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Where does my strength come from?

Whew…a tired day after a long weekend—I ask myself the question, “Where does my strength come from?” Does it come from my children–and my pride in them? Does it come from my personal accomplishments? Does it come from my friends and family? Or does it come from my God?

I am learning quickly–if you want to see where it comes from and who you really rely on…fill out adoption papers. I am completely and without a doubt sure that this is what the Lord is calling our family to do. And we are certain that it is the Lord who is calling us rather than our own will. After all, is having more children going to really make our lives “easier”? I think not. But more joyful? Without a doubt!

In June, our hearts were stirred–in July we prayed and felt certain–and in August we began interviewing agencies and began our persuit. We chose a continent/program where there is so much death and darkness…but also one that we have grown to love through our ministry and where we also see so much joy and hope. In our ministry’s start, we had days and weeks where we struggled financially, struggled with how and if it would work, etc…yet God always provided–and today we have 450 orphans we educate, feed and love. Because we were committed to and running this ministry with 4 other families, when we felt a hit–we ALL felt it and we were able to spread out the “blow” a bit. Together we’ve been able to really help, pray and fight for the cause we feel the Lord has set before us. With this adoption, it is of course our immediate family’s pursuit, and although we have an incredible circle of friends and family supporting us–it’s becoming obvious to me that when the Lord wants something for you…there is also an enemy out there that doesn’t want you to succeed…and our immediate family has felt the road block with our health. (I know this may sound a little off the wall to some of you who aren’t believers—but if you believe that God is real—you probably also believe there is an enemy just as real who wants the exact opposite of God…so if he wants the exact opposite of God, I doubt he wants us to adopt or to raise awareness or potentially inspire others to adopt as well…that’s just my guess;).

Our hit this month has been with our children’s health more specifically. For the 5 years we have been parents—we have only made a very small handful of doctor’s visits other than well checkups. In fact, probably only 3 which includes ALL three children and is NOTHING in 5 years when you have 3 children!!! My kids had never thrown up, never had the flu, never given us any kind of scare—that is, until we filled out our application to adopt and followed the Lord on a journey of a lifetime…one that we are STILL completely excited and sure about. And for us–this is the first (and I doubt the last) “road block”.

Unless you have adopted or you’re in the process, this may sound completely CRAZY to you—but if are have and are…you will probably read this and say, “Oh, but OF COURSE that is what happened!” Or if you are a strong believer and you’ve persued something that may give God some crazy glory—you have maybe also experienced similar road blocks. For 5 straight years, we have been without illness other than…gosh, I can’t even remember—but just since the day we interviewed the first agency (within approximately 30 days)…THIS LIST has happened to our three beautiful, healthy children:

Our 5 year old: Got a stomach bug and threw up for the first time in his life (this might not sound HUGE…but the boy has never been sick! Coincidence he got sick the week after we started our adoption??? Maybe…but let’s continue…)
Our 3 year old: 4 trips to the emergency room (yes–I said 4!) She got muluscum awhile back (a skin virus that produces little bumps…it can runs its course no biggie or you can have them burned off…what we are doing now after what you are about to read). She scratched one of the bumps—got a staph infection. And then another. And another. And another. Yes, that many staph infections…all at once! One of the staph infections turned into MRSA–a very scarey form of staph which is an infectious disease that could have stopped us from adopting possibly–THEN at a specialist appointment the dermotogist asked Children’s Hospital to fax them the lab results so we could begin treatment and the tests showed NOTHING was wrong with her. Yes, I said nothing. Either the doctors didn’t know how to read the lab results, misdiagnosed her, never called us to tell us they were wrong and to stop all the medicine…OR Jesus came down and healed her so we could continue our adoption. She didn’t have MRSA or anything else for that matter. We had friends, family and everyone praying for her–and today she is healed…just a few weeks later…and no staph infections, MRSA…nothing! Yet, we spent the last month in the ER, pediatrician and doctor after doctor. Everyone treating MRSA until the power of prayer and a specialist asked to see the lab results again. Go figure. Think what you want to—all I know is the girl is healed.
Our 10 month old: Had to have surgery to remove 2 cysts in his mouth. While Laney “had MRSA” Frank got tonsilitis but the doctor wouldn’t give him antiobiotics b/c MRSA was in our household and he wanted to save the antiobiotics for a more serious time…so he endured tonsilitis. The following weekend he ran fevers of 104. More emergency room time. Doctor just shook his head and said he was fine by the time we were seen. This weekend? What started on Saturday looking like a few allergy or eczema bumps—today is a horrible rash over his entire body. No fever so I got online to see if I could find pictures to match–and it looked like a little bit of everything! So…another trip to the ER. And what did he say? I’m obviously good enough of diagnosing to be a doctor now b/c he agreed with me–he said it looked a little bit like chicken pox, measles, roseola, infitigo, a viral infection, and poison ivy. WELL, OF COURSE IT DOES and of course he has all those things at once! So, he gave us an antiobiotic, shook his head and told me to take him to the dermotologist tomorrow. “Do you have a good one?” he asked. “Well, of course we do–because we’ve had muluscum, staph infections and the uncurable MRSA this month…all which are gone now so you wouldn’t believe me if I told you…yes, I know there’s not a cure…so call me crazy—and yes, we have a great dermotologist.”

So, once again–we may spend our day at the doctor tomorrow. But I’m sure we’ll wake up and it will all be gone and there won’t be any need to. Maybe God is just preparing me for a crazy lifestyle with more children. Maybe God has called us to do something really great and the enemy doesn’t like our faithfulness (sorry if this sounds crazy!). I believe there are hundreds and thousands of children waiting and literally dying to be rescued…to have forever families to care for them and save them in Jesus’ name. Many of them with diseases and problems like we have experienced this month…on top of starvation. I can’t help but wonder from doctor to doctor, how are THEY getting treated??? Will THEY be okay? How are THEIR immune systems fighting these things off? And so…instead of feeling defeated. Instead of backing down. We are making the decision to stay strong and find our strength in the LORD. Not in ourselves–not in doctors–not in anything other than Him. And to continue to follow. And to fight for those who need someone to fight for them. HE will heal them. HE will protect them. And Lord willing—others will follow when they hear His call to boldly make the move to grow their family by adopting one of His who need us.

We’re coming sweet children! Others have heard the call of God, and they are coming too! We will not give up–and we will continue to find our strength in our Savior. We are coming in His name…so hold tight sweet babies!!! Lord, please protect our children in Africa. Keep them safe and…Lord please heal them of disease. Bring them food when their tummies can no longer go on empty…and speak to their hearts and let them know you are sending someone for them. Give them peace Lord. Heal my Frank Lord and I ask for your protection over all of the families following God in adoption. AMEN!

How thankful I am for the support I have in my friends and family–and how thankful I am for those adopting with and beside us…may we all stay strong and keep our eyes focused on what the Lord has called us to! He will give us strength!

1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Ephesians 6:13-18 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

Jenn in GA - September 13, 2009 - 1:32 pm

you don't know me, and i'm not sure how i found your blog. i just know that God has been putting people in my path who are involved with adoption internationally, and you are the latest on the list.

i believe in warfare, and i'm ecstatic that you have recorded for all posterity the victories that God provided to thwart the enemy this week. think of all the others He has fought for you that you have been unaware of!

i'm following your journey from cumming, and am asking God to show us our next step. we are a family of three; i'm 43, my husband is 45, and we have a 15 year old son. we know that for us to even think about pursuing a next step, we need to have a steady income.

my husband just started his own business providing sound, video, and lighting for churches 2 weeks ago. we're open, but we know without an income, there is no discussion. so, that's where we are. thanks for sharing where you are, and for calling the enemy out! be sure to share what happens tomorrow…

Are These Kids All Yours? - September 13, 2009 - 2:19 pm

Oh wow…..totally know what you mean. We have felt those spiritual attacks hmmmm…..just before summer every year- just before we have 2 intense months when we have between 45-65 kids give their lives to Christ or recommit to Christ! Sometimes it feels powerful, but NEVER TOO POWERFUL FOR OUR GOD!!!! Yep, during every adoption process as well. This week the week we accepted our sweet Naomi- yep you guessed it our kids are rarely sick- all but 2 were sick- ALL week. This was also the week of my husband's kidney stone surgery as well. Yep! It's true that OUR GOD REIGNS AND IS ALL POWERFUL!!!! Now we just pray for healing. Thank you for praying alongside us as well. You will never know that peace that fills my soul when fellow believers join in. You are in our thoughts and prayers- keep it up for CHRIST and THE CHILDREN!!!!

Amy - September 13, 2009 - 7:06 pm

Sounds like your under attack. I totally agree with you on satan not liking adoption and trying to keep it from happening. We don't have children (yet) and satan has been attacking our marriage. Nothing really bad but we've just not been getting along as well and being married has for the first time for us been hard. Thankfully we have the best protector on our side and with a little bit more work with patience and going out on dates together things are better.

I hope your health scares end soon. That is very scary but you clearly have God on your side 🙂

Anonymous - September 14, 2009 - 1:18 pm

Oh my, your words….thank you. My hubby and I are adopting 2 little boys from Ethiopia. The Lord has stirred our 44 year old hearts:) Our big boys are 18 and 20 so it definitely goes against the worldview of parenting.
Thank you for praying for us during this journey. We will be doing the same for you as well.

All's grace,
Susan Burkhalter

The Young Family - September 14, 2009 - 1:49 pm

Susan, Didn't see a link to email you at. Any chance you are also using AGCI???

Anonymous - September 15, 2009 - 7:04 pm


Susan here. We are adopting through Dove International out of Banks, OR. We don't have a blog yet but my friend is pretty adamant about us posting. If so, I will send you the link.

Thanks again for sharing your heart for the orphans. Your writing conveys what I am feeling in my heart. It is a blessing to read your words.

All's grace,
Susan Burkhalter