All I Want for Christmas

 By Jonni Sliver

Almost exactly 1 year ago a precious little girl came in to our lives. Emily was two years old, a simply adorable little lady who was terrified of everyone and everything. For days the only time she wasn’t crying was when she was sleeping. Bit by bit we won her over. First it was Odette and Neyde, who spent the most time with her, feeding her, bathing her, comforting her wounded heart. Next came two other house moms, and before long all of the Miriam Home family entered her list of people she trusted.

It was pure joy to see Emily grow. We discovered that she is a very bright little girl, with a wonderful sense of humor and an enormous heart. During this last year we saw God restoring Emily’s ability to trust and causing her confidence to grow.

About a month ago I began to hear “the” question being asked of the children in the Miriam Home –“what do you want for Christmas?” It is the same question asked all over the world, and I am guessing most of the answers are pretty similar – a toy, a game, jeans, tennis, music or even (can you imagine) books. But some of the answers are different.  When one of our staff asked Emily what she wanted for Christmas she said “ a mommy and daddy and home of my own”.  She had just turned 3 years old and I thought that was a pretty deep thought for such a little girl! Even though we have known that Emily would eventually go up for adoption, she wasn’t available for adoption yet, and we didn’t know when she would be.

Just two weeks later the judge advised us that he had put Emily on the list available to families waiting for children. A week later we were told that a couple was coming to visit the Miriam Home, to get to know Emily. During the visit they didn’t tell the children why they were there, they just visited with all of the little ones. They came back a few days later, for another visit. This time they asked Emily if she would like to visit them over the week-end. Emily said yes! This precious little lady, who just a year earlier was terrified of everyone, went with this couple for a week-end all by herself!

Emily returned Monday morning telling us she had a wonderful time with her mommy and daddy. She was happy to be back with the people she loves in the Miriam Home but she reminded us daily that this week-end she would be going to her mommy and daddy’s house, and she did. She will be staying for a month with this lovely couple, and the judge will then officially ask if they want to adopt her. The couple has waited five years to adopt. They are in their early 30’s, love the Lord and want a child to complete their family.

Seeing God’s faithfulness in restoring this sweet little girl and answering her prayers may be the best gift I have received all year!

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Finally a Home!

Editor’s note:  This story in Jonni Sliver’s latest newsletter is so captivating, we wanted to post it here.  You can find Jonni’s entire newsletter here.

I have written about Cleberson before. He is a precious little guy who arrived in December of last year because his mom had literally thrown him away. He had been passed off to two relatives, both of whom treated him terribly and by the time he was just barely six, his mother arrived at the Miriam Home, opened the car door and told him to get out. She didn’t leave the car, give him a hug or say she loved him – she just drove away. It has been nearly ten months and Cleber’s mother hasn’t called or visited.  Cleber hasn’t asked for her either. This sweet little guy deserves better, He deserves parents that love him.

In February of this year a large annual youth retreat was held in Campo Mourao during the week of Carnaval. A couple, Juliano and Claudineia came with young people from Curitiba, partially because they are youth counselors in their home church, but partially because they wanted to meet Cleber. They have been praying for a time now about adopting and when they heard about him they felt God was speaking to them.

The first encounter didn’t last long; just a couple of hours together. Juliano and Cleber played soccer, then they went out for ice cream. For Cleber it was a nice time, making new friends; but for Juliano and Claudineia it was so much more! The “small voice” they had heard before now sounded like a shout! They entered in to contact with the juvnile officials here in Campo Mourao and in Curitiba to find out how they could adopt Cleber.

Of course there have been obstacles. The first was that there was already a couple who had expressed interest in Cleber (you could say they called dibs), and because they were already on the waiting list and lived here in Campo Mourao, they had priority. But Juliano and Claudineia didn’t give up or wait to see what happened they moved forward, to claim their son! The local couple began inviting Cleber to their home on the week-ends and holidays, to begin to bond. They are older (in their mid to late 60’s) and after a few weeks they found that the energy of a six year old is hard to keep up with! By June they decided that they weren’t able to adopt Cleber.

During those months Juliano and Claudineia had been assembling the wide array of documents, statements, and interviews to register as potential adoptive parents, but still another hurdle was before them: the backlog in the juvenile courts that kept the documents on a desk for months! It was the middle of September before this persevering couple finally heard that they could come to Campo Mourao to speak in person with the juvenile authorities here and spend time with Cleber. Their hope was that at the end of the week-end they would be able to take him home with them, but that wasn’t possible. The authorities want Cleber to stay here until the end of the school year (near the end of November). But Cleber has just returned from his first visit to Juliano and Claudineia’s home for a long week-end. He returned to tell us about his new room, his fun cousins, but mostly about his mom and dad, who love him. Finally, Cleber has found the family he deserves!  

Please Keep Praying for Cleber’s adoption process and that Juliano and Claudineia receive custody as soon as possible.  They would love for him to be home for his birthday, November 17th.