Thursday, January 31, 2008

I am not ashamed....

Sons [and daughters] are indeed a heritage from the Lord, children a reward. Like arros in the hand of a warrior are the sons [and daughters] born in ones youth. Happy is the man[and woman] who has filled his quiver with them. Such men[and women] will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate. Ps 127:3-5

I am not ashamed to add another “arrow to my quiver”. God has rewarded me thrice with his blessings of my children and if He chooses to reward me again, I open my arms wide. Though some may think I am not “quite right upstairs” to want to add another child to my family, I know my motivation to them is a mystery or perhaps I do not understand the cost (not financially, although that too, but the total cost.)

Yes, I have 3 already and I actually do understand. J I am HAPPY to fill my quiver with another.

All the “what ifs?”….
The “could bes?”……..
The “are you sures???”…
The “why?”

Unless the Lord builds my family, then I labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over my family, I watch in vain. (Ps 127:1) God knows what He is doing. I trust Him. I am open to his GO and I am open to his Stop! I am not building my family, He is.

I am trusting Him with all my heart and with these little loves in my heart. My own understanding won’t cut it. I acknowledge His authority and His supremacy, sovereignty, wisdom and plan..and He WILL direct my path.

So I get to relax and see.

Often as I have shared with someone my intent to adopt and add a fourth child into my family, I find myself pre-cringing at their reaction and being almost apologetic in advance.

And then, too, I have gotten enough raised eyebrows, or long silent pauses or not silent, amazed, are you insane, reactions to maybe warrant my pre-cringing.

But, I am not shamed. One close friend of mine said it very well. She said. “I get it, because I know you.” And she is right, she does.

And my Lord knows me so well and so He builds (or not) onto my family because He knows, and He loves….and I trust.

Reminds me of the song by Nicole Nordeman, We Build. I may go look it up and post it here, when I have some more time

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Self Study

So I am in the process of writing out my self-study. A 20 page document, required by the homestudy agency, that is all about you and your past and your family and your life. Quite daunting. And I cannot write it all in one bite. Gotta chew the fat a bit.

I remember writing this last time around, in 2004, and it is interesting to answer these same questions 4 years later. And to see how God has blessed and changed us and filled our hearts more and our faith stronger (and our waistline...well let's stop there. ) Last time it was really hard, because I had not written down on paper, causing me to grapple with, all the things in my past that have made me who I am today. It was quite a cleansing process. And well named, "self-study". I learned so much about God's grace and forgiveness and forgiving myself, and that God has plans and knows all along the route we take.

So this time around, I thought it would be slam-dunk. A few edits and updates to the old one and off we go.

Beep! Wrong. :)

It is not as hard, or painful, but it is insightful. And it is great to see how God has matured my little family. When I wrote before, I was 1 year out of a divorce and still wound-licking, as were my little guys. Nowl 5 years settled into being a single mom, and 19 months with my daughter in our family. we have really jelled as a family and grown in our faith and trust in God. And enjoying our life.

That is good. Sometimes I feel I am learining and growing in things God is teaching me and sometimes, I don't see the lesson or the opportunity until after I squawked in it! But then, even a squawk-through a test, is still a through, right? :)

So as I do this step in the process, I am relying on God, not my wisdom or words, to either open the door and keeps us going, or if He should choose, to close it, as hard as that would be, He is God and I am going to trust Him. After all, He loves us and He is wise.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cooking Large!

So...Knowing that my family is growing, and with three already, plus me, I don't have this cooking thing under control, I have been reading and wanting to try out this cook one day a month, or freezer cooking, BIG COOK, etc..concept.

So today I did. I spent about 6 hours, and cooked four different "entries" (use that word very loosely) for a total of 12 meals.

So thoughts:

It worked! First time through was kind of rough, needed to plan better, but it worked. Realized I have the entrees, but not the other stuff, so have to figure that out. Concerned if the recipes are ones my kids will like.. that is a challenge.

What I learned..try the recipe..small single size, on the kids first, before you plan the big cook. Plan and shop on a different day.
Don't try to feed and handle kids while you are doing the big cook.
Clean our your freezer first.

That being said, I am encouraged that this COULD work. I just have to be patient first to test out and find the recipes we like, before I do the multiple dinners.

Sometimes with three kids, I feel like a diner, with three different appetites and food preferences. UGH!

But it is a step forward.....

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sunset in Ethiopia

Sunset in Ethiopia: Omo Region
Isolated for thousands of years from the rest of the world, the beautiful Omo Valley is home to an intriguing mix of many small and distinctive tribal groups who have all retained their own unique customs and traditions.

They are Precious in His Sight.....

Who will protect the children of the world?
Whose job is it, anyway?
The many many children left without a family by no fault of their own? Or taken from parents who should protect them, but instead, abuse them?
Whose "problem" is it?
Can't help them all. Can barely make a dent, a temporary scratch in the sand when you look at the expanse of the crisis, right?
If not us, then who?
If not me, then who?
Well, seriously. Let's be realistic here. Life is busy, and stressful and expensive. It is hard enough now to get my kids to school on time and to practice, church.
What could I possibly do?
Besides, even if I wanted to, it trully is too expensive, as well, right?
It is inconvenient, isn't it?
But Jesus said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. " Matt 19:14
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

So who is adopting....

I borrowed that title from another single mom adopting and found this interesting statistic on her website.....

Of the 50,000 children of all ages permanently placed in U.S. homes through public adoptions in 2001, 32 percent were adopted by single women-..... according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau.

And I "met" on my Ethiopian adoption group, a single mommy in Idaho, who has three children, and is adopting a fourth from Ethiopia, like me....

And many more. So I am not the only crazy one! Insanity is contagious!! You better watch out!

Families come in all sizes......

On the Update front: I am still gathering paperwork for my homestudy and for my dossier...but I have quite a bit done...amazingly, so quickly. I would say within the next two weeks, I should have all my paperwork....and then have to wait on the homestudy to be completed and then the Immigration Services to finish their fingerprinting and 171H form.

Forms forms forms....I am glad I did this before, it is just not as daunting as the first time around. And I have a great agency, both the local homestudy one and the international one. Both Christian organizations and everyone is so helpful I am blessed.

This is exciting! I just can't believe it. Imagine, I may have my other daughter before the year is out! Can you believe that????

Well, gotta put Mary to bed......and I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Step One and a half....

Well, today, Dec 27th, we took step 1.5 on our adoption journey, sending in the registration form and fee to the chosen adoption agency. (Step 1 was deciding to adopt.)

yea...the journey begins!

I told the kids today...over toast and sausage....they were so excited. Mary Beth said..."and she" (their new sister-to-be) "can sleep in my bed! Two boys in your room, two girls in my room!" (Although both the kids rooms have bunk beds, my two boys choose to share a bed. Mary's room is equipped with bunk beds too, but she wants to share a bed with her sister....hope her sister sees it the same way.)

So I am they are...realizing, yea I am a bit crazy...and boy is God going to have a lot of fodder to build my character!

......already thinking, what am I going to do about the orphan crisis when I am too old (and too broke) to be able to adopt? ....

I am reading and awesome book about Ethiopia. It is called "There is no me without you" by Melissa Fay Greene. And the crisis is just staggering. I know, like the starfish poem, my endeavor will not fix the problem, or even make a dent...but it will make a difference to one....and to all of us.... A family of four will become five.

I am "collecting" names of single mom's who have four children. So far I have two. Know any? If so let me know.

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day.

So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"

The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean."
"I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"

"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."
"But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"
The young man listened politely.
Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean, past the breaking waves and said -
"It made a difference for that one."

----- My children are my starfish....and yet, I am theirs. They have rescued me! God puts the lonely in families.

first posted Dec 27, 2007 at my other blog:

How small our world is when a mother of young children in Spain takes the time to encourage me! How awesome is that? As you may know, from a couple posts ago, I was a little discouraged with the crazies my children got on Christmas day. I am over it now, but sharing on a forum I belong to on how crazy it can be sometimes...this dear mother wrote the following back to me, to encourage me:

"Children are a lot of work... but they are a lot of joy!!!! When you have a day like that... think: Yes, I am crazy soooo what!!! (the world is full of boring people is good to be crazy some times). You are brave and caring, ok, your kids behave bad sometimes so what!!! They are just kids!!! ...Congratulations for your noisy and wild family. I would like it a lot if you were my neighbors if somebody doesn't like your family too bad for them, you can always move to Spain and live next to my noisy and wild family."

Isn't that just awesome! I love the line about crazy to counter boring. :) Yes, we are anything but boring....and in 2008, we may get more crazy and less boring!

In 2005, when we were on the adoption path, but had not yet received our referral of our little Princess Qing, Qing, in fact we were still looking in the California Foster Care system and had not signed up for the China program,...Nick had a dream about his little sister to be. He dreamed of her and described her as looking like Olivia, a little African girl in Anthony's preschool class. It was such a strong, vivid dream to him.

Adoption is a wonderful thing, whether local, US or International. I truly believe it is something dear to God's heart. I remember when I started on the path of adoption, I kept questioning whether this was something God wanted me to do. I know I wanted to do it, but did he? And each step of the way, I prayed for him to keep the door open or close it to reveal his will. To my amazement, He kept it wide open, against all odds. (Less than 6 months after our China Princess came home, China changed their adoption laws, which would not make it impossible for me to adopt from China, being single.) How amazing is our God.

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. (Duet. 10:18) God sets the lonely in families, (Ps 68:6), and BOY, has He done that for me for us.
Did you know that Ethiopia's population size and growth rate are among the highest in Africa with half of the over 60 million people under 20 years old. Orphans due There are over 6 million orphans in Ethiopia. By 2010 some 15 to 25 percent of children in 12 countries - including Ethiopia - could be orphaned due to AIDS.

Think of a typical 15 year old girl in your hometown. What does she look like, what occupies her thoughts, what is she concerned about? Now take another look at the picture above. That is 15 year old Olivia, an orphan and her 2 year old sister, Sandra. (Interesting names, coincidence?) And she is quickly becoming the typical teenager in Ethiopia. What do you think occupies her thoughts, what are her concerns?

Our family is embarking on a new journey. After some thought, prayer, research and encouragement, we are again making the adoption journey. I will let you know how it progresses as we go. Like our journey to Mary, our journey to our "Olivia" in Ethiopia will totally depend on God opening doors, leading and keeping them open.

We covet your prayers. And, yes, in case you were wondering, we are crazy, but not boring!

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans. James 1:27

first posted Dec 26, 2007 at my other blog: