Friday, April 13, 2012

Strongest Love

I once said to a friend that no task worth achieving is within easy reach. I find that so many times God calls us to do things beyond our own strength, or what we perceive to be "out of our comfort zone" or "more than we can do" so we A) learn to rely on Him more and B) see nothing is out of reach so long as we rely on God. Orphan Advocacy/Adoption/Missionary Work is definitely in that category. You can't do it alone. You need help from not only God but also from those around you that share the call and the conviction. But on an even further level, I have come to admire some in the world of advocating for Orphans who love deeper, work harder, and never let their personal comfort zone set the boundaries for where that love goes.

And this post is a salute to some of the greatest examples of that that I've seen in my life.

I've had this post forming in my mind for quite some time, and wasn't sure quite when or where would be the best time to share such deep emotions and personal emotions. But through the timing and working of the Lord, many things have happened in the past few months that bring you the post you are reading now.

I admit one of the first things that repelled me from Orphan Advocacy when I first stumbled across it was the emotional roller coaster you must willingly ride day after day. How could you possibly love and work tirelessly for someone a thousand miles away, whose life was totally out of your hands? I could only find the answer through Faith, Hope, and Prayer. But even then, there was fear. What if something went wrong in that child's life? What if there really was nothing I can do for that person? What if the path's not always clear as to how I can help them? What then do I do?

While I still don't think I could answer that question completely, God has used so many people around me to show that we can and are meant to love till it hurts, just like He did. One of the earliest examples of that was Tori's love of her dear Carmencita in Peru. Only being able to see her a couple times a year, unable to find a family for her because she is not available for adoption, Tori did everything in her power and then some to give Carmencita the love and life she deserved. Despite all of the barriers put in front of her, all the things that easily could have discouraged someone else, she pushed aside her personal comfort zone and any obstacles in her path, all in the name of love. Love for one beautiful girl with Cerebral Palsey in Peru.

I saw it again in the way the Hinz family grieved but continued to love Nikita, the little boy they originally committed to along with Mr. Dusty (they committed to Sonya later). Despite never meeting him in person, never getting the opportunity to hold his little hand or snuggle him, he is their son. They celebrate his birthday, call him their own, even though he never "officially" got to be part of their family, He is in their hearts. A perfect example of embracing the toughest circumstances adoption can throw at you and make it something beautiful beyond what my words or anyone else's can do justice.

All through this time, however, there was another example of this, one whose story is nothing short of its own little fairy tale.

The Spitz Family, adoptive family of Michael (now Gavin) and Mariya (now Isabelle/Bellie) from Reece's Rainbow, originally began on a path to a different little girl: Lyla/Lilianna, blessed with Down Syndrome. Remember her?

   It was their adoption of Lyla that originally brought my family and theirs into contact. We cheered for Lyla as they cheered for our Jenny/Julia. But I'll never forget the day I found out things had gone wrong. So, SO wrong. Lyla was on death's door in the hospital, unadoptable until further notice, if she stayed alive. It was then that they adopted their sweet Belle, who I got to meet this summer, pictured below with awesome big sister Taylor:

Shortly before our little gathering in Cooperstown NY, though, they had decided God was calling them to adopt again. At that time, there was NO word on Lyla. No idea where she was. Regardless, this amazing family continued to love her as their own, forever grateful to the little girl across the sea that had indirectly brought them to their soon-to-be two little Ukrainian cutie-pies.

But then, there was another day I'll never forget: the day Lyla came back. On Reece's Rainbow. Out of nowhere. At that point, though, they were committed to mr. Gavin, and could not bear either the thought of leaving Gavin or Lyla. Thus they continued to love her and pray for a family to step forward.

Fast-forward a few months. Summer and Dave go to meet Gavin (who, by the way, is in the same Orphanage as Lyla). Needless to say, Gavin's a cute, adventurous little guy they love with all of their hearts. But then Summer did something on the second trip that would have left me in a puddle, no, a LAKE, on the floor: she asked to MEET Lyla. Meet Lyla. At that point all she'd be able to do is snuggle her and say there was a family on the way for her (YAY!), nothing else. Regardless of her own emotions, Summer met Lyla. and snapped a beautiful, timeless portrait of a beautiful little girl:

Fast forward another couple months: I was in Texas one morning checking messages on my phone to see if there was anything urgent, as I wasn't on Facebook, my e-mail or blogger all that much. There was an e-mail alert regarding a message from my mom. Reading down a few lines, all I could read was "Caleb, I have some sad news: Lyla lost-." What came after the "lost" didn't fit into the text message, but it didn't need to. I knew the next two words were "her family." That day riding around in the car I thought about the situation at hand. Writing long, passionate blog posts was out of the question until I left Texas as I barely had any time for Internet at all, so that left prayer. I prayed for the Spitzes as they grieved the loss of this family and for the little girl in Eastern Europe who had no idea of all the prayers and tears being poured out for her. I prayed that somehow this would all work out. By the time I was in the airport leaving for Texas, my mom had called us to say that through some God-given miracles, Lyla was going to become a Spitz.

The Spitzes announced their happy news publicly about a week later, to a TON of supportive people willing to help any way they could. As things stand now, people are fundraising and advocating this family like all get-out. To see all of this happening really is a reminder that, when a beautiful cause comes along, good people doing good deeds do still exist that can and will help. That good still abides in this world.

More than that, it is a reminder for me of that Strongest Love. A love that endured heartbreak and joy time and time again, that prayed endlessly, that crossed oceans and personal boundaries and any obstacle in between because of one little girl. One little girl who is WORTH IT.

Right now, one of those fundraising groups I mentioned before is doing a 3rd Genreation iPad giveaway to help the Spitzes raise funds for sweetest Lyla. So get on over there and donate, share, support any way you can! The link is right HERE. Help these last two days of fundraisng (today also happens to be Summer's Birthday!) be the BEST day of them all!

So, to one of the little babes we prayed for for months, and to one of the families that's prayed for US and our ministry since it's genesis, here's to you and your amazingly willing hearts. May God Bless you on this amazing journey!


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  2. Dear Caleb - Thank you so very much!!! Of course I am crying after reading your beautiful post!! We are so BLESSED to have you in our corner! We are beyond BLESSED to call you FRIENDS!!! I Love you all!!!

  3. Beautiful post! Our giveaway actually ends tomorrow the 15th, not today! Thanks for blogging :)

    1. Thanks Colleen! Post has been updated to give the proper amount of time left to enter!