by Bucky Rogers
Founder and Executive Director
We had planned for so many years to adopt a little girl from China. They require you to be 30 years old and have a certain income and as soon as we reached those milestones, we began the process. In a somewhat sterile way, we went down a list they gave us of special needs and were asked to check off ones that we would be open to. In our minds, we were okay with a medically correctable special need. Things like cleft lip, club foot, even birth marks are considered special needs in China, so we checked all those. We would adopt a little girl, bring her to the states, get her whatever small surgery she needed to be “normal” and then go on with life.
We were paired with a little girl and we finalized the process and were ready to travel to China. We had been given some indication that she had some delays, but all children in institutionalized environments have delays. We read up on overcoming those, and got ready to receive our little Rebecca. As we walked into the cold orphanage office, we sat down and she was brought out to us. She was asleep and laid there peacefully but then began to wake up. As she woke up she didn’t really move much. Her eyes kept rolling back in her head and she would just scream and hit herself. We quickly began to realize this was not just institutional delay. Something was very wrong.
As we were leaving the office a lady came up to us, shoved a packet into our hands and said, “We never thought she would be adopted.” Inside were some of her medical records that they had intentionally not shared before the adoption. They revealed that at some point a hole had been drilled into her skull to relive pressure. All the signs pointed to a scenario where either her birth parents or a caretaker had shaken her, causing damage to her brain stem, and bleeding on the brain.
The months following were a slew of doctors visits, tests, and scans. We sat in the consultation room after her MRI and her neurologist came in and showed us the pictures. The diagnosis was cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and cortical blindness. He pointed out large areas of dark in her skull where her brain should be. It simply wasn’t there anymore. He then told us to prepare for the future. She would never walk, never talk, never be able to eat or care for herself. She would likely be on a feeding tube and lots of medication to keep her sedated and comfortable and she would probably live about 8 years. We were devastated. We sat and held each other and cried.
I remember days later praying to the Lord and giving Becca to Him. I said, “If you have given Becca to us for 8 years, then I will make them the most care-filled and love-filled days a child could have. But you have the power to heal her now. And I trust you either way.” Our God answers prayer.
About a month ago, Becca grabbed our ottoman and pulled herself up to a standing position. She has dozens of words in her vocabulary. She interacts with us, knows our voices and the voices of her brothers and others in her life, and God is continually performing miracles in her life. These things are unexplainable by human standards. She simply doesn’t have the brain capacity to do what she is doing.
In Uganda, many children just like Becca are relegated to lay in their cribs until they die. The culture doesn’t understand special needs or how to treat them. Part of our ministry through Benjamin House will be to train therapists who will be the hands and feet of Jesus as they work in children’s lives to give them the best possible shot at a long and healthy life. We’re asking the special needs community in the US to rally together and help provide the needed support for this to happen. We are so blessed with access to services in the US. To whom much has been given, much is expected.
by Bucky Rogers
Founder and Executive Director of Benjamin House Ministries
After completing two adoptions, Julie and I were exhausted (and so was our bank account). God had been faithful to provide every dime we had needed for the adoptions. Sometimes it was through the faithful and generous gifts of family, friends, and our church family. Other times it was through seemingly benign circumstances like the sale of a home. Regardless of how and when it came, though, we were now broke. We were also emotionally spent from the stress and anxiety that comes with the adoption paperwork and process. We had pretty much decided that we were going to just wait, live a little bit, have some recovery time, and then possibly pursue an adoption in China when we became old enough to do that (For China’s process, you have to be 30 years old to adopt). Then, one day I received a phone call that changed all that. “There’s a 12 year old Ukrainian boy on an airplane headed to the US right now. He’s an orphan. There was a family that was going to host him through a pseudo foreign exchange program, but they had a family emergency and can no longer host him. It’s just 3 weeks, can you host him?” The words seemed so simple at the time, and I went home to talk to Julie about it. Of course, being the incredible godly woman she is, she never even hesitated. “Why not?” she asked. So we agreed. In the hours that we waited to go pick him up, I formulated the plan. I would host several parties at our house and invite as many couples as I could invite to meet him. Maybe one of them would feel called by God to begin the adoption process. So, I began the plans and phone calls. A few hours later, we picked up a very tiny, very tired, blonde haired blue eyed angel named Sasha. He spoke no English, and we spoke no Russian, so our first few days were filled with a lot of hand gestures and drawings. Things were going really well, until he decided to wreck my plan. About the second or third day, he began to call Julie and I mama and papa. In that moment, my heart became his. One night, as he layed across my lap and put his head on my shoulder and fell asleep, I prayed that the Lord would give him to us. We were absolutely broke and had literally nothing to begin the process with, but we knew he was our son. One day after church, I got a phone call from a good friend who asked if he and his wife could stop by our house. Of course I said yes. Our home is always open, and there are always people coming and going. They came in and sat down across from us and asked if we were serious about adopting Sasha. With a lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes, I told them that of course, we were serious. The wife of this couple, then handed me an envelope and said that they wanted to help and she asked me to open it. Inside was a check for $10,000. After they left, Julie and I sat there in disbelief and just wept. Two days later a friend called and told us that they were giving us their van. We could use it for a larger vehicle or sell it for the adoption. There was another $5,000 covered. A day later I got an email from a member of our church family with the promise of $3,000 toward the adoption. We hadn’t even really told anyone that we were pursuing adoption for Sasha or that we needed money. God just provided…as He always has. Julie and I have decided to spend the rest of our lives making stories just like that happen over and over again. This world is full of people who are ready to sacrifice something of their lives and wealth in order to make a significant difference in the lives of children. Whether that’s sponsorship, foster care, adoption, or simply taking a trip to a foreign place and holding children tight, letting them know there is hope and a future for them; people are standing up one-by-one to answer the call.
Will you be a significant part of a child’s life that you may never meet? Will a child eat a meal every day and attend school for the first time in their lives because your family sacrificed eating out one day per month? I believe God is raising up so many, and you could very well be the most significant thing that has ever happened in a child’s life.
Bucky Rogers, Benjamin House staff, and short-term missionaries