Friday, June 23, 2017

Happy Birthday BG

12 of our children have gone into foster care. It is not a very developed program and is not used very much in Lesotho, but it has worked in a few cases. 19 of our children have been transferred to other care facility either because of their age or because they had siblings or family living at or near other centers. We always do everything we can to help children to return to their family if there is someone within their family who can provide them with love and care. We have had 145 children who have returned to their families here in Lesotho.
When children are abandoned or do not have any family members who are able to care for them, we then look into placing them into adoptive families. It is so amazing to see the way God brings just the right family for each of our children. We have had 216 children who have been adopted both locally and internationally.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Being Loved

For those of you who make the choice to adopt older children, I would just like to say that you are amazing. It is not an easy journey to welcome a child who has already lived several years outside your home, and who may come with a lot of baggage and heartache. It can be totally heartbreaking on the days where they beg to leave and go back to their other home or orphanage. It can be heartbreaking when they sit crying and won't tell you why they cry, or worse, they hide those tears behind anger. They may not chose you or like you for a long time because of the way they have been hurt in the past. I have heard stories of terrible struggles and heartaches for some families, but I have experienced and seen the blessings of taking the risk with many other families.

I share this because my youngest daughter has decided that she wants to be a part of our family. She has been asking to go back to Beautiful Gate, or to go and live with friends of mine who are more fun than us (seriously who could be more fun that my crazy family, hahaha) or have better stuff than us. These comments were expected because I know it is common for a child to struggle to attach and to struggle with transition and change. I always listened to her and told her that I was sorry, but she was a part of our family and couldn't go back or go live with someone else. I never showed pain or disappointment, just listened and said I was sorry. It isn't her fault that her life before our family confused her as to what family can be like. I continue to show love and hope that she will feel safe no matter what her heart is feeling.

What wasn't expected was the Mother's Day card I received last month and the comments I have been hearing this month. After 16 months with me as her mommy, she has chosen to keep me. Wow, what a blessing. I chose to adopt her, but I cannot make her want to be my daughter. She has decided that she really wants to be a part of our family. There is no greater gift than to receive love that is voluntarily given. Not forced nor manipulated, but given from the heart. It makes me understand why God lets us chose to love Him, and why He does not force us to chose Him. I have hoped and prayed that I would be loved, and it is amazing that it is happening. Sunday as we were walking into church, it was so beautiful to see her run ahead and grab her daddy's hand. She has decided to keep him too and there could be no better gift the week before Father's day. I know that the journey will continue to have ups and downs, but the best part is that we are a family and we will support each other through the ups and downs of life. God is doing something incredible in our lives, and we thank Him that He is walking with us.
I did not write this to embarrass or share too much personal information about my beautiful daughter. I wrote this because I know that many people face different challenges when adopting older children. I want to encourage you all to keep your heart open and don't give up. It may take 16 years instead of 16 months, but it is worth it. If you feel like you have already hardened your heart, pray for God to soften it because a child can clearly see a heart that is safe and one that is guarded.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

An Update on the Geurinks

I am all settled in again working full time at Beautiful Gate. My heart is always wondering about my dear friend Kim, but I have to leave her in God's capable hands. Thanks again for your love and support as I headed to the states to see her.

I returned to BG the day before some of our volunteers were leaving and now all of our volunteers who were here for 3-5 months have left and 2 new volunteers have arrived. We also had a team when I got here and now a new team is here, so it is our busy time again. The winter months fly by because of all the teams and volunteers who come through BG. It is good for it to fly by because it is so cold. The only hard part is the late nights as tonight will be my first night eating at home with my family in 5 nights. I think they kinda miss me ;)

In family news, this is the last week of school and sadly it is also the last week ever of our beloved KCAL school (the tiny missionary school we started with another MAF family). It has been amazing to see how much my kids have grown through this time with this school. They have been stretched and have grown so much, and I am very grateful that we were able to have this opportunity. I am so thankful to those who have partnered with us to make this school a success. Teachers who gave up a regular salary and were living off donations of others so they could teach missionary kids.

Our family is also in the process of packing up our house. We are going to be house sitting (which is a win win because the house won't be empty for them and we are paying less rent than our current house) for 6 months for our friend Tyler while he goes to America and gets married to his beautiful fiance' Emily. We are hoping to move into a Beautiful Gardens home in January and then leave it fully furnished for the wonderful woman who is going to be taking over my role as operations manager. We have no idea how long we will be living at Beautiful Gardens, because it depends on the visa approval for my littlest sweeties. I think it will be super cool to live there and know that the rent we pay is actually going to bless Beautiful Gate!! All that to say, we will be moving twice in the next 6 months, and then again once the visas are approved so your prayers for sanity and peace over our family would be appreciated.

Next month is also the month where Bryan's sister Kristin is coming with her daughters, Paige and Kelly. My kids are beyond excited for their cousins and aunt to finally see this amazing ministry, and are counting down the days! We have so much happening this year, but we are doing our best to enjoy each moment and be fully present and not always worried about the next thing.