Thursday, October 15, 2020

Word of the Year

(Re-opening this blog has been on my mind for a little while...and what better reason to write than when asked to submit something for a blog team. So, you can read past posts I’ve written during the time that we were bringing our son home from Ukraine.  It was a tumultuous time, to say the least. And, in country, I recall the blog not working well so the full story is not written there -I don’t think- I hope to remedy that as I begin writing again. At any rate, here is a fresh beginning.)

When I was asked to write a blog post (or I volunteered, I don’t know) I immediately felt that I wanted to write about something near to my heart: words.  

As a speech therapist, I deal in words professionally.  As a mom, I invest in and waste words regularly.  Dear me...lots of them.  

I love words.  And I believe in the power of and necessity of communication. It’s ironic that I’m beginning this blog again with this topic as it was begun with our son coming home from Ukraine - and, at the time, he had no words of his own.  I’ll tell you his story sometime.  To God be the glory, Levi has found his voice many days.  

As mentioned before, the start of his life with us- post adoption- was tumultuous for us all.  We lost our rhythm.  We were needing a new normal.  We were scared.  We believed in what we had done as being God’s plan for our family but our reality was bleak at that time.  

I heard from someone (I have no idea whom but I know many people use this method, this is just my story) about choosing a word of the year.  I remember thinking at the time: that sounds tedious, just one.  But I was so worn down and discouraged, it also felt freeing. 

Just one.  
How do you sum up a whole year in a one word??? I use them regularly and flagrantly.  
Maybe this wasn’t for me. 
But the thought persisted: a word. 

Processing this, I came full circle to the thought that the word wasn’t to “sum up” a year but rather to “project onto” a year. What if it was meant to provide intention? Direction? Goal-setting? 

What if it wasn’t just for me? What if the fragrance in our home could be altered by this intentionality? 

We needed something.  We needed direction.

I believe the first word I chose was HOPE.  Not because I possessed much at the time...but because I was intentionally choosing it for my family.  Because I wanted to live each day not in the hope I can independently realize but only true HOPE that comes from Jesus.  Not because HOPE was something to be owned, but a goal each day; a living hope, if you will, that could be set before us and aspired to.  Even in our weakness and hopelessness.  

Do you feel ‘there’ this year? Have you lost intention and direction? 

Another year, I chose PRAY. Friend, there are situations in front of us (now maybe more than ever) that cannot be changed and affected by our human endeavors but only by the power of prayer. 

Do you have concern for a child? Concern for health? Concern for job? You’ve done all that you can do and now...”all that’s left is to pray”...I determined that year to make prayer my first response, not the last.  I set a goal before me. I posted it through my house so that I would be held that my kids would hear me talk about it. 
We’re reading The Screwtape Letters this year in school and I’m reminded that there is a battle constantly being waged.  My complacency and apathy, disinterest and distraction fuel the Enemy’s fire.  May I not be so pliant.  May I enter the fight for God’s Kingdom fully.  I do so by being engaged in prayer always and increasing my vigilance to where God is working and calling me to be. 

So, how does it look? Choosing a word? 

I’m always amazed at the words I choose and how they affect my whole family.  I put them out there for all to see and know.  I place them in noticeable places.  I sometimes wear them on jewelry (I like jewelry and wall art, what can I say?)

My word this year is: FAITHFUL.  It hasn’t been on our walls or anything.  It’s one I’m still working out in my spirit. 

God’s faithfulness has been evident to us.  He’s calling us to increasing faithfulness.  It’s a work in progress as I flesh it out on a daily basis.  

Does that make sense? Some years are clear and neat.  Others, like this year, they are promised but hard...and may take a couple of years.  That’s ok. 

As you are looking forward to the coming year, striving for intention, consider these words from the Psalms: 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. 

Also, Luke 6:45 says: A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things our of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  

This year, intention to fill the very heart of your home with only good...whatever is pure, lovely, true, honorable, of good report...choose your word from that list and you’ll never go wrong! 

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!