Tuesday, December 2, 2014

David Turns 7!

Today, my David turns seven! I cannot believe it has been seven years! He is one of my favorite people in the whole world. He is kind and gentle hearted. He is brave and strong. He makes everyone laugh. And if you could make joy into a person, I think it would look a whole lot like this boy!


Some of my favorite David memories include:

David telling his grandma how beautiful her hands are, I wrote the story here....

One of my favorite moments was a day when I was scared to get out of the car. We were visiting a farm and there were a couple of dogs surrounding our car. I was scared. I am unnaturally afraid of dogs after a couple of unfortunate run-ins with dogs on my runs. I had no idea what to do. David stood up and started walking toward the door, "I guess it is time to face my destiny." He declared. What a hero. I told him to sit down though and called the owner of the farm to see if they were friendly. He told me they were fine.

His sister has been known to say, "Have you spent time with this boy? You really should, he is so much fun."

He gets along with all of his siblings. And especially his new brother. He often tells Bozhi that he is "awesome" and that they are the best brothers ever!

The other day our family was going to stay home from church because we had a bit of a rubella scare that turned into absolutely nothing, but to keep our germs to ourselves we stayed home. David was in the clear though. So he was going to go with his daddy. But he did not want to, he likes going with his whole family.

His sisters are his best friends.

And his favorite song these days is "Chicken Fried" by Zach Brown Band.

I love this boy to the moon and back and so thankful I get to be his mom!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

6 months....

Six Months ago tomorrow... I walked into the orphanage to hold our son and bring him home.

I am SO thankful this little boy is in our family. But every time he makes a milestone I am angry. Angry that for years "they" just said, "He can't" He can't gain weight, he can't talk, he needs help walking. Because he can do all those things. He is not talking yet, but he is making new sounds all the time. And even if Bozhi never speaks, he is learning to communicate. To talk through sign language. He now signs, "Thank You." "More." "Sorry." "All Done." "No" "Please" "Help" "Potty" "Eat" and his own signs, "Time to eat." and a choking sound that means I am thirsty. He says, "owie" and "hot" and we frequently hear him saying "ttttttt" He also is learning what cold weather feels like, whenever he steps outside in the cold he says, "BRRRRR..." and pulls his sleeves down to cover his hands. He sometimes rubs his hands together when he is cold too. Bozhidar has amazed me.

Last week, we visited a new bookstore. Somehow Bozhidar knew that he should ask for EVERYTHING! First, he got to ride on an escalator. He giggled the entire way down and kept trying to get back on. He then found a ball that he loved and picked it up and pointed to himself. He was asking me to buy it for him. I had a hard time saying "no." Has anyone just bought him what he wanted before? I put it back in the bin. I have five kids, I cannot buy them all what they want. He went and got the ball again. A blue one with stars. He hugged it and put it to his cheek. He loved that ball. I agreed to buy him the ball. The other kids understood. He asked for about twenty other things, but in the end the ball was what he really, really wanted.

He loves to help his dad make coffee in the morning. He empties the dishwasher and wipes the tables. He scrapes his plates into the garbage and loves to boss everyone around.

The other day Verity woke up and ran out of her bed, "Bozhidar! I am so glad you are my brother." A few days later she said "I hate having a little brother." It is not perfect. But it is a family.

And he weighs forty pounds. He has gained twenty pounds in six months. He has doubled his weight. He is four inches taller. And he needs new shoes AGAIN!




Superman for Halloween seems appropriate!

And I asked if I could take his picture... he would not do it without someone with him. First Karis


Then David, but he just wanted to kiss him and then tackle him. 


They are good brothers!

We went to an apple orchard yesterday.

and he reinacted Titanic...


and took over a pirate ship


He is a blessing. We are so thankful to have him in our family!









Friday, August 8, 2014

3 months...

Three months ago yesterday we picked up this tiny boy from his orphanage. He remembered me from five months ago when Nathan and I brought him bananas every day. He looked at me when he was told, "It's your mom!" And he signed "more." We had taught it to him five.months.ago.


You read all these books on parenting and adoption. Prepare for the hard times. Think you are ready and then you go and meet them to be yours forever. And the things that you thought would be hard are not that hard and the things you thought you could do are SO hard.


Bozhi, was so skinny, changing his diaper brought tears to my eyes. It was painful to look at him. We were told it was because he was disabled. Three months later, 12 pounds later and two inches taller, I think they were wrong. He has outgrown the first two pairs of shoes I have bought him.


I was prepared to not attach, to have him not attach to me. It is different with someone who cannot communicate. But since the day in the apartment in Sofia when he leaned over and unexpectedly kissed me, this boy has known, I am his mom. His affection is actually overwhelming at times. He wants all of my attention. He even knows when I am having a hard day and will put his hand on my face. He has empathy for others. When his brother got hurt the other day he kissed him and put his hand on his back to hug him. How does this child know that. He offers part of his food to others and loves to share his food, especially what he does not like.

He is still learning to play. He got very excited about legos this morning. But often just wants a job to do. Find some garbage to throw away or dishes to put away and he is on it. He knows where everything goes.

He remembers the names of people very quickly. If you ask him to bring something to so and so, he knows exactly what you are asking.

He understands almost everything I tell him and when he wants something he tells me. By getting his shoes (go somewhere); pointing at his mouth (eat); pointing at his diaper (I have to go potty... yes he is going potty several tiimes a day); hand on his head means he is tired; taking off all his clothes and going to the bathroom means give me a bath.

He loves the waterslide at the pool and anything wild. He hates just sitting at the pool. If he sits too long he goes and gets his clothes and puts them on.


Yesterday he picked out his own outfit and got himself dressed.

He is extremely opinionated. He will only wear shirts with collars and khaki pants/jeans or shorts. He will not wear sweatpants. We call him Mr. Handsome. It drives us all a little crazy.

He wants to get his drink HIMSELF. Which thirsty is signaled with a fake cough. But he cannot reach the sink, so he really wants you to lift him up so he can do it.

The other day he started clearing plates at the little cafe in town for other tables. Thankfully they were done and very accomadating.

He shakes hands with everyone he meets. But if someone gets too close or invades his space, he screams louder than anyone I know.

His brother had me write the other day, "David and Bozhi, best brothers ever." His sisters think he is the cutest thing ever and they help him as much as he lets them.

His laugh is contagious.

He is still sad if he is left behind and greets me with almost a run and arms up when I get home.

We start his therapy this week.

It has been three months. We are still finding routine. But most days I am kind of in awe at this little survivor, who is not so little anymore.

He is part of a crazy family that loves him.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Birthday to Verity!

Tomorrow sweet Verity turns 4! We are headed to Chicago/Wisconsin for three weeks, and driving on her birthday. Thankful for friends that helped celebrate her a little tonight.

This girl has completely changed my world. Somehow being a mom I thought by number four I would have it all figured out. But each one is SO different. And she has thrown me into a whole new world of mom. She is a challenge and a joy. She is smart and thoughtful. She is determined and kind. She still does not sleep through the night, but I love seeing her face next to me in the morning. She has more energy than anyone I know. And she sees the world like no one I know. I am so thankful each day that I get to be her mom. I have put together a few quotes of hers from the past year....

Me: "Verity, where are your pants?" Verity, "They fell off when I was walking." Me, "And you just left them there?" Verity, "Yes."



Verity, "I am NOT afraid of the dark mom! Just get me a sword, I will get any monster that comes in here. Or zombie!"


Me, "Verity, sometimes I wish I could be just like you, you are so cute!" Verity, "I know AND I have crazy hair and I am really funny!"



Conversation with Verity last night, "Mom, I am not going to cry anymore. And I am going to listen to you and do what is right and say 'Yes, ma'am." Me, "Those are great ideas!" A few minutes later... Me, "Verity it is time to go to bed." Verity, "NO! I don't want to go to bed." me, Umm, do you remember what you just said you were going to do?" Verity, "Yes, I meant I would start that TOMORROW!"



"Mom, God did not make daddy's tattoos, daddy drew them. But God DID give me a tattoo, it is a flower right on my cheek."


Happy Birthday to my sweet, beautiful fun loving girl!



Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Little Update

There have not been big updates these days. Summer is in full swing in the Jacobs household which means lots and lots of GO!

The two oldest girls have swim team practice four days each week. Karis continues horseback riding lessons once a week and Anya has been doing an acting camp... NOT to be mistaken with drama camp the past two weeks for four hours every afternoon. While she acts we swim at the pool.



Bozhidar and I spend a lot of time enjoying sun and watching the kids play.


until this girl comes a long and decides we should not be dry any longer....

But today, he decided to try the noodle. He put it under his arms as he had seen his sister do over and over and he kicked and laughed, choking on water from laughing so hard. We did it over and over, taking turns with Verity who would jump and swish back to the side. Then Bozhidar would lean forward and fall on the noodle floating as I zoomed him in circles. He is playing.

After the pool we headed home to change and go to the library. Bozhidar transfered a sign. He has signed "more" whenever he wanted to eat. But at the library as Anya brought him a book and he looked at the pictures, when he finished, he signed "more." Which to me meant he knows what it means. AND that I really need to learn some more sign language.

We all went to check out at the front desk. We have a bit of an absurd library system in our small little town. Each family member has their own card and that card can check out six books. So, it takes a long time to figure out which card has room for more books and balance which books go on which card. I kind of just wish I could just have 42 books for my family and not keep track of which one is on which card. But just a little aside to explain why it took so long to check out at the front desk. Bozhidar had squirmed out of my arms and was walking down the length of the front counter. The next thing I knew, he was behind the librarian desk ready to help in any way he could.

Bozhi, is learning that he can explore the world. He will go to different rooms in the house and does not wait for someone to move him here or there. He chooses to walk more than crawl. And the pants that he wore most of the time we were in Bulgaria, the ones we had to role up three inches to keep over his shoes, those pants, do not role up at all anymore, they just stop at the top of his shoes. And the shoes, the new ones I bought, his toes reach the end. He is growing.



But the day which was another marathon of a day was full of lots of good. And a little bad. The running got run, which always makes for a good day. The lawn got mowed, laundry got done and dishes got washed, and dishes got dirtied and more dishes got washed. I was ahead of the game planning for dinner, a delicious dinner in the crockpot. But somehow in the making of lunch, the crockpot got unplugged and four hours later it was discovered. So takeout was gotten.

And the greatest good, was the little almost four year old with more energy than I ever know what to do with, fell asleep on the couch. She has been saying for weeks that she is tired, but you would never guess it by the go she has, the run and the energy. But she collapsed at 6:15 before dinner or milk or anything and she is finally sleeping.

Lots of good and blessing!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Learning to Play!

Over the past four weeks Bozhidar has grown physically, he is taller, heavier and he no longer fits in his shoes. But the things that make my heart warm are how he is learning to be a kid.

When we first brought him from the orphanage he had no idea what to do with a book. He just threw it, and a car or any toy was just thrown on the floor. He wanted to eat and to go. So that is what we did. But two and a half weeks with four other kids and he is learning to play. 

He has learned that there is fun happening in other places and will go explore what is going on in the other room. Or if the kids are outside and he is not, he will go get my shoes and let me know it is time for us to join them. The other day, everyone including the neighbors were outside. He went and got my shoes and then my purse. I was meeting with someone so was not able to go right at that minute but when our neighbor came in to ask a question he begged her to take him with him. He rode on the tractor and wanted to just be a part of it!




He was initially afraid of the pool but now enjoys it. Especially the splashing part! 


(he is in the water, it is zero depth, not right on the edge as this picture makes it look :) )

And he has learned there are times during the day he gets my undivided attention. Like bath time... which he asks for several times a day by taking off all his clothes and walking to the bathroom. He also knows that he gets to read books with me at bedtime and eagerly wants more and more books. He turns the pages and sits while I read and as he grows tired he rests in my arms his head on my chest and he knows, I know, this is where he belongs!

He is finding his place and is loved by his siblings immensely. It warms my heart to see how they have just accepted him. Even Verity who asks me almost every day why I wanted five kids, and today told me it would have been better if I had just had one, her. But when she is around Bozhidar she talks to him, helps him, cheers him on and wants to be part of his everything. 

Karis wakes up every morning, changes him, makes two eggs, warms his milk, cuts up a banana and feeds him his breakfast before feeding herself, while all the other kids get breakfast and I either follow around cleaning up or get to go for my run. 

Anya I think makes him feel safe, he will always go with her and just likes to be around her. And David will sit and offer him toy after toy, showing him how to play with it. They fight over who gets to sit next to him at meals and love on him like he should be.

This little boy, who we have prayed for and fought for IS a blessing to our family. But there is a lot of a lot that comes with this like doctor's appointments several times a week to add to our already full schedule and unknowns about just about everything.

And for some reason the difficulty of here, the things that have been happening for the past month, two months, keep getting harder. I want to encourage but I also want to be realistic. That though I am blessed, nothing about life is easy. The past few months have been harder than any I have experienced in my life, they have been humbling and refining and teaching me that I have so far to go.

So we continue to walk forward, blessed and praying and thankful for prayers!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Home

Forgive me, this post will be long. But it is one I have meant to write for days, and just have not had time....

Three weeks ago, I was getting ready to head to Bulgaria to meet our little boy for a second time, to welcome him to our family. And I was terrified that he would not remember me. We had a good easy flight and settled into a great apartment in Sofia. I went with my mom, a trip, I never dreamed she and I would get to do together. The day after we arrived they picked us up early in the morning to make the drive to our son's orphanage. The orphanage is about three and a half hours away. The drive was easy but long waiting again to see what he would think when he saw me again. I had packed a banana, since last fall when we saw him, every day we brought a banana. When they brought him in the room he cried and I reached out for him. He sat on my lap with tears. They said, it is your mommy. And he stopped. He looked at me and reached for something. I thought maybe one of the toys I brought? No, he was reaching for the backpack. It was a different backpack, but a backpack was what I brought a banana in every day last fall. He got off my lap and reached for the backpack. I pulled a banana out, and he signed, "more." We had taught him that last time we spent with him. HE REMEMBERED!!!! He eagerly ate that banana like he had never eaten in his life. And then we left, and I honestly do not think he has looked back.

Has it been what we expected? Kind of. Has it been hard? At times, yes. But honestly, he is kind of the dream child. My mom and I often would just look at eachother kind of amazed at how amazing he is. He spent the week and a half there eating, and eating and eating some more. He has gained over three pounds in the two weeks we have spent with him. He likes to eat and sleep and then go. After eating, he gets his shoes and climbs in the stroller and wants to go. There is a world he has been waiting to see and it is time. He then eats some more and walks to his crib for a nap. He then eats some more, gets in the stroller and wants to go. Then back to eat some more and sleep. That was what the days looked like. And he did not care where we went. So we went on a walking tour of Sofia, visited old churches, souvenir shopped, met other families on pick up trips and went on adventures to find the nearest Starbucks. We walked to the park and watched kids play. For now, that is mostly what he does, watch.







Our plane ride home was long. The entire trip was twenty one hours. He slept one hour of that. Bozhidar does not watch T.V. or show any interest in any electronics. So for twenty hours he just sat and watched and ate when we gave him food. He did not complain, he was patient. Our stop in Houston and immigration was horrible. They were on a power trip and gave me a very hard time. Thanks to an amazing man who helped us through the airport though, we still made our flight with four minutes to spare. There was a lot of running. Bozhidar laughed with glee as we raced through the airport, even nineteen hours after traveling. We boarded the plane and the flight attendant greeted us. He asked how old Bozhidar was, this is the question I dread the most. He is seven. They ask me to repeat it usually because there is no way he should be SEVEN? I explained he really was. The man came back several times. And finally near the end of the flight came and gave me his email address. He said, "I am really moved by this little boy, I want to know how he does. Can you email me in a few months and just let me know?"

And that is Bozhidar. A perspective changer.

Because here at home, the things I left that were hard are still hard. But there is a little boy who lived in an orphanage and never had a mom to hold him and siblings to kiss him more times than he could bear. He never had a dad's strong arms carry him. He for whatever reason has not been fed. His teeth are rotten. He is seven and weighed twenty pounds. There is nothing fairy tale about his life. But when you meet him, his smile and joy that lights his face will make you smile. He is sweet and outgoing and funny and FULL OF LIFE. It is kind of like he was just waiting for this moment, his moment. And life and joy exude when it does not make sense to be joyful, when life has not been easy. And whatever is hard here is given perspective.

The first days and weeks spent together we saw some of his nervous, self stimulation wane. He rocked all the time when we picked him up, but by the end of our time in Sofia it was no where near as often. Some of that picked up again surrounded by four very full of life children, but it has started to fall off again. He does not stuff food in his mouth because he knows it will not be taken from him. He does not sit straight up on my lap. He lets me hold him and collapses in my arms. Last night and today as I asked if he was ready for bed he leaned into my arms, completely comfortable in my lap and slept. He has never had a mom hold him as he fell asleep and now, he knows, I am his mom and my arms are exactly where he belongs.

I am blessed and thankful

We are very fond of eachother and his family adores him. He spent hours yesterday just watching Nathan work. And today he braved the pool, laughing as Verity splashed him. Everyone who meets him is struck by his sweetness. He has quickly learned that Anya and Karis will meet his needs. And that Verity is his sister, she does not care who he is she is not going to let anyone push her around and he has learned to push back, if she is in his spot he pushes her right out. They are instant siblings :) David adores his brother. He has waited so long for another boy.






There is a lot ahead for him. Dental work, neurosurgeon appointments to look at his shunt, physical therapy, speech therapy and medical tests. Nothing is certain and there is a lot ahead. But this boy, this Bozhidar, is truly a "gift from God." And this time that has not been as hard as I thought is absolutely an answer to prayer.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Aren't You Excited?

"Aren't you excited!?!?"
It is what I hear almost every day.
And every part of me, wants to say "Yes!"
But the honest answer is. "Not yet."
In adoption there seems to be this whole, hurry, hurry, wait cycle. And after the wait it is hurry hurry again.
And so that is where we are. I have written earlier in the past couple of posts that life in general has been really hard. It continues to be hard with all that life seems to throw at you. And I hope and pray that in a year or two when I look back on March and April of 2014, I will rejoice at what God has done. But in the middle of it, in the middle of a lot of a lot, I am having a hard time even seeing anything but what is right in front of me.
And then fear creeps in. Fear that I have had as a mom always, fear that I will not be enough. Fear that I will have no idea what I am doing. Even though I have done this four times before, the mom thing, there is so much unknown.
And I fear for Bozhidar, that he will be overwhelmed. I fear that it will be what we expect, and fear that it will not be what we expect.
So much of this process is faith. Trusting that we are doing this because we know it is what our family is to do, but not sure how each day will look. It is trusting that in the end it will be all worth it. All the work and exhaustion. Because this little boy, our son, IS worth it.
And, there is SO much to do. There is the buying of plane tickets, the booking of a place to stay for the two weeks. TWO weeks, I will be away from my family. There is the packing and the finishing up figuring out what to pack. There is the finishing up stuff here for when I get back and the people here who I will miss like crazy. There are four children and my husband that I have never been away from for that long. And I love them so much. And I want to make sure they are taken care of and fed. My husband can do that, but he also has to work. So there is the setting up of child care every day and the meals I am trying to arrange to make sure that they are all okay. I am leaving my family and that is full of emotions. Especially when I feel like my family needs me so much right now, but maybe that is arrogant, they will be okay without me. And there are doctors appointments to finish up and bills to pay and the desparate trying to finish it all. And it might not all get finished. And that will be okay.
But am I excited? That emotion has not been one that has come yet.
So what am I feeling? Fear, overwhelmed, tired and HOPE.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Overflowing with Thankfulness!

This week was a week we had been waiting for! We passed court and became officially the parents and family of Bozhidar Gabriel Jacobs. There became one less orphan. And our family became, "Jacobs Party of 7."

It was at the end of one of the hardest months of my life. I have said this over and over. And then the next month gets harder. I wrote last time about the sickness and anxiety. Thinking, it could not possibly get worse. And I was wrong. The two weeks following those two weeks got exponentially worse. It seemed with each bit of adoption news, each new good thing and step in the right direction we got knocked off our feet again and again.

And then we passed court and we got good news about two things we have been waiting for in personal life. And suddenly the calm came. And it came with more emotions than expected. Because you hold it together just because you have to and then when relief comes so does a lot of emotion.

And today I got the sweetest gift. I got sleep. I laid down during rest time and when my daughter woke me up, I felt like I had slept a year. I wanted to cry with joy at this gift, I was so unaware how hard this month had been even in the middle of it, and now that we have made it, the gift of rest was just that a gift.

And I am SO thankful!

And now the questions...
His name. For the past year most of you all have known him as Hamilton or "Hami." He will probably always be "Hami" especially to my three year old. But his name is Bozhidar. When we met him back at Thanksgiving we both knew we could not change it. We are changing everything else about his life. He does not get to bring anything with him. We are going to keep his name. And his name, it means "Gift from God." And he truly is. His middle name is Gabriel. It is after our church which has given thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars toward bringing him home. The church and the people in the church have gone above and beyond everything and anything I have ever seen or heard of a church doing to bring this little boy home and support our family. They have been a blessing! In the orphanage the call him "Bobby." It might be what he goes by. Maybe Gabe? My sister calls him Bozhi, I kind of like that. We will see what sticks when he comes.

And when do we get to bring him home? We passed court. He is officially ours. But he is still there in the orphanage. We are waiting for official travel dates and trying to get things in order. My mom is going with me and has work schedule that needs working around. Nathan will stay with our kids. It will be a few weeks before we can go and get him.

I do not even know how to say "thank you" to all those that have helped to bring this boy to our family. I have been AMAZED at God's faithfulness through his people. We are VERY blessed!





Wednesday, March 12, 2014

An Update

I wish there was a way I could cry "Uncle!" "Enough!"
This week, it is enough. I am tired.
My little boy has had several severe anxiety attacks, for hours on Saturday he believed he was turning blue and dying. He screamed at me and clung to me.
"..He will quiet you with his love."
In the middle of the night my three year old wandered into my room, SCREAMING at me because she was awake. She did not want to be awake and to be honest, neither did I, nor did I want to be screamed at. She ran through the house a little ball of anger, screaming and slamming doors. It was 2:00 in the morning. I held her.
"...He will quiet you with his love."
My daughter is fighting sick right now. A fever that left her hallucinating that bugs were crawling all over me. She sat there screaming at me. I held her and prayed.
"...He will quiet you with his love."
And the number of times, I have screamed, ENOUGH! I need a break. And the words speak to me.
"....He will quiet you with his love."
I am certain one day I will look back on this week and see something almost funny about it. But it has been more than I ever thought I could handle in the right now.

And then yesterday. We got it. The email that said we got the signature that passed us on to court. 
We got what we had been waiting for. In the middle of fevers and sickness, anxiety and sleeplessness. There was a tiny glimmer of hope.

And to celebrate I decided to put this together

It is the quilt we are making for our little boy. The top is now done. I will have to add a binding and backing and then sign all the names of all those who have donated and helped to bring him home.

Thank you for helping and praying.

Next we wait for a court date. Please keep praying!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Hoping

It started awful, a little boy crying because his daddy was leaving for the weekend, a daddy leaving for the weekend, and an annoying email.

And then something happened. Today in the middle of a discouraging day, in a week that seemed harder than most. Today, I knew we might hear if we got this signature we are waiting for. Today, I heard, we did not.

Yesterday, I asked my case manager, "How do people go through this and stay sane?"
She said, "To be honest, most don't"
I laughed to myself and asked, "So, are you saying I am going to go insane?"
She said, "Yes, but it is temporaray."

I appreciated the honesty. I started giving fair warning, at any time, I might actually go insane.

Today I learned another family, that traveled after us, that got Article 5 after us got a court date. It does not make sense. And I find myself comparing, competing with others in this process, and it is wearisome.

And today, my friend, one I have not met, but have chatted with on line, shared with me that she passed court today. They went on the first trip the same time as us. They got the signature. They got the court date. They passed court and will be headed over in the next five weeks. We still wait. She understands the ache because before all of this, they planned initially to adopt two children, best friends. But very soon afterwards, after committing to this, their little girl passed away. They know the anxiety, the ache, the hurt, the hard wait. She said to me, "I do not understand why you have to still wait. But I know that it does not make sense, earthly sense, so there must be a spiritual battle being waged on these children." And it filled me with fight! Because she is right.

Our little boy, is so important to my Heavenly Father. He matters. He is part of a bigger plan. And because he matters to God, there is a battle being waged for him. For these children that the world does not see. They matter to God. And therefore, Satan is fighting for them as well!

Today has been full of heart ache, but also promise. Hope, something I have not had in a while. That all of this matters!

Psalm 71:14, "As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more."

I was also blessed to spend the afternoon with another mom who is adopting from the same country we are. She just got back from her first trip. They live in town with us. And we were able to talk about things that only people in the middle of this insane process understand. And my heart was encouraged.

There were other little things that gave me hope. Things I don't need to share, but things that I will hold onto. That I will share with our boy when he comes.

I am so thankful for the community of people we have been surrounded with and all of their prayers!
Thank You!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Discouraging Week

This week has been SO discouraging. I know that adoption is hard. I know that it is complicated. But sometimes, it just more than I know what to do with! I have no idea why it is so difficult. Why there are so many roadblocks. I know that there are things put into place to protect children from being put in horrible situations. I know this. I just do not know how to keep sane in the midst of it all.

The country we are adopting from has had some disagreements about signatures. At some point they decided that they would pass everyone who had been waiting on to court. We thought we were in that group. I celebrated. We have been waiting quite a while, not as long as some, but long enough.

We were waiting for court. And last week, a lot of people got court dates. My heart was so torn as I celebrated with people I only know through this adoption world. People on this same path who have been waiting as long or longer got dates. But we did not. I held on hope, maybe this week we would hear. But more court dates were given. We still did not hear.

I finally asked my case manager if she was sure we got a signature. She said it was possible we did not. She asked the organization we are working with there. They said "No, we do not have a signature." And we are back to waiting. Back to praying that our little guy holds on. Praying for signatures. And then a court date.

I know that God's timing is perfect. I KNOW that God loves our little guy more than I ever could. I know there could be reasons. But I also know that we live in a world full of people, broken people that do not make the best decisions all the time.

There was a possiblity, maybe today we would get a signature, as of now we still have not heard.

Please keep praying for things to move, for mountains to move to bring this little boy home. Pray for peace in my heart as I wait. I am so thankful for everyone who has prayed with us on this journey. Thank You!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Please keep praying!

I have so much I want to write right now, hopes and promises that I am clinging too when my faith seems to be wavering. But my words would probably be too much to figure, so I am just asking for prayers still. I was VERY encouraged last time I asked for prayers that signatures would start happening. Within days, everyone waiting was given consent. I waited to write, because I SO wanted to just be able to say, and now we have a court date! But we do not.

Today, I heard person after person that got court dates, we did not. I have no idea how it works. One of the families that was in the country the same time we were got their court date today. We did not. And I want to celebrate with all these families, with orphans that will have families. And I get to celebrate with a friend today who leaves in just a very few short days to get her little girl.

But we still wait. And sometime I think the wait is more than I can bear.

So PLEASE if you have been praying, keep praying. Pray for a court date. Pray that he knows we are coming back and that he is strong and healthy!

Thank you for joining us in prayer throughout this journey. It is something we cannot do on our own.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Karis Rose!

Today we get to celebrate our sweet Karis.
Karis, you turn nine years old today which seems absolutely impossible. 
You are one of the most beautiful girls on I know on the inside and out, and you do not even know it.
You are growing up into this young lady full of passion and laughter. You love more than just about anyone I know. The other day at church, you offered to help an elderly gentleman down the stairs. He came up to me shaking his head and told me you were growing up to fast. When I asked you about it, you blushed and looked away. Your heart is always thinking about others. 
It makes life hard sometimes because when you love and feel as fiercely as you do. But I think it is worth it. I have seen your joy for life become contagious, on the soccer field this year, your laughter brought your team together. 
Please do not spend your whole life comparing yourself to your older sister or anyone for that matter. You are uniquely you and amazing at it. Your courage and thoughtfulness are great things.

This past year you continued to horseback ride. You swam on the swim team and played soccer. You have made some new friends. You learned to knit and love to write stories. You play so well with your little sister and brother. And your big sister is enjoying you growing up too.
You are kind and thoughtful. You are funny and fun. 
You are loved! 
I think nine has great things in store for you sweet girl!
I am so thankful that God chose to put you in our family! 
Happy Birthday my Karis Rose!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A really quick prayer request!

This is just a quick update to ask for specific prayer. I believe that prayer works and right now there are a lot of people needing it. The country we are adopting from seems to be at a stand still. There is a hault on people going to court to legally adopt their children, while some officials decide who signs the Article 5.

We went to visit our little boy two and a half months ago. We hurried to make sure everything would be there nothing would be missing. And now we are stuck in a que of waiting. There are many families right now in our situation. Waiting for this signature. We are waiting for some officials to decide who does the signature. I do not understand why no one is signing while they decide, or why this has to happen, but it appears to involve some pride and power and meanwhile there are families waiting and children waiting.

So please pray that this resolves quickly. That they can come to an agreement to get things moving again.

We need this signature and a court date and once court happens we need another decree signed and we get to go!

Thank you for joining with us in prayer!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

They Keep Waiting....

We keep waiting... but in the midst of the waiting, I am reminded of all the kids that are waiting with no one to come.

This week, has been a REALLY hard week, I realize it is only Tuesday. My husband has been really sick, and my three year old as well. And the past two nights I have not slept more than four hours. And lets just say potty training and diarrhea DO NOT go well together. And sometimes, I wonder if I am in over my head. And I fear what people think with my hands so full already, adding another, I must be crazy. And adding another blessing, one I know is coming with severe needs is even crazier.

But NOT doing something is crazier!

Adoption takes stepping out of your comfort into uncomfortable. Steps taken in faith.
There is a little boy who DESPERATELY needs someone to take that step of faith.
This little boy who is waiting is named "Eric." Eric has epilepsy and major global delays. We have fundraised to get him a baba. He needs surgery. More than anything, he needs a family! He needs a family NOW, one that is ready to step out because he might not make it much longer. I hate that is even something that needs to be said.



Our agency is doing what it can to advocate and to see about surgery and possible other things that he might need. But in the end, he is still spending his time in this orphanage. A place where he spends a lot of time in a crib. There is an organization raising funds for orphans, called Owls for Orphans. A portion of all purchased items between February 1st and the 15th will be donated our adoption agency for Eric. The proceeds will either go to a family if they step up or to a medical fund set up to help him. They will even send the owl to an orphan if you have no one to give it to, but want to support this little boy.

If you are interested in adopting a child who's life is precious, a little boy who NEEDS a family. Please let me know and I will connect you with the person who can answer questions or help with starting the process.

And Patty is still waiting too.... the little girl I wrote about who has been deemed "too damaged"
Please pray for these precious children. Pray families will come forward. Pray that someone will see how much a family could make a difference. And please feel free to ask questions. I am so happy to share about our experience so far.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!

Today is your birthday sweet boy.
I have this tradition of writing memories and thoughts of the year to my children, all the things I am proud of and what I love about them each year on their birthday.
Today my heart breaks because we do not get to celebrate with you. Last year, about this time we made the real decision to adopt YOU! We started the whole process and paperwork, the week of your birthday.
I was sure that by this time this year you would be home with us. We would eat cake and give you presents and we would be getting into the swing of what "normal" would look like.
A while ago, I new it would not happen.
But I still hoped, that maybe today I would get some good news. It seemed like a stretch in the ever waiting of adoption, but maybe we would get news, news about a signature or my hope, a court date.
None of it came.
The only update I got was yesterday, that nothing had been done. No signature, no movement on our requests for medical tests, nothing, just more waiting.
I wish I could do something! I do not even know if you know today is your birthday. If anything happens.
I wish I knew how you were doing. It has been two months since we have seen you.
We pray for you every day. And today we have whispered and shouted and said throughout today,
"Today is your birthday!"
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"
and, "Oh how we wish you were here!"
It has been said and wished, but that is about all we could do.
And NEXT year, we will celebrate!
Today you are seven. You are so small. And I worry about you like any mom does. I have cried a few times wishing I could hold you today. I have looked at your pictures. And prayed for you to hold on.
And I continue to hope that soon you will be HOME!
And I remember looking out the window with you. Dreaming about the day you would walk from there. Dreaming about the day you would ride a bike. And swim in the pool.
When I close my eyes and dream of you in my sleep you are fifteen and grown. With a smile and laugh that lights the room. You are sitting at the table, eating breakfast, part of OUR family. And it fills my heart with hope!
We LOVE you! and cannot wait for you to come home!
Happy Birthday!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Biggest Lie We Believe....

This post has been sitting in my head for months. I have tried desperately to put into words these thoughts, and I am not sure I know the best way to do it. But I think it is worth saying.

I am generalizing, not speaking to anyone in particular, except maybe myself. And I am aware that this does not apply to everyone. But, I believe that a lot of us are believing this lie, "Doing nothing is better than doing something." And Satan is celebrating.

Throughout this adoption process, we have faced many skeptics, people who have told us that adoption is not the answer. There needs to be reform in orphanages; children should not be taken out of their own countries; and families are being tricked into giving their children up for adoption. All the people that have said these things have meant well and believe what they are saying is right and true. And I believe that some of it is true as well. But there is a fear that adoption will cause things to happen that should never happen and will prevent things from happening that should happen.

Not every child in every orphanage has been stolen from their families. Not adopting will neither help these children nor prevent children from flooding orphanages. Also there is an idea that if we adopt, no one will reform orphanages. I believe the opposite is actually the case. The more people are aware of what is happening in orphanages, through adoption, the more likely people will DO something to change the orphanages.

I do not know the best answer. But I do know that if we do nothing, it will fix nothing. I know there will be kids that will spend the rest of their lives in cribs without a family. I know that if you said those things as an excuse to not act, you are wrong. I know there is no easy answer, but doing nothing out of fear of doing something wrong, cannot be the answer.

There are stories about children on the street in India begging for food. If you see them I have heard you are not supposed to give them food because they are only getting it to bring back to someone who is beating them or selling them or using them. I am simplifying this. And I do not mean to be trite. There are horrible, unimaginable things happening to children around this world, children on the street with no one to protect them. But not giving a child food when they are hungry seems wrong. There is no easy solution but again, I feel like we live in fear that doing something is going to cause harm and end up doing nothing, we walk by, telling ourselves that we are really helping them because I am saving them from this thing I heard happens. And they are STILL starving.

But we are to help the least of these. And these conversations play in my head. And I tell myself something has to be better than nothing.

And the man on the corner asking for food or money. We drive by because we are sure they will use it for drugs. And we do not have the McDonald's gift card we usually carry and we would not dare give cash because what would they use it for? So we drive by and do nothing, because we fear doing something is worse than doing nothing.

And I do not know the best solution. But I think when the least of these were described in the Bible, when we were told to care for them, it was not with an asterick or footnote stating when caring for the least of these should not be our priority. Principles and theories and things we have heard should not stop us from acting. Fear comes in and lies fill my head. And I do not act because I am afraid that doing something is worse than doing nothing.

And I am wrong.

All of this I say knowing there is a lot that needs to be done. And yes, we should fight for parents to keep their children. We should not promote child trafficking or child exploitation. But this should not paralyze us from acting.

We should be wise. We should be overly gracious.

We should do something.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"Too Damaged"

Some days it seems too much to bear, the weight of all the hurt that happens. This past week I struggled I must say with so many friends on Facebook, begging for their children to go back to school. Christmas break turned into snow day after snow day and they ran out of ideas. Everyone was bored, it was cold and they needed some stimulation. I get it, but I wanted to say, "I don't care what you do, treasure them." "Hold them." Even if you just sit all day watching television and eating cookies, reading books and playing games. The same thing again and again it is okay because they will have those memories that their parents spent the time with them. They were loved and treasured.
And it probably is because daily I see these children who have no one to hold them.
Like the little girl who passed away after her adoptive family visited her. Someone wrote on their blog or facebook or something, that in her seven years of life, she finally had FOUR DAYS of someone who loved her. Oh how I wish those four days would have turned into "snow day after snow day" that she could have been held another day more. She would have been happy to be just held and loved. But, I know she is now being held in Jesus arms.
And I see more children that need homes. I do not know if in any way God is speaking to someone to adopt that might be reading this blog or someone knows someone who is thinking about it but there are hundreds of children, I am sure thousands, that just want a mom and dad to hold them and tell them they are precious and loved.
I want to share a little about a little girl, "Patty," who needs a family desperately. She is twelve years old and about the size of a five year old the reports say. She is in Eastern Europe and has untreated hydrocephaly. She needs surgery. Her life is worth saving.
They have not done the surgery because she is deemed "too damaged" Tears burn at my eyes
How is it that a child, any child, can be "too damaged" to need life saving surgery!
My stomach is burning, the kind of burning that wants to SCREAM "THIS IS WRONG!"
How do we live in a world where people get to make these decisions?
People as damaged and full of fault as anyone to deem someone unworthy of a family. Apparently she was not even going to be listed available for adoption because "they" thought she was too damaged to be placed with a family. But now, she is listed, available for adoption. And she NEEDS someone. Here is a picture of "Patty."

Please pray that she can find a home. That this child who has been deemed "too damaged," will know she is not, that she is treasured and loved! If you have questions about Patty or are interested in knowing more about adoption you can contact Nina, nina.thompson@chiadopt.org. I am happy to answer any questions I can too about the process, fundraising or our experience as well. 

And just a little update on us, today we got Article 5 approval, they will pick it up tomorrow and we wait for a signature, then a court date. Each step is a step closer.