Archive for October, 2012

  • Standing by….

    Date: 2012.10.27 | Category: Adoption, Thoughts to ponder

    Warning!  This video has graphic scenes at the very beginning from the Holocaust.  I’m commenting on this NOT from a political view but from a view that atrocities are happening all over the world and we do nothing.

    watch?v=EH_Izul6J5M&feature=youtu.be

    I watched this video and it made me seriously consider what I would have done. I know I’ve talked about this before but God keeps placing these things in my path and making me really, truly search my heart.  It’s easy to believe that you would do everything in your power to help because it’s hypothetical.  I was not alive during the Holocaust.  It’s easy to say I would have helped.  No one can test me on my statement.   But how often do we see horrible things happening and because it is on a screen we turn it off and move on.  We read about atrocities and fold the newspaper and walk away.  We see something on the computer and we may pass it on but then we’re done.  We may talk about it to others but we do nothing.  It’s over there.  There’s nothing we can do.  Is that the truth though? Is there nothing we can do?

    The worst part about this video is the statement that when the trains rolled by they sang louder in the church to drown out the cries for help.  Christians singing louder.  It’s unbelievable.  They knew when the train would roll by.  They knew what was going on, but they did NOTHING!  How many people do you have to have to make a difference?  How many people need to come together to make a change?  Can one person make a difference?

    What train are you seeing?  What is pulling at your heart yet you let things of this world drown it out?  21,000 children die every day from preventable causes.  Mothers and children walk miles every day for water.  Babies are dying in orphanages.  Children with small defects are left in orphanages without a family of their own, slowly losing hope.   What is your cause?  What will you stand for?  What will be the measure of your life?  I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.   Please take a moment and consider all that you have been given.  Consider what you want your life to say.  Consider being a hero in someone’s life.  Take a stand.  Make a difference.  I’m using a sign I saw for pet adoption and tweaking it for children.

    If you aren’t called to adopt, foster a child for a season or two.

    If you can’t foster, sponsor a child for surgery, school, or their basic necessities.

    If you can’t sponsor a child on a monthly basis, donate what you are able.

    If you can’t donate, volunteer your time for a worthy organization.

    If you can’t volunteer your time, then use your networks to spread the word.

    Make a difference in the life of a child.

    Be the change you want to see in the world.  – Ghandi

     

     

  • Fun Friday Photos

    Date: 2012.10.26 | Category: Photos

    I thought I’d take today to show our two children that we have been matched with.  Lainey will be 2 in December and Faith will turn 2 in March of next year.  🙂

    Here is Lainey Rae named after her paternal grandfather and great grandfather. She will be 2 in December.

    Here is Lainey Rae named after her paternal grandfather (Terry Lane) and great grandfather (Ray).

    Daddy's favorite picture of her.

     

     

    Here is Faith Evangaline. We just had to have a Faith to go along with our Hope and Grace.

    We are waiting to hear about whether or not they will allow us to adopt Lauren who is 13.  They usually don’t allow 3 at one time but with Lauren aging out in June of next year, we hope they will give us the okay.  You can read more about Lauren on the Love Without Boundaries site.  http://www.lwbcommunity.org/laurens-last-chance-for-a-family   As always, if you are so inclined, please keep her in your prayers along with Love Without Boundaries, just take a look at all of those sweet faces on their site.  I don’t know how your heart could not be touched. They are so sweet.  LWB is doing marvelous things with orphans – surgeries, school, nutrition programs, etc.  It is a wonderful group!  We hope to hear about Lauren’s approval in the next couple of weeks.  We are all so excited.  I wish I would have thought to tape my children’s shouts of glee when they heard we received our approval for Lainey.  I love that they are as excited as we are to be adopting these little ones.  It is truly a wonderful blessing. Because we all know none of this would work if everyone wasn’t on board.

    Also, on a funnier note.  Cassie was discussing being part of our family in her special education class at ISU.  They were discussing who gets to decide what is normal. She had an interesting perspective in saying that in our family Zach and her are the abnormal ones because they are the healthy.  No one treats anyone any different because of their health issues.   I love that being in our house means you just get be a kid.   I always consider that one of the best compliments when people come in to our house and say you’d never know the kids have health issues because everyone is treated just like a regular kid. That is how it should be. You should be able to grow up feeling loved and happy.  That is my goal with all my children.  First and foremost, a strong foundation in Christ, which is essential to get through any tough times, and second, to know without a doubt they are loved and wanted.  You can accomplish anything with the love of God and family.

    Thanks again for all the prayers.  Our whole family appreciates them and know how much they truly matter.

  • Top 10 interesting questions I’ve been asked since I’ve adopted.

    Date: 2012.10.13 | Category: Adoption, Thoughts to ponder

    I was unsure how to title this.  Top 10 dumb questions…..  Top 10 irritating questions…..  Top 10 questions that drive me crazy….   Top 10 questions that made me want to say “did you really just say that?”……     Not quite sure what the title should be so I will just title it the obvious…. Top 10 interesting questions I’ve been asked since I’ve adopted.

    #10 – Do you think it’s fair to your other children to bring more disabled children into your family?

    Well, do you think it’s fair that your children are being raised by someone so narrow minded?  Do you believe my children will somehow catch the disability?  Or is it just because you think my children will somehow be lacking in material things or time because I adopted disabled children?  Are you just concerned about my time management skills?  Are you worried about our insurance premiums?  What exactly is your problem with the children, who I’ve chosen to adopt, being disabled and would you say the same if I was adopting 6 healthy children?

    #9 – Don’t you want to do something with your life?

    I know they mean “don’t I want a job?” or “don’t I want to go back to school?”, but I believe I am doing something with my life.  I’m following God’s plan for my life and loving every minute of it (well, most of them anyway).  I believe I make a difference in all of my children’s lives.  If you read Proverbs 31, you don’t read about a wife who is subservient and accomplishes nothing.  You read about a wife who is respected and praised by her husband and children.  She not only runs the household, she runs the business dealings of their family.  I am very confident in who I am and what I want out of life.  I love children and my dream when I was younger was to have 12 children.  I thought that dream was long gone but God has shown me differently.   I will admit that these questions bothered me when I was younger, but as I’ve aged I have come to the realization that I can do anything I set my mind to.  I have nothing to prove to anyone, including myself.  I am happy and feel blessed beyond measure.  Plus, when I was growing up I wanted to be a nurse and/or a teacher.  I may not have the degrees to show it but I have gotten to be both a teacher and a nurse to those that I love the most.

    #8 – You really think God is telling you to do this?

    Well, yes I do!  I have had it happen quite a few times in my life.  I have known something with such certainty that I would bet my life on it.  I know these are my children.  I know God has led them to me.  It’s not like I have accepted every child I have seen.  I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of hurting children.  We’ve turned down children that were presented to us.  It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  Saying no is never easy.  Do I want to find those children families, of course I do, but I have always known when I was supposed to proceed with the paperwork and when I was supposed to say no.  I have cried just seeing a child’s face.  There is a difference between crying because you hear a sad story and stopping in your tracks, losing your breath, being brought to your knees, and knowing beyond a doubt that child is yours.

    #7 – Why would you go to China?

    This one is simple, because that is where God put my babies.  I had to go get them.  It wouldn’t make sense to go get my Asian babies in Uganda. 🙂

    #6 – Do you have something against white kids?

    This one just floored me.  You are seriously going to ask me that?  I have adopted domestically (Hope, who is Caucasian) so the answer would be no.  I personally gave birth to a few too.  What kind of question is that?  Do you have something against Asian children?  As a Christian I find that insulting because we are all children of God.  We are all adopted into God’s family.

    #5 – Well, if you didn’t adopt them, wouldn’t someone else do it?

    Do you know this for sure?  What about all the children that age out of the foster care system and the orphanage system?  What happens to these children from China who are considered bad luck, have a last name that means orphan, as they are put on the street without much of an education, if any?  Over the past 20 years the number one agency in Chinese adoptions (CCAI) has placed 10,000 children.  That is an amazing number, but there are 800 orphanages in China alone.    Between 1971 & 2001 there were approximately 250,000 children adopted internationally in the U.S.  I can’t find a figure that shows more recent numbers, but I think that it goes without saying that there are way more orphans than there are people willing to step up and take them.

    #4 – Why would you spend money on a child that you know is going to die?

    Wow!  Really? Did you just ask that?  Why have a child at all?  Do you have a guarantee or a warranty that came with your child?  I had a perfectly healthy 7 year old who ended up with lupus and kidney disease.  There are no guarantees.  I believe that Benjamin deserves to be loved and to not die alone.  I also know that if you spent even a few moments with him you would believe it too.  He is a sweet, sweet soul and he deserves to be loved and given every chance at a wonderful life, no matter how long that life is.

    #3 – Don’t you think you have enough children?

    Can one really have enough children or too many children? It’s sort of like chips and oreos. You can’t stop at just one.  Ha!  Just kidding.  Truly though I think it is a person by person call.  I know what my limits are and I believe firmly in letting every child know how much they are loved.  I believe in one on one time with each child.  I also know that being loved by a huge family is better than being left alone in an orphanage where the ratio of care is often 20-30 children to 1 nanny.  My other children are not suffering from our adopting, they are loving it.

    #2 – Aren’t you are too old to be adopting!?!?

    That comment ranks right up there with asking someone if they know they are fat.  Don’t you think I know that I’m older?  Do  you think I haven’t give careful consideration to the fact that I might not be around to care for them as they grow older?  It is the one thing that made me seriously consider not doing what I knew was right.  I believe that a child who is truly loved, for any amount of time, is better than a child being left in a orphanage.  Plus, these aren’t my first children.  My older children are on board.  We have prepared as best we can for any circumstance that arises.  I am healthy and more than able to care for these little ones.

    #1 – Don’t you know you can’t save all of them?

    Obviously, I can’t adopt every orphan nor have I been called by God to adopt every orphan.  I am, however, listening very closely to what He is telling me and adopting the ones I am personally called to adopt.   I know that I can not adopt them all, but I can spread the word about adoption.  I can say, without a doubt, that there are a hundred ways you can help without personally adopting (if that isn’t your calling).  But the truth is that the number of orphans is estimated to be between 147 million and 163 million.  The number of Christians in the world is estimated to be over 2 billion.  I am pretty sure that we, as Christians who have been called to care for the widow and the orphan, could probably take care of the orphan problem all by ourselves.  What an amazing testimony to the rest of the world that would be!  What would it say to those who don’t believe if suddenly no child was hurting, starving, made to be a slave, or alone?  What would it say indeed!

     

     

     

  • Fun Friday Photo or Silly Saturday Scenes….

    Date: 2012.10.06 | Category: Benjamin, Maisey, Photos

    I haven’t posted any new silly pics of the kiddos lately.

    Everyone loves Zachary!

    How to tell when you are loved! Siblings wait in line to be held.

     

    The new loooonnnnnggggg table. Now we can all sit together.

    Love this face. Who wouldn’t love to just snuggle on the couch when you get to hear his laughter?

    Maisey and her BIG hat taking care of her BIG family (there’s 5 babies in that buggy).

    Cutest dog pile ever!

    Ben does not like sand or corn for that matter touching his feet.

    This is what happens when you let Gracie do your hair. 🙂

     

  • Life isn’t fair – now what?

    Date: 2012.10.02 | Category: Faith, Thoughts to ponder

    There have been many things that have happened to people we know in the past couple of months – babies and toddlers dying, babies being diagnosed with things no parent wants to hear, cancer diagnosis, heart bypass, problems with teenagers – life altering issues to say the least.

    I spent some time thinking about this because I was talking to my mom about things I wished I had known when Kyle died and Codey had all of his complications.  The one thing I wish I had at the beginning was complete faith in God’s plan.  It took me some time to take it all in and just accept that God had a plan.  I finally let go of my hurt when I realized God is perfect, God’s plan is perfect, God does not make mistakes, and even though I will not fully understand it on this side of my life, I still believed those facts to be true.  If I believed those facts to be true, I had to accept it and deal with it – not complain about it, not question it or why it happened to me.  I had to accept it and make the best of what my life would now be.

    There are many books that talk about this being a fallen world.  Does God allow bad things to happen?  Does God set these things in motion?  Does free will come into play?  Do bad things happen because of man’s free will and then God works them for good?  You can question why it happens. You can question whether it is punishment.  You can spend your life dwelling on all these things and you will still not have an answer or you can turn it over to God.  The choice is yours.  Every day that choice is yours.

    Dan had a great aunt that used to ask the question “why not me?”.  That was eye opening for me.  When I stopped to ask myself “why not me?” instead of believing that I somehow deserved to not have pain in my life, then I could turn it all over to God and ask Him what I should do with it.  What should I do with this pain?  What are you trying to teach me?  What am I supposed to learn?  It was pretty arrogant of me to believe that I somehow deserved this blessed life I got to live.  I don’t deserve anything.

    I believe with all my heart that Codey did nothing to deserve this.  I, on the other hand, know how imperfect I am and prayed that nothing I did brought this into our lives.  I know I have sinned.  I know I have done wrong.  I had confessed my sins and claimed God’s promises of forgiveness, but still I wondered, did I do this?  When I found the verse, John 9:1-3, it brought tears to my eyes and a new understanding to what God was expecting from me.  As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

    I firmly believe this.  Your life and how you live it is your best testimony.  It doesn’t mean you don’t have bad days.  It doesn’t mean you are never afraid or worried.  What it does mean though is that people are watching.  If you profess your love for God but doubt His plan and are angry at Him for His plan, what does that say?   If you let bitterness take over your life, what are you saying?  Do you believe you deserve to have the perfect life? Do you believe bad things shouldn’t happen to you?  Do you have those Christian thoughts that say  “I go to church.  I tithe.   I signed up for the perfect Christian life.”  If you do, now is the time to go back and truly read the Bible.  Look at what happened to those who truly loved and followed God.  Many became martyrs.  Many had horrible, horrible things happen to them.  Just like with Job, you have the choice to praise God or curse Him.  Every day the choice is yours.  Every day you have the choice to see only the horrible or to start to see all the beautiful miracles that are all around you.

    I know many people look at Codey’s life and see nothing but pain and all the things he isn’t able to do BUT when I look at Codey I see a miracle!  Codey was supposed to be in a vegetative state – blind and deaf.   He was trached for the first 4 years of his life.  He came home from the hospital on a ventilator.  Codey has been through so much and his pain has been more than I could bear to watch on many occasions.  Life hasn’t been easy with Codey.  It has been so different than anything I had ever planned on.  If you had asked me at the age of 22, if this was the life I wanted, if you had presented me with all this information, and asked me to choose this path, the answer would have been a resounding “NO!”  But 25 years later, I would do it all again. I would choose my life.  My faith in God is so much stronger.  I take nothing for granted.  I worry less and love so much more.  I try to let those around me know that they matter and that I love them.  I try not to let the little things take over my life.  I praise God in every way that I can.  I thank God many times throughout my day for this wonderful, blessed life that I am able to live.  I have lived with a little and I have had a lot.  What I know to be the truth is that things don’t matter – people matter!  I would give all I own to get my other children here right now or to spend another day with Kyle.

    In life we have choices, every single day.  When presented with things in life that take away everything we once held dear, we have the choice to trust God or to rage against God.  I once heard Rick Warren say, “That grief is a part of life, but you can’t let a season of grief turn into a lifestyle of grief.”   You have to deal with grief whenever a dream of yours dies.   You have to give yourself time to process it all, but you can’t allow yourself to get stuck there.

    Life is unfair!  Life is a BIG test! But the choice is yours.  Will you claim God’s promises?  Will you dive into His word?  Will you praise Him even when it hurts or will you let this take over your life?

    Remember to hold those you love close.   Don’t let little things make you complain.  You are here for a reason.  What is God asking of you?  Who’s life will you influence for good or bad?  It is your choice.  If you are at one of those crossroads, I pray that God’s peace surrounds you and that His love sustains you.  I pray that you are able to truly grasp just how much He truly loves you.  He is not punishing you.  He is using you to show His glory.  Allow yourself to let that glory show.  You are stronger than you believe.  Just give yourself some time.  I believe you will one day look back in amazement at just how strong you were and just how much God blessed your life with the test He set before you.  All things work together for good, NOT all things will be good.  Remember that and let Him work all things together for good for you.

     

     

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