Sunday, April 29, 2012

Adoption April!


April has been a great month for Beautiful Gate!  We started and ended the month with more adoption ceremonies.  In early April, we were blessed to witness the creation of two more "Forever Families" to Canada!
2 New Forever Families in Canada!
One of the most interesting facts about these families, (to me) is that they both now have more children that are non Canadian vs. the number of parents that are Canadian.  The family to our left (in the picture above) now has three Basotho children.  And the single mother to our right (in the picture above), now has two African children.

At the end of April, we celebrated the creation of two more "Forever Families" in Sweden!
2 New Swedish Forever Families

Also pictured here are many of the key people responsible for these and all Swedish adoptions.  It was such a blessing to have all these people at one adoption ceremony to see the finalization of all their hard work.

Beautiful Gate wishes these new families the very best and will pray the the Lord will continue to provide for them and their new "Forever Families" in the future!

"In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves."  Ephesians 1:5-6

Bryan

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A moment in their shoes

If you are a mother, father or thinking of becoming one in the near future, I want you to think about your children. What would it take for you to willingly give them up? To what extreme would you go to make sure you could care for, love and provide for your children? If all you lacked were the resources to provide food and shelter, would your family or friends or even governmental agencies come to your assistance?

This has been on my mind all day. Yesterday a brother and sister were brought to Beautiful Gate because their mother had dropped them off with their aunt saying she'd be back, and she never came back to get them. Their aunt could not continue to care for them so she contacted social welfare (DSW) and DSW brought the kids here. How desperate did their mother have to be in order to walk away and not come back?

We also have another child here whom I mentioned in a previous post. This child had some damage done to her lungs due to several illnesses that progressed a long time. She is now dependent on an oxygen machine and was stuck in a hospital room until we agreed to take her here. Her parents came to visit her for the first time since she has been here and they are in the process of discussing her future with them. They do not have electricity in their home either because they can not afford it or because they live in an area when it is not accessible, so they are discussing whether they should place her up for adoption.

I cannot even for a minute pretend to put myself in their shoes.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Picture Request

This post is a request for pictures from my family and friends who spent time with us in 2010 before we left for Africa. As many of you already know, my camera was stolen when we got to Jo-berg along with my memory card with all my pics from summer and fall of 2010. If any of you have digital pics of our family from 2010 can you email me (bageurink@hotmail.com) and I'll let you know the easiest way to send them to me, I am really hoping someone has a few from Elijah and Mercy's birthday party at Crazy Bounce and a few of our camping trips, as I have none. I am planning to work on the scrapbook of our last year in Michigan (before becoming missionaries) with pics of all our family and friends and would really appreciate any pictures you may have. I am finding that looking through scrapbooks is very good for the kids to remember places and faces as Mercy was only 3 when we left. Thanks!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Time

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven A time to be born And a time to die. A time to plant And a time to pluck what is planted. A time to kill And a time to heal. A time to break down And a time to build up. A time to weep And a time to laugh. A time to mourn And a time to dance. A time to cast away stones And a time to gather stones. A time to embrace And a time to refrain from embracing. A time to gain And a time to lose. A time to keep And a time to throw away. A time to tear And a time to sew. A time to keep silence And a time to speak. A time to love And a time to hate. A time of war And a time of peace."

 We rushed on an unexpected trip to Durban (after our Lesotho clearing agent told us to go ASAP) to claim our car (that we bought 14 months ago) and get it loaded on a truck to be shipped to Lesotho. We got there only to discover that they are no longer shipping cars to Lesotho, but they'd be happy to ship it to us in Mozambique (funny how unhelpful that offer is). So it is not the time for us to have our car.

We took the kids to play in the ocean and allowed them to enjoy God's creation while we were there in Durban. The kids said it was the best vacation because they love the ocean so much. It was time to make our kids happy and bond as a family.

We decided to take an adventurous road trip home through Sani Pass because it might be the only time it is just the 5 of us and we did not have the trailer. It is an AMAZINGLY beautiful 4x4 pass through Drakensberg Mountains. We had a breathtaking view from the place we stopped for lunch. It was time to sit in awe of our Lord's majesty.

We drove for hours on pothole filled roads going up and down mountains. We hit a bad patch of potholes with lose gravel around them, lost control of the Land Rover and began to slide into the side of a mountain or the other side being a flimsy guard rail with a deadly drop. Thankfully Bryan gained control of the car. It was not our time to die or I would never have been able to post this today.

I am still silently reflecting what God's time means to me and my family...

Friday, April 13, 2012

God's Plans are Good



God is so good at turning our sorrows into smiles, turning our tears into laughter, taking our pain and replacing it with love, and showing us that through both the good times and the bad, He is faithfully loving us all and holding us close to His heart. Today, God showed me that though there may be times I get a little sad over things I cannot change, He is constantly putting plans into motion that are just amazing.

Today we celebrated 4 adoptions! The 3 siblings which I blogged about last week and another precious girl whose smile brought a lot of light to Beautiful Gate and to me. Everyday when she saw me, she'd come running with arms outstretched and a beaming smile :) Today was our final farewell with the 4 children and it was so sincere and special. They all 4 came from some very tough situations that even made our social worker want to cry when she visited their village on Wednesday (and she is not easily given to tears). Their lives did not start off well, but God was not finished with them yet.

He had 3 parents who needed these children in their lives. I know one family waited for 5 long years for this adoption day. It was hard and it tested them, but God was saying wait because I have the perfect kids for you. If they would have had the kids in their timing, then they never would have had their youngest who is FULL of joy and smiles. God kept saying wait, not yet, I am your Daddy and I know just the perfect kids for you. I made them for you and I am saving them for you. It is just beautiful.

I know they are many others who are waiting to adopt children and while we may never fully understand God's timing or why the long and painful waiting, I hope you can find hope through the story of these parents. I will never understand the timing of my sister's death (previous blog post) either, but I trust God that it was the right time and I trust Him with my future and the future of my family. His ways are not our ways, but He is full of grace and mercy! Today we rejoice through adoption!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Sister, My Best Friend

Sometimes I hate the month of April. It can be a painful month and it lasts for 30 days with a constant reminder of who is missing from my life, April. The last 3 years, I have done a good job just celebrating her life with happy memories and I usually take a few hours to just be alone and remember my best friend, my sister. I especially remember 3 years ago when my dad, brother, and I spent a day doing all of the things that made us think of her. I bought a Harley Davidson T-shirt, we ate at her favorite resteraunt, we went to the beach, and we bought some of her favorite flowers. It was a beautiful celebration of the amazing person she is to all of us.

This year has just been tougher and I think it is because I was already a bit homesick after Bryan was away for a month seeing friends and family (mostly fundraising though). I also think that living here in Lesotho and living with poverty, pain, hopelessness, suffering, starvation, etc, has torn down the walls of my protected heart. Everything seems to hurt more so I guess it makes sense that missing April hurts more too. I also watched a movie last night and the main character reminded me so much of her that I teared up a few times. All that being said, I guess I just miss her and wish I could be sharing this new life I am living with her.

For those of you who do not know me well, my sister April took her life on April 11, 1999. 4 months before Bryan and I got married. Depression, physical and emotional pain, and tough life circumstances proved to be more than she could carry on her own. So my sister/best friend went to be with Jesus today 13 years ago when she was 23.

Here are the lyrics to a song I played at her funeral:
Good-bye for now by Kathy Troccoli

I can't believe that you're really gone now.
Seems like it's all just a dream
How can it be that the world would go on
When something has died within me
Leaves will turn, my heart will burn
With colors of you
Snow will fall, but I'll recall your warmth
Summer wind, breathing in your memory
I'll miss you


But there will be a time
When I'll see your face
And I'll hear your voice
And there we will laugh again
And there will come a day
When I'll hold you close
No More tears to cry
'Cause we'll have forever
But I'll say Goodbye for now


I can't imagine my life without you
You held a place all your own
Just knowing you were beneath the same sky
Oh what a joy I have known
On rainy days, in many ways
You'll water my heart
On starry nights I'll glmipse the light
of your smile
Never far from my heart

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt Success!

This year was a much more successful egg hunt. There were no tears and I got to watch kids wolf down candy like I have never seen before! The weather was perfect so Bryan, Laury and Laury's 2 friends set out candy in the yard while the children played in their playhouse (I was actually laying down inside with a horrible stomach ache but I snuck out to take a few pics). Once the Bo'me opened the gate the older kids came flying through and immediately were on the prowl for some candy. We had them all put their candy in some big bowls and then distributed it evenly among the older children and the younger children (who were clueless as to what they were suppose to be doing). We also learned one other important lesson from last year and that was not to put the actual boiled eggs out for the kids to find as they threw them in the baskets last year and destroyed a few eggs :)

Once they were handed their bags, the little kids walked around opening their bags and then dropping the contents in the grass or on the sidewalk, picking them up and repeating the process. But the funniest thing was seeing the kids biting into their hard boiled eggs and then getting a funny look on their face. We had to grab their eggs and peel them so they did not keep eating the shells. Some of these kids are 6 years old and have never seen or eaten a whole hard boiled egg! They loved them and they also devoured their 2 chocolate marshmallow eggs and their lollipop. I think we spoiled a lot of lunches yesterday, but I think we had some VERY HAPPY kids! We also passed out a bag of candy and an egg to all the staff who were working and it was a wonderful time!
Enjoy a few pictures...







Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Fun



Friday, I went to church and had some time alone to reflect on Jesus' suffering and death for me. It was a very nice service of worship, but also a time to try to image the real suffering and pain Jesus had to go through because of our sin. I am thankful for that reminder so I could keep my focus on Christ despite the "fun" things we like to do around Easter, which can get in the way of remembering the cross.

One of our "fun" things was to spend time as a family, along with our friend's Donna and Allan (who are adopted family), writing special messages or drawing on 60 eggs and then coloring the eggs for the staff and kids here at Beautiful Gate. It was a good time and it is nice to spend time as a family doing something special for others. So here is hoping that our 2nd annual BG Easter Egg Hunt goes better than the 1st :) Last year we had about 7 of the young kids crying because they had no idea what we were doing to them and we just wanted to share candy and an egg with them, oops! They still liked me afterwards but it took a few hugs and a dum dum sucker to convince them!

Anyway, here are some pictures of our fun.











Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Growing Family

It is hard to imagine the reality that is the life of some of the kids in Lesotho. There is a set of 3 siblings who have been staying with us for a few months while they wait to meet their parents. They are almost the exact same ages as my 3 kids and my kids have spent a great deal of time with them. Playing tag, rolling in the grass, riding scooters, and climbing on the play equipment. It has been a lot of fun to have them a part of our lives even though their time at Beautiful Gate has been brief.

When I think about the stories my kids tell, the many experiences they have had and the people they have met in their very young lives and compare that to these 3 kids, I can't help but wonder what must have been going through their minds as they have been waiting to be a part of a family. So young and yet orphans. Different placements between family and child care centers with so many memories, so much pain, and yet so many hopes and dreams. I know their biggest dream has been to be part of a family. So last night as I was about to go to bed, this is what I wrote on Facebook...

There are 3 amazing, precious children whom I have come to love dearly, and I am praising God that tonight is their very last night going to bed as orphans. Tomorrow they will meet their parents and it brings tears of joy to my eyes. God, I will NEVER stop thanking you for adoption!

Today, I got to watch these kids meet their mom and dad. It was just beautiful and they are all just so perfect together as a family. What an amazing couple who are willing to take 3 kids into their home, all at once with none of them being little babies. They will need a lot of prayer to help this to be a smooth transition. The kids are remarkable and well behaved kids but going from no kids to 3 is a huge undertaking that I am sure will be the best blessing for all 5 of them!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Unexpected answer to prayers!!

Okay all you prayer warriors out there, this post is because of you!!!!!! Lucky isn't leaving yet, his uncle has decided to have him stay till he is finished with grade 8 which is December!! SO we have about 9 more months to be a part of his life and who knows what could change by December, maybe Lucky won't have to leave at all! SO let me tell you a little about how this came to be.

Friday was horrible weather, rain flooded the roads, the yards, and ponds all over this area, so Lucky's sister did not take him into town to catch the taxi. Saturday was starting the same way (which is also why Bryan's plane never landed here, it flew all the way here but there was no visibility so they flew back to Jo-burg). His sister must have contacted her uncle because Lucky came again to say a final good-bye and asked me to take him to town to the taxi, but I couldn't as we were waiting to hear about Bryan's flight. Then later he stopped by with a few relatives and told me that he will not be going till the end of the school years. He was so HAPPY that he was getting to stay and I pray for his family that God will provide work for his sister and brother-in-law and then maybe he will be allowed to continue living in his little shack next door to them. Thank you for your encouraging and loving words to our family as we thought we were losing a close friend and thank you for praying for Lucky because God answered your prayers so unexpectedly! Yeah God

Also, thank you for praying for Bryan's safety over the past month, he has finally arrived here safely. He had to rent a car from Jo-burg yesterday as they cancelled all flights from Maseru due to the bad weather. I thought my kids were going to lose their minds while they had to wait for him to arrive. They paced, they complained, they stood by the gate to keep watch, etc for hours!!! Then I had to force them to come inside because it was dark, and they fretted that he would not be home before bedtime, but he finally made it here. Such happiness I cannot even begin to describe as my kids tackled him as he walked in the door. We are all so happy to be together again!

So on a dreary rainy weekend that started off very sad, God has turned our sorrow into rejoicing and we will praise His name! We were upset that the weather made Bryan's plane not be able to land, but it was this same weather that allowed our friend to stay. God answers our prayers so unexpectedly!