Brothers and Sisters, hear me

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Somewhere in British Columbia tonight, there's a young woman moving her few personal belongings into a crack house. It would be impossible to say how many such moves she's made over the last 5-6 years. Spending a few weeks here, a few days there; sleeping on couches, floors, in vehicles--she's done it all. This is her life.

By now she's probably half strung-out herself. She's probably had nothing to eat today. I'll bet she couldn't tell you what day of the week it is, maybe not even the month. She's been doing the drugs too long; I shudder to think of what's left of her mind.

When people see her, they see a druggie, an addict. Unkempt, out of control, uneducated. She steals from friends to support her habit. She refuses rehab. She's homeless, jobless...


She is my sister's sister.

She called me tonight. It was hard to understand her--she has a hard time keeping her words in order and her sentences in line. She wouldn't leave a number, I don't know where exactly she is. She told me she loved me. I told her the same. I got off the phone and as always, despaired.
Nothing I can do.


If you know me well, you know that I am the oldest of nine children. Nine Wettlaufers. That always throws people off. Four brothers and four sisters.

Two of us were chosen to be Wettlaufers by birth. Seven of us were chosen to be Wettlaufers by adoption.

Nearly three years ago, my next sister got on a plane for the first time in her life and flew to the other end of the country. When Lauren got to BC, she laid eyes on her older sister for the first time. Sisters separated for 17 years. I would have given anything to have seen that reunion.

We've known about Tatum since the beginning. We knew that she had to stay with the alcoholic, drug abusing father that Lauren was rescued from. What we didn't know until three years ago, was the hell that her life was, and has become.

Shuffled around from family members to foster homes, Tatum finally ran away in her early teens. She lived with boyfriends, got into drugs and lived the party life. She retains a fragile and violent relationship with her father and grandfather.

Six months after Lauren went to BC to see her, Tatum came to Ontario and spent a week with us. The sister we had been wondering about and looking for in crowded malls (unaware that she was so far away) was now here in the flesh. It was spooky to see a girl who looked and sometimes acted just like my sister, yet was so disparingly different. We loved on her best we could for those few days, and then she was gone. But not from our thoughts.

Tonight after she called, I decided that doing nothing is not good enough. Tatum is going to die on the streets of BC and no one will care, no one will even know. I don't have the money to fly over there and wrestle her back to Ontario and into rehab. She'd refuse anyway. I can't take her into my home because I have young children and I won't put them in danger. But there must be something, someone, somewhere....

So this is what I propose, my friends. I need your help. The Body of Christ needs to mobilize.
God did not bring Lauren and Tatum into our lives to leave her to rot thousands of miles away.

Consider the following carefully:

  • Do you know anyone involved in a drug rehabilitation centre or program in Southern British Columbia? We don't know where Tatum is, but she's lived around Abbotsford a fair bit.
  • Do you know a pastor of an inner city church in Southern BC, that runs an outreach program to the homeless and/or addicts?
  • Do you know a pastor of any church in Southern BC?
  • Do you know a pastor of any church in BC?
  • Do you know any believers in BC?

This may be akin to finding a needle in a haystack, but I'm convinced that God is speaking to someone right now. Someone with compassion, determination, counselling skills and a heart for the lost. I'm determined to put Tatums face in front of that person. To put Tatums name in their ear. To perhaps even inspire them to look for her, to find her and drag her from her mire, to stand in our place as a sister and show her what Love did for her.

I'm quite serious. I'm determined to make every church in BC aware of this child. Will you help me? If you can and will, you have a few options.

  • Post a comment on this blog. Leave your email so I can get in touch with you. I have the comment moderation option on, so I will see your message, but rest assured that I won't publish the comment and leave you at the mercy of auto-spammers that would find your email address.
  • Email the following address: Yes, I know, I just put myself at the mercy of the auto-spammers, but I'll put up with it.
  • Call me. You can only do that if you know me, and I guess that's all I can say.

Finally, I've set up another blog, just to tell this story. It'll be much the same as you've just read, but I've also posted pictures of Tatum (and Lauren). Will you tell people about this site? Will you choose a group of select friends who's hearts would stir with compassion and email them the site with a little message from yourself? If you can't come up with any BC links on your own, perhaps you know someone who can. Or...perhaps you won't even know they can, until you tell them about this. It's a little like the seven degrees of separation...

Oh yes, and if you do have a contact for me, and you want to check with them first before giving me their info, by all means, please do that. Actually, I would prefer that. I realize that this whole thing could be looked upon with suspicion by many who read it. I'm trying to keep everything in mind that will authenticate my mission. (It's tricky! Advice is welcome!)

So I betcha weren't counting on reading something quite so heavy when you visited today, eh?

Poor Pope

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I was just catching some headlines on yahoo and read about the Pope gettin' in hot water for saying stuff about Islam.

You can read it here, it you want.

Although it's not real clear what he said, the one line in the article says that he "appeared to endorse a christian worldview".

(Gasp) No. The Pope? How dare he.

And then some other stuff about Muslims spreading their religion through violence, and violence being incompatible with the nature of God.

And he's getting in trouble for this?!?

Ok, so, does anyone else think it's strange that when a public figure stands up and makes statements that everyone else knows are true, it's suddenly verboten and he is called to make public apologies?!

In the past few days, the Crawford Stand on WDCX has been talking about the wars and Muslims and such (ooh, if the Pope could hear that stuff). It seems pretty obvious to me that, yep, Muslims are willing to kill and die for their faith. What religion is in the news every other day for suicide bombers? That would be violence.

And they consider us (the West) 'infidels'. Why is that? Because largely, we're not muslim. So we are diametrically opposed to them. And quite simply, they've promised Allah to get rid of us all. According to the Crawford Stand, this is why Bush and the US have got it right in fighting this war. We really are looking at WW4. It's pretty convincing, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm pretty naive about world issues.

What I think I understand, being that they would be quite similar to mine, are the Pope's beliefs. We live in a world of tolerance, yet God calls us to be intolerant. We live in a world of relativism, yet God calls us to stand on the truth. And finally, we live in a world of wide acceptance, yet God tells us that the path to life is narrow and few find it.

One Way is pretty offensive to our world.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Well I'm so excited. You know how I've been so stressed about what to do about my boy and school? Something's coming together.

Last Thursday night I was really stressing about it. I was seriously agitated. I had just spoken to someone (I'll not name) who I thought might be able to help, but was unable. And her discussion with me caused more doubts about homeschooling. James and I went to bed and really prayed for an answer.

The next morning I suddenly remembered a resource that I had forgotten to check out. A few weeks ago, we were at a BBQ at my brother's EA's house. My brother Ben has had this terrific EA since kindergarten. She's like a mom away from home for him. So we were all over there and talk of Jairus came up. Ben's EA tells me I should check out a program in Burlington called Talc Academy. (Don't know why it's got a C instead of a K, but it is the word talk). The lady who runs it used to run a speech camp that Ben went to for a couple weeks each summer for many years. Ben's EA highly recommended this lady and her program.

So I found the place on the internet and read about what they had to offer. I was so overwhelmed with the immediate conviction that THIS is where Jairus needs to go, that I sat and blubbered in front of my computer like a small child. It was quite pathetic.

I called as soon as I could talk normally, but got voicemail. I didn' t want to leave a message, so I opted to email, so I could get as much info across right away. I sent a lengthy email, describing Jairus and our problems trying to figure out schooling. Of course, the ironic thing here is that we've been stressing the last 2-3 weeks since finding out that Hamilton won't pay for Jairus' preschool, and saying he won't go now 'cause we can't afford it. However, I knew very well that this private program would be very expensive. But you know what? I just didn't care. At that point, I would have lived on bologna and crackers if we could just get Jairus into a program like this.
Even though I thought I conveyed the urgency of the situation, I didn't hear back. I sent this last Friday and I waited all day and then all weekend. I figured I might not hear anything over the weekend, but I was still hopeful. I decided to give her Monday, and then call first thing Tuesday morning.
Well, Tuesday morning I took off to my parents to help paint the additions they're just having finished up on their house. So I ended up calling this morning instead. Again, I got voicemail and this time left a message telling them I was ' terribly anxious' to speak to someone there.

That must have worked because the director herself, Judy, called me right after lunch. She delivered the slightly disappointing news that they'd had to alter their kindergarten program, and now it's only offered one morning a week, on Fridays. I quickly told her that was fine--one was better than nothing. Then she needed to know what kind of speech issue Jairus had. She said that they only work with a certain kind of speech delay, and she described what they did and didn't work with. By the time she was done, I was thoroughly confused. Usually, I'm pretty conversant and knowledgable about Jairus' problems, but I had to ask her "So, how do I know which one my son has?".
She asked whether or not he had problems with a) Vocabulary, sentence structure, word retrieval, grammer, pronoun use, etc. OR b) Problems with simply making himself understood.

Well, that was easy. I said b) right away. To my great relief, that seemed to be the right answer. She made me an appointment to come in with Jairus and see the speech therapist there and decide for sure if Talc Academy is the right place for Jairus. Then she told me the best news. I had been entertaining thoughts about the fees for this place to be anywhere up to $1000 a month. I know, that's ridiculous, but I was worried that it would be totally out of our range.
Jairus receives money every month through a special government program to help with any costs associated with his disability. Right now, we don't really have many of those, so that money could readily be used for this.

Guess how much the program costs?

10$ more than what Jairus receives.


Praise God.

Ok, I'm crying again.


Wednesday, September 6, 2006

You know, it's not like we want the money to go blow it on frivolous stuff like...the carpet I really wanted for my living room....or a new vacume cleaner....or long pants for my son who's outgrown his size 4's.

We were going to be really disciplined and put it right back into the debt we just incurred to get the Civic.

Humho. I'm just SOOO bummed.

You might have figured out, Mr. International traveller was out to lunch. At least, that's what everyone, including the Hamilton Police department fraud division thinks.

We sent an email back to this guy [who offered to buy our car] last night, saying, sounds fine, send the money, when it clears send your shipping guy.

We got a response back this morning and he's now saying he'll send more than what we're asking and we need to cash it and send the extra by Western Union to the shipping company in TOGO!!!


At first I just wanted to email back and say, uhh, sorry, but you take care of the shipping yourself buddy. But then I spoke to a detective at the fraud department and he immediately knew what the guy was up to and told us to get away, fast!

(Most dejected tone) So that's what we're doing. I'm very bitter.

And I was already bummed because my friend who was going to come over today called and rescheduled. I don't think she reads this, so I'll just say, I was pretty bummed about that. Moving to a new area, even if you kind of know the area, is still pretty lonely.

So this is just a bummer of a day.

PS-Notice my new side bar link--replacing the OP reunion (which I didn't go to) back in June is now Crown Financial Ministries, possibly the most useful site on the net.

September is my Favourite month

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

I believe the crisis has passed. Thanks to all who were praying. Sorry that's all I can really say right now.

So how was everyone's weekend? Yes, wet, of course. We (me and kids) were up at Fair Havens sorta helping my parents close down their trailer. As much as three toddlers can help. (!) Ok, my son isn't a toddler. But he acts like one.

Speaking of Jairus, he had his speech assessment last Thursday. Went really well. The therapist seemed to connect with him great, was charmed and smitten with him, and sees his potential. I even had, for the first time, the tiniest flash while she was working with him that....He will speak someday. I'm afraid/ashamed to say that I've never honestly had that hope. But I had it Thursday. What a great feeling.

Still struggling however with what exactly to do with him this fall. When I hadn't heard back from the subsidy people, I called the beginning of last week. I guess I misunderstood when I spoke with them earlier in the summer. There is NO funding for him whatsoever. It's looking like this means no preschool. That means I totally need to homeschool....or something. I just don't know right now...

And so everything is starting up. One of my brothers and one of my sisters started highschool today. Big deal. (Seriously, it is). Choir starts next week, but I have to go in and do some auditions tomorrow night. My Prelude choir has grown by like 300%!!!
So this means paycheques start back. (Hallelujah!!)

So finally, the other odd and quirky thing in our lives is the sale of our car. Remember how it finally gave up the ghost and we got the civic? Well, we need to sell it, to help pay off what we just put into the civic. So we put it up for sale on autotrader. Here's the ad:
Our Little Red Wagon

I mean ya, it died on us, but it's fixable and still has value, I believe. So, we get a few calls, nothing comes of them. Then we get this email from a guy in the States. Says he wants it and that he'll send a certified cheque and have his private shipping company come get it.

Does this sound too good to be true!?!?! I emailed him and told him every sad detail about it and he still says he's ok with it and name our price.

So, we'll see if this works. This could be the biggest hoax ever, or, the biggest blessing ever. I have been praying for someone to come buy it...and give us at least close to what we're asking.

It's an exciting thought...