Expectations and The Brazilian Twins

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Years ago, when we lived in Charlottesville, my wife and I started going to a small little church that was a warm community and had a vibrant life to it.
But I’m not telling you this for any sort of religious reason — I’d like to tell you a short story about some people I met there, to inspire you and to urge you into action…
You see, there was this family there who always sat in the front row. We would have services in a school cafeteria (glamorous, I know), and sit on these uncomfortable brown-metal folding chairs, and this family kept their three children with them through the entire (sometimes long!) service.
They had adopted all three of their children from Brazil, and each of their children had severe Downs Syndrome. They quite literally saved these kids lives — because in Brazil, orphaned children with special needs aren’t well taken care of, and each of their children barely clung to life as babies, when they adopted them.
(There’s a reason I’m telling you this, btw, besides just to tug at your heart strings!)
Two of their children were twin girls, Maggie and Molly. When I met them, they were about 14 years old and were these roly-poly balls of joy — who could barely speak a comprehensible word, and would often blurt out random noises and utterances. Their other son, Sam, was younger and slightly more “high-functioning”, but still quite needy.
Oh, but they were loved.
But even more than that, their parents (Eric and Holly) maintained high standards for their children. When other families would drop off their little ones at the nursery or in Sunday School, Eric and Holly had taught their children to sit still, sometimes for 2+ hours, and remain quiet and under control.
And my wife and I thought to ourselves: if THOSE kids can do that, then we better believe that any children we bring into our family sure can!
But my point here isn’t about parenting. I have no interest in wading into the parenting wars. No, this is about your expectations …
What do YOU expect from your team? What do you expect from YOURSELF!
Because I’ve found this to be true — our resources may be smaller at times, but we are NEVER the victim of our circumstances. Trust me, there are those out there who are doing much more than you with much less. And there are also many more people who are doing much LESS … with much more.
Which one will you be?
Lastly, I want to challenge you:
My friends, Eric and Holly, moved to Zambia about 3 years ago, because they wanted to find more children with special needs who needed that touch of love and higher expectations.
They are training orphanages, caregivers, and even government institutions there about how to properly care for such children.
Here’s my challenge:
Why don’t you join them?
No, I’m not suggesting you move your family to Zambia 🙂
With each one of OUR four children, we wanted to give them the experience of giving and taking care of the needy, so we have sponsored 4 children through Compassion International … and now through my friends, Eric and Holly’s org, for our new baby we’re sponsoring a Zambian boy named Isaac who also has Downs Syndrome.
Perhaps some day we’ll meet him … but either way, it’s wonderful for our family dynamics for our children to know that they are playing a part in  taking care of orphans. After all, each of our children used to be one (in case you don’t know, we adopted our first four children).
Here’s where you can find out about their new sponsorship program:
And a gallery of the children they’re working with can be found here:
The tricky thing for NGO’s to take care of orphaned children is that with the larger organizations, so much of what they do is a fundraising game. And, sadly, when you can take care of 10 “typical” children for $200 a month versus about only 4 for that same amount, which do you think sounds more impressive to larger donors?
But my friends, and their organization (Special Hope Network) have two options for sponsorship, and have been able to reduce some of the costs involved. Their admin fees are ridiculously low (which is very important to me), and they have the utmost standards for financial and communication integrity.
So — do yourself, your business and and your family a favor: Set the bar high for yourself. And while you’re at it, take part in an amazing reminder that while it’s true that your life doesn’t always look like you’d want it to look … you have been inordinately blessed.
I do hope I’ve inspired you today to get above the muck and mire of everyday circumstances.
Again, here’s where you can find out about their new sponsorship program:
And a gallery of the children they’re working with can be found here:

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