Tuesday, June 21, 2011

T-shirts are here!

We have custom designed t-shirts to sell for an adoption expenses fundraiser.  Check out our store!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting out my jars

Consistency is not my strong suit.  I set out to begin an exercise program, and something distracts me.  I set out to improve my diet, and I get the munchies.  I set out to read my Bible every single day, and then some days I just don't.  I set out to write on this blog weekly and I skipped a week, then I'm writing 2 posts in 2 days.  I set out to adopt a child and I find myself not forging wholeheartedly ahead with the paperwork and contacts and such.  Why am I like that?  Most of the time it's a lack of discipline on my part.  The adoption paperwork?  I was asking myself that same question this morning.  I really want to bring our child home as soon as possible.  As I really examined my heart, I'm finding fear winning out over faith.  If I forge ahead completely, I have to completely trust God's hand to work in so many areas.  I've been dragging my feet a little, waiting to figure it all out first.  Then this morning, I read this scripture passage.  Sorry for the length, but I want you all to see what God oh so gently smacked me with today.

2 Kings 4:  1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” 2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” 3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” 5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.   She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

My job is not to know how it's all going to happen.  My job is to use what I have, then start collecting jars.  Or in this case, I need to get out the paperwork, make a few phone calls, and watch God do the rest.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day

This post is not really about adoption.  I just thought I'd share a few thoughts I have about dads on this Father's Day.  Here's some things I think are marks of a great daddy.
  • Your 3 yr old tells people, "Daddy goes to work so we can go to Walmart."
  • Response when wife thanks you for working so hard for us? "I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do."
  • Have this conversation when planning to take cover during tornado warning: The daddy,"If we need to, you and the girls get in the bath tub and I will put a mattress over you." The mom: "What will you do?" The daddy: "That's not important."
  • You keep driving your beat up 6 yr old Chev Cavalier because it gets good gas mileage, it's paid for, and what's the big deal about a truck I've always wanted when there's a kid to be adopted?
  • Retirement?   Don't know if that'll happen, but what's the big deal about that when there's a kid who needs a home?
  • To the kids when facing a big day/event:  The daddy: "What does Daddy always say?"  Girls' response:  "I know, I know...work hard, do your best, and Daddy will be proud."
  • Say repeatedly to your kids:"There is nothing you can ever, ever do that would make me not love you."
  • Take on a work project on the side (when you already don't really have enough hours in the day) to help fund adoption expenses.
  • Tell your wife and kids every single day that you love them.
  • Go with your wife and kids to church every Sunday and serve there.
  • Tell your daughter when she returns from a mission trip, "I am so proud of you.  Do you realize that you helped change some people's lives for eternity?"
Wait ~ these all describe the Daddy of my girls, my husband!  I'm not proclaiming his perfection and he sure couldn't proclaim mine.  Just thought it would be good for him (and others) to know just some of the good stuff.  We are planning for the next addition to our family to be a son.  If that's God's plan also, I know I will enjoy watching Matt get to be as good of a dad to his son as he is to his daughters.  I know he will try explain that "boy" brain to me like I try to explain these "girl" brains to him. 

Happy Fathers Day to my husband and to all of you other dads out there who do your best every day to be the dad God wants you to be.

"As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;" Psalm 103:3

p.s. Won't Matt be surprised that I got back out of bed and wrote this after he was asleep?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Choices and Playing Cards

I would say most parents, given the choice, would pick nothing but the best for their kids.  I’m sure my dad might’ve preferred me at six-three, two-fifty coming out of high school as an offensive guard and a nose guard instead of five-nine, two hundred.  Momma might’ve preferred a Pulitzer Prize winning author instead of the mental midget I can be at times.

When I dream of my own children’s futures I see Courtney successful and happy, making an eternal difference for the Lord in the lives of others.  I can picture Cassidy winning Olympic gold in gymnastics to the glory of God.

But what about the other things – those things we might consider bad.  No parent would choose for their kids to have disabilities and handicaps.  Heck, my parents didn’t choose for me to be a knuckle-head.  I just turned out that way.  But would we turn away from our children if they were born less than perfectly healthy?  I couldn’t, and I dare say, most wouldn’t.  I’ve got two cousins whom I greatly admire and respect for their dedication and bravery as they raise special needs children.

Yet we’re approaching a point in our adoption journey in which we’re going to be asked to choose those issues/defects we’ll accept and those we won’t – they call it special needs.  We have decided we’re going to adopt a special needs child.  The biggest reason we’re going that direction is because our girls would love a baby brother, and well, it’d be cool to have a son, and the most sure fire way to adopt a boy from China is if you’re willing to take one with a special need of some sort.  It kinda makes me feel like a weasel to even put it that way.

Nevertheless, that’s the choice we’ve made, and we’ll soon be faced with decisions as numerous and wide ranging as there are special needs: Cleft lip and pallet or Down’s Syndrome?  Spina Bifida, blindness, deafness, mental retardation, club foot, autism, missing toes.  You get the picture.

But how do you choose?  Martha and I agonize over this.  How do you look at all these children, equally deserving of a loving family and home and say, “I’ll accept you, but I won’t accept you.”  It rips me up to even think about it.  I mean, aren’t we supposed to play the hand the good Lord deals us?  I know I’m thankful my folks didn’t look at God and say “Uh, try again, would ya?”

For me, the dread is real and formidable.  I would like to think I’m bold enough to tell the adoption agency, “You pick, I’ll handle whatever comes my way.”  But honestly, I don’t know if I’m that brave.  I want to be, but am I?  I doubt it.  And I’ve got my family to think of as well.  My wonderful wife and I have two of the most precious girls in the world.  How much are we willing to disrupt their lives?  What are we willing to put them through?  While that’s a good and valid consideration, I don’t want to hide behind it either.

I wish I had this big, elegant answer, but truth is I don’t.  So, I find myself praying and falling back on that faith thing, asking God to show me His good and perfect will for our family, hoping I’ll have the courage to follow the road He puts us on.

When the time comes, we’ll make the choice, and we’ll live with the consequences however they turn out.  My biggest prayer is that we don’t make “our” choice, or “my” choice, but that we make His choice.  Then I know we’ll be able to handle whatever hand we’ve drawn.


Friday, June 3, 2011

What's going on?

Short update in case you wonder (or even if you don't :))
We sent our first paperwork into Lifeline Adoption a few weeks ago.  We had our first official conversation with our social worker there yesterday.  Exciting stuff!  Our next step is to find and contract with a home study agency and get that going.  Along with that, the next step in the reams of paperwork will begin.  My head's already spinning.  I think it's time to obtain the BIG three ring binder and set up lots of dividers with brightly colored tabs!

I'm told the whole process from start of paperwork to hugging our child will take about a year.  My friend who left Guangzhou, China yesterday says it was 1500 degrees there.  Maybe she's exaggerating a little.  We may be there this time next year!

Upcoming news:  We have a Hand in Hand, Heart in Heart logo on it's way and some t-shirts in the works.  Yippee!

Prayer requests:  1)We have to fill out paperwork telling the agency what special needs we'd be willing to accept.  Such a tough question.  Please pray for God's will to be evident.  2) Fees are due at every step from here on out.  Please pray for God's perfect provision.

Question: Have you become an official follower of our blog?

Thank you all for your prayers, well wishes, and smiles.  They mean SO much to us!

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."  2 Corinthians 9:8.