Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jonathan & Joshua's Birthdays :)

Jonathan Caleb Wright is 3 (yesterday)!!!!!! Still can't resist that wonderful cuteness :)
Excited about his Toy Story 3 book.... with buttons to press & noises to make....
I love you sooo much Jonathan!!!!! It is hard to believe that you have only been home a year and a half. You still melt my heart daily!
Look at this scrumptious cutie- no birthdays yet for you.........

Today Joshua David Wright turns 8!!! Happy Birthday baby (you will always be my baby)!!!
Dinosaurs, and Toy Story 3 lego set, and of course a book.
Joshua was finishing camp today, so we had our ice cream cake tonight. This man is so handsome, and he loves to pick flowers & write wonderful notes to his mommy! He will definitely sweep someone off their feet some day!
His handsome grin won my heart when we first met. Who could resist?

So our next birthday- yep- next week (Jason's). he he he.....

Having a great summer with great staff & campers!!!! We have had 8 campers accept Christ for the first time & 11 that have rededicated their lives! How much more AMAZING can it get? Praying for more of God's moving in all of these young hearts!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Adoption & Homeschooling....similar in so many ways

Let me start this with a disclaimer....I am not interested in putting anyone down because they don't homeschool. This is a choice we have made because we LOVE IT! We want to school our children ourselves and there are many benefits to our family. :)

So this past week I was thinking of how similar adoption & homeschooling are.......

1) There is research in both- the agency, curriculum, how to start, paperwork needed.....etc.

2) Sometimes it varies by state- adoption laws can be very different and so can homeschool laws

3) Both are a calling- I don't think you just do either on a whim. I believe you have to have a calling to do either.

4) Both are a HUGE BLESSING!!!

5) They are both HARD WORK!!!! There is no such thing as an easy adoption - and homeschooling is not easy, but both are worth it :)

6) They both take money- but homeschooling doesn't have to cost a fortune either :)

7) Both are much more fun if you have support!

8) Both affect your family in many far reaching ways.

9) You have looks, and probing by random strangers a lot for both. Both are much harder if you have family or friends who are not excited about it. Yep, have had to explain why to so many people....I gave up counting a long time ago!

10) Thank God we get to do BOTH!!!!

We believe that both are very valuable to raising our children. There are sooo many reasons why. I may do more posts on why later.

For now....just an announcement- I am totally excited that I have lost a few pounds in the last couple of weeks. (I gained too much weight when we lost Naomi.......sometimes we do what we do to get through.) I knew it was time to get serious and get back to my normal self :)

Cute kids quote: As I was tucking in Elizabeth...I was being silly and calling her a little booger.....well she said- mommy I am not a booger otherwise I would be in your nose and that would be gross. I busted out laughing.......too funny. Thanks Elizabeth! You make me smile :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cute kid things

Matthew feeding Joanna.....awww
Joanna hang time with big sis. So Big sis how's it going? Missed you last week when you were at camp! Glad you are back!
So you will remember (or go back a couple of posts) that Abigail's adoption day happened while she was at camp....so we opened presents on Saturday instead. This is a bag that you color the front of- she loved it.
Books of course and bead animals that you make (key rings).

So I was just tucking in the kids......and what does Jonathan say- Joanna is tinker bell.
The crazy part is that he used to call me tinker bell.....I think I am demoted?

Then I went in to tuck in Elizabeth and she said - Can you put Joanna on my pillow. (I think she just likes to have her sister on her pillow?) So when I did she grinned from ear to ear and started cooing and jabbering. Then she held Elizabeth's finger. You should have seen Elizabeth's face. She was sooo EXCITED & Happy!!!! (Still think that having more children will be a burden to the siblings?)

New things Joanna is doing......she is pulling her weight...as in when I set her in her car seat she is flexing her stomach muscles. Almost looks like she is doing a sit up? He he he- better her than me!
She loves to jabber and coo.
She loves to laugh & smile- a lot - which makes me very happy....because you can't be upset when you look at her face :)
She loves to stretch, and fling her feet and arms around all over.
Oh yeah, she loves to grab too. Watch out hair! She likes softer objects better, but grabs anything.
She does NOT like tummy time at all!
She does love holding herself up with a small amount of help to sit, or even to stand.
She loves little baby songs...you know the ones that come out when you press a button on a baby toy. She loves the little mobile on her crib (now).
She eats every 2 hours during the day about 4 oz. sometimes less. From about 6:30-7am ish to 9 or 10pm.... BUT she is sleeping through the nights- YEAH!!!!!!!!!! For my sanity in these summer months :)
The most amazing thing about Joanna is that her story just blows me away- Still. After 3 months (tomorrow) I am still in COMPLETE AWE of how she came to us. The whirlwind that happened that day we got the call, and staying up all night to scan and e-mail our paperwork, and filing out the new forms.......the wonder of God is NEVER dull at our home.

Also- take a look at the donations on the side!!! YEAH! We have saved up as much as possible and we have had some donations too! Very exciting!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!! To all who have donated and prayed with us on our crazy continuing journey. Until all children have a loving home we have sooo much to pray for!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

First week of campers- done.....

So wondering more about our camp director life?

We start camps on Sunday with registration from 4-5 pm. Since most campers are pretty local we figure it gives the family time to go to church head home & head to camp. We have the famous hotdog roast the first night complete with smores...which is fun because it is a typical camp setting and puts everyone at ease. Then they do some get to know you games, and worship time.

Monday- Thursday is pretty much a set schedule including things like: morning worship, crafts, 9 square, rock wall, archery, low & high ropes, jello fight, swimming in the pool, Bible Study, canoe trip, nuke 'em, volleyball, campers vs. counselors, capture the flag, parachute games, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, playground time, basketball, kickball,clean cabin award- which is a golden toilet seat, great food, pool party, praise & worship, concessions time, huge banana split in rain gutters- usually 20-30' long, and loads of other fun activities. All of course dependent on your age range, etc.

Friday we have a closing time with campers as they do Bible Study once more and then a time to say goodbye, clean up the cabin, and get ready to meet the parents at lunch. We invite all parents or whoever is picking them up to come to lunch on Friday. We then watch a slide show to the tune of that year's theme song. This year is Brit Nicole's The Lost Get Found.

As soon as parents start leaving with the campers.....staff start the big all camp clean up. We have an all staff meeting around 3pm-4. Then they have a few hours to chill and then we have the staff to our home to have a Bible Study.

There are many random things we do with our staff. I do ask that they set aside daily time with God, and reading scriptures. Not only do they need to "refill & refresh", but it is a great example to the kids. I require ALL Christian music in the cabins, at the pool party, etc. There are sooo many great songs, and Christian groups out there that we get to expose the campers to while they are here. We happen to have 4 Christian radio stations as well which is handy. We also have a prayer time on Sunday's from 2pm-2:30ish (before we have our business mtg as it were for the week) as well as a daily prayer time from 8:30-8:45 (we of course have a few counselors with the campers at this time).

2 nights a week Jason & I lead worship, 2 nights our staff lead (we often have many gifted staff members), and one night- mid week we have a pool party. The staff also do skits on all the evening worships that touch on various themes. Sometimes they are spoken skits, sometimes they are to a song. They practice these during staff training as well as putting together what they are leading for the nights they lead worship.

We love doing something every year to remind them more deeply about what God did for them. One year we did ashes on the forehead and they wiped it off with baby wipes- symbolizing that God takes our ashes and makes us beautiful again. One year we did a baptism remembrance (we know not all our campers have been baptized, but it was a renewal if you like of our commitment to Christ). Last year they did a faith walk blindfolded to our outdoor chapel on the river and they did a acoustic service on the last night. This year they chose to do a love feast. A reenactment of the the last supper. It is something the campers always remember and the staff as well.

So there you have it a little glimpse into our summer days. So since Saturday is our day off- we spent 5 hours at the pool- with a picnic lunch! It was fantastic!!!! Sunday the staff go to various churches in the area and we meet up at 2pm ready to go :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Abigail's 8th Adoption Day Today!

Happy 8th Adoption Day Abigail Marie Wright! Oh what a beautiful young lady you are....we praise God for you daily!!!

I mean look at that smile- does it get any more beautiful. Let me tell you this young lady is compassionate, responsible, loving, caring, smart, beautiful, helpful, and a JOY to have as our daughter. Abigail means source of joy and when we named her that- She PROVED it to be true.
Look all of us in the bed- get in tight or we might fall out!!!
At Shenandoah National Park - hiking of course :)
When there was only 5......
On a plane to Iowa.....
What only 3- Look at their adorable faces....
The day we got to come home with Andrew- Does Abigail look excited or what?
She has the cutest little baby face :)

On February 3, 2001 we got a phone call to ask us if we would be interested in fostering a 14 month old baby girl. The termination hearing was supposed to be in March (he he he- well you know foster care it wasn't in March). There was a possible last minute biological dad- after 6 weeks of getting the test done- it finally happened, and we finally found out- he wasn't. Then after a grueling interview that made us almost lose our minds. Racial slurs from some social workers. A brother born and not placed with us until 7 weeks later. Transition time from her former foster home to ours. 45 minute trip there and back 2 times a week for Biological Mom visits up until her official adoption........

June 17th 2002 We got to go to court and say- YES we WANT to be the parents of Abigail Marie Wright!!!!!! Never forget the feeling of when you first become a mommy and daddy- officially! We were over the moon.

You know we have people come to us all the time saying your children are all so beautiful. I say it's Abigail's fault. I mean who could follow that up? So they all had to be adorable!

To my sweet daughter I am so proud of you and who you have allowed God to help you become. My greatest desire for you is to follow HIM and allow HIM to guide your footsteps. I know HE has BIG PLANS for you :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer schedulee & tidbits about camp

So THANKFUL!!! We have had more donations to our adoption :) It has really helped!

I LOVE BEING BACK in a schedule- think I mentioned that last post.....so here is my summer schedule:

6am Getting up to swim (need to get exercising again & swimming laps is my favorite! I usually try to do a mile)
6:50- Home to wake up kids
7:45- head to our dining hall (a few minutes walk from our home)
8- Breakfast with campers & staff
8:30- Prayer time with staff
8:45- head home with kids to do HOMESCHOOL :)
10:15- put on suits and head to the pool (also a few minutes walk from our home)
11:15- get out of the pool & pick up pool toys
11:30- quick shower
11:45- head over for lunch at the dining hall
12- Lunch with campers & staff
12:45- head home for nap time/quiet time for the kids - which means the older ones do self directed learning- reading, writing, educational computer games, worksheets...
For me- work time & my quiet time with God
3:30 - Jason & I quiet time when he returns from work (sometimes later)
kids outside to play for a while, sometimes we do crafts, cooking, cleaning etc. after they come in. Sometimes we will watch about 15-20 minutes of a movie???? Sometimes I have to do more work- depends :)
5:15- head over for dinner
5:30 Dinner with campers and staff
6:15 head home to get ready for bed
7- Daddy does devo's with the kids & story time
Bed time (older kids stay up until 8- our rule of thumb those that are 8 and older stay up 'til 8)
10:30-11 In Bed

Yes, we take up a whole camp table with just our family. It is a REAL BLESSING to have food paid for by the camp for the meals we cook :)!!!!!!!

When I say we go over for meals I mean- I help get the singing grace going, and then we sit and eat family style. I love it because we don't have to stand in line to get our food, and LOVE the fact that so many children who I am guessing never get to eat as a family- get to experience it for a week.

I also work in the evenings as needed. I try to keep it down to a minimum, but answering phone calls, e-mails, cutting checks, figuring finances, preparing staff Bible Studies, and lots more- has to be done sometime. Especially when you have those homesick parents....but I think that could be a whole other post, for real. I also connect with the staff every meal time (we do have our assistant Sarah who helps with this and directly oversees what our staff is doing throughout the day) to make sure situations are handled correctly etc. Of course hopefully they remember staff training and make good decisions- which they usually do :).

So in there somewhere- I also of course have to take care of Joanna- yep, still in my sling most of the time. She does like to hang out on the blanket sometimes to be cooed over :)

Jason & I also lead worship 2 times a week. Which means Jason plays keyboard and sings, I sing & preach. (We have a staff member come to our home to watch the others sleep and spoil the baby). Then of course on Thursday nights Jason makes our famous picture CD's. We take pics all week long- at the end of the week put them all on a disc and copy it for those who ordered one. So between deleting all the fuzzy pics, and copying the cd's that is what we do for fun on Thursday evenings :)

Jason does ALL food service- so he is at the dining hall every morning by 6:30-7 am and gets home- well sometimes the staff do dinner on their own and he gets home around 3:30-5ish. So he orders from Sysco, and does Walmart/Sam's Club trip every week as well. In addition he does a lot of maintenance- you know helping to mow our whole main camp- depending on how fast it grows & how much rain there is etc., fixing equipment, weed wacking, filling in ruts from people who drive across the grass, that toilet, etc. The blessing of having some staff that sometimes can help is great, but not always practical. Of course he also has to work in the evenings as needed.

So there you have it my summer schedule :) I am liking it!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I'm Back!!

Mommy's BACK! This next week will signify the first week in several months when we actually will have a normal type schedule. With our year starting out- well a train wreck (losing Naomi), and then our MIRACLE - Joanna, and then getting ready for camp........All I can say is.....it feels like the last 6 months have been a tornado at our home. I am a schedule type person, flexible, but I like routine too. So this has been a HUGE challenge for me. So this week we will once again start home schooling again. YEAH! I LOVE IT! Of course our baby girl Abigail who is now 10 1/2 will be attending camp for the WHOLE WEEK (he he he of course we will see her daily since she is going to camp - here).
Look who is smiling now! She has really started showing more and more personality- and it is ADORABLE! We can't get enough. Our whole family loves playing with her and seeing who can get her to giggle the most. She now weighs about 11 1/2 lbs. She is growing really quickly - to me anyway.
I could (and do) just stare at her all day!
Love these pics of our girls together and our boys.
Have I mentioned that I love them all soooo much!!!!! For those who think our family is crazy for having 8 children- I assure you- WE LOVE CRAZY!!

So I get to FINALLY have a routine. Have I mentioned how excited about that I am?

Yes, this is also our first week of camp (for the last few weeks we have been doing last minute projects and staff training). So we have 9-12 year olds coming!!! CAN'T WAIT! Our staff has been trained of course 9 of 11 are returning staff....some for 3-5 years in a row have come back. I love it! Great group of college students. PRAY that campers hearts will be open to hearing God's WORD! Pray that our staff will listen to prompts from the Holy Spirit, for safety, for teamwork, and for a HUGE OUTPOURING TO HAPPEN!!!! Did I mention - I LOVE CAMP?

So now that I have a routine and am back to - well as normal as I get anyway.....I hope to be blogging a lot more at least my usual 3-4 times a week anyway.

By the way - from my last post- as far as I know all of the families that are picking up little ones are doing well so far. Continue prayers as transitions can take a few months- few years.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cute Memories- from Jonathan

So today we had a day off- AMAZING! So of course after church, and a nap (which I REALLY NEEDED)- we went to the pool. Had a blast hanging out.

So Jonathan wanted me to swim with him and as we were talking and giggling.
He said - he was mommy's boy.
I said- remember when mommy and daddy first came to get you when you were in Ethiopia? You didn't want mommy then- only daddy. But now you are mommy's boy.
He said- yes.....I cried when you came, but now I am a happy boy!

So there you have it. ADOPTION MAY BE HARD, but with a quote like that- melts my heart :) Praying for so many friends that are leaving or have left- that are picking up their children right now! OH YEAH!!!!!!


Pray with me for these families who will have lots of transitions ahead: some may be easier, but a lot may be hard- really hard. They know that, but isn't it wonderful for the family of God to pray over our brothers and sisters in Christ as they experience the miracles, and hardships of God's GIFTS!!!!!! PRAISING GOD FOR ALL OF THE CHILDREN WHO GET TO COME HOME TO A FAMILY SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also PRAYING desperately for a family that has adopted 6 children & have 10 all together! One of their daughters has had a really really really rough transition. They COMPLETELY BELIEVE THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL, but know they need to find help for their daughter. Read more about them here.....


PLEASE LIFT THIS FAMILY UP!!!! This Thursday they have a court hearing and everything needs to go well so Eden can go to the ranch where they specialize in helping children that have been adopted internationally cope. HOW AMAZING IS THAT! If you want to help them support their fund raising to finding EDEN- Every child is worth it!!!

Oh, and this next week is our last week of summer staff training......excited....knowing it will be long, but oh so worth it!!! (See Joanna's post below for more information).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Joanna explains pre summer as a camp director's baby

So this is what happens when you are so tiny and cute. I mean I look so adorable. And look at my mommy's smile :) She is the best
I am a little worried about the picture above: thought there may be too many beautiful women for one pic! I mean especially the cutie mommy is holding, but the rest are pretty adorable too!
Here is me after a few minutes of being in the pool I am tired....I mean I really need my beauty rest to keep up on my cuteness factor right? Someone has to do it.
I can't wait to be old enough to play with my fun sisters!
My biggest sister is AWESOME! Mommy keeps telling her that she is getting too old and too tall. Did you know she wears the same size shoe as mommy now? I want to be just like her!!
Awwww....it's ok to enjoy my cute body rolls. Aren't they yummy!
So daddy had a great time with the kids building this castle while mommy was with our summer staff doing training.

Yep, check out more of my beauty...really it's ok because I am made in the image of God.

Here is the finished product. I think of it as my castle- because I am a princess you know!
Here is me holding up my head, but tummy time is NOT my favorite. I would rather be in mommy's sling or daddy's arms.
This is a picture of my fan club. They can't get enough of me.
Yeah, bring it on. I love the attention. I mean they spoil me rotten. Who wouldn't want 7 screaming fans? All to yourself even......ahhhh....life is good :)

So being a Christian camp director's baby has some advantages like hanging out at the pool! That is a huge bonus. Getting passed around to all the staff members who make cute noises at you. And mommy says campers are coming soon....and I will get even more attention :) YEAH!!

The only harder part is right now- mommy and daddy have been really, really, really busy. Really for over a month now they have been doing a lot with Bible Studies for summer, answering phone calls from other mommies and daddies sending their children to camp, doing maintenance projects, mowing, cooking, cleaning, training staff on archery, rock wall, ropes, homesickness, being a team, lifeguarding, first aid, cpr, rules and regulations on pretty much everything, worship leading, and loads of other things too.

I personally can't wait until after next week because then mommy will be home a lot more. I mean not that hanging out with daddy is bad, but you know I like having mommy home. I miss our "school" times with my sibs and doing all our fun activities. You see once staff are trained and campers are here mommy gets to have a more normal schedule.

I think you will like it too because she can blog more :) So just pray for us as our whole family is a little crazy. It will all be worth it though daddy & mommy say because we get to tell so many campers about Jesus! Did you know that our camp gives scholarships to sooo many foster children too? Which is AWESOME!!! I mean that way all those children that so many forget - get to hear about how much God Loves Them!!! Doesn't get any better than that!
More pics with my adoring fans. Have to please the crowds....so ok take another pic mommy it's ok with me.
I know I know- I am soo cute. You see I never get told that or anything around here...he he he
So I pray your day is wonderful. I hope you will join us in prayer for the hundreds of campers that will be here this summer, for our summer staff, and for God to touch all of their lives!

Joanna Faith Wright :)