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!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Well, this is two weeks late....sorry.....

My Sweetie Pea turned one on July 31st.  We had a party to celebrate the week before.  Tony and I are unsure is we will ever celebrate a 1st birthday again so we made a commitment to each other that we would enjoy it but we would keep the stress out of it.  I think that's what we did. 

It is such fun to have a 1 year old.  She walks EVERYWHERE.  She is so happy and so interactive.  She loves to be outside and be independent.  She loves, loves, loves to read (yes, that makes a momma super proud).  She will point to her  Bible every night b/c she knows that's what we read.  She wants to dance when she hears music and her favorite thing to do is interact w/ people.

I'm am so proud to be this rambunctious, opinionated, loveable, snugly little girls mommy.  God has blessed me beyond what I could ever dream.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


So I will not be on my blog for the next week and a half at least.  If you would like to follow our team's journey to Ecuador please hop over to our blog.  We pray it will be a blessing to you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

You Must Follow Me

I should really be preparing to leave for Ecuador tomorrow.  However, God really spoke to me in my personal time w/ Him this morning and I felt like it was something I really needed to blog about before I go.

I have been reading the Book of John.  John is one of the four gospels that is used to present the salvation message to Gentiles (non Jews).  It leaves out many of the traditional Jewish customs that are used in the other gospels and that often help in the understanding of the passage.  I did not purposely pick John in preparation for Ecuador but God has used to speak deep truths into my life.  How incredible is the God I serve!

Anyway, today I read chapter 21 (the last chapter).  Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead 3 days later.  He has already appeared the the disciples two other times and now is appearing to them a third.  5 of the disciples were out on a boat fishing, one of them being Peter.  Jesus tells them to let down their nets on the other side of the boat and they caught a huge catch.  They realize that it is Jesus on the shore telling them this.  Peter jumps out of the boat to greet him.  They all sit down for some fellowship over breakfast. 

While there Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him.  This is representative of the three times Peter denied Christ.  (Just a background of Peter: he deeply loved Jesus and was a great leader, later he would become the leader of the Christian church and die a martyrs death).  Jesus goes on to describe how Peter will one day be killed for his faith.  Peter sees another disciple approach and asks Jesus if he will also be killed this way.  This is what Jesus answers:

"If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?  You must follow me."
(Jn 21:22, NIV)

Wow!  Jesus is telling Peter your path is your path and his is his.  I give you each path for a reason and a purpose.  You must follow yours and not worry about where other paths may lead.

I think many times I don't understand why God has put me on the path he has.  But it doesn't matter.  It is my path and I must follow it.  I shouldn't be looking at others who seem to "have so much more then me."  I shouldn't be asking God why their path is what it is.  I should accept mine because God has a bigger picture in mind.  He needs me to follow my path for that picture.  If I don't will God's greater purpose still be done?  Absolutely.  However, I shudder to think the blessings he has for my life that I will be missing.

Peter went on to be a strong leader.  He did wonderful things for believers.  He reached many for Christ.  I'm sure God showered him with many a blessing when he reached heaven.  Over 2000 years later he is one of the most well known disciples.  (I'm sure Judas beats him).  His testimony and his faith are still encouraging and reaching believers and non believers.  1, 2, and 3 Peter are some very powerful books of the Bible.  He could have hid from God's path and God's blessing, but the cost would of been greater then anyone could imagine.

So as I head to Ecuador  I am excited to see how this twist in my path will lead to hopefully the ultimate gift, the glorification of God.  I pray that I will not miss God's path for my life or complain about it.  I pray I will accept it in faith and be able to do great things for Him!

If you would like to follow our teams journey into Ecuador please vist our blog.