Monday, August 29, 2011

"...thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly"

Last night, just as the little ones were getting ready for bed and the lightning was giving us quite a summer show, there was a knock at our door. My children have been trained to always check before opening it. When Emma looked through the blinds, she couldn't see anyone and since it was dark outside, she wasn't about to open the door. I put the baby down and went to carefully open the door. All I found was the lightning. I thought I'd better check to see if someone was doing a "knock and run" treat drop-off. I looked around a bit. Just below me were three shining circles. It took me a moment to realize what I was looking at: three jars of different sizes. Upon bending down, I realized that they were full of coins!

I brought them into the house and we found a cute poem inserted into the largest jar:

"We know of your quest to enlarge your nest
With two little orphans whose names will be 'Morfords'
Our vacation cash we'll add to your stash
Best wishes to you and your little crew!"

Knowing that it takes me months to save up this many coins, the sacrifice was evident. Also knowing that my last 3/4 full #10 can of coins was worth about $150, I was very moved by the generosity of the family that left such on offering...especially considering the fact that it was their vacation money!

The kids immediately asked if they could count it (and knowing what a great experience that would be for them, I was tempted to let them), but since we were home late from a friend's house and the older ones were still out in the dark (and lightning and rain!) feeding animals, I told them we would have to wait until tomorrow. Sometimes I hate being a grown up! I wanted to know how much was there just as much as they did!

We did have a conversation, however. As the older kids came in from chores, we showed them the gift that was left on our doorstep and everyone started trying to guess who left it. The focus became trying to figure out who the givers were, rather than the gift itself. I sat them all down and took out the scriptures.

I read Matthew 6:1-4 to them:
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in Heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thow doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right had doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."

I explained that if the family who donated this gift had wanted to be known, they would have made themselves known. It is not our job to go sleuthing and try to figure out who they are because that would deny them the blessings the Lord has in store for them for their generosity and sacrifice.

I asked them, "If the Lord wanted to, could He point His finger and cause the $50,000 we need to suddenly appear on our doorstep?" They, of course, agreed He could.

But He doesn't do that, because He knows that would remove all possibility of blessing us all for the sacrifices we will make to bring Ruslan and Nastiya here. He doesn't want to deny us of the experiences and refinements that will come to us because of the sacrifices, difficulties and joys that are part of the journey. After all, this life is all about becoming like God and learning to walk by faith. Letting go of our will and bowing to His is what we are meant to do. Without trial, effort and the personal sacrifice of our desires and the worldly part of us, we can't become all we are meant to become.

I explained that this generous family was most likely composed of children who had to make the decision to give up their vacation to make a difference in the lives of two other children. They had to be willing and able to see that the vacation would last for a while, but the lives of these children would be eternally changed and blessed through their sacrifice.

And with that, they went to bed...considering whether or not they were personally capable of such a sacrifice.
This morning, after chores and breakfast, I told them they could go ahead and dump out the coins and get counting. They excitedly went to work with the little ones ready to help sort. Imagine our surprise when Emma found a small roll of bills in the big jar! We were all shocked and excited as she started counting and found that it was $143! Suddenly, this wasn't just a jar of coins, it was a bigger sacrifice on the part of a family that had given up something they had planned for.

My children counting the coins. . .
We were newly humbled as we went back to emptying the jars and preparing to count the coins.

As Emma continued to slowly pour the coins out of the big jar another, larger roll of bills was found. There was silence. We all stared at it in disbelief. It was clear that it was a substantial amount of money. And Patty begged to be allowed to count it.

She started with whatever bills were on top. Because of that, the counting got a little difficult. She wasn't dealing with whole numbers anymore! She slowly counted out loud, adding as she went. Since we hadn't sorted the bills into like denominations, there was no way to know how many of each kind of bill there way to know that there were fifties and hundreds in there.

When she counted to $1,000, my tears started. The kids were giggling nervously because they weren't sure how to respond to that kind of generosity. As she counted to $2,000 I started to pace and the kids began to quiet down. When she reached $3,000, we could hardly contain ourselves. I explained to them that this family had given up something extremely grand for Ruslan and Nastiya's sake...a long anticipated trip to Disneyland, perhaps. Patty suggested it might have been a couple who could have gone on a cruise with that amount of money.

There is really no way to describe in words what it was like for us to discover that there was $5,000.91 hidden in those three jars of coins. To us, it was a matter of minutes before all the hard work of so many friends over the past few weeks had been doubled in value. But to the generous angels who left this donation, it may have been many months or, more likely, years of saving for something wonderful to do as a family. That vacation may have made wonderful memories that would have lasted their lifetimes. But, instead they seem to understand Matthew 6:1-4, 19-21 and 33.

Thank you, friends! The Lord sees and knows your hearts and we are praying that he will increase your blessings 100 fold for your willingness to give so much so freely!
So excited and amazed!!


  1. It's amazing to see the generosity and sacrifice of others!!! May the Lord bless and keep that family!

  2. Wow. I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. That is amazing. Those children will be loved by so many - thanks for sharing with your wonderful blog!!

  3. Holy Cow!!! What a major blessing. It looks as if the Lord is really wanting this for your family. Yeah!

  4. It is so wonderful to see another Miracle unfold in this process of adoption. I am so happy for your family and so grateful that there are literally angels here on earth watching over us!

  5. Absolutely incredible. What an amazing experience for your family...and an equally amazing experience for the family that donated these precious funds to you.

    We adopted our youngest two children from Ethiopia 1 1/2 years ago - it changed our lives and the lives of our oldest two forever. Adoption is such a beautiful thing. Love and blessing to you. (we are friends of Jane Hawkes and Holly Bennion, btw)

  6. What a fantastic showing of love and support - linda

  7. As I read about your adoption process, I send you my prayers and support. I also adopted a nine year old girl from Russia and felt guided by heaven. I was very committed to my family and homeschooled to give my children the best possible chance in life and protect them from negative influences until they were older. I wanted to give another child the same opportunity. I was VERY naive about what she had been through before we adopted her. The adoption agency assured me that she had not been sexually molested and would probably not need counseling. Years later I found out that she was molesting my eight year old son which has had a great impact on his life. I am not saying that I was wrong in adopting her but I would suggest you be VERY, VERY vigilant in watching what goes on in your home and get counseling early. These are sweet innocent children but we should not be naive about the kind of world they are coming from. It is not the kind of world that you have been creating for you children. Your other children will want to be selfless but will feel some loss of attention. Let them be honest about any negative feelings they have. I don't want to be negative and you might already have been reading about the pros and cons but I thought I was prepared and wasn't and wish I had been. It's easy to get caught up on the obvious blessings and joy of the adoption. Unfortunately, love isn't enough in this situation. Many can attest to the blessings of helping these children but just be aware. I apologize for using this venue but couldn't find another.

  8. Thank you for your concern and effort to communicate it to us. We are very aware of the challenges that these young people may have faced, which will in turn become our challenges in one way or another. Just their life experience alone, let alone the exposure to things that are readily available in an Eastern European environment (I lived in Ukraine for a couple years) on the street and over the television channels is enough to make us batten down the hatches and ready ourselves. Even if they have not been through some form of abuse, they will come with baggage and tendencies that are different than the experiences our children have lived through. I think vigilance as well as constant and open communication will be our starting point, and counseling will likely play a role. We know that if the Lord is with us, and our hearts, minds, and eyes are open to the reality of these children, including our own, we will be able to navigate the challenges ahead.
    God bless you and your family.