Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Philippines

My future sis-in-law over at Renowned and Crowned asked a the questions Why the Philippines? after this post.  I've only mentioned this country a few times because Tony and I are not sure if this is where we will adopt from.  Right now its the path we are headed down, but God has a funny way of flip flopping the paths for us. 

Tony and I have walked around the Connecting Hearts with the Forgotten and read lists and lists of countries.  We have talked about each one and are finding it easier to find countries we don't feel called to then countries we do feel called to.  I have felt a strong tug toward Sub-Sahara Africa (currently Ethiopia is the only country available here) and India.  Tony was never overwhelmed about any country until we came across the Philippines.  While my heart doesn't beat quit as quickly for this country I am slowly falling in love with it. 

Every country has positives and negatives to adopting, so here are the positives for us:
  1. Cheaper than many countries.....starting at $14,000.  (Russia and Ukraine start over 30 and China starts at over 40). 
  2. Travel is minimum: 1 parent, about 7 to 10 days.  (Other countries require 2 trips-Ethiopia and some require very long trips-Columbia, 3 to 8 weeks.) 
  3. The income requirement is minimal....125% of the poverty level, which is standard for all international adoptions. (China and several others require 10,000 per family member, including the child coming home)
  4. Sibling sets are readily available (which is what we will be pursuing due to the age requirement).
  5. We have friends currently going through the Philippines.....that will be a great resource and encouragement for us.  Just think....Filipino buds to play with.
  6. The Philippines likes to adopt their children to Christian families.  I'm hoping (maybe) that means several of the orphanages will be Christian based.
Negatives for the Philippines:
  1. A minimum age of 27.  You must be 25 to adopt internationally.  We are hoping to have all US paperwork done by Tony's 27th birthday.  This means that Addilece will be a bit older than we hoped.  (This isn't as long as other countries though....China and India are 30)
  2. The travel time is......LONG.  It is 12 hours from there to the West Coast.  Then we have to fly home.  Like I said.....LONG.  Then add layovers, children who don't know you, and jet lag....not fun.  Also, if our children one day decided to move back to their home country it would not be easy for them to come home or us to visit them.
  3. You can not specifically choose a sex.  While it is true, if we were having a biological child we couldn't choose either, we do truly want a boy at some point.  We will just have to trust God that if we don't get one from the Philippines then we'll get one another way.
Unique things about Philippine adoptions:
  1. A child adopted from the Philippines is not legally yours when the first arrive home.  They are considered foster children for the first six months (I think) that they are in the US.
  2. When your file arrives in country it is placed in a file folder (yes, we are talking paper here).  Then every so often an orphanage director comes to Manila (the capital) with a list of adoptable children.  They sort through the folders and pick 2 families for each child.  Then they take them back to the orphanage and decide which family gets each child.  If your file is not chosen they keep it until they return to Manila.  While this could mean a long wait, it probably also means a better fitting placement for our family.  After all, who knows these kids better then the directors?
Tony and I still have a LOT of talking and praying and reasoning to do before we make a final decision.  Right now we are trying to focus on enjoying our daughter and listening to God.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Little Helper

Sweet Pea loves being a little helper.  She has started to ask me if she could help.  I am beyond proud of her.  I'm blown away by the blessing God has given me in my daughter.

Here are just a few helping moments:

Helping Mommy vacuum.  I'm almost big enough.

Helping Daddy cook.....time to add my secret spice.

Helping Nana with dishes.....boy this is tough work.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shutterfly

I LOVE Shutterfly.  Many times when a birthday or holiday comes around or I'm itching for a photo book I find myself drooling over the designs at this website.  I also love them because they have some amazing deals to get me some amazing prices on things.  (46)

So here are some of my favorites of their Christmas designs:
I'm quit a sucker for black and white contrasting with a bold and viberate color.

I love the ways the blue and greens play off the middle design.

I'm a huge fan of this one.  The colors are great and I'm really liking the family letter in the middle.  The only thing I'm not a big fan of is that their are 5 pictures in this.  I wish that could be changes a bit.

The design on this is not my favorite.....however, I love that you can tell about each member of your family.

The simplicity of this one blows me away.


Shutterfly is currently offering 50 free cards to bloggers who are willing to blog about the.  I can't wait to choose my card for my family and get them in the mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please Note:  I will be recieving free product for this blog.  However, I would not endorse a product unless I had used it and like it myself.  I stand behind what I say about Shutterfly.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Wait

The wait.....it's something talked about around all adoption circles and I'm sure many other circles.  It is something that has recently hit me in the face, full force.  I did the math the other day and realized that if we were going with our original plan to space our children 2 years apart then I should be pregnant right now.  That was sorta like a wow moment.  It hit me then.  At the same time it hit me as I watch Little Miss, not toddle or teeter, but run around the room.  I watch her climb on furniture with ease, I listen to her communicate better and better daily, I watch her become so girly and so grown up.  She's getting older, quickly.  
Picture Source
All this made me realize that now we are officially, waiting.  Waiting on God's timing, waiting on His answers, waiting on His direction.  Addilece has a book by Dr. Seuss that is called "Oh the Places You Will Go."  And it talks about you will go here and there but sometimes you will get stuck just waiting.....waiting for this and for that and the waiting is not so fun.  That's how I feel....just waiting. 

With our wait just beginning I realize its a whole long way from ending.  See as of now we are planning on adopting from the Philippines.  You must be 27 to adopt from that country.  So we wait until we are 27 before we can begin the process. Most adoptions take at least a year and sometimes 2 or more.  Now do the math......Addilece could be 8 or older.  Wow. 

So last night I was telling my wonderful hubby (who lets me cry and vent and repeat myself 10 million times) how much I was already hating the wait.  And we were discussing the changes that could take place in over six years in our families......the number of marriages (at least 2....that we officially know of now) and grandchildren being born (at least one is on the way).  Thinking of our immediate family is easy....extending that is when my heart strings start to really pull. 

And my amazing and wise husband (whom I'm very thankful God picked to lead this particular family) starting talking about Joseph.  At first I wanted to shrug him off....Joseph has been a constant reminder to us through this whole process and frankly sometimes its way to convicting for me to dwell on.  But Tony wouldn't let me and he started talking about how Joseph had his dream and then how he waited, and waited, and waited for it to be fulfilled.  
Picture Source
So I got to thinking.....how many years DID Joseph wait.  When Joseph had his dream  he was 17 years old and when it was fulfilled he was 38.  Joseph waited 21 years to see God give him that dream.  Through the pit, being a slave, being wrongly accused, imprisonment, forgotten, and good times of plenty and leadership he held on to that dream....trusting God.  His trust in God and reliance on Him granted him his positions.....but it took a long, long time for that dream to be fulfilled.  And what changed in 21 years......at least one brother was married and had three children and two grandchildren (Judah), another brother was born (Benjamin), his mother died, he got married and had two children of his own, and I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Knowing Joseph's story and his extremely long wait doesn't make mine seem any shorter but it does give me the strength to choose to give this day of the wait to God and to praise Him (even in the storm).  Tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next I will have to make that same choice.  Some days I will fail, some days I will stumble....but I serve a God who is faithful and I have a husband who is wise.....and one day that wait will end......one day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why Adopt? Part 2

This has taken quit a long time for me to find the time to work on this.  However, Orphan Sunday is this Sunday and I wanted to have this part done for this.  In Part 1 I talked about how tough adoption is, but how their are two main reasons behind it.  The first (which I'm talking about here) is because it is close to God's heart and the second (comin at a later time) is because it is a Biblical picture of how Christ adopted us.



Ok, so God has a true heart for orphans.  He calls us to help both orphans and widows.  Here are some promises (both good and bad) that have to do with the fatherless....

God...
  • Defends (Dt 10:18, Ps 10:17-18, Prov 23:10-11)
  • Helps (Ps 68:5)
  • Protects (Jer 49:11)
  • Sustains (Ps 146:9)
  • Provides Justice for (Mal 3:5)
  • Shows compassion for (Hos 14:3)
  • Hears their cry (Ex 22:23)
  • Considers it pure and faultless to look after (Jam 1:27)
  • Is Father of (Ps 68:5)
We are to.....
  • Provide for (Dt. 24:19-21, 26:12-13)
  • Defend (Ps 82:3, Isa 1:17)
  • Not take Advantage of (Ex 22:22)
  • Not Oppress (Zec 7:10)
  • Provide Justice for (Dt. 24:17, 27:19)
  • Do no wrong (Jer 22:3)
  • Look after (Jam 1:27)


Also.....
  • We will be blessed (Dt. 24:19)
  • What we do for them will be done for us (25:40
God will do if we hurt the orphan....
  • Kill (Ex 22:23)
  • Curse (Dt. 27:19)
  • Destroy (Isa 10:1-4)
  • Punish (Jer 5:28-29)
  • Judge (Mal 3:5)
I'm sure I missed something in this list.  I am not a Bible Scholar by any means.  However, this excites me, encourages me, and I'm sure one day will sustain me.  This is why Tony and I do it.  We want God's heart and passion to be our heart and passion. 

One of the favorite says on the founders of 147 Million Orphans is: God funds what he favors and he favors orphans.  I pray that my families heart would always be in line with what God favors.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Do Princesses.....?



Have bed head?????????



This one sure does....and a messy face to go with it.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Because I Can

So I told my hubby after this happened that I was going to tell this story on him......but I forgot. So guess what, I'm telling it on here. Is it ridiculously funny....for me? yes, for you? probably not. Its just a story of sweet revenge. And because I put it on here, it means sweet revenge twice.

See Tony does NOT read this blog. I have asked him too, his mother has said he should....but he doesn't see why he should read it. So now I can share whatever I want and he won't know about it.

So here's the story......Saturday night Tony dropped a water bottle we had in the house and it got a hole in it. So as I'm enjoying some coloring with my Little Miss I hear him say "Excuse my immaturity for a minute". He comes in and squirts both me and his daughter with the water bottle. He only stopped b/c his daughter got mad at him. So the next morning while he was getting something for her out of her room I took that same water bottle and pored some of it in a cup....the rest went down the drain and the bottle in the trash. Then when I was able to get him into the dinning room (not the carpeted living room) I said "excuse my immaturity" and pored it on him. It was awesome! Then even better was watching him search for the bottle so he could spray me again.



Anyway, you should tell him that you like reading the funny stories about him on the blog. Tell him you can't believe he lets me put them up. Maybe he will actually read it. I doubt it though. Maybe I will just keep sharing stories until he does.
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Do you ever wonder "What if..."

The following blog post if from my friend Karen Beaty.  She is a mom of 10.  One of these children is adopted, four more are foster children whom they intend to adopt.  They have been such an encouragement and blessing to Tony and myself as we walk along this journey.  I'm glad to have great friends like the Beaty's who "get it" to come along beside us!  Thank you Karen for letting me share.
 
 
Once in a GREAT while

- I wonder -

What if....

What if we hadn't decided to foster?

What if we hadn't adopted?


Our youngest would be in 7th grade - we'd be 'home free' from babysitters and diapers and temper tantrums. We'd be thinking about high school & college graduations and weddings - and...wow, in a few years - GRANDKIDS.

Maybe not free from the tantrums..

Instead - I'm thinking about teeth cutting for the first time and potty training and registering kids in pre-school and teaching A,B,C's and I'm the crazy one who, as I walk through the store, you hear me saying "I Spy something yellow that monkeys like to eat".

The big argument Wednesday was that Elmo is RED, and Grover is BLUE. Elmo is not blue.

Yesterday, our two year old decided to take the (pretend) shotgun and shoot the dog. She didn't die - so in addition to shooting with the shotgun, he shot with his other hand as well. Then, he went to shoot Daddy!

Life is so fun with little ones around. What if I didn't get to enjoy that?

Matthew West sings a song called "Motions". I listened to it this morning - and God has been speaking.

I don't want to spend my whole life asking - What if I had given everything? Instead of going through the motions....


WOW! That is so convicting. What if...we don't adopt these 4 little boys? What if we hadn't adopted Elizabeth. What if we let 'the system' have them? What if I don't give EVERYTHING (including my 'freedom' from kids) to God?

Andrew and I are so COMPELLED to care for these boys - We know it will be hard. They are not free from the baggage that comes with orphans. There will be struggles. Somedays I will question my sanity. But God has placed 'an all consuming passion' inside of us to care for the fatherless. You just can't argue with PASSION that is God based.

I wonder.... What if.....

What if they finish high school and graduate?

What if they decided to wait till marriage to have sex?

What if they decide to get a job and serve as an usher at church? or teach Sunday School? or sing on the worship team?

What if they fall in love with JESUS?

What if God gets ahold of their heart?

What if they teach their children to love Jesus?

What if they pray for their grandchildren?

What if they gave EVERYTHING to Jesus?

What if ... we really GAVE everything?


(listen to this song:)
 
 

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way ('cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
take me all the way (I know I'm finally feeling something real)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way (I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go)
take me all the way (through the motions)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions

Monday, October 4, 2010

Eating Humble Pie

My sister (whom I love dearly and is an amazing friend) and I had a conversation this weekend about parenting.  Her having 2 and me having 1, all close in age, that is what MOST of our conversations are about.  We were talking about the things that we swore we would never do or let our child get away with before we were parents.  However, being parents you quickly realize that you can throw all of that out the window.

I'm very fortunate.  I had great parents as examples, was surrounded by Godly advice from people like Dr. Dobson, and had tons of experiences with kids.  I thought I knew most of what their was to know about parenting.  I knew it would be hard, I knew I would have trials, but over all I wasn't too worried.  Then the doctors place a beautiful 7 lb 9 oz child in my hands and walked away.  Suddenly it wasn't all so easy.


Right after I snapped this picture I realized I shouldn't let her stand on the chair....ooppss!

I'm quickly discovering that my child is going to do almost everything I said they would NEVER get away with.  I had always planned that if my child ever threw a tantrum in public we would do one of three things: 1. I would walk away from her, 2. I would spank her, 3. We would immediately leave the store.  However, I then experienced my first public tantrum before the age of one.  I was beyond baffled.  I couldn't leave her (I'm sure DCFS would of loved me for that).  I discovered spanking her in public is beyond difficult (plus she had never been spanked before and delaying punishment till the bathroom was not reasonable for her age).  And I couldn't leave because she wasn't going to know the difference, plus I had shopping that NEEDED to be done.  So what did I do.  I got her to a more private area, called my husband about in tears, and distracted her with a toy.  I think I would have scolded myself before I had kids.

I'm learning that books and experts only go so far.  Each child is different, each child is unique.  Each child MUST be raised differently.  I'm also discovering that at least half of parenting is a guessing game.  My sister and I like to run things by each other:  "what do you do about this."  Sometimes we can give advice and other times we are just as lost as they are. 

So daily now I eat humble pie as a mommy.  I realize that I truly had no right to judge those other parents.  God gave me my child to raise for a reason and them their child to raise for a reason.  Their are a 100 different ways to accomplish the same goal and each child needs a way that fits them.  I think I could read every single parenting book available and STILL be baffled by the things my child did that I SWORE they would never do. 


Watching a You-tube video....something I thought I would never let her do at this age.
However, it is also doing on other thing.  It forces me into a position to completely rely on God for my parenting answers.  I'm constantly praying for wisdom that can only come from Him.  Sometimes that's is in books (Bring Up Girls is great) and other parents and sometimes its in the "wow that actually worked" moments (which are even more humbling).  I'm learning that neither I nor my daughter will get through her child hood with out a LOT of prayer.  God has definitely used her to get me on my knees admitting I can't do it on my own.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Slow Down

I'm a daydreamer.  I have always been one to imagine what life will be like when such and such happens.  Sometimes it makes me miss what is in the present.  Not everything with the hysterectomy has been negative.  We have gotten to see some true blessings out of it.  The biggest one being that we will get to experience the miracle of adoption in a way we had never planned ourselves.  Another blessing has been the "slowing down". 

We were hoping to naturally space our children about 2 years apart.  With that timing I would probably be pregnant right now.  That of course would get my dreaming to an all time high, which (like I said) sometimes makes me miss things. 

We feel like we are being called to sibling sets and not newborns.  Even though our application will say "0 to whatever" we don't expect to ever have a newborn in our house again.  We don't feel like God has asked us to pursue that, if he drops it in our laps that's different.  With that we have felt like the firsts we have been able to experience w/ Addilece (crawling, talking, walking, laugh, birthday, etc) will be the only time we have experience them. 

Many times as I go through my day spending time with my family I feel this nudge (the Holy Spirit) saying "slow down, don't miss this".  I feel like I'm being told to take a minute and take in the things around me.  I need to stop and notice whatever adorably cute thing my daughter and usually her Daddy are doing.  I store it away in my brain.  I might never see some of these cute moments again.

What a blessing it has been to be forced to slow down and soak it all up.  I have been able to enjoy my Sweetie Pea for who she is...

Here is one of my slow down moments that I was able to catch on video.


video
Sorry the video quality is poor......we only have a camera to take videos with and it was pretty dark outside already.  Maybe one day we will have something nicer, but it is good enough to capture the pictures I would like to capture on it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Do Princesses.........?

One of our favorite books is Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?  You can read a little more about it here.  We feel that this book describes Addilece in her own little way.  She has got such a deep, deep girly side.  You see that when you see her get a bow in her hair or when her Daddy tells her how cute she looks.  But she has this rough and tumble side that is so not Princessy.....but it is what makes her, her.  We wouldn't change it for the world.....

So............

Do Princesses......

.........play with sticks???

Well, this princess does.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just Hard

Some days are just plain hard, tough, tiring.  There are times that I say "God, I just don't want to do today."  On those days I would rather curl up in bed and read and sleep.  They aren't days where I want to deal w/ my little mess maker (her messes seem to be quit a bit bigger on those days) or be patient with my hubby.  They are days were I really don't want to reread the book for the dozenth time or reload the dishwasher.  They are the days where cooking seems overwhelming and playing outside even more overwhelming.  But those things HAVE to be done. 

I am learning to cry out God on the just plain hard days.  I'm learning to be completely honest w/ him and tell him that I don't want to do today.  I think he's a big enough God to handle my honest....he knows my heart anyway.  However, then I know I have to tell him "God, I have to do today, I know that....so help me do it through you."  Before this crazy stage in my life of having a toddler and facing other obstacles I don't think I ever did that.  I let the grumpiness and fatigue take over and I didn't care.  I let it control me. 

It is rather humbling to admit to God that I can't do what I should be doing as a wife and a mommy.  Its humbling to have to rely completely and totally on him.  But I need that, we all need that.  Humbleness draws us closer to him.  It makes me walking with my hand tightly clutching his.  It makes me rely on him to guide me on the next step. 

I'm sure most people think that the everyday shouldn't be hard, but for me some days just are.  I can't change that or fix it.  I can however, change how I go through those days.  Don't get me wrong, I still struggle even with turning things over to God.  My patience is still rather thin and those dishes don't look anymore appealing.  But I can see how God turns my spirit to calm.  He gives me a little burst of energy to read that book one more time without going over the edge.  He does it, not me.  All of me wants to go curl up and sleep till the next day comes and maybe, just maybe that shelf is clean and Little Miss doesn't want to make quit so many messes.  I can feel God though.  I can feel him in me and through me making me take a deep breath and keep going.  He makes me remember who and why I do what I do.

Its not been an easy process but its a necessary one.  I must keep going and I must do it with diligence. 

...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Bed Time Stories on Our Shelf

NUMBER 9:

Just Me and _________ Books by Mercer Mayer

We got a collection of these for Christmas (thanks Nana and Papa) and love them.  I think they are much more humorous as an adult then they ever where as a kid.  You are constantly thinking "I would kill my child".  It is not a book you can read without enjoying the pictures also.  We did get Just Me and the Bully from the library and were not huge fans.

NUMBER 10:

Gallop a Scanimation Picture Book by Rufus Butler Seder

What can I say other then......THE PICTURES MOVE!  How cool is that?  Addilece received this book from my friend Ruthie for her birthday, who is a teacher.  Before present opening time she pulled me aside and showed me the book.  I was like: THEY MOVE.  I have never seen that in a book before (besides pull taps).  She said the teacher in her couldn't pass it up.  When we opened presents Tony got excited about it, but nobody else understood why.  It was fun to see their reaction as the book went around.  I just discover it has two sister books.  I think I found my new favorite gift.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Two is Better Then One

Sweet Pea was swaddled up until she was about six months old.  At the time I thought she would never, not be swaddled.  However, finally we were able to "break" her of it.  Within a month Tony and I realized that she was going to form a blanket attachment.  So we were very purposeful with the blanket we had her sleep with.  Her "blanket" was one given to her by her Aunt Brittney.  It is soft and cuddly, thick and sturdy; which is why we chose it. 

While in the Dells for a weekend getaway in May we forgot Sweet Pea's blanket.  At this time she wasn't so attached to it that it was the end of the world.  However, in a resort there aren't many baby blankets.  We went to the store and picked up a nice, but not as nice blanket.  It was similar in softness and size to our pink and brown friend, but that was it.  It became our back up blanket b/c it was the only thing close to what she had. 

With in the last two months we have noticed the attachment to her blanket getting stronger, but it was still mainly used for sleeping.  That all changed this past week while she was sick with a nasty cold.  Because of needing to be washed we had both blankets around the house for Sweet Pea to get (one is normally laying over the back of the rocking chair).  While sick she would switch from one to the other.  However, one day she found out that she could have both blankets at once for double the cuddle.  And that's when she decided two are much better then one.


The back up on the left and Aunt Brittney's blanket under her head.  She has a death grip on both.

So now with in two weeks we have formed a super strong attachment to both blankets.  The poor little thing will host a blanket over each shoulder and drag it around the house.  She will leave mommy and daddy to go find one if it is missing.  Also, we are now sleeping with both.  Oh goodness, I love life with my crazy toddler.  I hope they both magically stay clean now.

Hauling our blankets around the house.  Maybe we should come up w/ names for each to distinguish them.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Addition

I'm an one excited Aunt and this is why.....

Isn't she just beautiful.  She is Julianna Grace, the newest addition to our family.  She has two increadible parents: my sister, Brittney, and brother-in-law, Jason.  She also has one amazing big brother: Josiah.  I won't get to meet this cutie for two or three more weeks but I'm already head over heals for her.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Bed Time Stories On Our Shelf

NUMBER 7:

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

I can't do these post with out including Addilece's current obsession.  We read/sing this book over and over again.  I think that she likes that its a song with in the book.  She wants it read over and over again.  So, here's my confession.  Sometimes (after about the 5th time through) I pull the song up on youtube rather then reading/singing it to her again.  A momma can only take so much.

NUMBER 8:

The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
I love this book because I loved it as a kid.  I'm a sucker for the way Dr. Seuss makes his books flow.  On top of it the illustrations are great.  Addilece now knows to sit if she wants to get her shoes on (which she usually does b/c it means she going some place) and I will often quote this book to her.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Bed Time Stories On Our Shelf

NUMBER 5:

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?  By Dr. Seuss

This book is FULL of fun sounds that let kids imaginations go crazy.  It is fun as a parent to immitate each sound.  And like most classic Dr. Seuss books you get quit a mixture of craziness involved.  My favorite sound is a fish kiss: pip

NUMBER 6:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

I actually find that there is nothing increadible about the words to the book.  However, the way the book flows and sooths it what draws me in.  It is a great book to calm a child down with.  Addilece loves the contrast as a pictures go from vivid greens and reds to black and white.  This is an all over bed-time classic

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wisdom from Those Who Have Been There

While browsing some of my favorite blogs I can across a post from Jessica at Life As A Mom .  She has dealt with her own season of infertility after the birth of her first child.  She is now a mom of six.  I love reading her posts that deal with the practical side of the everyday life of a mom.  Here was some advice she gave to others who have friends dealing with infertility and loss:

1. Realize you can’t make it better.


As much as we want to heal our friend, bring back the heartbeat, change the diagnosis, we can’t. Only God really knows the whys and wherefores. And nothing we can do or say will change the harsh reality that a baby has been lost.
2. Listen.

It really helped me to be able to tell my story. I’m thankful for the girlfriends who didn’t mind hearing the gory details. They listened as I processed. They asked questions. They tried to make sense along with me of this wild experience that women have walked through together for eons.
3. Provide practical help.

Whether it is physical incapacity or mental strain, it can be hard to focus on household chores and meals when one is mourning the loss of a baby. Offer to bring a meal, either homemade or a take-out pizza or their favorite Chinese. Something as simple as organizing the freezer so mom and the family knows what’s available can be a great help. Offer to do laundry, watch kids, just hang out.

No, these things aren’t going to make it better. But, they do help ease the journey.
4. Watch your words.

Ouch. That one stings, doesn’t it? I am probably not the one to give advice in this department because I am constantly putting my foot in my mouth. On the other hand, I did hear some of the wildest things during my miscarriages that the speakers probably never intended to hurt me.
  • There was probably something wrong with the baby.
  • Well, you can’t afford a baby right now, anyway.
  • It’s better this way.

These aren’t always the most helpful of words. I would have taken those babies in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer.

Less is more in many instances. And sometime a shoulder to cry on is more valuable than a well-meaning platitude. But don’t be afraid to reach out. Just do it wisely and slowly.
Try to communicate:
  • I love you.
  • I’m sad with you.
  • I want to walk through this with you.

I don’t think there is a “right way” to console a grieving friend.You know your friend better than I do. But, as I look over the years, I realize these are the things that helped ease the pain a little bit.
God has done the rest.
Whether it is physical incapacity or mental strain, it can be hard to focus on household chores and meals when one is mourning the loss of a baby. Offer to bring a meal, either homemade or a take-out pizza or their favorite Chinese. Something as simple as organizing the freezer so mom and the family knows what’s available can be a great help. Offer to do laundry, watch kids, just hang out.
No, these things aren’t going to make it better. But, they do help ease the journey.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Bed Time Stories On Our Shelf

NUMBER 3:

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton

Barnyard Dance is more like a song then a story.  These funny animals sure know how to have a good time at a hoe down.  While the pictures aren't my favorite the beat of the book keeps you going.  It's not a read once type of book.

NUMBER 4:

Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle

This was a gift from Nana and Papa for Addilece's first birthday and immediately became a house favorite for both mommy and daddy.  Boy do they have the girl nailed.  This is about a little girl who wants so badly to be a princess but also loves to be a rough and tumble little thing.  I love the way the book confirms that the little girl is special because of who she is.  The very end tells the child listening that they are special for who they are also. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Bed Time Stories On Our Shelf

We love to read in this house.  In fact bedtime is one of our favorite times.  We get to sit down w/ our Little Miss and read her the Bible, read her a story, sing a song, and say a prayer.  We love spending that 15 minutes together as a family just enjoying each other.  Addilece has an amazing collection of books on her shelf and all are so amazing.  However there are a few that just push themselves up over the others a bit

NUMBER 1:

Olivia by: Ian Falconer


Olivia is a rambunctious little pig who continually finds herself in trouble.  She is full of spirit and spunk.  The illustrations of this book keep you laughing.  Every parent can relate to the trials Olivia puts her parents through. Falconer has several books in his serious.  While all are amazing, the original Olivia remains my favorite of the group.

NUMBER 2:

A Fly Went By by Mike McClintock

This is Tony's FAVORITE book to read to Addilece.  Each thing is being chased by the thing behind it.  The thing behind it is not actually chasing it but being chased by the thing behind it.  Is the man with the gun the "one in back of it all"?  Or is it something completely different.  One brave little boy gets down the root of the confusion.  We love the fast pace, flowing sentences of this book.  It is a fun way to open up a child's imagination of what may be causing that thumping and bumping.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One Year Well Child

Yesterday we had our one year check up.  It was a month late because Tony and I made the decision to switch doctors.  Leaving Sugar Creek was a mess as they had two doctors just pull out and lots of transfering patients.  I'm super thankful for a kind person who bumped our paperwork up seeing that their was so little of it.  We are now with Dr. Boe of Bloomington Pediatrics.  After the visit I was more then confident that we made the right choice in deciding to switch.  I LOVED him and Sweet Pea was quite taken by him.  The minute he walked in the door she waved and he actually paid attention and it was all over.  I've never seen this child show off quit so bad.  It might have been partially due to the fact that she had had no afternoon nap.  But Dr. Boe gave her all the attention she wanted to and made be feel confident and listened to as a mama.  So here are the stats.......

Shots: 4.....we didn't cry for the first one but screamed bloody murder for the rest.  We did manage to give the nurse a teary smile at the end.
Height: 32 inches (up 2 inches in 4 months), that is the 93%
Weight: 24 lbs, 5 oz (up 1 lb, 5 oz in 4 months), that is just under the 97%
Head: 18 in, 50%

As every doctor has told us since the beginning....well, she isn't having any trouble growing....lol.  We are now fielding weekly questions of "when will she be 2"?  She certianly acts like she wants to be (thats not always so good).

On another note....we started teething our eye teeth.  Daddy is excited that she is getting her "meat teeth"....mommy is dreading the sharpness.  One offically popped through this morning. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Why Adopt? Part 1

I just took over our adoption board at church.  In the process I needed to update the family profiles.  One question I asked them (which I stole from their original profiles) is "Why Adopt?".  I LOVED the answers I got.  Let me tell you, the people at Grace have a deep passion for the least of these.

Adoption is messy.  It doesn't matter what country you adopt from,what age the child is, how healthy the child is, or how stable and loving their environment is, you are going to have issues.  Every adopted child faces doubts and fears.  Even the smallest of baby will one day come face to face with the question "why didn't my birth family love me enough to keep me?".  Some children come from awful, horrible situations that you have to deal with one a daily biases.  You face food battles, unexplained tantrums, stealing, disrespect, doubts, fears, and even mental issues.  The list of the issues adoptive families face is huge.

I think there is a false perception that Tony and I are only adopting to 1) have more children, 2) make Addilece a big sister.  These things are true, very true.  However, if those where the only reasons to adopt, we would NEVER make it.  We couldn't survive the stuff above.  These kids would destroy our marriage at its very core and tear apart our family because we aren't strong enough or have enough love to do this on  our own.  The easy thing would be to stay a family of three, after all we already have one very precious daughter, why do we need more?

So why do we adopt?  Well, there are two core reasons why Tony and I will wade through the muck and adopt.  The first reason is that God mandates it.  Plain and simple, God calls us as believers to help widows and orphans in their time of need.  The second reason is adoption is a beautiful picture of how we are adopted into God's forever family and we want to share his love with others. 

I'll be going more into these two areas and what they mean to us over the next few blog posts.  I hope it will help others to understand why this crazy process is SO important to us.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Approved Workman Are Not Ashamed

Firmly AWANA stands, led by the Lord's commands...the season has begun at our house.  Starting last Wednesday we will be busy every Wednesday from here through April (minus Christmas and Thanksgiving).  After taking two years off (one for school and one for Addilece) I am ready to get back to my Cubbies.  Tony is Co-Commander, transitioning into Commander after taking one year off to work.

Being Commander means it is Tony's job to recruit.  This is typical a hard job, as Awana is a HUGE time commitment.  Tony and I joke that people have his number blocked because we haven't been able to get anybody on the phone.  And not everybody understands why Awana is such an amazing program.

I can say, Tony and I would not be who we are today with out Awana.  It gave us a strong Biblical foundation, taught us how to reach others for Christ, and pushed us to serve deeper.  I personally was a Ministry Board Team Members daughter, went to camp for 7 years and counseled for 2, completed a Citation Award, and went overseas twice with Awana MIT.  How blessed I am to have Awana in my life.

Among Awana cirlces we talk about never finding a better program out there to reach kids for Christ.  Awana couples the fun of games to draw kids in with the salvation message presented in the books and counsel times.  It is a program that can be used to reach into the home and bridge the gap between the unchurched and the Church.  On top of that Awana aims to teach kids what it means to serve Christ whole heartedly.

Last Wednesday we were at a church in inner city Peoria doing some refresher training.  Let me tell you, this church was on fire.  They were so excited to get the club year started and to "reach these kids for Christ and to train them to serve him".  They made me beyond ready to start the year.  Being out of club for two years means I have no clue whose in Cubbies and who isn't.  However, I know that God has always perfectly orchestrated my handbook group to give me the kids he wants me to have.  I can't wait to be around the energy and fun of these preschoolers for the next 8 months!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And Then God Breaks You

So many times we are in a situation thinking "I can't do this?"  "Will this ever end?"  "Its TOO far away."  Living in that moment of stress or emotions or pain seems like an eternity.  While you know it will end, right then you don't see that.  However, when we look back at whatever those moments are then seem like such a brief short time.  Life is fleeting, gone in the blink of an eye.  While the trials seem tedious and long in all reality they are brief and fast.

However, what I struggle w/ is to look back and think about exactly why God had my in a situation.  This happened while in Ecuador.  On Monday I was sick, emotional, tired, and HOMESICK!  If someone had given me the option to go home at that moment I would have taken it.  However, I knew God had a big reason for me being there.  He had answers for me in Ecuador.  I knew that I hadn't found them yet and I knew that the next two days God had something for me.  I wrote in my journal that day asking God to help me not miss the blessing and lessons he had for me even though I was so homesick.

Well, the next day it came in the form of a child's beautiful and contagious laugh.  God used this little face to break me......


Meet Giovanni.  He is a beautiful little Ecuadorian baby, probably between 1 and 1 1/2.  He is disabled.  I'm not sure if it is just physical or more.  He struggles with muscle control.  While he can roll and tries very hard to sit up he can not sit or stand on his own.  As far as I know he doesn't speak.  But he has an amazing laugh and personality.  With him came answers and a piece to our adoption puzzle.  It wasn't the piece I was looking for or hoping for.  However, it was the piece God wanted to give me which made it all the more valuable.

Tuesday morning I worked in the baby/toddler room at the Ark.  I had heard mention of Giovanni but had not paid too much attention to him as he was not usually in the room I was in.  That day I noticed him in the pack-in-play in the corner.  I went over and said hi to him and he stuck his little hand up on the mesh.  I put mine up against his.  That started a back and forth game that had him cracking up.  Then God gave me ample opportunity through snack time and playing outside to connect with this child.

As I listened to his little laugh God broke me.  I almost started crying.  God told me, "Heather you can help this little guy.  Look at him.  Look how precious he is.  Don't put up walls.  Open your heart to children like him."  Tony and I have felt like God has put so many life experiences in our place for very particular reasons.  One of these is children w/ disabilities.  Tony has siblings who have some learning disabilities and has a lot of God given, natural knowledge on how to handle things.  I have worked at the Marc Center (residential facilities for adults with disabilities) and with a little girl with Autism.  I have also had classes that relate. 

However, even with seeing that I see my walls go up.  When you adopt a "waiting child" internationally you agree to deal w/ whatever the disability may be.  That could be as simple as classes or a cleft palate or it could be as severe as extreme mental and physical problems.  It scares me a bit.  I don't want to have to grieve the loss of my child's childhood.  Its hard as a mom to try and imagine giving up a normal childhood for them and a normal life for us all.  Its stressful to think about the endless surgeries, doctor appointments, meds, and therapy. 

But in that laugh God gave me a deep deep love for the least of the least of these.  He should me how much he cares for these kids.  He told me that I didn't need to be scared because these kids where his beautiful creation.  He loved them and he would help me to love them.

No, we are not adopting Giovanni (how many thought that was the point of this story...lol).  I'm not sure what his story is and many of the children at the Ark are unadoptable.  And neither Tony nor I feel like we are being called to a waiting child with our first adoption.  However, I do believe at some point and time we will be choosing at least one child off the waiting child list. 

Would you take a look at a few more pictures of those children in Ecuador.  Then pray for them and the others around the world.  These are often some of the most difficult kids to find a home for.  Pray that they would feel God's love and that hearts would be open to these beautiful gifts from God.


Monday, August 16, 2010

For Uncle Austin and Kayla







Uncle Austin and Kayla sent Sweet Pea a pretty dress for her birthday.  Neither one is on facebook so they requested that I post a picture of her in it here.  I put her in the Sunday after we got it (like two days later) but before I got a picture she had an accident.  Then I left for Ecuador.....with the camera....so I requested Tony not put her in it.  So I FINALLY got a picture up and I'm more then happy to oblige them with a picture. She looks adorable in it.  I just wish I could of gotten a better picture.
The only one I got of her smiling but unfortunately its really far away!!!