Category Archives: Adoption

Three

Dear Daniel,

Today (January 11th), is your birthday. It’s hard to believe you are three already! We’ve watched you grow through pictures, and progress reports. The latest report describes you as having broad shoulders, a chubby belly, and that you are all boy. 🙂 They say you are shy around strangers…and I remind myself to expect you to be shy when we meet you.

Daniel, I know you don’t know us yet. But we have been loving you from thousands of miles away for many months. We are waiting for the day we get to meet you in person…and the day we get to bring you home to our family. Your brother and sister talk about you all the time – they even have “gifts” wrapped up for you (some of their toys they think you’ll like). Your daddy prays for you each night. Your bed is made, clothes folded and put in the dresser.

All that is missing is you.

I wish with all my heart that you were celebrating your 3rd birthday with us, but I promise that this coming year will be full of celebrations – including your Gotcha day. We can’t wait, sweet boy.

In the meantime, keep growing, learning and loving others. But don’t grow too quickly – we know all too well how quickly time passes, and we want as much time with you as we can get. We’ll be there soon, Daniel! Happy birthday.

We love you,
Mom (and dad, Zach & Bekah)

Catching Up.

Clearly, I stepped away from blogging for awhile. I haven’t really had much to say, because I haven’t had much time to think! Life stepped in and got very, very busy. But don’t worry – most of it has been really good.

Zach turned 6 and Rebekah turned 4 last month, and I’m still staring at thank-you cards that I need to mail out from Christmas (yikes), my birthday (embarrassed), and the kids’ birthdays (my mother did not raise me like this!). I WILL get them sent out this weekend.

I got certified last month in Group Fitness, and got my CPR certification as well. Now I am teaching a dance fitness class twice a week at Jess Dance Studio! It’s so fun, and I still can’t believe it sometimes, since 2 years ago I was just trying dance fitness / Zumba for the first time, and NEVER expected to end up instructing! But I guess it’s true – Never say never!

Our adoption of our sweet Daniel is still happening, it’s just a lot of waiting. The Korean government is making a bunch of major changes to their international adoption policy. So there is a lot of uncertainty right now. I’m thankful that the uncertainty is about WHEN we will get Daniel, and not IF we will get him. Daniel just turned two, and we are just hoping and praying that we’ll be able to get him this year. I can’t show you a picture of him, but we just got a couple of new pics, and I CAN show you the shoes he was rockin’ in the photo:

I am so thankful, however, that while we wait, we know Daniel is being taken care of, and loved in a foster family. Not in an orphanage. So many other children are waiting for the international adoption process to move forward, and are in much more dire situations. There is an organization, called Both Ends Burning, and they’ve put out a documentary called “Stuck”. They are currently touring the U.S. and showing it in different cities along the way. But you can also purchase the documentary online. This documentary is definitely bringing to light the issues within international adoption, and they do an excellent job of making this a human issue – not a political one. Governments with their processes and red tape, sometimes forget that behind all the paperwork are children and families that need each other. Anyway, I’ve included the trailer, and if you’re near a place where it will be screening soon, please go see it!

Adoption Update!

I know it’s been a looooong time since I’ve written an adoption update, and blogged on a regular basis. We’ve been thoroughly enjoying the beautiful spring weather, and basically, haven’t been inside very much! Nevertheless, it’s time for an update!

As you can see from the picture above, we have our official referral for our little boy. I can’t share his actual name with you, but from now on, I’ll refer to him as Daniel since that is what we will most likely call him (we’ll use his Korean name as his middle name). We wanted to use the name Daniel (God is my judge), because of several things – Daniel was taken to Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem. So he was in a foreign land that was not his own. In spite of that, he was faithful to the Lord, and ended up being delivered from certain death because of his faith. He had an amazing testimony, in spite of the challenges he faced – and pointed many people to the Lord.

I wish I could show you a photo of him! He’s very cute. Again, because of privacy agreements, we can’t until he’s officially adopted. But here is his hand 🙂

I wanted to show you his little hand, because, at least for me, it makes this whole thing so much more real. We’re not just pursuing an adoption, we’re pursuing the adoption of Daniel. This boy. A real child that is waiting.

So for now, we are filling out the mountain of paperwork that comes with the referral. We also have a bill for a little over $18K. Yeah. We have been approved for an interest-free loan, but they typically range between $5,000-7,000. So we are now applying for grants (which typically are in the $3,000 range – if we get them). Hopefully we can get the money together quickly. The Korean government is curbing the number of international adoptions, so our window of opportunity is getting smaller. I’ll feel a lot better once we have paid the money and have everything done on our end so that when the Korean government approves it, we’re not held up by anything!

I know many of you have been praying for us and with us. Please continue to do that. Please pray that we will have the patience to fill out all this paperwork quickly – it is very overwhelming sometimes. Also pray with us that these grants will come through, and that we will be able to fund raise. We have some ideas that include yard sales and auctioning off some items. But when we’re looking at a bill that large, it seems like an impossible number to reach! If you are interested in donating toward bringing Daniel home, you can contribute directly through Paypal. Just click on the “Adoption Fundraising” link at the top of this blog.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

Time for a Pinterest Post!

I’ve started the year off with a lack of ideas for blogging! Actually, that’s not really true – there is a lot going on, just none of it seems blog-worthy. So, I thought I’d highlight some recent pins from pinterest…that’s always fun!
Before I get to that, here’s a general update on our lives:
Zachary just started YMCA basketball, and is in the second semester of Cubbies. He loves both. We’re still homeschooling, and he continues to soak it up like a sponge!
Rebekah is becoming quite the singer – she knows many songs by heart and belts them out in the car at the top of her lungs. She has several dolls that she spends her days playing mommy to – she just informed me one was named “baby Limbaugh” – that was a proud day for this conservative Mama! 🙂 She also is DYING to start dance classes…we’re going to have to get her signed up soon!
Tyler has been busy moving playing musical rooms for the kids. We did have them sharing the big bonus room, but decided to put them back in separate rooms for many reasons. So he has gotten the pleasure of moving all the heavy furniture. He also just finished building shelves for one of the closets downstairs – which has helped organize that closet sooo much better!
I have been busy with working out, homeschooling, adoption paperwork, and several other projects bouncing around in my head. I am trying to put together the 21 day prayer challenge for our daughters so that we can start soon, and I am starting to seriously consider a photography business – which would be a whole new set of challenges.
Our adoption is moving along – we have to make our first big payment this month, and then we will be “active” in the program. We’ve received more information on the child we are interested in, which has been good. We’re just praying now and waiting for the next step. I wish I could share more about this little boy, but I am not allowed to until he’s officially ours.
Anyway, that’s our life in a nutshell right now. Now, on to pinterest! Here are some of my pins from my Home Decor board – love ’em!

Source: bhg.com via Jen on Pinterest

Our old house’s entryway immediately opened up into the living room – there wasn’t really any division – I thought this was a great solution – 3 cabinets attached together and creates a separate entryway.

Source: houzz.com via Jen on Pinterest

I love the idea of a dutch door for our backdoor – it would be wonderful to have the top half open when the kids are playing back there. Plus, I just love the look.

Source: decor8blog.com via Jen on Pinterest

I am a sucker for quotes, lyrics, you name it. To have meaningful lyrics from a song on canvas would be so awesome! Now to try to choose a song…LOL!

This will be the accent wall in our master bedroom – love the stencil. Just wondering how many hours it will take.

I had never considered having a fireplace painted a dark color – they are always white! What do you think? I would be scared to try this, but I like how it turned out in this room!

Well, have a great day! I’ll be posting more about the 21-day challenge soon!

Adoption Mailer

Here is the mailer we sent out to family and some of our friends. I thought I’d post it here for you to see! Please click on it, and then zoom in to see it at full size. If you would consider helping us with our adoption, please go to our ‘Adoption Fundraising’ link above, and you’ll find several ways to participate. Thanks!

 

Adoption Update

We are back from our trip to California, and although it has been a week since our return, we are still struggling with the time difference! Wide awake late into the night, and dead tired in the morning. Even the kids are screwed up – if I left them alone, they’d sleep until 11am. I’m hoping the time change this weekend will help us out a little bit!

I cannot believe that it’s November already. Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming much more quickly than I am prepared for – along with our anniversary. We’re also moving along in our adoption process, so I thought I’d give an update on that for anyone who is following along.

We are basically done with our homestudy! Woohoo! We had our official in-home visit a couple of weeks ago, and it went really well. Zach even invited our social worker back for dinner at the end of the visit. 🙂 Everything is complete, we just need to pay the rest of the moola, and then it will be sent to our adoption agency.

In the meantime, we have to have a few things completed and turned in to the adoption agency before they will even look at the completed homestudy. So my assignment this week is to fill out our Parenting Resource Plan, and our government travel request / immigration forms. The resource plan is a loooong list of questions regarding what we will do in different situations with our adopted child, and what services are available to us locally. A lot of research, for sure, but I know it will be very valuable in the future.

Our agency knows we intend to adopt from South Korea, so this week we received an e-mail about a waiting child there. He has some medical issues, and I am not allowed to give those details, but we are seriously considering this sweet little guy. Actually, we’d love to adopt him, but he might be adopted before we can get approved through everything and officially be on the list as a waiting family. These are the things that really test me. It’s hard to see pictures of a little child that needs a family, and at the same time, be able to do nothing until all the paperwork is done. In the end, I have to remind myself to trust that the Lord has the child for us – and it might be one we’ve already seen, or it could be someone else. So for now, we get done what we’re supposed to get done, and we wait!

So that’s my update for now. I’m looking forward to getting back onto a normal schedule of blogging. Much to talk about with the holidays coming up. For now, all I can say is the stores jump into Christmas WAY too early. I was grocery shopping at Walmart, and realized I was singing along to “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – it’s November 2nd, people. What happened to Thanksgiving?! Oh well. Have a great day!

The Story Behind The Biblical Story of Adoption

**These are my notes from a sermon on 8/12 by Dan Cruver – author of the book Reclaiming Adoption.

Thesis: The story behind the Bible story of adoption should shape the way we think about ourselves and how we think about, and practice, orphan care.

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” -Galatians 4:4-6

To understand the story behind the Bible story of adoption, we must understand the way things really are.

We have misplaced the “real world”.

“…As we come out of a movie theater and shake our heads to clear our minds of another world where we lived for a time in suspended disbelief, as we reorient ourselves to reality, so we leave our contemplation – we leave the church building, we close the book – where for a time another reality seemed possible, believable, even real. But, we tell ourselves, the real world is a world elsewhere. It is the world of deadlines to be met, of appointments to be kept, of taxes to be paid, of children to be educated. From here, from this moment at the cross, it is a distant country. “Father, forgive them, for they have forgotten the way home. They have misplaced the real world.” Here, here at the cross, is the real world, here is the axis mundi.” -Richard John Neuhaus

The real world is not this world. It is found at the foot of the cross.

What God presents to us IS the real world – and it should affect our daily lives OUT HERE.

We don’t leave church and walk out into the real world – we bring the real world with us!

A 12th century theologian looked at 1 Corinthians 13, and summarized the description of love as this: Love is never turned in upon itself – it’s always turned outward to other persons.

God is never turned in upon Himself. Since eternity past, He has showered the other members of the trinity with His love – the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Long before we were ever created, God the Father was pouring out His love. This love of God was “earthed” through Jesus. He broke into time and space, merging the divine with humanity.

Adoption is anchored deeply within the internal relationships of the 3 persons of the blessed trinity.

Jesus said, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” -John 17:24

“There was never a moment when the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit did not exist. There was never an eternity when they did not exist–eternity past, eternity present, and eternity future did not, cannot, and will not exist without them. Not only did all three Persons of the Trinity preexist the sending of the Son and the Spirit, they preexist and transcend time itself. They are, after all, the very foundation of the universe and the intelligent reason for its existence. Without them, nothing else ever could or would exist. God’s perfectly enjoyed and unbroken communion of love existed forever before anything was made!”

AND YET, God created us, redeemed us, and will not be without us.

He wanted us. He desired to pour out His love on us. In spite of our orphaned state.

Do for the orphan what God has done for us.

 

Adoption Conference

This weekend, Tyler and I will be attending the Pure Religion Adoption & Orphan Conference. It’s two days of speakers and workshops covering everything from short-term orphan hosting, to dealing with attachment disorders with your adopted child. We’re really looking forward to it – if anything, we don’t have enough time to attend all the workshops we would like – so we’ll have to narrow it down to the most important ones.

As we’ve started this journey to adopt, I’ve been collecting little pieces of wisdom and quotes that remind me of where my head should be in all of this. Here is some of what I have so far:

You should not adopt a child to meet your own needs, but to simply meet the needs of that child.

When a needy person stands at your door, God himself stands at his side. -Hebrew Proverb

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” -John Wesley

“I have come to realize more and more that the greatest disease and the greatest suffering is to be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, to be shunned by everybody, to be just nobody.” -Mother Teresa

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” -Mother Teresa

“Don’t say that you want to give, but go ahead and give! You’ll never catch up with a mere hope.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I hope to have a lot to share from the conference! I’ll post about it once it’s over. Have a wonderful Friday!

Old Friends, and New Friends

In order to continue our theme of “the summer of visitors, 2011“, we had our third group of house guests for this month alone! Chris Guess is someone I’ve known since 7th grade, and Tyler has known him / played sports with him since our freshman year of high school. He and his family stayed with us for a couple of nights on their way to missionary training in Pennsylvania. There are people you have known in the past, and when you run into them again, it’s uneasy and awkward. Then there are people like Chris – same guy, just a little older. It was great to see him again, and to reminisce about our high school years. But we also had the added bonus of meeting his wife, Mihaela, and their three wonderful kids! Mihaela met Chris while he was working with missionaries in Romania (her home country). Almost 10 years later, they are training and preparing to return to Romania as full-time missionaries. I could’ve listened to Mihaela talk about her life and country for hours – she has such an amazing viewpoint after living under a communist regime, and then coming to the states. Not to mention they have quite a story to tell about their youngest daughter, Abbi, who had open heart surgery at only 4 days old. It was an honor to finally meet Chris’ family, and it was so surreal to be sitting on the couch talking with someone you’ve known since 13 years old, while all five of our kids are running around playing with each other. If we had known back then….:)

If you’d like to know more about the Guess family, and their outreach to Romania, check out their website. They are still raising their support – and they covet your prayers as well.

**I didn’t take a single picture while they were here unfortunately! I need to get better at remembering to take photos – it kills me that I didn’t get any. Ugh.

Now, we are back to just the 4 of us. We are laying low and trying to unwind after our stream of visitors. These are hot days here in the south – many days have been over 100 degrees, and the humidity makes it pretty miserable. Luckily, we’ve had some rain the past couple of days which instantly cools things down. But the promise of crisp fall days is something I am clinging to.

I am currently filling out our application to begin our homestudy. I was thankful to find all the paperwork (birth certificates, marriage certificate, tax forms) that is needed without too much searching. But I am definitely struggling with worry over the financial aspect of this adoption. I know we’ll have to do some creative fundraising to make this happen, but at the same time, life keeps surprising us with other financial challenges as well – just simple things like our 12 year old car needing to be checked out, or bigger things like a family member’s wedding on the other side of the country. I am not complaining about these things – they are all part of life – I’m just fighting the urge to really stress out. I have visions of getting half-way through the adoption process and then just having to stop completely because there isn’t any more money. I’m going to have to take this whole process one day at a time, trusting the Lord each step of the way. We are looking forward to the adoption conference we will be attending next month – I think it will be full of valuable info for us.

What are you doing during these long, hot days of summer? Are you looking forward to fall? Or do you LOVE the heat?

Taking The First Step

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”.

Today, we’re taking that “first step” toward our adopted child.

Of course we’ve been spending the last few weeks researching and learning, but today, we fill out the agency application, send in the fee, and start the process for our home-study.

It feels good to make a tangible first step. It’s also a little freaky. Once we start this process, there is a lot to do, even more to learn, and money to pay around every bend. But I truly have faith that the Lord is going to walk us through this – and however it goes, however it turns out —

It will be our story. It will be His story.

— And that is really breathtaking.