Monday, August 31, 2009

Our Leap of Faith

It’s funny how you can be cruising along in life with plans made, working towards your goals and then BAM!!...everything changes. That is what we’re experiencing in the Applin household. We have jumped on the “Russian Adoption Rollercoaster” and we’re in the process of adopting a little girl who just turned 5 and a little boy who is almost 5. Some of you may recall that we already have four children between the ages of 3-8. So this will give us six children in a 5-year-span! How did we get to this point? What are we thinking? Well, let me explain…

I posted below about the Russian orphan hosting program we were participating in this summer. Through a local charity thirteen children between the ages of 4-14 were hosted by ten different families for almost three weeks. We were matched with a spunky little girl who turned 5 just two days after she left (we initially thought she was already five). We also got to spend time with the other Russian children, including a sweet little boy who will be 5 this fall. The purpose of the program was to provide a sort of vacation and adventure to children who have only known abandonment, rejection and loneliness in their short lives. Like most orphans the statistics for these Russian children upon leaving the orphanage is heart-breaking. Only about 10% are able to make anything out of their lives. They are literally kicked out around the age of 17 lacking adequate resources to survive (money, food, job, housing, family support, etc.). The other 90% turn to a life of crime, drugs/alcohol, prostitution/sex trade, or commit suicide. Through this program we wanted the children to see that there is a world beyond the orphanage doors. Through ongoing communication we wanted them to know that there are people who care about them and hopefully they could strive to “make it.” For our family, as well as some of the others, this hosting experience turned into something entirely different. To put it simply, we fell in love! They are already a part of our family in our hearts and now we’re trying to make that official and bring them home!

This brings me back to my point about changes. While we had been looking into adoption for a while we figured we'd be adopting from our local foster care system. Coming up with the money to adopt internationally just seemed impossible! We didn’t plan on adopting two children from Russia (one of the most expensive adoption programs). We didn’t plan on needing a bigger van this soon because ours only seats 7 people. We didn’t plan on growing our family this quickly to the point that it would be very difficult for me to work (at least until they are all in school), as we deal with adoption-related issues and meeting the needs of all of our children. But that is where we are. We said yes with our hearts, not sure how to work this all out. I guess that’s why they call it a “leap of faith!” As we considered the possibility of adopting these two we initially talked ourselves out of adopting both of them. We felt we just didn't have the necessary resources. Most of those resources needed are financial to pay for the adoptions and bigger van, as well as allowing me to take the time off from writing to be the mother these children need. But after a lot of discussion and prayer we realized that we needed to trust in God to handle those provisions. If it is His will it will be done. We realized that just because we don't have those resources now doesn't mean they won't be there when we need them. Even as I type those words, though, that walk by faith is still the hardest thing we've ever done. There is so much at stake-most importantly these two precious little lives.

Right now I’m busy working on the massive list of adoption paperwork and working as much as possible. My husband is taking on all of the extra sides jobs he can. As I write this he has returned home from work and has headed off to earn extra money by cutting down trees (I just hope he remembers that he’s 38 and not 28!). He doesn’t complain. As he puts it he’s a man on a mission to bring home his children who are half-way around the world.

So those are the big changes at our house! Are we crazy? Well,…yes, but I'd prefer to say obedient! More importantly we’re just excited to start this new chapter in our life. Through research I’ve learned that globally there are over 143 million orphans, and this number increases by the thousands daily. I know that when it comes to the orphan crisis we can’t change the world. But I am hoping that at least for these two children we can change their world, and they’ve already changed ours.

We know we can't do this alone and we already feel so blessed by the offers of help we've received! If you'd like to help would you please consider:
-Praying for us and the children! As with any adoption there are many obstacles to overcome. Prayer is the one thing that is bringing us peace and keeping us from feeling panicked that something will go wrong and we won't be able to adopt them.
-Letting me know about any programs that help with adoptions (grants, fundraisers, etc.).
-Making a donation to our adoption fund. I hesitated even putting the button on the top of this page. I'm not very good with asking for or accepting help. But I am learning that this is bigger than "me" and my comfort zone. Any donation would be a HUGE blessing!

So that's the news about our exciting leap of faith! I'll keep you posted. :-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tonight we get to see her little face!!

This summer we are participating in a Russian Orphan Hosting program. There are ten families from our church hosting 13 Russian orphans (there are three sets of siblings). The children, along with the two chaperones, will be arriving exactly one month from today from the Arkhangelsk region! They will be visiting for nearly three weeks. We have been matched with a 5-year-old little girl :-) Our other kids are 8, 6, 4, and 3, so she'll be right in the middle and our daughter (the oldest) can't wait to have another little girl in the house to play with. :-)

Tonight we'll be attending a meeting to go over some of the details, have a quick lesson in speaking Russian (the children won't know any English!) and finally see pictures!! Initially we weren't supposed to find out who our host child is until tonight's meeting. So it was a great surprise when we found out on May 8th! But...for some reason I was mistaken and thought we'd see pictures before today, so I've been patiently waiting (or NOT patiently waiting according to my husband ;-).

I can't believe it is only a month away until she arrives. I feel like I'm nesting. I first started "nesting" back in the spring when I thought we were preparing for our home study through the county (more on that later), but now I'm really feeling the push to clean and purge, clean and purge. I must admit though that it is a lot nicer doing it this way than when I could barely waddle around with my very large pregnant belly!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fellowship of the Unashamed

This text was found on a scrap of paper in the home of an African pastor shortly after he was martyred.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

This Beautiful Boy Needs a Family!!

I was checking out some blogs and was immediately stopped in my tracks when I saw this picture. He is absolutely adorable! Actually something about his smile reminds me of my youngest son who is about the same age. He needs a loving home, which every child deserves. Please pray that he gets one. If you'd like to learn more you can check out this information.

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families...
Psalms 68:5-6

Why I'm Boycotting Warner Bros. "Orphan" Movie

I recently heard about the new movie, "Orphan" that is to be released in July. I was definitely bothered after watching the trailer. Especially because there is a line where the adopted child says "It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own." I then heard about a new group on facebook called I Am Boycotting Warner Bros.' "Orpan Movie" and I knew I had to join. Here is the group's description:

On July 24, Warner Bros. is releasing a horror/slasher film titled "Orphan" ( The messaging in the trailer perpetuates misinformation about adoption, and it serves to reinforce the perception that older adoptees are very troubled. Those of us in the adoption community face these very real prejudices and misconceptions from the general public on a daily basis.

We encourage Warner Bros., Dark Castle Entertainment, and Appian Way to consider very carefully where and how they market this film, as the potential for emotional damage to children is great.

This group was launched by concerned parents to let these film companies know that this film is reprehensible to us, and we will be boycotting it. We will not allow children to be maligned while these companies profit from preying on the public's unfounded fears.

We ask anyone who joins this group to share this information widely, and to discourage your local theaters from showing this film.

The good news is that this boycot is having an effect. Here is an update from the moderator of the protest group:

First off, thank you for adding your name to the “Orphan” protest Group on Facebook. The membership has reached almost 1,000 in the course of just a few short days, which goes to show how very important this issue is to many.

I wanted to share with you that I just got off the phone with Scott Rowe, Sr. Vice President of Corporate Communication at Warner Bros. You will be happy to know that they have changed their marketing materials and have removed the offending statement “It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own” has been removed from all future trailers.

A few items of note:

• The current trailer (with the offending statement) will still be used during the previews of the horror film “Drag Me to Hell”, which opens this week-end. Unfortunately, on such short notice, there was nothing that can be done about this.

• The next movie that the trailer will be shown at is “The Hangover”, which comes out June 15th. By this time, the current trailer will be replaced with the new trailer (sans statement).

• They will swap out the trailers for all television advertising. They have not yet begun advertising for this film yet, so there should be no worries of children seeing it.

• The current trailer is still on the Web site, but they are working to rectify that immediately and Scott has spoken with the Warner Bros. Web team about this again this afternoon.

• Because the film is Rated-R, it will only be shown as a trailer for other Rated-R films. The trailer will also only be shown on television after 10 p.m. (i.e. not during times when young children would be expected to watch).

As I am sure many of you have assumed, there is a hook to the film that ultimately removes the child/orphan stigma, which is neither here nor there as it relates to current public positioning of the film -- and that issue is no more.

The producers and distributor took your concerns to heart and have made the changes in the public-facing marketing materials that we had hoped.

I would like to add that Scott mentioned that Warner Bros. employees get death threats for things as trivial as changing the release date of the new Harry Potter film. “Yet, the adoption community, who are protecting their children and who have every right to be angry, has been nothing but respectful.” he said.

Kuddos to all of you! Please do pass this information along so that others can know that their voice was heard.

It looks like sometimes voices are heard! :-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blogs for a Cause

When I first thought about starting a new blog, there was no question about the design. I knew I wanted to have Nikki at Blogs for a Cause stylize it! A great looking blog AND the money goes towards her humanitarian efforts...that's pretty much a no-brainer for me. :-) Of course the design turned out way cuter than anything I could have done! So if you ever want to give your existing blog a fresh look or start a new blog with a great design, contact Nikki!

What's This All About?

I've been wanting to start this blog for awhile and the thing that has held me back was figuring out how to describe it in the introductory post. So here I am, just winging it.

When most people start a new blog they are usually doing so for one of the three P's...payment, pleasure or purpose. It's great if it can work out to be all three at once, but that's not always the case. As a freelance writer I mostly write for payment, including blogging. Whether there is any pleasure in writing for payment really doesn't matter a whole lot to me. It's just what I do to help support my family and stay home with my children. I've had other blogs from time to time that were used as an outlet strictly for the pleasure of writing. These were always a little of this and a little of that, but as life has gotten busier they've become neglected. That's why this blog is different for me. It is all about purpose.

I have always been a Christian, but in the last few years my walk with God has changed. My life no longer feels like MY life. Certainly I still have free will and choices, but I've found that the best choice is to turn my life over to God and His will. That's what this blog, Answering the Call, is all about. There is a wide, wide world out there that is absolutely filled with those hurting and in need...real need! I think God calls each and everyone of us to a life of service. It's just up to us to listen.