More visits with friends!

Last Sunday I had the joy to have lunch with friends Tim & Lisa and their daughter Meridith and son Mitchell. Tim and Lisa returned home with Mitchell from Kazakhstan in 2000 when he was 9 months old. To see an orphan child who has been adopted into a family happy, healthy and flourishing brings great joy to my heart. After lunch Mitchell invited me to play Wii sport, but I think he was a little disappointed in my skill level. I am terrible at tennis and baseball, but did relatively well at bowling. I’m not a good tennis or baseball player in real life either. Oh, well it was fun anyway. Thank you Tim & Lisa and family for your friendship and fellowship.

Tim and I went over to Bob & Carrie’s house later that afternoon for an Olive Tree Alliance meeting. These are people who have a heart to care for orphans in many ways. There were several families there who have adopted trough foster care here and overseas. The above picture has two children from Russia, two from Ethiopia, 1 from Kazakhstan, and 2 adopted through the American foster care system.
Sam the young man from Kazakhstan is the same child as in the picture below that I took of him on one of my first visits to Kazakhstan. Look at how this child has thrived in his forever home. Oh, how my heart loves to see these children thriving in their families. All children should be in loving homes. I dream of the day when that happens.
It isn’t always easy for parents who adopt older children either from America or foreign orphanages, but the difference it makes in that child’s life can’t be measured. These parent who step out on faith, jump through a million hoops, lay their dreams on the line for a child, then face the hard challenges each and every day after traveling miles and across oceans are hero’s in my book. Their sacrifices, heartaches, and tears are balanced with joys and blessings sometime small and sometimes grand but it is a long term commitment and walk. It isn’t for the faint of heart and definitely needs to be done in fellowship with others who are willing to walk the long path encouraging and supporting these families in various ways. It was so encouraging to me to see these families doing well even when things are tough on many fronts. Thank each of you for all you do!

Sam in Kazakhstan

I’m in the middle next to Sam with all the children there this Sunday. There were American born biological children, children who arrived to their families through the American foster care system, two boys from Haiti, 2 girls from Ethiopia, Sam from Kazakhstan, 2 children from Russia. What a picture of love.

Children with their parents on the top steps and friends who care for orphans too.

Wednesday night I had the opportunity to share a meal and fellowship with Nick and Lisa and their dog Oreo. They lived in Kenya for 14 years and brought Oreo back to America with them. Oreo is a faithful, loyal companion to this family and likes me only as long as their are treats in my pockets. How disheartening :o( most animals love me but Oreo is still holding out her opinion. It was a great time to catch up with each other. They have such wisdom having lived overseas for many many years. Thank you Nick and Lisa for a delightful time.

Joe, Mary & Chris
I read a note of facebook about friends of mine who are leaving to move to Italy were driving from North Carolina up to New York before leaving. I couldn’t imagine them driving any other interstate besides 95 which runs right through Richmond so I emailed Joe back seeing if they could stop so we could catch up over a cup of coffee as they traveled through. Their son who was traveling with them to spend some final quality time wanted to visit some friends at the local university VCU so I gave them directions to a Starbucks near campus and we had two sweet hours to catch up and hear about each others latest adventures. What a gift and encouragement. This couple is so amazing with so much wisdom and a heart for the Italian people. I’m so excited for them. They leave the first part of April. Keeping in touch over the Internet is good, but having the time to look into their eyes, get a hug, and laugh was so precious. Safe travels my friends. Peace be with you and may you be blessed with travel mercies. Thank you for taking the time to stop so we could catch up face to face. I love you Joe and Mary.

Mary, Joe and I

It has been such a joy to catch up with so many friends these last several weeks. This week I’ve also been working on narrowing the list of things that I will take with me and get the trunks packed. Oh, it is hard to make some of those choices. What to take now, what to have someone bring in the fall, what to leave behind. Ugh.. I’ve struggled with this..

My support is coming in. I only need 3 people at $100.00 or 6 at $50 or any combination. It has been so amazing to see how this is being accomplished. The team of people who have committed to participate in Touching Hearts and Changing Lives has absolutely amazed me. I am truly humbled. What a gift to come into fellowship with so many amazing people.
Thank you each for your continued encouragement and support. I am really getting excited and know these last couple weeks will fly by.

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