Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hanna and Sophia McCormick

It is hard to think of what to write that will not sound cliche at such time as this, having babies and all. But, I suppose that the way it all came together is anything but cliche. I woke up that September 16h at 4:30am, to wake up my boys for school. One of them unfortunately missed the bus and I so had to drive him to school and got back to the orphanage at around 7:30am. I still had a bunch of things to get done in the office: leave reports written for the upcoming hearings, update the director's agenda among other things. I had also scheduled to take my car into the shop where I would then get picked up by a friend of mine who was leaving on the same flight to Houston at noon. I managed to get everything in order, dropped of my car and was on my way. Andrea wasn't due for another two weeks and I was excited to see her and relax a little. I arrived in Houston uneventfully and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of people there. As I proceeded to my gate I decided to send my brother a random text message just to say hello. It went through and I immediately got this response: "Hey! I heard Andrea's water broke! Are you there yet?" No, I was not there yet, nor had I heard that her water had broke! In that moment I texted my mother-in-law who confirmed that they were at the hospital scheduling a C-Section because her water had indeed broken. There was nothing I could do, but did I ever start to think.

Looking back it seems a little crazy, but it didn't even pass through my mind that I would not make it in time. I got off the plane where my brother-in-law was waiting for me outside. Getting into the car my father-in-law (who is a physician) called and explained that the babies were breached and they had scheduled a C-Section for 8:00 pm. It was 7:15pm. I arrived at the hospital at 7:35 and saw my sweet wife laying in a hospital bed. Promptly, at 8:00pm she was wheeled away for the epidural and 10 minutes later I was in the operating room witnessing the most incredible sequence of events. First was Hanna. She's beautiful. When they pulled out Sophia, it really hit me that there were TWO little humans that were now my daughters in this world. As the nurse's roughly cleaned them off and weighed them, taking their footprint among other things, I couldn't say anything. I was in shock at the beauty of it all. We spent the next 4 days in the hospital and thankfully, my three baby girls are happy and healthy and here with me.

There have been many times where I just feel like having one baby would just be boring....I know that sounds crazy to say, but I am so thankful for these gifts. I know that this is our portion and I am so grateful. They are the most amazing little beings and it is a gift from God that I get to call them mine.

(Those are honestly them!...I did not download this from the internet...)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Plight of the Orphan; Heart of a Father

I think most missionaries would agree that our goal is to one day see the nationals raise up and fulfill the needs that plague their countries. In Guatemala, my biggest fight is to be an advocate for our children that have been abandoned and abused, and it is thrilling to see huge steps being taken towards raising awareness of the plight of the orphan; calling Guatemalans to reach out to those children in need.

Last week we had a large event put on by the Christian Alliance for Orphans (www.christianalliancefororphans.org) in an effort to raise awareness and call Guatemalans to take practical steps to help out children in need. As a result of this event, there were 5 families that turned in their paperwork to adopt children. My heart was so full that day seeing people respond in brokenness and newfound convictions as they came to see more of God´s heart for the orphaned child. After the event I came home to my house full of 11 teenage boys, and I was filled with gratitude. Many Christians are at a place in their lives where they are becoming aware of a need and don´t know how to respond. Here I am with the privilege to be a father to 11 boys that have been abandoned, orphaned and forgotten.

In my heart I feel that God has taken me to a place where I legitimately see this kids as my own. I have heard people say ¨There is nothing like having your own kids¨, as and as that day is quickly approaching I am excitedly anticipating that feeling of holding my own beautiful girls in my arms for the first time. I know that there is nothing like it. Looking into eyes that were formed with my own blood and DNA. However, I would say this to those biological parents: there is nothing like adopting a child. Although these boys do not have my last name, I have truly adopted them in my heart and I consider them my family. When I go to the mall I am thinking about the current state of their shoes and if there are holes in their underwear. When I get a call from their school that one of them is sick or got into trouble, my heart completely sinks in my chest. When I wake them up each morning and turn the lights off in their rooms each night, my heart bares the responsibility that God has placed on me to be the kind of parent that he wants all His children to have. We are supposed to be an earthly representation of that Heavenly Father that He is to us. It is a huge responsibility.

I would encourage all of you, whether you have children or not to consider the ways in which God is calling you to represent Him here on this earth. What kind of a father are we portraying Him to be? Are we reaching out to those who don´t know the love of a father and BEING that for them? This whole following Christ is thing is not that easy, but every day when I come home to these boys, I love knowing that the way I have come to feel about them is a FRACTION of the way our heavenly Father feels about us. Some people say I am crazy for living this life with these boys, but I think God is even crazier for allowing us to call Him Father and even give His life for us. Let´s do the same.

Monday, September 1, 2014

We're moving...

August 2014

I hope you all had an amazing summer. These months sure do fly by here at the orphanage as we have a busy season of groups coming down to visit. Also, it has been a busy time of changes as we approach our due date for a two little girls that are nearly here! Andrea is now in New Orleans and I will be joining her in the next few weeks to be there for the birth. 

We are finishing up our last few months as house parents as we will be moving out of the house once we come back with the girls. The boys have been very supportive and we are all excited about having this new addition to our family. I have had many talks recently with different boys in our house, and one of the most satisfying things is that there are a few of them who have genuinely come to see Andrea and I as their parents. Just last week, I went to one of their schools to pick them up from tutoring class, and one of the boys presented me to his friends. He just said "this is my dad" and when his friends looked a little puzzled he replied, "Well, I'm adopted of course." For me, it is a testimony of God's heart of restoring things that were deemed as lost and broken. I also see it as a parallel of how God came to adopt us as His sons and daughters and now have full access to all the He is as a part of His family. I am confident that God will use these boys in mighty ways in the future to help many people and share the good news of what God has done. 

On another note, A few weeks ago we were able to finally purchase a house that we have been eyeing over the past few years. It is exactly one kilometer from the orphanage (just over half a mile). The house needs some repairs such as new flooring in the living and dining rooms, fixing the roof and a few other odd jobs, so with all the repairs we are hoping to move in by January. Additionally, we are currently raising funds to build a suite on the second floor of the house so that we can continue to help out children from the orphanage in the future, more specifically thinking about these boys we have been taking care of that will soon be turning 18. Although we are very excited about this new step in our journey, we know that acquiring this house is part of God's master plan to show himself to more people and to help those in need. 

We would appreciate your prayers as we continue in this season of transition and for Andrea and company's health! She is doing really well and I am excited to go see her and then meet our two little girls!

If you would like information on how to help us out financially, please email me directly or make a tax deductible donation at www.foce.org specifying the funds in the notes section for the "McCormick family". 

God bless!

David McCormick

January 2014

Happy 2014!

Andrea and I stayed here at the orphanage for Christmas and New Years where were able to spend our first few days as house parents for the teenage boys. We have been blessed by a fairly smooth transition, and although there are adjustments we are making and lessons we are quickly learning about sharing a house with a dozen teenagers, we have experienced God's grace every single day. 

Last weekend one of our boys' amazing sponsors took our whole house to the beach for a few days which was an incredible way of spending our last few days before the dreaded first day of school! The boys officially started school on Monday morning meaning the new wake up time of 4:40 am, making lunches, getting school supplies in order, staring down pimples in the mirror and everything else that going to school implies for adolescent boys. After such an amazing trip to the beach, it has been nice to settle into a routine again with the boys and they have been excited to get to get out and socialize with their friends from school again. We have 7 boys going to different schools and 4 studying here at the orphanage school. We are still looking for sponsors for a few of our kids that have the opportunity to study off campus, so if you know of anyone wanting to help please let me know. 

In general, we have been very blessed as God has expand our family and continues to expand our hearts. It is the first time Andrea has had to be a mother and she is doing an amazing job. There are parts of her personality, gifts and character that I am discovering for the first time as she gracefully and respectfully interacts with those boys. I can honestly say that even in the three weeks we have been up there, I have seen huge changes in the way the boys act and I believe that having a respectable lady in the house is the reason why! Thank you for your prayers for us; we feel strengthened and supported and appreciate your prayers and love. God bless you all!

February 2014

Things have been busy for us with all our kids back into the school routine and with lots of court hearings lately. Yesterday I had to travel to a court that is five hours away and had to hand over a little girl that has been with us since she was a little baby. I am reminded that a huge part of our work down here is to be interceding for those kids that go back with their families as we often have no way of helping them out physically or emotionally anymore. 

I have been able to have lots of talks with the different boys in my house about how they are doing spiritually and emotionally, and I am reminded so frequently that being a teenager is just plain hard sometimes. There are days that everything seems to be great in the world and other times it is just the opposite. I would ask you to continue to pray for these 12 boys that we have right now and that in the midst of these turbulent years that they could come to find a deep sense of peace and a true faith in who God is. They have so many questions and doubts which they are very good at expressing, and many times I am encouraged that they are thinking about very profound things and establishing their own value and belief system that will lead them for the rests of their lives. As I listen to them and ask them questions I also ask God that His truth could break through any confusion or deception and penetrate the deepest parts of their hearts and minds. 

Two of the boys in my house, who are brothers, found out recently that their biological father passed away. He was an alcoholic and never had a good relationship with them, but I would ask that you pray for Rudy and Carlos as they have questions that may never be answered and feel a little confused. Thankfully, they are both doing really well and talking about it, however I am praying for peace in their hearts and for comfort and clarity in their minds. 

Thank for your continued prayer and support. Andrea and I have been facing different struggles in life but we are grateful for your love and support. God's grace continues to be enough and is the power that strengthens us and causes us to continue. If you would like to help us out financially or help support the boys in our house, please check out the website www.foce.org. Thanks!

David McCormick

May 2014

I am actually writing this update sitting next to two of my dedicated teenage boys who are up past midnight still doing homework. We actually just got back from our final for the soccer league we play in and were able to beat the other team tonight which landed us with a large plastic trophy that will now garnish our house. It was a special moment with the boys especially as one of my littlest guys even played and was able to outplay grown men who are twice his size (literally...).

In December and January I shared with you all a need in the lives of one of the boys who was acting out in very destructive ways. I wanted to share with you all that looking back over the past five months, God has truly transformed his heart. The other day he actually broke his arm playing soccer which gave us a solid eight hours of quality time as we sat waiting to get an x-ray and cast put on (God bless the Guatemalan health care "system"). After the cast was in place, we went to get something to eat and he began reminiscing about the difficult times we had experienced together. Listening to his story after shocking story, I remembered that he had told me at one point that he actually had an elaborate plan that was panning out exactly as he hoped. I finally asked him what his plan was in all of the time while he was rebelling and acting out in hurtful ways. He then told me something that took me by surprise. His whole plan hinged on a desire to see just how far we were willing to go with him. We were transitioning into becoming his house parents and he wanted to put us to the test pushing us to a limit where we would potentially give up on him. He had even written out elaborate plans of puncturing the tires on our car, flooding our room with a hose and treating Andrea badly in attempts us to bring us to a place of desperation. He said that he finally had to put an end to it all and actually repent because he just couldn't take himself anymore. While we were angered by his rebellion and attitudes, I know now that it was all an attempt to see how much we really loved him. 

Reflecting on this conversation I was thinking about babies and how they cry when they need something and we somehow are able to decipher what that need is, whether it is to be changed or to eat. With adolescents their cries are a little bit more sophisticated and harder to understand involving elaborate plans, but they are crying out all the same because a need is not being met. With Raul, it was his need of being accepted and loved unconditionally. When he found that need met, the crying stopped. Now, we have a straight-A student with an excellent attitude on our hands compared to the rebellious teenager who we were ready to give up on just a few months ago. 

More than anything, the thing that speaks the strongest to my heart is the power that love has in this world. The only thing strong enough to break through the rebellion, confusion and destruction was love. It is equally intriguing that after arriving at this conclusion, that the God we serve has told us that He IS love. 

We appreciate your prayers for us as we love these boys that God has entrusted us with. We know that as we love them, we are actually loving God himself and it is a privilege to be able to serve Him in such a tangible and practical way. Thank you for your continued support and prayers. 

David McCormick

March 2014

I hope you have all received the news that Andrea is pregnant, and with  twins no less. It was definitely a big surprise for us as neither of our families have history of twins, but we see it as a huge blessing that God has given us and which has been a source of so much joy throughout the past few weeks. 

Over the past month or so we have had so many kids return with their families; quite a bit more than normal actually. In any court hearing there is always a tense moment when the judge finally orders that the child return to Casa Bernabe or is to leave immediately with their family. As the child is not present when the decision is made, it is my job to tell the kids what that decision is. There are many more recent stories I could tell where this is a truly traumatic experience, but I wanted to tell you all about a little girl named Aida who was able to be reunited with her mother. 

After a small dispute with her mom, 10 year old Aida stumbled ran away from home and stumbled upon a few police officers who brought her to child services. That very night she was sent to Casa Bernabe where she was visited by her mom frequently. Her mom would call my cell phone at least once a week asking how her daughter was and often crying about the way things were tuning out. The day of her hearing, Aida and I drove down to the city; the entire way cracking her knuckles and fidgeting with the seat belt. She so very nervous as to what was to happen to her. As we walked into the court house she ran to hug her mom who started crying instantly upon seeing her daughter. The mom sells tortillas and her little daughter is the only family she has. These six months were so hard for both of them, so, when we finished the hearing and the judge decided to give the mom a second chance, I was able to tell Aida that she was going back with her mom that very moment. 

A few days later, they came to visit and pick up a few things, Aida dressed up in her traditional Guatemalan clothing with the biggest grin on her face. I was impacted by the beauty of this reunion and it caused me to reflect on what we do here. I was inspired to keep fighting for cases like these so that families can be reunited and so that all of our kids can have that kind of a smile.  As I walked back up to my house after taking the picture that I have attached and considered the 12 lives that God has placed in our hands I remembered so clearly that God has not called us to simply take care of some teenage boys, but to establish families where there are none. Although the majority of our kids will never be able to go back with their family, if that family even exists, I believe that they can find the same kind of joy that the little girl experienced, finding someone that is unconditionally in love with them, and ultimately reflecting the unswerving love that God has for them. We are to reestablish the parent-child relationships and watch the dry bones form flesh and come to life (like the spirit of reconciliation mentioned in Ezekiel 37 and Malachi 4:6). Hope is a truly inspiring thing, and I am thankful that God allows me to live in such a place where I can see genuine hope persevere and rise above. Please continue to pray for the kids here at the orphanage that God would fill them with a supernatural hope that transcends all adolescent hardships, abandonment, neglect, injustice  and abuse. We are called to a ministry of reconciliation which , I believe,  is exactly what the kingdom of God looks like.