Sunday, October 19, 2014

Logistics of Separation

Ha. I just noticed this title could be misleading; curious readers might think it’s about mark and I… well, it’s not; but I hope it lures them to keep reading to learn about the plight of waiting orphans and families longing to love them. Below is a history… if you know it, move on to the how to’s of visiting our son who’s now living back in an orphanage (first time I’ve typed this without streaming tears) and managing our two “third culture” teenagers.

We've known Lil Man for almost 3 years, and he's lived full time in our home for the last 9 months. As you know we entered the adoption process.  Well, it seems the orphanage made a BIG mistake placing him with us so early. This premature placement was supposed to be a foster situation but of course, the paper work never materialized.  When our 3-year resident requirement for adoption hit, we started the adoption process.  Soon after, the orphanage informed us that we have to return Lil Man to the orphanage till we are matched with him by the agency, acting like we have not parented him and loose more precious time.

Lil’ Man’s been back at the orphanage for two weeks now.  Our observations…
  • All the care workers tell us how helpful and kind he is now after living with us for 9 months that actually is a mixed blessing because we’re happy with the report but don’t want to see that goodness undone.
  • He eats like an animal again – fists full of carbs like rice or ugali shoved into his mouth none stop, until his cheeks puff like a chipmunk and his eyes blaze greedily.
  • His visits with us are temperamental – easily disturbed by simple changes in activities or locations even if he chooses them. He can giggle and whine within the same few minutes. He ignores us, watches us, comes to us, runs from us – all interspersed on an afternoon visit.
  • He’s afraid of being left behind AGAIN. Very afraid.
With that said, we spend time with him regularly, but it comes at a cost… When he needs us most is when our two other kids need us most - after school, mealtimes and bedtime. The family separation is hard on everyone.

Our teens started a new international school this year filled with different cultures and languages to negotiate. The experience brings joy, lots of questions and the desire to share it with us - Mom and Dad. Their schedules of events require our participation. Homework necessitates our assistance. At the same time, Lil Man is not with us, but needs us - Mom and Dad’s attention and continued instruction… Since we can’t take him out, we must go there, but it’s not a place conducive to intimate family living.

We’re acquiring a few skills in the process of trying to preserve the attachment with our son in a special needs unit of an orphanage (which you can imagine includes every other child vying to be noticed) and being supportive of our teens, (who walk to the orphanage to be with Lil Man whenever they can).

We’re learning to:
  •  Be intentionally thoughtful about our time apart. We cannot afford to do anything haphazardly - based on emotional decisions. We pray continually, asking God where to go, what to do, and we trust our choices are from Him.
  •  Create concrete plans where everyone knows what to expect from all involved. Each family member who can share an opinion about strategy must. We listen and develop a list of who is doing what with intended results.
  • Emphasis balance. It’s easy to think the older kids can fend for themselves and immerse energy in Lil Man’s acute needs. It’s also easy to ignore other responsibilities, but we must remember why we are here and that God’s grace is more than sufficient.
  • Be honest. We all have freedom to cry, ask questions, express our feelings; we choose not to follow those unpredictable emotions. Our assurance is to shadow Holy Spirit’s courage and comfort.
  • Do healthy transitions. Even the shortest goodbyes include hugs and prayers. Life takes too many twists and turns to let someone leave without the reassurance that they are care for, that they belong.

Here we are - separated yet together with Jesus as our focus.  Will you join with us in prayer…
  •     The rash and fever Lil Man is experiencing will disappear.
  •     That healthy attachment will be preserved for us all. 
  •     That God’s wisdom and favor abounds at the Kenya Adoption Authority meeting on      October 29th.
  •      For our family to lean hard into God’s comfort and strength through trials.
  •     That we don’t worry or become anxious but bring all things to the Lord.
We must be hopeful by faith. This experience brings our hearts to the edge an abyss we have no desire to cross but because of the CROSS and the power of the resurrection, we can victoriously. He holds us all.

The adoption of our little one feels like a symbol of God's heart for the fatherless - His desire to redeem, to deliver, to heal and restore.  Only God can find a cast away child, abandoned in a tea field, crippled, without speech and rescue such innocence from certain death. Only God can bring a family from afar and make a way to join them together forever. Only God can establish divine destiny, and He does it through your prayers of great faith.  Thank you for remembering those who are among the least - the forgotten orphans; thank you for welcoming them into God's glorious kingdom by your cries for mercy and grace. Colossians 1:13.

Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement.
hugs from the haugers  Ooo0

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Update: Praises and Prayers

Some of you know the difficult trail we’re enduring with our little guy who’s been living with us for 9 months. To avoid lots of painful explanation, let’ simply say we’re in the formal adoption process and since Kenyan law does not allow us to pre-select a child, we had to return little guy to the orphanage till we’re legally approved (yes, much tears shedding).  It seems the powers that be never followed up on foster placement paperwork that would have allowed him to stay with us during the adoption process.  Although Mark ran the 11 flights of stairs regularly to check our foster status, he never saw a social worker. Now, it’s too late. According to the orphanage, we didn’t do anything wrong. It’s a paperwork mistake on the authorities part that’s costing all involved significant heartache. Sounds confusing, eh? Just imagine how baffled we are and how bewildered little guy is… If you want personal updates and ways you can pray for us concerning this, please request them.  It’s not information we want to generally share, but we would truly appreciate intercession on our family's behalf.
Now, because we’re experiencing such hardship, many advise us to take a break from ministry.
On the contrary, we don’t do ministry. We are ministers, and we can’t stop being who we are regardless of life’s ups and downs. Being ministers to the poor in Kenya is our joy. The burdens that come with living here might feel overwhelming, but God’s grace overflows, and it’s a divine distraction from our pain to help others through theirs.

With that said, here’s our update, praise reports and prayer requests…

The Women of Worth (WOW) mamas have started a new project.  With a small donation of funds and resources, they will begin sewing washable sanitary napkins for young girls.  In many developing nations, when a female student has her monthly cycle, she can’t attend school because she does not have proper hygiene supplies.  This constant isolation reflects in bad attendance, weak grades and overall missed learning opportunities. We want to bring a solution to that problem.  After making packages of 7 pads , including a bar of soap and a tract explaining the love of God through Jesus Christ,  WOW mamas will distribute these gifts to needy girls. Bonus?  The mama's receive a fair wage for their labor to help them pay school fees for their children.

Last month we helped facilitate an amazing leadership conference that welcomed pastors from all over Kenya, Uganda and Brundi. We assisted with everything from transport to organizing intercession.  It was refreshing to share teaching on integrity and watch ministers respond to God’s call for holiness.

Always good to make friends with security at a leadership conference.
We also participated in a solemn assembly of recognizing the gifts God has placed in the body of Christ for leadership.  The work we’ve done to equip the church to care for the poor was appreciated – a humbling honor.
Finally, Taleah and Tavin are good overall, exceling in school and joining the mock United Nations program that will being this spring.  Tavin was sponsored to be in the Mater Hospital Heart Run and he came in FIRST!  Yep, that lone runner behind the police escort is Tavin! (2nd photo)

Praise the Lord with us for:
·       Sustained good health for our Kenyan friends and us.
·       Protection from accidents and random acts of violence.
·       Fruitfulness in the lives of the widowed/single mamas.
·       Peace in the midst of spiritual storms.

Please pray with us for:
·       Continued healing in all our hearts during this transition time with little man.
·       The adoption process moves forward, undaunted by complications.
·       The land issues surrounding the church will keep on the path of complete resolution.
·       The shipping container project – wisdom, provision.
·       The least among us will place their trust in Jesus and find hope fulfilled in Him.
      "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength... because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him 
until that day." 2 Tim.

      Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement. 
      May the Lord bless you for your kindness to us.

      hugs from the haugers Ooo0o