Thursday, October 17, 2013


We have arrived in our region! Leaving at 5 am on Wednesday morning after just 2 hours of sleep due to jet lag was difficult.  We were accompanied by our regional facilitator and a driver.  It took us about 2.5 hours driving to arrive.
I've mentioned that driving here is an experience...and it continues to be so.  I found I did we'll when my eyes were closed for this and nearly every trip.  It's not that the drivers are unsafe, they make good decisions - they just drive aggressively, which is necessary.  Also, the state of the roads causes each trip to be bouncy or jarring as pot holes are encountered or avoided.
We made it in one piece and there started a mad dash!
Immediately we went to the Inspector's office and while we waited in the car our facilitator spoke for us, introducing us and our intentions.  The Inspector has to approve you and then you meet the orphanage director or someone in charge there and then, if you pass, you meet the child.
We passed!
We were able to meet our boy.
We weren't sure what to expect.  Eric and I have done this before, met a child with the intention of making them ours but there's a sense of nervousness that I cannot describe every time. Both of us were shaking before he was brought in.
I had prayed that there would be a moment of connection for me.  I need that as the mommy. A minute to match the idea I have in my heart to what I'm seeing - and that happened.  I had prayed that the personality I had envisioned for our third eldest would be present - and it was. He is reported to be kind and helpful, caring and funny - he has not yet lost his desire to be noticed and appreciated.  He doesn't seem fearful of noises or people in general.
I'm so excited!
It seems like he is usually carried or in a stroller for most of his day and that much of his time is spent memorizing commercials on daytime television.
I'm excited to get to be the one to introduce him to Legos and the zoo and the pumpkin patch and all things that are good and need to be experienced by children...
Back to the story, though...we pulled out some rubber cars to play with and were immediately rebuked by the nanny because they were "too small"...ok...I don't really like being told what to do, but I took the neatest toy I had away and sat - the wind out of my sails...the facilitator explained to her, I don't know, what a toy is, and it was smoothed over. He could hold the toys but not take them to the room with him because of other children who might choke ---- this is an adult mental institution. Ok. Strike one for the Americans.
What I left out was that our facilitator had said to us that our son needs to verbalize that he wants to go with you have some toys??? And maybe food? Something. To bribe him with?  Yes, I was prepared to bribe him...but apparently my choice of toys was not on the approved list.  And the director, facilitator and three nannies were standing there watching to see if he fell in love with us at first sight.
Things got a little better when we just talked to him and sat with him.  When we quit trying to pull rabbits out of our hats and touched him.  Novel thought.  When the nannies quit trying to show us every trick he could perform.  Poor baby.
We had 30 minutes with us and then he had to go to breakfast.
All of a sudden the room emptied and Eric and I were alone. Starving because we had not eaten since supper the night before, physically exhausted due to no sleep and emotionally drained from this experience.
Our facilitator had so much paperwork to complete and that had to be done in the office and wee aren't allowed to just wander unattended so we were told to wait...and wait...and wait...for over 2 hours.
Then suddenly we were told to go, we need a notary.
So, off to try the 4 notaries in this town who all refused to help because we are Americans - not that they don't like us just that they don't know what to do for sure. So we drive to a town 30 minutes away and there's a notary.
We made many more stops and some repeated stops, the goal being to wrap up a weeks worth of paper-chasing in 1.5 days. And somehow our facilitator did it! We finished today!! She is great but I can tell you that all day she kept saying, "I've never seen this happen before. It's a miracle!" All the obstacles were seemingly removed. Amazing God who desires children in families.
We have seen Him move mightily throughout this process and it continues which strengthens our faith for the future.
Anyway, last night we made it to our new apartment that will be home for the next few weeks. It's very nice and the staff seem to want to help.  We are in a region that is hardly ever frequented by outsiders so we are different than they are used to.
They looked at us funny when we asked about a laundry facility so we bought a bucket and have done two "loads" in the bucket (something I never thought I'd do).
We have eaten at the restaurant here so "real" and different but good and safe - there's not that great of a risk of getting sick which we re trying to avoid at all costs.
Today we thought we would have our two daily visits with our little guy. But...never plan on anything here!  When we got to the inspectors office again a costly mistake had been found in the paperwork completed 3 years ago for our son's biological parent's rights to be revoked..the secretary had added an extra letter to this mother name.  The last instance of this took 1.5 months to be resolved as they demanded that the bio mother come back in, the investigator and even the neighbors who made the initial report....this could mean trouble for us!
Our facilitator said we had to go to the village where he was born and have the judge change the document...this task needs a driver (provided by the mayor of town where we are who is Very accommodating), the original judge, who must be working - not sick or on vacation, a secretary willing to type today, "thank you" money and a box of chocolates.  A series of miracles accomplished with relative ease and efficiency - not two things that often describe processes in this country - or ours for the matter.
And on and on and on these last two days have gone. Good days but hard because there's no way to know what to expect.
This process has been one of complete abandonment of our time, resources and everything we found stable.  We have been shaken.  At the end of our rope. Weary. And then a verse or song or devotion will perfectly fit.
It's challenging to live "better is one day in Your courts, better is one day in Your house" daily business. But we will not make it otherwise. Today one of the verses from the packet from my sister was about the flaming arrows of the Evil and many days it is fear.  That is a battle we constantly fight.  Fear. And it's one that quietly settles into your thought process until you are immobilized. So, identifying it is important and pray against it is a must.
We are excited for tomorrow because as far as we know we will have two full visits with our son...hopefully without interruptions. Time to get to know each other.  Tonight we are at peace.  FaceTimed our kids, today and everyday and that helps so much!  To see them acting normally - silly and normal.  Praying for the next two weeks to pass quickly and hopefully have a firm plan of timing next week even! So thankful!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Days 1,2 and 3

Here we are in country.
Because we are not doing a private page, I will not refer directly to the name of this country but, trust me, it's very near the end of the world.
We took off from Wichita on Saturday. Our kids did so well! I had been able to take off work for the past week and had tried to prepare things with them and make a few memories. It was a special week but marked by a cloud of anticipation. Each day taking us closer to leaving.  Living a dichotomous emotional life of happy and made me more ready than ever to finally begin this portion of the journey.  But waving five times at the kids as we went through security was not easy.
They have fun things planned each day and, of course, schoolwork to complete with the grandmas.
When you suddenly find yourself without three little beings to take care of, life becomes boring and uneventful.
So, our connections were made and schedule kept despite a 2 hour delay in Chicago. The pilot had several stories, each one a little worse than the previous one, from illness to government shutdown as to why we were not leaving yet.  Glad when we landed safely.
We arrived in our country and were met by a translator/driver holding a sign that had our last name printed on it.  He was one of at least 8 people holding similar signs.
We drove to our apartment near the center of the city. Now, this city is very unfamiliar and the people speak a language that I can't hope to begin to understand. And they park on the sidewalk, drive on the sidewalk and appear to follow only the barest of driving etiquette.  Alarming.
As we are walking up to this standard apartment building-looking place, the translator says: don't be alarmed, the apartment is much better  than this. We are buzzed into the building and are assailed with darkness, dingy, peeling painted walls And the unmistakeable smell of cats.  The lighting is spotty at best in the hallways and there are no seasonal welcome mats or door decorations to cheer the place up. Standard utilitarian grade metal doors, no adornment.
We are not in Kansas anymore. I have 3 welcome signs at our house - just in case you miss one and don't feel appropriately welcomed- and 2 are autumn themed...along with 4 cheery pumpkins and a seasonal flag.
We were pleasantly surprised to have the apartment door opened by a housekeeper who was washing our sheets as we stood there.
The washing a machine is so should really only hold 4 pieces of clothing at a time but we are thankful for it.
Our translator instructed us to put our luggage down and he would take us to buy food and exchange money.  The little market is across the take your life in your hands to get there...and is well stocked.  A little nerve wracking to change money without flashing your stash and then trust that no one follows you to your apartment building to relieve you of imagination has runs way with me a few times here.
We survived, however, and returned to our apartment.
I forgot an essential piece of the experience. The elevator. Circa 19-whenever the building was built. It will fit three grown people if one rear touches the back and another persons nose touches the front. Standing in a line with luggage crammed beside. The cats got to it a long time ago too. This country has not yet implemented safety features such as sensors in elevator doors so you have to rush in and out as fast as possible, nearly leaving behind your largest piece of luggage to be crushed in the panic. You cannot stick your arm in the door to hold the elevator. It's every man for himself here.
That seems to be the general culture.  No one smiles at you. Well, they did at the GAP but no where else.  When we were in line at customs it was eerily quiet. There were 8 lines of people and little talking, no smiling.  If we left the tiniest space between us and the person in front of us, someone squeezed in front of us and filled it.  No apology, just an understanding that you weren't moving fast enough and your space was taken. You learn quickly here or you wont make it.  There is obvious commentary on that to be discussed a a later time.
The toilet paper here is exactly like crepe paper streamers, just a little wider, no Charmin extra soft quality and no options to buy a "better" brand.  Interesting. Limited market.
Today we had our appointment to see our child's file.  A facilitator accompanied us and translated who we are, what we do for a living and why we have chosen to do this.  The file was interesting. A more recent picture was included.  He had been transferred last year and his state appears dire.  Grim. A year without sunshine can really make its mark. Enough said.
We spent the rest of the day resting, recuperating and then FaceTimed the kids at home. Say what you will about apple, we would be lost right now without this amazing connectivity and technology.  We can text them instantly and FaceTime everyday!!!!!
We found McDonald's for supper.  It's the same here as there. Familiarity is good.  Each packet of sauce costs $.35 ... And get your table fast, we didn't move fast enough And had two tables taken from us in a flash!  It's a challenging culture for me being from the Midwest where we are very considerate.  This makes venturing out generally stressful and we are glad to be doing this together, Eric and I.
Tomorrows have the day free until 4 when we will get our referral for the orphanage approval letter. We leave for our specific region Wednesday morning. It's a two hour drive.  We have hotel arrangements made there for us and are praying for wifi.  Plan to stay at least two days and then determine based on wifi and court date issued whether we stay there or in a larger town 30 minutes away. We Are continuing to pray for a fast court date and wisdom regrading staying in country or coming home to wait...
I will update as soon as I can. Thank you for praying with us.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Annie Faith Biggs Day

You may not have known that today is a holiday. In our family at least.
Annie Faith Biggs Day.
Other families call it "Gotcha Day." For us, it is the day that our kids were officially given their new names. And their names each have significance - related to their personal testimony.
So, you can celebrate with us today. The day a little 34 month old girl was welcomed into her forever family.
This year with Annie has been very wonderful.
Some of you may know that the month of August has been very difficult for Annie for the last 5 years.  The main reason is that, as nice as we are...August was the month when we met her and began to change her life forever...transforming her from orphan and lost to dearly loved and protected.  Subconsciously, she struggles with this in August.  I don't believe she understands or can verbalize the feelings but, in the past, August has been marked with frantic "working" to earn/keep our love paired with her every attempt to push us away.  From what I've read, this is a typical response from children who have been adopted- that certain times of the year are more difficult that others.
We enter August with a guarded feeling of "making it through the month."
All of that has changed with Jesus.
Annie asked Jesus into her heart in February 2013.  The change in her has been remarkable. There always used to be a visible spiritual battle raging inside Annie's heart, and occasionally, her eyes would betray that intense longing to be at peace and at rest. This may seem as if it would be difficult to detect but, I appreciate that Darkness can have a hold on us and that there is a real battle going on for the soul.
We have prayed for Annie...witnessed to her...taught her about the deep, deep love of Jesus...and in February, she decided to give her life to Jesus. As I prayed with her, Eric was outside the door praying as well... This was huge for her-- there had been a night not long before this that Annie had not been able to even repeat the name of Jesus, so great was her fear of rejection.
The Light is beautiful to see in her. She continues to struggle in some areas but no longer with the frantic energy of one who has no hope.
So, before I update our adoption news I had to share that about my beautiful "big" girl.
Adoption....leaving for our faraway land...we leave in 19 days- on October 12 at 10 something in the morning.
Go ahead...ask me if I'm excited...ask me if I'm ready...tell me it will all be ok...that nothing matters...that my kids will be fine without me....
But if you could see the amount of memories and traditions I'm trying to cram into 5 weeks (since we heard we are leaving) you would know that my spirit is unsettled.
My mom got me this cd called Bless The Lord Oh My Soul. If you need an amazing worship cd to infuse your home with the Spirit, I highly recommend this one to you.
I turn it on to clean or cook and it becomes this worship experience.  The phrase that struck me tonight as we were frosting pumpkin sugar cookies was "His name is great and His heart is kind."  We are clinging to that truth right now...that the heart of God the Father is kind, He has commanded us to care for orphans (specifically this one who happens to be near the end of the creation) and He will, without a doubt, carry us through this time. There are many days when I will not make it for the depression I feel about leaving my three kids here to go after this one.  But we both feel so strongly led in this direction, we continue to follow our Shepherd.  And, having been a personal witness to Isaiah's physical healing and Annie's spiritual healing - we know that we are all in good hands.
We continue to hear little bits and pieces about where our son is in this country...and each piece of information is more discouraging than the last - and makes us want to get to him that much sooner.  Finally, we know what town he is in. He has been transferred to a different type of home than the baby house...this could mean many things or not much at all but nothing incredibly positive.
Ideally, I thought...remember, I don't prefer to deal with reality....he would be in a large city, never transferred and in the only orphanage where orphans were loved and cared for and given ponies and ice cream.  He would deal with separation issues but not institutional behaviors....
now that I know reality and have had a couple of weeks to process the implications, we have begun to prepare our kids.
This isn't going to be easy...we are all being asked to stretch and bend...and above all, the heart of God is kind.
That will be what I want our children to see in Eric and I when we come home.  That we believe this truth beyond a shadow of a doubt.
So, meanwhile, we are making the most of each day...seeing The Wizard of Oz in 3D, frosting cookies, exploring the creek, shooting a new bow and arrow, going to the park, the zoo, anywhere fun - and fitting in a daily dose of third grade...making memories with our kids. 
Leaving day will be here before we know it...and, you're right...I will be ready.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Status: Dossier submitted!

One week ago today we were cleaning up from our fundraiser - we raised over $5,000.00 that night.
We are so thankful!
We have around $20,000.00 raised so far thanks to the very generous giving of our family and friends. 
Thank you.

At this point, we are continuing to prepare our house and ourselves.  I was cleaning out the bedroom upstairs - you know when you all of a sudden have an empty room you think you may as well use it as a storage room for the time being, that's what had happened in there in the last month - and hanging up Isaiah's jacket that is too small for him - wondering what size our new son will be.  He will come home to a bedroom all his own, a Cars bed with Cars sheets and Cars comforter - it's a "boy" room. 

Eric has started a list for packing.  I have been buying gifts for the kids to open while we are gone. 
My love language is gift-giving and I think that Isaiah's is too...not that he won't need us to be here but hoping to "ease the pain" if he is reminded each day that I was/am thinking about him.  He has started to say "I'm going to miss you when you're in ***." 
It's all becoming so real. 

We found out that our dossier was submitted to the embassy in this faraway country last Thursday.  They will review it and we might receive travel dates in as little as 4 weeks.  That's real.  And scary. And makes me want to be afraid.  All of these thoughts have taken hold of my mind and heart this week and it's been a tough...long week.  I'm so excited to add another child to our family - it's not that - I'm not afraid of's the process, the trip, the way my heart will become involved in this country, the kids I leave behind praying they are "o.k." every day, the schedule that I so love of work and school and Autumn decorating - none of this matters in light of bringing a child into your home and loving them as your own...but they are my thoughts none the less. 

I have reminded myself of who God is this week <again>:  He is a God of Peace, the kind I can claim as my own but not understand; He is a God of Restoration, He doesn't want to "band-aid" pain and hurt or push it away because it's difficult to deal with, He desires total restoration so that I am stronger for the experience, not more battered; He does not give us fear or timidity and if I'm experiencing that, identify that Dark Source and renounce it.  It's been a deep week and required much of me.

The idea of Restoration is so important in adoption and attachment.  Children who are adopted experiece rejection, betrayal, pain, avoidance and apathy such that in some cases their very brains do not develop...that part of the brain that can accept love and empatize/sympathize is under-developed.  That's true - ugly and true.  Children who are adopted from an orphanage or foster home feel uprooted, not often safe - they don't know what to expect.  They feel loss and grieve that loss deeply.  So, when I think of the ministry of Restoration, I'm thankful.  God really wants to heal this wound in my children at home and the one coming home.  He doesn't want to gloss over the pain - He asks me to walk through it with them.  Eric and I will do that.  We've committed to that walk with them.  What I know and continue to learn about my God is that He will never stop.  He will continue to protect them and bring healing to them.  Our job as parents is to provide an environment where they are aware of God, trust God and His goodness and feel safe so that they can listen to Him.  For our children I pray that they can look back on their personal testimonies and see clearly how God led them to Himself...

Back to the love languages, dear Annie - her love language is continually developing.  We think it's physical touch and service...she demonstrates those things to us.  That's hard to do from far away - so the gifts I'm thinking about for her include her working with my mom to make special meals and treats while I'm gone.  I bought her a special cookbook - 6 Sisters - and I'm marking recipes and buying ingredients for her to find when I'm away...things like "make your own fruit snacks." 
Eva just loves to be held...she's 2...and really beginning to voice her fears and anxiety over environmental and people changes - opening gifts for her won't mean as much but we have a little mantra that we've started together where she asks, "Back Mommy?" and I say. "Eva, Mommy always comes back", and she laughs in her funny voice and says, "Yeah!" 

I'm dreading that last glance I have of them before we board the plane.
We will skype and text.  It will be bearable.

On a lighter note, I have been watching "Pioneer Women" and loving to try her recipes - the latest one was twice-baked potatoes...they were delicious!  I like her real cooking style.  It's midwestern for sure.

We have been talking to friends of ours about being a part of a different church plant starting in January.  If you've ever experienced the first Sunday that a new church opens its doors, you can understand the allure - this will be the third one we've helped with.  It will look differently, at the last church we had/have significant leadership roles and I, at least, will not be in leadership for this upcoming church.  I'm thinking we will be good to get all four kids to church without a big fuss much less be responsible for anything else.  I'm really excited about this.  It's a stretching experience to meet new people at church and a church plant forces you from your comfort zone and makes Sunday morning, at least for us, a real service project.  Our kids seem to be doing well with this as well.  They experience different types of church settings with a variety of people from different backgrounds.

Here's my final thought: this adoption has gone so smoothly.  We have read about other families being held up at different stages of this process and we have experienced none of that so far.  We trust that God is smoothing the way, opening and blinding eyes as needed...this causes me to think that our son must need us quickly - please pray for protection for him and us.  We can't wait to meet him and to see him with our own eyes!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fundraiser Countdown...5 days to go

Where are you going to be in 5 days?  At 6:30 pm...I hope you'll be celebrating with us! 
We are so excited about this fundraiser...really, everything has gone relatively smoothly.  The generosity of our friends and acquaintances and several businesses in town have encouraged us! 
The meaningful conversations we've had have allowed us to share our heart for adoption and how God has faithfully led us to this path for our family.
Here's some of the items we have ready to go for the silent auction portion of our evening:

* 1 hour photo session
* jewelry (Premier, Rusted Chain, handmade)
* canvas art
* photographs of Kansas scenes
* Scentsy
* Family Movie Night basket (with Papa Murphys gift certificate)
* BBQ basket (with Hog Wild gift certificate)
* Water's Edge gift certificate
* Studio 400 product and gift certificate
* Longaberger baskets
* Creative Memories basket
* cheesecake
* dessert for 6 months
* Pennsylvania Dutch cake
* Summer Fun basket
** and so much more...there's over 70 items in our auction

For dessert that night, we are having a menu loaded with fun desserts...come and blessed...we will share our story with you and answer any questions you have! 

Here's a quote that my mom sent me this week:
Adventures, I used to call them.  I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull...But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, of the ones that stay in the mind.  Folk seem to have just landed in them, usually...I expect they had a lot of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't.  And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten.

This is a quote from "Lord of the Rings" by Samwise Gamgee.  Interesting place to find a meaningful quote.  I've never read the book, but I enjoyed the movie (and I'm comfortable with my level of literary knowledge...the movie works for me).

This adoption adventure was certainly not something we sought out due to boredom.  We have three kids who tend to be high maintenance - each in their own way.  We didn't need to fulfill a "number of children" desire.  We both have careers that we enjoy, ministries here at home and a homeschooling schedule that would scare you!  But, here we are.  Raising 28,000 to continue this "adventure." 

The other thing we will share with you on Sunday is the plight of orphans in Ukraine.  Do we think you should all adopt from Ukraine?  No. Does God think you should adopt from Ukraine?  No.  But we all must do something for the orphan and the widow - to that we are called, inexcusably.

So, tomorrow I finish up shopping for the table coverings, take Isaiah to speech therapy (I never really thought I'd be that speech therapist mother who takes their kid to another speech therapist for therapy's working really well and is helping to maintain my relationship with Isaiah without so much pressure to constantly work on these difficult speech skills), have lunch with my sister (visiting from Texas), mom, grandma, aunt and kids at Chipotle.  It should be a really fun day!

Then, I have to make monster cookies...we are having homemade ice cream sandwiches with monster cookies and vanilla ice cream as one of the options on Sunday...

I have started a new Bible Study - it's one that's on my iphone from UVersion Bible - if you have a smartphone, check it out.  I've chosen the one from Hosea.  One of my most favorite stories in the Bible is from Hosea - when this Godly prophet is called to take an unfaithful wife and have children with her and continuously return to her...I like the parallel picture of God's constant return to me.  I can act like that silly woman...running from what is best and longing after things that hurt me.  I have been chased into the wilderness and pursued by the God of the Universe...when will I learn?  I'm working on it.  Check out this Bible Study - I read day one today and think it's going to be great! 

Hope to see you Sunday!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Because of Your great love...

I opened the mail today...and what did I see?  An envelope from the Department of United States Immigration.  I couldn't believe it!  Eight days ago, Eric and I went to get our fingerprints done...and we were told to make sure and check back in 3-6 months if we hadn't heard anything.  To say that we were discouraged was an understatement.  This threw off our wonderfully planned timeline! 
I am a person who likes consistent encouragement to continue.  I want to know that I'm on the right track...and I like to have a pat on the back once in a while.  Sorry, that's just the way I am.  I know this about myself.
When you are adopting overseas - particularly adopting a child who is not readily available for updated pictures, who cannot be found specifically in the sea of orphans, whom no one seems to have any new information about...the only encouragement that can be discerned is from God. 
And He came through...again.
I was praying this weekend and I was so frustrated.  I found myself reminding my Maker that He did make me with this personality - I need encouragement.  I need to be reminded often that I'm doing the right thing.  I have a hard time persevering gracefully when I feel lost.  I begged for a message this week - and ended flippantly at the end of my prayer that an approval letter would be nice but I would settle for anything. 
Our Abba Father does not call us to settle.  He wants us to overflow.
After this week, I am overflowing with peace - that we are on the right track and that our son is ready for's what happened: 
Sunday: Our church family surprised us with a check to add to our adoption fund.  Our pastor called Eric and I up to the front of the church and said - "we had a budget surplus, here is a gift for you"...Oh my goodness.
Tuesday: We received a second confirmation via a generous donation that came so unexpectedly - an email that said "we want to give" --- that was a low confidence day for me...and when I read the email, I was blessed. 
Wednesday: Two days later, the approval letter...overflowing.
Not just existing or getting by.  Not merely hanging on by a thread - but held securely in a Plan not of my making.
And why am I surprised?  I have seen God work before. 
Specifically in July, 12 years ago my mom was completely paralyzed.  She had a disease that attacks the myelin sheath in your body...and paralyzes you.  God provided amazingly for her in the availability of needed medicine and her amazing recovery.
Our son Isaiah had a life expectancy of three years when we adopted've seen his picture - he's a miracle.  Every system in his body was apparently in jeapordy and now they are all healed.  That's God - there's no other way to explain that.  Isaiah was reported to be deaf, blind, cognitively impaired, would never walk, talk or eat on his own...and would die by the time he was three of kidney failure.  He's a miracle.   
I love July.
I am an unashamed conservative.  I love that I'm an American.  My favorite of all holidays is the Fourth of July.  We will be celebrating with family tomorrow - enjoying getting all dressed in our seasonal clothes (only me and the kids...Eric doesn't much dress in color coordinated, holiday-color clothes...)  I have red, bright blue and sparkly finger nail polish all laid out on our kitchen counter so that I can paint both girls' finger and toenails....that's just the way it is here.  I love it!

Another favorite of mine - and it fits well with the week we are having...Lamentations 3:22

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him."  The Lord is good to those who seek Him...

Finally - this post is disjointed -
We are preparing for our adoption fundraiser event.  Can I just tell you that we will have 9 desserts for you to choose from and some amazing items in our silent auction?  It's July 21 at 6:30.  We are beginning to send out invitations and we hope we remember everyone but would you please consider yourself invited?  We'd love to have you come!  I will post specifics of the auction items within the next couple of weeks. 

I hope you enjoy the 4th as much as I plan to! 


Monday, June 24, 2013

Bake sale fundraiser success!

If you were to stop by our bake sale this weekend, you might have seen this proud brother and sister pair...
If you happened to come for the short while we had Baby Eva with us, you might have seen this...
This bake sale began in the hearts of several of the families in our homeschool coop.  At first, it was going to be a small affair...a way to get the kids involved in something.  Well, let me tell you, I think that there may have been a chuckle from God on that one.  This "little" stand started on Friday morning at 9am with 53 dozen cookies (we dont believe in shorting anyone on cookies around here!) and continued for 2 days... With a profit of over $1,000.00!! The mothers in our coop organized everything for us! There were teams of people serving every 2 hours. The kids were involved and engaged- they held signs to advertise and yelled on the street corners as well as serving lemonade.  The business that we set up in front of was so gracious with the use of their water, facilities and chairs- we were grateful!  If you're in Newton, shop at Faith And Life -- they demonstrated much love to us throughout the fundraiser.  
A huge demonstration to our kids was the excitement that other kids had about their new brother.  That others could come alongside our family and give so selflessly was a wonderful example.
We had people stop by and talk- I was able to share our previous adoption stories and what led us to do it again.  That was my favorite- the discussions I was able to have. Two people who stopped by had personal ties to the country where we are going and that was incredible! I asked many questions and listened as their love for this country come through in their stories. 
My thoughts from this weekend have been the immense blessing that we have to be surrounded by people who are not only familiar and in favor of adoption but whom have embraced this concept.  They don't applaud from the sidelines "hoping" it will all work out but they are willing to come alongside, with a strong, personal understanding that what God has put together is perfect.
So, on to the next task... Eric and I are going to get fingerprinted tomorrow and that will be the final step before our approval on the US side.  I am beginning to work on the July fundraiser feverishly! It's going to be so much fun! I hope you can come!! We will need to have some more items donated to our silent auction... So far, we have salon products and gift certificate, Scentsy products, Longaberger baskets, Creative memories items, Rusted Chain jewelry, handmade jewelry, a fun barn tent, Mani/Pedi gift certificate, handmade pottery and a quilt...doesn't that list sound fun so far?  Do you think there's anything else you can add for us? Any skill or item you could donate to help us raise some money?  We would appreciate it so much! 
Thank you so much to those who stopped at our booth and donated, and to those who thought of us and prayed- we are amazed at what God is doing to provide for us right now!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'm excited to be posting again. 
So much has happened in the last month! 
We sent our dossier to our faraway land - a little earlier than we were expecting.  My parents were blessed with "time on their hands" and volunteered to take our dossier to be apostilled in Topeka.  This was wonderful because then we didn't have to relinquish all of our most important papers to the mail system. 
When they returned with all the documents, our facilitator suggested that we overnight them to another family traveling that weekend to this faraway land.  Can I tell you that I was really anxious about this step.  This is really real. To send all of the paperwork.  That's the final step that is in our "control." Now we are preparing to settle in and wait...and wait...and wait.
So, our documents are there.  Being reviewed by our facilitation team on the country side and then on to that government. 
Reece's Rainbows has such a great system in place.  The team in the US has seen all of our documents and we've been able to make quick changes that will speed the process along on the other country's side.  They have such an efficient method.  Their goal being to quickly and safely get orphans to their families.

We have recently heard that the process may be longer than it has been - this country has become known as a "fast" country to adopt from...however, as the spiritual war continues for the hearts and lives of orphans, a new little "hiccup" may cause dire complications for this countries most needy...for us, it means that possibly we won't travel as soon as we thought.  But we don't really know.  We will wait.

I just got a facebook update on a child that I haven't been able to forget.  This child had been adopted and died within hours of arriving home with his forever family.  Some may think - "why even bother if they're that sick."  Others may wonder if the "trauma" of travel was "good for this one."  I have rolled this very topic over in my head many times - ever since I worked with medically fragile and terminally ill babies several years ago.  Why?  And the answer is that Father God has made it so.  He sees purpose in each little life.  And He sees the deepest heart-needs of the dying child.  He knew that for that little child who died upon arriving home, he needed to be held in the arms of a forever love.  Possibly, through the support raising of this family, others will be adopted - awareness raised.  His life was not lived or lost in vain. 
This is not an isolated case.  It's not pretty either.

Within our family, we just celebrated a really good Father's Day.  We had 28 people over to our house for BBQ.  It was really fun!  Our kids wanted to create their own sprinkler park so we pulled out the beach ball sprinkler, slip and slide and in-ground sprinkler system and had fun!  Eventually, the kids got tired of running and landing on the slip and slide so they got a Little Tykes slide out and slid down that, giving just the right amount of momentum to get a really good ride.  Ingenious, what a little laziness will create.  :)

Since we now have evenings free of paperwork and corrections, we have been working on getting our two oldest kids rooms painted and decorated in the basement.  Up until now they have both shared a room upstairs but Isaiah assures us he's too old for that and doesn't want anything "girlish" in his space.  Annie is more reserved in her excitement - that's typical of her personality - but she's chosen pink and purple for the colors and it's beautiful.  We will have our new little boy in the room across the hall from us as we get to know him better and he learns what it means to have a mom and dad available to meet your needs and calm your fears.  That's a new concept to an orphan and has to be learned like everything else.   It has taken Isaiah and Annie several years to feel that it's ok not to handle things like illness and fear on their own.  New Brother's independence will be that much more established. 

Our adoption support with Reece's has jumped a considerable amount recently - thank you to whomever responded to our need.  Our next big bunch of money to transfer across the ocean is 8500 to cover country fees such as lodging and transportation when we are in this country. 

Our homeschool support group has been baking and planning for a lemonade stand and bake sale to raise money for our adoption.  We will be at Main Street Mania this Friday and Saturday 9am-3pm each day.  Come and check it out!  It will be set up in front of Faith and Life Bookstore - they have been so generous with the use of their facility.  I'm so excited about this! 

There continues to be many unknowns.  More than I'm typically comfortable with.  I recently purchased a verse picture that has the verse from Psalm 16:5-6 ... "Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance."  I feel that this is God's promise to me right now.  He has assigned me my "task" and has made the boundary lines pleasant.  I don't know what we will encounter but I know this promise and it's what I have to hold onto.

Well, there's our little night owl (Eva) howling at my side's I will be done for now but will try my best to update you after this lemonade and bake sale stand this weekend.  Stop by if you can!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


We have completed our home study!  And we are well on our way to completing our dossier!  I never understood how excited people were when they were at this point in their adoption process.  I couldn't fully appreciate the amount of time and energy spent on...paperwork.  It's really something.  Each piece of paper notarized, on letterhead, with an exact date; all information on every piece of paper exactly matching; nothing written over or corrected, in a specific color of ink.  Can you imagine?  The doctors and bank people we've worked with have been so accomodating. 

There have been several encouraging things that have happened recently - two of the most difficult pieces of paperwork to get done correctly, have been completed - with minimal aggravation AND we've had two offers of fundrasing help from different people -- in addition to the silent auction we are planning in July. 

The first fundraiser began even a month or more ago.  Our dear friend's daughter instigated this plan to sell strawberry plants to raise money to help us bring our boy home.  Ella is her name.  She (and her family) are in our homeschool group.  So, Ella has been marketing the plants and pulling them out, bagging them up and helping with delivery.  Having a black thumb, I know there's more to it than that...I just wouldn't know how to begin a process like this.  Her mom, Sarah, shared with me that they were a little overwhelmed initially with the success of their plan - they were concerned that they wouldn't have enough plants to complete the orders that were coming in.  However, every time they go out to the strawberry bed, she said, there's more plants - like loaves and fishes, they just keep growing.  AMAZING!  I love it.  Recently, the local paper has run a story about Ella's project - here's the link if you want to check it out:  
Girl sells plants to help friends | Hillsboro Star-Journal | May 15, 2013

Let me interject here to say that - I think I've alluded to this before, and if not in my blog then for sure if you've talked to me in person - this adoption has stretched our faith in such a different way.  We have so little information on which to continue.  We are literally hanging onto prayer.  We pray for a boy whom we hope is well; one whom we hope is somewhere to be found.  We have no updated picture or current medical information.  We merely move forward, step by step.  Educating our children as best we can to what we think will happen within the next year.  So, when we hear of stories like the above or groups of people who are willing to help with other fundraisers it's very much that they are being used as voices of Hope from our God.  He continues to offer us encouragement when we are at our lowest energy.  He continues to say to us "Go, I will work out the details.  I have a child who needs your family.  I have it all worked out."  WONDERFUL!

So, the next call I got last week was from another person in our homeschool co-op who asked if they could organize a lemonade stand and bake sale for us.  They had been working with a local business who was willing to let them use their storefront.  It just so happens that the weekend they chose is the same as Main Street Mania - our town's sidewalk sale when there will be that many more customers and opprtunities to share our story with others.  INCREDIBLE!  This is going to happen June 20-22 - so, if you need some nice cold lemonade and something sweet to go with it, check them out in front of Faith and Life Bookstore. 

We are amazed. 

I read this quote on facebook this week and it's particularly meaningful to me right now:


"Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says - "I cannot stand anymore." God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands. For what have you need of patience just now? Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. Though He slay me, yet will I wait for Him.'" ~ Oswald Chambers

I have been pondering the thought of when we all get to Heaven and our sight is made perfect how calming that will be.  There will be no question of  "why."  We won't have to be irritated, only understanding.  We won't need to manipulate anything or anyone or worry or wish - we can REST.  We are called to do that now - but it's hard because our sight is not perfected yet.  We have the assurance that the ONE in whom we trust can see the end but we have to TRUST.  And there's a reason for this too.  I'm sure of it.  For me, I'm growing.  That's what the picture on our blog is all about - holding out our heart.  Here.  Just take it.  Sometimes I look like the girl with my hands on my hips and a frown on my face...and my little bit of effort is accepted by Jesus - He takes what I give and makes more.  In my better moments, both arms are outstretched and I'm willingly giving...and I'm better for that attitude. 
Take it. 
Giving my all. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Do you know where I should be?  In bed.  But I am here at the computer listening to the thunder, reading blogs...blogs about children in the far off country that we will travel to soon. 

I have been preparing school for next year - we homeschool and I need to have a school plan for our two oldest kids to follow when we're, they will not do it on their own - we are not THAT homeschool family with the independently entrepreneurial (I can't even spell that word) children who graduate at 12 all while growing our own food and building our own parents will keep them and will keep school going in our absence.

I'm not one of those people to prepare for the very worst.  When I was pregnant I REFUSED to watch TLC's Baby Story...I find myself doing the same thing with this adoption.  There are documentaries, blogs, facebook groups...many sources of information that I could read to prepare myself for what we will see when we travel to the orphanage in this far off country.  But, being an optimist who pretends to practice realism - I don't want to look.  I wonder things like "what does our little boy do all day?" 

I had an interesting question asked of me this week - here is my well-thought-out answer that I couldn't think to give at the moment:
             "Why" - the lady at the nail salon asks why would we adopt when we 1) have three children and 2) could have more of our "own" -- and to her I said "we love children."  But, it is so much deeper than that.  Yes, I love children but it isn't love that drives us to spend our savings, leave our beloved children, travel to a scary place and open ourselves up to love a child who will likely hurt us emotionally.  It has to be more than love.  It isn't duty.  I don't need to adopt to prove myself.  I don't need  that jewel in my crown.  It is so much deeper than this.  It is a calling.  A compelling feeling.  A deep understanding of where I would be without a family, without my Father God.  It is placing myself mentally and emotionally into that dirty crib, never washed, never held, poorly fed and ignored - that is the deep, the connection.  That is the "why."

We have decided what we are going to do to raise money for this adotion and we are hoping to get some help from you...will you help us?  Here is our idea:  a silent auction/dessert party
                                                  When:  middle of July
                                                  Where: at our church
                                                  Who: You are all invited
                                                  What do we need:  if you have a gift or service or item that could be
                                                                                included in a silent auction, would you donate it to us?
                                                                            We will list the available items on this blog and then on
                                                                                 that night, you can come and enjoy amazing dessert
                                                                              bid on the items.

Our adoption is going to cost at least $25,000.  It's dependant on our time in country and travel expenses mostly.  It's an expensive process and for this country, the turn around is fast - which is great for us! but means that we have to raise the money in a shorter amount of time. 
So, our main fundraiser will be the silent auction.  We are requesting a matching grant to assist with that from Lifesong and there's always the option of people donating at Reece's Rainbows - there's a button on the left side of the page to direct you to that site.
If the silent auction item interests you, message me here or message me on facebook.  We are really excited to get this started!  July will be here before we know it and we are tentatively planning to travel in August or September.



Friday, April 19, 2013

A Song in My Heart

When we first began praying about adopting again...when we found our little boy with the big brown eyes and could not forget him - I heard this song over and over again.  The lyrics are amazing!

Here they are:

You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It can not hide the Light
Whom Shall I Fear

You Crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my Sword and Shield
Though troubles linger still
Whom Shall I Fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of Angel Armies
Is always by my side
The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of Angel Armies
Is always by my side

My strength is in Your Name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory
Whom shall I fear
Whom Shall I Fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of Angel Armies
Is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of Angel Armies
Is always by my side

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in your hand
I'm holding on to your promises
You are faithful
You ar Faithful

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hand
I am holding on to Your promises
You are faithful
You are Faithful
You are Faithful

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of Angel Armies
Is always by my side (x2)

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of Angel Armies
Is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of Angel Armies
Is always by my side

The God of Angel Armies
Is always by my side

They're by Chris Tomlin -

I love the "God Defender" picture coupled with the assurance that He is my Friend.  He is so big and yet willing to meet my Friend. 

There's this one and another song that I can't remember right now that continue to reassure me of God's promise of safety...He didn't promise I would be comfortable...but I will be safe.  He didn't promise me it would be easy...but He will be there.  He didn't promise me that I could see a purpose in the moment, but that everything He plans is for my good. 


Monday, April 15, 2013


I'm finding that to narrow your thoughts to fit in a blog is difficult.  You have no idea how lucky you are as I have typed this entry many times...and you would have had to wade through SO much extraneous information...
Here's a condensed glimpse...
Our April is always busy!  Isaiah and Eva share the very same birthday - it's so neat!  Our oldest and youngest both born on the same day - 6 years apart. 
Very different circumstances - Isaiah's being born meant struggle - the angels of Heaven were sent to surround him in a unique way as he fought to breathe, never ate independently until 12 months, was poked and prodded and labeled, hospitalized repeatedly and given up on by all human standards.  His smile is a miracle - his life is blessed. 
Eva -- no less blessed - she came into this world knowing that she was wanted...I was there and she was more than a little upset about the whole process - she held onto my finger so tightly, nearly causing it to lose feeling.  She had a "princess" mentality even then.  Her coming into our family was anticipated by all -- celebrated - rejoiced over immediately.
When you think  of children who will be born tonight...pray for the ones who are not wanted.  Pray that they will experience, as we believe Isaiah experienced, a complete peace that is God-given.  Jesus cries with these babies, He hurts for them, He loves them and He holds them close so that they are not alone.  In their brokenness, they were created for a purpose.
I always end up thinking along these lines in April - Isaiah loves sharing his birthday, by the way - that's one of the questions we are often asked.  And they do SHARE every way.  Some have wondered if we have separate parties for them.  No, if God had intended us to do that, He would have had them born on different days.  I'm sure there's a neat reason behind this connection.  For Annie, April is a lesson in patience -- and us constantly reassuring her that even though it isn't her birthday she is not forgotten. 
In addition to all the birthday preparation, we were preparing for our home study.  That meant lots of cleaning and organizing.  Our home study visit went well.  If you're unfamiliar with the process, a home study is mostly characteriozed by transparency.  Eric and I both answered 56 autobiographical questions such as: how do we resolve conflict, our discipline approach, our financial situation, our friends, family, histories...the Social Worker knows many things about us! 
Tonight, Eric is finalizing a list of what needs to be completed for our dossier.  The sooner we get it in the better.  Our son is waiting on us.  That thought alone propels us into action.  We have a little boy waiting on his family to come and get him and take him home.
We are looking at August-September as our possible travel months if things keep going as smoothly as they are so far.  That's exciting!  I keep imagining this time next year and another little boy running around - such nice thoughts.
Here are some specific ways you can pray for us:
For our little boy waiting....pray that God will surround Him with safety.  I have known some real moments of anxiety over his safety.  We don't know if he's been moved to the adult mental institution but that would be a bad thing when you're 5.  The typical moving age from the baby house is 4...we pray he has been overlooked thus far.  Also for him, pray that God is preparing his heart to receive us.  When you're an orphan with no hope for the future, it's hard to all of a sudden accept that change into your life gracefully.  No matter how bad your "normal" is - some children cling to it as it is known. 
For us, our family has experienced spiritual attacks since we began this process - do you know what Satan hates even more than us raising our biological children to know and love God?  It's bringing orphans into the mix....if you think about it, Satan has got orphans right where he wants them, desparate and without hope, unwanted and broken.  When Christian families seek to change that, he fights.  We are praying for God's powerful protection on our family. 
On a sweet ending note, I got a message from a friend of mine that her daughter is selling strawberry plants to raise money for our adoption.  Isn't that neat?  Thank you, Ella! 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The first entry

Here is my first ever blog post. Since we have decided to adopt again, there may be some people reading this who don't know us very's likely that you may be reading this thinking you know me too well...bear with the introduction.  Eric and I have been married for going on 9 years...I had to think about that for a minute...we have experienced many things in those short years and sometimes it seems like it must be longer... I don't say that in any way but positively...I married my best friend...these experiences we've had we're/are God-planned...I'm just glad He gave me someone like Eric to journey through them with...that may be the one of the most grammatically incorrect sentences ever. Oh well.
So, we have adopted twice--our older children -Isaiah and Annie-  began their lives in foster care....their stories, they are their own...they are amazing...they are living testimonies of God's individual care of children-living examples that Father God will go to great lengths to rescue just one little lamb.  They are just 7 months apart and act like twins. We homeschool them and love that. It works well for our family.  We began he adoption process without much knowledge; just an understanding that first Isaiah and then Annie needed our family- that they were designed to be ours.  Since then, we have learned much about attachment, attachment disorders and all the other things that come along with adoption.  Isaiah came into or home when e was 15 months old and Annie came a year after when she was 2.
Our little baby Eva was born to us nearly 2 years ago. She and Isaiah share the very same birthday- exactly 6 years apart.  Many people have asked us if we adopted because we didn't think we could have children biologically. Nope, that was not our reason. For us, we simply saw children in need.  Baby Eva...she very much enjoys her role as the "baby" in our home. She's beautiful and strong-willed.  Like the other two, she fits well into our family and we don't know what we'd do without her.
She makes the most amazing cat sound and loves to tell you about cows. She will be 2 on Thursday so aha getting some extra practice in asserting her own ideas...just so she's ready for her birthday.
So, we are adopting again. This time from a far away land.  We saw this little boy on Reece's rainbows and couldn't stop thinking about him.  It's amazing how quickly you can feel the beginnings of attachment to a child you have never met. I have his country on my phone so I can check the weather, I know what time it is for him there. I worry about him and wonder about what he is doing to fill his time; is he warm?; well fed?; healthy?  I'm afraid that the answer to most of those questions is not favorable and so I want him to be here. I picture what our family will be like with another's a good picture.
We are looking at doing a fireworks stand this summer to raise money to help with the expenses.  If you think you can help us with that would you let us know?  We might need a little help.
We watched the final 4 game "watch," I mean we DVR it, pause to get food and drink and change diapers, pause to remind the kids how to quietly play or watch the game PLEASE!!!! And then fast forward through all the commercials so we can make the most of our's hard to watch anything with three kids! Oh well, we got the alma mater lost.
Ok, I'm getting the idea of the blog...Eric designed it, didn't he do a good job? I will keep you updated on our adoption and if anything else exciting happens to us!