For The Least Of These You Did For Me

Welcome to our family's blog. We are the Duryea family and we have seven children. You might be wondering why we chose this name for our blog. Well, to begin with we have three beautiful biological children and three beautiful children from China. I'll share our journeys to China to bring home our beautiful children later. For now, I'd like to share why we chose this name for our blog. The Lord showed me this verse when we were first seeking adoption. The Lord chose to grow our family through adoption. However, the Lord has also opened our eyes to the needs of orphans , especially in China. We consider "...looking after the orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:17, as a way of life for us, a calling.

As I read through the many stories in our adoption agency's storybooks, there are countless stories that begin with "...after many years of experiencing infertility, we started the adoption process and are now a forever family"

If you are one of the countless couples that have experienced infertility, let me share with you the wonderful way of starting a family and at the same time providing a home for a needy orphan. God loves you and cares about you. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. If you are feeling hopeless, let me promise you that the Lord hears your cries. If you haven't ever trusted in Jesus and put your hope in him, do it now. Your life will be better than you could ever imagine. I never planned or dreamed I would go to China (3 times) and have this wonderful family. My plans surely would have never been as wonderful as they are today.

I had endometriosis for many years, yet I was able to conceive and have three beautiful children. After Sarah was born in 1998, I experienced severe problems and had surgery. However, I was unable to conceive, probably due to the scars left by endometriosis. Like many of you I had emotional scars as well. Even though I already had three children , I still felt called to have a larger family. Many months, tears, and prayers later we considered adoption. I heard about the plight of baby girls in China and the one child policy that left them abandoned. As we were praying about this, David's family in St.Louis was having a first time ever family reunion. I knew this wasn't coincidence, because David's cousin, a single mom, adopted two girls from China. One was 5 years old and the other was 9 months. This gave us the opportunity to meet them and talk to his cousin about adoption. When we came home we saw an advertisement for an adoption seminar in our area. We attended and were ready to start the paperwork to begin our adoption for a baby girl from China. Our lives would never be the same again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Special Post

Please refer to our special post (which is on our sidebar) which explains how the Lord led us to adopt this special little deaf boy, whom we are naming Luke Feng Zheng. The name of the post is Adoption Ministry Letter. We are still in need of funds for our adoption.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Potter's Hand - A Ministry of Adoption

Some people don't believe that God has a purpose for our lives and actually calls believers to do His work for His kingdom. I've been told that some people have a difficult time seeing adoption as a ministry. Well I would like to share with you how the Lord called me into adoption.

While I was going through the Lord's pruning, it never occurred to me that this would become a ministry. I just thought that it would be one adoption of a baby girl from China. I never dreamed that I would have such a love for the orphans of the world.

I remember when the Lord first called me to adopt. At  that time I was playing the trumpet for my former church's worship team. We were playing many songs by Hillsong and "The Potter's Hand" was one of them. It seemed we were singing it every week. (I think the Lord had a reason for this). I didn't play anything on that particular song so I just stayed in my place on the alter and worshiped.

 I was also going through a very difficult and depressed time because I had secondary infertility and so I was very angry with God. The Lord used this song to break me of my selfish desires and wanting everything my way.  The Lord used the words of this song to break my selfishness and mold me to His calling. Every time we played "The Potter's Hand",  I would break down and cry. I would silently ask forgiveness for my selfishness and for being so angry with Him. This just didn't happen on one particular Sunday morning. It continued week, after week, after week, after week. {The rest of the worship team was very kind to me and understood that I was going through a difficult time in my life}.You see, I would return home ready to follow God's leading, but then during the week that selfish desire would creep back and I just couldn't let go of it. So, the next Sunday, even though I was mad at God and said I would never return to church again, I returned with my trumpet in hand. When we played "The Potter's Hand" the whole scenario would begin again. I would weep, ask forgiveness, and hear His calling. If I would only let go...

Finally, I realized that God wasn't going to change His mind and His way is better than mine. These are the scriptures the Lord gave to me:

" For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, 
   because the LORD has anointed me 
   to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 
   to proclaim freedom for the captives 
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] 
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor 
   and the day of vengeance of our God, 
to comfort all who mourn, 
 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— 
to bestow on them a crown of beauty 
   instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy 
   instead of mourning, 
and a garment of praise 
   instead of a spirit of despair. 
They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
   a planting of the LORD 
   for the display of his splendor. " Isaiah 61: 1-3

"But now, this is what the LORD says— 
   he who created you, Jacob, 
   he who formed you, Israel: 
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; 
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 
2 When you pass through the waters, 
   I will be with you; 
and when you pass through the rivers, 
   they will not sweep over you. 
When you walk through the fire, 
   you will not be burned; 
   the flames will not set you ablaze. 
3 For I am the LORD your God, 
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; 
I give Egypt for your ransom, 
   Cush[a] and Seba in your stead. 
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, 
   and because I love you, 
I will give people in exchange for you, 
   nations in exchange for your life. 
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; 
   I will bring your children from the east 
   and gather you from the west. 
6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ 
   and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ 
Bring my sons from afar 
   and my daughters from the ends of the earth— 
7 everyone who is called by my name, 
   whom I created for my glory, 
   whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:1-7

 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
   34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:31-40

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
   45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:44-46

If I would have continued following my sinful nature, than I would not have been BLESSED with adopting these 4 beautiful children from China, two of whom are special needs. I AM BLESSED beyond anything I could ever imagine.

Where was David all this time? He was ready to adopt and waiting for me.

This is our calling!

Enjoy "The Potter's Hand" by Hillsong and allow the Lord to mold you into His calling for your life.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Our Log in Date

Our paperwork is in China and we have a log in date (LID)of February 21. Now we wait for our paperwork to be translated and for our Letter of Acceptance( LOA). Next, we have to wait for our TA (Travel Approval). The whole process could take from 4 to 6 months from our LID.

We are so excited to go to China again. We love the Chinese people and can't wait to have the opportunity to tell someone about Christ and the wonderful things he has done for us.

We want to thank everyone who has helped us financially with our adoption. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. Thank you for having the vision to see this as a ministry.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Live For Christ

  Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
  Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."  Matthew 16: 23 - 28

I was reminded of this verse today while my daughter, Hannah, was diligently memorizing it. Many people say to us when they hear that we are adopting again, "You are saints." Well, actually we are only saints because that is what the Bible calls the believers. Anyone who is a believer in Jesus Christ is a saint. It has nothing to do with the number of good works that you do. You cannot earn or work your way into heaven. I am really a sinner with a sinful nature just like anyone else. The difference is that I have been saved through the grace of Jesus Christ. I read and study my Bible everyday so that I may know and hear from God through his word. That is why we are able to love "the least of these" and bring them into our family. We take up our cross daily and follow Him.

Yes, we have to sacrifice. But it's worth it. I can't turn my back on the orphans of this world and live my nice suburbia, American Dream life. To turn my back on them is to turn my back on Christ. We will all have to stand in front of Jesus one day and give an account of our lives. I wouldn't want to hear him say something like, "You're an American! I've given you everything! What have you done with your life?"

Last year, David and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. How did we celebrate it? We went bike riding in the Cuyahoga National Park near our home. We had a wonderful time. I love bike riding and the park is so beautiful. No trip to Hawaii, Cancun or a cruise. One cannot afford these things of the world when adopting an orphan.

Is it worth it? Absolutely!!  Someday, when I look back on my life I will have no regrets. I am surrounded by  lots of hugs and kisses and I am never lonely (literally). I once heard a story of a woman who only had two children because she was living during the Great Depression. Now that she is old, she said that she regrets not having more children. She didn't have more children because of fear of providing for them during the depression. To live in fear is to say that we don't trust God. No one ever looks back on their life and says, "I wish I had spent more time making more money." I am investing in the kingdom of heaven and the lives that one day will be with Christ and me forever in heaven. I am seeking the eternal not the temporal things of this world.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Care Package Is Off

Here is our care package we sent to Luke!
It's so exciting.
We sent him a blanket, stuffed dog, coloring books with crayons and markers, a teddy bear holding a heart that says I Love You (but since he is deaf, I don't think he'll understand), camera's so the orphanage will take more pictures of him, and a photo album of our family with him in it (and the dogs). And we can't forget about the 250 suckers for the orphanage :)