By Marlin Miller, Publisher of Plain Values
I began our first post with this question and a statement. “What do the Amish, little ones with special needs, two nonprofits, four adoptions, two one-room schoolhouses from the 1800’s and a monthly print magazine have to do with homesteading in 2023? It is the story of our family, and it is a joy to share how the Lord has pieced it together over the last twenty years.” This is the second installment of that story.
Everything we discuss and share inside Plain Values magazine is focused on loving our neighbor. From adopting a child, raising extra tomatoes and peppers, helping that neighbor build a fence or a woodshed… it’s all about living out the two greatest commandments: to love God and love your neighbor.
In the early years of our magazine’s publication, when we would feature a mission or an organization in need of supplies, volunteers, prayers, or funds, we were often amazed to see the readers of Plain Values step up and send whatever they were able to in order to help. If the story included orphan care, we often received phone calls or letters from families wondering how they might help the kids in need, get information about adoption, or what they could do to help the organization caring for so many little ones, most of whom have special needs. We did our best to respond to each request, answer questions, and make connections to someone who could direct the next step.
As we talked about what it could look like if we’d share the same information with all the readers or how we could help families who were praying about adoption, I felt there was more we could be doing for those with deeper needs than our own. And one day I wondered out loud, “What if we would start a non-profit? What if we could support organizations who are taking care of the orphans? What if we would give adoption grants for families who are in the process of adopting a child with special needs?”
So we did. And it has been an incredible blessing! The purpose of Room to Bloom is to promote the beauty of adoption and to ascribe dignity to people with Down syndrome and other special needs. We support organizations that provide therapy, medical interventions, and services for children with special needs. We also provide adoption grants for families who are adopting a child with Down syndrome or other special need.
In the years since we started Room to Bloom, we have helped to fund 22 adoptions for 23 children with Down syndrome and other special needs. One of the things our team at Plain Values enjoys the most is the chance to hear the most wonderful stories of how the Lord moves a family to step out in faith and then to meet and share those families’ stories with our readers. And the Lord has used those stories to inspire other families to do the same!
Now, one thing Lisa and I want to clarify is we are not ones to declare that all families should adopt. It’s not our business to tell anyone they “should” do anything. However, the Lord has a deep love and concern for the “fatherless” that goes beyond what we can fathom. In Exodus 22, God tells the Israelites if they oppress the widow and fatherless, His wrath will become hot and He will kill them with the sword; their wives will become widows and their children fatherless. He means it! Again, I am not saying every family is called to adopt, but everyone can do something. Please prayerfully consider what you can do to help families who have adopted or are providing foster care. It’s not easy, but it is always worth it, and even little things like bringing a meal, picking up groceries, or taking care of a few loads of laundry mean a great deal.
The name “Room to Bloom” was inspired by a little story from our garden. I’ll let my wife, Lisa, share with you in her own words:
“One of my great joys is gardening. I enjoy growing vegetables and fruit for our family as well as tending large flower beds of perennial plants. Early one spring I was working at one end of the flower garden bordered with rocks. Something caught my eye, and I moved in to take a closer look. There, barely peeking from under the edge of a large rock, was a small tulip. The bud was still wrapped tightly, and it was obviously struggling. The previous fall we had done some reworking of that area and a heavy rock had been accidentally placed directly over where this tulip bulb was buried.
I quickly moved the rock away from the tulip. Stunted by a rough beginning, its stem was a pale white which lay crooked along the ground instead of standing tall and green like the other tulips. I cleared away the dead leaves, added some compost, and trimmed back the overhanging shrub to allow the fragile bulb to soak in the sun’s warmth. As the spring weather warmed, I watched as the tulip struggled to grow.
Over the next few weeks, the tulip plant slowly changed from a sickly white to a lush green. The stem lifted from the earth and the tightly wrapped petals opened to a beautiful flower. That spring, the tulip never did look the same as the other tulips. Its stem was still crooked, and it didn’t stand as tall, but that little plant put all its energy into the best flower it could muster, given its tough start. The potential to flourish had been there all along, it just needed the room to bloom.”
If you are looking for a monthly print magazine on a mission, we humbly ask you to consider joining the Plain Values family. When you subscribe, you automatically help provide care for orphaned children with special needs and provide support to families in the process of adopting a child with Down syndrome. How does that work, you might ask? Every time someone joins the Plain Values family, a portion of the subscription goes directly to Room to Bloom.
Please visit plainvalues.com to learn more and subscribe. If you use the code GAB23 at checkout, you’ll receive a special savings exclusive to Gab readers. While you are there, you just might catch a glimpse of what is in the works with our two one-room schoolhouses and a second nonprofit dedicated to educating local schoolchildren. We sincerely thank you for your support!
Marlin Miller, publisher of Plain Values Magazine. Always looking for more friends.