When we were in China, God changed us. I believe we began changing long before we landed there, but when we truly saw the children on the streets, and later in the orphanages, He gave us a mission. He set a fire in my heart, and a passion in my soul to become a voice for these children. As Americans, it's easy to think that we understand their plight, but truly I say to you, if you have never seen it first hand, you simply can not understand the depth of it.
We had an amazing travel group, and when you go through such a life changing experience as adoption, you bond deeply with one another. We've been incredibly blessed to keep up with most of the families in our group. We have also made friends with many families in our local adoptive group. Just within these families I can tell you some of our first hand experiences, and even without a word, these pictures can tell you volumes! They were all taken by Niki and Phil Smith last summer.
|This was a man and child in Beijing on the streets begging. The child was asleep on the ground .|
|This girl was curled up on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to the Xin Xiang orphanage. We suspect she had lived here and had no where else to go.|
|Babies were in broken cribs, that were rusting out, with holes gouged into the stone walls.|
|This girl was eating in a rusted out crib, completely unaware anyone was visiting the orphanage.|
One family has a daughter who was left bundled in a crib for approx 20 hours a day. She had no core strength, and at 1 year of age she could not sit up unassisted. Her hands had been bound, and she had to undergo desensitizing therapy for nearly 6 months after coming back to the states, because her hand were so overly sensitive at being able to finally experience FEELING, and TOUCHING things for the first time in her life.
Another child was so malnourished that her hair was brittle and her skin was discolored.
Our daughter has had behavior such as keeping food in her mouth for hours. It's called hoarding, and is typical of adopted kids. They are unsure if this is their last meal, so they keep a little for later, so to speak. Even after months with us, it was hard for her to grasp that she would NEVER go hungry again!
In one orphanage a family saw as many as 4 babies in a single crib, and 8-10 year olds curled in a fetal position sleeping in cribs. Another family saw a child believed to be in their very early teens curled up on the sidewalk in front of their child's orphanage. (see above picture.) Inside they saw a baby whom they were told was brought in just a day before who was blue. They didn't know what was wrong with the child, but it's not believed that the baby survived.
These are not stories I heard through the grapevine or saw somewhere online. These are people I KNOW, people who experienced this with their OWN EYES. I could write for hours on the subject but I will stop here. I just wanted to preface the next part, and leave you understanding the real point of it, the truth of it. God opened our eyes. He molded our hearts. He set a fire within our soul!
He knew then that we would be back. He was paving the way for us! So yes, here's where my catchy blog post title comes in... We are adopting again! This time, God has chosen for us a beautiful baby boy. Our son is currently living in a foster home in the same province our daughter Annabella lived in. So later this year, we will be traveling back to China, to the Henan province to adopt our newest addition.
I was humbled that God allowed me to parent my three beautiful sons. I praised Him and thanked Him for them. When He placed Annabella into our lives, I becalmed even more humbled at His love for me. Now that He is again entrusting us to raise another beautiful boy I find myself in awe! I am so unworthy of His great love, of His trust in me. We stressed so much over finances with Annabella's adoption, that when He began calling us back, it was with great resistance that we finally began to listen to Him! But let me tell you, the peace that we've found since giving over to His will, is priceless. How will we pay for this adoption? Through Christ! He will open the doors for us! We have learned to have so much more faith in Him because He has shown us and taught us how!
I certainly won't say having gone through one adoption makes us seasoned vets at it. I doubt someone who's been through 10 would call themselves seasoned vets! What awaits us on this journey? We have no idea! But I know this. God is with us! He will never leave us! He will never fail us! So here we go again, into the unknown waters, with nothing but faith to guide us. We hope you'll follow along as we again begin on our journey to the other side of the world, to change one child's life forever.
And now, I'm pleased to show you our most recent picture of our precious son, Matthew Gregory Bennett!
"12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." John 14:12-14