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!