Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Prayers needed for Mexico and Brazil

There is so much to write about the last weeks.   I actually wrote a long post about my lack of hope about many things,  one of them Napro here.

Well God showed me today that its His project and He will open the doors when he sees fit. As he has done countless times, but I seem always to forget.

The story is that a  small group of amazing women from Mexico had been thinking for some time to go to Omaha to become practitioners, yet all of them lacked the funds.  Amazing, amazing women.  

One an entrpeneur and  a  top student  in Mexico with a honors degree from a top MBA,  another a youth leader for Latin America that has defended life in front of the UN, then a mother of four that specializes in family counseling.

Really the cream of the crop in all aspects.

Well,  all willing and able to go, but no money.    Hands that are urgently needed here.    

The bishop  that has been our main help here had a meeting some days ago with a donor that had offered to help us, but the meeting was canceled last minute.   Once again.

We have planned for this meeting many times during the last year and it always is moved or canceled.   And again we had hope and it faded.

There was no way we could get money fast and with so much work at the office and my son I could not focus on this as I normally could have.

On Sunday, Father Pio´s feast day, for some reason I decided to write last minute to a woman that the bishop had introduced  us to  many months ago.  

A mother of 5 that in silence has backed up many,  many pro-life causes.    When I presented Napro to her she go the from the get go and has always been interested.   Actually loved it.

I somehow remembered she has a deep devotion to him  (even naming her last son Pio)  and decided to put it in his hands.  I actually asked him to deliver the message to her and open her heart to Napro.

Well she always answers very fast  so I grew discouraged when I did not hear from her Monday, nor Tuesday.  And time was running out.   Yesterday PPVI actually wrote that if the practitioners did not confirm yesterday they would give their spaces to others.  

Well today while I was in a meeting I see her name in my inbox.  She wants to meet Wednesday and discuss how to bring Napro here.  I am almost sure she will help, at least in part.  If we can only get them to the first part, then we can look for the rest of the money somehow.

But Wednesday it too late.  The course starts Saturday of next week.  

But it does not stop here.   I have a client in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil that I have blogged about HERE.

A medical doctor who is one of the most amazing women I have ever met

We have a follow up tonight after not hearing from her for many,  many months and she tells me she wants to go to become a practitioner,   she feels this yearning, but they did not accept her as one since this years class is packed,  but told her that she could go as a doctor.

Since she is an eye doctor she had never considered this, but somehow sees this as a sign and she decided to go.   She actually got vacations from her medical practice.

But again no money. Zero.

The  recently  faced an adoption that went wrong and ended up spending all their money on lawyers. Yet she feels this yearning.

Well she had been praying a novena to Father Pio that ended Sunday.   The same day I sent the email.

She had asked Fr. Pio for a sign.   And then I tell her the story of my prayer also Sunday and then I receive another mail from the donor telling me to move up the meeting to this Monday.


And  so we agree  we  will ask this donor Monday also for money for her.  The doctor wants to  bring Napro to Brazil and I am sure the donor will be interested in this

The country with the largest Catholic population in the world. And zero moral options  in cases of IF.

Please,  please we need all the prayers we can get.

So Omaha still accepts all of them  and that we get the funds Monday.   Five days before the start of the course.   Its truly and totally crazy,  but  4 amazing women are willing to do it.

I think Fr. Pio wants to help and who am I to tell him no?   =)

Padre Pio Please help!
Lady of Guadalupe, please pray.
Our Lady of Aparecida from Brazil,  please pray.

Monday, September 10, 2012

JPII on adoption

I have been reflecting a lot on adoption as we embark on our second one and also when met with the case of the six African orphans that were going to be adopted by a community  that I blogged about a couple of day ago and their uncle, a priest,  in a desperate journey to save them.

I found this which I had never ever read and found it beautiful I had to share.

I have marked in bold those chapters that stirred my heart deeply.

Tuesday, 5 September 2000

Dear Cardinal Laghi,
Dear Missionaries of Charity,
Parents and children of adoptive families,
Friends and collaborators of the Work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta,
1. I am pleased to meet you in such numbers and I thank Sr Mary Simon for her kind words expressing your sentiments.
You have wished to celebrate your Jubilee on the third anniversary of Mother Teresa's death. It is a very significant way of expressing your desire to follow Christ in the footsteps of this remarkable daughter of the Church, who devoted her whole life to charity. How can we forget her? As the years pass, her memory remains more vivid than ever. We remember her with her smile, her deep gaze, her rosary. It seems that we still see her traveling the world in search of the poorest of the poor, ever ready to open new areas of charity, welcoming to everyone like a true mother.
2. It is not unusual to call a religious "mother". But this name had special intensity for Mother Teresa. A mother is recognized by her ability to give herself. Seeing Mother Teresa's manner, attitudes, way of being, helps us understand what it meant to her, beyond the purely physical dimension, to be a mother; it helped her to go to the spiritual root of motherhood.
We certainly know what her secret was:  she was filled with Christ, and therefore looked at everyone with the eyes and heart of Christ. She had taken seriously his words:  "I was hungry and you gave me food ..." (Mt 25: 35). She therefore had no trouble in "adopting" her poor as children.
Her love was concrete and enterprising:  it spurred her to go where few had the courage to go, wherever poverty was so great as to be frightening.
It is not surprising that the people of our time were fascinated by her. She incarnated that love which Jesus indicated as the distinctive mark of his disciples:  "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13: 35).
3. Among the works that flowed from Mother Teresa's heart, one of the most important is the adoption movement. For this reason so many adoptive families are here today.
I greet you with affection, dear parents and children! I am pleased with this meeting, which allows me to reflect with you on the path you are taking. To adopt a child is a great work of love. When it is done, much is given, but much is also received. It is a true exchange of gifts.
In this area, unfortunately, our time knows many contradictions. Despite the numerous children who, because of the death or inability of their parents, are left without a family, there are so many couples who decide to have no children for often selfish reasons. Others let themselves be discouraged by economic, social or bureaucratic difficulties. Still others, in the desire to have their "own" child at any cost, go far beyond the legitimate help which medical science can offer procreation, even having recourse to morally reprehensible practices. Regarding these tendencies, it must be said that the norms of moral law are more than mere abstract principles, but safeguard the true good of man, and in this case, the good of the child with respect to the interests of his parents.
As an alternative to these questionable means, the existence of so many children without families suggests adoption as a concrete way of love. Families like yours are here to say that this is a possible and beautiful way, despite its difficulties; a way, moreover, which is even more feasible than in the past, in this era of globalization which shortens all distances.

4. Adopting children, regarding and treating them as one's own children, means recognizing that the relationship between parents and children is not measured only by genetic standards. Procreative love is first and foremost a gift of self. There is a form of "procreation" which occurs through acceptance, concern and devotion. The resulting relationship is so intimate and enduring that it is in no way inferior to one based on a biological connection. When this is also juridically protected, as it is in adoption, in a family united by the stable bond of marriage, it assures the child that peaceful atmosphere and that paternal and maternal love which he needs for his full human development.
This is precisely what your experience shows. Your decision and commitment are an invitation to society as a whole to be courageous and generous, so that this gift may be more and more esteemed, encouraged and legally supported.
5. I thank you for your witness! As we celebrate the 2,000th anniversary of Christ's birth in this Great Jubilee, let us also remember that every person who comes into the world, in whatever condition, bears the sign of God's love. Christ was born and gave his life for every child in the world. There is no child, then, who does not belong to him.
"Let the children come to me" (Mk 10: 14). Mother Teresa echoed these words in a way when she said to mothers tempted by abortion:  "Give me your children". Following in her footsteps, you have put yourselves with Christ on the side of children. May the Lord fill you with every consolation and sustain you in the difficulties of your journey.
I embrace you all and bless you in his name.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Six orphans and a priest

My heart is absolutely broken and I know I must help, but I am not sure how. 

Its at times like this that I look at  Josemaria and cannot help,  but hug him very,  very tight.

I have an adoptive son and since then I cannot sit and cross my arms when I hear about the suffering of orphans .  I cry at reading the RR orphan reports, and pray hard for them, but now a case of 6 orphans has struck close to home and I am not sure how to help.

 I am great at giving money, but terrible at fundraising.  Arghhhh!

This is the story of six (actually 8 orphans ) and a priest.  A true story that sounds more like a drama for TV, but all of this is true.

I go to church in Mexico.   I do not have a particular spirituality, but in this church I have found my home.

 I have been close to the Jesuits in university, the Opus Dei due to later studies, the charmismatic renewal,  but where I feel most at home is the  Brothers of St John.  A french order founded by a dominican that was very close to JPII.

Its a modern order of brothers, sisters and priests.  Filled with hundreds of vocations.  Its very contemplative, intelectual with a great sense of community.

This order has been key in my spiritual development and was the one that opened the door to Napro here at the very beginning when most people thought I was crazy.

Well one of the priests  of this order comes from Africa, his name is Fr. Louis Lam.ah (   Since its a French speaking order they have many vocations from French speaking countries in Africa.

I will put a picture of him in the next hours when they send it to me.

This brother spent  a year in  Mexico city   and I had the pleasure to get to know him and was then  reasigned to Saltillo in the  north of Mexico. The city where my grandmother comes from.

A city of amazing people, hard working, deep Catholics in the desert .   Amazing, amazing people, some of the best I have ever met.

The brothers there have a  monastery and a convent and thriving community.

Well this  priest left his family back in Guinea to follow God´s call  and has been  giving his life to helping others for the last decade.

And tragedy after tragedy has struck his family while he is working for others.

His brother had 8 children when he died 2 years ago.  The children remained with their mother who died last year.   Both completely unexpected deaths in  a very Catholic family.  

 Well then the 8 children went to live with their grandmother who struggled to save these 8 grieving children and tragedy struck again. She died this year, and as the priest says,  it was of exhaustion.

She left  8, yes 8,  orphans. Eight children alone, without any food.  Only 2 close to 18, but the rest children.   Due to security issues and visa regulations I cannot put a picture of them here.

I just cry when I write this.

They went to live with their uncle as in Africa the social security system is your family,   but this brother has also a large family and cannot even feed some of these children.

And so Fr. Louis has been struggling to help in any way he can, while being a priest and not having any money of his own.

I cannot imagine having a religious vocation and knowing full well that your family back home is  going hungry,  does not have a place to  put their heads at night.  Children suffering.

The community in Saltillo  has been amazing.   Well they found families in a matter of weeks for each of the six children and has come together to bring them here.

Six families in weeks committed to  six children who are grieving, that do not look anything like any other children in Saltillo, that do not speak Spanish.  Brave, amazing, loving families.  

 The body of Christ coming together .

The 2 older children who are close to the age of 18 will remain with their uncle and help the rest of the family back home.

And so began the process to bring these 6 orphans to Mexico.   To save them.

Getting 6 visas,  plus one for the brother of the priest who is now their guardian and all the paperwork.  The children are in Guinea  and in order to travel to Mexico they must travel first to Nigeria where the Mexican consulate is and where the flights to America are.

 But doing it by bus could cost these children their lives so it must be by plane.   They could be murdered during this journey so they must fly.

 All unexpected expenses for the families that have committed to them.   Nothing has been as expected. Hundreds of details to sort out.   God guiding the way.

Then when they arrive in Nigeria they must have an translator since they are French speaking and need to be interviewed.   Also unexpected.

And then getting them their visas to Mexico.   Well their visas were granted, but they expire today and if they had waited another day it would have been another year to get them out.

Its so significant that the visas expire today, day of the birthday of our Lady, but also the 100th birthday of the founder of the brothers of St John:   Fr Marie Dominique Philipe.

They are now traveling, Guinea to Nigeria, Nigeria to a city in the USA and then to  Mexico city, Mexico city to  Saltillo.  I cannot imagine the trip these children are going through.

Children that  have lost everything.

Since time was of essence these parents to be have gone into deep debt and so has part of the community.

 And so 6 orphans arrive today, the birthday of our Lady to a city in Mexico that has committed to save them, but they still need help.

These families owe now thousands of dollars, but had to do it to save these children from another year of hunger, disease, etc.   I do not even know where to begin

I have no idea how to put a pay pal button on my blog, nor how to raise money (this is not common in Mexico, we do not do this normally), but I need your advice and help .

So far my DH and I have committed to matching up to 500 USD.  

I only know that as an adoptive mother I cannot cross my arms  to both help a priest whose community I owe so much and 6 grieving children.

If you have any ideas or can help please let me know.    Also all prayers are welcome.

The journey to save these children has just begun and as  a Catholic I must help.

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
Matthew 18:5

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Counting the blessings

I will not lie.

The next weeks (until end of October) will be very challenging professionally, so challenging that I have been sleeping badly and having a constant headache.  I have tried to do all kinds of things to worry less, but I know what is ahead.     Lets say the pace we will be asked to keep since the human resources for my team are still not in place is not healthy and I am preparing for the worst.  

In trying to prepare myself   for the weeks ahead in last days I have decided to count my blessings and slow down as much as I can so at least I can keep up with the the pace.

Looking at the bright side of things there are 3 things that stand out of the last weeks, which all are amazing, but when you are in the midst of running from one place to the other sometimes you fail to notice.

In order not to forget them I will write them there and put them also in a place where I can see them each day:

The top 3 unique  blessings  of the last days are:
  • Finished a new round of 21days antibiotics,  plus antifungal medicines given to me by Dr.  B from Ireland.  He considers this combination works much better than alone.   I think this greatly contributed to me feeling really bad the last weeks.  But guess what?  No more TEEBB!!!! I truly hope it stays away, but for now I will count it as a great,  great blessing. 
  • During this time of crisis at work DH has also  been a true blessing.  Taking extra good care of Josema, doing all the adoption paperwork, buying groceries (you can notice he has done the shopping as we have more than 9 varieties of granola, tons of different fruits fit for a family of 8, etc!) and doing a lot of the family errands.   Most of the time I do not have to  even ask him, he just goes and does it which is amazing.   He even does things I had completely forgotten and most of all he is the prayer warrior of our family.    And most errands he has done  many times better than I have been able in the last months!
  • A few weeks ago our adoption agency won a grant by my company that they had applied a long time ago for.  I reached out to my boss asking him for advice  for them  in implementing the grant and out of the blue he  offered to teach them the ins and outs of online marketing.  This way the agency could help more women in distress.  The agency leaders from both the local and national offices  (some 9 people including the founder) spent 4 hours in our offices a couple of days ago.  It was  inspiring, humbling, etc.   I could not believe it was taking place and saw this as  such a unique gift.   Having such an amazing boss is a blessing and being able to help women and babies through our work the most amazing thing ever.  I will never be able to repay our agency for  the enormous  gift is our son is, but if through my work I can I will more than gladly do it.   I have been asked to join their marketing and communications national committee and although I know its a lot to do now and probably will not be able to join all their meetings,  I also know that I am in a unique position to help them through what I am learning each day  and God will provide a way if he wants me to help.   

What are your blessings?