Friday, June 29, 2012

Watering the Cash Patch & Watching It GROW (again)

This picture is of Karson & Kolton's hands last fall.  

Ok now for the growing part......

My mind is racing a million miles a minute.  We have been making some TOUGH heart wrenching decisions and while most of the time saying YES to God is the hard part, in this situation saying YES was the easy part.  Many months ago, we fell in love with a sibling set of 3 in Ethiopia.  We really, at the time, didn't know how or that we would ever adopt them.  We just knew they needed prayers and someone to advocate for them which we were more than willing to do.  Their paperwork wasn't ready and didn't seem to be headed in the direction of ever being ready.  In addition to that, we didn't feel adoption from Ethiopia was a good decision at the time.  We continued to sponsor and pray for and advocate for these children while going about our busy lives....having a baby, John taking a new job, pulling my teens out of school to homeschool, moving to another state...all that fun life changing stuff.  We fought for these kids to have a foster home in Ethiopia, to be reunited with birth relatives, anything to get them into a family setting and out of the orphanage.  All those things failed.

They felt so much like our children I would dream at night about my family and they were all in it, already my children in my dreams and still do.  We knew if ever given the chance, we would definitely say YES to adopting them, even though that is nuts, right?  Ten kids?  Nuts, yes I know.  I am the girl in high school didn't even know that she wanted to get married, much less have kids, because that would slow down my career.  BAHAHAHAHA   But there's no way to explain it.  When you normally feel conflict about every decision you make - even the type of toothpaste to buy - but you feel an ABSOLUTE PEACE about such a decision, you know it can only be from one place, one person.  God.  So, yes we knew we would adopt them IF they were ever legally available for adoption....however many months-years that may take (and we were told it would most likely be years).

In that time, we fell for a little girl in China with HIV.  HIV is something we have always felt very comfortable with and through research knew it was NO BIG DEAL to raise a child with it.  So we said YES.  We started the process to adopt her and was crazy about her as well.  On Monday, June 4, we received preapproval to adopt her and on Thursday we found out the three in Ethiopia were ready to be adopted.  Not only that, but if we didn't act immediately, we may not have the chance to adopt them.

We immediately set out to adopt both, but the timing was going to have us bringing both of them home at the same time which is not good for bonding and helping the children (both the ones here and the ones to be adopted) to transition.  We knew nothing was too big for our God and we put it on Him to sort out.  Both agencies agreed this wouldn't be best so we had to make a choice.  While we were heartbroken and didn't want to have to make that decision, we felt the Lord knew what was best for the kids and us and felt confident He was in control of the decisions made by the agencies. I had such a peace about that.

We prayed and prayed and didn't really get clear answers on which, if any, we should go with.  We really feel God was saying both were acceptable to Him and he would walk with us down either one.  We struggled and struggled, but in the end, after factoring in SO many different things, we knew we were headed back to Ethiopia.

Ending our China adoption was one of the hardest things we have ever done.  We felt like our hearts were being torn apart.  She is with an AMAZING (I cannot, CANNOT say that enough) agency.  I know she will get a wonderful family because they are dedicated to that for each and every one of the children they find homes for.  It feels so wrong to have to say no to giving a child something that's easy for us - the love of a mommy and daddy.  But it feels SO right to say YES to three children in Ethiopia that we have known and loved so much for a very long time.  Finally being able to start the process to bring them into our family is like a breath of fresh air.  It feels so good to be moving in a forward direction, even if the road is long ahead of us.

So we are pleased to announce we are hoping to adopt 3 amazing kiddos ages 7, 11, and 13.  The reason I say hoping is because we cannot formally accept their referral until we have completed more paperwork.  They really are amazing kids who love the Lord and are so positive despite their circumstances.  We are already so crazy in love and have been for quite a while.  So when I say we are watering the Cash Patch and watching it GROW (again), this time I mean we are watering it with Miracle Grow. HA HA

I am the first person to caution an adoption from Ethiopia.  I don't think it's the best place to adopt from right now for someone without the ability to investigate the situation independently of the agency and in country staff. I have spoken with various embassy employees as well as a private adoption investigator in Ethiopia who recommended the agency we are adopting them through as well as their orphanage.  We know the dark side of adoption and before we would proceed with this adoption, no matter how much we loved these kids, we first made ABSOLUTE sure they were legally adoptable, not just the story on the paperwork, but their actual story, and all other means to keep them with relatives in Ethiopia or a foster family were exhausted.

Before these kids I said we would never adopt from Ethiopia or a country that could allow child trafficking (not that all cases are unethical, but far too many are).  Then there's God. When He is in control and He calls us to do something, who are we to think we know more about the situation than Him?

We ask for prayers that God will provide all that we need in order to get them home as soon as possible, or in God's timing of course. ;)  They have waited far too long already for a family.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Weekend at The Gorge

Kemry in the lake
The rock-it was fun!  Karson and Kolton loved it!
Kerrigan soaking her hat
Kollin hanging out in the shallows
Kolton got bomped

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Life Lessons in our Little Garden

One of the things the kids and I love doing is working in our little garden.  It isn't too pretty and isn't planted the way I was taught (my pappaw would roll over in his grave if he saw how crooked our rows are lol), but it is creating so many wonderful opportunities for one on one time with my kids and great talks while we work out there.

This morning we were staking up our tomato plants.  Karson asked why we had to do that and I explained that God made tomato plants too weak to carry their own weight.  Then it hit me, just like how He made us.  We are too weak to carry our own burdens on our own and we were created intentionally so we would have to rely on Him.  Our tomatoes that weren't staked had been laying on the ground and were starting to wither and die unable to bear it's own weight.  The tomato plants that were supported by the stakes were growing SO big and strong and straight toward the sky just like us when we allow our strength to come from the Lord instead of trying to bear that weight on our own.  The fruit of the plants without stakes were small and hard and worthless.  The fruit of the plants with the stakes are growing bigger and will eventually ripen and be eaten. :)  I needed that lesson this morning especially, probably more than my kids.  I am a bit of a control freak.  I like to take charge of what I want done my way and usually happily (for a time) carry the load as long as I can control the situation.  Even things I truly have no way of carrying or being in control of, I still try through worrying about it.  Lately I have been trying so hard to control everything that I have started to wilt like those wimpy tomato plants reminding me that I can't do it all.  After this discussion with my kids this morning I asked God to forgive me for the little faith I have had in Him lately and promised to tie myself to Him as my stake and let Him carry part of my heavy load.

We sat out there for at least 30 minutes just comparing our lives to tomato plants. :) I'm sure our neighbors think the Adams family has just moved in next to them....we're a bunch of weirdos. :)  But I'm ok with that. :)

Please be praying for our family.  We may have a bit of news to announce soon.  We are still waiting to hear the details and how they will affect us.

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May Madness

We had such a busy May as we always do.  It was our 17yr anniversary and Karly's 15th birthday and of course mother's day and John had a birthday and the end of the school year and most of our sports teams.  And to add to all our normal May busyness, my baby sister, Kayla, got married.  We were all 9 in the wedding party.  SHEW.  It all worked well though and now my parents are truly empty-nesters. :)  I don't really think they are bothered so far at all. ha ha

Kemry about to get into trouble during the ceremony (me going after her)
Love this picture of my biggest boy and my beau
My brother escorting Karly

My three boys
How most of the photos of the kids melting down while the other looked terrified because the other one was melting down LOL
Me with my two sisters and my two oldest girls
Karly, me, Kayla my sister, Kasey my sister, and Karaline

cousin love :)
The gorgeous bride
My whole family minus the groom and my brother's girlfriend and sweet baby boy.
Kayla with the younger crowd

Their first kiss on their wedding day (before the ceremony lol)
Vrooooom....sweet wheels to leave the wedding in