Thursday, December 23, 2010


Have you ever prayed for something so fervently, but yet it still felt far off? Have you ever been so broken over an issue or situation that you awake through the night to take it to the Lord, while you weep? That was me throughout this adoption process, but especially during the beginning stages. I remember being so impacted upon learning of the plight of these orphans that it deeply put a burden on my heart - as if I could almost feel the heaviness. No matter the sequence of that day's events - I could not escape that burden. That heaviness. It often brought me to tears - which I could only turn over to Christ in continual prayer.
Then there were times that the faces I saw on my computer screen seemed so afar off that they almost became unreal to me. If it were not for other adopting family's journaling their "Gotcha Days" and in country experiences - it may have continued to feel that way. It was these stories, paired with the real burden and the ability to see and hold my little Justus that continued to keep it all real.
Then the day came that we travelled and got to see Max and Ivanna for the first time. I could not adequately describe to you the feeling that welled up inside me to see them that very first time. I still think back to that day in awe. They were REAL, and the burden that God placed upon our hearts for them was REAL. There was meaning to the six months of paperwork, approvals, and money spent. There was a REAL reason for our fervent prayers. That day my burden took a new twist. It was not just to go and see them, touch them, hold them but it became more pressing to RESCUE them. Now, not only were mine eyes affecting my heart - but I could smell the smells of that place, see the years of neglect upon my sweet Ivanna and all I wanted to do - was get them out. As we were in country, we could not speak to the things that we were concerned over - not wanting to invite any raised eyebrows while still in the midst of the adoption process. However, it was VERY apparent with regards to Ivanna that she had spent a majority of her life in a crib. She was dopey from meds (that was obvious) she was dehydrated, limp (not wanting to sit up on her own), not vocal, and she had a bit of a bald spot on the back of her head from what I assume is laying down ALOT. Her hands were red, chapped and had scabs on her thumb, and she was so skinny, so frail, and she smelled terribly. I cried at the sight of her. The orphanage doctor asked why I cried. I replied that it was because I had dreamt of seeing them both. Partly true. I also had a breaking heart at the sight of my sweet Ivanna. My flesh, wanted to take her away from that place that very instant. Yet, I know that as far as orphanages are concerned - the one we went to is considered a good one. Clean, well kept, offering outdoor walks and play time to MOST of the children. Just not Ivanna's groupa. I think that they really believe it is best for them. I believe that they think these children are so frail, and can't do much of anything besides be bedridden. A lack of education resulted in REAL neglect. A REAL reason and need to be taken out of that.
Three weeks. That's not a lot of time, really. However, three weeks home for Max and Ivanna and this is what it yields:
Ivanna - she has gained nearly two pounds, stands and pulls herself up onto the couches, is becoming SO vocal that she is constantly making some sort of noise, goes potty after meals on the potty chair, eats like a champ (when we first tried in orphanage, she would not even take a bottle), smiles and giggles constantly, seeks to be the center of attention, is always crawling and she is walking more and more.
Max - also goes potty on the potty chair after meals, loves to play the piano very sweetly and gently, is working on chewing crackers one bite at a time without gorging himself, reflux is sort of improving - but we are still looking into this, gave me hugs and kisses for the first time just a couple days ago!
Imagine what the rest of their life being apart of a family will yield? We praise the Lord for it all.

Pretty girl, gaining weight is a fun endeavor for her! She is a big fan of eating!

One thing that was a recurrent topic of discussion for my little Ellie and myself was how she was so excited to teach Ivanna to walk. Well, Ellie girl - that too is REAL. I snapped these pictures this morning as Ellie got to help Ivanna walk. Yes, you see all kids in PJ's and bedheads. =)

Oh, and runny noses. LOL - after all, this post title is 'REAL'

This picture is sobering to me. Ellie and Ivanna are only one month apart, both girls are five.

Every morning, the children eat oatmeal. It is mushy enough that they do not choke, yet textured enough to offer fiber, etc. I will give Ivanna a bottle, then Max a small bottle with his reflux med in it while I feed Justus oatmeal. I then, feed Max until there is just a bit left in his bowl. I will then allow him to take over. He is learning to not try and gorge himself, but pace his spoonfuls. I am not sure why, but this seems to be common with children coming out of orphanages - gorging and shovelling in the food so fast. While Max is working on feeding himself, I clean up Justus and put Ivanna in the highchair where I feed her oatmeal. Busy? Yes, but I remind myself just how blessed I am to be so busy.

I know this is a long post, and I apologize for it. I just felt the need to remind those who are contemplating the adoption process, or in the midst of it - that it is WORTH it all. These children are REAL, the need is REAL, and perhaps God has put this burden on your heart so that you too can realize the blessings of having the ability to offer a home to a child who so desperately needs one. Don't lose sight of that. If you are in the midst of the process, I know it can become paperwork focused, or fundraising hectic, but keep your sights on Christ - for He placed this REAL burden upon your heart ... He will REALLY provide all things to see it accomplished.
Praising Christ for allowing our REAL burden to become REAL praise!


Alice said...

Thank you for posting "Real" life for you these days. It's amazing how much Max and Ivanna have grown in the last few weeks. You are such an inspiration to the rest of us to be better mom's and care takers for the blessings that God has entrusted to us.
I love you. Let me know if you need anything.

MissyB said...

Wow, that is where I am at, There have been times when it did seem unreal to me, it was a big help to hold your Max that made it very real to me. We are in the midst of all the paper chasing and fundraising, but God shows us His faithfulness continually through our journey, He has burdened our hearts and He is faithfull and true...and we be with us every step of the way!!We know that our little Brian is WORTH it all, we trust God, that the day will come when we see Brian's sweet face. So for now, we work hard to bring him home, we pray and trust our amazing Savior, we cry and pour our hearts out to Jesus!
It has been wonderful, to have watched your journey each day, you have been a huge encouragement to me! I love you sweet friend, and I am so happy for you! To God be the glory!!

Vi Abing said...

This is what "love" is all about. For God so loved the World He gave his only begotten Son. He loved us first so we can share our love with others. I praise God for your family. You are a light in a dark world.

Mel said...

WOnderful post Charrissa!! Merry Christmas!!

Mel said...

Merry Christmas Brownings! Thank You for opening my eyes and praise God for opening our hearts...What a blessed Christmas...cant wait to meet your sweet new additions!

Susanna said...

This post is an encouragement to me--thank you!

The Abell Family said...

Thank you Charrissa.... we needed this!!

Chris & Jenn

Just Me @ My Domestic Experiments said...

Thanks for posting. I am crying tears of joy.

...but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. John 9:3


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