Friday, December 28, 2012

Russian Adoption Ban...

You may have already heard. The president of russia signed today. Americans are now banned from adopting from russia. This greatly saddens my heart, having been to russia twice in my lifetime, both times visiting orphans in the orphanages there. I wonder if those making this law have ever stepped foot in one of their dismal, cold orphanages with crumbling walls, little heat, little electricity and water? I wonder if they are aware of the abuse at the hands of local drunken men these children are enduring? I wonder if they really know what goes on inside these "detsky doms"?

Their eyes...they haunt me. The loneliness, the brokenness, and the emptiness is something I am not accustomed to seeing here in this country. They are hungry, cold, and many lacking just basic love and nurturing. So many with attachment and other mental issues now, due to the lack of love, nurture and positive parental guidance.

Russia changed me, 12 years ago when I was there. I fell in love with this country, it's people, and especially, it's children. My heart broke into a million pieces as I witnessed...touched...experienced the great need and the plight of the orphan there. I was horrified, sadened and compelled to do something. The orphanage I stayed at for two weeks was in the back woods of a small town. These kids were the cast aways, I guess, the difficult ones, the challenging, some of the most damaged by all the unfortunate events of their young little lives. It was rough, and hard to see how they lived out each day. They didn't go to school. They survived. Life was all about survival, and surviving at the hands of sexual predators in the village became thier norm.

One thing I know is that if this ban holds, and it not soon overturned, we cannot lose hope. Our God is bigger than any government, and if Americans are meant to adopt from there again, it will re-open. When we adopted from there in 2001, things went smoothly, fees were minimal, and it was quick and easy. In the last few years it has been an incredibly strict and difficult process. I know some children have suffered at the hands of their american parents. I do not discount that, but I also know that most have lived a life full of love and acceptance, and now have a future. I understand that kids from russia can be very difficult, ours was, as he came out of that very place I speak of, and the damage was far more than anything we could treat on our own, or even with professionals involved. Although our son was not a disruption, I do understand when parents have to make that difficult decision, and in many cases it turns out to be for the best. I know many are alcohol affected, and damaged before birth, but they still need love. They deserve a chance to be chosen, and loved in a family of their own.  I know other countries may still get to adopt, however, I read that a ban on all international adoption from there is in the works.

Another thing I know is this...if kids are not allowed to be adopted from there, they can still be loved and supported from here. Let me give you an example. When we went on our first mission trip to russian orphanages, we had a pastor from Florida on our team with us. When he returned home he simply told his church that there is a need and they adopted two orphanages. They go on approx. 2-3 trips a year to these orphanages to provide, love, supplies, food and nurturing to these children. There were also some teenagers on our mission trip who had already been there before, and they had sort of "adopted" certain children that they would check up on every time they visited. There are many organizations and ministries that work with the orphans of russia, and we can still "visit them in their distress".  Hopefully these options will still be ways in which we can be hands on showing the love of Jesus these children so desperately need.

In the meantime, let's all keep praying, and hoping the russian orphans will be safe, loved and find families as soon as possible.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Are you compelled?

Just had to do a blog post on this date 12-12-12!!! There will not be another triple number date like this until Jan. 1, 3001!!!

I need to update this blog but with six kids have found that very hard these days. I will give an update regarding baby Riah. He is now 18 mos. old! He is doing a lot better, however, he is still a very intense child! He is attaching better, and talking up a storm! He seems to be on track developmentally. And...he will more than likely end up being a permanent member of our family. Despite all that we have tried to help him get placed with his bio. brother and great aunt and uncle, we have been told this is not going to be a possibility. It seems so odd, since the brother is doing great there, is well loved, and thriving, and these relatives are heartbroken because they want him so much.. God must have had another plan...and when I think back to the fact that the Lord had a put a little african american baby on my heart right before he came to us, I know God's hand is in this...it was me that tried to mess with it!  Yes, a month or so before baby Riah came I had thought about looking into a possible domestic adoption of an african american child. I "knew" there was not a possibility of fostering to adopt an african american child in my area, because there are very few black people that live here! So you can imagine my surprise when I went to pick up this baby boy 14 months ago, and was handed this little chocolatey bundle! I was shocked, but immediately felt the Lord's hand in this as the Lord (and my husband) were the only two that knew my heart in this matter!

God is the one who sees and knows, so although it seems to make sense in my mind why He should be with his relatives, the Lord knows much more than I and there was abviously a reason he was sent here instead of there. Isn't it amazing that the Lord can send you the desire of your heart even before you present your requests to Him? I had not really intentionally prayed about this yet, and I definately was not yet thinking of taking another foster child at that time either!  That is how much the Lord knows us! He knows everything, from every hair on our head to every thought that passes through our minds. And, sometimes these things come to pass even before we can get the words out in prayer. That is why our thought life is so important. It is like a prayer to God. Everything we think, act, do, pray is all known by the one who knows us best. Our thought life can be prayer and praise to the Lord every day. We should always be thinking, "Is this pleasing to the Lord"?  I can think of so many other times the Lord has answered unspoken prayers in such specific ways all because He knows me and cares, and wants what is best for me. I wish that every christian and those that don't yet know the Lord could know this type of relationship with God. Once you see God working in your life this way, you are convinced that God is real, and God continues to reveal himself in your life all the time. So many people I know have not experienced that true presence of God, and I so wish that for everyone. The presence of the holy spirit is something that cannot be explained. I think you have to experience it. I have had so many amazing encounters with God, and following Him is the greatest desire of my heart. It is a challenge with six kids because my flesh is constantly driving me to act differently, and thankfully I have the Lord to guide me or I would be totally lost, and these kids, the precious ones He has entrusted to me...I have no idea where they would be! I am so thankful for Jesus. In fact, I am going through one of the hardest trials of my life right now, and although my tears flow, my hope is in Jesus, and I can find Joy even in the midst of extreme hardship and being completely misunderstood! I know my God will deliver me!!!

Sometimes blogging is good. It is good to share a testimony, share how the Lord is working in the lives of people who are caring for the fatherless. I would not trade this life for another. I have had the beautiful oppotunity in the last couple weeks to witness two new precious children join the families of friends of mine. They are two of the most adorable little girls I have ever seen. My heart is so full just thinking of it!  I wish I had more room. I wish I had more time. There are so many little ones in need just in my little area of the country right now. I would love to welcome more, but the truth is, my arms are full. My two youngest children are both very very intense and needy little ones that need a lot of one on one attention. I am stretched...and because of that I am going to continue to stretch and reach out to others the best way I know how to assist others in opening their homes to babies and orphans in need. I can't stop. The need is too great...I thank the Lord that he has placed this passion within me, because it is one that I can't ignore, and I will continue to be disturbed by thoughts and images of children cold and alone, broken and abused and if that doesn't compell me to keep fighting for them, nothing will. My prayer is that it will compell you as well....and God will take it from there.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Blessed beyond measure...


Today was my birthday. I didn't expect a thing, but I am ending this day feeling *blessed* beyond measure.  My day started with my children working hard all morning on a secret brunch that I was only to enjoy in bed! Ahhh...then my six year old (an aspiring massage therapist and barista) proceeded to give me a great massage! Then, the afternoon was spent with them making gifts and wrapping, all hush hush, while I was given quiet time! No homeschooling, no chores, just time to myselfe while they worked like little elves getting ready for my "party"! Later on, when my DH got home, he cooked up a special meal in the kitchen that was fabulous (he's a much better cook than I), and I was treated to that as well as cake, ice-cream and some of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever seen. Not only that, I was surrounded by the cutest little kiddos ever, with the biggest smiles on their faces. They showered me with hugs and kisses, and tons of happy birthday wishes. I sit here now while DH and oldest daughter clean the kitchen, and I am feeling very humble, grateful, and blessed far beyond anything I deserve. God's blessings sometimes shower us when we least expect it, and His love shines so brightly we cannot deny it. My heart is full.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's over and a great article!

I am on the verge of updating this way out of date blog! I will be doing that soon, but in the meantime, a friend sent me a thought provoking article I wanted to share.  It has some great points about how we should vote as christians! I am so blessed to have some great christian friends that are so supportive and really know the Lord and see the issues that we face in our society today. The election seems to be over, and the results are just what I expected. Apparently, Obama was right, we are no longer a christian nation, because if we were, there is no way he could have gotten re-elected. On top of that, my state passed recreational marijuana use and gay marriage. So very sad, that we have strayed so far from God. My heart is grieved and I feel so ashamed for our country, and how we have turned so very far away from Him.  So, the question addressed in this article is this, as a christian, is it a sin to vote for Obama and the democrats? Find out...


http://onenewsnow.com//perspectives/peter-heck/2012/10/29/is-it-a-sin-to-vote-for-obama-and-the-democrats

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The story continues...

It was another busy day here, and as I was out running errands all day long, my husband got a phone call from our adoption social worker. She stated that the bio mom (of our sibling set), called again, and this time she is stating that she and the bio father are BOTH willing to drop the appeals. That is hard to believe, but okay. This guy even appealed his relinquishment of his son when the state thought he was living with the aunt but was living with him, and he lost. He just doesn't back down. So, the adoption sw stated that she can't be the go between, and took the bio mother's number down and gave it to us (which I already have from the letter she sent us). Now, apparently it's back in our hands. We know what will happen. I will call and explain again that we will start visitations as soon as the appeals are dropped and the adoptions are final. They will ask for a visit with the son as soon as they drop their appeals and won't want to wait for the adoption. That is why we had the original meeting to begin with, so it would all be explained to them. Maybe, just maybe the bio dad is coming to his senses, but I won't know until I hear that he actually drops the appeal. I hate that we have to deal with all this now, but it's the way it has all worked out, and I have to believe it is for a reason. And, I was also told that bio mom is pregnant again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dream!

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you will know I did a post on two very significant dreams I have had in my lifetime. I am talking the kind of dreams you have in your sleep, and wake up knowing you had an encounter with God! I had one when I was 15, and I am sorry, I don't have the time at the moment to find it and link to it here, and then I had another about 7 years ago. Both were so meaningful, spiritual and significant, and came at a time when I needed the comfort and power of God in my life so much, and these dreams were amazing, vivid, and gave me just the comfort and hope I needed at both times in my life. If you have the time, look through my posts, and you may find them!

Well, the other night I had another dream. I can't say for sure that this one was like the other two. I didn't wake up knowing I had that God encounter, but I did wake up thinking, Wow, that was odd, and I did get the meaning of it immediately. It was significant, but not as in depth as my other dreams,  so here it goes:

I was in a barn, a large barn with two floors, somewhat like the barn we have now, but this one was huge, like a working dairy barn filled with cows or something, and there was a lot going on  and I was one of the workers inside this barn. I was running around like a mad chicken with my head cut off. I am not exactly sure what I was doing, but I know how I felt. Out. of. control. I felt completely stressed out, angry, upset, and again, out of control. I was running through the barn, yelling, screaming about the cows, not being able to get everything done. I then realized I wasn't watching my children. Oh no! Where were they? I looked out the windows from the upper level of the barn, much like our barn, I ran from window to window looking for them. I was panicked, and feeling at a loss and so out of control. I was yelling for them with no answer. I ran downstairs, and out of the barn, and started running toward the orchard to look for them, and suddenly they all just came skipping out, happy and content, smiling, and giving me hugs, like they do every day. That's when I woke up.

So, my evaluation of this dream is that I really needed to see it. I think it's a great rendition of how I often feel. Stressed, upset, and out of control, not being able to keep everything orderly, to control the behaviors they have, to get everything done (it all feels monumental, like the feeling you would get if you worked in a huge dairy barn and you were in charge of milking every cow, running the place, and also taking care of your family, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, on top of it all) and feeling so much responsibility for all of them. Wow. It was hard to see this too. I don't want to look and feel that way. I want to rest in the knowledge that they are all okay, and that I can do my best and at the end of the day it may not all get done, and I may not have been able to control everything, but as long as I just remain calm, they will be fine. I think I often get very overwhlemed, and think that I just can't do it all, so I begin to turn into a mad woman who just needs to relax, and know that it will all be okay. They will all be all right. They will all come walking out of the orchard in peace and happiness. It's me who needs to change and rest in God's will, and just do the best I can.

I never thought my dreams could teach me lessons, but they have, and now that I think about it, I think this one must have been another one from God, and I really needed it. Thanks, Lord. ;)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It is sad...

I remember four years ago, when the election was coming up, and I would come across a blog here and there where the author of the blog was a professing christian. I had not ever been very politically minded, but as I began to get older, and (hopefully) wiser, I began to realize that becoming politically minded was not really a choice, but more of a matter of duty, and making the best decision based upon my stance as a christian.  So, I began to listen, read, study, and learn so that I would make better decisions as a christian when it came to voting on issues and leaders. To my amazement, I would notice that these professing christians were voting for our current president. My first reaction was that of surprise. I just didn't get it. As a christian, how do we vote "FOR" a leader who is against so many things that christianity is about. Then I realized they were compromising those matters of morality, for matters that they felt would effect them more prosperously, either materially or financially. I was saddened by that. In fact, in my mind it appears that they trusted in men over God. Wow. Wrapping my brain around that one was hard to swallow, and then when our citizens of America voted him into office I felt my heart sink. Have we lost our way? Have we lost sight of what is right, as christians? And then our president renounced us as a christian nation, and sadly, at one point I realized that this also, seems very true, because if we, people that state that we are followers of Christ, the living God, can vote someone into office that is strongly against those things that God is strongly for...how can we truly call ourselves a christian nation?  To me, it's simple.  I scratch my head at those christians who try and justify why they should vote this way. I have heard their reasons, their justifications, and let them speak their minds. I am still not moved. I am not convinced in any way. I have realized that as a christian we have to be radically transformed by the renewing of our minds every day. In no way can we just sit back and be lukewarm, as the word of God will tell us. We need to take a stand as christians, do the right thing. I pray that this year many people will be delivered out of darkness on this issue. I also pray that christians will seek Him, and seek His ways and not their own. I pray they would soften their hearts to hear God's truth.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Our family!

 
 
 
I desperately need to update this blog, and get focused on using it for it's intended purpose, but in the meantime, here is a picture of us we had done this summer! We were blessed to have a professional photographer come and take some shots for free...as she takes part in red thread sessions adoptive family photo shoots. She was so sweet, the kids loved her, and we had a fun afternoon. A friend of mine also had a photo shoot done the same day by Jessica. She is also a mother and foster parent. They recently adopted their first foster placement. Her photos turned out amazing!

To give a quick update, I think we are going to go ahead with our 4 yr. old foster sons adoption, since he is legally free and has been since we got him last Nov. He is the sweetest little boy I have ever known, and feel so blessed to be his mama! We are disappointed that we cannot adopt him and his little sister together, but we will have to wait it out for up to two years while her  bio dad continues his appeal. Regarding little baby Riah, it is very complicated. I made a bit of a bold move and asked the GAL if he would consider looking into the relatives that the state did not want to place him with. He talked to them again, and also agrees that it would be a wonderful placement, because, after all, his 5 yr. old brother resides there. He is now getting visits with his brother and these relatives 3 times a week, in preparation for a transition there, if the judge will okay this in the near future. I will miss the little guy, but after praying about it, felt peace that this should be explored. Waiting to see what the outcome will be...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Update...not good...

The meeting took place on Wednesday. It was not good. Nothing good came out of it, and I had a feeling about it that morning. Ugh. It was so hard to see the bio mom in so much pain, and the bio father so full of pride he couldn't hear a thing. Since we have no plan B, we are not sure what to do next.....

Monday, September 3, 2012

A meeting!

On Wednesday we meet the bio parents of our foster sibling set. I have seen them once in court, but they didn't know who I was. The Dept. has set up the meeting quickly, and I am pleased. We will at least know how the bio father will respond. If he listens and hears what we want to offer, he should hear the benefits in this plan. After all, they have already lost their rights at the termination trial, we do not have to offer them anything, but feel this is now the best for everyone. I just hope he sees that and doesn't let his pride stand in the way. I don't have a plan B, so I hope he has some openness, and sees how much this will benefit everyone in the long run. We will find out soon...stay tuned!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Random Deep Thoughts

I don't know about you, but long car trips by myself in the car cause me to think deep thoughts...and I am often inspired to blog about them. Today I spent a total of 3 hours in the car alone, driving in the beautiful mountains of Washington state, near Mt. Rainer. I found myself gazing at God's amazing beauty all around me, admiring campgrounds, and the lush green forests, rivers, and lakes that were everywhere. As I was driving back, I was listening to a CD I picked up along the way of Native flute music. It was mesmerizing. I guess I was in a trance like state on the drive home because I was reflecting upon my life, amidst the beauty of God's creation. Only, my thoughts were not that of how wonderful my life has been, but how in my early years I experienced some near death situations. There have been so many close calls that could have taken me off this earth, however, I am still here and in one peice. As the flute was playing and I was high in the mountains, facing one of my biggest fears--the cliff next to me, I remembered back to when I was around 10 years old. That was the day I think I faced my impending mortality for the first time. I was at a party at a lake with a bunch of people my parents always hung out with, and I was not raised in a christian home, so this was a party where there was much alcohol, and most of the adults were drunk. I was playing with a childhood friend, who's older brother decided to run up and grab me and throw me off of a dock into the lake. I couldn't swim yet, and remember going under, over and over again, popping up once in awhile hoping someone would save me, and finally my friend saw the look of pure fear on my face, and jumped in and pulled me to safety. Obviously, I have not forgotten that incident. Another time, I was with my dad at an event and I grabbed a lamp post that had a short in it. I was stuck to it, and literally being electrecuted as I stood there, unable to let go. A man stood up from his seat and knocked my arm off of the post, and I was okay. To this day, I think that guy was my guardian angel. I lived. Another time I was canoeing in the Puget Sound with a group of kids, and a big storm came up. The waves were so big and they were filling our canoes. A canadian boat rescued us.  I've been in a car accident, a motorcycle accident, I've been lost in the woods. And yet, here I am today, all in one peice as if none of those things have happened. God is so good, and so faithful, and I look back at my life sometimes and can't believe all that I went through as a kid, and wonder how I made it. I think all those situations have shaped me into who I am today. I'm a pretty serious person. I am super careful with my own kids, and want to protect them with all I have in me.
I often think of the American dream. I am so glad I am here in this country that is so blessed. I am not here to gain all the riches I can, and to build a big house, and a big bank account. I have been able to travel to far away lands and adopt children, which has been amazing. I have been able to share my home with foster children who need families, and adopt even more. I am so blessed. I am so glad God spared my life through all those situations and accidents that I encountered growing up. I hope to do so much more in this life, and can't wait to see what more the Lord can use me for.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Part three!!!

SO very sorry to leave you all wondering what happened...so I will get right to it. I called bio mom, and she answered. I explained who I was, and she was very surprised. I explained that we are willing to offer yearly visits to them for both children. She stated, "Wow". I think it was much more than she expected. I feel at peace with this decision. She said she would be dropping her appeal as soon as possible. She is trying to get her boyfriend, the bio father to do the same, but based on his history, it will be a miracle if he drops it. He isn't the one dying to see his children. We really want to adopt these two together, so that it will be a special day for both of them, and I have always felt that way. If he doesn't drop his appeal on our fd, he may appeal all the way up the courts, which can take two years, and I really don't want bio mom to have to wait that long. The next step is for the dept. to call a meeting with all 4 of us "parents". We want to present our offer to them both, and the dept. will explain in person again why he needs to drop his appeal so we can get the adoptions finalized and they can have a visit. We are all hoping for a positive outcome, but have no idea how this dad will respond because he usually responds very negatively to anything that has to do with dshs, or the courts. Generally, he is not a happy camper.

And....now for the question we have all been waiting for. How did they find out who we were??? I did ask her over the phone, and I was praying I would get a straight answer. She was silent for a moment, so I was thinking that maybe she was trying to come up with some story, but she told the truth. She got our names and address off of a prescription diaper rash cream that was in the diaper bag and sent on one of the visits!! I know this is true because last Sept. when we went to Disneyland another foster mom watched her for us. She came down with an odd rash the day we were leaving. The foster parent took her in to see the Dr. for it the next day. She was prescribed a medicated cream, and unfortunately the foster parent then sent if off on her visit the next day. Now there is always a chance that we sent it in the bag accidentally the next week when we were back, but I am usually very careful about those things and rip off any identifying information before placing it in the diaper bags that are sent on visits with bios. So, anything can happen! You just never know, and I think if biological parents want the information bad enough, they will get it. It's not something that scares me from fostering, as I know God has all of this in His hands, and maybe, just maybe this all happened for a reason, and He is working His good out of it all. We can't predict the future, but we can pray that the outcome will be positive, and over time, having contact with these parents might just be what was supposed to happen anyway.  God's ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His plans are not our plans. Only time will tell as this story continues to unfold.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Continued.....!!!!!!

So, I left everyone hangin after we found the letter in our mail box from bio mom of our little sibling set....
Since that event took us both totally off guard, we realized we needed to make a plan of action. This plan would not be popular with the dept., but it was a plan we came to after much thought, and prayer.
I called a meeting with the dept. I asked how our info. could have gotten out to them. Noone had a clue. We had no clue. Our CASA/GAL has moved away, so I wasn't sure if she could have given it out, but didn't think so. At the meeting I shared our plan. Our fs has been legally free since infancy when his parents relinquished him to his aunt for adoption, which didn't work out because he actually was given back to his bio parents by her (the dept. didn't know this until we got him). His sister has been with us since birth and these parents just lost their rights in Feb. of this year. So, both of them are legally free. We wanted to adopt them together, and have been waiting to do this, but both parents have appealed the termination of their rights on our fd. We had a lot to consider. Do we just go ahead and adopt him, and wait out the two years for his sisters adoption? Since fs was with the bio parents for 3 years, mom is very attached, and it has been very difficult for her these past 9 months. Do we offer visitations to parents who have been so deceitful with the system? What's in the best interest of these two precious children we have in our home who call us mommy and daddy? The dept. felt these parents do not deserve visits after we adopt them, due to the fact that, number one, they lost their rights. Number two, they did nothing to work their plan to get their children back, legally.  Number three, based on their behavior in court, they did not feel these parents would be good for these children. We took their advice, that is, up until the letter landed in our mail box. I know this mom is hurting. She loved her son, but chose to do things the wrong way. Her choices have landed her where she would never have the chance to see either of them again. For some reason she was unable to do what was necessary to get her children back. The letter was her last desperate attempt to reach out and find a way to see him, even if, it was just once more (in her words).

I have read some studies that talk about adopteess and birth parents. I know that in many cases the outcome is much better if the adoptee just has some info and just knows something about who their birth  parents were, no matter who they are and how they live. They just need to know. Two of my adult friends also believe knowing who their birth parents were as a child would have been a very positive thing for them growing up.  We considered this. It made sense. The dept. could only offer to help us get a restraining order. Well, that didn't make sense to me at this point. These parents aren't threatening us. It's just a mom that has made some poor choices who desperately misses her son. I know this for sure.

So, back to the meeting with the dept. I shared that the game plan has now changed. We could no longer follow their recommendation. These parents know who we are and exactly where we live. We don't want to always be wondering if they are driving by, stalking the house, or looking for the kids. We also think that in the long run, it really will be in the best interest for them to know who their birth parents are. So, we decided to offer a once a year visit, that will be written up by our attorney on a legal document. The dept. agreed that our decision will be okay. The next step was for me to call bio mom on the phone number she provided in the letter. I was to explain to her what we had decided to offer, but the deal is that in order for her to get a visit, we have to get both of their adoptions finalized and we can only do this if they both drop their appeals. I was also going to ask her straight out how she got our names and address.  I put it off, but finally picked up the phone and called her the other day...and she answered................to be continued.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

There is no anonymity

Sure, you may have been told you would be anonymous when you took a foster child into your home. You may have been told that foster parents names are never given out, or that the dept. takes great strides in protecting your privacy. That's what we were told, and for the most part, believed.

Let's look at our society, and social media. Technology seems to advance at a great speed on a daily basis. Soon we will be walking into stores where our faces will be recognized electronically, and personalized ads will be sent directly to our phones. It is not difficult to find information on line and in many other places. In foster care, you are not only caring for children, but you are attending court hearings, and getting legal papers with all kinds of information. Some of the paperwork I have gotten will have blacked out areas, but the next week I might recieve the same document with the same information that is not blacked out. We attend meetings where the facilitaor may "forget" and blurt out your name in front of people who aren't supposed to know. Then, if the bio parents, are persistent, they may even follow one of the transporters back to your home, while everyone is completely oblivious as to what is going on. There is even a law in my state where bio parents that have their children in foster care can go to DSHS and ask to find out the location of where their children reside. Ridiculous, if you ask me. But, my point is this...and I believe this should be covered in the 30 hrs. of foster parent training that is required for licensing...just assume you will not remain anonymous. We now know it is almost impossible to remain anonymous. We thought we were completely anonymous to the bio parents of our sibling set, our now 2 yr. old daughter and 4 yr. old son that we are in the process of adopting...that is until 2 weeks ago, when I walked out and checked my mailbox and found a handwritten letter to us from their biological mother....to be continued...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Foster care update...

A quick update! Fostering children can be a complicated ordeal, but one that is well worth it!  We have a lot going on with our little ones right now. Laney and her brother are both legally free now, however, we are in a holding pattern at the moment, while the bio father appeals, and our attorney works through some new law that was recently implemented. So, we wait to finalize their adoption, and I am hoping it happens sometime in the next few months!

Baby Riah has been with us 9 months already! He is by far, the most difficult,  challenging baby I have ever dealt with. It's sad that his little nervous system is disregulated so much, and I wish there was more I could do to help him! I was asked to attend a court hearing last week. The GAL was asking to move him to some nearby relatives where his older brother resides. We really thought the judge would be in agreement, but in the end, he ruled to keep him here in our care. I left it all to the Lord and although I don't understand the outcome, there must be a greater reason. His case will remain up in the air and the GAL may try to move him there again in a couple months, so back to court we will go! I will continue to pray and trust the Lord has this all worked out.  In the meantime, we will continue working with Riah to develop improved trust, and decreased frustration. He is learning to walk! It's only wed. and I have already been to an emergency dental appt. with him, and an emergency ER visit with him this week! Learning to walk can be a dangerous thing! The ER visit was due to him coming into contact with peanut butter, something he is highly allergic to. He is just fine now...and it is nice being home and not in a waiting room tonight!

I continue to wish there were two of me. The need seems to become greater and greater, and although I have a strong desire to foster more children, my hands are full, so I will continue to get the word out there, and hope more foster parents will sign up! A little one waits, scared and alone tonight for a warm bed, and a safe home. Could yours be one?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Answered prayer



God answers prayer in many different ways, and in His timing. Sometimes it seems the answers will never come, but that does not mean God has not heard. He hears. He listens, and he is faithful. 


The Lord recently answered a big prayer request on our behalf and it's too big and too good not to share. To explain, I'll have to go back in time a bit so you will get a clear understanding of what was happening. 


Ten years ago we started attending a church in our area. That was way back when my now ten year old was just a baby. There were a few reasons why we began attending that church, but I will admit, prayer was not a factor. Finally, two summers ago, I knew it was time to move on. There were so many different red flags, factors and other circumstances, coupled with prayer that made us realize we were to move on and find a new church home. Now,  we have never been church hoppers, or people that enjoy a lot of change. We like to be firmly planted, and want more than anything to raise our children in a healthy church with a strong body of believers. So two summers ago I thought we would visit some church's and by the end of the summer we would have a new church home. Wow, was I mistaken. I came to realize that this was not going to be an easy task. We had a short list of some things that we were looking for in a church. Really, only about 4 things that were non negotiables, but very important to us. Also, we knew that, like when searching for a new house, sometimes you walk in, and just "know" this is home. We visited many churches that first year. Many times we would come away quite discouraged, not understanding why we just couldn't find the "one". I believe finding a church home is an extremely important decision, because it effects all family members and becomes a very influential part of your life. I also realized that I was not just looking for a church that had everything we needed and wanted for our family, but that we were seeking a church where we could serve, be a part of the body and use the gifts and talents we have to build God's kingdom and carry out His will.  For God, for our lives, and for the church. 


We became frustrated, discouraged, and I even got to the point of giving up, not believing there was a church in our area that we could be a part of. We stopped praying. We tried doing this on our own and forgot that God was ultimately in charge of this desire of our hearts, and that He knew right where we would need to be. So, recently we realized that it had been two years, and our search had been unfruitful. Not that all these churches were bad, it's just that they didn't have the things we were looking for, for our family. The good news is, we were able to learn to do church as a family, and realize that we are the church, no matter what and that even if we didn't have a building to worship in, and group of believers to fellowship with, within those walls, we could still learn and grow at home, and worship God in all we do. 


A few weeks ago we felt at a loss, not knowing what to do about finding a church. Then, all of a sudden it was as if God was tapping me on the shoulder saying, "Hello!...what about me? Have you asked me? Have you given this over completely to me???"  I realized that we had stopped trusting Him for provision in this. So together we prayed and gave it all to God...since we had gotten to the end of our own resources and had run out of options. (and stopped praying about this issue quite a long time ago). The next day DH asked if I had any idea what church we should try on Sunday. The strangest thing happened. I blurted out a church that I had completely forgotten about, and one that we had never attended. He decided to go, and when he returned that day, he had nothing but good things to report. We decided that we would all go as a family the next Sunday. I honestly walked into this church building not expecting anything, and was distracted by my six kids, and hadn't even had the time to really look around, compose myself, and become present in the moment. That didn't matter. I felt something. There was something different that had hit my spirit the moment I walked in there, and it caught me totally off guard. Then we began to worship the Lord by singing praise music to Him, and I looked around and to my amazement I felt totally at peace. I felt at home. I had no idea who the pastor was, but about half way through his sermon I noticed something quite remarkable. This guy knew his stuff. He was preaching with a Bible in his hand, no notes, no cheat sheets, no powerpoints, etc. And his message was raw, and real, relevant, and he delivered it in the most humble, loving, and empowering way. There was something different here, and I was hooked. That is not all...God just continued to bless me on this day...we met one person after another and I realized that this church was full of people that truly love the Lord and have a huge heart for missions, and bringing the message of Jesus Christ not only to our neighbors but to the world. The pastors wife had just returned from a mission trip to Africa, they had just sent off a team to Peru, and they were getting ready to send a young girl to Haiti. It was a breath of fresh air to see all that was going on, and all this church is doing which is something I saw lacking in so many of the churches I had visited. I also met quite a few other adoptive families, and foster parents, and found out that many in the church homeschool. It was truly an answer to prayer because I knew it was supernatural. Everything from the atmosphere, to the pastor, to the missions focus, to the people felt amazing, and beyond anything I would have ever had expected to find. Only God could have surprised me like this!  Of course, it's not perfect, as nothing is, and church's are made up of people, as imperfect as we are. But it is a church that is definitely on the right track and has it's priorities straight. It is very family friendly, and God centered and the preaching was deeper than most I have heard in the two years of searching.  We feel like for the first time in a very long time, we have a church home, and a church family. It feels right, and I am so thankful that I listened to that nudge on my shoulder, and prayed once more, and I am able to report that once again, God Does Answer Prayer...and sometimes He might just wait, until He can catch you totally off guard, so that the impact is so strong that you know that you know it is Him, and so that you realize how BIG His blessings truly are! The praise goes straight to Him, and I can't wait to see what else He has in store! 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

If I'm right...

If my instincts are correct...we are on the brink of an answer to prayer. In fact, I think it has already come,  but I will know tomorrow for sure. If this is the answer to the specific prayer request we have prayed about, I am totally in awe of God right now. The answer is more than I could have imagined, and better than I could have ever thought. I was competely at a loss, and had given up on this issue, only to pray once more, and once again, not having enough belief that it would be answered. God is the God of surprises, and the God of abundance. He is so faithful. He is so good, and He is so much more than my little brain can comprehend. I wasn't expecting what has come about, and I know that the Lord hears our prayer. I will share more soon...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

God works in amazing ways!

So I am not up to par with this blogging thing these days. The truth is, life is exhausting right now. Life is full, and at times quite overwhelming. I have taken some time after the kids are in bed these past few days to do some blog reading, which is something I do miss. Only God could have directed the keystrokes the way He did today. I came across a blog that I may have only read once before. A woman with a heart for adoption and caring for orphans. A woman who has 7 children, and  her post stood out, as she was honest about how hard this parenting thing really is. Parenting a large number of children is nothing short of difficult, straining, and draining at times. She has beautiful children she has adopted, and yet, she was only surviving her days lately. I can relate. Then she said it. Warfare. Yes, it is what I knew all along. This can feel like a daily battle at times because the enemy wants to win. He didn't want these children to find loving homes. He would rather see them alone, neglected, and sometimes abused and dying in their orphanages. He would rather see U.S foster kids left in drug houses, not being taken care of, and abused as well. Yes, there is no doubt in my mind that spiritual attacks come in this form. He wants to take us down, those parents willing to step out for the cause of the orphan. I have something to say in response to this: The battle belongs to the Lord, and He is mightier than any attack that can come our way. 


I also took the time to read the blog of the couple I know who started a ministry to the homeless in my town. As I continued to read, the tears would not stop. These people have stepped out in faith every single sunday for the past 10 months to care for homeless in ways that would blow your mind. They go to an area where they are, and the people come,  and every week, their crowd gets bigger, and they bring food and items that are donated by random people, and they believe, in faith that they will have what is needed. They minister to them with prayer, Bibles, friendship,...and most of all, love. They have seen miracle after miracle. As I read this, it occured to me once more, that right here in my home, I am doing the same thing for the orphan, except it's not every sunday, it's every day, and that is what can make this ministry daunting. It takes the strength of the Lord to get through each day sometimes, just like these people who minister to the homeless. They go and rely on God's spirit and strength to minister to these people and to meet their physical and spiritual needs. And as I left that blog, I somehow (it had to be the hand of God), came across the next blog which I had never seen. It was another family interested in orphans and adoption. The thing that jumped out at me was this...We are on a mission...to love the orphan. It made me realize again, and I think that it was the Lord gently reminding me that I am a missionary in my own home, and that I am doing this for Him, and His glory. I am doing this for His kingdom, and for His children. I am caring for His children in my home, to raise them up to be strong christians who will go out into this world one day to also do the work to advance His kingdom. It is a humbling thing to realize, and also to realize how much I am failing, and how much I need Him. I cannot do this without daily help from the Lord. No way. And then I thank the Lord for this reality in my life...because doing the hard thing has made me seek Him more. 


And that's not all...the next blog that I ended up clicking on was this one. And after reading that, I realized that this difficult job is also full of blessings, and that I am not alone. The rewards are great, and seeing how God is moving in all of these families, who have embraced the orphan....the children of God, is awe inspiring, and then I look at my life, and I realize that even  while I trip over the mountain of laundry in the basement, and gain my composure again after two of my littles were screaming non-stop at the same time, and I mop the kitchen floor for the third time today...I thank God for these precious children, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Been busy!



So many things happening right now, but thought I'd give a quick update as to some of the things we've been up to recently. So a little over a week ago, we made the drive to the Farm Chicks show in Spokane, Wa. This has now become a yearly tradition as quite a few members of my family have decided they want to come. It was spectacular again this year--and I will have to show a few of my finds on a later post, one of them being an old garden gate we will be placing in the garden when DH builds the little fence he has planned. Each year I come home with one, two, or possibly three treasures from this antique show. And, each year, I meet people who have come from all over, this year there were people in line next to me from Las Vegas. And I thought I had a long drive! Each year inspires my creativity, and makes me want to dig in and decorate my home and yard in an eclectic mix of vintage and farm yard finds! It's one of those shows you leave thinking, now I have to wait another year?? Thankfully, I will get my fix again in about two months, as there is a woman that lives only a few roads over from me that has an equally fun antique show in her huge yard every year. She has a big farmhouse, outbuildings, and barns on her property. Vendors with all kinds of fun antiques, primitives, quilts, and more set up all over her property and people come from all over the state for this one as well. I am so lucky to live in her neighborhood! I live for these farm girl type antique shows...I am a bit of  a freak about them though. The minute I walk in, I am oblivious. I forget about the people all around me and I am immersed in my own little zoned out world. One year at the farm chicks show I went with my step mother, and I realized about 15 minutes into it that I lost her, lol!

Speaking of decorating, I have to mention that Pinterest has inspired me so much! There are so many amazing ideas and beautiful photos on it, and I am addicted. We decided that we needed a new dining room table with benches on both sides to fit 3 children on each. DH was going to build one of the DIY farmhouse tables we saw on pinterest. But...we recently found out about a place that does furniture auctions of new furniture every saturday night. He went to one  a couple weeks ago-and there in front of him was a beautiful farmhouse table! He was able to purchase it for the same price it would have cost him to buy the materials and build it himself! We are in the market for new living room furniture, so I am really excited about checking out their inventory in the upcoming weeks! I am redecorating our entire upper floor! First the living room, then the boys and girls room, and last will be our kitchen, which needs updating again. We are putting in a breakfast bar for the kids to sit at in the mornings. This will also serve as a spot for them to work on school work over the years.

We have lots of summer plans coming up including vacations at the beach and at my dad's log cabin in the woods. Miranda also will be going to summer camp for the first time this year! She's very excited. Lilyann just completed her first dance recital, and Lexi just turned 3 years old! She had a pink princess birthday party and it was adorable! There are some new developments happening in baby Riah's case, and this has come with much prayer and consideration...more details to come. Now off to clean, homeschool, do laundry and cook...the duties never end!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It happened...

What is a large family? Four kids, five, six? I have heard what a lot of larger than average families have gone through over time, and the types of comments they have gotten, but so far we haven't experienced much of that. (probably because I haven't been brave enough to take my brood out on my own all that often). Today, for the second time, since having six children, (who are now 1,2,3,4,5, and 10 by the way), I took them out on my own ,and I got the comment I have heard about other families of 4 or more children saying they have dealt with. I found it quite humorous, actually. Since it was a semi emergency, I packed all six of them into the Suburban this morning to take my oldest to the doctor's office. It was a same day emergency appt, so we did not have our usual pediatrician today. Instead, it was an unsuspecting physician's assistant, who, upon entering our room, was quickly taken aback. He stopped in his tracks before the door even shut behind him. He quickly glanced around at the 12 little eyes staring up at him, and then finally found me in the group, reached out his hand to introduced himself, then asked, "Daycare??". To which I replied, "Nope, they're all mine". I wasn't sure what his response would be, but this man was pleasantly surprised. He wanted to know all about them, so I shared our story. He was so curious that I think he forgot why we were there, and my oldest daughters semi-medical emergency. It turned out that we were in the right place at the right time. He had been interested in foster care, but had not taken that next step. He wanted to know how to make that next step. He was definately talking to the right person, because I told him how serious the need is in this county for foster and adoptive homes.  He wondered where to go, who to talk to, and how to acquire such adorable children like mine, I am sure. He wanted to know the difference between straight foster care and foster-adopt, how many bedrooms you need, and if they need medical insurance, and I was thrilled to fill him in on all of it.  When he was done examining my oldest, he quickly switched back to the topic of foster care, and foster adoption. This made my day..and I think I just might need to be a little more brave, and get my kids out there more, instead of waiting until my husband is home, so he can watch some of them so that I don't have to take them all at once. It's really not bad, in fact, every time we have taken them all out, it never fails that someone actually approaches me to tell me how well behaved they are, or how cute they are. Some ask questions, but most people are so encouraging and just want to say something positive. I hope my sweet little group today have made an impression on this man, and that soon, another little child will have a loving home to call their own.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why I homeschool




There are many things in life I am passionate about, and one is homeschooling. I cannot tell you how much I love it. Since making the decision to homeschool, back when my now 10 1/2 yr old was about 4, we have all grown so much. I never really knew much about homeschooling, but once a couple people shared their stories, I became curious. I started doing a little research. I met teachers who decided to homeschool instead of putting their children in daycare all day while they taught other peoples kids. I met actual homeschooled kids and I saw something different...and I was..impressed. I decided to dig deeper and what I found got me really excited, and to this day, I still feel that twinge of excitement when I think about and plan my upcoming year of homeschooling. 

So what is the excitement all about? Well, I will try and explain. Homeschooling is vast, it is broad, and it is AMAZING! It gives you, the parent the opportunity to tailor the education of each specific child's needs. You can create a rich environment for your child that no one else can, because you know your children best! It opens doors I never knew existed. It allows your children to learn to cultivate a love of learning. It is freedom, and creativity, and discovery and fun all wrapped up together. 

Homeschooling has brought so many amazing gifts into my life. Not only do I get to live daily watching each of my children learn, grow and delight in daily life, I am showered in hugs and kisses daily. When you homeschool, you join a community. You meet many other nearby families who also love to home educate, and who are part of co-ops, support groups, arts events, and more. They are some of my dearest friends, and I love that we are all "in this together" and have each other to lean on, learn from, and support along the way. It is truly a beautiful thing. 

I recently attended a large homeschool conference. Here was another gift I didn't realize existed in the homeschooling lifestyle. And, WOW, what a gift. This particular conference focused on the fact that we are discipling our children, bringing them up in the ways of the Lord, and how that is the most important thing, far beyond curriculum, classes, and computers. The wisdom that was shared, and that I tried to completely soak in over the course of the weekend, was priceless and will serve to improve, and bless our homeschool years. 

Children are naturally curious. The are hungry for information. They want to know what makes things tick and who made the amazing things of this world. Nature study is a big part of homeschooling in many households. Parents and children will be found in parks, in forests, in orchards, and near streams, studying the incredible creations the Lord has made for us to enjoy and learn about.  My children have nature journals where they sketch pictures of intriguing things they find in nature, and they have learned to research to learn more about their exciting finds. 

So what I love about homeschooling is that it is so out of the box. It is not happening within four walls as my public school experience was (where I honestly was bored out of mind and didn't know there could ever be a better way). The children aren't made to spend endless hours each night doing homework cramming their heads with information that they aren't interested in for a test, just to be forgotten.  It is often child led, and expanded upon, giving your children more to explore and think about. It doesn't happen at school desks set up in the house to imitate a school. My kids are often writing stories while breathing fresh air on the front porch, painting outside, reading books in every room of the house, and baking in the kitchen (today it was a quiche made with farm fresh eggs from our barn). They play throughout the day as well. Play is a child's work, and that is something they get lots of time to do. They don't have every new video game system, tv's in their rooms, or cell phones. Yesterday they were climbing trees, and my  four and five year old collected all sorts of items from nature and created a store under the cottonwood tree. 

We also attend field trips with other homeschooling families. We have learned about fire stations, the local newspaper, and how it's made, old farming methods of our local area, and will soon attend our last two of the year, one on raptors, and the other,  King Tut. Another fun thing we have been doing for years is studying one country per month, and then getting together with a few other families for an ethnic potluck from that country as we watch each child complete their own presentation on a topic they have chosen from that country. It is always a good time, and so great to see how the kids grow and improve over the years. 

My kids have freedom, creativity, tons of social events to attend, and never enough time to do it all! Homeschooling has opened up my eyes to the world around me so much more, and that is what is exciting. The possibilities are endless when it comes to planning my next year of homeschooling. We have time to read missionary stories, and raise money for orphans, and recently my 10 year old put together little snack bags with a little note inside that we will be sending with a teen missionary to Africa. She will be handing out these snack bags to street children there. And as I think about the little things that really matter, that really count, I remember days like today, where my kids and I got to read and pray, and I got to hear their little hearts as they shared what they know of God. I got to see them sharing, and hugging the baby and I got to help my 5 year old as she made up a recipe for a smoothie, and then sent a copy of the recipe off to a friend. I get to see them get excited when they understand something new, and I get to hear them as they squeal with delight when they have found something new in the garden. I am so blessed to be home with my children, living this amazing dream that was never really my plan in the beginning. But as life unfolded, and I opened my eyes and heart to different possibilities for my children and our family, we embraced this lifestyle, and it is incredible! I am so thankful, and never do I take it for granted. It is a privilege and a blessing, and more abundant than I ever could have hoped or imagined! Thank you Lord! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Photo Shoot!


The weather has been beautiful and warm here lately! We thought it would be a great idea to get out in the back yard around the blossoming orchard for a spring photo shoot. We had tons of fun. These were taken with my cheap point and shoot camera, just wait until you see the ones my friend took with her expensive professional camera! 




Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How sad...foster care update!

It's going to be awhile until the adoption is finalized for Laney and her brother,  A. I think the bio mom is still in shock. She had an open adoption agreement with her sister, who was supposed to be working on adopting him, but never did. She let her sister (the bio mom) have him unsupervised all the time. This is why cps removed him after almost 4 years when they were tipped off. He was only attached to bio mom, not the aunt he was supposedly with. Her rights were terminated back when she relinquished him to her sister at birth.

Here's what's sad. She is calling the SW all the time now. She stated that she wants to see the kids because she has an open adoption agreement. No. That one was only between her and the sister. It's terminated now. When the TPR trial happened in Feb. they lost. They did not relinquish. Her and the bio dad never did one service requested of them for 2 full years, and now she thinks she has rights to the kids. She hasn't acted this desperate the entire time, until she no longer has rights. She has lost 2 other children, and she still doesn't get it. It's a little too late. She is even asking now if we will let her see the kids. This was all supposed to be figured out before the trial.

So, I do think this is sad. I do think she loves these kids. I just don't think she gets it, and she didn't show any motivation to do what was needed before her rights were terminated. I am not sure what we will do next.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yesterday it was cream cheese...



...and today it was lotion. Oh, wait! I forgot about the other big mishap with the play makeup the day before. This little recently-turned-two year old has been VERY mischievous lately. She gets her hands on things like this, and gives herself a facial, or paints her entire body with play lipstick. Today I found her hiding in her brothers closet with a tube of lotion her big sister left out, and she had it smushed into the carpet. I am still working on getting the red, pink, and black stains out of the carpet and off the walls in her room. I have never parented a child who did these things. Laney has always been a handful, but now this is making things even more interesting. She pretty much requires constant supervision. She does most of these things when I go into the kitchen to clean up. She knows I'm not right there with her, and this is what we find. Oh, little Laney, what am I going to do with you? 

Monday, April 9, 2012

So much to blog...so little time!

So sorry I have been neglecting this blog lately. I honestly cannot find much time or energy right now. Things are crazy...and I mean insanely crazy busy. So busy, I hardly have time to think, much less write a blog. Having 5 children 5 and under is unreal. I recently heard Michelle Duggar say that she felt overwhelmed when she had 5 under 5 at one point. That's an understatement. I have a sweet homeschooled teen girl who comes and watches the kids while I clean for a few hours once every two weeks. That has not even helped me put a dent in all I have to do. I don't sit down much during the day. I am always meeting the needs of one child or another. All the while trying to nurture each individual child in the area they are growing in. Miranda started 4-H and is enjoying learning much more about her pony, how to train it, and how to ride her. She tried to breed her rabbit again, and this time it died on it's due date. Such is life on the farm sometimes. Lily is loving her tap and ballet class. She is a sweet little ballerina, and Lexi Joy is following in her footsteps right behind her. She refers to herself as a princess. Speaking of Lexi, she is an absolute Joy to parent. She is incredible, and such a special gift from the Lord. She is only 2, but surprises me with her above average language skills, and her intelligence. Tonight I was reading her a little critter book, and she saw a hidden shape on one of the pages. Out of the blue she said, "Little sister is eating a hexagon"! When I looked at it closer, it was in the shape of a hexagon. Amazing. And when did I teach her that shape? I didn't. She's just that smart! And cute...the cuteness just ooozes out of her. 


Laney is too cute for words as well, but continues to be my biggest handful. Wow. There are not words to describe this little fireball. Thankfully her cuteness and sweetness gets her out of a lot of trouble. And then there's Austin, her brother. He is such a super sweet little boy with so much love to give. And baby Riah. He is growing and changing at a rapid pace now. He has a neurodevelopmental appt. in Seattle this week, and maybe it will give us a bit more insight into his current issues. He is doing so much better, and I continue to pray for healing. 


We have new chicks on the farm, and are in the process of looking for a new home for Spring, the baby pony. There is yard work to do, barns to paint, house projects to get done, and so much more. One thing that really amazes me is the amount of laundry, dishes, food, and more that a family of 8 can go through in a day. Just managing those basic tasks can take up the entire day. 


One thing I can say for sure is this: Life is full. And one thing I know for sure: We are blessed. 
Stay tuned for some updated pictures! 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

You are loved.


Baby Riah, you are 10 months old now, and you just started crawling!!! You are so much happier. I don't think it was just a coincidence that you ended up here, in this home, with me, a former pediatric motor therapist. God knew just what you needed. Daily therapy with me putting you through those motions your little body needed to learn. You are sitting up, transitioning, clapping,  and moving all over the house now! You squeal with delight!! Your little muscles don't seem as tight, you seem to be doing so much better in our eyes. We pray your healing continues. 


You reach out to touch us, you giggle at everyone. You are developing your own little personality!  
You are a blessing. 
You are a miracle. 
You are loved. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

So true!

"If we are going to accomplish the global purpose of God, it will not be primarily through giving our money, as important as that is. It will happen primarily through giving ourselves. This is what the gospel represents, and it’s what the gospel requires." -- Radical by David Platt

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Update...

A quick update...
The SW is stopping by to pop her head in the door, as we are all still sick here, and have been for weeks. She said that the father has not yet appealed the termination of parental rights, which they were all expecting to happen right after the trial. That is good news. I should find out more after her visit today.

Baby Riah has been sick too, along with all of us, and that makes him a very unhappy little guy. Right now he is napping, which is where he loves to be when not feeling well. The update on him is that his bio father, who is in his mid 50's, has decided that he wants some distant cousin from another state to have him, so they are obligated to do a homestudy on her. The SW doesn't think this will pass, so we will wait and see. She also does not feel it is in his best interst to move there. On some amazing news...he is crawling, and not backwards, on top of his head. I have been working with him daily, and he finally figured it out!!! So happy to see him meeting some of his developmental milestones, although late, he is meeting them!

Back to tending to my little ones...I had dreaded the day that all six of them would get sick at once, and unfortunately I got sick too! Thank God for friends who brought meals and all those praying for us. This too shall pass! More soon...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The entryway!


Last year we added an addition to our home...a master suite! During the construction process, we had to tear into the entryway. We had this addition built to make room for the two little munchkins we had added to our family, Lexi & Laney. They got a room of their own, our old bedroom. Well, a year, and two MORE kiddos later, we are finally finishing up on this project. I still have some trim painting to finish on this entryway and the master bedroom...and I cannot believe it's been a year. It's driving me crazy. I need to get this done. We also still need to put up crown moulding, build the inside of our closet storage, and put in a shower in the master bath. Oh! And not to mention, the french doors walk out anto a drop off! We need to build stairs, a porch, a patio, or something. There are so many projects to do around here, it can get overwhelming, but I can say that this entry way is done...almost!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I have two 2 YEAR OLDS!!




My little sweet Laney had a birthday!!! That means I now have two 2 year olds!!! They are only nine months apart, so Lexi will be turning 3 in only three months! It's crazy how fast they grow up! In three months I will have a 1 year old, 2 year old, 3 year old, 4 year old, 5 year old and 10 year old.

Laney is my most "energetic" child. She is a handful. She is fearless. She has physical abilities above and beyond her age as she jumps off the top step and lands on two feet while her 9 month older sister is still scooting down on her bottom! She is very loving, sweet, and fun, and I am so glad that 2 years ago I answered the call to go pick up this tiny baby who was in the NICU of our local hospital! What a blessing she is, and who would have known that almost two years later, her older brother would join us? I can't imagine life without them at this point. We will be adopting both of them together in the very near future...they are both legally free, we are just waiting on the parents and whether or not they are appealing, and then we will finalize their adoption! Foster care and adoption is such a huge part of our lives. I can't imagine not doing this. If you are looking into it, I say go for it...foster parents are so needed...and who knows...you might just be giving a child a forever family!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

And then...


I was perfectly content with my 4 beautiful girls...

And then...God gave me boys.

I am blessed!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Read...and be blessed!

Folding your Flock

One of the most beautiful revelations of God is that He is our Shepherd. He is our personal Shepherd and He is the Great Shepherd of His flock--His people Israel and the church. Not only is He our Shepherd, but of all the animals God created, He chose to call us His sheep-and a sheep cannot survive without a shepherd.

The Chief Shepherd wants to shepherd His precious flock through His under shepherds. He raises up shepherds to watch over His flock, the church.

1 Peter 5:1-2 exhorts the elders to "Feed the flock of God which is among you... being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."

The word "feed" means a lot more than giving food to eat. The word is polmaino, which involves the full responsibility of the shepherd-leading them to nourishment, but also guiding, guarding, tending, and folding the flock.

When Jesus spoke to Peter after His resurrection, He exhorted him three times, "Feed my lambs... Feed my sheep... Feed my sheep" (John 21:15-17). The first and last exhortation to "feed" literally means to feed. However, the second time Jesus said these words he used polmaino, the word that means the fullness of shepherding.

I love the term, "folding the flock," don't you? In biblical times the shepherd folded his flock each night. He counted each one and made sure they were all in the fold, safe and secure from any wild beasts. He often slept in the opening of the fold to protect his sheep. During the day, he watched over them constantly with his rod and staff, and led them to green pastures.

God also wants you, as a shepherding mother, to fold your flock. One of the biggest things you do as a shepherdess is feed your children. That's what sheep do all day long--eat! They rarely lift their heads from eating grass! Now do you wonder why God calls us sheep? Don't think you are wasting your time when you seem to be preparing meals all day! This is a huge part of your shepherding.

But you do more than prepare meals. You tenderly nurture your flock. You gently shepherd as you nurse your baby and lovingly teach and train your little ones. But, you are not only a sweet caring mother. You are also courageous! You have the enormous task of protecting their minds, souls and spirits (1 Thessalonians 5:23). You are guarding them from evil-from all deceptions, delusions and the detours from God's paths that are everywhere in this society.

When the enemy comes stalking your children you are like a wild watchwoman as you grab your child from the jaws of the destroyer. That's what David, the shepherd of Israel did. Such was his courage that He would grab a ferocious lion by the beard and rescue his lamb from its mouth (I Samuel 17:34-36).

The farming shepherd works hard and sacrifices for his sheep because he loves them. Shepherding involves laying down our life for our lambs. Dear mother, you are doing a beautiful work each day as you reveal God's shepherding heart to your family.

Shepherding is so much part of who God is that He continues to shepherd us even in the eternal realm. Revelation 7:15-17says, "He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed (polmaino) them, and shall led them unto living fountains of waters and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

God will never stop folding His flock. Because He is the Chief Shepherd, He will continue folding us throughout all eternity, leading us continually to greener and greener pastures and fountains of living waters. We will be totally satisfied and
contented sheep, and yet always being led to more and more.

Do you notice that He is not only the Shepherd, but also the Lamb-the Lamb that was slain and who bears the marks of our salvation in His body. And although He sits on the throne, He also dwells with us and enjoys the eternal days with us. He is now, and always will be, the "dwelling" Shepherd who loves to dwell with us and be part of our lives.

You also, as a shepherdess will always want to be with your sheep, to dwell with them, and to be part of their lives. Even an earthly shepherd would not take a lamb away from its mother or take the lamb out of the family flock. In the same way, a shepherd mother cannot part with her little lamb, even for a few hours. As they continue to grow, she still wants them around her to enjoy them and teach them in God's ways.

Don't only observe your flock. Fold them into your heart. Fold them into your secure and godly home. Fold them in to your daily prayers.

NANCY CAMPBELL

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's done!!!


After almost two full years, the termination of parental rights trial finally happened!!! Yesterday, Laney became legally free!!! Now, we can begin the adoption paperwork for her and her brother!!!

I never would have believed when I brought this tiny little bundle home from the hospital almost 2 years ago, that I would end up with an added gift-her brother!!! What a blessing both of these two are.

Although the parents never completed even one required class, drug test, etc. they still continued to fight and argue their defense up until the last moment and the father is appealing the termination. They are still allowing us to get started with the adoption while he is appealing. He has no basis for the appeal, so the case will be closed sometime in the near future.

Praise the Lord for His wonderful gifts-children!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Giveaway

There's something really cool I have share. It's about a giveaway. It's better than any giveaway I have seen online, and better than any other giveaway I have ever participated in.

I often wait until the Lord gives me something meaningful before I post to this blog. I often feel that if I don't have anything really important to share, I won't share anything at all. I want substance. I want inspiration, and a word of wisdom from God.

This week the theme I have felt so heavy on my heart has been giveaway. Or give away. Or give OURSELVES away. Thankfully, over the years I have come to realize that giving of ourselves away for Him, is what really REWARDS us. Living for ourselves doesn't do much for me.

The best giveaway is when we give ourselves away.


I have come to know this all too well. Raising six young children means I don't have much time for myself in almost any capacity. I have learned to accept that. I have learned to find the joy in giving myself away. And I cannot think of a more meaningful cause than to give myself away to six of the most adorable children I know.

I heard something very sad on a radio talk show just recently. A 30 yr. old married woman called to ask a question. She was very career driven, and stated that she never wanted kids. She was calling to say she had no girlfriends and wondered why, because she really wished she had a friend or two. It came down to the fact that she wasn't willing to give of herself. She also didn't want kids for that exact reason. I am sure there are so many other women in this country in the same position. They have bought into the culture's role for them, and worked hard on a career, which then made no time for children or other people in their lives. This woman sounded miserable and depressed.

I want what God wants for me. The Bible shows us clearly what we as women are supposed to be. He wants us to have children and give of ourselves to our family. In that we find a fulfillment so much greater than any career. Ask me. I had the dream career for 13 years. I still don't regret leaving it to be at home giving even more of myself and making a difference for the Lord through the lives of these little ones. There is a peace I have now that only God can give.

It really is the best giveaway I've found.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

In the news...


Miss Lilyann has lost two teeth! She is anxiously awaiting a visit from the tooth fairy. When asked how this last one fell out, she said her and Miranda were "playing" dentist. When Miranda was questioned, it was found that she actually had done the "extraction"! Ewww...not my thing.

My little girl is growing up and losing her baby teeth. She is also an aspiring ballerina and singer songwriter. Love this girl! Here are some more recent pics...



Sunday, February 5, 2012

A confession...

I always hated Super bowl Sunday. I remember as a child always getting in the car and heading over to some friends house for the big game. I never liked football, still don't. All the kids would run around trying to entertain themseleves while the adults did whatever it was they did while watching the game. I was always bored out of my mind. I was never into it. I don't get it. I don't enjoy watching sports on t.v. Actually, I don't enjoy watching sports of any kind, lol! I cannot seem to find the time for things like that. There is so much more to do. I cannot justify parking myself in front of a t.v. to yell at a bunch of guys running around a field when I have, like, 1,001 other things to do. And who cares who wins? That won't affect my life in any way. Maybe I take things too seriously? I don't know. Maybe I could join in, cheer on, and eat all the junk food. No. Then I would regret that I used this day to eat terrible, unhealthy food. Maybe it seems anti-social. I'm okay with that. Maybe it's just that my passions are much different-way different than team sports.

And to think I married a sports nut, who lives and breathes basketball, football, and golf. Crazy. Well, thankfully it's only one day out of the year. :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Deep thoughts...

I really don't know where this post will go, I'm a little emotional right now, thinking about all I need and want to express...I really don't know if I can adequately put it all into words. 


I am... heartbroken...for what breaks the heart of God. My home is full...or is it? At least in my mind it seems...yet there are children every.single.day in this community that need us. I have 6. Yet, more need homes. Foster children and new born babies in all of our cities, and  babies and children in orphanages all over the world who get almost no stimulation daily, they need homes. Loving, christian homes.  I am only one. I want them all, but as one, I cannot take them all. 


I am... frustrated. Frustrated that the majority of people won't choose to see the need, and respond. Tonight a call came. An 8 yr. old girl living in a horrific situation needed somewhere to go. She was just removed, and scared, and yet, maybe, somewhat hopeful, and thankful that she was no longer there to be abused...yet I didn't have the space. Another friend got a call for two baby boys, and another sibling group of four needed a home tonight. All of these children need us. US. All of us. We are the hands, feet and heart of Jesus. What would He do? Would he pretend that this wasn't happening all around us in our own neighborhoods and communities? No, he would embrace them. We as christians need to lay our lives down for those that need us...especially innocent children. It's not about us and our comfort and our perfect little families anymore. It's about laying down our lives, sacrificially, and saying yes, yes, I will...for you Lord...because of all you've done for me and because it pleases you...and because you've asked me to.  


I am...responsible. Responsible to care, and to advocate for those children here in our own towns, and those around the world that need us. 


I am... confused. Why is it not that important to so many christians? Why do they look at us and say, "Wow, it takes a special person"? It really doesn't. It just takes an open heart and a willingness to lay down your life for another. Where is the church? 


There is a couple at our church that have started serving the homeless every sunday afternoon. I am so proud of them. They are meeting physical needs, providing clothing, blankets and food...and they are not leaving out the gospel, as they share the words of God's love for them. This is wonderful. People are stepping up, giving to the cause, helping out. We also jumped in on this as the Bible tells us to care for them. He also says to care for orphans, which is what the american foster child is. They are, essentially, homeless children.  For some reason or another, they have either been abandoned by their parents, or soon will be, or their parents can no longer care for them. Where is the emphasis on the importance of this? I don't see it, yet I see people jumping in to help the homeless adults without blinking an eye. Are children not just as important? Why isn't the church seeing this need...and encouraging each other in the need for christian families to step up and care for these precious children? 


I am...blessed. I cannot emphasize enough the blessings we have been so graciously given as we have cared for these children. We have been blessed with the gift of adoption, internationally, and here at home through the foster care system. We have new daughters and sons because we took the risk to care for the children around us that needed homes and families. I never would have believed the blessings could have been this BIG. I am in awe of how the Lord always gives us immeasurably more than we ever could have hoped or asked for. For that I am...forever grateful. Thank you, Jesus. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sweet baby boy....



Your name means "God is my light" and my prayer for you is that you know this truth to the fullest during your whole lifetime! You are precious in my sight and in God's eyes too. 


The first few months of your life have not been easy. It is not your fault, little one. You are a living miracle. It is not an accident that you are here. 


You have gradually changed over the short time you have been here. You are moving more now, and although your little muscles won't allow you to move the way you need to, you manage to find a way. 


You are smiling and giggling now...no more screaming fits all day long. This mama is SO happy! 


May God continue to guide us and shine his light before us on this journey, little one! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A health tip I want to share!

A few years back, I lost 40 lbs. I did tons of research on health, and nutrition. One of the things that stuck with me is lemon water. Over the years, I have not kept up with this amazingly simple way to support your health. One of the main reasons drinking lemon water is so great is because it helps to keep your body in an alkaline state. An acidic state is not good, and many people drink a lot of coffee which is very acidic. Back when I did this research, I learned that keeping our body in a more alkaline state will keep us healthier and fight off harmful diseases in our body that could develop, like cancer. I just came across a great blog that is explaining this same thing read it here, then go get yourself a great big glass of fresh lemon water!!!