Monday, July 27, 2015

last day in baguio

Yesterday, we laid low quite a bit.  The women who run this home have lavished us with some of the most delicious Filipino food.  In the Filipino culture, you show someone you care for them by cooking for them.  We have felt so cared for.  Especially me — what a treat it has been to come downstairs and find a table set with a hot meal prepared.  And this is after they’ve fed 25 children!  Twenty-five.  I have a hard time feeding five sometimes.  :)

The children here are absolutely stealing our hearts.  They are beyond precious.  Their eyes are as round as saucers and the deepest brown.  Their hair is smooth as silk and so very fine.  I so, so wish I could post photos of them, but I’m prohibited from doing so.  One little one named Christian whose about two-years-old, comes straight for me when I come downstairs and puts his hands up for me to pick him up.  I just sway and sway while he lays his head on my shoulder.  I prayed over him that the Lord would bring him a family.  I found out yesterday that he’s soon to be matched with a family.  Oh, the grace.  During our second cuddle session yesterday, he promptly fell asleep.  I found myself a comfortable chair and just let him sleep on me for a time.  These are precious moments with these children that we’ll never forget. 

Avery has a little fan too.  His name’s EJ.  He beelines for her when she enters the room.  The first several times she scooped up a little one or two, she immediately said, ‘Oh!  They’re way lighter than James and I carry James all the time.’  They’re the sweetest little loves.  The good news is that several are on their way to being adopted.  Avery’s heart was already warm and sweet, but coming here has caused her to make the declaration that she will definitely adopt one day.  She says she would love to adopt from this children’s home.  This seed that’s been planted in her heart is a beautiful thing to JD and me because we clearly cannot adopt all the children who steal our hearts.  But a heart for adoption can be passed on for many generations.  Mm-mm-mm. 

Christine had a good day yesterday.  She seemed more at ease — probably because we are in her home and she’s surrounded by everyone she loves.  She is processing, but doing well.  Thank you for your prayers.  She (and we, as her parents) will need them over the next many months as she adjusts to life in the States with us.  It breaks our hearts that she will have to leave all the familiarity of home, the very thing we are looking forward to returning to, but we know (and so does she) that this is best for her.  Now and for her future.  Perhaps one day, as an adult, she will choose to return to the Philippines, permanently or on missions.  Whatever she chooses, we will support her.  

We also strolled up the street yesterday to the Children’s Recovery Unit, a home for children who have been in the hospital.  Several are fighting leukemia.  Others have had major surgeries/illnesses.  Some of parents, some do not.  Again, the women who run it are dear, dear women.  In fact, there’s a husband-wife team who live there as the ‘house parents.’  They are raising their two children while doing this amazing work.  These are the times when I see Jesus in the lives of ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things through God’s strength in them.  The CRU is also run by H4 (Helping Hands Healing Hearts).  This ministry is beyond amazing.  I cannot say enough about it.  The hands and feet of Jesus, for sure.  

Here’s a video of the work being done through H4.  If you feel so inclined to support their efforts, you can give monthly — even as simply as purchasing two bags of rice each month to feed the children.  We will definitely be jumping on board in support as soon as we get home.  Sometimes it’s hard to know what ministries/non-profits are reputable and really doing a good work.  Perhaps it helps to hear it from us who are seeing and experiencing it with our own eyes.
Tonight is Christine’s farewell party.  Her friends from school, her volleyball teammates, her teachers, community members who support H4, and church family will be coming to wish her well.  I have been warned many times that it will be a tearful night.  I am excited to celebrate the sweetheart that she is and to have her friends send her off with a proper farewell, but I dread it for her.  I know it will be very bittersweet.

Shortly, we will head for breakfast at the home of a family here in Baguio that has loved Christine well.  The wife is Filipino (she works for H4) and the husband is American.  Christine has stayed with them for short stints to get out of the home a little during breaks from school.  She is close to them, so we look forward to a little time in their home.  Later this afternoon, we’ll head to the store to purchase the last of the school supplies that the children need for the upcoming school year (crayons, water colors, pencils, scissors, etc).  What a joy it is to be able to provide for this need.  After that, JD may do a round of golf with Claire’s (H4’s director’s) husband, Mark.  They are from Ireland and are such neat people.  

We will be up at 3 AM tomorrow to leave for Manila by 4:00.  We have two appointments with ICAB (Intercountry Adoption Board), one at 10 and one at 12.  We will need to give ourselves a 6-hour window to make the trek back to Manila.  It’s not that the distance is so far as it is the traffic.  I am amazed at the volume of cars on any one road at any given time — very much like China and other parts of the world.  

Prayer request: Payton and Avery hit a wall last night.  The jet lag had set in hard.  They barely made it through dinner.  It’s hard to sleep here because the home is full of energetic children and very happy roosters and dogs wake us starting at around 4 AM.  Prayer that the jet lag is coming to an end would be awesome!  Love to all!

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