Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Beach week

I told the Good Doctor that I'm pretty sure if I could prayer run or prayer walk on the beach every morning, I'd be able to deal with anything. He said we'd see what we can do about that.

For now, I'll have to hold the memories of this week's mornings alone with God on the beach.

Victor resurrected last summer's worship team for anyone within hearing distance. And then he banged so hard on one of his "drums" that he broke it. What's new?

But the big news from this year is that even though he still fusses and complains when walking from the street to the beach and back again ("I don't like the shells!"), he was willing to play in the sand and even allowed Isaac to dig a hole and bury him.

We went to the Wetlands Institute again. It may be small but once again I was impressed with how much of it is hands-on. It's great for Victor. This year he enjoyed the osprey nest replica.

Family bumper cars can be fun.

And Victor got his two favorite rides as well.

"Watch the train, please. Watch the train, please."

Isaac had a wonderful helper for his famous morning omelette.

It might have been just a little chilly on our last day.

Til next time...

Monday, June 12, 2017

Spirit of Adoption

A Spirit of Adoption is mentioned several times in the Bible. It's a concept that intrigues me, along with the obvious opposite, a spirit of slavery. Many today refer to this as an orphan spirit. Either way, a person lives as if there is no one who really loves or cares for them and as if they have to look out for themselves because no one else does.

The Roman understanding of adoption was quite different from our understanding of adoption. In ancient Rome, it wasn't children who were adopted, it was adult males. These young men usually still had two living parents so they weren't orphans at all. If you were adopted, then, by a Roman, you had all the rights as if you had been born of that father, including wealth, power, and social standing.

Many, if not all, of us struggle with an orphan spirit. We live as if we have no one to call our own, as if we have to do it all on our own, as if there is no one to share in our successes, if there are successes. There is no place where this is more evident than in interacting with those who have experienced the loss of one or both parents, especially those in foster care. However, there are also many who live out of this mindset even though they do have an intact family. Satan is always trying to keep us from our true identity and loves to see us living out of a slave or orphan mindset.

Still not sure what this looks like? Both of the sons in the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son are examples of the orphan spirit. One son thought that he had to perform to win a father's love, and the other thought he had to come home begging to earn even a small portion of his father's love back. Ebenezer Scrooge is another example. He thought he had to do it all on his own, not owing anything to anyone but everyone owing him.

Recently one of our children went through an exceptionally difficult time. The orphan spirit was rearing its ugly head and all forms of love were being pushed away. Awakened in the middle of the night, I spent those hours praying for this child and asking for wisdom in how to proceed. The words that came to me were just as relevant for me in my struggles as they were for my child and for all of us who struggle with an orphan spirit.

These are the words God spoke to me:

You can choose to live like a princess in the house of the King
You can choose to live like a servant in the house of the King.

Either way you have the privilege of living in the palace albeit within a specific set of rules, responsibilities, and expectations.

But only one way will bring you happiness, freedom, and a life of opportunity.

It's your choice.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abby (Father)! Father! The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]: only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.
Romans 8: 14 - 17

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A ray of hope

11 years ago today we received the news that we were an officially licensed foster home. And on the other side of the Susquehanna, another mother was delivering a baby girl five weeks early. We were ecstatic to learn that we were going to be foster parents. To whom? We didn't know. The mother on the other side of the river was soon to learn, if she didn't already know, that her little girl would not be going home with her.

Five days later we got the call.  Knowing there was a caseworker on the other end of the phone, the three oldest children were gathered around waiting to hear if a child would be coming to our home. "We have a five day old infant being discharged from the NICU today. Will you take her?" I said yes, the kids cheered, and then we called the Good Doctor, "It's a baby girl!"

Today she turns 11 and knowing that our joy means another woman's grief is not forgotten by me. Does she think about her daughter? Does this day bring back memories? This is not as God intended. Our world is broken and lives are shattered every day. But if we are willing to be uncomfortable so that others are comfortable, the blessings far outweigh the trouble and chaos.

And so today we celebrate Hope because in the midst of brokenness, there is hope and a future. Her smile brings hope to everyone she meets. She tells me that when she is at track club, she encourages the girls who are discouraged. She is a shining light, a ray of hope. Just as God intended.

We just need to say yes!