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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How God Led Us To Luke

I remember when the Lord first spoke to my heart. It was when I was a little girl. I was standing  in front of the mirror in our bathroom while brushing my teeth or washing my hands or face. All of a sudden I would hear a voice speak to my heart (not an audible voice): "Why are you hear? What is life?"  I would stop and think about. I knew it had something to do with God. This happened several times throughout my childhood.
I was saved when I was 17 at a play about Christ's life, death and resurrection. When I heard the sound of the nails being driven into His hands and feet and seeing His blood poured out for me, I bowed my head and knew that Christ died for me. God had planted the seed in my heart when I was very young and was drawing me to Himself.

Now, how do I know that the Lord has called me to adopt Luke, a deaf child. The Bible says "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me." John 10:27 

It all started when we were adopting Hannah. When we had the opportunity to visit her orphanage, our whole world changed. When you stand in the middle of an orphanage half way around the world, your whole perspective on life changes. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2. We always knew we would adopt again. We believed that as long as we were willing, the Lord would continue to put children on our hearts. We can't turn our back on the orphans and say "It's someone else's problem" or " We've done enough."

There is a cost for following Christ. The Bible says "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 and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" Mark 8: 34-36.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

While I was looking at our agency's website ( they post several special focus children trying to find homes for them) , I noticed a cute little toddler. He was profoundly deaf. My first thought was "no way, that is too hard." But the Lord kept tugging at my heart and I kept finding myself looking at his picture. I started thinking how sad his life must be; being alone in the world without a mom and dad and being completely deaf. We decided to pray and seek the Lord to see if he was really leading us to adopt a deaf child. I talked with Nathan's audiologist and found out we would all have to learn sign language.We allowed fear to scare us and say, "no this is too hard." But over several months the Lord kept tugging at our hearts. We also found out that most people who are deaf can have either hearing aids or cochlear implants to enable them to hear.

As the Lord continued to change our hearts, He continued to put people in our path to encourage us. People who were deaf, knew sign language, taught sign language, etc. One day while I was at the YMCA, I was studying sign language (from a book) and the woman sitting next to me said she used to teach sign language. She actually brought me a sign language video the following week.

After about 9 months of praying, we decided to give the agency a call about the little boy. They said he had been adopted. We were very disappointed and confused. Did we hear wrong from the Lord? The next day   the adoption agency called back and said they found another little deaf boy for us. Do we really still want to adopt a deaf child? He was 3 years old on June 21, 2011. He was abandoned when he was 2 years old. He is very bright and wants to learn. So now we stand at a crossroad. We have a choice. God is a gentlemen and He does not force us to do something. The choice is ours. We could say   "no" and choose a different special need or we could say "yes" to something that is difficult, but we believe the Lord is calling us to do. Of course we were thrilled. The agency wouldn't let us look at his picture until we made our decision. We were given an adorable, beautiful little boy to love and nurture. In our flesh we wouldn't have pursued  adopting a deaf child. But, we believe the Lord was using the toddler from our agency's website to  mold and prepare our hearts for Luke.

As we continue to wait for the day when we leave for China, I sometimes allow fear to overtake me. We know  our lives will change and never be the same again. It's easy to stay where life is comfortable. We know there are challenges that lay ahead, but we know we have a Savior who will walk that road with us. When fear overcomes me, I  have to continually tell myself "this is not about me." "Life is not about me!"  Pastor Spansel reminded us a few weeks ago of The Westminster Catechism " What is the purpose of life?" To glorify God! This is what we are called to do.

Our children are so blessed to have siblings from China. They have walked and will continue to walk with them through their struggles. One time Ethan wrote a poem about Nathan and how he struggles with his communication skills (his difficulty in learning to speak) . His teacher was so blessed by Ethan's love for his brother. We are so blessed that our family is so close and the older siblings love to spend time with their younger sisters and brother.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

learn to do right! 
Seek justice, 
    encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless, 
    plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, 
    is God in his holy dwelling. 
God sets the lonely in families,
    he leads forth the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. Psalm 68:5-6

But you, O God, do see trouble and grief;
    you consider it to take it in hand.
The victim commits himself to you; 
    you are the helper of the fatherless.Psalm 10:14

You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; 
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, 
    in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.Psalm 10:17-18