Friday, March 28, 2014

Never underestimate

I am sitting here today in total amazement, and gratitude. I have been home educating for approximately 10 years now! It has gone so fast, and for the most part, I still feel like a beginner. I only have a quick moment to write this today, but I wanted to talk about two things that are going on in our homeschool right now that completely have me floored!

I am in the process of proof reading a novel that my 12 year old wrote this year and she is about to publish it! About three years ago I knew she was given a gift for writing when I gave her a simple story assignment and she brought me a novel! So this year we delved deep into the writing process and also had the opportunity to take a writing class with a few other students. As I sat here this morning proof reading her book, I not only smiled, and laughed during certain parts, but I cried too! This story drew me in! It had me on edge, and it really touched me. It is a combination of her life up to this point, her loves, and her struggles. It is very nicely written, and was so much fun to read! She is in the process of designing her cover, and I can't wait to hold the finished product in my hands! If she can write and publish a novel at the age of 12, I will never underestimate her ability to do anything again! The sky is the limit...and that is the beauty homeschooling has been, with the freedom to develop the gifts God has given my children.

As a homeschooling momma, I have come to realize the enormous responsibility I have to train up my children in the ways of the Lord. Many times I know I fall short. I want our home, and our homeschool to be an environment of love, and growth, and nurture, and learning,  and I want them to see Jesus in it all. We have our times of prayer, and I read them children's Bible books, and we sing praise songs, and we talk about the Lord. But, what really, sort of surprised me this week, is that one of my four year old daughters brought me the new Bible I recently gave to her. Somehow she opened it to the beginning of the book of Esther and asked me to start reading it. I do read straight from the Bible to them at times, but usually only bits and pieces, a scripture here, or a scripture there. This time I just started reading from the beginning of Esther. I was on the second page and I realized I now had three little girls gathered around me. I stopped...and asked them if they were ready for me to stop and read more tomorrow. They said no! They were engaged and interested, and wanted to know what would happen next...so I continued on. This has been going on every day this week. We are almost done with that book. They don't want me to stop, but I am usually the one that stops, and tells them we will read more tomorrow. They are soaking up God's word like sponges. I will never again underestimate them and their ability to learn, and understand, and take God's word into their little hearts. I have learned a lot this week. I will continue to feed them from the word of God in large portions and I will not deprive them again. I will listen to the holy spirit, and pray for them whenever possible. I will never again underestimate them!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I'm Here!!!!!!!!

I am still here! I really hope to post to this blog again sometime soon...but not sure anyone even reads anymore, since I haven't been around! Sorry! I really hope to be back with some updates soon..!!! I will say I am still alive and well, still loving my sweet kids, still passionate about orphan care, fostering, adoption, and much more! God just keeps expanding my vision...and I hope to come back soon with a real update! Let me know if you still read, I would love to know who's out there! More soon.........

Monday, July 1, 2013

Thoughts on biological families...

As my children are growing, they are becoming more aware of their reality. They are adopted. They have other people out there that are related to them biologically. Because my family is so diverse, they all have very different stories. I am honest with my children, and try and give them information as they ask or as situations arise. I take into consideration their age, and I try to explain it age-appropriately.

We don't live in hugely populated area. Four of my adopted children who were adopted from foster care have bio parents that live right here. Close. Very, very close. We all basically live in the same little city. I have seen them when I have been out and about. I have not run into them when I have had the kids with me yet, but I am sure that day is coming. One of my adopted daughters has a biological mom, grandma and great grandma that all live only a few minutes from where we live. I have a semi-open adoption with the mom, however, she always wants her mom and grandma to be a part of it, and for the first visit after our adoption, I did allow them to come, as long as they went by my rules. They send gifts, they are in love with my daughter, and just weren't able to get their lives together enough to take care of her. I do have a place in my heart for this biological mom. She has had a very difficult, hard life, and addictions have taken the place of being able to parent. I have to walk a fine line while trying to keep my daughter informed, and in touch with her biological mother, and while also trying to maintain a healthy relationship between the two with boundaries. I still pray for her. I know that when the Lord brought my daughter into my life, He also gave me a burden for her biological mother. And so I pray, and we pray together for her.

My sweet little spirit from China has another very different story. China is a complicated place when it comes to children, babies, the one child policy, etc. I have told my Chinese daughter that we may not ever know who her tummy mommy is. She is still so young. She is happy that Jesus brought her and I together but also wishes she could see her biological mother one day. I can't tell her for sure that it won't ever happen, but it will be a miracle if it ever did. So many people still think that mother's give birth in china in private, then abandon their babies out in plain sight where they will be easily found, because they can't keep them due to the one child policy. The fact is, there are many, many other reasons why and how a child in China might be abandoned. The culture is very different there. Many married couples live with the husbands' parents. They make the call. Sometimes it is the grandparents that take the babies and abandon them, while the mother grieves. Sometimes it is a single mother that must abandon the baby since you must be married and apply to have a baby in China. If not, your child will not have an identity or be accepted. Other times it is the one child policy that drives the abandonment. There is no way to know in any situation when a Chinese baby is found without a note or any clues who's baby this was or where it came from. Awhile back I had an assessment done to find out if there were any leads on where our daughter could be from or if there were any clues to who left her. Based on the findings, and the location of where she was found, it was determined that it would be almost 100% impossible to know. I will have to break this info to her as she gets older and understands more about her birth country. There still could be clues in an orphanage file somewhere that has not yet been disclosed. Also, if it is God's will, I know that He can do anything and reveal her biological parents to us one day. Anything is possible, but from what I understand at this point in time, not very much is probable. This is one reason why I think going on a heritage tour is so important with a child adopted from china. They will gain a much greater understanding when they are there, and they will see many other children who have similar stories.

I don't know all the answers. I can't say I am doing it right all the time. All of their stories are so different. I don't know how they will feel when one has contact with a biological parent and another does not. That is a more difficult aspect when there are multiple adopted children in one family. I will continue to pray for wisdom and guidance as time goes on.

I will always reassure them that they are right where God, their heavenly father who loves them so much wants them to be. When I do, I see smiles and faces that look content and happy. With that,  I am at peace, and I know I am right where I am supposed to be too, loving these precious kiddos the Lord has so graciously and generously given to me.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Follow along on my daughter's new adventure!

My oldest daughter has a new horse! He has quite a story in his 8 short years! I am sure she will fill you in as she continues to journal her adventures with him. Miranda has the awesome opportunity to not only learn to ride him, but she gets to train him as well! I'm a bit of a nervous mommy about this new endeavor, however, horses are her passion, and we have decided to allow her to follow her dreams. Follow along on her adventure: click here

Friday, June 21, 2013

Come and see my little lambs!!!

Update! My blog sidebar is finally updated with my six little children, my little lambs, my blessings! Our adoptions all finalize next month. Whoo hoo! When I reflect on the beautiful children I have been given after opening my heart and home to international adoption, as well as the foster care system here in the USA, I am amazed at how lucky I really am. Every single one of these children have qualities I adore, and every single one of them are so precious. I am so blessed to be called mommy by all of them. My heart is full.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Update...

 
We have three adoptions taking place in the next few weeks. It's hard to believe that all four children we have fostered have ended up needing a forever home. Each time a child came through my front door, there were so many unknowns, and so many questions, but each time, they were entering their forever home. It was hard to see it that way in the beginning. I still treated them all as if they were my own from the moment I met each one, and to think that God has given me all of these children and is allowing me to be their forever mama is one of the biggest blessings I could have ever imagined. God is so good, and we give Him all the thanks and praise for the precious children He has entrusted to us.
 
I have a big job ahead of me. Life can be so bittersweet. Lately, life has felt quite brutal. My heart has been so broken, and I have learned to trust the Lord more through that brokenness, which in turn has been a gift. The job of raising these six children is a task and an undertaking that I cannot do on my own on a daily basis. That is a fact. So many times I find myself relying on my own strength, and in frustration and brokenness I fall before the Lord and ask for help. It's the holy spirit I need on a daily basis to get me through, and to help me meet the needs of so many little lives, all needing mama at the same time. Draining? Yes, but that only makes room for God's spirit to fill me up with His so that I can do this not through my own ability, but His. I am a stubborn person. There are days I stop and wonder what in the world I thought I was doing, and why didn't I stop and allow the Lord to help me? Thankfully His mercies are new every morning, and I get another chance. I get another chance to nurture and love, and teach, and disciple each little heart that I have in my care. Thank you, Lord.
 
On the farm front, we have been busy. We have been raising lots of baby chicks this year, and gathering eggs, and working with the pony, who has been teaching me a lot. Not growing up a horse person, these last two years of having a horse have given me a quick and intense education. There is so much to learn when you own a horse. I've learned so much. Miranda has learned so much. Her love of horses has grown and grown. She has been taking riding lessons for over a year, and now she has grown out of her sweet little stubborn pony. A new horse will make it's debut here this week. Miranda is so excited. It's such a cool story how the Lord blessed us with this horse...and there will lots more learning going on. I will share more of that story later. We have a two litters of kittens with one mama cat who adopted one of the litters when the other mama cat disappeared. We found the kitties just in time. Life on a farm, even a small hobby farm like ours is a lot of work, and there is some heartache that comes along with it at times. Animal emergencies are no fun, and we have had our fair share lately. I am ready to sit back and relax for awhile, but that won't be happening. 
 
It's hard to believe how fast this year has flown by. DH is working daily on the garden, and really hopes I do some canning this year. So in between taking care of all the kids and all the animals, I will be preparing and preserving the bountiful harvest we are always blessed with. Yes, farms are a lot of work, and sometimes I wish I had a tiny front and back yard that required no work, but I know that if that were the case, I would miss it all. As the kids grow, they will participate more and more so it will all balance out, I am sure.  
 
Stay tuned for some updated photos of kids, critters, and much more!
 
 
 
 

 


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Drugs...

I am still in shock over something I witnessed in a store parking lot today. It has really affected, and saddened me.
Today after church we needed to stop by a store to pick up a couple needed items. Usually I will run in while my husband waits with the kids in the car, but today he ran in, and I waited in the car with the kids. What unfolded before my eyes during this time was quite shocking and not something I was ready to see on a Sunday afternoon. There was a truck parked next to us, two spaces over and slightly forward. I wasn't really paying attention to anything, but saw two young, decent looking men come out of the store and get into a newer truck. One of my daughters even made a comment about one of their sunglasses, that is how close they were to us. All the kids then began playing in the back and I notice the passenger open his door and begin playing around with the bottom part of a cut off pop can. Okay, I watch the show Intervention, which shows real life drug users, so I immediately knew this was not good. He then closes his door and was bent over for the next 5 minutes at least. I am sitting there freaking out, knowing this guy probably has heroine or meth in his car. I am frozen for a second, completely stunned that this is happening right in front of my face on a beautiful sunday afternoon. I then see that the guy pulls down his sleeves that were pushed up. My husband then gets back in our vehicle, and I tell him what I am witnessing, we look over and see this guy pull down his visor, and look in the mirror while shooting a needle into his neck! Ugh. As we were driving away we did make a report.
Years ago, in high school, or shortly after when I was looking into a career path to take, I was initially interested in becoming a drug and alcohol counselor, so these kind of things really bother me at a deep level. My main reason for doing this was to help people since drugs destroy lives. I think about these two guys today, and although I witnessed something illegal, and I hope that maybe my being there seeing this was for a reason, I am also sad for them. How sad that your every day clean cut, regular looking young men that you walk past in the store could actually be heading out to his truck to shoot up drugs in his neck. How sad that they are wasting their young lives away. How sad that for some reason they may have never found joy in the true simple pleasures in life. I thought, those guys could be up in the beautiful mountains we have around here. They could be out fishing, they could be golfing, working out, swimming, having a BBQ, going to church, spending quality time with friends, etc. But, no, they were doing serious drugs on a sunday afternoon in plain sight at a large store I frequent often. I know this kind of thing is happening everywhere, and right under our noses. I don't usually notice it like I did today. It was placed right in front of me, which was strange. I know it's all around us which is a sad thing. I believe God puts these things in front of us for a reason, and just like the prostitute I met a few months ago when helping with a homeless ministry who is now on my prayer list, I think I will add these two guys to the same list. God can and will do miracles, even in the midst of ugly situations like this, and I pray those guys have an encounter with God soon, one that will change them forever..