Friday, January 30, 2009

Praise and Prayer

I want to begin by Praising God for each of you! The sacrifice and love you have all shown to Misha and our family is truly inspiring. Raising close to $30,000 in just a little over three months is nothing short of a miracle, and when one considers that 70% of that money was raised during a three week span from January 1st -Jan 25th, they must see that this miracle required divine intervention. What a beautiful picture of how the church is suppose to cooperate together to bring about God's Will in fulfilling the needs of those who are hurting. God has truly been glorified!!! Thank you all, it has been a wonderful testimony to our family and the world!

It has become evident to us that the enemy doesn't like for miracles to be performed. Over the last two months we have been under heavy spiritual warfare, which hopefully explains the lack of sufficient communication. We greatly desired to honestly portray all that was going on here in order to have warriors helping pray us through our battles, but the nature of some of our struggles has kept up from knowing how to communicate.

All along there have been struggles, but it seems that everything has intensified as the deadline approaches. We've been hesitant to share our struggles because as everyone knows, we are embarking on a difficult journey. It only takes a little research to see that adopting an older child is not an easy task. We would prefer to only share the things we have overcome along the way to prevent others from being afraid of taking a similar journey. Yet, we've been realizing that this isn't completely honest. There might be other families out there who are watching our journey and if we only share our victories they will only see one side of the story. This might cause them to make hasty decisions that could harm their families, only because they were not properly informed. After much prayer, we feel that the only thing we can do is make everyone completely aware of how to pray for us. Just because a task is challenging hasn't kept missionaries from going into dangerous situations, but knowing what they may have to sacrifice and face has helped prepare them for their journey.

Just days after discovering that our goal had been met, Philip talked with another father who has just returned from Russia to adopt a four year old boy. This father told Philip that the expected $30,000 adoption ended up costing them $45,000 and that they are now close to $20,000 in debt. We were devastated! After months of fund-raising and caring for a handicapped child who has undergone extensive surgeries, we just didn't have the energy to press forward. I began crying out to God over why He has helped us reach our goals only to discover that there might be an increase in expenses and that we won't really know how much the adoption will cost until all the papers have been signed and we are back on American soil.

From the beginning of the fund-raiser, Philip and I purposed not to spend the money entrusted to us, until we could be sure that we could follow through with the adoption. We have felt that as ambassadors of Christ we need to carefully reflect the integrity of the God we represent. It has been our desire to return the money should things not work together as planned. We had thought that it would be easy to tell when we should move forward and began using the money on all the necessary paperwork. Up until now we have spent close to $5,000 of our own personal money as well as the money collected at IGAO to help move us forward.

Philip and I have worked very hard to live a debt free life and we unanimously agreed not to do anything that would place us back under financial bondage. Instead we have been pursuing and have found several ways that might help cut adoption expenses.

Another problem that we have incurred is determining if Misha will submit himself to our family rules. During Misha's first week with us he freely shared how in Russia he smoke, drank, watched any movie he desired, listened to heavy rock music, stayed up as late as he wanted and only went to school when he chose. Immediately Philip and I sat him down with the Google translator and told him that our family was very different and that he would have to follow our rules if he stayed here. We asked him if he desired for us to find him another host family. He insisted that he liked it here and would give all those things up.

During the four months he has been with us (one of those months he spent in the hospital),we have seen evidences that would cause us to question if Misha is really ready to submit himself to those rules. A week ago he broke down and told the kids and I that he hated our rules and wanted to be in control of his own life. Philip was at work, so I talked with Misha about how every family has different goals but that these are the decisions that dad and I have made for ours. I told him that if he wanted to be a part of our family he must decide if he could obey our family rules. He again told me that he wanted to be his own boss. I told him that time had run out in finding him a new family and that the only way he could be free to do what all he wanted to do would be to go back to Russia. And once again he told me that he wanted to be in control of his own life.

That night when Philip got home, he privately pulled Misha aside and began telling him that when our family first heard about the orphanage in Russia we felt that we could help a child there by giving them a loving home and opportunity for a happy life. "During your time here you have told several of us that you were unhappy in Russia because you wanted a family, but that you are also unhappy here because you miss your freedom. We understand that the change is hard for you, but you must decide which is worse." Philip proceeded to tell him that if it is the same, then we don't really desire to make all the sacrifices we are going to have to make. After this conversation Misha began to tell us that it is better here, but confusion has come in observing how his behavior doesn't always align with his words.

The next day, a former Russian had a long conversation with him so that he would clearly realize what all was at stake. Misha said he would try to obey our rules and told this person that he did want to stay in our family. Yet after the conversation he showed no remorse for his behavior and didn't apologize to us for the heartache he has caused over the last few days.

Philip and I realize that Misha is an injured boy and we can understand his resistance towards change and authority. We also know that he had to develop an independent spirit in order to survive in the orphanage those fifteen years. Our hearts break for him and we greatly desire to help him. The problem is that we have other children to consider and repeatable challenging of family harmony and rules will most definitely not be profitable on a long term basis.

Philip and I are not inexperienced when it comes to handling teenagers since we have raised and continue to be raising six biological children who are in or through that phase of life. We have always tried to help our children see that feelings of independence are normal during this period of life but that they must continue to exercise submission to our authority while they are still under our roof. Teenage rebellion has thus far never been a problem because we pursued to hold our children's hearts. They have always known that we had their best interest in mind and therefore they have trusted in our decisions. Philip and I will be the first to admit that we make parental mistakes, but it has been beautiful to see how our children can overlook a multitude of sins because of the love that they know we have for them.

We realize that Misha is at a disadvantage to our biological children. He hasn't benefited from years of observing us operate. Instead, his life has been filled with rejection and struggling to survive. This has created an individualist mentality that seeks to preserve itself at all cost.

Some have encouraged us to plunge ahead and began spending the money that God has provided, yet without a peace from God we do not feel this is the direction we should take. At present, we are carefully observing Misha and moving ahead as far as we can go without violating our conscience. We are praying that God will either close the door or give us a peace to move forward. Until that peace comes we do not feel free to dip into the money that has personally come to us.

Please pray that God will make His will known to us.

I'm strengthened when I consider that God loves Misha even more than we do. He has demonstrated this by taking a handicapped boy out of 132,000,000 orphans in the world and bringing him to our home. Philip and I have never doubted that it was God's will that we host Misha. Adopting him has yet to be made clear. Our desire is to glorify God by obediently following His will......whenever He clearly makes that will known.


busymomof10 said...

Thanks for sharing openly. May the Lord make His will abundantly clear to both you and Philip and give you the Grace you need to proceed according to His perfect will! Love you!!! ~Elizabeth

Megan & Ryan Reed (see our blog too!) said...

I too, thank you for sharing these struggles. I can't imagine the pain your family is facing and how everything is not so crystal clear. My husband and I have pondered adoption as we have been trying with no success for a third child. I long so much to have another little one to love, but it's just not been God's will. We would be open to adopt, but not only is it expensive, but as you know it is very challenging. I will be praying for your family and Misha.

Pam said...

Dear Phillip and Melissa,
What could I tell you that you both don't know already? He knows and He cares.Continue to be still before Him, for His timing is perfect.HIS PROMISES ARE TRUE AND HE IS FAITHFUL.HE HAS A PLAN FOR YOU ALL.You know all this. Praying for you all."There is no difficulty,inward or outward, that HE is not ready to meet in me today" This is one of my favorite quotes and I believe it was penned by G, Handley Moule. We love you all.Praying for you.
Love in Christ,
Pam Brantley

Bonda Owens said...

Philip and Melissa,
I am praying Colossians 1:9 for you: "For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light."

Ruth said...

Dear ones,
Isaiah 30:18 "Therefore the LORD will wait to be gracious to you; and therefore He will have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are those who wait for Him". Isaiah 30:21 "Your ears will hear a word behind you saying,This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left". We have such fond memories of you all....and we know that you will do His will only. Love , Jim, Ruth and Joel Johnson

KT said...

I would love to email privately with you. Not that I have alot to offer, except our own adoption story. It is very sensitive, not discouraging, neutral really, but would love to share a few things in private with you.
You sound like great people with big hearts!!

Melissa said...

Hi KT,
You can email me at Would love to talk with you!