Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Confessions from a Muddled Brain

 I am supposed to be blogging. We are leaving in 4 days and I should be over the moon excited and going crazy on here and sharing all about our preparations etc. etc. etc.

I AM over the moon excited. I AM going crazy.  I just cannot begin to put into words the thoughts in my head and heart right now.

Elijah is leaving for college on Thursday. We are driving him to JMU and leaving him. 

That alone is sending me into a tailspin. I should be perfectly capable of being rational about this because I've done this before but still.... It's hard to let go.  I want to stop time from spinning so quickly.



Which is nuts!!

 Because I want time to speed up so we can cross the ocean.

And I want it to stop because I hate letting go.

I can't think straight.  Nothing inside my muddled up brain makes any sense at all. 

Our entire family life is changing in one big huge breath.... but I quit breathing months ago.

So there you have it.

Confessions from my muddled brain.

I'm going to try to do better.

I really am.

I just need to get through the next 2 days with my Kleenex box by my side.

Because I'm going to need it.

A lot.





Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Let it Begin With Me



My brain is a jumbled mess right now.  We are 10 days from travel yet it feels like a thousand. It's like the world went into slow motion. Brown eyes keep staring at me but I can't bear to change my background picture.


This past weekend was a nightmare. Our little house in the woods is not very many miles from Charlottesville, Virginia and what took place there makes me want to vomit.


The city we love was filled this past weekend with a whole lot of people filled with passion and hate.  That passion and hate killed three people and harmed many others. 






I am grieving this morning over the wrongness of what happened.  Neo-Nazis, White Nationalists. I truly want to be sick.

This week I've been clinging to Micah 6:8 as I think and pray. 


He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?


Do justice. Love kindness. Walk with God.


Let it begin with me.


-----------------------------------------------


I am struggling to blog. I can't find words. There is so much in my head and heart. We have so much to do and decisions to make.

I would be ever so grateful for prayers right now.  Just pray for us. Pray that the Lord goes ahead of us and makes a way.  Pray for peace to reign in our hearts. Pray for wisdom as we make decisions.  Pray for clarity as we make plans. Pray for our sons. Elijah heads for college next week, two days before we leave. The little boys are upended right now and struggling with our leaving. Ben will be carrying the burden of caring for them while we are gone. Pray that God provides all we need. 


It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”




Thank you.













Friday, August 11, 2017

Another Thirteen

Seven years ago this sweet boy completely upended our lives in a village across the ocean.

Today he turns 13.


He's grown so much on so many levels.


And we are blessed to call him our son.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY AARON!!!

We have two thirteen year olds in our house!!



Saturday, August 5, 2017

How Can I?


Breathing is difficult these days.  I don't suffer from asthma so I can't blame my shortness of breath on that.

I blame the computer.

Well - not really my computer but my computer screen.

Each day... each time I sit down... I am compelled to look at the most beautiful brown eyes. And I stop breathing. And I pray.  And I pray some more. 


My prayers are pitiful.  Just Dear Lords.  And Please.  And then I choke back tears. And gasp a bit.

It's a problem.

Putting the picture of the child who is calling you across the ocean as your background picture on your computer is a definite problem.

It makes breathing difficult and keeps me from focusing on the tasks at hand. 

How can I look in those most beautiful eyes and not want to head for the airport immediately? How do I focus?  How can I keep from counting the weeks (3), the days (21), the hours (I'm not THAT math-smart)?

I'm the one in this household not holding it together very well. The male population around here goes about like nothing at all is about to upend our little house in the disappearing woods. Their emotions are in lockdown until we actually see and hear and know for certain.  They are being realistic. Wise. Careful. Discerning. I can't lockdown my feelings.  I'm lousy at the wait and see attitude that has them serenely passing through the current set of days.  I'm crashing through the house cleaning and gleaning and dragging loads to the thrift shop (if isn't being used then we must not need it).  I'm standing in the little girl aisles in total panic. I'm organizing and counting money and writing to-do lists and planning meals and staring at those beautiful brown eyes and pleading my Dear Lords and Please.

Three weeks.

21 days.

A lot of hours.

A whole lot of time not breathing very well.





I'm not sure I'm going to make it...

Maybe I should change the background picture on my computer!








Monday, July 31, 2017

Can't You Just Picture Her?

Sweet boys and Mama...


Thank you Shelby for taking such sweet pictures of our little loves.





FOUR WEEKS!!

This morning I contacted our travel agent which makes everything very very real. There is something about buying plane tickets that brings to life the reality of what we are doing.

In case you missed our news....

WE ARE ADOPTING A LITTLE GIRL!!

Mary!!


Can't you just picture her in that picture above with her brothers???


For those who are asking and wondering about our  travel details... just Rob and I will be traveling on the first trip. We will be there for about 7-10 days and then will come home and wait for court.  We do want to take John and Aaron with us on either our court trip or pick-up trip but are not that far enough ahead in our planning to know exactly what we are doing. So stay tuned!!


--------------------------------

Do you want to hear a secret???

The Adair family that I shared about HERE... They are considering adding another sweet one!  A little boy. Their household of girls is going to be totally upended by a noisy, precious, little boy.

Money is the ONLY THING standing in their way.

What is a ransom worth?

They have a $1,000 matching grant. Their grant account needs to read 3,193.00.  They are still 5,000 short for the girls and to add on another one is thousands more.

Oh Please Please Please!!!

Every 5.00 is doubled. 

Please help them reach their grant and maybe maybe a little boy who needs a family full of sisters will be opening presents under their tree this year.



Friday, July 21, 2017

A Rally Cry

I'm home from camp and trying to get back into the swing of life and work and stuff and such.

School starts for the boys in two weeks.

We have a new book that I desperately need to start working on. Rob has been writing for months, but I have yet to get started on my part.

I am editing the audiobook that Rob and the older boys made.

I have one last homeschool convention next week.

It is our busiest time of the year for our business.

We are leaving in 5 weeks.

I was up early early this morning so I could start attacking the to-do list.

But I took a break and checked Facebook.

After stumbling upon one post, I immediately set aside my to-do list. There is a family who is leaving in two weeks.

TWO WEEKS.

Rob and I have a real tender heart for this family because they adopted three little sisters a year ago. We met those sisters and spent time with when we were across the ocean. 



We fell in love with them and were so thankful that this family stepped up to adopt them.


They are heading back for two more sisters.



They are 8,000 short.

But what makes me really sad.... They have been listed on Reece's Rainbow for months now but they have only had 1,002.00 donated towards their adoption. 

They originally needed to raise 30,000 for their two girls and have basically moved heaven and earth on their own to raise 20,000 of that.  They are 8,000 short. They have sold stuff, crafted, sold more stuff, had auctions and on and on and on....

They leave in 2 weeks.

They are so short and a tad discouraged and could really use some support.

Oh please... please... please.... won't you give today?

Can we get their grant account moving?  I don't have anything to offer except a plea.

Can we rally for the Adairs???












Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lazy Days and NEWS!!


It's a Yogi Bear annual Reece's Rainbow reunion week...

Two little boys and Mama are here because big brothers were working and Papa had to stay home and tend to our little house in the disappearing woods... which is another fun post for later...



Two little boys and Mama and quite a few other people with us...


This is NOT everyone... 9:00 am is early for some to get up, dressed and up to the pavilion for group pictures.  So add about another 10+ families in this mix...


And add another 25+ babes in this picture full of yellow treasures... all Reece's Rainbow babes...  Oh I am in heaven!!




Thankfully Yogi didn't show up until AFTER pictures were taken!!  This is what a Yogi mob looks like!










Want to know what the BEST part of this lazy Yogi bear reunion is???


Having Nancy call us on a lazy Sunday afternoon in our cabin to tell us that we have travel dates!!!!!!

WE HAVE TRAVEL DATES!!!

We are crossing the ocean at the end of August....

AWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!

T H A N K   Y O U  J E S U S!!

Now back to a few more lazy days!!





Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Waiting Oh So Patiently???


Waiting and waiting and waiting.


Waiting on travel dates.


Waiting and waiting.








We aren't the only family waiting for travel dates which means we are waiting for the families in front of us to get their travel dates, so that we can get travel dates ourselves. We are waiting in line with a bunch of others waiting in line.





Standing in line is tedious and wearisome. It's hard on the feet. It's hard to be patient.




I wouldn't mind the wait so much if fear wasn't constantly nipping at my heels. The fear of losing her is the greatest fear of all. My prayers before the throne are rather incoherent puddles of tears and pleas. I'm glad the Lord doesn't need my words to know my heart.


In the midst of my pleas before the throne are also words of utter thanksgiving. The kindness of friends, family and strangers who have been moved in their hearts to give takes our breath away. Words do not begin to convey our gratitude to each of you who have given so generously. 


Mary's puzzle will be a beautiful testimony to her and to us that God provides. Every single name on her puzzle will be a precious reminder that God cares deeply for orphans.


So we wait and we marvel and we pray...


Patient


Patient


Waiting!




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Thirteen



Happy Birthday, John



Thirteen Today!!


Let the Celebration begin!!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Throw Away Kids

Just my two little boys and me at a hotel in Maryland. We came a day early for a wedding so we could bring Rob's mom up for the rehearsal.

So just my two little boys and me enjoying ourselves at a hotel. Swimming. Eating Chinese delivery. Trying Root Beer that John thought was the best drink in the world and Aaron spit out. Ice cream. A slumber party in the king sized bed. TV.

Little boy time with Mama.

I watched them in the pool yesterday. The water too cold for my tastes. I watched them swim and laugh and wrestle and make friends with the other family in the pool. I watched them and I thought.  They were throw away kids. Two of thousands upon thousands of children in a world where disability means abandonment. They were thrown away.



The other family - a father and son and daughter. The daughter laughing and talking and jumping easily and quickly into the water. The father holding the hand of the son. Holding tight.  He was 12. Or 13. I watched as he led him into the water. I watched and wondered and smiled quietly to myself as the boy burst into joy and made his noises and clapped his hands. I watched as that father lovingly and tenderly watched over his son and threw the ball with his daughter and loved both his children.  He loved both his children. The one who could talk and engage and toss a ball and the one who needed him to watch over him.

I watched as my Aaron easily and without pause interacted with that family. I watched as he told them as matter of factly as possible that he was adopted. He was adopted and his hands didn't work right. I watched as he talked to the daughter and the son and the father and made friends with them. I watched and wondered.  My throw away son. My throw away son who loves people with an innocence and agenda-free joy. Making friends with a father and two children. One who in another place would also be thrown away. But here - in this world - in this hotel - a father loves his son. And that gave me the greatest of pleasures.





Some families can't bear to throw them away.

The doctors tell them to give them up. The nurses counsel them that they would be better off institutionalized. Their families plead with them to abandon them. Their neighbors shut the doors in their faces. The school denies them access. The government provides them no services.

Despite all this pressure, there are some families, in a culture and world where abandonment is the norm, who can't bear to part with the ones they love. So they keep them. Holding tight to their hands.

Most of them supportless. Alone. Lonely. Trying desperately to give the ones they love all that they need with little of anything to give to them.

There are few who care in that world but there are a few.

A few who choose to stand against the norm. A few who believe that the value in a person is not measured by their outward appearance or their mental ability. A few who place value as God places value.

They see treasure where others see broken.

These few are reaching out to those families. Providing them hope. Assistance. Support. Acceptance.

Love.

Love.

These few are also reaching out to the ones thrown away. The ones in orphanages and mental institutes.

They visit as much as they can. They teach. They engage.

They love.

They love the unloved.

We have a chance to help one of those few.

We have a chance to come alongside them - provide finances, prayers, encouragement - as they minister to those families who are holding tight to the hands of their loved ones. We have a chance to come alongside as they minister to the many many who have been thrown away.

We have a chance to give these kids - the ones whose families are holding on tight and the ones who have been let go - we have a chance to give each of them a chance to go to camp.

Because that is ONE of the MANY ministries this group does.


Camp Lela.



They give the children - no matter their need - an opportunity to go to camp.

They have already had some camps this year.

One of the camps was at a mental institute for older girls. A whole institute filled with thrown away special needs girls and women got to go to camp for a week. They couldn't take them to the camp so they brought the camp to them.

One of the camps was for autistic children who live with their families.

One of the camps was for special needs children who were able to come to the camp.

They have more planned.

Many many more planned.

It costs 60.00 per child to go to camp.

Hundreds and hundreds of children get the opportunity to go to camp but not enough of them have been sponsored.

Money is tight.

They are stretching it as best as they can.

Please will you CLICK HERE and read more and consider - please consider - sponsoring a child.... or two.. or ten.

Support the families who are holding tight. Give freely so the throw away children have a chance to escape the confines of their orphanages or institutes for a week.

Please.


Children with Autism. Children with Down Syndrome. Children from troubled homes. Children with severe physical disabilities. Foster children. Adopted children. Children from orphanages. Refugee children.

The list goes on. And on. 


I watched a father yesterday love his son. I watched my former throw away kids.

This morning I listened to the Holy Spirit and I wrote this post.

1,200 children.

Only a few have sponsors.

They need sponsors.














































Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Two Boys and a Dog


Goodness gracious I love these boys!!


So does our sweet dog.  Wherever they go... she goes. 

All day.

Every day.

In and out.

In and out.

Ever faithful. Ever watchful.


She doesn't get the award for being the brightest dog in the world... but she definitely gets one for being faithful!


She is sweet beyond words.





She's going to miss them over the next few days.

We are heading to Pittsburgh for a Classical Christian School Convention.

Little boys get to enjoy the city with Papa during the convention hours.  They are SO EXCITED.

I am excited too. Traveling with family by my side is rare and sweet!
Even though I have to work and they get to run around the city, this convention is easier than most which means I'm not standing all day. I get to read and relax during sessions. And in the evening I  get to hang with my guys.

It's a win win.

--------------------------------

We are waiting on travel dates at this point to go meet Mary.

Waiting and waiting.

We found out two weeks ago that Mary's file did not code epilepsy, so we are in the slow waiting line.

At this point we are figuring we will be traveling the middle to end of August.

Ugh!

Please pray for our little girl. Pray that her heart would be open to our family. Pray that she won't be transferred out of the baby house. Pray for peace for us as we wait and trust.  Definitely pray for the peace and trust part!! I'm a bit of a failure in trusting with peace at this point. Waiting is SO HARD!


 






Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The World Stopped



I couldn't breathe when I saw her.  I had been looking for her.  I knew she was coming, but when she came walking into my aisle I stopped breathing.  The world stopped.  Nothing else mattered but her. And me. And the distance it took for me to kneel before her. 





The last time I had seen her was a little over a year before. Our last moments with her never to be forgotten.   Our hearts shredded into pieces when she whispered to the director she didn't want us to be her family. We never considered in a million years she would turn us away. It was unthinkable. 



There she was, standing before me on this side of the ocean, and I wanted nothing more than to grab her and hold her and tell her how much we had wanted her. I wanted to flee the building with this girl wrapped in my arms. Instead, I whispered to her how proud I was that she had said yes to a family. I told her how brave she was. I told her how happy I was that she had now a Mama and a Papa and brothers and sisters. I told her she was beautiful. I told her I loved her.  We played a bit at the preschool booth nearby. And then she walked away down the aisle with her Papa beside her. She took my heart with her.



I went back to work that day, tears sliding quietly down my cheeks as I shared with people about our curriculum.  It was the hardest of moments. Despite this, I consider it a kindness of God to allow me to have that moment with her. The family she chose is wonderful and I am grateful to the Lord that she is safely folded into their world.


Adoption is risky and hard. You cross the ocean to bring home a child with nothing more than a picture and a few words on a piece of paper. Anything can happen. Countries close in the middle of the process.  Dossiers are submitted and denied. Children die before families get to them. War upends the process. The child you crossed the ocean to bring home is no longer available. Or they say no. Or you say no because the words on the paper do not match the child in real life.

And then you come home.

And the child you thought you loved is not exactly as you pictured or considered. Family is not exactly as they pictured it either. And you slip into a trench. Sometimes for a few months. Sometimes for years. And sometimes forever.

I used to shout loud and hard for families to adopt.

I used to yell and scream for the ones we left behind.

But watching the heartache, the hard, the loss, the trenches has caused my voice to grow hoarse at times. How can I tell you to adopt when I know the heart-wrenching part of it? How can I tell you to adopt when I know you may lose everything? How can I tell you to adopt when that child may die on this side of the ocean? How can I tell you to adopt when the picture and words may not match the child? How can I tell you to adopt knowing that tears may be your mantle for a season? Or a lifetime? How?

We have seen the ugly. We have watched families shipwreck. We have advocated for children who have been disrupted from their families.  We have seen families grieve the death of their child over here. We have watched families fall apart over adoption. Husbands have left wives and vice versa. We have experienced the trenches.

Yet, we still believe that adoption is good and right.

Just because it is hard and heart wrenching and risky - doesn't mean we stop.

There are children across the ocean who need families.

They need families willing to accept the risks and the heartache and the reality of the trenches and go anyway. Because children belong in families not institutes.

We have seen the ugly and we are going back.  I look at my boys each day and thank the Lord they are here. With us. Despite all their challenges. Despite the 40+ trips to Shriners. Despite the trenches. Despite the cost of two extra mouths. Despite the reality that we will probably never have that moment in our lives when it is just the two of us. We are going back. I may not be shouting very loud about adoption but going back is my witness.  It's my form of shouting right now.  I KNOW adoption is hard. I KNOW that those who go and bring home their child or children will be bruised and beaten and will wonder what in the world they have just done. I KNOW the questions. I KNOW. 

You may lose everything. You may have your heart ripped out. You may hear a child whisper a "no" to you. You may see that child again in someone else's family and you may shed a tear or two or a thousand. It's all possible.

But if God is tapping on your heart - Then you need to act. 

Because it's God tapping.

And when He taps - you really need to listen.

Pray. Advocate. Adopt.


Children belong in families not institutes.
























Thursday, June 1, 2017

Nesting


I'm heading off for Lancaster, PA for ANOTHER convention this weekend.

The last three days at home I've been nesting.  Yep. 

The kind of nesting where you take a toy room and turn it into a little girl's room.



I've done this once before but the last time it was with caution. 

This time we have thrown caution to the wind.



Don't get me wrong.

I'm terrified.

I'm still gasping for breath and it is hard beyond words to stay focused on the everyday mundane stuff like running a business.

Right now I'm going through the motions.

There are no guarantees in Mary's country. You can't put a hold on a child.  We could lose her before ever laying eyes on her.  The risk is great for our hearts to be broken again.

But we stepped out in faith and in faith I am making room for a little wisp of a girl to be part of our family.

I'm not finished yet but the last three days we've made some cute progress!!


The little boys lost their toy room but have had some cool stuff added to their bedroom. Their beds were raised to add storage underneath and they are waiting for their matching nightstands with bookshelves to arrive tomorrow.  We cleaned out the linen closet and it is now the Lego closet.

I went around yesterday and took pictures of the house and rooms for Mary's photo album.

I am nesting.

It makes what we are doing real in my heart.

I know another family who is also nesting.

They are also waiting for travel dates.

They are rearranging their house and worrying and trying to hold the terror back.

They are adopting three children.


One has cancer.

Yes. You read that right.

He's been on the oncology ward in his country and chances are they will be adopting him out of the hospital.

They understand cancer in an intimate way. They have a son with cancer. 

They are also adopting two older girls.


Both are aging out soon so this is virtually their last chance at a family.

Three children.

All three are unfortunately in three different parts of the country making the costs for this adoption extremely expensive.  $55,000 expensive.

Thankfully they will be receiving $30,000 in grant funds from the Older Child grant accounts which brings their costs down to $25,000.00.

Still. 

They have paid out some of that by emptying their savings. They have been selling what they can to cover a bit more of it.

They are planning on borrowing for the rest.

Please let's keep them from having to borrow.

They have a matching grant right now for $930.00.

When their grant account reaches $1697.00 then that grant is matched.

But it is just a drop in their bucket.

Please, help me help this family!

They are going to get travel dates any day now. 

If you have anything at all - would you give?

Anything!!



I'd love to see their grant account overflowing before I get back from PA on Saturday night!!









Monday, May 29, 2017

I Want to Breathe Again



Tuesday is the LAST DAY for the Build Your Bundle sale.



I'm sharing the link here again because this really is a cool sale.

Plus... if you buy through our link then we get a portion of the sale and all the money we make is going to cover plane tickets for Mary so we do have a vested interest in the sale doing well!!!

So do me a favor and at least go check the sale out.  There are a whole host of great curriculum in this sale to choose from..



CLICK HERE to get to the sale.

--------------------------------------------

We were sent new pictures of Mary this weekend. 

I was in Florida at the homeschool convention when the pictures were sent.

They undid me.  I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't focus. 

I COULDN'T BREATHE!!

I don't want to be here right now.

I don't want to wait 3 weeks or 3 months.

I want to breathe again.

I want to breathe again.

We won't know for another week or so what our timetable is going to be. 3 weeks or 3 months.  Honestly, 3 weeks is a crazy nightmare because we have a convention and a wedding and Shriners appointments but we don't care....

We will drop it all.

Breathing is much more important.

There is a little girl on the other side of the ocean who has taken our breath away.

Please, Dear Lord... Please!!












Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Purchased. Today.



He's just a simple bear.


Stuffed with fluff and very little brain.


A simple little bear for a little girl across the ocean.

Purchased.

Today.

Because yesterday our dossier was submitted.

And just like that the reality of this adoption has taken hold of our hearts.

We have a room to prepare.

Because soon - soon - a little girl is going to be living in this house.

Oh My Heart!

I can't breathe.

I am gasping for air.

I don't want to lose her.

I don't want to lose her!

Oh Dear Lord - Please!

We were submitted.

All that's left is to wait for travel dates.

And here's the crazy because with adoption - there is always crazy...

We could travel in one month.

We could travel in three months.

The timetable is dependent upon the wording in Mary's file.

In her country, they have created a punch list of special needs that a child could have that are considered urgent. If a child has those any of those special needs on that list then their adoption is expedited.  Fast-tracked. Mary has epilepsy. Epilepsy is on the special list.

IF Mary's file has the correct coding for epilepsy then we will be crossing the ocean in a month.

If Mary's file does not have that coding then we will be crossing the ocean in three months.

We won't know either way for another two weeks.

That's crazy!

Honestly, we don't think the coding will be correct on her file.  But we are laying the groundwork to leave in 4 weeks just in case.

I would drop everything to be able to leave in 4 weeks.

Mountains be gone.... Gasping for air is hard on the lungs!

A boys' toy room is being transformed into a room for a princess.

Sheets for her bed are on the way.  A comforter. 

And a bear.

Filled with fluff and with very little brain.

But ready to valiantly cross the ocean to bring home the one who will whisper secrets in his ear at night.

Soon.

Soon.

Dear Lord - Please!