China, guest post, International Adoption, Return 2 China, special needs, urgent

Ting Ministries Guest Post: Courageous Faith, from Adeye Salem

COURAGEOUS FAITH

Guest post from our friend and a fellow adoptive mother Adeye Salem. (Click on the heading to go to Adeye’s original post on her blog).
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During the more than ten years that I have had this blog, one of the sweetest blessings for me has been the incredible people who I have met along the way. They’re the families that remind me that a surrendered life is truly the only way to live. They’re the precious families that I have seen choose the road less travelled–and walk it out with so much grace, love and abandonment. Easy? Never! Worth it? Always!  I am so grateful for the families that have always been such a sweet reminder to me that giving God everything that we have and everything that we are is a life I long to live.
Several years ago I connected with Stephanie–a fellow adoptive mom who, like us, had opened her heart and her home to children who struggled more than others. One of their sweet girls comes from the same orphanage as our Hasya and, like our daughter, was so desperately malnourished and was also abandoned in a crib.
Family!  It changes everything for a child.
Stephanie and her husband Brian run a ministry called Ting Ministries which brings help, relief and the unconditional love of Jesus to many around the world. The Carpenters have adopted seven beautiful daughters who all have some type of special need – some mild and some more severe – but they are all their treasured daughters. Their special needs include: deafness, blindness, post traumatic stress disorder, cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia, spina bifida, feeding tubes, epilepsy/seizure disorder, need for cochlear implants, club feet, and other orthopedic issues, failure to thrive, global developmental delay, institutionalization, etc.  Their first adoption was from Russia. Sasha was never supposed to walk and was headed to a mental institution.  She is now 20 years old and a double major at Bucknell University. God of miracles!
With their huge hearts for the fatherless, it was no surprise that God called this faithful family once again, this time to bring home two of the neediest, most forgotten older girls who desperately need someone to come for them. For many months the Carpenters have fought to get one of the girls paper-ready and available for international adoption.
Anyone who has ever adopted a child from hard places can testify to the fact that when we step out in faith and fight for a child to come home, the battle rages. This family has faced trial after trial as they have trusted the Lord for the lives of these two girls. But God has been faithful!  The process is moving forward and the Carpenters are praying for a medical expedite since both girls are not doing well.
Having walked in their shoes a few times, I so understand the heart and enormous amount of faith that it takes to say yes to children who come from unfathomable situations, even if the whole world is against you.  Even if every fiery dart of the enemy causes setbacks and heartache. Even when you have no idea how God is going to provide.
I long for money to be the very last of their concerns. Increased regulations and fees sadly mean that adoptions are costing even more than they did just a few months ago. Of course it shouldn’t be that way, but it is, and we can’t change that. The cost of adoptions should never be an obstacle that keeps a family from a child! Now, more than ever before, families stepping out in faith to bring children home NEED the church to rise up and be a part of their journey by sowing financially. Our churches need to be pouring into adoptions, as do we, the bride of Christ. The problem of millions of abandoned children in the world should be our problem, and there are ways that we can all do something–even when we never feel called to adopt ourselves.
The Carpenters have a long, difficult journey ahead of them as they journey toward bringing Hope and Brittan home. And once home, they’ll face unknown medical issues, many hospital visits, and the usual period of adjustment as a family. Both girls have extensive special needs, and so much is unknown at this point. How beautiful would it be if finances were the last of their concerns?  How amazing would it be if the financial burden was completely lifted by those of us who have a heart for the orphan? Let it be so, Lord!
Would you please prayerfully consider joining with this precious family in prayer and in giving?  They still need about $17,000 to be fully funded.  I know my God can do it! All donations are tax deductible through their ministry and can be made HERE
Thank you so much for praying and for trusting that these two little darlings will be home very soon.  I am so grateful!
Adoption, Sasha's Story, special needs

Sasha Speaks on Special-Needs: "I Didn’t Start Out Normal to Begin With"

View the complete original post on Sasha’s blog. Titled: Going Down This Road: The Priceless Reality of Leaving Normal Behind


Thanks to some great friends, I got the opportunity to see Priceless, the film that was popular last year. It is the story of a man named James who unintentionally gets involved in the lives of two sisters, Antonia and Maria, who are being trafficked across the country. When he realizes what is happening, part of him wants to ignore his part in the atrocity. But a voice keeps calling him back until he can no longer ignore what he must do. James, along with the help of his newfound partner, Dale, an older man hiding a past of his own, set out on a harrowing mission to free the sisters and shut down the trafficking and prostitution in the area. While some plot points of the movie are dramatized for the sake of film, it is based on true events and stories of human trafficking survivors – and this knowledge adds all the more depth to the characters’ plight.

Image result for priceless the movie
Photo Credit: http://www.pricelessthemovie.com

Going Down the Road…of Special-Needs Adoption

There was one part of one conversation that stood out to me in the movie. Dale tells James about what he will encounter if he chooses to rescue the girls.


“If you go do this, it’s all in. You go down this road, the things you’ll see, the things you’ll do – you can’t go back to normal life again. It’ll change you.”


“I didn’t start at normal to begin with.” 



This. This is the reality of special-needs adoption. 
Any adoption is a compassionate commitment to a child. Yet, I think nothing changes a person as much as special-needs adoption, both when travelling to bring the child home and later, when the trips are done, the rescue mission complete, and you settle into a new everyday routine.

I traveled to Ukraine in 2014 amidst the EuroMaidan protests to bring home two of my sisters from a дом инвалидов (literally translated: Home of the Invalids, ie. special-needs orphanage). Looking back, Dale’s words to James could have easily been said to me, both then and even now.

Sasha, if you go to this orphanage, it’s all in. When you step in those doors, you will always carry part of it with you. You will dream it, write about it, talk about it – until all your friends are sick of it. But you will keep screaming for those who cannot, even when it seems like no one listens and you are so tired. Still, you will carry it with you and keep on.

You go down this road, lined with dying children, lonely souls who have never been touched….the road of advocacy, with hundreds of pictures of children whom you will never meet, but who grab your heart. You will weep over some and wonder what it is that has pricked you heart so deeply for those you never met.


My sister Lina in Bulgaria
Weighing 12 pounds at 5 and a half years old.

the things you’ll see…blind children tied to their beds…teenagers the size of four-year-olds, graying skin stretched over the skull of a boy only a year older than you, with deep, hollow sockets…

the things you’ll do… I remember holding hand of a seventeen year old with a shaven head. I stroked the top of his hand, but even this gentle movement did not bring comfort to him. Instead, his eyes clouded and his face winced in pain. Or, how I was approached by translator when we came into the room. I heard one voice chattering in a room full of forty children and found out what the boy was saying through our translator. “Sasha, he says he wants the pretty girl to come sit next to him.” So I sat and smiled and kept the company of a boy who was my age, with pale skin, a gaunt face, and bristly short hair trapped underneath a mound of comforters. At that time, he could still talk and smile and his laughter brought smiles to everyone else.
***

The reality is, when you embark on a journey of special-needs adoption – you can’t go back to normal life again. It’ll change you, whether you are prepared or not, whether you think it will or not. And most likely, even if you are prepared, it will change you in ways you never planned.

What is normal life anyway? Do you mean that other families have parents who have weekly date nights? Or have annual vacations? I often find myself forgetting that most other families don’t get a row of children in diapers ready for the day or down for bed every day. Or that I’m the only family I know with six daughters who can’t walk independently, some who will need lifelong care. It’s not normal, I suppose, to have to help almost all your sisters eat all their meals, because their special-needs make it hard or impossible for them to do so themselves. The time spent in doctor’s appointments and wheelchair fittings is more than usual.

No, it’s not normal. 


And it most certainly is changing me. Yes – it is a process, every day. I don’t think I will ever reach the point  of saying I am done being changed by what I’ve seen or my sisters’ lives. I recall different moments from my trips at different times, some memories more emotional, more stirring than others. I can close my eyes and picture myself back in the дом инвалидов and the weight of the experience still makes me cry, four years later. 


And each day, my sisters teach me about selflessness, patience, and compassionate understanding in a deeper way than I could ever learn on a missions trip. I watch more Peppa Pig and Paddington than most of my peers and have learned to do my work amid constant interruptions. I am teaching English to my teenage sister and sign language to another. All while being a honors student at Bucknell University, double majoring and looking into graduate programs. And, after all, isn’t a child’s life worth much more than the cost a fancy vacation which will come to an end?


No, my life as an adopted sister is definitely not normal – it’s so much more exciting than that!


Adopted from a Russian mental institution at 17 months old because of my mild Cerebral palsy, I, like James, have had my own journey.


So, you see, I didn’t start at normal to begin with. It is amazing to see how the Lord is weaving my story together with those of my sisters and how my own adoption and disability has prepared me for their needs.


Some may look down this road and decide, as James could’ve, it’s not for me. 

I wouldn’t blame them. As Dale says, you gotta do what you gotta do. Family is important. 

But, he also says, if you are hearing a small voice inside of you saying, don’t forget – listen to that Voice. 


The road of special-needs adoption is long.

It’s filled with equal measures of joyful blessings and painful lessons.
But any heartache is overshadowed every time you think of the rescue – once seemingly impossible, now complete. A life given a new chance.

This is the priceless reality of leaving normal behind.



                                               Lina this Christmas, home for over 5 years.

Adoption, International Adoption, Orphan Care, special needs

The CELTIC MARTINS & a Voice for Orphans!

Ting Ministries Presents:

The Celtic Martins&A Voice for Orphans



The Celtic Martins and Ting Ministries:
Come enjoy the incredible gifts and talents of the Martin family as they share their uplifting and toe-tapping music! During the evening, you will learn more about Ting Ministries’s growing ministry work in Bangladesh, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Philippines, China and the USA. Come find out how you can help orphans around the world while staying right here, through this local and hands-on ministry fulfilling the call of James 1:27.
Hope to see you there!

Details of the Event:

Save the date – Come for a night of great music and fellowship!

Date: Saturday, November 18, 2017
Location: Fairland Brethren in Christ Church, 529 W. Penn Ave., Cleona, PA 17042
Time: 4-6 pm
Coffee and desserts, entire event by donation – NO tickets needed!
Learn more about the Celtic Martins and Ting Ministries at:
www.celticmartins.com
www.tingministries.blogspot.com
Bulgaria, Caring for the Fatherless, special needs

TM Bulgaria: Our Partner’s First Trip to Pleven!

Our partners at Caring for the Fatherless are on their first trip to visit Pleven, Bulgaria. Our partner has taken several feeding specialists with her to help the orphanage staff. They are visiting the orphanage to look at the conditions and start the beginning stages of the the TM Bulgaria Auntie Program.  Our daughter, Lina, is from Pleven and we are pleased to be able to help the children who are still waiting for families. 

TM director, Stephanie and the TM Administrative Assistant Sasha will be travelling to Pleven in January with a team of volunteers to further observe the impacts and workings of the Auntie program, provide supplies and see what further needs we can help meet for the benefit of the children. While we are there, we will also be visiting an older children’s home, and our friends at Bulgaria Street Dogs and Cats, an animal rescue Ting Ministries supports. (You can find them on Facebook under this page name). 

Please pray for the Lord’s continued hand of protection over our team and blessing as we work to bring aid to the orphan. Thank you!

For information on becoming a sponsor for the Auntie program, please visit our page: Become a Sponsor Sponsors are urgently needed! There are many ways to help including: one time gifts, full, and partial monthly sponsorships. Please contact us at: tingministries@comcast.net if you would like to become a sponsor today!



International Adoption, special needs, Two From U, Ukraine

Happy Birthday Olyvia: Wishes and Reflection

Happy Birthday Olyvia!

Olyvia just celebrated her birthday at the beginning of this month. She was adopted from Ukraine with her sister Rachele in 2014, when she was 9 and a half. Her only physical special-need from birth is a mild form of spina bifida.

Now, she is 13 years old. A teenager! Below, you can see Olyvia and Becca, her new friend from church! Becca is a week younger than Olyvia.  Please, let that sink in. 
Most people when they meet Olyvia remark, “Oh, how cute is she! Is she about four years old?” No. She is a teenager. She should be in middle school, playing sports, having sleepovers, and going to birthday parties for her friends.

The treatment and neglect of children in her Dom Invalid (orphanage for special-needs children) was so horrendous, her body shut down and simply stopped growing. Termed failure-to-thrive Olyvia’s body simply stopped growing due to lack of care, touch and nutrition. In Eastern Europe, this is the norm for orphans with disabilities – not the exception.

Olyvia and Rachele’s adoption opened Brian and Stephanie’s heart to Ukraine. Today, we are parnters with Bible Orphan Ministry and Shelter Friend  – Ukraine. Read about our partners’ work here.

At Ting Ministries, we are dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of special-needs orphans around the world. We are blessed to be Olyvia’s family and honored to be her Voice and a Voice for the thousands of Voiceless orphans still waiting for their families today. 
Happy Birthday to our  Солнышко (Sunshine)! Мы любим тебя!