Tuesday, December 13, 2016

This One's For Hannah Joy (the whats and whys and how you can helps)

It's been five and a half years since I first read the staggering statistics. And that was after palling around with orphans in three different countries over the course of a dozen years. I had no idea the problem was so big. So devastatingly pervasive. 

Maybe you've heard this statistic before. You might have even heard it from me, or read it here on this blog. 

Here it is again. Today's as good a day as any for me to be reminded. Maybe it is for you, too. 

(I was feeling sorry for myself today. I, who have not a need in the world.)

How does one even begin to understand that kind of number? That's not the kind of math most of us are used to dealing with every day.

How about visualizing it this way?

I read today that if all orphans formed a country it would be the 10th largest country in the world.

There's no way around it. That is a lot of very vulnerable kids.

Now add to that statistic, this one.

Eighty five percent of children who are adopted are under the age of 11. Nearly half are under 6. There is a marked shortage of homes open to taking in older children.

(This illustration shows a 16-18 age group, but children, like Dawn, age out of their chance to be adopted into the United States at age 16.)

Statistics like these can seem so overwhelming that we'd maybe be tempted to try and forget about them. What can we do to change that kind of number, anyway?

Well, we can help one.

Our children very easily could have lost their chance at a family, hidden away in a dark place for many years. They were well past the age of 6 when they were finally listed for adoption. For this reason and so many others, the odds were stacked against them.

If you're new here, this may be hard to read, but you should know that they grew up in a place where they were left to lie in their own filth. They were fed non-nutritious goop from glass bottles propped in their cribs, liquid rushing down their throats and dripping down their necks. The hole in the nipple of their bottles was cut to the size of a dime to make meal times faster for their caretakers. They were abused and neglected, left to lie in cribs for years without being taken out for so much as a walk or a cuddle. Starving for food and for love, they were stunted physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Sam and Tony's only hope for life was adoption. A family to love them back to life and health and humanity.

Hannah grew up in the same building, under the same dark circumstances as Sam and Tony. Abused and neglected, stunted physically, emotionally, and mentally. We have a picture of her from several years back. She was probably 9 years old at the time. She was skin and bones, so weak and frail she almost looked translucent. Her face gathered and wrinkled like the face of an old woman, crying in the arms of a caretaker's less than gentle hold. We know she saw the worst of it.

Hannah's been in that place for so long, she's now lived through the orphanage's transition from darkness to light. In fact, because of the help of many kind folks, like those with the Pleven Project, Hannah's orphanage is drastically different with a much brighter future ahead. We're thankful she has seen some better days. But like orphans the world over, her days are numbered. She can't stay in that baby house forever.  She'll be 15 and a few months when she boards that airplane with us to come home.

Praise the Lord, Hannah will not be another sad statistic. Plucked out of obscurity, her file hidden and gathering dust, she was listed right in the nick of time. (Toni, we are forever thankful to you for finding her.) She will be, as so many children only hope, a daughter.

We view this beautiful child as a gift to our family, straight from the Father's hands to our home. 

That's not cheese rolling off my fingers. It's truth. The simple fact that God chose us of all people, is still beyond me. Our children are our greatest joy and a privilege to parent. 

Our motivation to adopt Hannah is so much more than all of the statistics, although the facts do matter. Orphans need families.

We are also simply drawn to her, and to children like her. We both passionately adore children with special needs. Our kids make sense to us and to our family. We love everything about them, just as they are. 

And we know that we've been called by God. 

Not everyone is called to the same things. We know that more and more. In our close friend group we have folks who are caring for children right from our own community, folks who have families living with them, to help them through hard times, folks who serve the Lord through a feeding ministry that they founded, folks who are passionate about Christian marriage and sexual purity who have helped many people through the destructive ramifications of pornography and infidelity, and folks who are called to support all of the above. God is in it all. We seen Him moving with our own eyes.

We, though, have been called to adoption. Particularly to children with special needs from hard places. It's our little piece of the Kingdom. We know God is in this. We see Him moving here. 

Adoption is costly. Especially international adoption. 

When all is said and done it will cost somewhere near $36,000 to bring Hannah home. 

This money covers everything from the cost of a home study, plane tickets and hotels, to lawyers, adoption agency fees here and in Hannah's country and immigration. 

I am happy to report that by God's grace, we're halfway there.

Through lots of hard work, and also some help from our friends, we've got our cost down to $18,000.

With close to $18,000 already paid, I'd say our glass is half full!

God has most definitely been exceedingly generous with us throughout our journey toward Hannah Joy.

He turned two large church garage sales into $5,000. He's surprised us on multiple occasions with checks from friends and even from people we've never met. And He's stretched our work income, helping us to carefully budget and cut our expenses, making small sacrifices that add up over time, enabling us to pay each large bill that's come our way.

We can tell God is working when things like this happen...

We had a payment coming due to our agency in the amount of 2,937.50. Leading up to the day when Chris would write the check, our garage sale brought in exactly $2,460.72 Which we thought was a gracious provision.

Until...the next day when we received a check for $500.

I'm sure you can do the math, but I'll go ahead and spell it our for you anyway.

God gave us $23.22 to spare!

That just seems to be the way he deals with us. He loves adoption. He LOVES Hannah Joy. And He even loves us.

Now to see how He'll provide the rest!

We will be traveling to visit Hannah VERY soon. We received our official referral a little over a week ago and expect our travel dates any day now. Things are moving right along. 

This means that we'll soon be booking plane tickets and hotel rooms, and paying our largest fee yet to our Bulgarian placing agency. 

It also means that, as with every other stage of this adoption, we will need to be vigilant in prayer. The enemy does not like seeing children rescued from darkness. Adoption is the very undoing of his work. Hannah has been trapped in darkness for 14 years, right where he wants her. As God enables us to pull her out of his grip, we'll need your prayers as well. Prayers for protection, endurance, positivity, energy, persistence, patience...the list goes on. 

We would humbly invite you to join us on our journey toward Hannah.

If God would ever put us on your heart, would you lift us up in prayer? Especially Hannah.

And if God is calling you, we would invite you to minister to Hannah Joy by helping to fund the cost of her ransom. 

You can make a tax deductible contribution to Hannah's adoption through Reece's Rainbow. We have an account through their Family Sponsorship Program. Donations can be made on the right hand side of this blog, or you can go to our sponsorship page on the Reece's Rainbow website and donate there. If you would like to avoid any fees being taken out of your donation, you can send a check:
Reece’s Rainbow
PO Box 277
Monrovia, MD 21770
Please include a note telling them that your donation is intended for our family, the Tegtmeiers, adopting "Belinda" (Hannah's name on Reece's Rainbow).
Thank you. Really and truly, thank you for you support. Adoption can be a hard, sometimes lonely road for many families. It blesses us that we are surrounded by so much love.
Lots of love to all of you.

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