Saturday, May 30, 2009

Home life, domestic vs. international - our choices.

Hi all,

Life is good, busy and rocking along. We are in the groove of decluttering, spring cleaning, looking towards maybe starting painting in rooms of the house that have not been repainted in many, many years.

You have to know, when we bought our dilapidated farmhouse (it sure was then), the entire upstairs needed a LOT of work - and that is where the children's rooms are, so it was a HUGE priority. We put a TON of work into that, and now all that is left is cosmetic stuff in the schoolroom, and then taking down a small wall between two bedrooms to make a "boys dorm" for when all our boys are together.

But, what that also means is that we were so burned out on painting and what not that we did not address the main floor. It is eggshell, old paint, and certainly ready to be brightened up. I am one that I hate to put up things until I really have a plan, and decorating is not only not my strong point, but it certainly isn't my priority! So, things are quite often still hung on the nails that were in the house when we moved in, up safely, but not very aesthetically. But, really, why bother when we will just be painting and then doing it all over again. So, it has sat. This winter we got the bathroom in a much better condition and actually quite cute! And I think I am nearly ready to tackle the rest of the house! Whoo-hoo!!!! Maybe once I am done working quite so much, then we can get it done. Right now it is simply keeping up with the daily necessities of life, but I am dreaming.... Dreaming of paint and organizing and all that... The wonders of life!

I have also had on my mind questions that people have asked us recently. I get the impression that people wonder why we have chosen to adopt internationally instead of domestically. Let me set that record straight - we actually were half way through the homestudy process to adopt from foster care when we learned of the boys we are adopting. We knew that we were going to adopt again. We thought from the US. But we have also long said that a child with diabetes would be a very good addition. We have the medical experience, we have the training, we work with the specialists, we have been doing this for nearly six years. I remember what a learning curve there was with learning to care for Kiley - and it is a constant thing. It really rocked our world, but now it just one more thing that is part of our lives. We could easily manage another child with diabetes and provide a good and healthy home for that child.

So, when we got the email - it came through some sort of circuitous route, we still haven't figured out how it got to us exactly - well, it was very clear to us that this was a good answer. We knew we could really help this child. It didn't matter that he was on the other side of the world - again. We knew that we had special skills for this particular child's needs. Not to mention that we are already adoptive parents of older children, a transracial family already, and we have children from the same country with the same language! We knew that we could adopt both brothers, that we could integrate them into the family.

Where the boys were had very little to do with our adoption decision, that was nearly irrelevant. It was the particular experience we had to offer that was the reason we chose this particular adoption. It wasn't about place. It was about the particular need.

(And adding in the little girl was basically because we really felt called to another child who might not be adopted otherwise. It is scary to know that there are 143 million orphans worldwide, and most children older than toddlers will not be adopted, ever. Never know the security of family, love, etc. In fact, most children over 12 months of age are considered "special needs" and the chances of them getting adopted significantly decrease as they get older. In all honesty, I am so thrilled that there will be another female in our family, as I am feeling very outnumbered by all the testosterone!)

I in some ways feel a bit guilty that we are not adopting from the US. It isn't because we don't want to, but it just has not worked out. We have been foster parents for nearly seven years, and have had several children come and go. The going is so very hard. I know there is a need here, but we also know what we are facing to do that. We may very well do that someday, but not at this point, obviously. I do believe that God does call us to particular children, to particular situations. I strongly encourage the people I talk to to look at both options. There is a benefit to both. We are placing no bets on where we go from here. There is no way for us to even think about ever adding more children to the family, when our three are not home and transitioned yet. We may very well decide that "eight is enough", but we have learned the hard way to not try to predict that before we have been in the thick of things for a while. (Hence our secondary infertility - we thought we knew what we wanted. Time changes many things, as we have learned.)

So, I don't view one method of adoption as better than the other - they are very different. There is a need all over the world, in our country as well as others. It is about the child. I love the story of the starfish:

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He came closer still and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

The old man smiled, and said, "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one."

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

This story has been circulated around the web in many versions, usually with no mention of author. It is said to be paraphrased from "The Star Thrower" by Loren Eiseley, 1907 - 1977.


When I asked my eldest adopted son about his feelings about adoption, he was very frank. He agreed that it was difficult, that there were things he missed about his first country, that there were many changes and it wasn't easy. (He was adopted at 12.) I asked him directly if it was worth it - his life experience made him the best judge, in my view. He was absolutely astonished, insisting that it was very worth it and he was very happy, and that knowing it all, he would be happy to do it again, even knowing how difficult it was at times. Just like any child, he doesn't always appreciate being parented, compromising as you do in a family and all that developmental stuff. But, he belongs and is loved. And he loves us in return. I agree with him, even on the toughest days. All these children are a gift from God and we are honored to share this life journey with them, however they came into our family.

Now, on the other hand, we have run into several folks in the last few days who, when they hear what is happening in our lives, insist to our faces that we are crazy. I know that they laugh and don't really intend it to be negative. I am learning that this is OK. It does sound ludicrous - eight children all within five years of age of each other. Yeah, it does sound wild! (Now, on the other hand, at least we didn't have all of them together in diapers or anything - it is different!) Adding three children to the family at one time, not to mention the medical issues. I have to readily admit that there are moments that I think about it and start to hyperventilate a bit! LOL! I never, ever thought I would be the mom to five boys! But, I also know that it is a day at a time journey. We will take each day as it comes and work through it as it comes. Phillipians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Well, I think I should be done rambling, it was just what was on my mind tonight. We have spent part of the day fundraising for the adoption - hooray for rummage sales! I also spent part of the day at the hospital as my grandmother was brought in again. It is hard to watch as age takes its toll on the people we love, and at times to feel helpless. She will be in the hospital for a day or two, but sounds like everything will be fine, but it is obvious that she and my grandfather need more assistance. The family is pulling together and I look forward to the day when I have more hours to offer.

So, I leave you with this: Phillipians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Love to you all!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We are getting there!

It is a cold and rainy night here and listening to the wind howl makes me very glad that I am snug and warm inside.

Just thought I would update.

Life is moving along. Soccer season has started and to coincide with that Steve (DH) and Alex (eldest son) got parts in the Dudley Birder production of The Music Man!!! So, thankfully, because Alex's part is smaller, he won't need to be at rehearsals until the end of June, so can continue soccer. Steve on the other hand, got a larger role and is now at rehearsals nightly during the week. I am so very excited for him!!! He did many musicals in high school (and somehow I only got to see the ones that he WASN'T in!!!) and sings extensively at our church and with a Christian swing band, so it is a huge part of his life!!! He is so excited, intimidated and working hard at it - what a blessing! Everyone is very excited for him and anxious to see the production!!!

Our dossier should be on it's way to Ethiopia by now, after having made the trips to the American and Ethiopian embassies in Washington DC last week. Things are moving very rapidly. In our agency, when we move beyond the document phase, we get a new caseworker, and she had been gone for the last few days, so I am anxious to get all the next details! What I understand is that the dossier will go to Ethiopia and be translated. Translation can take up to two weeks. Once that is done, our case can be submitted to court. In order to be submitted to court, we have to have the final fees paid in full. I get it. Ugh. As of Friday, we should be down to $9000, as long as the stupid brakes on the van don't cost too much! I am amazed at how fast we have been able to do this, but am now praying fervently for the final amount! I would greatly appreciate any prayers on this issue!

We did two weekends of donut sales at church, a daylilly sale, and are doing a rummage sale this weekend. Our other produce things get sent in regularly and right now there is nearly $200 waiting to be sent in. God is very faithful and has never been late. We have grant applications out there, but don't expect to hear from them anytime soon, most likely not until July or August, and by that time we hope to have the kids home or be just about to travel! Oh, well, it will perhaps repay anything we might have borrowed to get this done. If anyone wanted to assist in this, there is a button on the right hand side, and all donations are tax deductible and go directly to the agency and applied to our fees, we never even have it in our hands. I like that.

But, as it looks now, we could possibly get a late June court date, or maybe early July? That is what we are praying for. If we were to pass court on the first try, then we would travel five weeks later. I am so hopeful we can get the kids home during nice weather and settled in before winter. Also, we have met our family out of pocket deductible on our health insurance, so it sure would be nice to get all the kids in to the specialists and better medical treatment while we don't have to deal with that.

I am so very grateful for this entire experience! God is so good! I cannot explain how this has happened so fast, sometimes I have to remind myself that we committed to this in the end of January!!! My mommy heart wants these kiddos home, wants my two that need the doctors to be in and under better medical care. I want all my kids under one roof, on one continent!! LOL! What a thought.

We have been asked to be interviewed by a local paper - a small one, so no biggie. Steve will be talking to the reporter tomorrow. We just want our story to speak to other people's hearts for the waiting kids out there. What if one more could have a home and family? What if one more could get lifesaving medical care? What if one more family could be blessed? What if? I know that at some point our house and family will be full, unable to expand anymore, but how do you turn away? I don't know. I don't know if we will consider adopting again. I don't know. When is enough enough? I don't know. I think there is always more that needs to be done, but there are seasons in life. Right now, this is this particular season. I don't know how long it will last or where it will lead. I at least want to know that when I stand before my Lord that I can say "I did all that I could do" - or maybe I will just slide in and say "wow, what a ride!". LOL. Just kidding. But it seems that there is so much out there to do. God had led us on this road and we are just trying to stay walking on it, even when it is difficult to see. One step at a time. That is how we have done so many experiences - Kiley's diagnosis and dealing with diabetes, foster parenting, mentoring teen moms, our first adoption, moving to our farm and building it, and now this. Just one step at a time. There are times I wish we could jump over some spots, but that isn't possible. So, we just keep asking for God's guidance with each step and to the next one. I don't know where he will lead us, but we will follow.

Anyway, I hope you are staying warm on this rainy spring night! I will post more photos soon - it has been a busy spring! Gotta love spring on the farm - the baby goats are hysterical chasing each other around, and now a hen is sitting on some eggs so in about three weeks we should have some little peepers!!! We don't let many of our hens go broody (they want to sit on a nest and hatch them out), but now is the right time of year to do it! This way the little ones will be full grown long before cold weather and healthy to weather the winter and add to our egg laying flock! Whoo-hoo! We should have quite a flock! I so love, love, love free range eggs! Makes the extra work worth it - but the kids love the constant "easter" egg hunt! Daily! LOL!

Happy Spring and God bless!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

*Godly Aphorisms*

*God closes doors no man can open & God opens doors no man can close.*

*God always gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him.*

*Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.*

*There is no greater loneliness than the loneliness that comes from being locked into my own purposes and my own desires.*

*A season of suffering is a small price to pay for a clear view of God.*

*Sometimes God calms the storms... Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.*

*The only real control we have is to decide to give up control. If we relax our grip, God takes over.*

*Satan schemes, God redeems.*

*The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.*

*When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go. Only one of two things will happen, either He'll catch you when you fall, or He'll teach you how to fly!*

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Should you share or not, and what is friendship?

I am a very confused state and not feeling well on top of it, so I am sure not what to do.

We tend to be pretty upbeat, downplaying the struggles we go through, so unless someone asks or tries to know us well, hopefully they don't know the issues we may be dealing with. You know, the old, "keep moving, do what needs to be done, be helpful, protect others, don't gripe, and no one wants to really know what is going on". The intent is always to not add to others burdens and to complain certainly does, and the issues we deal with really are ours to deal with. But what do you do when that stack just crashes down on you and you cannot hide it - no one has seen all that you have been dealing with, so totally misread your reaction. And you cannot explain. It looks like what tipped the scales was unreasonable, but it was just that last thing on top of everything else. And of course, then they react and you just cannot explain.

How do you deal with this? This has been a long couple years in our lives, dealing with things we never ever thought we would have to deal with, trying to be diplomatic, honest, quiet and caring. Lots of good and bad, not all ours, but some. And wanting to be there for others too. So, what do you do when it all crashes? When you have just been overdone and it looks like that last thing was the issue, rather than all that went before. It's like that water torture thing - the slow drips of water on the forehead that eventually send you over the edge even though it is just a drip of water. It isn't that last drip, it is all that went before, it just tipped on that last drip.

I want to handle things in an honest, compassionate, Christian way, but what do you do when you have nothing left? It becomes impossible to explain.

Okay, now before anyone worries, the kids are fine, hubby and I are fine. This has been the most intense few years of our lives. We seem to spend all of our time reaching out, but when you need it, it comes back empty. And that hurts.

So, what is a Christian way to respond? Do you stuff it and just go on? Do you try to explain? Do you separate from the issues? Do you work through the relationships (not kids and hubby, just to be clear)? What do you do? Friendships get extraordinarily sticky when we go through intense times in life. Are they worth it? Is it always one sided? I just don't know. My human side wants to strike out after being so broken and misrepresented. That isn't what God has called us to do. But what do we do? Is friendship something that is important? I don't know anymore. It used to be I would say "absolutely" and my first question was "what can I do?". But.... I guess I am at a time when I need something back too, and it just isn't there. So, what do you do? Just step away? That is all I can see to do at this point. Just don't know.

Birthdays are fun!!!

Today Zeri turns 14 - he picked a time, because we really don't know what time he was born - so at about that time (we had a bit of delay) we had the requested cinnamon rolls for breakfast, put the candles on the cake and sang happy birthday! Of course, the presents were first and a huge hit. Thank goodness for knowing what really appeals to him!

We head out for our fingerprinting appointment (kind of a bummer to be doing this on his birthday rather than being at home - a few hours in the van doesn't really appeal to anyone) and to top it off then we are going to an Ethiopian restaurant - bringing the cake with as that is where he would like to do it!!! That redeemed the day in his eyes, plus the knowledge that getting this done is a big step to getting this adoption completed! So, the consensus ended up being that this is a good way to spend a birthday! LOL!

I am so proud of this young man, all he has been through and all that he has accomplished. He is amazing. And to top it off, after really seeing no progress in reading for quite a while, suddenly it is clicking and he is really reading fairly well!!!! The new things he is learning are sticking! I am just so pleased for him as it has been a long road. Perhaps it is also just the time learning English or whatever, but I will take it. And his vocabulary is growing by huge leaps and bounds! Amazing.

Well, the remote control cars are racing around, and we are getting things ready to go for our trip, so I had better run, just wanted to honor the young man's birthday!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Advantages to being sick...

An advantage to being sick - you have to stay home for at least part of the day. Whoa. In my current life, that is totally unheard of. Though I am sort of grateful that it waited until after my Bible study last night (amazing by the way - Fields of the Fatherless with a hands on bent!).

Other advantage, I cannot sleep because I am used to the alarm going off at five. Have I ever mentioned that I am a slow starter and hate mornings? Yep, terrible. This season is stretching me, and now I cannot sleep past 6AM. The advantage of that is that I can return emails and check out some blogs. What else can you do when the house is quiet and you really don't quite want to be active yet, and if you wake anyone up then things go full tilt the rest of the day? Yeah, just an excuse, but there are some amazing blogs out there!

Like this one: Motives.

Check it out. This may have to be another blog I add to my list to follow. Oh, my, another one. That is what I do when I cannot sleep. Sleep is overrated - that is what I keep telling myself.

And check out this post too!!! How we afforded adoption

Or this one: How we are paying for our adoption

Okay, now I had better go flip that load of laundry. And the natives are rousing so my time here is done! LOL!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Great song!!!!

Listen to this one!!! I heard it on the way to work this morning - really needed it! I am a country fan, but a Christian artist fan and have had a bit of a challenge finding both at times - I know they are out there but I don't know too many. Well, anyway I also heard it on the way home tonight with three of the kids - and one piped up from the back that we had to find out who that is! Whoo-hoo, raising a kid with good music sense! Well, maybe, but it sure was nice to have something that we both liked in common! So, take a listen to this - no video but a great song! I plan on ordering the CD when we have funds that aren't tied up in adoption! Maybe I can convince the wonderful guitarist in the family to learn it and at least one of the vocalist to sing it for me! LOL!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Long days, long season

You ever have one of those seasons that you know must just be gotten through, but the getting through gets so tiresome? I think that sums up where we are right now. Good news and bad news. Can I start with the bad news?

Just crummy hours over booked, overworked and no way out. I think that covers it. I know, I know, I know why we are doing this, and it is working - we are watching the adoption fees owed go down day by day nearly. But did you ever reach a point where you just didn't think you could make your self do it one more time? Yeah, that is it. Maybe it is spiritual warfare, but I am the rat stuck in the wheel and very tired. Looking forward to seeing that ZERO balance due and then I am so much done!!!!

The good news, which is actually really, really good.

On a health front, we finally got in to a doctor who knew what was making our youngest repeatedly sick and the cure did not involve surgeries and likely not even medications!!! Praise God. We are working on that and seeing progress already!!! Whoo-hoo! Wish we had seen this same doctor six months ago (and several thousand dollars ago).

And older daughter who had broken the top of her tibia, in her knee, on Good Friday, is finally weight bearing and seeing progress now that she can do that!! Again, great news. We will be taking her to physical therapy for quite some time (add that to the intensity) as we have been, but it will get better!

The four kids who are playing soccer this year - the only one who didn't want to play broke her knee to make sure mom and dad didn't try to convince her! LOL! Not really, but is is a funny coincidence. Anyway, soccer practice starts this week, and of the four kids, we had three pairs of cleats that fit our rapidly growing crew!!! Whoo-hoo again!!! Only one pair to buy! Whoo-hoo! And the excitement of soccer is huge! This soccer mom sort of cringes as we have four kids on three teams, but it is also so much fun!!! Hooray for soccer season - now the kids can quit counting down and making me loony!

The silly chickens are very prolific as are our milking goats so that really adds to the family larder! The chickens are free range - their eggs are so much tastier and healthier - but the downside is that it is a daily egg hunt!!! And when the egg count dwindles, it means that they have found a new hiding spot!!! LOL! Five kids are really good, but those chickens are amazing!! The count has been down the last couple days (over ten a day, but down from the 15 to 20 we had been getting) so we knew that they had found another spot! The two eldest were dispatched to go hunt! Mighty hunters found 38 eggs in addition the the usual!! Whoo-hoo!!!!!! We left one small nest in a good spot so hopefully the hen will raise a batch of chicks for us! It is so cute to have the little peepers wandering around and then growing into good layers (or dinner) for us! The egg hunt will continue - it adds to the adventure! And having goat milk again is so nice! I forgot how much I missed fresh milk!

Our fundraisers for the adoption have been wonderful, doing well. I don't know what we will do next but we finished our donut sales and will be selling daylillies a friend cleared out of her garden! If you are in the area and want daylillies, they are huge and we have about 80 of them!!!! We don't have a set price, just are accepting donations - so you name what you can afford and I will get them to you!!! LOL! What a great gift! It has been encouraging in a tiring time to have some support - oh, and two families have asked us to help them find out about adoption and to get started!!!! I am so excited! We meet with one family next week and I can lay out all that we have done, the requirements and all! Our greatest hope, beyond getting all our kids under one roof, is that we can somehow help others to adopt or to consider adopting a child who needs a loving family. I am so excited that we can do this!!! So, we are on top of the world about that all!

We go to Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday for our fingerprinting appointments for Immigration approval. That is Zeri's birthday so we are taking a family outing and going to an Ethiopian restaurant there!!!! Yummy!!!! And, finally, our documents from the Secretary of State have come back authenticated!!!! Really, really fast!!! Last night I so happily assembled our dossier and contacted the courier company!!! I emailed them and gave my cell number, asking if anyone by chance was in to call me any time day or night on that phone. And about 11 this morning (Sunday) I got a call from them!!! They were able to explain what we needed to do, that it actually would cost less than we had thought, and that once we get it to them, it can be done and on its way to our adoption agency in 48 hours, so it should be there before the end of the week!!!! Whoo-hooo!!!! Praise God!!! This is all going so fast!!!! I am hopeful that the dossier can be in Ethiopia before the end of the month, and on its way being translated!!! We could be looking at a potential court date in June, maybe July (hopeful for June!!!). I am so excited!!! We got new photos on Monday and the three kids now know each other - we have several photos of the three together!!! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! So, that is my hysterical excited rant on this end. Now we just need to pray that God will help us get the funds in time!!! No hyperventilating allowed! I hate that part. I know we can get it done, it is going so much faster than we had ever even hoped!!! Maybe soon we will have our children home!!!! God is good!

So, life will continue its current craziness, but the end is in sight - though I don't know when yet.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Huh?

I am a bit confused this morning. I have a "friend" - someone I once thought a friend obviously - who is also an adoptive mom, who chose to comment on my kids in her blog. It was sad and hurtful, because she chose to say how she grieved for my kids that they left their homeland and the beautiful people there. It went on and on, and was not realistic about the life they lived there. And it was wildly hurtful to our family. Maybe I am being too sensitive, but given the events of this last weekend, our joy at our sons' friends finally being home with their forever family, it was just a very strange dichotomy.

I am trying to process this and to find the correct way to respond. The hurt heart inside me wants to strike out in anger and that is not appropriate. I want to set the record straight, but I am not at all sure that doing so in a comment on her blog would be appropriate.

And perhaps because we adopted older children, our experience is different and not so romanticized.

Don't get me wrong, I love Ethiopia. It is a beautiful place, with beautiful amazing people and an amazing culture. But I cannot look away from the things my sons tell me about things that are not so glorious. A child beaten and robbed of his shoes at 9, a boy locked out from his little hut for days at a time until his father finally arrived home drunk, a child scared and alone, hungry and unsure what was going to come next. Children whose parents died, whose older siblings, no more than children themselves, without any means of support, were trying to keep fed. Children for whom their only hope was the street, no food, no clothing, no nothing. People chewing leaves that were drugs, simply to keep the hunger away, but then addicted and harmed by it. I witnessed it and I do believe my sons when they share. When they open up, when the stories come, the mother in me so wishes I had been there so that didn't happen to them.

The reality of adoption is more balanced - our children's homeland and heritage is beautiful and I respect it, honor it, and welcome it into my home. And I also have to welcome my children's pasts. Their experiences, their hurts and fears.

So to hear that my children were pitied and grieved for because of what they left behind, was simply devastating. They did leave a great deal behind. They did. But it isn't gone. It lives on in them and us, and someday we all do hope to return. On the other hand, they gained a great deal. All I have to do is look at their growth charts in the few months after they came home! They are healthy, talented, valued, cherished, loved, and surrounded by a secure family that is devoted to them and their future as well as their past. They are part of a family, have parents and siblings and security.

When we were considering adopting again - particularly older children from Ethiopia again, I had a very long heart to heart with my oldest adopted son. I was very concerned - I know how hard it has been for him, all the changes, the language, the food, the culture, all of it. He has worked so very hard. I asked him very, very directly about his feelings about it. He agrees that it is hard, or as he puts it very clearly - it WAS hard. I had to fight back tears to ask him very directly if it was worth it. I had to be willing to face his answer whatever it might be. He was very surprised and went on to be very clear that it was very worth it, the best thing ever. I had to ask if he had to do it over if he would - answer was "absolutely". Knowing how hard it was, would he choose it again - yes. Would it be a good thing for another child - knowing all he knows, is it simply too hard? Too much, etc? A very sure response - it is very worth it, to have a family, to belong, to be loved. And that is what it is about.

Yes, they have "lost" some things. But they have gained a great deal.

What I grieve for for my children is that they ever were in the situation where adoption ever needed to be an option. I grieve that they went through what they went through. I grieve for all their hurts, all their past that was painful. I grieve that they ever needed to be placed for adoption. I grieve for that. That is the grief that I have for my children. Not for them coming here, not for them entering my family, not for them leaving their country.

I know that God has a plan for my children. I know that He orchestrated all things so they came to my family, to my home, at this time. I don't know why. I don't know what His plan is. That would be arrogant to even consider. But I do know that HE brought them here, that HE has a plan and a purpose. I know that HE loves them more than I ever could. I know that HE walks this road with them, with us, with the people left behind. If I get hung up in all the grief and obsession, then I am not living what God has asked me to live today. And today, I am the mom to five amazing children. I live in a house that is active, loud, loving and growing. I am so blessed to have my sons, to be stretched beyond what I ever could have imagined. God has changed us all in so many ways, we are simply nearly unrecognizable from who we once were. And I thank God for that every single day.

I don't feel that my children are to be pitied or our family to be viewed as having done something extraordinary. Our children are our children, who God made them to be, where God placed them. We didn't save our children. We didn't rescue them. Yes, their life outlooks are very different from what they might have been. Yes, I am so happy to know that my children are not going to go hungry, that they have love every day, that a mom and dad look after them, that they are healthy and strong. Children who are orphans need help - God has called us to the widow, the orphan and the fatherless, the least of these. But, my children are no longer orphans. God has lovingly placed them in families. God has provided for them.

So, I don't grieve for what they have "lost". I rejoice in who they are, in all that God has done in their lives, in all that He will do in their lives.

We serve an amazing God, one who knows the entire story, who sees it all. Someday I hope to be so honored to see how all of this has been woven into God's tapestry. It is my prayer to be a part of God's amazing work, in our own small way. I will raise my children for the Lord, in the Lord, and in love. In love and security, in faith and family, so they can go forth and carry that on in their lives. I have no idea how many lives they will all touch, how they will move the world, but I have no doubt that they will! And I am so grateful to have been a part of it.

And NO, I don't pity my children! I rejoice for them and with them.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Now for the tears - happy tears!

What a night. It has been a long week as a dear friend traveled to bring home her sons from Ethiopia. The boys are friends of my adopted sons (they all lived together for four years prior to our adoption). It has been a long haul, but they arrived home with their family tonight!

I spent all night with dry eyes, unlike in Ethiopia where I cried all the time. Smiles, laughter, hugs ruled the night. The joy in my sons' faces, in their friends' faces, was just indescribable. And now I feel the tears starting. Even driving to our friends' home, I just couldn't make myself believe that it was really happening, that we would really see this happen. Even touching them, talking with them, I didn't cry (OK, maybe once, but I hid it fairly well - we all seemed to have this same issue). But now, well, now the tears are ready to come.

You know those times when you know that God is at work, but you just cannot see it or understand it? Yep, this journey has been one of those times, especially the last year and a half for our friends. Much heartache and sadness. And I am so proud of my friends for persevering when it would have been easier to give up. They are my heroes.

God has brought about amazing things. I know that this is now dredging up all that I tried to deal with after my trip to Ethiopia, as well as our impending adoption. There is so much to process. I don't think I will ever be done processing it. But now, now I can let it all down, cry for a while, grateful for what has finally transpired!

On another happy note, we got our appointment for fingerprinting for Immigration today! The way it works - you apply for the petition to adopt an orphan, and once your paperwork has all been processed, you are issued an appointment - and you show up at your time. There really isn't rescheduling or anything. We have to have that all cleared (fingerprinting done and approval from USCIS - Immigration) before we can go to court to adopt our children. Our appointment is in a week and a half!!!!! Usually you have to wait much longer!!!! Whoo-hoo!!!!!!!!

Our other two papers are off to be authenticated by the state of WI, once they are back we have the entire dossier done and will send it by courier to the embassies in Washington DC (the US Embassy and the Ethiopian Embassy). From there it will go directly to our adoption agency and off to Ethiopia. This is all moving very rapidly! Unfortunately the only fly in the ointment is that this also means our deadline for paying fees is coming rapidly too! Good that we can do go to court sooner and get the kids to medical care sooner, but bad in that we had budgeted to have several more months to get all the fees paid! Oops! This is really moving rapidly - note to self - when you ask God to speed things along, look out! So, we are doing a fundraiser this weekend and next weekend (part of the proceeds go to Show Hope - an adoption grant organization), putting in all the hours our employers will pay us for, and whatever we can think of. Praying for God's provision, that He would keep up with the rapid timetable He seems to have us on! LOL!

I know that I just cannot get myself too excited yet, as we could get hung up at any point in the process, but it could be soon! You know how it is when your child is ill, and you just go in to check on them, to reassure yourself that they are OK? Yeah, well, they are still on the other side of the world. Ugh. I just want to know that they got the right medicine, that their conditions are being well managed, that they are well fed and healthy.

Seeing these two boys come home today has really brought home again the reality. Someday soon, that will be us, arriving home with the children. I cannot imagine yet. I know that someday soon I will, but I cannot quite see it yet.

Well, I have to put the last of the items for the fundraiser tomorrow in my bag and then finally get to bed. We have to be up very early tomorrow to get going and get things ready, so our usual time of leaving for church has been moved even earlier!
Love to you all, and what a wonderful, God blessed day this has been!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not Me Monday (my first try)



Here is my first try at this! There are times where we take ourselves too seriously and find it hard to admit to our shortcomings, and or eccentricities! So, McMama came up with this:
Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

There are so many times, so many things in this crazy life!
I didn't rush documents to an office supply store, beg someone to show me a thumb drive, and one that would work for what I needed, have them copy 20 some pages of documents and then scan them onto said thumb drive, and then rush to the nearest wi-fi hot spot so I could then set up my laptop, and promptly call my husband so he could tell me how to use the thumb drive, get said documents onto an email and send them off - nope, not me! I didn't look like a total technological fool - nope, not me!

I didn't wonder if one of our mares was pregnant on Saturday, thinking that maybe yes, she was, and then awake the next morning to a child standing over me telling me that there was a baby horse in the pasture - nope, not me!

Okay, maybe lame for a first try, but a first try at this it was! Funny!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Good Tears

Hi all,
I am trying to explain the emotional day and days we have had. Lots happening on the farm - more baby goats, a doe with life threatening mastitis that we are working very hard with, keeping her beautiful baby alive and healthy as one of our next generation of breeding bucks, kittens, and to top it off, a "surprise" foal! I will put photos on soon! Spring is definitely here! LOL. It has been amazing and a ton of work, and we are being stretched in ways we never imagined. And life is beautiful even in the middle of lots of work and stress. God is so good!

But, the tears are really for another reason. I will be somewhat vague, for a while, but on the other side of the world, a long journey is coming to completion, which means another journey is beginning! We have been part of this journey and to see that dream that was birthed in pews in our church, to see it come to pass, I am so humbled and grateful. And I simply keep crying. It seems that is all that I can do. Families are united, and we are finally seeing God's mission come to completion. We knew that it wasn't done when our boys came home, but the struggle was hard and long, but as we speak, it has happened on the other side of the world. God is so good. Someday I hope He will show us the reason for all the trials, but as of this moment, the trials are beginning to be forgotten as the joy is complete.

And I see the ripples of all this, the ripples that even now are leading us to our other three children. We are seeing people impacted, God's word being heard, blessings outpouring. Please pray for our fundraiser the next two weekends at church. We are humbled by all who have come forward to help us, and so happy that a portion of the proceeds will go to fund other adoptions. It is being paid forward. Please pray that we can hold strong and that God's blessings will be outpouring, that our children can be home soon, and finally in good medical care. I worry so much, but worry is not of the Lord, and I am trying so hard to let it go, and give it to God. Trying is the key word here. Today was a good step in that direction.

Well, check back soon for baby pictures! We have a rule here that we don't name a new baby until it has been around for a couple days - the first day or two is the most precarious for the little ones. Our goats this year will have color names, next year something different, to make it easier to keep track of who was born when. And lots of records will help with that too! But, the naming fest should begin in earnest as there are three who have met the criteria already, and our favorite is nearly there - but his mama is the sick one, so we are a bit hesitant yet to hope that he will be permanent - he is currently being fed either by tube feeding or nursing from another goat mama, so we are hopeful that he is nearly out of the woods, but you just don't know. We are hoping that his mama will make it, but it is a tough case. She looks better a bit today, but that isn't saying a whole lot. Prayers, antibiotics, hot compresses, and anti-inflamatories are the rule of the day. But she is eating today - which she hadn't for two days, and drinking is good, but not up and around and still very sick.

Well, I am headed to bed, two nights of very little sleep have worn me out!