Monday, May 31, 2010

Change of plans....

I almost hate to write this, because it actually has a really awesome opportunity for blessing, but it still makes me sad. I hope you will forgive my brief moment of sadness as I seemingly let go of one dream to grasp another.

While I was in Ethiopia it sort of felt like God was telling me that another adoption wasn't in His plan for us. I completely shut my ears and tried really hard not to hear him. I loved on those babies and children with all that I had. I prayed over them and spoke His love into those tiny little hearts. Praying that some day I would be able to do the same with my next child, praying that there was someone to pray that into her little heart when I could not.

But since I have been home it seems as though He is steering us in a different direction. D is still adamant that another adoption right now is not in the cards. There has been no burning bush for him.

The bush he has seen burning is going to Ethiopia to do mission work.

Seems as though it's the same burning bush I have been trying to avoid, putting my sunglasses on and trying not to see.

We have another at least 10 people that want to go to ET with us next time, next year. We have relationships built and more opportunities this time.

I am mourning my dream, that I felt sure was from God, and looking towards this new adventure.

I am excited to see what He does and where He takes us.

I mourn what feels like the loss of a child, while I look forward to what I know will be full of His blessing and grace.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I am still here....

I have been a bad blogger... sorry.

For the last couple of weeks I have been 'funk'y. Just really not in a good place. I couldn't figure out why, and couldn't shake it. I don't like to feel that way...and I got more sad because I couldn't seem to get myself out of it. I know how very blessed I am, how very much God has given me so I had no right for the funki-licious thoughts. Kind of a weird vicious cycle that I just didn't have the energy to get out of, so I chose not to post any of my whining.

Some time last week I sent out a request to some of my dearest friends, asking for prayer. I knew I was going to need help to get out of the funk. Between their prayers and getting the medication I take for my Thyroid straight, (that's a huge part) I am feeling so much better.

The other day I actually thought to myself "I love my life". That's a huge step

Our mission team shared the presentation about our trip to the church on Sunday. It was a huge success. It took me about 3 weeks to get it all together. We had 4000+ pictures that were all different sizes so the process was long. But I got to re-live the trip over and over every night that I worked on it. (That could have contributed to my funk-iness, as I truly miss those people and that country)

I found out on Monday that my job is not going to be as flexible as I had thought they would with my summer schedule. They are HUGE on getting ahead of the game with technical stuff, but not so much in the HR job happiness department. oh well... it is what it is. I have a job and it pays well and it provides insurance for our family. Not going to complain. We have run into some serious financial issues that have really gotten me upset as well. Still not sure how we are going to get around or out of them yet... but God has been sharing His provision scriptures with me through my devotions.... so I am trying my hardest to trust in Him.

Tuesday E and I got to fly to Long Island to visit with P and M, Erin's parents. They run a foundation called RollStone that provides grants to help families adopt children with special needs, primarily hiv. They gave us a grant to help bring E home so they asked if we would come speak at their annual fundraiser. What an honor!! It was really fun to hang out with them, and have that special time with E.

We went to a Duck's baseball game. E's first big baseball game. He got to eat hot dogs and cotton candy. He was given a practice ball from the Ducks and we got to meet the owner. It was a night to remember!

Wednesday we prepared for the dinner, putting baskets together for a silent auction and just general preparations. The dinner was phenomenal. The people were amazing. Everyone was so nice and just loved E. He was pretty shy at first, but then warmed up. Erin's brother and his girlfriend were there, and E just loved them! And they were so great with him. It was fun to spend time with them, although we all really missed Erin!!!

I was to give a speech about what RollStone and adoption meant to me, to us, to E. I have given alot of talks in other church venues so I wasn't overly nervous at first, I wrote some notes and prayed a ton. As the time came to speak though I started to feel some butterflies. I began to think that perhaps I should have actually written out the words...this was really important, what if I screwed it up?! I sent out some quick texts for prayer, and wonder of wonders God showed up! :o) As if He wouldn't. He gave me the words, and He said what needed to be said.

From what I understand, so far it's the most successful night they have had. Praise the LORD! At least one more child will be coming home to a family! :o)

On a fun side note we got to meet Tom Westman, winner of Survivor Palau. He was at the dinner. I had no clue who he was. He was talking to E for a while and M came over to me to tell me to get a picture of them talking. I was like "why?". I mean he was a good looking guy, but there were lots of people talking to E that I missed the photo-op. Bummer. He then came over to talk to me. We spoke for about 20 minutes about work and life and kids and vacations. He's a really nice guy. When he walked away I asked someone who he was.... they were surprised that I didn't oh well, not really a survivor fan, but he's a really great guy. ;o) I probably would have rooted for him.

Thursday night the mission team got together to discuss the trip, see each other and kind of debrief. I think it was a good meeting. I think the best part of the meeting was that we are going to plan another one!!!

THAT is exciting. Tim and I discussed it at length and we feel like we can do it again, especially now that we have so many people involved, and aware and excited about it. We are going to kind of ride on that momentum.

We are looking at possibly going on March of 2011...not sure what it's going to look like yet, but we are just in the very beginning planning stages. YAY!!!

So that's what's been happening here. Things are looking up... the kids are good...D is good...we have jobs...we have a home...we have food...God will provide for the financial piece some how... He always does.

I will leave you with some put a smile on your face.

N performing in his last Angel Choir performance.

Soccer trophy day...

E at his first big baseball game.

He was so blue!
This picture is out of order, but it's the plane we took home.... wasn't sure I wanted to get on it. I asked how much it rented for and was told $6000 an hour. Not really in my budget. We flew SouthWest. I have to say it was probably the most pleasant experience I have ever had on a plane. The staff was friendly and funny. They were cracking jokes and singing on the plane even. So refreshing to be on an airline where the staff actually appeared to enjoy themselves.
Erin's brother and M with E. They were so great with him, and he loved them.
P and E. She was so so sweet to E, he cried when we had to leave.
Erin's dad with E. M fell in love with E when they were in ET before we even knew he was going to be our son. It was such a gift to be able watch them share time together.
Have a better than good Memorial day weekend. Say a prayer for those that have sacrificed so much so that we might enjoy the freedom we have here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A little catch up

Do you ever wonder where the time goes?

How did it get to be Saturday morning already?!

As I look back, it really wasn't all that packed this week because we had rain so practices and games were rained out. We did get to watch N's season finale of Angel Choir though. SO sweet! I can't tell you how many people come to us afterwards and tell us that he's the one they watch. He's so animated and so into the tunes and words. There was even a spot where he was supposed to be sitting quietly and watching the older kids sing and perform sign language for a song. He got up and started signing with them. He's amazing. I think we are going to have to put him in drama classes some day...truthfully! :o) I think I may change his name here on the blog to DK... Drama King. :o)

Took E to the dentist on Friday morning. He's got one cavity. That's it! I have been dreading going because we had so much to do with N's mouth. E was so good, he let them do all the things they needed to. He even sat through the xrays that made him gag so badly. Poor little guy! We go back in a couple of weeks to fill the cavity.

S has been good, busy with life, school and work.
Z is away on a bible/leadership college retreat.
D is out fishing with my dad today. Hope they bring home some yummy fish!
Today is our last soccer game for the season.
Tonight is dinner with friends. We sure don't do that often enough.

Hey fun note... our mission team was in the paper this week. It was a very nice story. It even plugged our presentation coming up on Sunday. On Sunday morning at 9:30 and 11am say a little prayer for us. We will be asking if there are others that would be willing to come on board for another trip in the coming year. I think we are going to try to go back next year around the same time. At least half the team wants to go back, and my D is ready to go as well. :o) I pray that if it's God's will, then He will set the right people in motion. There has been a little kick back so I am waiting to see how it plays out. Can't wait to share. Anyone wanna come?

There has been more controversy in the adoption world this week. I choose not to give it any more publicity than what it's gotten. I choose to pray for the offender and those that he hurt with his words.

Adoption is not for every one. But for those that can't or aren't ready...they can at least support it. And if they can't support adoption they can support mother's and families so that there isn't a need for it... but that's a whole other post....

God worked up some pretty amazing people at the Orphan Summit and there is a pretty awesome movement of people into the world of caring for the orphan...and ALL that that entails. I think Satan is just getting a little worried, so he's setting off some kinks in the plan.

He won't win.

I am going to play with my little gifts...have a Better than Good weekend.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mommy Moments

This past weekend was so very busy.

We had Z’s graduation, Soccer games, church, 2 birthday parties on Sunday and then another church service for Z.

I had some really proud moments, I am so very proud of all my kids. Z has had to tackle so much to get to where he is. Growing up for him was hard, but he’s such an amazing young man. When introduced to his teachers I was told what a great son I had, and then given credit. I can’t take it … he does have another set of parents… but I thank the Lord every day that I had the opportunity to introduce him to Christ. The seed was planted and it has flourished beyond even my wildest prayers. Thank you God!!

I look at his life and take comfort in the steps that he’s taken to grow. I can see how God has used him, grown him, molded and shaped him.

When we were at one of the birthday parties on Sunday I had one of those sad mommy moments. One of the parties was full of people that we don’t really know. We knew the birthday boy and one other boy, but none of the others. There was a bounce house, and lots of running and jumping and playing. At one point as E was sitting at the table with the other children eating cup cakes I wondered what the other parents would do or say if they knew of E’s hiv?

I honestly don’t think much about it on a regular basis, it is just part of our lives, but it just hit me as I sat watching him play. Would they have cared? Would they have continued to let their kids play with him? As I sat listening to the mothers talk about their children and how they protect them from things like Cartoon Network, I kind of wondered. (I don’t let my kids watch it either… it was just an example :o))

There are just those moments when I am sad for what he may/will have to deal with some day. I have seen the way children act towards each other. He’s such a great kid, as a mom I want to protect him from the ills that society can and will throw at him.

Then this morning as I was giving him his meds he asked me why he had to have the button…he doesn’t want it. I told him it’s because he won’t take his medication if he didn’t have it. He said “Me don’t need medicine. N no take medicine.”

I explained the E version of why he has to take medicine. Then the little stubborn boy that I know and love….yet makes me bonkers…says “ No me get sick!” “Me no need medicine!”

Oh how I thank God that He didn’t answer my prayers when I asked Him to take away the need for the button. Because it he ever decided to quit taking it, at least we have the button. (All 3 of my younger children have recently decided that D and I have lost all intelligence at the same time. So it’s been a tough couple of months)

I wish he didn’t have to take medicine either, I wish he could be like all the other children without all the extra baggage he has to carry. I pray that he won’t ever have to be judged by 3 little letters instead of for the amazing, sweet, loving, crazy, funny, imaginative, wonderful little boy that he is.

Looking back on life… watching with mommy pain as my Z navigated the world as he knew it… I see the man he is now.

I pray that God will guide me in raising my E. I pray His guidance and wisdom and strength. I believe the stubborn streak that lives in him that says he doesn’t need his meds… and thinks mommy and daddy are never right…will serve him in the future against those that will not love him the way we do. Or more importantly the way God does.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New Beginnings

S went to court to get her official drivers license. She now is officially a driver. My baby girl is growing up. She's been given a very serious set of wings...and it's already had you wanting to fly fly

My big Z also graduated from his Leadership College. It's a 2 yr intensive leadership and bible college. The actual academic credits don't transfer to ODU but what he learned at this college will be the foundation needed to lead in the field he has chosen in a way that could change lives. I am so proud.

Oh man I wish you could have heard the pastor that gave the message... POWERFUL! Wish I had it on CD or DVD. It was what I needed to hear. I didn't even think to take my notebook for notes which makes me sad because it was good stuff.

So my 2 big kids embark on new beginnings this week. Goodness... life sure passes quickly doesn't it?

They had a cool over head with pics of the kids. Some were pretty funny.

Our other 'son' J.

Not really sure what he was doing here?
The graduating class! :o)
Our camera didn't capture the pics of his actual processional so I don't have them :o( Dumb camera.

This is his "I am over the pics" look ;o)

J said he was going to give his "cheese" smile.... I think he pulled it off well.
The men in black.
Does S look tiny or what? She kind of is next to these guys. Z is 6'3 and J is 6'8

Don't mess with us.
Showing our guns... I need to work on
S with her license... and her car. On her way to work. They grow up too fast....
or maybe not :o)

Friday, May 14, 2010

At the feet of Jesus

My last 2 posts were not condemnation...just a glimpse at the reality.

I have been given a devotion story several times this week. It comes from Luke 10 verses 38 -42. It's the story of Martha and Mary. Jesus comes to visit them and Martha goes into worker mode... she begins preparing for guests and is in the kitchen slaving away. Mary on the other hand is sitting at the feet of Jesus. Listening and soaking all that He is, into her being.

Martha gets upset and complains to Jesus. Jesus then says: 41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Martha prepared and worked and slaved thinking she had to do something special to earn Jesus' favor. Mary on the other hand wanted to sit at His feet and just be with Him.

In adoption we prepare, we worry, we wait, we research and learn and read and fret. We envision what our lives will be like when that person comes into our lives. We have an expectation. Martha expected Jesus to take her side and 'fix' Mary.

Jesus didn't do what she expected.

Life isn't usually what we expected.

Sometimes we find ourselves having to rethink what we thought life should be like.

Sitting in that Steven Curtis Chapman concert all those years ago I had no idea that life would be like it is now.

I don’t know what I expected. I went into Martha mode, I planned and prepared and read and prepared some more. I knew Christ was in my house, but I was busy preparing.

After N came home it wasn’t what I expected. I was sort of lost, wondering what was going on. I had a 2 yr old that I didn’t know…who didn’t know me. All my preparing still left me a little bit lost. It was in those quiet moments at night, when I held him and rocked him and cried and opened my heart to Christ that I was healed and given grace. I sat at His feet and basked in His presence.

After E came home and I got to that 3rd or 4th week, I was broken. I had thought I was prepared this time as well. Reading and preparing this time even more so… and I thought I knew what to expect having been there before. It was only when I stopped trying to rely on myself and just going to my knees at His feet that I found the peace and strength to move forward.

God has shown me His sovereign grace through my children. I love them with all my heart. There is no difference in the love I have for my bio kids than for my adopted ones. My bio kids keep me up at night worrying… I was once a teenage girl but that doesn’t prepare me for dealing with my teenage girl most days. ;o)

She’s amazing, but she is a teenage girl…need I say more? There are many a prayer said over her life.

My Z graduates from his first career in college tonight. He doesn’t always make right choices. There is many a prayer made over his life.

All of my children are loved by Christ, thus they are loved by me.

Jesus loved Martha. He loved Mary.

Sitting at His feet we find the strength so move in ways we never thought possible. Adoption for me has been a move that I will forever be grateful to Christ for.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Other Reality of Adoption

Reality of Adoption

There have been some pretty crazy things floating around the adoption world lately. Some of it really really hard to swallow.

Some things have been revealed in my own home that makes those things even more real to me this week.

Recently there was the story about the mom that put her son on a plane and sent him back to Russia. It caused such a stir…the subsequent fall out was traumatic.

There were a few stories in our local paper about adoptions that followed this one that also shed a less than favorable light on adoption.

You know what? We live in a world that sucks. Sorry to be so blunt, but we do. There is A LOT of bad here. Every where, even in our own back yard.

But you know what else? There is a TON of good.

Adoption is hard. Parenting is HARD. Life is HARD.

Our adopted kids come from a hard place. Children adopted from foreign countries are generally at least a couple of months old, up to the age of 14 yrs. They no longer have a parent to care for them for one reason or another. That’s hard for ALL involved. These children have lived in an orphanage or foster care from the time the parental tie is broken until a parent comes to get them. That’s HARD. As much as we would like to think that they are loved and cared for and cherished…the reality is that they are not. Not in the way that we would do it. And many times they are abused, left to lie in cribs for hours at a time, never touched except for basic needs, and some never see the light of day. There are a bunch of really great orphanages as well… but even the best orphanage isn’t a home.

Life for adopted children often comes with some significant baggage.

The truth is though that most of these kids come into homes where they are loved and cared for and cherished and they flourish. They thrive and grow and learn what it means to be loved and be special.

It’s hard work on both parts. As parents there are days when we wonder what in the world has happened to our lives. I didn’t sign up for this! This isn’t what I expected. What in the world am I doing?

I am certain our children say the same. What in the world has happened to my life? I didn’t sign up for this! This isn’t what I expected. What in the world am I doing?

Life with our boys hasn’t been easy. There have been rough spots. There are still days that I am confused, lost and tired. There are moments that I wish for calm and quiet and sanity. Then God reminds me of the gift I have been given in all my children. Like on Mother’s day when my littlest were SO excites to share the gifts they had made me. Or when all of them were gathered at the lunch table and it was anything but calm and quiet and sane…and it was wonderful.

There are children that have been damaged beyond what we as parents can fix. That’s what I think scares so many people about adoption. The fear that they will get one of ‘those’ kids. I get that.

What I pray is that more people would see that the stories they read are only a small piece of what is truly happening in adoption. You don’t hear about the good stories as often because they aren’t ‘good news’. Nobody really cares about the fact that there is good news in adoption. I was speaking to a reporter a few weeks ago about our mission trip and mentioned our good story and my sadness with the bad ones, she asked a couple of questions but really didn’t much care about our good story.

The reality is that adoption is hard. But as I have always said parenting is hard. There aren’t easy answers to a lot of what happens to our kids. Bad things happen to our bio kids too. Hard times come with bio kids too. Hard things happen that we cannot control.

My heart hurts for the families that have had had to deal with things that are bigger than they are. I hurt for the parents and the children as well.

My heart hurts for the children that have lived through more than many of us can ever imagine.

My heart hurts for those that consider adoption yet are scared by the stories and can’t step forward.

My heart hurts for those children left to wonder what happened…and why they have been left behind.

My heart soars though for all those children I see that HAVE been found, that do have homes and love and families and are cherished.

I know that there are still many more years of childhood and teen-hood (yikes) to get through. I also know that with God’s help we will weather all the storms…and the sunny, joyful perfect days as well.

Adoption is a gift wrapped in paper with God’s hands printed all over it. If you choose to open it you will never be the same.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:18

Hey look what I got :o)

Hey Look what I got :o)
Andrea at Arise2Write shared it with me. And because this has special meaning more than even she knows I felt like I needed to post it. :o)
Thank you Andrea.
I would like to share this with each of you that read this blog. Those of you that choose to take the time to come by, read my ramblings and share some love. Thank you for being Sunshine in my life. Consider yourself awarded! ;o)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This is a BIG week in our house!

Today my S goes before the judge to get her final approval on getting her driver's license. Here in VA you have to go to court, see a judge and learn about all the dumb things not to do while driving. She's technically had it for about 2 months, this is the formality.

Then on Friday my son Z graduates from his first college career. He's been attending Wave Leadership/Bible college here in Va Beach. He will be attending Old Dominion University in the fall. He will be studying International Business with a focus on Europe. Sounds cool huh?!

My big kids are growing up. When did that happen?!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Please Pray...

I came across this blog today from another, who was asking for prayer.

Please pray for this family. I can't imagine the pain and sadness!

Lord please lift this family in your arms and hold them tight. Give them peace and strength to continue their journey.

God's Work....

I really kind of like how God does things.

Ok, let me be a little more honest, I like how He does things, when I understand them. :o)

If you have been reading my blog for a while I get some really good ideas...they kinda feel like God's speaking...then it doesn't pan out for some reason or another. So, is it me? Or is it because God didn't give me that idea, I just made it up? Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel like you have been given a vision from God and are SO sure it's all about Him and find out that perhaps you were wrong?

Last year...about mid summer I began thinking that starting a foundation would be a really good thing. I had all kinds of wonderful ideas and plans. I knew what I was going to do for fundraising and knew what I wanted to call it and every thing. The problem was that I couldn't decide on the focus of the foundation. I had a general idea, a broad idea, but no real concrete plan. I kept praying, but God wasn't providing that piece of it. I also didn't have any other's that were ready to come on board... probably because it wasn't God's plan. Or maybe it wasn't His plan...yet.

I work full time outside of the home. I have a family. I also have church obligations and at the time was leading the mission team. God knew that I wanted to do something large and glorious for Him, but I just wasn't ready. I am a great multi-tasker, but I am getting older and forget much more than I used Anyone relate?

I am getting more of an idea of what He wants from me, but I have been waiting on His true leading. I was so very sad not to have been able to get to the Orphan Summit because I was so sure He would give me some ‘sign’… (insert the chorus of Angels …ahhhhhhh) Yet it wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t meant to go. I have been reduced to reading all the blog posts of my friends that did go. :o) It’s actually been really good.

I read on one blog, that it was said, that in order to care for the Orphan…to be truly effective in what you are going to do… you have to be committed. Committed 100% to the cause and stick with it. Don’t just fly in on a 2 week mission trip and think you have done your duty. Step up…and Step in…then Stay in.

This philosophy is what had me praying quite a bit before we left for our trip. I didn’t want this to be a 2 wk check mark on our list of things to do in life. I wanted it to be a trip built on relationship. I wanted to meet people, get to know them, find out about them see what made them tick. See how I might learn how I could work along side them.

In some ways I did that…in others I am still waiting for confirmation.

I feel like the need to be 100% committed to something is why God didn’t give me any more to the “vision” of starting a foundation. He knew that I would not be able to commit to it and that anything that I may start, would not be effective. Thank you God!

I have felt a little lost since completing the mission trip. Wondering what I am supposed to do with myself. I have grand ideas…. But I am waiting this time to see what God does. What doors He’s opening.

I have had the privilege of speaking to the coordinator of the Mid-Atlantic Orphan Summit several times. I am helping in the tiniest way with advertising…nothing exciting, other than it’s way cool to feel like I am doing a tiny part.

I think about the Summit that just ended and Praise GOD for the amount of people that showed up for it… but can’t help but think… there should have been so many more! Think about the people that flock to Women of Faith or Promise Keepers or Christian Concerts or Aquire the Fire…or heck to hear Joel Osteen, Beth Moore or Joyce Meyer? How come more aren’t flocking to these Summits? Is it because when you go to one of those other events you are being told how God can change you…”fix” you… and when going to an Orphan Summit God is asking you how you can change the world?

I am not in anyway trying to diminish the effect or work that’s being done…I just wonder how we get more people to show up? How many stars have adopted? How many Christian stars have adopted or are connected with adoption in one way or another? How do we get them involved with an Orphan Summit? How do we get people to realize that when we work together the HUGE problem of Orphan care can be changed, one person at a time, working as a team…...


See…. I am full of all kinds of ideas… I get excited about the possibilities… I just need God to work out the rest. And give me the wisdom to stick with what HE gives me…not what I think.

Thanks for listening….

Sunday, May 9, 2010

4 reasons why Mother's day is Better than Good!

Hope those of you that read this blog are having a blessed a wonderful mother's day!

It's been a good one for me so far. I got wonderful hugs and kisses from my tiny boys this morning. N came running into my bedroom in his undies and jumped on the bed for a snuggle. I was rubbing his head, so he reached up and rubbed mine at the same time. Priceless moment.

It was youth Sunday at church. Powerful stuff. What a perfect day for youth to lead worship. The did an amazing skit, the seniors shared the faith story so far and sang beautifully. S prayed at the 11 o'clock service. Another priceless moment.

Then we came home and had lunch. I had all my kids at the table, we laughed and ate and the older 2 picked on each other in fun. It doesn't get much better than that. I LOVE having all my kids together, those days get farther and farther apart.

My mom and mom in law are traveling so I don't get to celebrate with them. What a amazing women who have taught me so much. My mom who supports me in everything I do, or comes around The one who is sure to tell me frequently that "I Rock" :o) I am a blessed mom and daughter.

I pray for those children who have lost their mothers and miss them today. I pray for the moms who have experienced the pain of losing their precious children and for those that haven't yet experienced the joy of hearing the words " I love you mommy".

I love being a mother... it's truly the best gift God has ever given me.

My Z. The one that started all this mommy business. How did he get so grown up?!

Playing with the effects on my camera. The man I love with all my heart. Dang he's handsome!
Me and my 4 reasons.

Me and S outside of church this morning. Jesus has our backs :o)