Saturday, February 23, 2013

God is in the Details

God was working long before we ever said "yes", before our family decided this was what we needed to do to be obedient to what we thought God was asking us to do. I am so aware this week, that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. There are so many details that have been providential.  When I look back on jobs and heartache and moves and questions it brings tears to my eyes because so often I wondered what on earth God was doing-- how could this all be part of His plan. Then suddenly God opened my eyes to see He was in the details, working long before I ever knew. We were walking in faith, taking steps we did not know would lead to who knows where, some reluctantly, some with complete joy. This week, I have seen God's provision and a glimpse of His working.

And I have seen other people stepping out in faith. Over the past couple of weeks, we have had people give money to help, we have raised just over $5000.00 in donations to help with all the adoption expenses. This is just over seven percent of the way to our goal. People have been beyond generous. And the money we needed has come just at the right time, at the moment we needed it. A check or a little extra then someone said they would give to cover expenses that needed covering.

And, we are so thankful to be part of something God is doing!

It seems like the world is getting smaller.

This week within hours of each other two friends said, "Hey, do you know so and so... they homeschool, she has three kids, they are adopting from Eastern Europe too?!?" From the same country to be exact, and they just so happen to live in this town-- our little town, in Arkansas. And they are adopting a little boy who is seven. Our little boy is six. I do not know her, but I am going to know her!

Earlier in the week a friend with tears in his eyes shared with my husband how he was at a conference and there was a man talking about orphanages in Eastern Europe... again, same country as we are adopting from. He is an attorney that works there, advocating for the rights of orphans. This conference in Michigan that our friend from Arkansas happened to be at. He talked to the man afterwards and mentioned that he knew a family starting the adoption process. He told him about our little boy in Eastern Europe. The man said he wants to help, if we can find out what orphanage he is at he will make sure Hamilton is okay when he is there, and he knows people there that can help in the process, he offered what he could do to help and we connected him with our case manager at our adoption agency.

It has been amazing to see God work in His goodness and faithfulness. We are so thankful!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KARIS!



Today we get to celebrate again our gift of love. Every Valentine's day, we also get to celebrate Karis. Today she turns eight. She could not wait to see what I would write about her on here. She must think more people read this than really do, that somehow she would be famous if I wrote about her on my blog! She said she knew what I would write, "Something about me being a drama queen, right mom?"

No, although it would fit, she is so much more than that. She is beautiful. She was born with the perfectly sculpted eyebrows and the sweetest dimple when she smiles and laughs. Karis loves and feels with all the passion she can muster, whether good or bad, you will never not know how this young lady is feeling. She loves and hates with just about the same amount of feeling. My mom once said, "Just to be around her is exhausting because she has so much energy you can feel it." And I think she is right; this young lady is FULL of energy and ideas, and sometimes that makes life really hard because when you are eight, your main role is doing well at school, obeying your parents, getting along with siblings, and playing with friends. Not changing the world, sometimes I wonder if that is what she is going to do.

As Karis has grown I have seen her become more of a person and less a ball of energy - tearing apart my life and my house! She is better able to express her ideas and genuinely works on controlling some of her feelings. I have seen how much she is like me, only she has courage that I never had. She is one of the smartest people I know, as she has advanced in school. She has struggled very little, quickly picking up just about everything I show her. Karis is funny; she makes us laugh so hard, especially when she is just being herself. She is learning to make friends. She complains about not having friends, but for the past two years, in Wisconsin and now here, at least half the time we go somewhere, there is someone waving frantically at Karis, "Hi Karis!" She, in a nonchalant way, explains where she knows them from and waves back. I think people like her; she just does not always know what to do with that.

She loves. Karis encourages me as a mom and thanks me when I am not expecting it. She is truly a gift to me, one that challenges me to be a better mother.

And since she really wants to read this...

Miss Karis Rose, today we celebrate you! Happy Birthday sweet girl. I pray this year will be a year full of blessings and I cannot wait to see what eight has in store for you. I love you! Mom.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Another Lesson Learned

It has been a week of battles. It takes weeks like this for me to realize that somewhere along the past couple of months the battles had subsided, we have learned some new tricks for sleep-- mostly no more naps and she falls asleep in my arms at 7:30 pm. It has been lovely and surprisingly calm. But this week has brought back the two year old in fine form. Everything has been a battle. Getting dressed, changing diapers, eating, playing, pretty much every single thing we do is a battle. And sometimes these battles come in the middle of the night. Last night it was a half an hour of screaming NO! I still do not know what she was mad about. I just know that being woken up and screamed at for half an hour in the middle of the night, usually does not lead to a good start to the next day.

And it did not start nicely at all. I woke up and got ready to run. I should have gotten out the door quicker, but I did not, I dilly dallied, and when it was time for me to go, my two year old came running out of bed, "DON'T LEAVE ME MOMMY!" Frantically climbing on my lap and clinging to my neck she said over and over, "Don't leave me mommy, don't leave me!" I offered to hold her for five minutes and get her some breakfast before I left. "NO!" We talked and argued for the next few minutes and she finally ended up in time out. For two minutes I let her yell and then gave her a chance to apologize. She sat in her time out chair screaming, "I WANT MOMMY!" But when her chance came to apologize, she refused. She covered her eyes so I could not "see" her and screamed "NO!" She would then hold out her arms, "I WANT MOMMY!" I gave her a chance to apologize, arms crossed, furrowed brow, "NO!" She wanted her way, but she did not want to apologize. She wanted me but without  having to change her behavior.

I am always thankful when I can see myself in those moments. I did get to go on my run and I kept thinking how much she is like me. I want God's favor and blessing, I want God to be with me, but I do not want to change my behavior. God, never stops loving me, but sometimes my decisions keep me apart from Him. I cover my eyes and don't want Him to see me in my sin, I do not want to change, I want to keep living my life the way I want but I want God to keep blessing me. I will  never stop loving her, but sometimes her decisions make it that she needs to face consequences. Then when she is done I will hold her and love on her.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Why are we Adopting?

Why are we adopting?
I always wanted to adopt. In my little world of dreams as a kid I was going to be successful, independent and a mother to children who needed one. But, I was not getting married.
Then I met Nathan. We met and were married a year and a half later. We married knowing little about what the future held. We did not discuss children or careers or much of anything. We were young and in love, and not much else mattered to us. We never discussed our own children, having any or how many, but did both agree one day... we wanted to adopt.
We believe in life, in choosing life, and each life is sacred.
And, we have been BLESSED with four wonderful children. I am so thankful for the gift of our children, but also aware that there are children still in need of families and homes.
Adoption never left my mind.
I always imagined we would adopt a child out of the foster system because there is such a huge need, and it does not usually cost tens of thousands of dollars. It just made sense. We would wait until our youngest was five or so and then start doing foster care. I was sure this was the plan for us. I remember even last year talking to a friend who adopted a little girl from Ethiopia about adoption, and sharing our plan. She told me she had a plan too, but God's plans are not always our plans. I was still sure that our family being what it was, already six people with a not very high paying job. Maybe we would not adopt, maybe we would be a home for foster kids, and love on them while we could. It is such a selfless life. I know quite a few families that do foster, and I admire their courage and their love. I wanted to be like them.
But then...
Someone posted on Facebook about a friend who had adopted from Eastern Europe. I read the blog because I almost always read anything about adoption, but also because the blog's title had my youngest's name in it, Verity, I never hear anyone with the name, so I read it, curious. And I wept. I asked Nathan to read it. He read it and walked in, in a matter of fact voice and said, "Hamilton, we need to adopt Hamilton." My heart broke all over for so many reasons, because I had loved him from the minute I saw him, this little boy, and because my husband was on the same page, not calling me crazy.
There were so many obstacles in the way. We were moving to a new state, starting a new job, life was about to change. Was this the time? We waited for months. But life started to settle, and I started to wonder if he was still waiting. So, I emailed, just to check, did he have a family yet? No, he is still waiting.
Sometimes when we go places or are just sitting as a family my husband says that he feels like we are missing someone.
There is room in our family for more.
There are so many children waiting for homes, so many children that need a mom and dad to love them, so many children that have been cast aside, it BREAKS my heart.
And he needs a home, and a family. It is as simple as that I think, that is why we are adopting, because this little boy needs a home and a family. And we would love for him to be in our family.