Saturday, May 6, 2017

Levi, Josiah, and Issac

Name. Its the doorway to our identity.  It's how others know us and it's often how we know ourselves. We've noticed something in our adoptions.  When a child is adopted the adoption becomes a rebirth of sorts in their lives.  Old things like the orphanage, wishing you had a family, feeling unloved and not connected...these things pass away.  What remains is a new person who is loved and who belongs.  We have watched this deep transformation twice.  First with Naomi who was called 'Mitzi' when we adopted her.  And then with Jacob...

I will never forget when we were united with him at the orphanage.  And that moment we were driving away with him with the RSCC fading fast in the rear view mirror...  "What did you call me when you were working on adopting me?"  "Jacob." His mother replied.  And then it happened ..."Call me Jacob."  There it was... a transformation from the old order of things to new.  He never referred to himself as Razel again.

Jacob, Naomi, Hannah, Josh and Noah in the car leaving the word Orphan behind
When you adopt from the Philippines you are not allowed to share names or pictures of the children you hope to adopt.  So we can't share their 'real names' with you.  We can only tell you that they are nine, eight and seven years old.  Brothers.  We have a picture of them and what we love most is that you can see these brothers are tight.  They are close.  Three boys with jet black hair, dark brown eyes and hopeful smiles.  They want a family and they know that this picture they are posing for is the first step in an uncertain and hopeful journey to find home.  The oldest, protective and kind, stands next to his younger brothers who are arm in arm, smiling and hopeful.  Then you look down...the oldest is holding the youngest's hand.  "It's ok" I think he's saying...  I love this picture.

So we have named them and can't wait to tell you about them. First there is Levi, the oldest.  Levi means to join' or 'to be joined' in Hebrew.  We can't wait until he is joined with us.  Second there is Josiah which means 'healed by Jehovah' or Jehovah will support.  We are looking forward to the day that they are healed and supported by a family and more importantly by the High King himself.  The third is Issac. Issac means 'laughter' or 'he laughs'.  There will be the laughter and love of a family.

Its coming.  We're coming.  We thank God and we're happy because soon...another rebirth - another three to be exact.

Marshall and Lorrie

Friday, April 21, 2017

So for those of you who have guessed....

Story.  Its how we tell someone about our lives.   We're all caught up in a story - an Epic as I mentioned in my last post.  Jesus is writing and we're in it.

Here is the next chapter...A few months ago, Lorrie and I both began to feel a familiar  tug on our hearts - a familiar voice..."Your story, the one I'm telling did not end with Jacob.  There's more... I want you to adopt again".

"Seriously God?"  "Yep".

Lorrie tells me... "I'm thinking a sibling group".  I'm a little stunned..."uhhh really?"  She's convinced. So we agree two more..."yeah sure we can do that.."  So we go to our adoption agency and tell them we're adopting again.  That call started the flow of dossiers (think stories) of sibling groups needing adoption from the Philippines. We reviewed each one but it was like Jesus was over our shoulder..."keep looking".

In a few weeks I was called away on business to Utah.  Now I rarely get on airplane wifi, but this time for some reason I did.  There in my inbox was another dossier for me to look at.  Unknown to me at the time Lorrie was also looking at it.  Three boys...Lorrie fell in love with them but also said to herself - "Marshall will never go for three" .  Here I am at 30,000 feet and I read their story... the oldest wants to be a priest to tell people about Jesus, the middle boy wants to be a teacher and the youngest - he's afraid of what God will do to him for "messing up".  Instantly I said to myself..."someone needs to teach him about grace"...Jesus said "I want you to".

Boom.  Done.  We're adopting 3 boys - Nine, Eight and Seven years old.  We want you to go with us as we go...

So the story, our story....its not over.  Like I said last time we believe our story is an Epic. It is an Epic written by Jesus.

More to Come!

Marshall and Lorrie

God sets the lonely in families,he leads out the prisoners with singing
Psalm 68:6





Thursday, March 9, 2017

Epic: From a cardboard box to our own stories

Epic.  John Eldredge relates our life stories to an epic.  Most people privately think of their lives as well...not much.  "I'm not that important" or "...nothing special".

Why do we insist on thinking that only Homer or Odysseus, or Cortez, or Lewis and Clark are the only ones that have an epic journey an...epic story?  Its because we've bought into the lie that "we're nothing special" and living an epic, well that's for someone else - not you.

RSCC Going After Naomi
I woke up to this lie thanks to the epic Jacob story I lived. Jacob's life here on earth was truly epic. Here is a part of the story you have not heard - even I have not but it is what I believe to be true...

Rain clears the air on Leyte. And for awhile, it replaces the smell of a city with the smell of flowers only found in the tropics. The rain just ended and the humidity was as usual – overwhelming. As the vapor hung lazily over the road in the pre-dawn darkness, inside the orphanage the children slept, about 12 to a room. It was May 20th, 2000.
The orphanage was a walled and gated compound of about 10 buildings with controlled access to keep the occupants safe. A nursery and a kitchen, classrooms, offices and sleeping rooms formed the nucleus of the Reception and Study Center for Children or the RSCC as it was called by its occupants. A guard was always at the gate. Kind and always smiling, the guards watched over the RSCC, making the rounds and taking the time to talk to the children – like protective big brothers. The rain on this night kept the guard inside the guard post attempting to stay dry as best he could. A break in the rain offered an opportunity to once again walk his post.

As the guard leaves the gate for his last walk around the complex, a young lady approaches the gate with a small cardboard box. She winces in pain as she kneels gently, placing the box next to the gate unnoticed by the guard. She is young – barely in her teens but the pain in her heart at this moment amounts to the weight carried by an old soul - a person torn and with few options. She places her hand gently into the box as tears roll down her cheek. Her thoughts are well…those of a mother giving up the most precious gift she’d ever been given – a son. Startled by the guards return she flees.

And so Jacob entered this life. He was given the name Razael Sagrada by those that cared for him. He had nobody and yet from the time he was found at the gate – he had everyone. He became one of about one hundred orphans in the RSCC but at the same time he always stood out. Before he could roll over on his own in the small white crib in which he was placed he captivated his care givers. The last name they gave this ‘John Doe’ said it all – Sagrada which means holy. They knew this baby was somehow different, they also knew from experience that the orphans they cared for were not cast-offs, but beautiful. And this boy? Well they knew that there were plans for this boy –and they were right.

Jacob on a 5:7 
You know the rest of the story..."Naomi's best friend. I like America take me with you".  Jacob boldly proclaimed his identity and his epic.  He lived with us and we can testify that he lived big - even in incredible suffering all the way to his real life - with Jesus. What is even better is that our family discovered our epic when his epic life entwined with ours.  I now know that my life... is also an epic story. 

There's nothing safe about it.  There's risk when you follow Jesus and yes suffering. But have you ever heard of an epic story without peril?  Without suffering or loss?  No such thing.  Its overcoming those things that make the story an epic in the first place.  

We have an enemy that whispers to us "...just get through it, this is all there is, find what pleasure you can and then well - its over - Nothing special..." You ever hear that voice?  I do.  When you do you have a choice - believe him and go be a battery in the enemy's web of lies - like in the matrix or.... 

Step into the truth of Jesus and look your enemy in the eye and call him what he is - Liar!  Thief!  Be bold and tell him "This is MY story - given to me my Jesus himself - You shall not pass!"

We overcame...by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.  Jesus proclaimed, chapters of our stories written into an epic that is not over for us.  Family, adoption, great love, great sadness, suffering, uncertainty, overcoming, following Jesus into our story - its ours! And its no where near over.

You'll be hearing from us soon....

Marshall and Lorrie





Friday, December 9, 2016

A Christmas Gift from Jesus



Every now and then Jesus sends us a gift. And as usual - its HIS birthday and he gives me a Christmas present. Jesus always blows me away with his generosity and thoughtfulness to me. Think about it - who else do you know that gives others gifts on HIS birthday? Naomi shared this with me just now - Jacob wrote down his story about his first several days of having a family. I'm not going to change it.

Let me set the scene.... Jacob has been home with us for less than a year. He's still learning English as he writes this on a computer at our table. He's likely sitting with his sister Naomi. And he's remembering his first few days with us in the Philippines. His English is not so good - but its perfect for you to hear this boy speak...its perfect for you to know something more about Jacob....


1/14/2014


jacob wothey

jacob's story

chapter one

The Thunder

Hi. My name is Jacob. But my family change-

My name. Razel was my old name lets

talk about my story last two years

I was at Philippines. At the morning

I said to my self this could be good-

day!. I get my book to see what

should I do. I look there's nothing

and then I remember I didn't write

it. So I will find something to do . But

the rain is coming. So I will find-

something. And my friend's said

lets play monopoly. But I told them

I don't know how to play monopoly.

My friend said. I will teach you how

to play. I said to my new friend thank

so much. Then the thunder made a

big sound the rain came down. My

friend was scared of thunder I don't know

why . I ask. Why are you scared? Yes

why? I have friend a name Stan. He

goth strike by a lightning. I said

did he die? know my friend said.

After we talk mam Agnes said Raze l

get dress. I said why mam Agnes said

you will know wen you see it.


chapter two

THE SURPRISE

After I get dress. Mom dole said

to me .someone is getting you !

Ho? The Wort hey. I said to my

self . Ho is wort hey? I ask . It was

Mitzi family!ho!i said. Well OK!

That's cool. i m happy that I m going

to be adopted I said that was a

Surprise! And it was lunch time and

Everyone run run and run. Because

they were hungry. I told them wash

your hands!but they didn't they gust

Ignore me they were super hungry.

I'm the only one ho wash hand

after I wash my hand's I went to the

dining room. I eat and eat . And

mom Agnes said it's a surprising

day. Yes it is. I said good if your

family is hare you will say your name

to your family. Agnes said. OK I said.

After lunch it's time for bedtime we

all ways go to bed after lunch

I don't know why?but It still raining

and then my family. I was surprise

I can't belief I got adopted that I saw

last four years. I saw Mitzi. Noah.

Joshua. Hannah. Lorie. Marshall.



chapter three

THE WORTHEY'S



After I meet my family. we went

to the playground. And play wen

I went back. Naomi and Hannah

started to play whit me. Hannah

got her mom's camera and she

started to take a video. I was

shy Naomi and Hannah was

chasing me. I cobber my ayes

they were happy to see me

again. My parent's called me

they ask me were do you want

to celebrate your party? I said

something but I didn't know

and then my mom said

how about McDonald. Yes

I said. And they said OK.

And about two o'clock the

meeting start my family was

there. And mom nida said to me

go tell them hose your new family.

I said OK! So I did and it's time

to go to McDonald. To see what

should I have to the party .



chapter four

THE HOTEL



h my family and I went a hotel and

I love the hotel. So I went to my hotel

Room. And my brother said to me. Do

you want to go swimming? I don't know

about that josh. OK .my brother went

to the room and he show me how it;s done .

So we went to the pool at the tap of the

hotel. Joshua run to the pool and my dad

saw Joshua swimming. Will he got a talk

with my dad. After the talk. We went

back to get ready to go dinner. 




I miss him. I love him. I love the fact that he is with Jesus, very much alive and I like to think that he and Jesus conspired to give us this for Christmas.  Merry Christmas to you from the Wortheys!




Marshall   

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Missing Jacob...still

It is official – the holidays are once again upon us.   It started much earlier than I remember.  I was hearing Christmas music on the radio before Halloween.  I changed the station hoping to hold off Christmas until at least after Thanksgiving.  It worked – until this past week.  There is no avoiding it any longer.  The holidays are officially here.  Something happens after the loss of a child.  Holidays seem to come sooner and are harder than ever imagined.

Last weekend I attended a “Surviving the Holidays after a Loss” Event.  I wasn’t sure what to expect or if I even needed to go.  After all, we had survived last year didn’t we?  As I watched the videos and took some notes I realized that last year had been a blur. We survived all right but only because we were all in a fog.  That’s when the realization hit me.  Year two would be even more difficult than year one.   This year, we are all very aware that someone is missing.  The fog has been lifted and we see very clearly.  

As we celebrate this Christmas season we remember Jacob.  We remember how he brought so much joy to our family.  We remember how many people he touched in just 14 short years on this earth.  We remember his big smile and the way he danced around the house.  We treasure the videos we now have of him and Naomi together.  We realize just how blessed we are to have had him in our family. 

I wasn't wanting to hear Christmas music so early this year.  I was afraid the music would bring back too many memories and that my emotions would be all over the place.  My fear came true when I heard this song the other day.  I pulled the car over and let the tears come.   The reality is that our Christmas will be different from now on.  There will always be an extra place at the table where Jacob would have sat. There will always be an empty stocking to fill and ornaments that were his to be hung.  I will always have those memories. Maybe just maybe with each passing year things will get a little easier.  

We love and miss you so much Jacob. We wish you were here with us but know that you will have a fantastic second Christmas in heaven.

Mom

.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Battle, The Wound, Healing and Overflow

Its been since January.  That was the last time I wrote to you.  Much has happened since then.  Good things, blessings, growth and above all a deeper understanding of who God is.

2015 for me was the hardest year I have ever lived.  Dealing with the loss of Jacob left more than a mark on me - it changed me.  I was for most of the year - not me.  My kids noticed.  My bride - she noticed.  At first the change seemed to be not a good one.  I was dulled - reduced to just getting through the day - trying to 'be normal'.

It was not until I wrote the last 2 posts before this one in January that I began to gain life again. Writing those two posts allowed me to take the bandages off of the wounds I suffered in the Jacob battle - revealing the scars that will always be with me as a reminder of the intensity of that battle.

Notice I did not say I become 'myself' again  -because I will never be that guy again.  I'm more now. There is a richness to my life that could have never been without that time with Jacob.  I wrote once that "Suffering Reveals Jesus"  - I was partially right.  It does for sure reveal Jesus but I am discovering it does more over time.  It deepens your reservoir - increasing the depth and providing more water that I think Jesus wants us to share with others out of the overflow.  Suffering left me with a richness in my life that would have been unattainable in any other way.

Think about that...great loss, great sadness, suffering, anger, wounding... gives way to....Healing, Deepening, Overflow that I think will be used to bless others.  Our story is not - loosing Jacob... It is gaining more of Jesus.

Even in the suffering we have a Good Father



Sunday, January 3, 2016

Part 2: The Victory

I was startled out of my sleep by my phone ringing.  Dark. Fumbling I found it. It was Lorrie. Dread. "Marshall its Jacob.  Come soon, its time."  I turned the lamp on and got dressed then I woke the others.

We were in Brent's Place.  Debbie and the girls where in one room, Noah, Cliff and CJ slept in the living room.  All were stirring by the time I left the little bedroom I had collapsed in a few hours before.  We all knew what the call had to mean.

No one slept well that night as each of us wrestled with our own thoughts about what the next day would bring. The emotions ranged from anger to incredible sadness. My daughter Hannah was struggling with guilt, blaming herself for the cold that had ravaged our family and kept us away - I hate the enemy for this lie he told her - nonsense and we went to war to free her from that lie. Thankfully she is free of that now.   Hannah was also  particularly angry at God.  The same questions I am sure that I asked myself so many times before:  "why this suffering?" ... "why him?"  She just wanted to see him smile again - she asked God for that.

Noah was resigned and incredibly sad.  After all, Jacob had posed the idea of being brothers to him first - the day we first met him in Taclobon.  Noah knew he had a new brother way before Lorrie and I knew we were going to have another son.  He too was angry at God and just did not understand..."why Jacob? why are you taking him?"

Naomi thought about Jacob as she laid down.  Her oldest and dearest friend.  Jacob was a tie to her history - her person.  They grew up in the orphanage together and had been best friends since....well forever.  Deep water.  She smiled as she remembered  playing with her pal.  The big hill by our house...a re-purposed mountain board.  A pilot -Jacob and a power plant -Naomi.  A hill that made Mom and Dad cringe as they rocketed down.  Before the hospital...before leukemia Jacob had often told her how cool it would be to see Jesus - to be in heaven and they often talked about what they would do together there.  Now it was real...Jacob was about to see a place they often talked about and more importantly see Jesus.

Jacob's best friend CJ was very sad.  When he first met Jacob he was not too sure about this blasting cap from the Philippines.  But Jacob grabbed onto him and he discovered that he loved his time with him - they had become fast friends.  I'm sure CJ remembered all the times he and Jake played video games and raced RC cars in the hallway of 7E.  It was all about to be over now...memories were going to replace companionship and CJ hated that.

That evening our warrior allies Cliff and Debbie did what they could to listen to our children and offer the Lord's comfort to them.  Debbie  tenderly talked to our youngest Naomi about loosing Jacob and that it was nothing to be afraid of - He'd be with Jesus and that is what we all want - no more suffering, no more stinky grey pills  - only life as it was meant to be when Jesus "meant" Jacob.  Cliff went to war to free Hannah from this feeling of guilt the enemy was trying to get Hannah to buy into.  Scripture says the war is fierce in the heavenlies - this war for all men's souls.  I believe Cliff is a warrior with a reputation - we love this Man and his bride Lorielle - who wars for Hannah to this day.

A second call. "Marshall, don't rush...he's gone".   "You're the winner Lorrie."  "I know" she said.  I love you.  " We'll come soon Lorrie - are you ok?"  "I am...at peace.  I'm ok Marshall".   I stood there for a moment as I listened to everyone getting ready to go.  I then walked into the living room where everyone was gathering and asked everyone to sit down on the floor with me.

As we sat on the floor in the pre-dawn darkness, I broke the news to my children, CJ, Cliff and Debbie.  Jacob was with Jesus.  He won.  Quiet tears. And then I saw something - I saw Jacob jump into the arms of Jesus - I saw it.  Jesus let me see that.  I told everyone.   Prayer.  Each of us prayed on that floor.  We thanked God for Jacob, for his life for the fact that we got to be his family. We thanked God for each other.

We finished dressing and headed back to Children's.  No one really spoke as we approached the elevator for the ride to the 7th floor. Once again we all washed our hands per the procedure and entered the BMT unit where Jacob's room was.  I thought it best for the kids, Debbie and Cliff to wait in the conference room while I checked in with Lorrie...and to see my boy.

I left them and went to room 758 -to Lorrie and Jacob.  As I entered the room I noticed the new dawn light mingling with the glow of the colored Christmas lights that still hung above Jacob's bed. Worship music was playing softly.  I saw Lorrie - she was smiling and at peace -once again treasuring up these things in her heart.  And then I saw Jacob. He was smiling - I threw my hat across the room and shouted - a victory shout.  "Look at that!" Lorrie was probably wondering if I had finally lost it..."look at what?"  " Lorrie...he is smiling.  He saw Jesus".  "Oh my...I didn't notice...he is." " He's ok now Lorrie - he won - you won!  I love you so much - he had the best Mom -you."

In the conference room Hannah was gripped by a deep and brooding sadness - deeper and different from the others.  I came to get them - "Noah, Naomi, Hannah do you want to come see him?"  Noah and Naomi got up and headed to the room.  Hannah was sobbing.."no...I can't".  "Hannah.  Hannah."  "I just can't Dad"  "Hannah."  "What?"  "Hannah he is smiling".  Hannah looked up at me and then walked past me to the room.  I briefly told Cliff and Debbie what I had seen and then joined my family in the room.  Now Hannah smiled.  God had answered her prayer - one more smile.

We sat with Jacob for the morning.  We worshiped.  We were at peace.  We made a point to comfort all who worked so hard to save and to serve Jacob.  "You knew him, you loved him...you are welcome here." And so that morning the staff said goodbye to Jacob.  I will never forget seeing three of the housekeeping staff huddling quietly and tearfully in a closet two doors down.  I walked in - "are you ok?"  "We are so sorry about Jacob".    I told them it was ok.  "He was your friend too...please if you need to...come see him."  And they did.

That boy...his life...his impact...it was global.  Jacob's story has been heard all over the world.  The name of Jesus was proclaimed loudly.  I personally think that Jesus used Jacob to hand the enemy a part of his own backside - I love that thought.  Abandoned in a box, named "Holy" (Sagrada). Adopted, Loved and yes lost -but not really.  We miss him - but we all know we'll see him again - soon.  Cliff asked me that morning "what are you feeling now?"  I remembered the scene from Saving Private Ryan when they had finally taken the high ground above the beach and sat there exhausted, staring over the carnage on Omaha Beach and out to the invasion fleet.  "It's quite a view" .  Through Jesus Jacob took the high ground we were with him.  We won.



We Love You All.

The Wortheys