A need I cannot ignore

This is not a normal post from me. It is an urgent need, and I hope you are not offended by my sharing it here.

Around ten years ago a young woman came to sub as a piano player for our contemporary service. A line of young children followed her in, sat where she instructed, and behaved amazingly while we practiced, and throughout the service. Afterward I learned Nikki and Brian Seiller and their children had traveled from Zimbabwe with nothing by suitcases in hand to start a new life in the United States, fleeing the chaos in their country, seeking a safe refuge to raise the children.

We quickly became friends and I’ve cherished her love for people and the Lord, her open heart and deep spirit. She plays and sings with tremendous inspiration, and always inspires me.

Her parents remained in Zimbabwe, her mother, Aurell Olivier, intent on continuing to help orphans, whose situations grew more desperate every day. About six years ago thugs broke in at night and beat them mercilessly, knocking out her mother’s front teeth and almost killing her father. He never fully recovered, and three years ago died of a massive heart attack.

After his death, his “friend” and business partner seized everything, even Nikki’s childhood home. Nevertheless, her Mum has remained in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, to help others.

However, Aurell just received a blow she cannot recover from alone. Years ago, when life was “normal,” they purchased a home in South Africa for retirement, and had been leasing it out to cover mortgage payments. (Being outside of Zimbabwe, it is the only asset that survived the economic and cultural destruction in her country.) The bank just gave notice that, since the house was in his name only, they are calling the mortgage and will not give her a new mortgage because of “her age.” They will auction the house on September 23th, unless Nikki’s mother is able to pay off the mortgage for $20,000.00.

Nikki and Brian have constantly worked long days and weekends since arriving in Sarasota to make a home for their children. She has never asked for handouts, and would not for herself. But her mother’s need is too great.

Only a massive response from friends and strangers will help her mother keep the only thing left for her future.

Aurell has spent a lifetime helping others who can never pay her back. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for her to be cared for now?

If you feel inclined, here is the GoFundMe link.


You can read the story in detail there and see pictures of the family.

Please “like” and share this post. Many small gifts can fill the need.

And pray for AURELL OLIVIER.

Thank you.

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress James 1:27 HSB

True religion leads to compassion

True religion leads to compassion

Compassion has a special call on my life, in particular “True religion is this that you care for the widow and the orphan.” I’ve spent the last decade caring for my widowed mother. Now that she is set free in heaven, I turn to the other concern . . the orphan, the one with little or no voice, and a lifetime of emptiness unless someone comes to offer a heart and a home.

Most of us have seen dramatic scenes of orphans in foreign countries, but the need is also very close to home.

Right now, there are over 100,000 children in foster care in the U.S. waiting for adoption. 100,000 children with no certainly or continuity of love in their lives.

Far too many of them will time out of the system when they turn 18, unprepared for life alone, set loose without a life foundation a family provides, untethered.

Little wonder so many end up in prison within ten years. Where else will they be for Christmas or Thanksgiving, while families gather all around them, behind closed doors?

While 100,000 sounds overwhelming, it becomes less so if we break it down by state and look at the resources.

Texas edges out California for the sad honor of the highest number of children at risk, 13,091 children. My state of Florida comes in fourth, after New York, with 5,127 children waiting for forever homes.

How can our compassion move such numbers?

Look at the second column in the data below, which represents the number of churches in each state. Texas has more than twice the number of churches as available orphans. If half of the churches in Texas practice true religion and one family adopts a child, with the congregation supporting them, the foster system would be empty, except for emergency, temporary placements.

And over 13,000 lives left out in the cold in Texas would begin to heal and grow toward the light.

In Florida, in less than one out of three churches one family could adopt a child, and empty the list of Florida’s foster children waiting for adoption.

Look at your state and calculate the odds. They aren’t insurmountable, are they?

State Children Waiting FY 2012* Churches*
Alabama 1,155 10,760
Alaska 786 1,050
Arizona 2,910 3,771
Arkansas 1,020 6,343
California 13,091 22,798
Colorado 916 3,813
Connecticut 1,385 2,909
Delaware 243 1,009
District of Columbia 303 825
Florida 5,127 16,805
Georgia 1,645 14,380
Hawaii 223 1,163
Idaho 278 1,776
Illinois 2,936 13,097
Indiana 2,318 9,204
Iowa 961 4,766
Kansas 1,853 4,615
Kentucky 1,999 6,859
Louisiana 1,088 7,983
Maine 480 1,539
Maryland 559 5,816
Massachusetts 2,468 4,039
Michigan 3,583 11,169
Minnesota 983 5,628
Mississippi 890 7,718
Missouri 2,065 8,973
Montana 403 1,518
Nebraska 904 2,595
Nevada 1,879 1,248
New Hampshire 182 1,033
New Jersey 2,226 6,713
New Mexico 836 1,796
New York 6,056 14,767
North Carolina 2,070 17,625
North Dakota 210 1,252
Ohio 2,655 14,657
Oklahoma 2,803 6,737
Oregon 2,062 3,646
Pennsylvania 1,924 15,539
Rhode Island 223 703
South Carolina 1,330 9,479
South Dakota 397 1,368
Tennessee 2,514 11,179
Texas 13,148 27,505
Utah 566 2,582
Vermont 226 692
Virginia 1,517 10,952
Washington 2,865 5,393
West Virginia 1,404 3,432
Wisconsin 1,129 6,045
Wyoming 107 803
Puerto Rico 818
Total 101,719 348,067

Now, I’m personally too old to adopt, and have health problems that would even preclude fostering right now, but my heart is there. I can support those who do, and I am doing so right now with my words.

If you cannot adopt, perhaps you can help provide funding to people or programs for those who wish to adopt. You can offer respite care to foster parents, or ongoing support for those who adopt or foster.

Several families close to my heart have responded to this call. Some have adopted internationally as well as domestically.

The one I know the best, adopted at five weeks, is now almost six years old. Since he is African-American and his parents are Caucasian, it is unlikely he can ignore the obvious, that he isn’t “just like” his brother and sister. He’s asking questions about where he came from. Last week he asked his mother, “If I didn’t come from your tummy like (his siblings), then is the other tummy my mommy, too?” The conversation ensued, gentle answers to his probing questions, the why’s and how’s of it all. After he heard that his birth mother had been too young, etc. to care for him and gave him up for his good, he reflected. “That must have been sad for her (his birth mother). I am glad that God made something happy from something sad.

Happy with life and the world
Happy with life and the world

That is the key of adoption.

It is sad when a woman is pregnant and cannot, or will not, keep her child. (But at least she loved him enough to give the child life.)

When we, with a heart of compassion, step up the plate and care for the one who needs us, we are God’s hands, making something happy from something sad.

Check out these sites for more information.

On March 3-5, 1025, The Dropbox will air across the country. It’s an award-winning documentary on one man’s response to an orphan’s need, profoundly moving. You can watch the trailer here, and check out local theatres and buy tickets below. (I heard some cities are already sold out, so don’t wait until the last minute.)

http://www.fathomevents.com/event/the-drop-box/buy to buy tickets to The Drop Box.

Have you personally been touched by adoption, or are you contemplating opening your family heart to another?