Adoption, China, International Adoption, Upcoming Events

Interview: The Gulnac Family Speaks about Their China Adoption and Introduces Katie!

Meet the Gulnac family! They are a first-time adoptive family in process to bring home a special-needs daughter child from China!

A Heart for the Orphan: God’s Call to a Pastor’s Family

“We are the Gulnac family! We are blessed with two girls Lydia (10) and Madilyn (7). We feel honored that Dan has been called to be the lead Pastor of Palmyra Grace church and have been there for 1.5 years. Jessica is a part-time lab scientist with UPMC Pinnacle. The Lord works in amazing ways. Through His Word, lots of prayer, late night conversations and even the mouths of our children He warmed our hearts to another child and specifically a child with special needs. We are adopting Katie, who is about 2 years old at this time and in Beijing in foster care receiving care along with additional therapy for her condition, cerebral palsy.

                    Katie

It is amazing how God used His Word to affirm our decision to adopt in its early stages. Scriptures such as James 1:27, Ephesians 1:5 or Proverbs 31:8-9 as well as passages such as Romans 8:15-16, Psalm 146:5-9 have encouraged us. In general, I was always aware of God’s heart for the orphan throughout scripture, but being in the process has enhanced my ability to see the rescuing heart of God all throughout the Bible – you can’t miss it! And the Spirit uses each passage to remind me that adoption is a way in which we get to reflect the heart of God in our world.

God’s heart is love, especially for the least of these, the marginalized, and lost, and the orphan. As we face each challenge, every piece of paperwork, every bill, God is reminding us just how far He went to show His love toward us and we are encouraged to live out that love toward Katie. We can’t wait to bring her home and love her as our own!

The Gulnac Family – Pastor Dan, Jessica, and their daughters Lydia and Madilyn

“We had many conversations with the girls as we were processing our decision to adopt Katie. Lydia has a very compassionate heart and from the beginning was a huge advocate for Katie in our conversations and prayers about whether or not to adopt. Madilyn is our youngest and she had some concerns about another child. Completely legitimate concerns about sharing toys and such. But one night during bedtime devotions she confessed that even though it may be hard she wanted us to do this because God was calling us to do it and it isn’t about her but what He wants. It was very encouraging to see how God worked on each of our hearts individually and how He united us in our decision as a family.

We have felt absolutely supported, as many closest to us were praying for us during our discerning phase, as we sought the Lord to provide us with clarity and affirmation. We have also received support from others that have adopted or have adopted members in their family by sharing their stories of trials and hope. Lastly, some have chosen to support us financially or with donations of items we will need for Katie.

At this point in the process it would be a lie to say each step is easy and filled with excitement. However, if God is calling you to adoption – you will get to see Him show up all along the journey. Our family was blessed by the documentary “Find Me.” (If you haven’t watched it find it on Amazon Prime or Right Now Media). God’s hand is clearly over us and this process and when we pay attention we get to see Him move in mighty ways. In ways we’ll never forget. This draws us to love, cherish, and worship Him all the more.”

Fundraiser and Donation Information:

Please mark your calendars for a pork barbecue fundraiser and time of fellowship with the Gulnac family!

Date: Saturday, February 29, 2020

Time: 2-4 pm (drop-in for as long as you are able!) Take-out is also available!

Location: Fairland Brethren in Christ Church,  529 West Penn Avenue, Cleona, PA 17042 (Across from the McDonalds on 422)

Cost: By donation, no tickets necessary

Also, if you feel led to give a gift to help Katie come home to her family: may give a gift:
1. Online: www.paypal.me/Tingministries
2. By check: Ting Ministries, 29 East Poplar Street, Lebanon, PA 17042

Photo Credits: Gulnac Family

Interview Compiled by: Sasha Carpenter, Administrative Assistant for Ting Ministries

This interview is posted here in its entirety. This interview first appeared in 2 separate parts on Ting Ministries’ Facebook and Instagram on December 12 & 13, 2019.

Art for Orphans, China, Current Projects, International Adoption, special needs

Flying Zhong Home – Meet 3 Sisters Bringing Home Their Brother, One Card at a Time!

Read the awesome story of the Kelley family, friends of Ting Ministries, whose daughters put together an artwork fundraiser to bring home their brother from China! Zhong is the best friend of one of their daughters who was adopted from China last year! This is their third China adoption but first adoption fundraiser – so let’s share the word and some encouragement! Check out some of their artwork below and visit their website to see more!

The Story

“Zhong’s three sisters, Grace, Ruthie & Mackenzie, have been working hard on creating a set of Christmas cards and greeting cards in an effort to help bring their new brother home! Our goal is to raise enough money for all of Zhong’s plane tickets home […] then, if the Lord wills, we can also work on paying toward all the other adoption expenses we owe and upcoming travel expenses.”

The Artwork:

“All of the watercolors & stamped backgrounds were created by Ruthie, our 13 year old, & Grace our 8 year old who has cerebral palsy (mentioning her CP as I’m super pleased with her artistic efforts despite her challenges with hand coordination) and then Mackenzie, 22, added her hand calligraphy to all the cards […]”

See the full product gallery on their website here!

“Envelopes are included. We are taking pre-orders for two weeks before printing so that we can get exactly what you want and not have too many extras of one kind or another. We will work hard to have the cards available to pick up and/or shipped to you by Thanksgiving.”

The Kelley girls are selling Christmas cards, greeting cards, birthday cards, thank yous, get well soon cards and MORE!

Guest Artist: From a Fellow Adoptive Mother, Gallery Artist, and Children’s Book Illustrator

“Cady Driver, a fellow adoptive mom, who is a professional artist in North Carolina, is sharing her prints with me to add to our fundraiser!!! She already sold enough of her beautiful watercolors on antique hymnal prints to fully fund her entire China adoption expenses, so now she wants to bless others! She allowed me to select 5 of her bird hymnal prints and is having her printer ship the prints directly to me at printing cost. Cady is not taking a dime. Cady is a gallery artist and children’s book illustrator and she wants to give God the glory for her talent and bless others with it. When Cady learned about the girls’ card fundraiser, she offered to let us also make available her gorgeous hymnal prints! These can be easily framed in an inexpensive 8×10 frame or matted or floated in a larger frame. These make beautiful gifts!

You can see more hymnal prints on their website here!

“The hymnal prints are coming from North Carolina and will take about 1.5 weeks turn around once I tell the printer how many we need…. so I should have those ready for you to pick up first week of Dec. For shipped prints, I would expect them to arrive to you during the second week of December.”

Orders

*We are taking preorders now through November 20th, 12pm EST* (after Nov 20th please ask me about remaining stock)

FILL OUT THE ONLINE ORDER FORM HERE

Please fill out the entire order from, or I will not get your order. You will receive an email confirmation if you completed your order. Also please remember to go to the DONATE tab to submit donation & shipping! Thank you!

Suggested Donation Amount: 

Cards – $25 for each 20-pack of cards (with envelopes) and “

Hymnal Prints -$25 for each 8×10 hymnal print.

Pickup & Shipping: We will have free local pick up from my front porch (near the Greenfield Walmart). I’m happy to ship any quantity of cards or hymnal prints for the $5 shipping to anywhere in the country.

For example, if you order 100 cards or say 10 of Cady’s hymnal prints…..it’s still only $5 to ship everything! I can take cash, check, or Paypal donations using the link below. We will do our very best to get everything to you as fast as we possibly can! This is our third China adoption BUT our first ever adoption fundraiser so this project will be a huge learning curve!

PayPal for the Adoption Fundraiser Here

We hope you enjoy the girls’ cards and/or Cady’s hymnal prints. And thank you so much for helping us to Fly Zhong home!

-Blessings, The Kelleys

 

Adoption, Avi's Story, guest post, International Adoption

Wisdom from Avi ~ A Perfume that Gladdens the Master’s Heart

Avi Wisdom for Today

Today, as my Avi wisdom I am going to share a need – a need for a little girl that is still an orphan but loved and chosen by God for a very special family! This family needs help to bring her home. We know this family from a divine encounter at a medical appointment for one of our girls.

Today.15 weeks and 3 days since our princess went with Jesus. Yes I am counting not only the weeks but the days and hours as I wait to be running with Avi hand in hand. It is also one week until her 12th birthday – February 27th. Everything is as raw and painful as it was on that very first day. I am not a writer at heart. I don’t like to write. I would rather be outside running or pretty much doing anything else. But today I need to write.

Photo: Avi

Today, I read the book of Ecclesiastes in search of something. I did not find what I was searching for but I still stand on what I believe. The Bible is true – all of it! I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that He rose again. The only song that we sang in church this week that held any meaning for me was “My Hope is Built On Nothing Less”

My hope is built on nothing less / Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness; / I dare not trust the sweetest frame, / But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. / On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; /All other ground is sinking sand. / When darkness veils His lovely face, / I rest on His unchanging grace; / In every high and stormy gale, / My anchor holds within the veil. / His oath, His covenant, His blood, / Support me in the whelming flood; / When all around my soul gives way, / He then is all my hope and stay. / When He shall come with trumpet sound, / Oh, may I then in Him be found; / In Him, my righteousness, alone, / Faultless to stand before the throne.

I could share everything that is wrapped up in every tear I shed every day of missing her physically here with us but what I need to share is the importance and value of her life. Avi inspires us to do more – be a louder voice – help more – adopt more – love more – give more.

When we adopted Avi, we needed help to bring Avi home and someone gave. Someone gave the remainder of her adoption costs and to this day, I still do not know who that person was.

Today I am asking that in honor of our Avi that you would read this adoption story below and HELP! Please give and no amount is too small – all donations will be tax deductible and every penny will go directly to paying their costs to bring home their third daughter from China.

Online at: www.paypal.me/Tingministries OR

By check: Ting Ministries 29 East Poplar Street, Lebanon Pa 17042

Please note: For Mercy

A friend of mine has written so beautifully what is on my heart about a child with more severe special needs. I am the blessed one to have been given the gift of Avi and her sisters. I ask you to please read and share this story and gift with others.  Thank you from a very humbled heart -Stephanie

Mercy & Her Sisters: An Adoption Story

“Adoption. It’s always been on my heart to be family for children who need a mommy and daddy. Special needs children were always tugging at my heart. I yearned to nurture and love them, wanting them to see they have value and worth as a person.

So we began our journey of adoption summer of 2016 and brought home Miah from China, who had just turned 3 years old. Despite doctors’ predictions regarding her cerebral palsy and other medical challenges, she can now walk with the assistance of medical equipment. When we were in the process of her adoption there was another little girl whom we wanted to go back to adopt. So in September of that year we started the adoption process again. But the medical review was very negative, and when we received the update from the orphanage we were devastated. The report indicated extreme developmental impairment. We decided not to go ahead with her adoption, and I was determined to put this child out of my mind. We began to search for another child to bring home. In 2017 we brought home Malia at age 6 years old with cleft lip, cleft palate.

Miah and Malia

The summer of 2018 God spoke to me and said that we needed to go back and get the little girl we had said “no” to. I realized then that the decision we had made was based on fear and selfishness. I did not want to parent a child that would require lifelong care. You see, we are soon to be 56 and 57 years of age with four adult children. I wanted time to myself. But, I began to meditate on the fact that we are not our own, we are bought with a price by the blood of Jesus. I am not here for myself but to bring honor and glory to Him. I desperately needed to find out if this thought of returning for the child we had said “no” to was my own feeling or the Holy Spirit speaking to me. I had deleted all of this child’s information from my computer never to read it again. But I was able to recover all of her information and history by a few phone calls. As I read over and looked at the updated video I was no longer filled with fear. I had a peace about it. I started praying about it and that if it was the Lord telling me we needed to adopt her then my husband would have to agree. He did not. So I put her picture on the refrigerator and asked him to pray about her and then proceeded to write him a long letter detailing my own journey from fear to courage. I got down on my knees every day in front of that picture and prayed that the Lord would speak to my husband’s heart, since there was no way we could go ahead with this adoption if we were not of the same mind.

One morning as I was reading my devotions, I read, “He will refresh you with mercy”, and I knew right then we were to name her Mercy.

Satan did not want this little girl to come home and decided to ramp up his tactics. I was now facing much resistance from other family members. I asked a few prayer warriors to join me in the fight. But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. I knew God was urging me to fight for this child despite the resistance.

A few months later my husband agreed to go ahead with the adoption. He had slowly realized that to say “no” to adopting this child would be disobedience and a sin since God was clearly asking us to bring her into our family.

Mercy’s sisters

Children with special needs have value. They are made perfect and designed just the way God wanted them to be. I want the world to see what they will add to our lives in regards to their gifts and strengths, and how they are wanted and valued, instead of what they take or require. We live in a society preoccupied with deficits as opposed to strengths. We need to dwell in possibility, helping our child thrive, respecting their timeline for development, setting a foundation for engaging our child’s gifts, whatever that may look like for the child, instead of trying to fix what is wrong. Many of these special needs children grow up and go on to accomplish great things.

But there are lives that come into the world neither to do great work nor to bear great burdens, but simply to be. They are the flowers of the garden which have no active mission. But they gladden the sight of Jesus. By their mere perfume, by their mere beauty, they have brought Him joy: by the very preservation of their loveliness in the valley they have lifted the Master’s heart.

Is adoption hard? Yes, but hardships develop beauty in the soul; they thrive on them; they bring out all the best in them; ease and comfort only leave them barren.

We still are carrying the financial loan from Malia’s adoption and now will be adding to that loan with Mercy. But nothing is hard for God. Without a sound or sign, from sources invisible and seemingly impossible, He will provide when the timing is right.” ~Judy, friend of Ting Ministries

Ting Ministries – Proverbs 31:8-9 BE A VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS

International Adoption, Sasha's Story

Read Sasha’s Published Book Chapter in the Latest Adoption Story Anthology

Ting Ministries is excited to announce the publication of Sasha’s book chapter, “Lessons I Learned as an Adopted Daughter.” Sasha was one of 28 voices in the adoption community to come together in the newest adoption anthology, “Hope for the Adoption Journey.” Compiled by Katherine Piper, the collection features stories of struggle and joy, a collection of stories meant to comfort and encourage readers from all parts of the adoption community.

Here’s an excerpt of what Sasha had to say about her chapter. You can read more on her blog HERE.

Natalya

[…]My chapter [in the anthology] focuses on exactly what the title suggests: lessons I’ve learned growing up as an adopted daughter and sister to other special-needs siblings. I believe that my parents have raised me with a different perspective on many issues adopted children face, such as: questions of identity, birth family, dealing with trauma and more. It has given me complete freedom from the struggles commonly faced by adopted kids. This freedom, rooted by an identity in Christ alone, has given allowed me to pursue my God-given passions to be a Voice for the Voiceless.

Started in my junior year, it is incredible to now see the finished book in front of me. A lot of things have happened since then – including the adoption of my two newest sisters and finding my birth family in Russia! As I wrote my chapter, I wanted to provide mothers, families, and other adopted kids a taste of the kinds of things my parents taught me, that have shaped who I am today. These lessons are hard. They take time and effort, patience and prayer. I remind myself of them every day.

But I also know these lessons are the truth – because Christ is in the center […]

You can read reviews and order Hope for the Adoption Journey: 28 Stories to Comfort and Encourage, on Amazon HERE.

 

Adoption, International Adoption

A CP Vacation: Completely Possible!

A special post from Director Stephanie Carpenter, mom of 7 -soon-to-be- 9 daughters with special needs.

It’s summertime! For many families, this is a time of fun… and wonder at what you are going to do to entertain all your kids who are now out of school for three months! For the parents of special-needs children, this may prompt even more worries or wondering about how to balance the needs of your able-bodied and special-needs children on the family summer vacation. As the parents of six moderately to severely disabled daughters (excepting our eldest), none of whom walk independently, Brian and I are often met with questions abut how we make vacation “work” for our family.

 

In the adoption and special-needs community, I am often approached by families who wonder how they will make their vacation an enjoyable experience for all their kids. For parents of special-needs children, there are often other things to be taken into consideration.

How will I get my non-mobile child onto the beach?

How many wheelchairs do we need?

What about other adaptive equipment?

 

While these are legitimate questions and I am not suggesting you do not bring the appropriate equipment for your child’s needs, our family would like to share how Cerebral Palsy (and other disabilities) does not have to hinder your summer vacation. Instead, we find it Completely Possible!

The beach…What a precious gift to watch our girls enjoy the ocean and the smells of the salt air and the sand between your toes (and the sand everywhere)! We want them all to be able to experience the fun at the level they are able. If they can swim in the ocean, or if they can only lay and feel the sun on their faces and breath the ocean air. We make it a point to bring all of our daughters to our beach vacation to experience this gift!

To make this experience possible, we have found that we can’t concern ourselves with “doing it by the book.”

Ellianna can’t walk and uses a wheelchair? Don’t worry about a cumbersome beach chair to wheel her out to the sand. We’ll carry her! If we can’t carry all of them, we’ll simply take a stroller gently through the sand.

Rachele, with her extensive brain injury, can’t play in the water? That’s okay! She can sit in the warm sun as we talk to her and give her snacks. One of us can watch Olyvia while the big girls play down by the shore!

Rather than focusing on what our girl’s can’t do, our family does what they are able.

This means a lot of personal sacrifice. It takes time, effort, energy and more to bring six special-needs girls to the beach and boardwalk. It means late nights, getting everyone ready for bed. Certainly, there’s less R & R for us as parents than one would hope for.

But is our life on this earth really supposed to be about our rest and relaxation? Our comfort? Or is it about something far greater? As Matthew 25:40 says:

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.’

Likewise, when Jesus tells us to bring the little children unto Him, he does not add on with hesitation: only when it is convenient. Or, only when you feel like it.

When we see our little Avi, with her scoliosis and spastic quadriplegia, breathing in the ocean air with a smile on her face and giggling with joy, we see an image of Jesus Himself. As she looks off into the distance over the ocean, with her curls blowing in the wind, we wonder…if perhaps it is Avi who is closest to the heart of God and if her eyes see things Beyond this earth that we cannot.

Brian and I hope to encourage you to think about a different approach to summer vacation with special-needs. Ting Ministries also works to provide counseling and respite for adoptive/post-adoptive families. If you have a need, we’d love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

In Christ,

Stephanie