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


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


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..

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spring update!

It's time for a quick update!

Foster care: Baby Riah will be turning 2 next month! His bio mom lost parental rights months ago, his relatives stopped visits with him, and his bio dad, who never requests visits, and hasn't seen him in many many months signed relinquishment papers the other day. Laney and Austin (bio sibs) should be adopted soon as well, but I will need to clarify with the SW. Austin has been legally free since we got him a year and a half ago, but we have been waiting on the parents who have been filing appeal after appeal on Laney. They have lost all appeals, but we must wait it out. In the mean time they had another baby and were allowed to keep it! Stay tuned for some upcoming adoptions!!!

The Farm: Crazy times. Not much luck with our animals lately. Our banty chickens have been hatching out babies, but either the mother dies or the baby chicks die off one by one. We have saved three! We are also having a difficult time finding the eggs all of our hens are laying in random places around the farm. Let's just say our farming skills need some improving! We have recently nursed a sick pony back to health. During the process we bonded with her so much, and may end up keeping her, instead of selling her as I had planned. We also may be adding a new horse to the farm, as Miranda's horse riding instructor has her eye on one for her, so we are waiting to hear more about it.  We went to our first horse show recently. It was fun watching the small ponies pulling the carts! The vet that recently evaluated our pony said she has a beautiful gait, is very sound,  and would be awesome with a cart...who knows, you just might see me driving a pony cart in the! We have a litter of kittens due any day, and a new puppy will call this it's home in a few weeks when we are done putting up our new fence. Also...our little Nigerian dwarf goat is pregnant for the very first time, thanks to my friend Dalyn, and her goat over at Muckboots N Aprons. I just hope it all happens naturally, because as I said, my farming skills are not up to par, and I don't think I'm ready to deliver baby goats anytime soon!

Homeschooling: Homeschooling six kids is a huge task! The baby runs around causing havoc while the others attempt their studies, but I wouldn't have it any other way! All are making progress, and enjoying their daily lives, taking lots of time to play outside each day. They attend our homeschool co-op and will also be performing in a Homeschool Night of the arts talent show this upcoming week!

Church: We continue to thank the Lord for blessing us with such an amazing church family. It has been a blessing and we are coming up on one year of attending. We are currently reading a book I highly recommend for anyone..."The emotionally Healthy Church". It's all about looking deep within ourselves, our families, our behavior, and where we are spiritually. We cannot be healthy spiritually if we are not healthy emotionally, and this has been an answer to prayer for me. What an excellent book, and I wish my husband and I would have read this years ago!

Stay tuned for more foster care updates, and pictures of all the new critters arriving in the upcoming weeks!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Are you watching the TRIAL of the year?

Ok, so I don't watch much t.v. You may catch me watching The Amazing Race once in awhile or HGTV sometimes,or the food network, but I just don't have much time for t.v. I hate crime t.v. shows, and will not watch them, and really, there's not much on that I feel is worthwhile. A couple years ago while driving in my car, I got hooked on listening to the Casey Anthony trial. You can read my reaction HERE when the verdict came in. I was stunned, and completely disgusted with our justice system in this country. So when the Jodi Arias trial began this year, I heard a bit about it, and watched some of it from the beginning. They are in the 4th month of the trial now and, although I don't like to admit, I am hooked! This real life death penalty case is fascinating, to say the least. This week a juror got kicked off. There has been so much drama with this trial. I really just wish it would end, and the verdict would come, but getting there has been highly interesting and entertaining, I am sure much better than any crime or court drama that is on t.v. could come up with! I love the prosecuting attorney, Juan Martinez. He is great to listen to. This case is obvious. She has admitted it, they have all the evidence that it was premeditated, yet the defense still has to give their side of the story. I am really looking forward to hearing the verdict, as long as it's not like the one I heard with the Casey Anthony case, I don't think I could handle that again.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Church, it's a family affair!

I have not gathered my thoughts on this post, written a draft, or even thought this through yet, but once again I am compelled to write...the passion I feel about this topic is so strong I decided to sit down and write out my thoughts, so what you see is what you get. Church. Children. Familes. Worship. These are all important things, but how do they fit together? I have personal experience with what I am about to write about, and I also have done some research, read some books, and frankly, I am shocked and saddened about what I have found. We attended a church for 10 years where kids were allowed to stand with the adults in the sanctuary and sing, sing praises and songs to the Lord which was wonderful. One day, though, things changed. Kids were now escorted off to "children's church" from the moment we walked into the building, much like checking your coat or bags in until it was time to leave. I was not for this, as I had been noticing how much my older daughter was entering into the presence of the Lord and genuinely praising Him in worship and song. It was so beautiful to see. The pressure was on, however. All the kids were absent. My children felt left out. So, after a few months, we decided to try this new, "check your children in" when you get to church thing. We gave in, and let them run off with all the other children who's parents never seemed to question any of these changes as I had been. A few weeks went by, then a couple months, and I began to feel very uneasy. Something just didn't seem right. Never seeing your children at church and being a part of this segregated model did not feel right at all. We then decided to ask our oldest to come back into the sanctuary with us and during worship again. Of course, this wasn't met with the greatest of excitement, so we reluctantly agreed to just "two songs" then sent her on to her "children's church". What I observed after just three months of our daughter not being with us in worship was sad. No longer did she have that genuine spirit of worshipping God. No longer did she sing with the freedom and willingness to be completely focused and tuned in to entering into His presence. I knew right then and there that we had made a big mistake, and of course I had known it all along, but went along with the crowd, yes the culture of our church, and allowed her to be apart from her family and out of the church service. Right at this time, I started seeing many things that were "red flags" regarding this church. There were many things being done that did not line up with what I know to be true in God's word, and many things that I could not ignore and I knew the Lord was leading us out of this congregation. We began our search for our new church home. I hoped it would only take a few months, and we would find the church we were meant to raise our children in and get settled. Sunday after sunday we tried new congregations. Amazingly, I saw the same model being carried out in almost every church I visited. Walk in the door, check your kids away to some classes and say good-bye, pick them up an hour later, and go home. Something was missing. Not seeing babies, toddlers, children of all ages in the services was sad. It seemed lonely, unlively, gloomy, without the children. Everywhere I went I would walk in and ask "Where did all the little children go?". At one very large, prominent church in our community I actually spent the first 20 minutes singing wonderful, lively, expressive christian praise music in a big, beautiful sanctuary, but as I sang I looked around and again wondered why it seemed so empty. Not one baby was being held in a momma's arms. Not one child was standing next to their parents looking up at them and gazing at the parent they love singing their heart out to the Lord. Not one. I decided to walk out, and find the children's area and do some observation. I ventured down some stairs, and saw what appeared to be a sort of pre-school class going on. Someone approached me and it was a man who identified himself as the children's ministry leader. I began by asking some simple questions. "Do the kids ever go into the sanctuary?" No. "Why?" He began to explain that thier model was highly effective and very structured. He felt that all ages should be in classrooms with their same age peers. All I could say was, "Wow". I wonder what Jesus would want, was my thought, and question. Would he want our children all tucked away, away from their parents, being fed treats, and video's and tons of entertainment, or would he want us to be expamples to them, training them up, bringing them into the sanctuary,teaching them reverence and showing them how to praise and worship Him in spirit and in truth? Would God want our kids being taught by others, or by us? What would be more pleasing to the Lord? This man then went on to tell me that junior high and high school students never even enter this church building. What??? I then heard him explain that on Wednesday nights and on Sundays they all meet together in a building out behind the church. I gave him a rather surprised look, and politely excused myself telling him that I was really hoping to find a church that recognizes the importance of families being "in church". I went and the man wished me luck. Week after week, I ran into the same model in almost every church. I knew this was not what I was looking for, for my family. I began to get discouraged, feeling as though we had tapped out the church's in our area, and had no other my dismay, I realized I had now spent almost two years looking for our new "home church". It was at this point that my husband and I came together in prayer once more, and shared with the Lord that we felt there was no other options, and that is when He gave us our answer and reminded me of a church we had not yet visited because a year earlier, when we checked, they were without a pastor- but now they had a new one. We attended and both felt this was our new church home, without even really knowing why. All I can say is that the holy spirit was speaking to me, and then as I listened to the pastor and also looked around, I saw some kids, and also found that they were encouraged to be in the sanctuary to sing and worship our Lord! When I spoke with the pastor he agreed and said something to the effect that if children aren't allowed to be in the church setting, how will they know how to "be" in church as they get older? I agreed. Finally...we were home. And, the Lord has blessed us beyond our imaginations for the last several months as we have been attending our new church. It took much longer than I wanted it to, to find our new church home. I hoped for an immediate answer. I hoped to find the perfect church. Of course, there is no perfect church, and in fact, the church is not all about the building. It is a place that we, as christians can gather together, fellowship, worship our Lord, and learn more about Him, but it is really a place to then be sent..out of...and into the World, to the neighbors, the city, the nation and the World....and if your church is not doing this...then I would start looking around and asking this is the great commission of the Bible, to take his saving message to those that need it, everywhere. Another common theme I noticed at some church's is that they were very much focused on their neighborhood and their city but not beyond that. I found it a good thing to have a burden and a heart for the local lost, however, I think it is necessary to have a vision for the world...what if there are those in the congregation that have a longing and a vision to go on missions overseas, to work with orphans, or to minister in countries where the gospel is scarce or non existent? Those people could really use the back up, and encouragement of the church to be able to be sent out. There are those that really need the support of their chruch to do this. Would we in the church not support a family who felt called to adopt an orphan from overseas just because we thought they should only adopt an orphan from our city? No, we should be an encouragement and support to those that are called to all places, and also orphans everywhere. We are called to seek and to serve the lost, and the Lord could be leading each one of us in a different direction. To me, a healthy church is one who recognizes this, and is balanced in this way. A healthy church sees children as part of the whole picture, and seeks to raise them up in the ways of the Lord, equipping their parents to do the same. God's timing is perfect. I can see that so clearly now. Yes, I was frustrated, sad, and discouraged when seeking a church where my children would be welcomed and actually encouraged to be in the church. Yes, it was hard and took much longer than I wanted it to...but I now know why. I had all this time to see what was going on in many different churches. There seems to be a strong pull toward this segregated model in many, many, many American church's today. In doing some online research, I even read about people who are being turned away when visiting new church's with newborn babies. They are being told that they cannot bring them in to the sanctuary! Many new moms are not comfortable with handing their newborns over to strangers, I know I would not have been! I often wonder if the church is going along with society and it's tendencies toward this, instead of looking closer into the word of God and how He would want us to raise our children in church. The majority of families are apart more than they should be, why keep them apart at church as well? I don't think the Lord said "send them away", "have other people teach them", and "keep them with their peers". There are examples of the older women teaching the younger ones, in the Bible. How can this ever happen if they are always apart? Something I love about our new church is that there are older people there, where our old church was mainly younger people and families. The older people delight in the little children. It is beautiful to watch. My children are getting such a rich environment of fellowship there, and it has nothing to do with them hanging out with their same age peers. Some may not agree with me, and may have been in the new cultural norm of the church for some time now. It may be working for you, but I encourage you to look into God's word, and seek to know what it is He would have you do with your own children, the ones He has entrusted to you to raise for His glory. They may seem happier because they are having "fun" in children's church, but ask yourself if this is really the way it is supposed to be. Maybe, just maybe there is another way that will provide a richness and blessing to their lives that they would never know unless you as the parent take the authority and initiative to look at what might be a better way...and most importantly, the way I look at it, what would be more pleasing to the Lord? Your answer lies in your response. Train up a child in the way He should go, and when he is older he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Leavenworth, Washington

I have come to the conclusion that Leavenworth, WA. is one of the most magical places on earth. If you haven't heard of it, it's a little town that is built to look like a small bavarian village. It's amazing at Christmas. One of the Christmas presents we were treated to this year, was a Sleigh ride in Leavenworth, given to us by my brother and his wife this year. Yesterday they treated us to lunch, and then we went to the farm that provides the sleigh rides, complete with handmade sleighs, large draft horses, and jingle bells. The atmosphere was perfect with fluffy falling snowflakes as we rode around. It was amazingly beautiful, and we all enjoyed it so much. Afterward, we sipped hot cocoa in a tee-pee while warming up around a wood stove. We then went back to town where we walked around in the bavarian village. The kids went sledding, while I wandered in some adorable little shops. I never have enough time when I go to this town, and I have decided that in a few years, when the kids are bigger, I am going to take them all for a 4 day trip there around Christmas time. We will then have time to explore the entire village while taking in the sights and sounds of Christmas. Picture a Christmas town filled with bright twinkling lights everywhere you look, and music playing on every street corner, with horses and carriages wandering past, and happy people milling around. It is pure heaven in my estimation, and I just need more time there. Thankfully, I just booked a two night stay at my favorite bed and breakfast there for next December, and will have some of this time, but I am very much looking forward to a few more years down the road when I can take all the kids for a longer trip, where they can join in on the fun as well. Don't get me wrong, I am so excited to get away next year, but it's always fun to see the kids enjoying themselves as well. We are so thankful that we were given such a fun, meaningful gift, and most of all I love that we made some memories at one of my favorite places on earth. We are blessed!