Monday, January 12, 2009

Scott and Kathy Rosenow

Scott and Kathy Rosenow of The Shepherds Crook are a devoted Christian couple who have chosen to follow God in extra ordinary ways. As parents of 4 home-made children and 13 chosen children from around the world, they have lots of experience with hearing God's voice in regards to adopting children with special needs. They are two of my modern day heroes, though I have never had the opportunity to meet them in person.

Today I received an email from them with an urgent request for a little boy from Liberia with hydrocephalus who desperately needs a family. PLEASE pray for this little one.

Included was a copy of Kathryn's Story which really blessed me and I hope it will you as well. I got Kathy's permission to copy it here.

Kathryn’s Story
In August 2004, Scott and I traveled to China to adopt our twelfth child, Caelyn. After we had been home for about four days, we got an email from one of our staff volunteers who was in Guatemala at the time. She told us that she knew this was terrible timing since we had just returned from China with a new child who has significant special needs, but she felt strongly that God had placed it on her heart to contact us and she just couldn’t ignore this prompting any longer.
She told us that there was a three-month-old baby girl there who had been diagnosed with microcephaly and severe developmental delays. Six Christian families had considered adopting this child, but each had backed out one by one. Then she told us that she had been given just a few more days to find a family for her. If she wasn’t able to do that, this little girl would be declared unadoptable and probably spend the rest of her life in an institution for the mentally retarded.
As our volunteer rocked this helpless and unresponsive baby, she prayed that God would move someone’s heart to make this child their daughter, and over and over again, our names came to her mind.
After she emailed us, we agreed to pray about it, and the orphanage sent us a CT scan of this baby’s head. We had a couple of neurosurgeons, and several other doctors, take a look at this film. The prognosis was the same from everyone who saw her film—this was a baby who had been born missing parts of her brain, a child who would probably never respond to anyone or even recognize her own parents or interact or be able to return love in any way. Then we got a medical report from Guatemala that said she also seemed to be deaf and blind.
Our whole family was scared to death to move forward with even considering the adoption of this little girl. In spite of his fear, though, Scott was ready to obey God. I, on the other hand, was just so terrified that I obstinately refused to even open my heart to any leading from God in this area. One night, I’m ashamed to say, I even stated aloud to Scott and our older kids that I absolutely would not agree to adopt this child under any circumstances. After a shocked silence from all of them, I went to bed and spent the night crying and wrestling with God in my sin and misery. Finally about 4:00 a.m. I got up to pray. Pouring my fears out to God, I confessed the sinfulness of my heart, surrendered my will to His, and told Him that I would obey Him if it was His plan to bring this child to us, but that I would need so much more from Him than I had ever needed up to that point. By the next evening, Scott and I both knew that God was indeed asking us to move forward with adopting this little girl.
In faith, we chose the name Kathryn Felicity for this baby. The name means “pure joy,” and we asked God to work in her life to make her joyful and to bring joy to others through her in spite of the bleak picture others had given to us about her abilities.
God graciously provided all of the money needed to cover the cost of her adoption, and He moved her process through smoothly and quickly, so that four months later, Scott and I were in Guatemala to meet and bring home this new little daughter.
When we brought her to our hotel room, she was like a little body with no one inside at all—she was like an empty shell. She stared into space and wouldn’t respond to any sound, no matter how sudden or how loud. She did indeed appear to be deaf and possibly blind, just as we had been told. I started to cry, placed her in Scott’s arms, and went into the bathroom where I sat on the floor and cried while I begged God to help me know how to love a child who would never be able to love me back. I just kept saying, “God, I’m so scared. This is too big. I can’t do this.” Over and over again, the chorus to the song “The Voice of Truth” went through my head. I clung to the words,
“The voice of truth tells me a different story, The voice of truth says, ‘Do not be afraid.’ The voice of truth says ‘This is for My glory.’ Out of all of the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.”
I had to make a choice on that hotel bathroom floor to listen to what I knew God was calling me to do, regardless of what the future held, because I knew that this was for His glory. It wasn’t about me or my comfort or pleasure. I found tremendous peace and courage in remembering that it was God who had brought us to that hotel in Guatemala, and that He was the One who had placed that brain-damaged baby in our arms as our child. That knowledge gave me enough courage and strength to start that first day with little Kathryn Felicity.
When we bring a new child into our family, we always choose a song to be that child’s special song, and when I came back out into the hotel room, Scott was singing Kathryn’s special song to her. Whether she could hear him or even know that he was there with her, Kathryn’s daddy was singing to her. By the end of that first afternoon, Kathryn had made very brief eye contact with us. We kept singing to her, and by the next day, she had smiled at us. Music and love continued to unlock the world where Kathryn had locked herself safely away, and she rapidly became the brightest little light that God had ever brought into the life of the Rosenows.
Even though her hearing has turned out to be normal, and she isn’t blind, she is somewhat visually impaired and she definitely suffers from brain damage that we have been told may have been caused by an attempted abortion. But God spared her life. He has a part for her to play in His plans for this world.
She is four and a half years old now and finally learned to crawl just this past Christmas. She may not ever walk, though; she has cerebral palsy. She is beginning to talk to us—sometimes even four to six words at a time. She knows every member of her family and loves them and calls them by name as she orders them to “come here” or “sit down.” She crawls through the house trying to keep her two-year-old brother and sister out of trouble and trying to tattle on them when they get into mischief. And her smiles and giggles fill our home with amazing joy. We cannot even imagine our life without all that she has brought into it. The pictures below show the striking difference between the Kathryn we first met in Guatemala and the Kathryn of today.
Rarely does a day pass when I don’t think to myself, “I almost missed this because I was too afraid to go where God told me to go.” And even when I was so obstinate and sinful in my fear, He chose to bless me with this beautiful gift anyway. He didn’t need me to fulfill His plans for Kathryn’s life. He could’ve accomplished these plans without me—in any way He liked. But He brought her to me. What a merciful Father we serve.
We can’t always know how things will turn out when God calls us to step out in faith, but we can know that we will never have peace or be content if we refuse to obey Him. And He will bring joy and peace into our lives when we do obey, and this joy can sometimes come from very surprising circumstances.

Isn't this a great story? I'm sorry I couldn't get the before and after pictures of their beautiful daughter to print--the difference that love makes is unbelievable. I hope that this will encourage anyone reading it to go ahead and do what God has called them to do.


Amy Boyack said...

That is so sweet. I'm glad you're sharing these experiences. It's heart warming.

The Keno Family said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful story Joy. I hope it's ok if I post it on our blog for our friends to read.
Mary Ellen

AZmomto8 said...

Truly is a inspiring story and we have seen it time and again in our RR group, haven't we? God's wonderful miracles, a wonder to behold.

Karen said...

Wow, that is amazing. It is a great encouragement. Thank you!