Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Crafty Stuff!

I started working on this project weeks ago and just now felt good enough to be able to finish it.   I feel like Ephesians 3:15-19 has become my prayer for my family.   I'm happy to have this reminder in my home. :)



The boys made some little valentine's trees with their handprints and fingerprints.   Stole this from pinterest:)



Ethan is going to Ghana!!!!

  Yesterday we headed to our appt at the health dept. to get Ethan's travel vaccines.   It's a long story, but, he could not get it there and they would not be able to give it to him in time for him to go on the trip.  We wasted hours and hours in the car and accomplished ZERO. 

SOOOOO.....I freaked, panicked, flipped out on my kids, and apologized over and over for my BAD attitude!   Then, as we did our family devotions...the title was "Do Not Worship Your Worries".   Ha! I immediately slinked down in the couch and was embarrassed because that's exactly what I had done all day long!   Meanwhile, my 7 year old continued to have a wonderful attitude.  He even wanted to get his shots knowing he did not have enough money to go on the trip.    He kept saying he felt like God was telling him he should go to Ghana and if it wasn't now, then maybe another time.   

I got up this morning and only one place could get us in for his shots and it was in Nashville!  So we went and got his shots!   It felt good to get that taken care of.  He was tough.  I almost cried when I got the yellow fever shot...it HURTS!   He only cried a little. :)


Since we were in Nashville and we cannot seem to get to 100 days of school....we found a little museum that was free and pretty cool.  It was an agricultural museum that had great exhibits, indoors and out.    I don't care what anybody says...it's counting for a day of school!














So...Ethan has his visa, shots, but is lacking about 7 or 800 dollars.   When we checked the mail this evening...there was something for Ethan (we knew this was coming, but, he did not).   Some friends of ours called last week and said that God told them to give Ethan $750!!!!  This brought me to tears because it's such a huge amount anyways, but, this is a young couple in the process of adopting 2 girls! What a sacrifice!!!!   I'm so thankful for people that are such an amazing example to us and our children!   It moves me to see how much God loves Ethan.   I know this has done so much for his heart.   God is so good!!!!

Here is Ethan's reaction!  My boys are so goofy!

video

Also, we had our visa interview this morning.  It went well except for a few things that are needed.  Our POA will take those to the embassy on Thursday and hopefully they will print our visas quickly!!!  


Thursday, January 26, 2012

I cannot wait until we do not have to be apart any longer!  I'm SO, SO thankful for the huge blessing of getting to skype with our kids.   While, I'm thankful for that, I just want to have them here with us.   I was so afraid our little guy was going to forget me.  I pray he hasn't.   Hopefully skyping every once in awhile helps him remember.   I also can't wait for all four of the kids to meet each other in person. 



Christy loves to make us laugh!

Blowing kisses!


Basketball

Today I woke up and felt WONDERFUL!  It's the first day where I haven't felt nauseous and like I had to drag myself out of bed.   I had energy and felt like I could do what needed to be done.  I was a little sore because I moved our bedroom furniture around the night before...but, other than that it was glorious! This recovery has been rough and frustrating.   Our kids could be home in the next couple of weeks and I have not been able to do anything to get ready for them.  It's like nesting when you're pregnant...my mind is going crazy with all this stuff I need and want to do, but, my body won't do it!   So, now I'm going crazy!  I cleaned the carpets, took stuff to Salvation Army, etc.  It feels so good...I should say "felt" good...I'm kind of thinking I overdid it now.   







We've been having fun watching Ethan play basketball.  He's doing upward so it's really laid back.  His coach is great.   It's a great learning experience for them.   Watching Ethan reminds me so much of myself.   I really had to work at sports but I really enjoyed them.  He's doing really good.   I remember my parents and coaches having to tell me over and over to be aggressive and fight for the ball.  I think it's going to be the same with Ethan.  He's just too nice! :)   It reminds me of a time he came to me crying at Water Angels one day.  He told me that this kid wouldn't get off of him and kept hitting him in the face so, "I just HAD to hit him".   He's such a good kid.  Love this guy!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Progress

We are so excited!!  It seems like we are SO close to bringing our kiddos home.   So many people ask when they'll be here, and it's so hard to explain because there are so many little steps along the way.   Like, just to get their visas from the US Embassy, we have to wait on an email saying our I-600 has been approved, then, wait on an email saying our visa packet can be picked up.  Next, we wait on an email saying we have a exit interview appointment and then we'll have a date for our visas to actually be printed.   The time in between each of those things seems like FOREVER and it's really unpredictable how long it will take.   My mom is in country so she's actually gone and tried to pick up our packet without THE email.  They wouldn't even let her in the embassy without it.   RIght now things are moving very quickly and it's likely our kids could be home in the next few weeks.   Our visa exit interview is January 31st!!!!    On that day, we should get a date that our visas will be printed (that is when you can bring them home) and it's been taking anywhere from a few days to a couple of months!   RIght now it's about 1-2 weeks out.  

Chad is going to go on this trip.   He's so excited to go back.  Ethan is really wanting to go as well.  He's been saving up his money for so long.  For almost a year he has not spent his allowance on anything.  It goes straight to his savings for a plane ticket.   When I ask him why he wants to go he says he wants to read his Bible to the kids.  He will randomly thinks about things he could do with "the kids".   It's really sweet.  The other day we were in Walmart and he asked if we could go look around the toy section.  I told him I was not going to buy any toys and asked why he wanted to.   He said, "Well, sometimes I get tempted to spend my money on some toys, I'm not going to, I just get tempted to sometimes."   I told him we could go look and he could spend some of his money if he wanted to, but, he decided against it.    He knows the trip is fast approaching and I talked with him about he doesn't have enough money yet.   He said, "Well, maybe God wants me to do something else with that money".     His attitude has just really blown me away.   I probably would have thrown a fit and said something like, "that's not fair!"....well, at least I would have thought it.     My heart just wants to find a way so bad for him to go.   Chad and I are praying about it.   We just about have our money for the pick up trip.   We're praying if it's God's will that He will make a way.  If it's not, I pray He'll show Ethan what he should do with the money he's saved and that's been given to him.  

The other part of the story that touches my heart is that Luke has also put every dime he earns in Ethan's jar or in a jar that's for food for the orphans.   He also has not spent his money on himself.  This does cause problems sometimes though.   We've tried to use Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Jr.  that uses commission and fines.   I don't like to use it for character or a lot of behavior issues.  I feel like that doesn't get to the heart of the matter and I don't want my kids to "be good" to earn money.   Anyways....Luke is famous for taking VERY long showers.  I gave him a time limit and told him for every minute after that he would be fined so that he could help pay the water bill.    He very sincerely said, "Mom, but that's for food for the orphans!".  I couldn't help but laugh!   I told him he better hurry up and get out then! :)  

The other morning the boys got up before me and scrubbed the toilet, sink, cleaned up the living room, kitchen, dusted the furniture....I just stood there wondering what was going on.   I said, "wow!!!   Why did you do all this???".   I expected to hear that it was because of how much they loved me, but, they just said emphatically, "We need more money!".     I cracked up.  But, then, I thought about what that money was for...not them. I wanted to cry.   I can learn a lot from my boys!

Friday, January 13, 2012

"What a Blessing You Are"

I came across this blog post today.  It was so refreshing to read this...

"I know those people mean well, and it is true that God has blessed Alyosha with a loving family. But something in those phrases negates the fact that we are blessed by him. Like we are just a couple of long-suffering saints who are raising the orphan because we're so pious. Like he doesn't have to put up with our junk, sins, imperfections, every day. Gag.

The middlewoman-mom-daughter at Panera hit the nail on the head. Our son is a blessing, and we are the humble and grateful recipients. We hope to be a blessing to him too- but because that's how families work, not because we are superheros."

Chad and I have been talking about comments that are already being made and our kids aren't here yet.   We know that everyone is well-meaning, and I know for a fact I have said some of the same exact things that make me cringe now.   I've become more aware of how adoption, children, and adoptive parents are perceived lately...and the comments that come along with those perceptions.  I've been trying to put myself in my children's shoes...adopted and biological...and realizing how certain comments might make them feel.  Like when people say they don't know how we do it, two kids is enough for them, those are some lucky kids, etc...I can imagine that it might make our kids feel like a burden.   I'm sure as they get older those comments will be frustrating or annoying.  For me...it's uncomfortable.   As a mom, I struggle on a daily basis.  I've brought my kids to tears.  I've failed them time and again.  I will continue to do that.  But, hopefully, by God's grace, we have a loving family where we are growing in Him daily, loving each other the best we can, and striving to serve Him with our whole hearts.   Like this mother says...I want to be a blessing to my children...desperately...because I love them so much.  And I can only do that because God loves me so much!   Honestly, I don't know what I'd do without my kids..all four of them....and 2 aren't even here yet.   They are a huge blessing to us and I want them to always know that.  They are a gift and they are treasured!   I just pray that others will see that about them and speak that into their lives.  

Gotta Love Boys

I love my boys so much!  They are so much fun and so sweet.   I still think about what Luke said last week about how he was going to marry me when he grows up and it melts my heart every time.   The boys were really worried about me and have been so sweet to me.  


They are used to being able to be pretty rough with me.   I'll get down and roughhouse with them, wrestle around, and all that.    They have been known to jump on me from on top of the furniture with no notice...almost knocking me over.   They love for me to drag them around on the wood floors as they hold onto my feet.   They jump from the top bunk into my arms, get me on the floor and tackle me.....they don't really hold back with me.   They both love to be on my lap whenever I'm sitting down...whichever boy didn't make it to my lap first is usually on top of my head somehow.   Sometimes it's a little overwhelming...but, really, I love it. I know that before too long I won't be able to hold them, wrestle them down, and they won't want to be on top of me all the time. 

Anyways, since I've been home, Chad has had some serious conversations with them about how they cannot be doing that now...that they could seriously hurt me since I've just had surgery.  They have been so sweet!   They still climb up on my lap, but, are so gentle. 

Instead of jumping on me....they hide around corners and when I walk into a room, they scream at the top of their sweet little lungs and scare me half to death!   Or they throw something at my head.  Or...lunge at my stomach with their light sabers and stop within an inch of my incision!!!   All the while, they are cracking up laughing and having the time of their lives!   My reactions are probably pretty comical since I'm so drugged up right now.   

My mom called and let me skype with our little guy a while ago...she thought it would cheer me up.  It was so funny because he was sitting on her lap and it looked like he was rubbing the side of her face.  I said, "awww...he's so sweet" and before it was out of my mouth he had yanked her earring!   I guess boys around the world are all the same!    I just love 'em!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Growing Deep Roots

Wow...remember when I said I was learning to let go of my expectations???  Yup...still learning.  For some reason I thought that this new year was all of a sudden going to be smooth sailing, trial free, and only full of joyous moments.   Nope...I was wrong!

Back in September we went through a miscarriage and then found out I had been pregnant with twins when my tube ruptured I came very close to dying.    You can read about that here.    It's been  a process of grieving the loss of two precious babies.   We had just decided that when it warms up we are going to plant an area of flowers or something in their memory.  It's hard not knowing if they are girls or boys, so you can't name them.   I have hated feeling I have done nothing for them.   Our boys still talk about the babies and wish that they were here.   After my surgery, the doctor told us that getting pregnant would be fine and that my one remaining tube was in good shape.    Well, a couple of weeks ago I started having some severe pain...much like when I rushed to the ER in September.  But, I was also having bleeding so it never entered my mind that I could be pregnant.   Monday night I started having excruciating pain again.  Chad stayed home and insisted that he take me to the ER.  I refused.  I literally pounded my fist and cried.   I was so mad that I was going through this.   I'm tired of being in the middle of crisis'.  I'm tired of being stressed about medical bills!  I didn't want to be away from my boys again.  I just thought I'd sleep it off and call my dr. in the morning.   I am stubborn.   But, I think more than that, I am just plain stupid!  After what happened before, I still can't believe that I didn't go to the ER.

So, the next morning I called the dr.   I went and had co-op with some friends.   I was not feeling well at all, but, haven't for awhile.  I've just been trying to ignore what was going on.    So, I got into the dr. Tuesday afternoon.   I told the nurse what was going on and she said something was telling her to do a pregnancy test.  I just went with it.   Then...I started to get excited.  I could be pregnant.  And then it hit me...if I am, it's the same situation as before.    She came back and told me it was positive.  I just covered my face and sobbed.   I could not believe this was happening again.   Another baby lost!  Another major surgery to recover from!

I was taken for a quick ultrasound and exam.  Sure enough...I had another ruptured tubal pregnancy.   I was taken back for surgery pretty quickly.  They tried to do things laproscopically, but, there was too much scar tissue.  So, I have another huge incision that is having problems.  I have to go back in tomorrow to have it checked out and they are hoping the problems will have resolved so I don't have to be opened up again.

Honestly, I am struggling.   I was in the Family Birthing Center so I sat there listening to all of these newborns crying and congratulations to all the excited new parents.   It was just hard.   It's final now.  I will never be able to get pregnant again.    I watched my boys tear up as we told them the news.  We told them again how now we have 3 babies we will get to meet in heaven one day and they are with Jesus.  Ethan said, "I know they have a good life now, but I'd rather have them here."   Me too buddy.    I am struggling with being cut open again.  I just have to try not to think about or I just get so frustrated.   It's like going through a c-section, but, when you come out, you have no baby to hold.   It stinks!  

I know I sound terrible.   But, I am being completely honest.  I've been constantly thanking God for his grace.  With an attitude like mine, I don't deserve it.  But, He gives it so freely.  I should be dead!  I'm not though. I'm sitting in my home alive and well.   I'm still able to hug my boys.  We got one step closer to bring Christy and Moses home today.   Just a couple more steps to go.  I am thankful for these things, I really am.  I treasure them even more now.    I'm more thankful to God than ever.  He has brought me through again...even in my stubborness...and stupidity!   He is so good to us!   He is such a loving God.   He is holy and sovereign.      It's funny because Monday afternoon I sat down at the piano and played "You are Still Holy" by Rita Springer, and sang my heart out to God.  I was fighting some discouragement about adoption stuff.   I was just telling GOd that I know H is sovereign and I trust His plan and His will.    Then, Monday night, right before all of this started, I began working on something to display in our home.   I really wanted to display a certain verse...it's been on my heart and I feel it's for our family this year.  I'm more determined than every to finish it now.


"Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s marvelous love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."

This is my prayer for our family.   And I know that we are not going to develop deep roots unless we are tested and go through hard things.   That's why we're told to "count it all joy" when we go through trials.  I'm having a hard time with that part right now, but, I do have peace from God.   He is my comforter.  I know that He is holding our babies.  I know that He is holding us and loving us through this.   If this is how our roots are going to go deep...than so be it.   
  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I'm so excited about what this year holds...well, hopefully!   One thing I've STARTED learning over the past year, is to let go of my expectations  and let God have His way.  I'm learning that I can have a plan...but, that doesn't mean it will happen.

2011 was a LONG year!   It had it's ups and downs.   We were into our adoption process, thinking the kids should be home in September.   Well...here we are in January and they are not home...but, I'm actually ok with that...most days.  I know God is in control and He's given us  such a peace. But, I wouldn't be being completely honest if I didn't say that there are those days that I just scream because I can't stand the waiting and uncertainty anymore.  I'm thankful that my Savior is gracious and patient.   I'm thankful for what He has brought us through and the ways He has blessed us.  Here's a brief overview of our year:

*Chad got to take a trip to Ghana to meet our children.
*Adoptions in Ghana were threatened to be stopped.  
*We were blessed countless times by people's generosity...sometimes from strangers.  God has taught us    that He will provide if we obey.
*In August, my car broke down and the repair was beyond our means.
* Chad got a job promotion!!!!
* We found out I was pregnant!!!  We went from shock to sheer joy!
*At our first doctors appt. we found out that we would probably lose our baby.  After fighting for and praying for our baby for a few weeks, we did lose her/him.  
* Chad broke his foot and his job wouldn't allow him to come back to work until he was 100%  We wondered what God was thinking!!!!
*MY mom was selling everything to move to Africa for 9 months and she stayed with us for 3 weeks.
*After almost losing my life, it was discovered that I was actually carrying twins and one was tubal and had ruptured.  Another huge loss.  Another huge testimony of God's faithfulness....my mom was there to rush me  to the hospital when this happened...otherwise I probably would have stayed at home with Chad (and his broken foot) and the boys...and bled to death.   
*We had a huge outpouring from our church and lifegroup.   We were handed a huge sum of money, our pantry was stocked, meals were brought daily for weeks, and our house had been cleaned when I got out of the hospital.
*In October my mom left for 9 months!  This was really hard on all of the grandkids...but, she is with her other two grandkids! 
*November 8th we finally passed court and the kids are legally ours!
*I got to go to Ghana for 2 weeks since Chad is off work anyways! :)   
*In December we were blown away when a friend handed us an $800 check for our adoption...just the amount needed for our visa fees!
*Thinking we would now be moving very quickly toward bringing our kids home, new developments are discouraging and it make take longer than we thought.



As is the case with several events in my life...I would never ask to go through some of the things we have been through...but, I wouldn't go back and change a thing.  I've learned so much.   I've gotten to experience the "peace that passes all understanding".   I've had comfort while experiencing the greatest pain of my life.   I've seen God's hand at work in the details of my life.  He has shown us His love like never before...it is breathtaking...extravagant.   He lavishes it on us freely.   My prayer for this year is that our family would have roots that go down deep and that we would truly know the depths of His love.   I pray we would not keep that love to ourselves, but learn to love others the way He loves us....sacrificially, with grace, with my whole heart and selflessly.    I struggle with all of these on a daily basis!  I want "me time".  I want to hold grudges.  I want to be comfortable.  When I look at how He has adopted me into His family....when I am so undeserving...I have to seek this with my whole heart!


Ephesians 3:14-19
For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole familya in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.