Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Spirit of the Season

When I think about the Christmas season, I think, of course, about God's greatest gift to the world, His son, Jesus. I also think about how easy it is to get caught up in the world's commercialization and greed of the season. Every year we hear about someone being trampled during the Black Friday frenzy. For what? To save a few bucks on a stupid TV? Is this really why God sent his Son to the earth? So we could have hi-def at a low cost? I think God intended Christmas to be so much more.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

As my passion lies with serving the orphaned and poverty stricken children of the world, I have decided to post about the importance of Child Sponsorship. Consider the cost of caring for a healthy child (orphanage staff or foster parents, clothing, medical checkups, immunizations, school supplies, diapers, formula, food...etc). Now consider the cost of the many not so healthy children. This would include my daughters (Eliza was 10 weeks premature and spent 2 months in the NICU. Vishakha has been in care for 5 years and has cerebral palsy).

Holt strives to insure that the children in their care receive excellent medical care, for which I am very grateful, but that medical care is expensive. Please consider all God has blessed you with this holiday season, and consider being a blessing to a child in need.

Watch the video below, and then click HERE to sign up to sponsor a child.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Go Chiefs!!

Miss Eliza is quite the football fan. She screams " Go! Go! Go!" at the TV on Sunday afternoons right along with the rest of us. Her being the natural born cheerleader, I think these pics are long overdue. She sure does look good in Chiefs' red!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Understanding God's Heart for Adoption

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. For obvious reasons, I am very passionate about adoption. I cannot say I always have been. I have never been against adoption, in fact I've always considered it a great way to build a family. But the kind of deep passion that moves you into action and makes you want to change the world came more recently.
It was 4 years ago when we decided to adopt a little girl. Initially we started the process because we felt called by God to adopt a child. Beyond that, we were mostly driven by the desire for the daughter we did not have biologically. It was May 2009 when I first saw a photo of my daughter, and my heart began to change.

I have to say that I think since adopting Eliza, my love for all my children is different, because through adoption God has opened my heart to a deeper kind of love - the kind of love my heavenly Father feels for His adopted children.

Ephesians 1:5 says he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

He feels a love born out of choosing us and waiting and longing for us to choose Him in return. It is easy to love a child that accepts you, relies on you and loves you back, but it can be heartwrenching to love a child that pushes you away. This is why there is great rejoicing in heaven every time one person comes to faith. This is the love God has for each of his children.

Am I saying if you want to experience God's love on a deeper level, you should adopt a child? I shamelessly say YES! If you're thinking about it, why not check into it a little bit more. Yes, it's a huge responsibility; Yes, it could be one of the hardest things you ever do; and Yes, it could be one of the greatest blessings of your life.

Just look at one of the blessings I could have missed out on.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Eliza's Birthday (better late than never)

These pics are a long time coming. Our sweet girl turned 2 last month, but I forgot to bring my camera to her birthday party, so thank you very much Grandpa Wayne for sending us some pictures from that special day. Oh how much Miss Eliza has grown since her 1st Birthday (sniff-sniff).

Opening presents...unlike the boys, she loves to get clothes. (or in this case, super cute halloween pj's)

So grown up with her purse and cell phone. (sigh)

Oh Aunt Jennifer, how we wish you could have made the birthday cake. It would have looked SO much better than mommy's attempt.

This year, she used a fork to eat her cake instead of the faceplant technique.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Scout Family Campout

This past weekend was the annual Cub Scout Family Campout for our district. We had such a fun time playing games with all our scouting friends. It got a little bit cold for my taste on Friday night, but Saturday was a perfect autumn day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

On my soapbox today...enjoy

As I was diligently working to put together our adoption dossier (which is almost done!), I came across this video on another blog and had to share it. I have been thinking so much more about the issue of what happens to young girls who are orphaned or in poverty since begining our adoption of an older child. I suppose when we adopted Eliza, I didn't think much of it, because the truth is that she was an infant girl (infant girls are adopted much more than older children or infant boys). Even though she was labeled as special needs, her needs were not severe and I knew she would have been adopted by another family if we had not chosen to adopt her. With Vishakha, it is different. She is already 5 and has a special need. She has been in an orphanage since birth, and no family has chosen her until now. I often think of what life is like for girls like Vishakha who are not chosen by families. What happens to them when they age out of the system??? It's a horrifying thing to think about. Watch this video, and if you'd like to learn more, visit The Girl Effect website. This is such an important problem in the world, and definitely not spoken of or acted upon often enough. We who have so so much, can do something or give something that is so small to us, and it could change the life of not just one little girl, but generations.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Random Cuteness

This one melts my heart. So sweet.

Isaac Playing in the Fountains at Crown Center

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake on a Stick= YUMMMM!

The T-Rex Cafe

Fun in the Pool

And my favorite...can you tell I keep my cell phone in my back pocket?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One year ago...

We met our precious daughter. Click here to read more about that very special day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Plans to Prosper, Not to Harm

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

This has long been one of my favorite bible verses. It is so reassuring and full of hope, especially when times are hard. For those who've been following along with the saga of our old house vs. new house. You might guess that I have been holding tight to this verse these past few months. Turning over control and anxiety about the vacant nightmare was an almost daily task. Trusting in God, and trying to be willing to accept His plan, His timing, and His will over my own seemed like an endless process.

Waiting for the unknown outcome gave me a big push to fill up my soul with more of Jesus. It was either that or sit around eating chocolate and feeling sorry for myself (which I also did a time or two). The more I filled up my life with thoughts of Him, the less room there was for anxiety, and peace began to prevail.

As I let go of control and trusted God more, I also began to feel gratitude instead of self-pity. I began to look at all God has given me, instead of wonder what He might take away. I began to remember that I have so much, and it is all because of Him. By all logical standards, we should not have the house we built. It is WAY nicer and bigger than we should be able to afford, but God in His grace paved the winding road that made it possible.

So, I began to think.....If God, in His infinite wisdom, saw fit to give us this house, perhaps it was not just to pamper his spoiled kid. Perhaps He had a purpose all along for us having this house. And so I started praying and seeking God's wisdom. I started asking Him how we could use this gift to serve His kingdom.

It was so obvious once I asked. The empty spare bedroom become like an eyesore. It was like it cried out to be filled. I knew that God intended for us to adopt again. To be a family to another child who needs a home. We certainly had room in our hearts and our home to be mommy and daddy to one more. And that brings us to Vishakha.

We probably had no business requesting her file, since, at that time, we still had a vacant rental house eating up every last dime of our income. But after seeing her and reading her profile, I couldn't stop thinking about her. I bugged Ken until he caved in and let me request her file. And after reading through the file, I was so ready to bring her home. (I know...surprise). Ken was very unsure, but God (with very little nagging from me which was not easy) slowly brought him to realize what my heart already knew...We could no more leave her in India than we could abandon one of our children. That's because God already knew that Vishakha was to be our own.

So we decided we wanted to adopt her. We would wait for the rental house to either sell or get rented out again, then we would call the agency to proceed with her adoption. And we didn't have to wait long. I believe it was the same day that I got a call from a somewhat frantic man. His family had just moved here from across the country. They had a house all lined up, but when they got here it was full of toxic mold. They were living in a motel and they needed a house to rent yesterday. They came and looked at the house and moved in right away.

So, it would appear that all this time I was not waiting on God like I thought, but God was waiting on me. Waiting on me to listen and obey and receive another blessing beyond what I asked or imagined. Praise the Lord.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Here We Grow Again

It's finally time to let out this HUGE secret I've been holding in for months. We are so excited to announce that we have been approved to adopt a precious little one in India. Her name is Vishakha, and she is five years old. She is currently living in an orphanage in Pune, India which is about 75 miles from Mumbai.

We first saw Vishakha's face in the Holt magazine. She was one of 4 waiting children highlighted in the spring issue. When I read her description, I thought, wow, her needs sound very managable. Ken and I had talked about adopting again, as we certainly have the room in our home and in our hearts for one more, but I don't think either of us thought it would be this soon. After discussing it for at least a month, we decided to request her file.

We knew after reading her file that we could be her family. Only one thing stood in the way. That darn vacant house that still remained unsold/unrented. Within days of decided that we wanted to pursue the adoption of Vishakha, a family came and looked at the house and moved in the next day. So, we have renters again, but yeah, no more vacant house.

Then we let the agency know that we wanted to be her family. I thought it would be a slam dunk, and they'd just assign us, but it was a little more complicated than that. Since we have a large family already, and we'd be adopting an older child out of birth order, the agency was hesitant to refer her to us. We were determined to fight for her anyway, and I guess that paid off, because yesterday our family was presented to a committee, and after reading through our file and interview notes, they decided to grant us another daughter.

We are now in the beginning stages of compiling the massive amounts of paperwork required to bring our sweet daughter home. This could take several months to a year to get processed, but eventually, we will be travelling to India to bring her home.

On a side note, if you happened to see a crazy person dancing in the Target parking lot yesterday afternoon, it might have been me. That's where I was when I got the call.

Sorry no picture. India won't allow me to post a picture until we get her home, but trust me, she's adorable.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ian is Eight!

Wow! Time is flying by this summer. We celebrated both Nathan and Ian's birthdays by going to the T-Rex cafe. The boys had so much fun, and I got some great pictures. Unfortunately, my memory card reader is messed up, so I'll have to post them another time. Until then, here are some recent pics of my big boy, Ian.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nate the Great is no longer Eight

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to post, but I did want to honor my big NINE year old Nathan. Happy Birthday to my sweet, smart, silly, super cool son!

Friday, July 2, 2010

How girls are different from boys

I get this question a lot, "is having a little girl different than having all boys?". At first it wasn't a lot different, but as Eliza grows and more of her personallity comes out, I am starting to notice a difference. Yesterday I noticed a perfect example. We were eating dinner, and Eliza belched. Now, having 4 boys, belching, while not encouraged, is not an uncommon occurance at the dinner table. What happened next is uncommon. Immediatelly after belching, Eliza covered her mouth with her hand and said "cuse" (as in excuse me). I was dumbfounded and oozing with pride at the same time. My 21 month old daughter learned something in the short time we've had her that I am still trying to teach my 12, 8, 7 & 6 year old boys. Maybe her manners will rub off on them. Mine haven't, but one more good example can't hurt.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My baby's foster mother

I was reading through some old blogs on the Holt International blog sight, when I recognized a korean woman in a photo. It was Eliza's foster mom. There is a whole blog entry about her and another foster mom when they traveled to the U.S. last November. I knew about her coming, and we were invited to come to Oregon to meet her, but Eliza had only been home a few months at that time. We thought it would have been too much for her to travel, so we sent videos and photos instead. I am so happy I found this article, so I can save it for Eliza. After reading the article, I have even more appreciation than before for this woman who was my daughter's mother for 8 months of her life. I knew she had fostered many children in the 15 years she was a foster mom, but I had no idea that Eliza was her 40th foster child. Even though she had cared for so many children before her, we could tell that she loved Eliza with a mother's love. She was so happy for Eliza to be getting a family, but she also wept for the loss of the child she had nurtured from a tiny preemie to a strong little crawler. She and the many other foster moms are such beautiful women. It is impossible for me to express in words my gratitude for all she gave my child. Here is a link to the blog if you'd like to read it:

Eliza in Korea with her foster mom

Look at that happy face

Friday, June 11, 2010

Something to think about

I have been reading a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. And I must say I am loving it. It is one of those that really makes me think and challenges my thoughts about how I should live my life. I came across this video of the author on youtube. As someone with 2 mortgages, financial stress can be overwhelming. I have often recently asked God to bless us financially, so we no longer have to worry. I have NEVER considered asking to live paycheck to paycheck so we must depend on Him. On the contrary, I am more inclined to ask for Financial Peace. It raises several interesting things for us to consider. Like does it really please God for us to save so much money for our retirement? Would God rather see us spend our excess to feed the multitude of people who are starving, or provide a home to one of the 143 million orphaned children in this world right now? Is it really more important for me to have a financially secure tomorrow, when so many are waiting, hoping someone will help them today, so they can live to see tomorrow? What makes my future comfort more important than the life of someone starving to death while I type this?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Vacation

We had such a fun filled trip last week. Lots and lots of driving, but also a ton of fun and adventure. All the kids did great. Here are just a few of our memories:

Old west style photos from South Dakota (so darn adorable)

Boys!, I said we are getting buffalo BURGERS, not boogers.

The awesome aquarium at the Omaha Zoo

Bear Country near Rapid City South Dakota - very cool! They had cute little baby bears wrestling. Eliza really love it.

Crazy Horse

a mountain top in Keystone, SD

The Mammoth Site - awesome! You gotta see this place if you go to SD.

Garden of the Gods - Colorado

Air Force Acedemy

Rafting the Arkansas River Brown's Canyon - What a blast!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A quick update and farm pictures

It's been a busy few weeks. We've been cleaning and repairing our rental home so we can sell it, and finally it is in good enough condition to sell. As a sidenote, if you are considering being a landlord, I would say run away. The amount of destruction and toxic waste in that house was beyond belief. But it is now clean and for sale. We are quite relieved to be finished with the repairs. Now we just need someone to buy it.

My mom is taking us on vacation this week, and we are so grateful for the much needed break. We're going to Omaha zoo, South Dakota, and finally Colorado, where my brother lives. It should be a lot of fun. I'll be sure to post some pics of our adventure when we get back.

Finally here are some great pics of when we took Eliza to Deanna Rose Farmstead. She loved feeding the baby goats and other animals. She pretty much calls anything with 4 legs, "dog-dog"., but we have 2 dogs, so that is to be expected. She does recognize birds and calls them "Bir". Also, she seems to have a new favorite word, "my!" which translates to "mine!" Yep, she's already starting to act like a 2 year old, and we have 4 months before that happens. Oh boy!