To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3
*First I’ll start with a disclaimer, there is a graphic image at the end of this blog. It is a medical picture, so do not read past the wheelchair picture if you are squeamish.
I’m sitting in the ashes. Sifting and stirring and the dust rises. What are my ashes? A spine on a little boy that is attempting to poke through his skin. A collection of cerebral spinal fluid and a shunt that looks “concerning”. The ashes are of a child that cannot be operated on because he is too fragile and his skin friable from lack of nutrition. A son with the scars of deep sadness and wounds that surpass his severe physical problems. And if he could tell me and communicate his emotional scars, could I bear the pain. Could I bear hearing the words of a child who has never known love, affection, caring… Could I hear about the times he lay hungry and cold in his orphanage crib? Would my heart be able to still remain beating as I heard about the times he cried out and he was met with silence? Could I stand to listen as he told me about the hours and days hoping for a smile or touch of affection? Could I listen as he tells me about a life without a mother, a daddy, a single person who cherished him? I think that maybe there is a gift in his silence…because honestly I might break to hear the actual words. It’s hard enough to know they happened, but to hear it would burn my heart to ashes.
Oh my God, I cry just writing this… because can you see the pain he carries? My frail 4-year-old carries this sorrow and bears a smile. And yet, I see the sadness in his smile. Our Israel has mastered the art of a facade of joy. He knows to smile and charm, because that is the only way he received any affection. Our Israel will smile and reach his arms out to you because he knows it might just help guarantee a meal or a gentle touch. So, while I love my son’s smiles and joy, I also love his rages and tears. I am relieved when he sobs on my shoulder and is angry, because these are his real emotions. So, I will sit and sift to find the blessings and provision and try not to return to anger. I will think about the crown of beauty, joyous blessings, and festive praise.
What are the blessings and the praise, they definitely outnumber the ashes. So this should be an update that I will steep in joy and not in ashes. I am finding the beauty in this journey of Israel, who will be strong like the great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. For our Israel was RANSOMED, RESCUED and through God REDEEMED!
Siblings are his greatest blessing! He absolutely adores his brothers and sisters and they have taught him trust, love and family.
This is Israel using chopsticks to eat noodles. This was his very first time asking for a solid food and he wanted to use the chopsticks like his siblings. This was a huge step towards him learning to chew and swallow. He has only ever had purees and liquids. Food is an issue and he carries a spoon everywhere we go. He has a horrible fear of not being able to eat.
We have given him his own basket of food pouches that he can eat whenever he wants.
We hope this will give him security with eating.
This is the style of wheelchair that was just donated to Israel. I like this picture off the website because it shows how even the smallest of children are able to operate it. We are absolutely blown away at the generosity and love. Right now he is mainly carried everywhere outside our home or is in a stroller. This will give him freedom to be a normal, 4 year old and explore.
Ignore the eye goo in this picture, we battled pink eye and it’s now gone. This picture is awesome because he had zero dental care before his adoption. His teeth were brown and smelly. I will always equate the orphanage smell as a combination of urine and tooth decay. At first we could not get near him with a toothbrush. Now he likes it and will help with his “teef”.
This picture is graphic, but I want to show what we are dealing with and what you can all pray for. Israel has a tough road to climb and I ask you to pray for healing. Also, on a selfish note, if you are a wound care expert, I’d like your advice. We have been using medi-honey and mepilex foam. It has improved some, but every ride in the car seat causes issues.
We covet all your prayers and support. This little boy who was once unloved and unwanted, is now cherished by a family, a community and a country.