"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. We worked day and night in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you." 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9

This blog is much more than our family and our crazy antics. After being overseas in Haiti for 4 years we prayed about coming back to the States and just still felt like God was going to use our family overseas...so here we go again. The big move to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and now the school growing and moving to Barbados. We just can't seem to rest until our family can love as many as we can to relationships with Christ. We always feel so blessed to meet the many people we get to serve with overseas, and of course love that you are reading with us as we serve in a new culture!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Losing the Girls

          Amidst teaching preschool, watching our kids, teaching at Bible College, cleaning, and cooking - something HUGE changed our lives this year.  She's 4 years old, the sweetest smile, and best hugger.  I got the greatest priviledge being her teacher for the last 7 months.

         She was never consistent at school.  But every few days she'd grab your heart and your hands and whisper, "I'm back, teacher!"  From the get go, my own children loved her name and her face and got so excited on the days she was in school.  She lives in a special neighborhood close by and when her mom found out she could be sponsored to come to school, she sent her when she could.  It's one of our favorite places to walk, so it was not unusual for us to come by and play with her.

     Her helpful spirit and gentleness is what I always noticed.  But, there were other details about her too....no underwear or socks, no shoes she owned, a uniform several sizes too big.   It was easy at school to add needed things to her bag and drop things off for her sisters, ages 5 and 8.  Sharing things with them was not draining or them begging, it was a gift to just be with the girls.  We knew mom, dad, and the girls and saw them as friends.

     And then mom and dad's drug problem got worse and the girls started being abandoned and left outside.  Neighbors were taking them in and telling us about them.  And we prayed for them and ached for them, but mom wanted them.   So on the days mom got her to school, we got to love on her.

     And finally, 4 weeks ago mom and dad's rights got severed.  From the moment we found out no one wanted her, we fought for her. Two of our closest friends are involved in social services here, they were on the phone and spent countless days on behalf of her.

     Call us crazy, but we never thought through any logistics - adoption paperwork, money to get her, honestly we'll work on that later.  We just prayed, begged, and called everyone we knew to help here.  Being a teacher for 7 years now, I could say it was a burdened teacher heart for a student caring for her, but it's always been more for her.

     The next 4 weeks not an hour went by without a thought and prayer for her.  There were ups and downs of us thinking we were getting her and the next being unable to find her paperwork.  And then, a big break came when we realized the reason she could not be found in the system is her  5 yr old sister was also taken and she was listed under her name.  And again call us crazy, but it never entered our heads to split them up, we wanted them both.

     Soon we found out they were being kept in a children's mental hospital as there had been no other place to put them.  We were devastated after having been to this place where some of the kids are kept in cages for safety to others.  And the girls had now been there 3 weeks!  Through the miracle of our neighbor and friend, she was able to get it worked out what looked like the next day we could go get the girls...

     And then, a neighbor of the parents leaked information to them that we were trying to get the girls.  She was so excited for us she told the family how well the girls would be taken care of.  And the girls mother, lost it.  Literally.  I can't imagine choosing drugs over my children.  But I also can't imagine losing rights over my children forever as she had just done.  She went to the court's with the news that if she couldn't have them, no one she knew could.

     So, the next day we were dreaming of picking up the girls and introducing them to slumber parties, seeing what foods they liked, and which stories they wanted to be read.........we realized those would just be dreams and prayers.  For the protection of the girls they were placed away from this area.

     We don't know when the courts will revisit this, perhaps we have been told when the parents forget them.  

We  don't know if the girls are okay and who they are with. 

We don't get to see their sweet smiles and hug them tight and keep them safe.

But we do get to pray for them and it is so very hard and yet a privilege.  Because now those girls have so many warriors praying for them and knowing their name and beseeching on their behalf.

We get to know that at least now they are not sleeping on the side of the road and have food to eat, because the courts intervened.  

We also know that God their Father is watching over them and keeping them close.  

     Selfishly, I want to ask you to pray for a miracle for God to bring them to us today or tomorrow or just even one day.  But, more I would ask you to pray for them to know God is with them and just rest in Him as their lives have been so changed.  And I also ask for prayers for their biological parents for their consuming need to be our Lord's Love.  There are so many children all over who don't know God's love like these 2 special girls, but God knows their name, and through us I pray we can help them by:

                                                                  - Praying for these kids
                                                                  - Caring and helping
       One special way is through HOTH Hearts locally (find them on facebook), this is our neighbor and friend who is just one woman working to give children in St. Vincent an orphanage home here.  So, while they are stuck in the system, they can be well  taken care of here.  They are in the process of building the first orphanage here.  For more information, please visit their page.

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