Monday, September 28, 2015

Spring Break

Spring break is here for our preschool kids. They were able to spend the day running all over playgroup and having a great time. I am realizing that I am more drawn to preschoolers because I seem to wander over to playgroup more often when they are home from school. When my days here are done, I think I may need to find a preschool to work at!

I took a little 4 year old to the library for a half hour today, and really enjoyed some one on one time. We read a lot of books. I had to laugh because there is a big stuffed bear in the library so I had a child and a big bear on my lap while reading books. It was good that she turned the pages because I could not fit my arm all the way around her and the bear. I am super thankful for the library because it is nice to single out a child and share a love for books together. Our books are able to last longer and be in better shape since they are no longer in the baby rooms where they used to be eaten or ripped.

Upon coming back to playgroup, I had a good laugh as Grace (our long term volunteer and friend) was surrounded by about 6 kids who were "braiding" her hair. One child was really good at braiding, one was making a super cool twist that will take some serious work to get out and a few others made some nice knots. As I watched the older girl braiding Grace's hair, I began to wonder about her life before BG. Was her mom a hair stylist who taught her daughter to braid or did she learn to braid other kids hair while in her village? She was already 5 when she came to BG so she has a lot more history than most of our kids. Sometimes she is happy and playing with the other kids and other times she is quiet and lost in thought. I do not know what her experience has been, but today when I took a picture of her braiding Grace's hair, I saw a beautiful smile on her face and a look of pride. I love when we see that spark in a kid's eyes that shows their happiness.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


It is funny that after 38 years on this earth, I am still crazy enough to think that I can have some amount of control in life. This past week was a big example of that for me. There were 3 situations that happened that threatened the safe and predictable control that I still like to imagine I have in life. I know that I have alluded to that before, and apparently I am not a quick learner because here I sit struggling again. If only I could learn this lesson quicker, then I would not have to face it again and again!
I am trying to keep my spirits up while I process each situation, but I am feeling super emotional and weak right now. None of them are a huge deal on their own, I think it is just the layering of things. If you have a moment to say a prayer, I would appreciate it. Like I said, none of them are earth shattering, I just feel tired. God is bigger than my problems, and He will work all the details out, but I am seeking His wisdom and timing.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Babysitting and Visitors

We had a fun and busy weekend. I watched my friend Mari's son and was reminded of what life with an almost 2 year old is like. He was full of energy and we explored all sorts of things in the house and in the yard. Bryan and I did some yard clean up in our new yard, and he helped by splashing wholeheartedly in our water runoff :) We got a picture and video so we could show off some child labor laws which I am sure we violated by "making" him be our helper. I am thankful that we had some fun with him and his mom could enjoy a nice birthday spa!

About 40 minutes after he left, we welcomed our friends from the Netherlands, the Meijer family. They are in Lesotho adopting a beautiful little boy. He is not from Beautiful Gate (I am so thankful that other care facilities are getting paperwork completed for adoptions too). They had dinner with us and we had a very nice conversation while their 2 children played with my 3 children. Between our kids, there were 3 different languages and they could not communicate with each other, but it did not matter. Legos, toy cars, and coloring books speak their own language of FUN, and that is enough for kids. I am thankful for my friends around the world, and I am thankful that their long 5 year wait is finished. They are a beautiful and happy family. Today they will be visiting Beautiful Gate for the first time before they leave later this week. I am feeling very thankful once again for adoptions!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Donation Information Update - changed Sept. 17

Our financial information has changed. PLEASE take note of the NEW ADDRESS before sending financial support.

New address: AFBGI Ministries                         
                       Geurink Fund                              
                      100 Pine Street                    
                      Suite 107                                      
                      Zeeland, Michigan 49464
                      Attn: Vern Meyaard

It is still the same Non-profit ministry, but due to donation guidelines in different states, it will work better for our funds to be deposited in Michigan. We thank you for your faithful support which has allowed us to serve Beautiful Gate for almost 5 years!

Our paypal button is still working and is another option for giving (thanks Michael for the good question).
I just sent out my latest newsletter with this big address change and thought it may be best if I posted it on my blog too. (Thanks Lori for the reminder) If any of you get my quarterly family newsletters and have moved in the past year or are no longer getting my newsletters, please email me your mailing address. If you are interested in receiving our family newsletter by mail and are not on our list, please email me your address as well. If you would like to stop receiving our family newsletter, please email me and let me know and with a small donation of $10,000, we will remove your name (couldn't resist a little sarcasm cause this was getting too formal of a blog post).Our email is

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Joyful Morning

It has been a joyful morning. I helped my friend Mari as she worked with our special needs kids. It is such a blessing to work with her and to see the progress our children are making! Since the time Mari has started, our kids are making great advances in their physical development. God brought her to this country and then brought her to BG. I love the way He orchestrates these meetings! I have the privilege of playing with her almost 2 year old son between bringing children to the therapy room for Mari. This morning he and I were way to busy with the slide and looking for fish so we were not too helpful to Mari, sorry Mari!!
After therapy, we played with all of the little BG kids who are too young for preschool. We have a plastic play set that has a climbing wall with little finger holes. One little boy was on the other side and would look at me through the finger hole. When I looked back at him, he would shove himself back and laugh hysterically. His laugh is unreal, and it is always so much fun to hear him having a good time. He usually plays tag with Elijah whenever Elijah is at playgroup and then we laugh with him. I know that this little boy was so sad and crying a lot when he first came, but God has lifted his sad spirit and replaced it with joy!
After flipping kids upside down, playing catch and tickling kids for some time, I had to head back to the office. I love my job. Between helping by playing with my friend's son during therapy, playing with BG kids, and laughing with staff and volunteers, I am not really sure people would think I really am working :)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Joyful Gotcha Day

On Tuesday we had a family from Sweden come to meet their new daughter. It was so special because in the past year we have had our first families from Canada, Netherlands and now Sweden who have returned to Beautiful Gate to adopt a second child. Almost exactly 5 years ago they were in Lesotho meeting their son who was 14 months old, and now they returned adopting a daughter who is 14 months old. It was super special to witness!
Since this is only our 4th adoption of the year, it was extra joyful in my heart. I have missed the beautiful moment when a long awaited for child is brought into our chapel and placed into the loving arms of their new parent/s. The joy of the new parents is infectious, and it spreads around the room to each of us who are there watching and taking pictures. May God be praised for bringing this moment together.
I know that I have written of my struggles with abandonment and the sadness of it. Hearing story after heart breaking story of the hard life each kids has walked before being brought here, is more than our hearts can bear. Most of the time, I do not even ask anymore. It is easier to just love the kids and not dwell on what brought them here. However, these precious moments of families receiving their child, it makes the stories less potent. For a time, God's bigger picture shines through, and His perfect family is put together. When he knit that tiny baby in her mother's womb, He knew she was not going to remain with that mother. He had already chosen a different mother to be the one to love her, play with her, read to her, tickle her, and raise her to be a woman. Why? We will never understand, but He knew it was best because He knows all.
Neither of these are the child who was adopted. I just wanted to post a picture of  some BG kids sleeping :)