a part of OUR family, but God's answer was no.

There MUST be someone else.

Where are you, sweet family?

If you are like me, my precious Toby was advocated for by many, many bloggers and I never saw it.

So you, future family of Matthew, may never see these words.

But friends, prayer is POWERFUL.

You are seeing this.

You can pray.

"Oh Lord of heaven and earth, please bend your ear and hear our prayer! We call on your defensive nature of the fatherless. Your child, Matthew, has grown up without the love of a mother and a father. He is a fine young man. You have blessed him with a great experience at a camp for orphans and then beautifully orchestrated Rob's following summer to reunite them. Lord God, please draw his family to him! We pray with all our hearts that you will bring them quickly. Allow the doors to blow open between them and Matthew. Allow the time to work out. September is coming so fast, Lord. Yet you know you have plans you have for him. Plans to give him a hope and a future. Please provide a loving family for this treasured young man. Please do not allow him to enter the world alone...at age 14.   We ask these things in Your Name, Jesus, Amen."

"The prayer of the righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16

"Defender of the fatherless, defender of widows--this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families and sets the prisoners free and gives them joy." Psalm 68:5-6

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves...speak up for the poor and needy." Proverbs 31:8 and 9

Please, I beg you to share the story of Matthew with your friends. Keep on talking to Jesus about him too! Here are a few places you can go to read about him: Reece's Rainbow (donate here towards his specific adoption even though his family has not been found, the money will be held for him in particular!); Rob's blog sharing about personal time with Matthew: here, here and here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Greenberry!! Yippie!!!

We used to have this wonderful Macbook Pro.

I say "used to" because I did something bad.

Very bad.

I spilled my Greenberry Shakeology on it.

Uh oh.

Guess what? Turns out that what is great for your body: lowers your cholesterol, increases your energy, fills you up, reduces your cravings for sweets, helps you lose weight and regulates digestion...

                              ...doesn't do that for a laptop.

If your bag looks like this, you've got the new formula!
Boo. :(

But the news is...

Greenberry Shakeology has just gotten a MAKEOVER!!!

And it's available now! :)  Yippie!!

Here's the 411 on the new formula straight from Beachbody HQ:

Q: What's different in the new Greenberry formula?
  • Reduced calories from 140 to 130 per serving
  • Reduced Sugars from 11g to 6g per serving! (5 grams less than before!)
  • Reduced Total Carbs from 19g to 13g per serving
  • Increased Protein from 16g to 17g per serving
  • Fiber increased from 3g to 4g due to the addition of pea protein and increase in super greens.
  • Reduced fructose necessary in the formula due to the addition of Luo Han Guo
  • We added Shakeology's newest superfoods: Luo Han Guo, Moringa and Himalayan Salt.
  • We increased the amount of super-greens (it is Greenberry after all!) and included an even more delicious natural flavor which works more harmoniously with the formula to makes Greenberry sweeter and fruitier.
  • Green tea used is no longer decaffeinated — therefore it is less "processed".
    • (Note: Green tea is naturally very low in caffeine).
  • Plus we incorporated the improvements we made recently to Chocolate:
    • More concentrated grasses. We're using grass juice powders. The grasses are first pressed into juices—which allows us to concentrate the nutrients—then the juice is further concentrated into a powder. (Before we were just grinding the grasses themselves into powders)
    • Better strain of probiotics
    • No suma root or blue-green algae
    • Still Low Glycemic Index
Q: Can I still get the Original Greenberry Formula?
A: For those of you who loved the original Greenberry, you can still purchase it (24-count cartons only) for limited time, beginning Tuesday, May 7th

Q: Does the New Greenberry Formula still have whey protein?
A: Yes, Greenberry Shakeology still has whey protein in it. We also added natural pea protein to round out the amino acid profile.

Q: Does the New Greenberry Formula still have fructose in it?
A: Yes, but nearly half of what it had before. In this latest formula evolution, new superfood ingredient Luo Han Guo (monkfruit) lends natural sweetness to the formulation without the carbs or calories.

Q: Why are the calories lower in this new Greenberry formula? (130 vs. 140 in the old formula)
A: This is mainly due to the reduction of fructose in the formula.

Q: What is Himalayan Salt? Why was it added into the new Greenberry Shakeology formula?
A: Salt and sodium are necessary in our diets. Unfortunately, common table salt has been stripped of its natural minerals. Himalayan salt is completely natural, relatively untouched, and as a result, still contains over 70 trace minerals. All these natural minerals found in Himalayan salt actually make this salt healthier for you than regular table salt. Additionally, as most people who bake know, adding a pinch of salt contributes to the sweetness of a product. Keep in mind that the RDA is 2400 mg. People who follow a low sodium diet generally restrict sodium to as low as 1500mg/day. So at 200mg, Greenberry Shakeology only represents 8% of the recommended daily intake.

Q: What are all ingredients now listed in blends on the 24-count cartons?
A: Ingredients on the Greenberry Shakeology packaging have been grouped in such a way to help customers more easily understand the categories of ingredients and their benefits.

Q: Why was Suma Root removed from Greenberry Shakeology?
A: Recently, the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) and the National Football League (NFL) released a new list of nationally banned substances. Because current drug screening technologies are unable to differentiate between natural, healthy substances and synthetic banned substances, the list now encompasses a group of all-natural phyto-chemical compounds known as ecdysteroids, which are found in various plants around the globe. Since the ecdysterone found in Suma Root can be erroneously detected as a banned synthetic substance, we have chosen to exclude it from Greenberry Shakeology.

Q: Why was Blue-green algae removed from Greenberry Shakeology?
A: The numerous benefits derived from blue-green algae are found in the other ingredients found in Shakeology's Phytonutrient / Super-Greens blend.

Q: Why is only one strain of probiotics listed on the new Greenberry Shakeology label rather than the 6 listed on the old formula?
A: Bacillus Coagulans is a powerful strain of probiotics proven to survive the acids in the stomach and reach the intestine where it is intended to function. Probiotics are good bacteria that help create a healthy environment in the intestines, to maintain healthy and improved digestive function. These friendly organisms may also help fight bacteria that cause diarrhea and there's also evidence that probiotics help maintain a strong immune system. This is why the probiotics need to reach the intestines instead of being eaten up in the stomach and why we have upgraded our probiotic strain.

Q: Is Greenberry Shakeology gluten-free?
A: The Shakeology formula does not contain any gluten-based ingredients and we make every effort to prevent any ingredients with gluten from coming into direct or indirect contact with our products. However, because of our high standards we do not feel it is appropriate to make a gluten-free claim since Shakeology is produced in facilities that also handle gluten based ingredients. If you have a concern about gluten it is best to consult your doctor before making any dietary changes.

Q: Original Greenberry Shakeology used to say it was Gluten–free. Why has it changed?
A: Because the safety of our customers is extremely important to us we felt it was prudent to include the statement that Shakeology is made in a factory that also handles gluten (wheat) based ingredients and we removed the Gluten Free statement. This does not mean that Shakeology contains gluten, in fact the Shakeology formula does not have any gluten based ingredients and we make every effort to prevent any ingredients with gluten from coming into direct or indirect contact with our product. This is taking a very conservative approach—however, the health and safety of consumers is our number one priority.

Q: When will Shakeology be certified gluten-free?
A: There are no gluten-based ingredients in the Shakeology formula. Although we can apply for a gluten-free certification, the safety of our customers is extremely important to us and until we are satisfied that our high standards can be met we will not put a gluten-free certified statement on the package. To meet our internal standards, we are reviewing our entire supply chain of nearly 100 ingredients to ensure that there is no potential exposure to gluten-based grains from the farm to the Shakeology product being sealed in the final package. At this point we cannot say when that assessment will be complete.

Q: Is Greenberry Shakeology free from allergens?
A: Shakeology is formulated to be free of the common 8 allergens, however, Shakeology is made in a manufacturing facility that also process allergens such as soy, wheat, milk and gluten. While our manufacturing procedures follows strict, required FDA Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), which include cleaning and breaking down of equipment between production runs and proper air filtration systems as precautionary measures, the possibility of cross-contamination can never be 100% eliminated, therefore we include the warning statement as a precaution to make our customers aware that Shakeology is manufactured in a facility that also processes soy, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, and wheat (gluten) ingredients." We feel this is a responsible approach to help those with extreme sensitivities to such ingredients make an informed decision about the use of Shakeology.

Ready to try some? As always, if you order on Home Direct, you will never pay shipping/handling (about $10 per bag). Beachbody always stands behind every product they offer and will refund your total purchase price if you decide it's not for you and return within 30 days. (so great!!) Click here to order yours and hey...just keep it off your laptop, k?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Is Matthew Yours?

Dear friends, nothing breaks my soul more than when a treasured orphan ages out.

In China, it's young.

Age 14.
(Can you fathom never having your heart trained for life and being pushed out on your own at age 14?!)

After that  14th birthday...a most dreaded birthday as an unwanted and unchosen orphan...he or she is forever deemed "unadoptable" by the government of China. They will never be able to become a son or daughter. There's way to much "UN" in that sentence.

Oh. My tears come again.

Dear Matthew is a boy in danger of this fate. He lives in China and is so dear. Watch his video. He is PRECIOUS!

Is he yours??

If so, please do not waste a MINUTE MORE!!! His 14th birthday is marching towards us quickly! Today is May 1st and his birthday is in SEPTEMBER!!!

Do not walk, RUN TO CHINA to scoop up this love!!!

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