Well we said our final goodbyes to most of the children and to the orphanage staff and to the Sisters. It was quite a party! To start Kiara had been running another fever. I choose not to give her any medication because by the 4:00 party start time her temperature was around 99 degrees. Needless to say she was not in the best of party spirits. She was feeling lousy. We played with the older kiddos up on the rooftop terrace at the orphanage and then the kids came to the courtyard for a demonstration of Conner’s drone. They loved it! I think that the Sisters and orphanage workers were almost more excited then the children to watch it fly and to see the video that it was making! After watching the drone we went upstairs to celebrate. They hung balloons, and we brought cake and ice cream, juice, carrots and dip and oranges. We purchased party hats, horns and balloons for each of the children. The kids thought it was so fun, all the kids but Kiara. Wyatt kept blowing his horn at her and she kept crying! She was totally afraid! By this point the Sisters noticed that she was not feeling the best and they took her temperature and gave her some medication. Everyone was singing to her, hugging her, holding her and trying to feed her. She was completely overwhelmed! She fell asleep on the walk back at 6:30! All of the children, Sisters, and workers prayed for her and sang to her. It was a sweet time. They gave us a little photo album and a few parting gifts. It was difficult for the one worker (who came in on her day off) to say goodbye! We found out that this worker was her God Mother and she felt especially close to Kiara. It was bittersweet to say goodbye. On the one hand it means we are getting closer to being home and on the other hand it meant saying farewell to all those sweet sweet children!
Today Kiara woke up fever free! Praise God. I took her into town today to get the official notary papers that transferred her care from the orphanage to me. By law I had to have a translator. The sweet man from our first 3 court appointments who was our translator again. We were so moved that he would not take any payment for his time. Today I insisted on paying him and he only charged me 1000 lek. That is only $8.33 for at least an hour of his time! What a sweet man. We then went to the police station to pre apply for the passport. Usually this is done in two days. Day one pre application and Day two actually apply for the passport. May God be glorified. As I was standing at the police station I prayed that God would allow us to do both things today and guess what we got special permission to do just this! Our Albanian guide said that never has this happened before and she has been working on adoptions for over 20 years. We are thankful to God! They said that the passport will be done on Thursday but I can stop back on Wednesday and check on it! Please join me/ us in praying that we are able to get the passport on Wednesday. Thank you all for praying for our family!
Yesterday while I was doing my 2 mile morning loop one of the men who runs a coffee bar stopped me by saying good morning and wanting to know my name. Oh how I wish I could talk with him. Conner is working on translating a gospel tract into Albanian. We will give them out to all of the shop keepers and others that we say hello to on our walk back and forth to the orphanage. Please pray that more seeds would be planted and that all of those we have met will respond to the gospel!
We have enjoyed sweet time the past few days with our missionary friends Fiona, Joel, Joshua and Timmy. Today we enjoyed gelato, the park, and some little kiddie rides. Hands down the bumper cars were the favorite. Oh you should have seen Wyatt’s face! It was priceless!
Please keep praying! We love you all!
Did we tell you that we live in a third floor apartment? We get tons of exercise everyday just by coming and going! Our landlord owns a fish shop in town and the first floor of our apartment building is used as storage for his shop. Our little complex does smell a bit fishy at certain times of day!
Living in a fourth world country we experience times of no water and no electricity. We almost always lose water for 12 or more hours over the weekend. The longest that we have been without power was just for a few hours.
The one thing that I have been surprised by is the luxury of getting a hot shower every morning. What a blessing! This is something I don’t take for granted. However adjusting to taking showers with no shower curtain has been a bit interesting.
Stray cats and kittens join us for every meal that we enjoy at both outdoor and indoor cafes! They wait around looking for scraps. It reminds all of us of the picture book Papa Piccolo !
Lauren found avocados at the market yesterday and she made us delicious guacamole. What a treat!
Last night the young newlywed couple had all 10 of us over for dinner. Their apartment is small (and they share it with the husband’s parents) but their hearts are big and generous. They made us a delicious meal of tomato and onion byreck, rice stuffed peppers, and tomato curried chicken. A delicious meal with sweet believers. We are so thankful for them and pray that somehow our time with them last night allowed his mother to see Jesus! We are praying that his parents would come to faith in Christ. We told them that a lot of people in the states are afraid to have us all over because their are so many of us! We told them they were very brave. We will certainly miss them when we leave!
Hudson is forever trying to do everything by himself. His favorite line is “I do it.” Well today while I was reading a historical fiction book aloud to the older children, Hudson found Juliana’s school scissors. He hid and when we found him he had cut a huge chunk of hair off of the top of his head. I about cried. His hair is (was) so thick and adorable and he cut it down to the scalp. I know that someday I will laugh at this but for now all I can see is Christmas card photos with a little boy who looks like a war refuge. The dear missionary who lives nearby came to the rescue, she brought over her hair clippers and allowed me to cut all of his hair to try to even things out a bit. He may look a bit worse now that I am done!!! We are thankful that Megan and Lauren found him a cute baseball hat to wear!
Conner took some drone video on our way to the orphanage today and he was the talk of the town!
Kiara ran a fever yesterday but felt better today! Please pray for tomorrow (Friday) that all of the paperwork will be done to make her an official Haines who can stay with us permanently. We will post lots of pictures once it is official!!!
We welcome your emails! We are homesick for home and we would love to hear from all of you! Thanks for for following our blog!
Human touch, eye contact, a soothing voice. This is what we all crave. The least of these especially the babies and those with profound special needs crave these basic human needs. These three things are denied to these precious souls to these dear ones made in the image of God. They stay for hours in their cribs or on the floor. They are only picked up to be changed and when it is time to eat all bottles are propped and the babies feed themselves. Little “J” struggles to give eye contact. Little “A” with Down syndrome never cries, apparently he has already learned that crying does not do much good. Rarely if ever does crying bring any relief. Little “B” just arrived a week ago. Her parents dropped her off. They are poor gypsies who can’t afford to feed her or to buy her medication for her pneumonia. Apparently they daily beg for food in the streets. Now she is fed daily but is in her crib for hour after hour alone behind a closed door. She needs her mothers arms. Her mother just needs food to feed her. A mixed up system of help and hurt. The special needs daughters of the King of Kings include little “D” who is blind and little “N” who has epilepsy. They are both left alone with utterly no interaction except when they need to be changed or when it is time to be fed. They need to be held, to be rocked to be prayed over and to know they are loved. They need me, they need you, they all need the church to be His hands.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me”. If He were here he would hold them all, touch them all and love them all. But then I remember that He is here because His Spirit lives in me and I can be Him to the least of these today. May my children and I be Him to them or may we minister to Jesus by ministering to the helpless and defenseless ones.
Please visit a lonely widow, become a foster parent, go to Planned Parenthood to share the truth, share the gospel with someone you meet today, go on a short term mission trip to visit widows and orphans, visit those in prison, feed the homeless at a homeless shelter or take someone homeless into your home. May I, may you, may we the church all live lives that demand an explanation. We only have one life to live, so may we all live our lives fully to the LORD!
I looked into the face of hunger today and I saw Jesus! Matthew 25:40 “And the king will answer them truly, I will say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
This morning I walked to the orphanage alone, something that I have done less than several times. I was finishing up listening to a sermon by Francis Chan (if you have not listened to him please do so because he preaches truth in such a powerful way). When I arrived a gypsy mom was at the gate with her baby and through gestures she explained that the baby was sick and hungry. When the Sisters arrived at the gate they explained to her that it wasn’t food distribution day. As if her hunger and the hunger of her child could be relegated to a specific day and time. This mother was persistent and rang the bell again. Finally as I was leaving she was being sent away again. I prayed as Kiara and I were walking down the street that if the Lord wanted me to feed her that she would follow me so that I could buy her something to eat. God directed her steps to follow me and he directed me to get her two apples and two homemade rolls which cost me less than one dollar.
As I placed the bag into her outstretched hand she thanked me by blowing me a kiss. I fed Jesus today because His Spirit living in me directed me to. I obeyed today, but how often do I fail to obey to spiritually feed a hungry soul. Jesus said that “But he answered, “it is written, “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 Oh how I wish I had the language to tell this mom about my Savior, the one who is the bread of life! Oh, may she have seen you in me today! May I be quicker to fill the needy souls of those who may not be physically hungry but who are spiritually hungry. Please open my eyes to those who need you. May your spirit cause me to obey and may I see those around me as if they were you, because you said that they are! Amen!
Kiara is absolutely darling! The girls are enjoying dressing her up in the clothing we brought. She looks so incredibly adorable that it is difficult to not post any pictures of her. We have given her 2 baths this week and she absolutely loves to splash in the tub. She gets so mad at me when I take her out. She will love the pool next summer. We took her out for lunch this week and out for a snack today. Feeding her is a challenge. She is used to eating totally pureed foods. We have tried some healthier pureed foods but she is not crazy about what we are offering. Please pray that we can figure out how to feed her and that she learns to eat food with texture. We still have about one more week of having her from 9 to 6. Hopefully by next Friday she will be legally ours and not need to go back to the orphanage at night. It is so different from all of our other adoptions. It is so hard having her go back each day. It feels like she should remain with us, perhaps because she should!
During all of the recent rain it was so interesting to watch the snails come out and go down the street and climb the walls. They are such interesting creatures. God is so incredibly amazing!
We have gotten to know a lovely newly wed Christian couple who were brought up Muslim and who now love Jesus as their Savior. They are incredibly sweet and they took us to church with them twice. They speak great English. They own a byrek shop that we frequently stop at on the way to the orphanage. Byrek is a thin dough that has been dipped into a lot of oil. It is then filled with cheese or tomato and onion and then baked in the oven. Conner and sometimes Emily will purchase one or more for breakfast for only 30 lek each. This is only $.25 in US money. They sell about 170 to 180 a day. They are such hard workers up early to make the byrek. Lauren even got to go over yesterday to watch them make them. A truly hands on education.
The unemployment rate is high and many of the men sit at the coffee bars drinking coffee, smoking and playing dominoes. They keep score and the games appear to be competitive. It is sad to see so many able bodied men just sitting for hour after hour at the same spot day in and day out. Such a different culture.
Each morning when I walk I see the man who bring milk from his farm in big plastic containers. The people from the town walk to his car and pick up their morning milk. They bring empty soda bottles, water bottles or any other recycled bottles that they can find. It is so interesting to watch them put the milk into the bottles with a funnel.
Each morning when I walk I also see the school children heading off to school. The children are always accompanied by either a parent or a grandparent. Their parent or grandparent always carry the children’s backpacks. This is a cultural unspoken rule and it is just what they do.
Due to al the walking I have reached the weight that I was before we were married. This is the first time I have ever done this in 26 years. It feels good to be lighter. :) Although if I keep eating gelato I will gain the weight back! Tim lost over 50 pounds. I am so proud of him!
Last Saturday Lauren, Conner, Megan and Emily were able to go to Macedonia to walk where Paul walked and to shop! They had a wonderful time visiting another country. We are all looking forward to taking some day trip field trips once Kiara is ours with the court decree and new birth certificate.
Termites! We have termites in our apartment. We have not met them yet. Thankfully! But we hear them eating up a storm! They are so noisy at night. Glad they seem to only be living in the kitchen table and that we have not met them. Please pray it stays that way!
Fresh meat is available in little corner stores all over town. In fact Tim and I saw a live tied up goat being dragged through the town to be served as someones dinner. It is not uncommon to see whole skinned animals hanging up for sale. The girls and I really are having a difficult time eating meat. In fact we all think we could become vegetarians after this trip. Auntie Kim and Kaya would be proud!
We all love Italian gelato! We have been enjoying eating it every few days. We are the only crazy people to buy it from the local gelato store….it is fall here (although they act like it is winter) and no one wants frozen gelato except us! The main worker at the shop practically knows us by name. In fact we passed him in the alley today and Wyatt said, “Hey that is the ice cream guy!”
Wyatt and Hudson are a huge hit here. Total strangers think nothing of staring at them, pointing at them or coming up and pinching their cheeks. They love that they are Asian. They are a real novelty here. The boys have been tolerating the attention pretty well.
Keys, keys, keys. There seem to be keys everywhere. Keys to get in and out of our gate. Keys to lock the front door and keys to lock the bathroom doors.
Devotions from afar. I am thankful that Tim is choosing to lead us spiritually despite the distance. We have been able to study the scriptures together Tim and Kayla at 7 am and us here at 1 pm. I am grateful to have a husband who not only chooses to lead us spiritually but he also chooses to apply the word by being obedient and adopting yet one more child. We only have one life to live and we are choosing to live a radically set apart life. A life that demands an explanation. To God alone be the glory.
Greetings from Elbasan Albania. We have been here for 3 full weeks already and most likely have about 3 or more to go! Kiara now gets to come to the apartment every day from 9am to 6pm. It is bittersweet having her with us all the time. It is sweet because she belongs with us but the bitter part is that every day we have to take her back to the orphanage at bedtime and usually she cries when I put her to bed. I can’t stay because that would mess up the routine. She is so adorable and easy going. She loves to explore the apartment and play with all her siblings. She is dearly loved by us all. We will Lord willing get to keep her with us all of the time in about 10 more days. We can’t wait! She is so beautiful and charming and we absolutely can’t wait to share some photos of her.
Apparently Tim took the sun with him when he left for PA early Sunday morning. It has been raining since he left and has turned a bit colder….Lauren even broke out the space heaters to get warm and I am wearing my tall boots. Glad that we have only a 10 minute walk to the orphanage!
Because we don’t have a dryer and we need to hang all of our laundry the rain has put a damper on getting anything dry. We are trying to dry things inside on drying racks but that is proving to be unsuccessful. We realize just how blessed we are at home to have a dryer. We realize that there are so many things that we take for granted. We are thankful for the opportunity to see how people on the other side of the world live.
The one thing we quickly noticed is that people throw their trash on the ground all the time! The streets and alleys are covered in litter. For such a beautiful country it is covered in trash…so so sad! Also there are Roma gypsies in the town who daily stop at all the dumpsters on the side of the roads. They pick through the garbage which includes wastepaper from the bathroom since toilet paper can't be flushed. They pick through it with bare hands in search of plastic bottles and plastic bags that they can use to sell to earn a few cents to buy some food. They are very poor people. Conner had the opportunity on Sunday evening to share our adoption journey as well as the gospel at a church for the Roma people. Praying for seeds to have been planted.
There are stray dogs absolutely everywhere. They are so pathetic. Covered in fleas, lacking fur, walking around looking for a drink from a dirty puddle and some leftover trash to eat. The other night one was hit by a car. He seemed to survive. Not sure how they stay alive. They are not aggressive, and they don’t bark. I told the kids only the fed dogs bark…those are the watch dogs. The strays don’t have nearly enough energy to bark. Last night Christian noticed a kind old man with 3 strays around him. He was giving them some bread and they were all wagging their tails so excited by his kindness toward them. I even shared the end of my dish of gelato with one of the dogs!
Believe it or not we are kitten sitting! A sweet missionary family who minister to the Roma gypsies has headed off to a mission conference and we are kitten sitting their tiny orange kitten, Ginger. He is adorable and Juliana is thrilled to have a pet for a few days!
Now that Kiara comes to the apartment for the day we so miss spending time with the rest of the orphans. We have decided to have the 4 older kids go over in groups of two for 2 and 1/2 hours every afternoon to spend time loving on these precious children. Over the past 3 weeks we have taught them Wheels On the Bus, This Little Light of Mine, and Head Shoulders, Knees and Toes. They are quick little learners and have caught on quickly to learning English. They are always anxious to share what they have learned with us.
We are continuing to homeschool our kiddos while we are here in Albania. Part of our homeschool day includes shopping at the fruit and veggie market, hand washing dishes (we miss our two dishwashers) and visiting orphans. We are thankful for the opportunity to get to know Kiara’s culture and all of the kids are keeping journals of the trip!
We thank you all for your prayers for Kiara, and for our family. Please keep praying that God (Zot in Albanian) would strengthen us during these final 3 or more weeks. Thank you!
I just took my 2 mile morning walk and listened to part of a sermon called “What do you need to by happy?” by Francis Chan. In it one of the ministry team members said “We are to live lives that demand an explanation.” Does my life? Does your life? Do the lives of the American church demand an explanation because they are radical, set apart lives poured out for the gospel?
I was in tears because I know that my life is not….my life comes up incredibly empty. I see myself as more of James 5:5 “You have lived on the earth in luxury and self indulgence.” and less of a “Take up your cross and follow me” life. What would a fully consecrated, holy, set apart life look like? I doubt I would know based on anything except the bible. Paul’s life was radically set apart and so was Job’s life.
An excerpt from Ann Voskamp’s new book “The Broken Way”, says this about Queen Esther, “you can look into eyes and hear the whisper from those outside your door, outside the gate. You’ve got to risk your position inside for those on the outside or you risk losing everything, even your own soul. You’ve got to give your gifts or they may become your idols, your identity, and you become the walking dead. If your living isn’t about giving, then your already dying. You’ve got to use the life you’ve been given to give others life. If your life isn’t about giving relief-you don’t get real life. Give relief or you find none.”
Job did this he gave himself away on behalf of the widow, the fatherless, the poor. What did God say about Job? He said that there was none like him. He said that Job was blameless, upright and that he feared God and turned from evil. What does God say about me? About you? Are we spending this one life we have been given actively and wholeheartedly pouring out and into others who are broken, and needy and hurting?
Elisabeth Elliot,”To be a follower of the Crucified means sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.”
Ann Voskamp again, “What if it is not God who needs us to rush to his defense in the world as much as we need to rush to the distress of the broken who carry the image of God into the world.” Do I? Do you? Do we rush to the defense of the title “D”’s ? Job did. Job 29:15-16 “I was eyes to the bind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy and I searched out the cause of him who I did to know.” Job’s faith was active and he was considered righteous. He actively broke the fangs of the unrighteous, he delivered the poor who cried for help and the fatherless who had no one to help him. He caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. His soul grieved for he needy. He wept for him whose day was hard. Do we do any of these things? Or are we too caught up with our own lives?
Ann again, “You are where you are for such a tie as this not to gain anything but to risk everything. There are so many of us sucking down lattes and dying of thirst, dying for something more, for something abundant. There are those who are saved, but only by the skin of their teeth because they cared most about the comfort of their own skin and only minimally about anyone else’s…there are those who would rather turn a blind eye to the needy then turn the needy to by like Christ. Those who would love playing at being Christian more than actually being one and loving giving.”
Oh may our Christianity actively look like Christ. May our lives demand an explanation. May I live so radically different, so sacrificial, so counter worldly that those who don’t know Christ would question why and want, oh so desperately want what I have…the bread of life, the living water. May they see in me, see in you, see in us the King of Kings! May we all live radical, set apart lives pointing a dying world to eternal life. Amen!
Welcome back to our blog. Another post from me again. Little “D” again haunts my thoughts and my conscience. I am once again sharing from my heart. May God stir your heart too.
“At the end of the hall as the evening light fades, the day is drawing to an end. It is only 5:30 but it is time to go to bed. Oh sweet little “D”, in your prison of darkness, you are carried and put into the furthest room away from everyone. All alone in your crib, you call out from the darkness with no one to hear your voice, no one to rock you, to tuck you in, to sing you a lullaby. No one to tell you they love you and that they will be with you forever. No one to call your their daughter. No one to help you break out of the darkness and understand the world of light. No one to unlock your dark lonely cell.
Wyatt sweetly asks me if Jesus has forgotten to put mud on your eyes so that you can see. I ask if the church has forgotten to care that you and millions like you even exist. We the church, too caught up with our Starbucks, our Facebook, our Instagram, our t.v. shows and our lives to even realize that a dear sweet daughter of the king of kings goes to bed alone night after night without ripple of notice.
Oh God forgive me, forgive us of our selfishness in not realizing that is precious child was made in your image and that you didn’t forget to put mud on her eyes but perhaps we need you to put mud on our eyes so that our eyes may be opened to see “D” as you see her. Why have we chosen to just look away and let this precious child live not seeing physically while we choose to not see spiritually because it would be too hard, too uncomfortable, too expensive, too much for us. Oh Lord,forgive us I pray. Forgive us and teach us to love like you do. Open our eyes and grant us sight that we may see the little “D”’s all around us. Amen”
Thank you for stopping in and reading our blog. Tim has been faithfully posting all of our blogs but last night the Lord impressed the following blog post on me and I wanted to share it with you. It is not about our sweet Kiara but about a precious blind 5 year old who is the size of a 3 year old. It is about her and millions like her waiting for a family. May the Lord move all of our hearts to repentance and to action.
“Another day at the orphanage. Boy is it difficult to go….babies not held, handicapped children ignored, a pureed diet again for anyone under two or who is handicapped, no toys, the same old routine.
No toys…just old stuffed animals
Must stay on the small carpet
Bring babies back to the room
Those who can walk escape
Those who can’t stay or perhaps crawl away
The same thing day in and day out
Babies fight over any toy introduced
Anything becomes a toy, a shoe, a piece of trash, a bottle top
“A” is locked away having seizures, never held except to be fed or changed, three beautiful babies locked away behind closed doors never held only handled to be changed, bottles propped, crying out for human contact but none to be found. “
D” trapped in an orphanage, unwanted. Oh so sweet….totally blind, she crawls or scoots or rolls toward the sunlight that streams in through the barred windows. She always moves toward the sun….perhaps she sees some light, perhaps the sun penetrates her darkened world or perhaps she jus likes the sun’s warmth on her skin. No matter what she finds her way to the patch of sun in the play room. Is it a playroom? Why would it be, the toys are locked away and there is only a couch and some old stuffed animals. It is not a toy room or a playroom. It is just a place to spend the hours before the next meal is served…Despite the injustice, the loneliness, the lack of parents to tuck you in there are usually cheerful nuns and mostly cheerful workers who help to make the bleakness and barrenness not quite so desperate at least for the older babies and children.
We need to be like “D”. We need to move toward the SON! Move toward Jesus. We need to seek to draw ever closer to him that we may be like Jesus. We need to seek to draw ever closer to him that we may be his light in this dark world. A precious 2 year old learned to sing “This Little Light of Mine” May we be like her singing about letting our light shine. May I always shine for you Jesus! May my light shine ever brighter till it shines like the light of the full day. May you and you alone be glorified through the remainder of the trip. Amen and Amen!”
As we mentioned to many of you the first part of the trip usually takes 4 weeks, which consists of 14 days of visiting your child, and then the first court hearing, followed by the second court hearing one week after that, followed by the third court hearing a week after that…well, our first hearing was after 10 days, the second court hearing was on the 11th day and the third is scheduled for on our 15th day! The nuns said they never seen anything like it in 20 years. God is so good! The Judge, which is a new judge for family court was very nice. She is very young and has a young family. She asked us if the timing was good for us and of course we said yes!
Everything else is really going well. We visit with Kiara for about 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. She is really bonding well. Yesterday, when we were leaving for the evening one of the helpers went to take Kiara to get her ready for bed and she cried and wanted Dawn! She is so beautiful and pleasant. She is getting a lot of love from us all.
Christian, Conner and I had the chance to go to a soccer game in Elbasan. It was two rival teams from Triana. It was crazy! The fans from each team were at either end of the field. The fans had a mic with speakers, drums, large banners that covered over 100 seats, as well as fireworks right from their seats, and flares! At one point there were so many flares they had to stop the game because the smoke was so bad. So much for the tight security.
Mother of 13 and writes this blog.