Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Progress, Treasure and Pearls

We turned in our home study paperwork today. We also applied for our passports. We should hear from a social worker sometime next week to schedule the first interview. Please pray that everything moves very quickly and smoothly, as the Lord wills.

Regarding treasure and pearls, I had a thought cross my mind that touched me deeply and in a way was disturbing. It relates to parables of the treasure in the field and of the merchant seeking fine pearls (Matthew 13:44-46). A man finds a great treasure in a field and because of his great joy over the treasure, he sells all that he has and purchases that field. When the merchant finds a "pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it." Sheri and I have found two great treasures, two perfect pearls, and we are willing to give all to bring them home. The desire is so strong that it has been hard to think of much else. It is almost all consuming.

Now before I get comments that I have taken those passages out of context, let me say that I know they are referring to Christ and His kingdom. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary states the following:

"1. That of the treasure hid in the field. Many slight the gospel, because they look only upon the surface of the field. But all who search the Scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life, John 5:39, will discover such treasure in this field as makes it unspeakably valuable; they make it their own upon any terms. Though nothing can be given as a price for this salvation, yet much must be given up for the sake of it. 2. All the children of men are busy; one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but most are deceived, and take up with counterfeits for pearls. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this Pearl of great price. When the convinced sinner sees Christ as the gracious Saviour, all things else become worthless to his thoughts."

Sheri and I are willing to adopt two children using the entirety of our house fund in the process. We are willing to take the "risk" because we believe the Lord is calling us to this, and we believe these girls are our daughters. We are willing.

Here is the disturbing part: why have I not felt this strongly about the Gospel? I love the Lord. I desire to serve Him, but I have not been "on fire." We love our children and we love these two girls as if they already were ours and are willing to go to great lengths to bring them home, but what about Him? What are we, no, I, what am I willing to do for Him? The Lord has brought to my attention several times this year that I am too comfortable (scares me to wonder what will happen to get away from "comfort") and that I need to serve Him much more. I believe reaching out and bringing our daughters home is serving Him, but shouldn't there be more? Shouldn't every moment of every day be used for Him and His glory? Contrary to many popular teachings out there, God is not a magic genie, just sitting there waiting for us to give him permission to bless us with stuff. He is the Lord, the great I AM. King of Kings, God with us. It is supposed to be All about HIM. Everything we do should be for Him. Not for the favor or applause of men, but for His great glory! Comfort. Fear. Those two things stop me.

The Lord has laid two children on my heart. In fact, I believe He has given me a heart for the orphans in Ukraine in general. I have mentioned to Sheri several times now about being missionaries to the orphans in Ukraine. Perhaps that is where the Lord is leading us down the road. It is not a thought I can easily dismiss. It may start with a few short term trips - we can even use the time while we are there to adopt the girls (all Lord willing of course). But perhaps He is calling us to more. Stay tuned and please, please pray.

Another note, look at that last line in commentary excerpt above, "...all things else become worthless to his thoughts." To those who have thought us foolish to use our house fund for the adoption, know this: God will provide all that we need. We will do what He calls us to do, else we would not be His servants. All things else become worthless in our thoughts.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Harder than I thought

We watched the girls disappear behind the security checkpoint at LAX. It was much, much harder than I thought it would be. Having to send them off to the orphanage, knowing the conditions they must live in and the dangers that are there for them, was heart breaking. Can you imagine sending one of your children off to a place where they do not get enough to eat; where they get one shower a week in cold water with no soap or shampoo; where they will get beat-up if someone wants something they have; where rape occurs; where little supervision leads to much trouble?

You can see a little of what I am talking about by watching this video:

Orphans of Ukraine from Erin Freel Best on Vimeo.



I cried. I cried a lot. Right near the end just before the last goodbye, I was hugging Nadya and I started to cry a bit. She looked and me and told me that I should not cry because she and Sveta were coming back to America. She tried to play tough I think. When the last goodbye came, when they were to far away to hug again, I cried anyway. Nadya cried too. In fact, we were all crying. I'm tearing up just writing this post. Seeing Nadya and Sveta walk away was hard for sure. As they cried and waved, I prayed that the Lord will move our adoption process along quickly. I miss them already.

We bonded well with them in the short time they were here. There were certainly challenging times, and I am certain there will be many challenges ahead, but Sheri and I love these girls.

We could certainly use your help bring them home. While we have committed to use our house fund for the adoption, we are praying that the Lord will provide in other ways. And the house fund will not cover airfare either. If you would like to help us bring our daughters home, you can donate online on the God's Waiting Children website (www.godswaitingchildren.com) and look for the "Donate" button. You can also send a check directly to God's Waiting Children (1865 Herndon Avenue, suite K125
Clovis, California 9361). In either case, put "Fontes Adoption" in the memo/comment area. Donations made to our adoption fund are tax deductible if made through God's Waiting Children. You may also send funds directly to us. Though not tax deductible, funds sent to us are more readily usable. You can send a check to James and Sheri Fontes, 7750 N Fresno St., Ste 104, Fresno, CA 93720.

Please feel free to pass on our request for prayer over this adoption and for the financial need.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pictures of the girls







An Answer?

I received word today from our real estate agent that we did not get the house we offered on. While I am sad about that, it brings us back to the option of using the house fund for the adoption. Please pray for us as we come to a final decision on this. We will not move forward with that option unless we both fully agree that it is the direction we should go.

We took the family to the zoo yesterday. It was fun, but challenging to keep all 8 children in the group. No one was lost, but we did have some tantrums (mainly from me :) ). Hopefully sometime soon the computer, the camera, me, and some time will all line up and I will post some pictures.

The older of the two girls we are hosting, Nadya, told me about her father using mostly hand gestures. It seems that he had taken her at least once to an amusement park of sorts, which she very much enjoyed doing. She also explained that he passed away. It seemed pretty big to me that she would open up to me about that.

Please pray for God's direction to made clear for us. Thank you in advance.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Long overdue update

I always seem to be busier than I think I really am. I thought I could make at least weekly posts to the blog, but that is not reality when you have six children and are looking to buy a new house and adopt.

Ya, a lot has happened since I've posted anything worth reading (not that this is either, but I'll post it anyway). We did sell our home and though it did not sell for as much as we initially thought we we could get, the Lord blessed us with a profit. Three weeks before we moved, we had not found a new house to purchase, or even to rent. It looked like we would be squeezing into relatives houses and putting our stuff into storage. But for God...

God moved on the hearts of an incredible family who then offered for us to stay in their vacant home that they had not been able to sell in this housing market. What a blessing from the Lord. It is an incredible home owned by some very generous and gracious people. We have been living in this house since just before Thanksgiving and had continued to look for other homes to include placing offers on two homes - neither of which we "won".

We had continued to wait for the hosting program to happen, but it was delayed repeatedly. We were going to be hosting a 10 year old girl, but she was adopted. Then a nine year old girl, but she was adopted. The the hosting program for this trip switched orphanages and we were presented with the opportunity to host TWO girls - sisters. We accepted the opportunity - but the hosting trip didn't happen.

So there we were, in an incredible house but not our own, no hosting program happening, and just waiting for the Lord's will and timing.

We had been praying since we signed up for the hosting program whether or not the Lord would have us pursue adoption as well. After much, much prayer, Sheri and I both felt that the Lord was directing us that way. We signed the paperwork, which started the paperwork :) and we became "paper pregnant".

We found out that the hosting program was going to really happen. Time went on and the group of children from Ukraine were on the plane coming to the US, all but the girls we were - paperwork issues as we understand it. They came 5 days after the rest of the group, but will have to go back with the group so they will have a shorter trip. They have certainly taken our hearts.

We prayed about using our house fund to complete the adoption. I had decided that unless the Lord moved differently, I was more than willing to use the house fund for the adoption. What's a house compared to two children's lives? It is not my money anyway, it is His. Now, I know it sounds foolish, and I was told that it was foolish, not in so many words, by a few people, but I truly believe that it would be better to bring two children into our family than to have the house of the "American dream". We will not be homeless. There are a lot of nice homes to rent in the area we like.

So, the Lord moved. The same day I had made up my mind to use the house fund, a house came on the market that seems to be what we were looking for and it was just within our price range. That threw a wrench in the works. What to do? Pray of course. We did sign an offer for the house but then had our agent hold it until we prayed more.

We came to the conclusion that the timing was not a coincidence and that we should submit the offer. We feel that if we do not get the house, we will know exactly what we need to do with the funds. If we do get the house, it will be the Lord's doing as most of the homes in the area we are looking are selling for more than list price, and we are not able to offer that. If we do get the house, then we believe that the Lord can, and will, provide for the adoption.

If any of you reading this blog feel led to donate to our adoption, please do so. You can donate through the God's Waiting Children Website (www.godswaitingchildren.com) and put "Fontes adoption" in the notes. You can send checks as well. Thank you in advance for doing so. We need about 27,000 more to complete the adoption, plus whatever our airfare would be. The Lord is more than capable to provide.