Butler Heart

Butler Heart

Friday, January 21, 2011

Do You Have More Than You Know What To Do With?

I have a way for you to help orphan care!

Benton County's The CALL (www.thecallinarkansas.org) is taking donations for a Foster Child Clothes Closet.  The CALL has been busy recruiting Christian foster families to love on our communities most vulnerable children.  God is for sure moving and many families are responding to this CALL.  The CALL doesn't just stop there though.  They desire to wrap around these new Christian foster families with support in any way they can.  They are organizing a clothes closet for these families to use for the foster children they bring into their homes.  Many times the children come to them with literally NOTHING.  The closet will exist to provide for these children's basic necessities.  Here is a list of some of the items they are looking for:

Requested Donations include New or gently-used:
- clothes (from newborn to teen in both genders)
-socks and underwear
-toys and "teen entertainment"
-baby equipment (bottles, diapers, exersaucers, walkers, ect)

The need is enormous! A foster family may have a newborn boy one month and a sixteen year old girl the next. The CALL Foster Child Clothes Closet is JUST starting and they have very little!! They also need: 

storage tubs
rolling clothes racks
laundry soap
portable shelving
monetary donations.

For more information on The CALL please check out this site:

Your donations are tax-deductible as The C.A.L.L. has been granted federal 501(c)3 non-profit organization status.

Are you being CALLED to get involved in a bigger way with the orphans of Benton County? The CALL would be HAPPY to discuss the MANY different ways you can help...from donating clothes to opening your home... and much more in between!

Contact for information on where and how to donate!
Dionne Smith 


You can just give me the donations and I will make sure they get it!


"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  James 1:27

Sunday, December 12, 2010

abrupt turn

We recently found out that our birth mom decided to change her mind on the adoption plan.  She decided to parent baby Alijah.  

To be honest, this was a hard truth to hear.  We had made minimal preparations but were hoping that these preparations were for a little boy named Alijah.  God seemed to have quickened our wait time, opened all doors to this particular adoption, and was providing financially.  We even loved the name his mom picked out.  It felt like a perfect match for our family.  Then one afternoon we got the call that had us do an abrupt turn.  We found out Alijah would not be coming into our home.  We had cleared our schedules, made tentative plans, and even changed our plans for Thanksgiving.  All for nothing?  At that abrupt turn we knew we had a choice to make.  Do we waller in a pity party and ask God "why?" or do we look to God and ask "what are you teaching me...what are you up to?"

I've had a couple of weeks to reflect and prayerfully ask God to reveal to me what he is up to.  While I don't pretend to have God all figured out...I am sure of some things he is teaching me through this.

1.  Alijah's name means "my God is the Lord".  When people go through times of disappointment/difficulty , their beliefs about God's character will be tested.  Do I really believe that God is sovereign?  Is He really in control of what happens in my life? When "B" changed her mind, my view of God being sovereign strengthened.  He's up to something.  He's in control thank goodness! Whatever child he chooses to place in our home...I want it to be the child He chooses.  I will be spending the rest of my life with the child he chooses.  That's a big deal.  The name Alijah will always be special to me now.  It will always be a reminder that "my God is the Lord".  He is in control.  Alijah is where he is supposed to be.

2.  It's not about me.  Maybe this abrupt turn has nothing to do about me and everything to do about "B".  I have no idea what her life circumstances are.  I have no idea where she stands with the Lord.  What I do know is that because we were paired together for a couple of months I prayed for her many times.  I prayed that God would clean up the circumstances of her life so that she might be able to parent Alijah.  Maybe he answered my prayer?  I was able to send her a letter of encouragement with scriptures.  Many of you lifted her up in prayer and continue to do so.  I have her email address and after finding out about the change of mind...I emailed her.  I told her that we hope she had a safe delivery and healthy baby and that we were honored to have the privilege to pray for her during this difficult time of life.  I told her we will continue to pray God's blessings over her and Alijah's life.  My prayer is that our response will demonstrate to her in some way God's grace.  Maybe she has never experienced grace before? 

3.   I have no regrets.  Jesus commands me to take up my cross and follow Him.  We KNOW we are on the right path with domestic adoption through Gladney.  This in NO way changes my mind.  We are on an adoption journey.  A journey that promises ups and downs and abrupt turns.  I'm not scared of these things because I know God will provide anything we need as we walk in faith and obedience.  I hope God uses this abrupt turn in our adoption story to encourage others to adopt.  The disappointing things you imagine about adoption do happen sometimes.  But THAT is not the worst thing in the world.  What's worse is millions of children without moms and dads to love and take care of them and Christian families that are called to care for orphans and widows don't obey because they are scared to get hurt in the process.  It's all about perspective.

There are many more things I am learning but don't want to bore you with them here.

God is good all the time.  Thanks for praying for us.  And when you think of it....continue to pray for "B".

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


So today I'm cleaning out closets and getting organized.  My to-do-list is a mile long which I am grateful for.  Keeps me from being anxious and wondering what will happen with our adoption.

I got a call from a Texas area code this morning and got really excited! Is this an update on Alijah and his mom?  Will we finally know what plans we can make?  I answered expectantly and then..."sike"!  It was our friend Justin Sadler.  Now...I love me some Justin Sadler...but I was REALLY hoping that I was going to hear some kind of adoption news.  But our discussion got me pumped up about adoption..and how God is raising him up to be an advocate for the orphan through the profession God has called him to.

Justin is a CPA.  He has worked very hard for those letters.  I remember praying alongside him and his wife during the painful process of taking the exams to become licensed.  They were all consuming and difficult.  He studied, lost sleep, had limited time with family/friends...but he was determined and knew it was what God had called him to.  Now, as a CPA, Justin has been given the skills and abilities to help people manage their money with wisdom and integrity.  He can give advice on how to keep as much money in your pocket as you can so that you can be faithful and a good steward of what God has given you.  This kind of stuff makes my brain hurt...but God created Justin to actually enjoy it!

Our conversation was inspiring.  Justin desires to know as much about the financial aspects of adoption/foster care so that he can help adoptive/foster families with their taxes and how they financially plan for adoption/foster care.  I know that one of the biggest reasons that families don't adopt is due to finances.  "I don't have the money.", "How will I ever afford it?", "where is the money going to come from?".  Justin is in the process of saturating himself in adoption laws/procedures/policies so that he can give counsel in this area.  He's meeting with adoption agencies to understand their processes.  Justin is walking through this adoption process with us to give much needed financial counsel.  He is a God-send.  Money will not stand in the way of God taking care of the orphan and widow.  He provides!

Justin has decided to use what skill/talent God has given him to take up the cause for orphan care.  I know God will bless him and his family for it.  He understands that everyone is to play a part in whatever way they can.  God has called him to an aspect of orphan care..finances.  What is your part? What gift has God given you that you can give to the orphan cause?

Thank you Justin for your servants heart.  We are blessed to call you and Amanda friend.

"Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows." Isaiah 1:17

Anyone thinking about adoption or in the process...think about making Justin your CPA.  He would love to walk with you through the financial aspects of adoption.  Invest your money in someone who cares for the orphan.  He will not disappoint you!

Justin Sadler

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Your help matters to him.

Hey everyone! This month is orphan awareness month.  Specifically today is Orphan Sunday.  I love that this month honors and brings awareness to the ones that Jesus highly esteemed.  The fatherless.

I know many of you out there think orphan care is a good thing.  Many of you might get overwhelmed with the thought of how big the challenge is and don't even know where to start.    Today...I have a very practical way that you can help an orphan.  Your help matters to this boy.  It could change the direction of his life forever.  

I wanted to post a very practical need for a friend.  When this need is met, an Arkansas teenage boy will find his forever home.  If you find yourself led to share what God has given you...your gifts, talents, money, prayer, connections...let me know and I'll connect you with her.  She has a heart of gold and desires to care for the orphans of NW Arkansas.  She is doing it and wants to do it more but her family is outgrowing their current living situation.  Read below the story I asked her to write out.  She volunteers her time to advocate for foster children in NW Arkansas to be adopted/fostered by godly Christian families all while raising a crew of both biological and foster/adopted children.  Here's her story and need:  

When we began the process of opening our home for foster care in the summer of 2008, my husband and I would sit down with our biological daughters (Emily, then 5 and Kylie, 1) and pray every night for the children that would come to our home. We prayed that God would send the right children to our home- the ones that needed OUR family to heal them and love them. Then, at the end, Emily would add “Dear Jesus, please send me a big brother with anger management issues.” We just laughed and reminded God that she didn’t know what she was asking for. 

Two years and 11 children later we are desperately seeking help to make that prayer a reality.
Our biological daughters are now 7 and 3. We have adopted our 12 month old son and are preparing to adopt our 10 month old and our 17 year old as well, but our family is not yet complete. Our 17 year old daughter has a 16 year old biological brother. He was taken in to foster care at the same time she was, but for some reason the children refused to be placed together. He has ping-ponged all over the state in the last year. He wants the stability of a family. We want to make him ours….forever. He calls us a few times a week and talks about his plans for college. He makes good grades and runs track. He is excited to live with his sister once again, and to become that big brother that Emily used to pray for, and the big brother all the children in our family would benefit from. Since finding out that there is a family that WANTS him, his journals have switched from talking about how alone he felt to how excited he is to be joining a stable family.
We would move him in yesterday if we could, but we have a couple of small hurdles to overcome before he can be ours. We are at maximum capacity in our 7 passenger minivan. 3 adults, 1 big kid, and 3 in carseats mean that our van is a bit uncomfortable when we all go places together, and would be impossible to fit another person in there. We NEED a bigger vehicle (an 8 or 9 passenger SUV would be ideal). We are also at maximum capacity in our home. Our home is 1622 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. We NEED to add on to our home, at the very least, add a master bedroom and additional bathroom. A dream come true would be that plus a garage, and then turn our garage into a family room. We are happily busting at the seems. Would you consider how YOU can help us give permanence to one more child in foster care?
Ann Meythaler Benton County Coordinator The CALL in Arkansas www.thecallinarkansas.org 479-206-0398www.myalabasterbox127.blogspot.com (follow our journey on my personal blog)http://www.peekaboonwa.com/articles/personal-stories/answering-the-c-a-l-l (my article in 11/2010 issue of Peekaboo Magazine) 
It's time for the Body of Christ to step up and meet the needs of these children in our own neighborhoods. We are asking you, if you are called, to care for one of these precious children through foster care or adoption.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

worth it

There are so many hoops to jump through to adopt.  If you ask any person who has adopted or are in the process of adoption they will all tell you... "get ready for all the requirements!".  You have to get a physical, get fingerprinted, have people inspect your home, are asked many personal questions, attend training classes, interview, apply, apply some more, sign and notarize everything, give of your money... it sounds tedious and it is! you are held to a WAY higher standard as an adoptive parent than a biological parent.  They even make sure that you have a fire extinguisher accessible near your kitchen!  How many of you fit that requirement! yikes!  They will give just about anyone a biological child.  But an adopted child is protected and the best is set up for them.  Too bad all parents-to-be don't have to go through similar process!

Anyway..today Chuck and I attended our first training class.  We figured we better hurry up and get the training done.  So we attended our CPR class and now can resuscitate you if you ever go unconscious in our presence.  We can give you 30 chest compressions, 2 breaths and give you the heimlich maneuver if you are choking.  Don't be too impressed.  We asked our instructor if this stuff really works at saving someone's life...and she said "there is only a 2-5% chance someone will make it through CPR.  usually you don't get there soon enough to save their life."  Awesome!  Well, hopefully we don't ever have to use it because those odds don't sound very good.
(yes i know my picture is awkward.  thanks chuck.)

We continue to be cautiously excited as we move through preparations.  Any cost is worth the blessing we will receive as we obey what God tells us to do "Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed."  Psalm 82:3  If you are thinking about adoption don't be fearful of all the requirements.  In some crazy way it is kinda fun...it's a crazy ride and it is just part of the process God uses to prepare you for the child he will place in your home.  A pregnancy allows parents 9 months of preparation of what is to come.  There are many pains, discomforts, education, and adjustments during this time.  In adoption you experience many of the same symptoms emotionally and mentally.  It is for our good.

So yes there are costs to adopt.  Emotional, Mental, Financial...Jesus is quoted in instructing us to count the cost of following him.  How far will we go? How much will we sacrifice? What dreams will we give up?  Are we willing to leave everything the world has to offer to take hold of God's best?  Great questions I hope we would all answer with "whatever you want me to do...wherever you want me to go..i'm in!"

"Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' Luke 14:25-30

The best question I was recently taught to ask is not "what if i do this...?" but to ask "what if i don't?"  What if I don't take care of orphans?  What if i don't acknowledge a widow in distress? What if I don't live my life the way the Bible tells me to?  What if i don't listen to Jesus?  My life would be without purpose and would amount to nothing.  It would be burned up in the fire.  "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you." John 15:5-7

God is Lord.

Monday, October 11, 2010


My prayer this afternoon:
"God, I have failed at lifting "B" up to you lately.  I have been distracted and busy.  Lord, I want to pray the most unselfish prayer I can possibly pray for "B".  Lord...do a miracle.  Clean up the circumstances of "B's" life so that she is in a condition to parent her baby boy.  Move the heart of a believer to share the hope of Jesus so that her eternity will change.  Lord, give her direction in how to make a life plan for her baby.  Guide and direct her steps.  If you choose for us to parent this child make this clear.  Help me to not covet this child bc no child in my care is my own.  They are yours and you entrust me with them.  Guide me in how to minister to "B" as the birth mom.  You love her and have a plan for her life.  If this child comes into our home help me to know how to minister to his birth mom....amen"

a couple of hours later i received a phone call from our case worker.  "B" decided to pick our family as the life plan for her baby boy!  What!??! I'm as shocked as you are!!! Her one request is that we name him Alijah - God is LORD.  I tear up just thinking about what this means to me and the journey our family has been on this past year.  GOD IS LORD. We said "we could not pick a better name and how special that it comes from his birth mom".  God is LORD..God is LORD.  He orders our steps, He protects us, He has said "it is finished".  There is power when you hear God is LORD.  Alijah has the hand of God on him in the womb and for sure his life will display for the world to see GOD IS LORD.

now...before i get ahead of myself..."B" can still change her mind at any moment.  She has 48 hours after Alijah is born to sign away her parental rights.  Alijah's birth father has agreed to terminate rights at the same time.  If "B" changes her mind last minute i still believe GOD IS LORD and trust in his plan for Alijah.  this adoption process is not about chuck and i acquiring a child for our own.  It is about demonstrating the adoption we both experienced into God's family when we accepted Jesus into our life and our eternity was changed.  adoption to us is about positioning ourselves to share the love of Jesus by loving on the vulnerable of our society..the orphan and the widow.  It is worth the roller coaster of feelings we might go through to follow a crazy radial Jesus.  The more I grow in my walk with Jesus the more I see that this world is not meant to be comfortable and easy and a lack of taking risks.  In fact Jesus calls us to the opposite..."take up your cross and follow me".

My prayer now:
"God, You are LORD. Thank you for letting me be on this journey because I now know you in a way I have never known You before.  No matter what happens with Alijah i choose to trust your plan.  Give me multiple opportunities to minister to "B" and soften her heart to hear Your truth.  I stand in faith believing you have big plans."


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

a true hero

I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to choose a family for a baby I would birth.  But that is exactly where "B" finds herself today.  She's looking through portfolios of families...wondering..."which family will love my baby with all their heart?", "which one will help make his dreams come true?", "which one would protect him and keep him safe?".  She's on an emotional roller coaster.  Some days she falls into deep depression asking herself, "how did I get here?" The next moment she feels hope because of the sacrificial decision she desires to make.  On top of all of this she is pregnant...highly emotional, exhausted, uncomfortable...  Most likely her world is not put neatly together.  Her fears might race her mind as she asks... Does my family support my decision for life?  Will I be disowned by my family for making a plan for my child?  Will I regret this decision?  Will this child hate me for this?

"B" has my prayers whether she chooses our family or not.  I pray blessings over her life.  I pray God shows up in a major way to comfort and give her strength.  I am thankful that she chooses life for her child.  She is choosing like a true momma.  One that will do anything to make sure her child has the best chance at life.  She will sacrifice her own feelings and desires to benefit the life of her baby.  Again I reflect on how honored I am to be involved in the lives of others in such an intimate way.  Adoption is not just about the baby you receive into your home...it's also just as much about the birth mom.  the true hero.

Will you join with us in prayer for "B" and the difficult road that is ahead of her?

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."  Galatians 6:2