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Monday, July 3, 2017

Oh, LORD, Forgive Me For I Have Sinned!

"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them."
~James 4:17

I have pondered this and believed it, with little declaration or action, far too long.
Forgive me, LORD!
Forgiver me, Brothers and Sisters!
Forgive me, unborn children!
There are MANY atrocities against children (and others) across our globe, some I have seen with my own eyes. However, each time I am confronted with such injustices my God reminds me, without fail, of the murder of the unborn child, legally, here at home.
How can I become so zealous to do whatever is necessary to end those atrocities in other countries, when I am doing NOTHING to end the legal murder of our own unborn children?
Brothers and Sisters, I no longer can remain silent about the genocide of our own unborn children. You and I have sat back and allowed the enemy to deceive us far too long.
I cannot help but believe our doing nothing for the unborn child, for so long, is part of the reason we are now where we are, as a nation, in so many respects. "Our doing nothing" really is an oxymoron, since it has resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of unborn children, here in our own country and legally.
While I was on my sabbatical last week, the Lord led me to a sermon by Matt Chandler, one of Joseph's go-to pastors/teachers on the Internet. I scrolled through the sermon topics on The Village Church website and chose "Sanctity of Human Life", not necessarily because of the topic, but because Matt was the speaker, that day.
His words, "Believe and declare" have convicted me to the core. Belief without declaration is no belief at all.
It was no accident or "it, just so happened" I chose that one. Obviously, my God has decided I can no longer do nothing and say nothing.
So, what will I do for the unborn? I do not know the details, yet, but one thing for sure I...WILL nothing any longer!
First and foremost I will begin praying!
Monday's, from here on, will be a day of prayer for the unborn. It will be a day where I ask God to forgive me/us and lead me/us to repent. It will be a day of me asking Him what, when, where and how am I to right this horrific wrong. It will be a day of showing His love to those who have chosen abortion, for whatever reason, and sharing the fact that God's forgiveness includes those who have done so, including my doing nothing to stop it.
I am NOT here to debate anything, since basic embryology (the study of embryos and their development ) has always declared without doubt that at 

"Thou shalt not commit murder."

Oh, LORD, forgive me for I have sinned. My hands are guilty of murders, many. The sins against our American unborn children are just as heinous as every other countries' sins against their already born children. Guide me in my repentance to seek how, when, where and with whom I am to share this. May the light of Your truth shine bright in this land as we seek Your forgiveness for our complacency with regard to the right of every unborn child to life, which You alone give.

I pray for your mercy on us as we deserve the same judgement our own laws have established for those who murder another human being.

How do we right this wrong, LORD? Is it even possible?
Give me wisdom and discernment to respond and not react to my own guilt in some over zealous action with no lasting positive outcomes. To respond in a way that will ultimately bring reconciliation between You and me and all others you so desire to be reconciled with. LORD, making laws will not always be sufficient to change behavior, but changing hearts will. Help me to be a heart-changer instead of a law-maker.
I am undone, before You, LORD!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Signs for Hope, Red, White & Blue Tie Dye T-shirts

We now have our 2017 Family Retreat t-shirts available  for sale.  $22 each (all sizes).  

$22 includes shirt, tax, shipping and handling.

The Adult shirts (2XL - S; limited supply) are red, white & blue (Gildan 100% Cotton, Americana Swirl) with light blue printing on the front and back. 

Front - SFH logo. 

Back - SFH logo with website and "Coordinating the adoption of deaf orphans in the world." And "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; Proverbs 3:5" 

See below.  

Children's sizes (L - XS; limited supply) have the same printing front and back but are blue on blue tie dye (Gildan, 100% Cotton, Blue Ocean) with white printing.  See below.

$22 per shirt, all sizes. 

3 ways to order:

1) By Credit Card
Email your size(s) and number of shirts for each size, along with your shipping address to  I will generate an invoice from our SFH Square Store.  Once payment is received, your shirt(s) will be shipped as soon as possible.  

2) By Check

Send a check or money order to Signs for Hope, PO Box 460, Fairview, NC 28730

3) Asheville - local delivery

Cash or check. Email me at the size(s) you want and I will deliver.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

MudLOVE & Signs for Hope's Campaign for our ASL-Immerision Family Retreat 2017!

Our Signs for Hope ASL-Immersion Family Retreat for hearing families who have adopted children with deafness is truly unique! 

This is our 2nd year to offer this ASL-rich experience specifically for helping the hearing families of deaf children learn better how to communicate with their adopted children via sign language and who better to share with them than our Deaf volunteer staff? 

MudLOVE was born in 2009, the same year as Signs for Hope, and their desire to provide clean water for those in Africa in great need was their motivation.  Today, every product purchased at MudLOVE provides one week of clean water to someone who needs it in The Central African Republic ( AND it helps Signs for Hope raise funds to host our annual family retreat, held May 31st - June 4th.

This campaign is a double-win!  Your purchase supports 1) clean water for those in need and 2) ASL-immersion for hearing families in need.  

Each mug is hand-thrown with love by artisans at MudLOVE! 

Click HERE to place an order on the MudLOVE website to support our SFH family retreat, 2017. These mugs and wristbands make wonderful gifts for yourself and others AND Mother's Day is coming! 


The cost for our family retreat runs over $10,000, each year.  We desire to provide $100 scholarships for each Deaf attendee and we cook and/or provide 4 meals for each attendee to help keep our families' and volunteers costs low. In addition, we provide a family retreat t-shirt for each attendee.  We are seeking to raise $1,500 through this campaign and we are well on our way with 38%.

If you like what you see, please share!

You can always make tax-deductible donations to Signs for Hope securely online HERE.

Or mail a check for any amount to Signs for Hope, PO Box 460, Fairview, NC  28730.  Contact me directly with questions please or if you would like more information about attending our ASL-immersion family 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Give the Hope of Christ this Christmas to Deaf Children Around the World!


This is our wreath from Lynch Creek Farms on our front door, right now!!

Signs for Hope is excited to offer a holiday fundraiser that provides enjoyment for you and those you love this Christmas while giving Deaf children hope around the world. 

I found this amazing evergreen company,  

Lynch Creek Farms, well into the Christmas season last year. 

Facebook, thankfully, reminded me of it a couple of weeks ago.  They offer a 20% donation to Signs for Hope for every sale. 

We got our wreath seen above on our front door and our table arrangement this past week!!

They are BEAUTIFUL and smell wonderful!  

On my table in my home, right now! 

Don't Delay...Order Today! 

You can call Lynch Creek Farms (888-426-0781; they are on the west coast) or you can order securely online.  Share Signs for Hope's name when you order by phone or be sure to click on the Signs for Hope link here when you order online.  This will help make sure SFH receives your 20%. 

Note:  If online you have trouble finding our SFH campaign enter 28730 zip code when searching for us.

Please share this with others...these are AMAZING! 

And she brought forth her first born son and she called Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sin!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What My Eyes Have Seen...Part 5

Over the past three weeks I have been in three cities in China and one in the Philippines.  The combined population of these 4 cities is well over 50 million people and all are rapidly growing. Interesting to note, Japan is the only country on the planet that has a declining population and the facts surrounding that discovery are somewhat fascinating and alarming.  Check it out.  Of course you know any given population is constantly changing with births and deaths every day.  How does anyone actually know how many people there are at any given moment in time?

Beijing - 21.7 million

Zhengzhou - 9.3 million

Guangzhou - 13+ million

Manila - 13+ million

To give a more clear perspective of these numbers in relation to the United States, the current US population is approaching 325 million people, total. Our largest city is New York which has 8.55 million people and Los Angeles our 2nd largest city, just over 4 million. 

Over the past 3 weeks I have been transported in a rickshaw, ski-lift, toboggan, cars, vans, taxis, buses, bullet and regular trains, trams, subways and planes, no scooters, motorbikes or boats this trip.  I have looked into the faces and eyes of countless people and precious children. Since I have light skin and blue eyes (on some days) I draw attention in these masses. Thankfully no children screamed in terror when they saw me on this trip.  I have had that reaction by some when visiting African countries; it breaks my heart every time.  I have been very well treated and called ma'am or madam, by all ages, more in the past three weeks than in three years here in the states.  Yes, some cultures still respect their elders and train the next generation to do so.

Let me give us even greater perspective.  These numbers simply represent the current population of the globe.  They do not represent all those who have already lived and died.  They also do not represent those who are yet to be born.  

Debriefing after a trip like this takes time...deliberate and intentional time.  One of the things I do for SFH team members following trips, especially to Liberia, is help them process through what they have experienced. 
"The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation."~Psalm 33:11

My experiences over the past three weeks are too numerous to recount. I do not have any one to debrief with, except my LORD.  He was the only one traveling with me, as a team member, this trip.  
He will provide others to help with this process in a variety of ways though and I am anticipating those opportunities. I trust my LORD to lead me through this time of debriefing over the next days and weeks, making sure I retain and glean all He desires.  The gospel of John is our focus for Bible Study Fellowship this year and I have no doubt He will speak through this study in numerous ways.  I constantly tell my Brothers and Sisters, "Our God wastes nothing!" This is true for all my experiences these past three weeks, as well. 

I have to wonder how many of those, I have seen with my own eyes, do not know Him or do not even know of Him.  I also have to wonder how many of those DO know Him and embrace His love and plan even more so than you and I do.

Note: I realized I was thirsty, just now, so I went into the kitchen to get a drink of water...FROM THE FAUCET!   Not something I could do over the past three weeks. The things I take for granted...

One step deeper!

Maybe you are thinking how insignificant you really are in relation to the masses?  Maybe you think God is too busy with everyone else, He does not have time for you?
Maybe you think there is nothing you could do to make a difference in this world? 

Think again!  And take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, as I must do. 

This is what the Bible teaches about you and me and every other human being of this world and how personally engaged our God truly is with each of us!
"And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered."~Matthew 10:30
"The sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out."
~John 10:3

"You have searched me, Lord,
    and You know me. 

 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    You perceive my thoughts from afar. 

 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    You are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue
    You, Lord, know it completely.

 You hem me in behind and before,
    and You lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain."

~Psalm 139:1-6

"For You created my inmost being;
    You knit me together in my mother’s womb. 

 I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. 

 My frame was not hidden from You
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 

 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
    before one of them came to be."

~Psalm 139:13-16

"You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in Your book."
~Psalm 56:8

But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high."
~Psalm 3:3

Because He bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!"
~Psalm 116:2
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care."
~Matthew 10:29

Be assured our Creator God knows the intimate details of every one of us at any given moment in time, even when the census folks do not.  Do not allow the enemy a foothold and cause you to think mistakenly you and your life do not matter among the masses.  It is the one-to-one that our God delights in and was the reason He sent His one and only Son to every one of us.

Monday, August 22, 2016

When God Honors Our "Yes": Our Sign Language Journey, Part 2

Guest post by Vicki Raleigh.  When God Honors Our "Yes": Our Sign Language Journey, Part 2.

In Part one I described how the adoption of our daughter, Ava, born with cleft lip and palate and deafness, set us on a journey to become skilled in sign language. Our desire to support her ability to communicate with others led us on a roller-coaster of experiences and emotions, which culminated in our decision to learn and implement American Sign Language in our daily lives. 

In case you’re not already familiar, please note that the phrase “sign language” is a general term which can refer to any number of various forms of manual communication. American Sign Language (ASL) is a true language, complete with it’s own set of rules and guidelines. ASL is a conceptual language and does not parallel, or correlate to, spoken or written English. While ASL is the goal in our home, for the benefit of the reader, I will typically use the more general term, “sign language”.
People who watch us sign with one another will typically ask, “How did you learn to sign?” My usual answer is that we are still learning. I often say that the more I learn, the more I realize I still have left to learn. We strive to use ASL; sometimes we rock at doing so and other times, well, not so much. It’s a process that, for us, has evolved over several years.

So…. how did we get from Point A (a family who knew some basic signs) to Point B (a family for whom signing has become second nature)? Let me begin by saying that there is a vast array of options for families desiring to become fluent in signing and numerous scenarios for educating those who are deaf, as well. Our story is just that…. ours. It’s what has worked for us. We are sharing our experience, knowing that no two families have quite the same needs, and with the knowledge that this journey will look different for everyone.

When Ava was adopted at age 4, she had no formal language system and rarely engaged with others in her environment. Her only forms of communication were pointing or leading us to a desired object. She had no way of expressing her wants, needs, or emotions. Imagine having no way of giving meaning to the objects in your environment, your thoughts, feelings, or experiences. Imagine not even knowing you had a name! That was our starting point. 

Introducing sign language changed all of that – and more – for Ava. For the first time, her world had meaning. Objects and people had names and she could use those names to draw attention, express her needs and desires, and form novel ideas. Ava was no longer living with an apathetic mindset; she now realized she had a purpose and power to control her environment. She began to come into her own.

When cochlear implantation was no longer a possibility, we realized that Ava’s best option for language and communication would be American Sign Language. As part of my education, I’d been required to take two courses in Manual Communication, so I already had some basic knowledge of ASL; however, we needed to find a way to educate ourselves and others who would interact with Ava on a regular basis. We were fortunate to be able to hire an instructor to teach a small group in our home. For a year, our extended family, sitter, and church staff/volunteers, met in our home on Saturday afternoons for ASL lessons. That experience was invaluable as it allowed us the opportunity acquire vocabulary and practice our developing skills with one another.

In the midst of this new endeavor, we adopted two more children, both age 4 at the time. Our son’s hearing is within normal limits, our daughter has unilateral microtia/atresia, resulting in a moderate-severe conductive hearing loss. With the use of a bone-conduction hearing aid, she hears within normal limits. I mention this, specifically, because I want to share how using sign language with them, as hearing individuals, impacted their transition into a family, as well as their development.

First and foremost, we were able to bypass most of the frustration that occurs when parents and children don’t speak the same language. Will and Sophie caught on quickly as we signed to support our spoken English. If they didn’t understand what was said, they certainly understood what was signed to them.
They began to sign their own wants and needs almost simultaneously. We were able to meet those needs much more consistently than I’d anticipated and, as a result, they felt secure and cared for. Sign language helped foster trust, thus aiding the attachment process. 

Additionally, signing facilitated their acquisition of spoken English. It helped to cement vocabulary in their minds and was available to them when they had difficulty remembering an English word. Truly, they attained English speaking skills so rapidly that many adults assumed they’d learned a fair amount of English while living in China. In a short time, the two modes of communication seemed to merge and today, at age 8, both are fluent in English and sign language. 

As they have matured, we’ve focused on teaching them to “turn off their voices” so that they can better communicate in American Sign Language. Sophie, especially, can hold her own in a signed conversation and has recently begun discussing what types of careers would allow her to use her knowledge of sign language.
With the addition of siblings, Ava began to blossom. For the first time, she had peers who could communicate with her. As a result, Ava began to look to them as models of appropriate social and developmental skills. She demonstrated an attitude of “if they can do it, so can I!” 

Having said that, the real tipping point occurred when, a year and a half after adopting Will and Sophie, we welcomed Claire into the family. Adopted at age 7 1/2, profoundly deaf and, like Ava, having no formal language system, Claire was a force to be reckoned with. Although she has more hearing ability than Ava, Claire is also not verbal. She arrived, a master of gestures and facial expressions, and brought with her an insatiable desire to learn. The rate at which she acquired both receptive and expressive signing skills was mind-boggling! 

Claire is 6 months younger than Ava; however, she put on the mantle of “First Born” almost immediately. From day 1, she demanded that Ava communicate with her. Although Ava interacted with Will and Sophie, she continued to prefer solitary activities. Claire would have none of that! 

For Ava, having a sibling “like her” was an impetus to – finally – truly engage in the world around her. The parts of her heart that she’d kept so closed off began to open. She gained a confidence in herself that we’d never seen before. Claire’s desire to communicate, along with her natural leadership skills, somehow bridged the gap between older and younger siblings – between deaf and hearing children.
Another unforeseen result of adopting Claire is that, as parents, our signing skills have improved. She’s eager to learn, meaning we must be equipped to teach – which brings me to the topic of education.

For many reasons, when we began to consider educational options for Ava, homeschooling was an obvious choice. Since then, we have continued to homeschool all four children. While I have a background in education, I knew homeschooling a deaf child would mean we’d need to call in additional resources. I met with educators who taught ASL, educators who were certified to teach deaf learners, and persons who were certified ASL interpreters. I sought their guidance as I formulated an educational plan for our daughter. Each of these people offered a unique perspective and supplied us with a wealth of knowledge. Several persons have continued to provide us with much support over the years; for that, I am truly grateful.

If I’ve learned anything as a result of educating our deaf daughters, it’s that flexibility is key. Just as with homeschooling hearing children yet, perhaps more so, there is a lot of trial and error. 

I’ve also realized that part of my role, as teacher, is to allow each child to set her own pace for learning. Sometimes I school the girls together; sometimes one-on-one teaching is a better option so that each child can demonstrate her knowledge and receive support where it’s needed. I’ve learned not to negate the seemingly small victories; such accomplishments are stepping stones for greater achievements.  


Finally, I’ve learned to trust my instincts and know my limits. When I find I can’t do it on my own, I reach out for assistance. Social media groups have been an unexpected avenue through which I’ve gleaned wisdom, insight, and innovative ideas.
Currently, homeschooling remains a good learning environment for our daughters; however, we are considering a move so that our daughters can perhaps take advantage of what a school for the deaf could provide them.

In the meantime, we continue to access other resources to meet the educational needs of our children. Over the past several years, we’ve employed the services of tutors to support Ava and Claire’s learning. Our girls have received one-on-one instruction from a certified ASL interpreter and from a teacher for the deaf to help them acquire knowledge in American Sign Language and written English. They have also been a great support for myself as I navigate acquiring for knowledge and schooling the girls in various subjects. 

Additionally, we’ve been fortunate to have my mother step in as the primary educator of our hearing children. Prior to her doing so, I was essentially teaching school in two languages and in trying to meet the needs of everyone, was coming up short. Now we’re able to better address the learning styles of each child as we school separately and when able, in conjunction with one another.

Almost 7 years after beginning our adoption journey, we continue to reap the benefits of using sign language. As we have endeavored to learn and teach a language so very different from our first language, we have learned to persevere. We’ve encountered setbacks and obstacles along this course, but have refused to give up. Through signing, we’ve gained a perspective of acceptance and compassion for others. 

Communicating via sign language is something that many consider so very “different”; however, that difference is our norm. I believe that has gone a long way in enabling us to see beyond others’ differences and to see people for who they are.
Finally, sign language has played a role in unifying us as a family and is an integral component of our lives. Signing has become more than just something we do; it’s part of who we are.

Whether your hope is to teach your child a few basic signs to foster better communication and facilitate spoken English or if, like us, you are diving into learning American Sign Language so that you and your child can communicate with each other, I hope our story can encourage you. 

The road isn’t always easy but with faith and determination, along with a willingness to learn from others, it can be done. 

Step forward, give Him your “yes”… and trust that His plan is good.