I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams
You are here each day with me, at least that is how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are.....what' s taking us so long,
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind .

May God hold you in his hand until I can be with you,
I promise you, my darling , I 'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

-Author unknown

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Juliana Gabrielle

I know it's been FOREVER since I updated this site! I wanted to catch you up (if anyone is even reading this now) or at least put it down in writing somewhere - on just what God has been doing lately. :)

A few months ago - I think around November, I got an email from FOCE (Friends of Children Everywhere) - the organization over Wendy's orphanage - Casa Bernabe. The email newsletter talked about sponsorship - about sponsoring a child. To the left of the article were some pictures of kids who needed sponsors. I got so excited to see one little girl's name and face . . . . Juliana Gabrielle!

Now let me back up. For those that don't remember - Juliana was one of our referrals (as a relinquishment) in Sept. 2006, but ended up not being available as she was actually caught in the middle of an adoption already. Long story - you can read more about it in several posts here in the September 2006 archives. I had deleted some info - but will most likely repost it (as it's been so long).

Anyways - Juliana never did end up coming home to the U.S. Her sad story is filled with a horrible (dare I say "evil") adoption agency and lawyer, a "strange" adoptive mother, and the unwillingness by that mom to trust anyone else to help her (after the abuses she endured with the last agency - I can see why) - and to bring Juliana home.

What I've been told, is that Juliana's adoption had gone all the way to the end - even getting her a new Birth Certificate with her new parent's last name. But something went wrong after that. ?? Someone didn't pay some money? Someone in GT didn't sign off on something to allow her to get her visa. ?? I'm not 100% sure - but my feeling is - after almost 3 years, the mom probably didn't want to bring home a 3 year old as she had signed up to bring home a baby. ?? Who knows. I don't know. In any case - Juliana was stuck in Guatemala - and then adoptions shut down between GT and the US in December 2006.

I prayed for Juliana frequently - not knowing what happened to her. The other woman who had originally helped me find her adoptive parents would let me know if she heard anything about Juliana through the grapevine - as she knew I had such a heart for this little girl. At one point I heard Juliana wasn't doing well . . . something about bruises on her, the foster mom being arrested?? I don't know if any of that is true - but it did make me pray for her more. I didn't know what was going to happen to her now - I am sure she had been through alot.

Fast forward a few years - on Jan 15th, 2010 I get an email from my friend who had been keeping me updated. She sent me an email with the subject "Juliana is at Casa Bernabe!" :) My heart leapt! Really?! Out of all the orphanages that she could have ended up at - God saw to it that she was sent to Wendy's orphanage - a Christian orphanage!! Wow! God is so cool! I was thrilled that I could keep an eye on her here, and prayed she would stay here and not be moved. I thought about sponsoring her - but she wasn't listed as needing a sponsor (I guess I could have asked - but didn't think about it at the time).

She had grown so much! No longer was she a little toddler with brown curls - but she had a cute short bob haircut and looked so grown up. She was. She was almost 6! Wow.

Now back to November 2010 and that email . . . . when I saw her picture and info stating she needed a sponsor - I got so excited! I sent emails to my family telling them of the miraculous story of God's plans for this little girl - and His answers to my prayers - and a couple of them agreed to sponsor this little girl with us - as a family - to love on her and let her know we are here for her!

When I told Wendy about Juliana - at first she asked "What? You don't want me anymore?" I think she thought we were going to get Juliana and send Wendy back. ?? :) I told her that Juliana can't be adopted as adoptions are closed to the US still. But I told her how we could pray for her, bless her, send her cards, gifts, etc. Wendy got excited about that - and wanted to send her a card telling her that she used to live there, etc! She even went to the store to pick out some gifts for Juliana - PJ's, coloring set, etc. We sent them off with lots of prayers and joy!

We are waiting to receive Juliana's letter back to us (it's being translated) - but the woman who brought it back with her (and had brought the gifts down) said that Juliana is "quite the artist". :) She would fit in with our family well! I can't wait to get her letter. FOCE sent us a picture to put on our fridge, and I keep reminding the kids to pray for her. I am just so thrilled that we can still be a part of this little girl's life - even though she wasn't able to come home as our daughter. That referral was NOT an accident!

Another sad part of that story though is that my friend never did get to bring her 2 girls home. The agency would never do what they were supposed to do to get the adoption going before adoptions shut down. They basically just took her money. My friend has kept in contact with her girls, but not as much as before as it hurts her heart to know they are stuck there forever. So sad.

Last night I painstakingly made a little necklace for Juliana with her name on it (from my girl's shrink art jewelry kit). I say "painstakingly" because I got impatient and freaked out when it was shrinking and tried to open it back up when it curled in and then I cracked it! :( ugh. So I made another one just like it. I kept the 1st one and have it hanging by my bed to remind me every night when I turn off the light to pray for her. I would take a picture of it to show you . . . but honestly - I need to get off this computer (maybe I"ll do it later. We'll see)! I had no intention of blogging today (got a bunch of other things I need to do) - but some friends of mine got me thinking about Wendy's adoption, etc - and I just had to give an update on Juliana.

People have to know that God DOES answer prayers! He DOES hear them. He DOES have great plans for each one of us! I'm excited to see what He has in store for Juliana - and how we will play a part in her life! She is like one of my own that I couldn't bring home. I'm so glad I can still be a part of her life!

As for what else God has been doing in my heart . . . .

After reading the email about sponsorship - I went online to see if GT adoptions were open yet to the US. Nope. I then went online to see about other adoptions - to view the photolisting of kids at That's not a good thing for me to do! :) I fell in love with these 3 precious siblings from Ethiopia (2 boys and 1 girl)!!

I spent 2 months in Ethiopia when I was 19 - working with an orphanage and the underground church, with a small group from my YWAM DTS. It was a great experience in many ways. Hard at times, but I learned alot that summer. I also fell in love with the kids and the Ethiopian people!! I taught "kindergartners" how to sing English songs. Good ole classics like -Father Abraham; If You're Happy and you Know it; Allelu, Allelu, Allelu, Allelujah . . . Praise Ye the Lord. Ones that involved moving around and having fun! :)

During our adoption process I found out that Ethiopia was opening for adoption. I was excited and wished I could have adopted a child from there right then. But it wasn't meant to be. But was it now?? :)

I could not stop thinking about these 3 kids for quite awhile. I contacted the agency, and got more info on them. There was another family interested too. I talked with Jeremy. We prayed. J just didn't feel like we were supposed to adopt right now ("I didn't have a dream Lori." Hey - God likes to use different methods to speak to us!). We couldn't really fit 3 more in this house, or our van - and did I really want to have 8 kids?! It was as if my brain wasn't even thinking about those things - because I know that I never wanted more than 4, and didn't envy anyone with more than 4 - but when God calls you to do something - he prepares you for it many times- and gives you the grace to do it (if you don't feel prepared). We only had $96 in our savings when we set out to adopt Wendy - at the tune of $30,ooo. God provided! AND we got a discount (it only ended up costing $21k). So - I knew if He was saying these 3 kids were ours - then He would provide.

I found myself crying often for a couple weeks. God was stirring my heart towards orphans again. I would watch a video of someone else's adoption and just bawl. What was God doing?

In the end - the other family decided to pursue these kids. My heart sank. I had just prayed for them the day before and had written out what I felt the Lord said about these kids - who they really were. The cool thing was - later I looked up the meanings of their names . . . and it coincided with what God had said about "who" these kids were! :) So cool! I thought God was giving me that info because they would be ours . . . . but I guess not. Was it to just pray for them? Was it to send that info to the adoptive parents (I don't even know if they are Christians - as the agency isn't)? Was it just because I asked Him? :)

I did end up sending the words for those kids to the agency to pass onto the family (if they so chose). I never heard back from the agency. I've debated on sending another email to find out what they did with it - if they sent it to the family. They probably thought I was crazy - but I really don't care. I know what God said - and these kids need to know what God says about them - how awesome they are - how amazing He thinks they are - and that He has great plans for their lives! We'll see what happens.

So, after that let down (a relief to Jeremy!) - I haven't thought much about adoption again. I heard that Ethiopia might be shut down for adoptions soon - and part of me wants to rush and do something before it does. But I know that God has perfect timing and perfect plans - and I can't go forward with any adoptions unless Jeremy is totally on board and we both feel that God is telling us to do this. I know my heart bleeds for so many people - orphans included. I feel God's heart. I can misinterpret that as "I'm supposed to adopt again" when that might not be it. I still need to pray more about it. Most days I can't imagine having more than 5 (we have our hands full here) - but then I think about all the kids that don't have anyone to call their own. How can I be so selfish?! I do have alot of love to give. I could give more.

We'll see.

We are volunteering at the Winter Jam concert like we do every year - to work with Holt and promote their child sponsorship program. I always enjoy doing that and seeing people's hearts turn towards the orphans.

Well - this post ended up being a book! Sorry! Hope I didn't bore you. :) I hope, instead, that you caught on to a couple things:

1. God LOVES everyone - orphans and even you!
2. God has a PLAN for everyone's lives! A good plan!
3. God ANSWERS prayers!
4. God's HEART is that we will LOVE and take care of the orphans, widows and needy. James 1:27 says - "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
5. Always be willing to let God lead and guide you - and TRUST Him 100%! He IS trustworthy!

Blessings today and always!

Lori :)

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