Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I leave for Peru in less than 48 hours.

Aren't you so excited?

About as excited as I am nervous - which is a lot.

My nerves didn't really kick in until I had to learn the Hoedown Throwdown (from the Hannah Montana movie). You think it's funny? You try learning it. It's not as easy as it looks. Especially for someone who dances only with her three-year-old brother.

As the time of our departure grew nearer and nearer, I got more and more nervous. I would've backed out, I'm sure, if it wasn't too late for that. I was already too committed.

On top of that, I'm teaching a "workshop" on Eve for teenage girls, which is a message/discussion.

While I always knew it was out of my comfort zone, I trusted that God could use me in great ways through something like that.

Now... I think quite differently. What in the world was I thinking when I signed up for this? I can't do this!

My brain has been on constant overload this week, my anxiety surfacing more than it normally does.

But, I'm learning a lot. Lesson #1: Do not wait to cut out kids' Sunday school crafts until the week before you leave. Your hand will feel like it's going to fall off and you're going to be left with a stub.

I don't have any sense of contentment at the moment, like I thought I would. All I can think is that I'm not ready for this. I made a mistake when I signed up, and the church leaders made a mistake when they chose me to go. This whole thing was just a big mistake.

But, there's no going back now. And isn't that how God works? Through people's mistakes? It's only through our weaknesses that we can see His strength.

That being said, never underestimate the power of prayer. If you would be willing, I'd like you to pray for the health of our team (spiritually, physically, and otherwise), that God would prepare our hearts, that He would take away all our fears, and that He would bless both us and the Peruvians over the next week and a half.

Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna.
                     - Juan 3:16

Monday, July 5, 2010

Levi's Story

Levi. My boy. My baby. My little brother. My little man. Little flirt. Little dancer. Little laugh. Little smile. Silly boy.

That's what I think of when I think of when I think of Levi. I don't think 'African American'. I don't think 'Down syndrome.' I don't even think 'different than normal kids', except to think that he's more fun than "normal" kids.

I didn't want to adopt Levi at first. I was leery of his Down syndrome. Would he ever be able to talk? When I went to college would he remember who I was? Would he know my name? Would he love me?
I didn't like the age difference either. Levi would be six when I went to college. I wanted a relationship with my brother. I wanted to know him, to watch him grow up.

Every single doubtful thought disappeared when I first met him. I loved his brown skin, and his little tuft of curly, black hair on his head. I loved how he opened his eyes and simply drank in his surroundings. I loved how he held onto my little finger. After our half hour meeting with him, all I could say was, "I want him."

Levi's adoption story is an unusual, but blessed one. His foster family, the Kroekers, are now good friends of ours, our "extended family."

Then we came in.

Little did we know how many medical issues Levi would have. I remember the first time he went to the hospital, for breathing problems. I don't think anything has ever hurt my heart more than seeing my little man in so much pain.

Then followed a tonsillectomy, other unexpected stays, open heart surgery, and two stomach surgeries.

Some people ask why we would go through all this. Why would we go through this much pain and strife, not to mention the financial burden of so many hospital visits (not to mention therapies...) for a child that we didn't have to have?

The answer is simple. Levi is ours. Levi is my brother. Levi is just as much my family as my mom or my dad or my other adopted brother (who looks just like us). None of his medical issues has ever made me wish we never had him, but rather thankful that he's ours to take care of. Levi is not a child that we didn't have to have. We did have to have him. Because it was God's intention. Levi is my little brother, my small man, my light when all I see is darkness, my confidante when the world seems against me, the one who will dance with me when I'm supposed to be doing homework.

Levi is Levi. And I wouldn't change him for the world.