Sunday, December 30, 2012

Friends, Blessings, and Christmas Eve

 WOW!  I am a bit behind- always happens this time of year....lots of family time, no school, crazy schedules, loads of birthdays, adoption days, just added another adoption day, etc.  So I am going to try to play a little catch up this week :).

For the weekend before Christmas we had some long time friends, summer camp staff (who got married) come and stay with us before flying back to Iowa for Christmas.  Joe and Lisa are wonderful friends and we enjoy having them with us! 
 So both Saturday evening and Sunday morning our church had a fun fest of Christmas Cheer and an invitation to others in our community to come see Jesus!  There were hayrides.....
 (oopss this picture is out of order?  oh well this is Joe playing with the kiddos- as you can see our kids  love Joe and Lisa too!)
 Michael and daddy on the hayride- although daddy is talking.... :)
 Enjoying hot cocoa! 
 Getting warm because to us Floridians this is cold weather.....I think it was in the 50's- brrr.....yes all my Northern readers can now make fun of this former Iowa girl!  It's all good, and yes I have become southernized when it comes to weather. 
 So here we all are.....
 And Michael who isn't so sure about drinking anything besides milk.  :)
 Have I mentioned that Lisa works at school with children in the special needs program- high school age.  She loves all our kiddos, but her heart is taken with Michael and all the huge improvements she sees every time they get to visit.  It's awesome for her to see it, and for us to be reminded that not that long ago he wasn't doing a lot of the things he is now. :)
 Petting zoo.......
 Joanna isn't too sure about this idea. 
 He he he......just having some fun!!!! 
 Kids opening gifts from Joe and Lisa! 
 Huge crayon, paint sets with coloring books and Bible Trivia!  Bring it - our kids are good!
 This present is as big as Michael  is!!! 
 Ooooooo- FUN!!!!  It makes noise, there are gears to play with, shapes, and you can walk with it. 
 A ferris wheel picture frame- with pictures of us on it!  (usually all our pictures are of our kids.  When we do profiles- we have to hand our camera to our kids to take a few pics so we have some of us too!  ;) 
 Michael really loved the bubble wrap.....
 Seriously loved!  Smart boy- it's fun! 
 Everyone loved the coloring paint, marker set!  They have played with it daily since then!  Oh and they were smart and gave us 2- one for the boys and one for the girls :). 
 Michael trying his hand with a crayon! 
So wanted to share some blessings we have again received.  People ask us all the time how do you do it, and our answer is always prayer.  The truth is God provides for our needs all the time.  We have never had times when our needs were not provided- never! 
 We strongly believe that we are called to give big!  In our monetary giving, in our daily giving to each other, to God and to our kids, and to others as much and as often as we can- or even when we think we can't! 
 So recently we have been stretched by what we were being asked of God to give.....and we did it, and waited because we know that God has always proven faithful.  UNDERSTAND CLEARLY this is not about getting money "back from God", but in seeing how HE CHOOSES to change our hearts and minds about what we need or what we do with our money!  Creative financing is something God helps us do!  He enables us to seriously rely on HIM ONLY!
 We have literally in the last month been EXTREMELY BLESSED by others.  If I wrote a huge list of the whole year and all the ways people "gave" to us throughout the year...I am pretty sure I would be even more amazed.  I know I have written things about this before on our blog. 
 So here it is......we have gotten 2 separate checks from people we seriously have had limited contact with wanting to bless us!

Some friends bought our whole family pizza (hey this is a huge blessing!)

One of our boys busted a pipe outside our home.  Unfortunately Jason felt this was slightly outside his realm because of how it was we called a plumber- who is a man of God and has done work for us before at very low prices.  He decided that even though he came out on an evening on the weekend to charge us- Nothing!  WHAT?  YES!!

We got another unexpected monetary gift from a family member :).

We got a gift card at our Christmas party for volunteers at our church's children's ministry- for free ICE CREAM at Coldstone!

We just yesterday had a pastor give us tons of bread - for real too many loaves to count, along with bagels, and English muffins.

Pretty much a supply for a few months (in the freezer).  And then another pastor and his wife who also love our kiddos took all but the "twins" to the movies to see Nemo in 3D!!! 
 We are continually amazed and humbled to see God's provisions for our family!  I know that sometimes there are times that are tight.  Sometimes we have change to spare.  God has  always provided!!! 
 The best BLESSING is seriously having our family!!!!  How do we do it- because we look at these beautiful faces daily.  We plead  with God to make us better followers of God, to be better spouses, and to show us and guide us in how we raise our kids.  We are totally NOT perfect at all.

In fact that is one lie satan tells us all the time.  Maybe you shouldn't have adopted all these children I mean you aren't that good of a parent- look at all of your mistakes.  Yep- we totally feel that all the time, and when we do- we have to pray!  God remind me of who I am IN YOU! 
 We are Blessed with friends that visit us, and want to spend time with our crazy family!!!! 
 People who pray for and cheer us on and our children!!!!! 
 Oh and a church family that LOVES US DEARLY!!!!!  This is us lined up and ready for Christmas Eve service rehearsal! 
 Why yes i know - I am handsome.....and this is my "smolder" look baby!  Check it!  ;) 
 Joanna- loving on a friend!  Hello I am cute and I know it! 
 Our kiddos praising God!  :)   So for the Christmas eve service we were sitting up front in a "living room" scene.  Jason read the passage in Luke of the story of Jesus while all our kids watched.  If you don't think I was a tad nervous that one of our kids wouldn't get up and bolt across stage or dance away- you would be wrong.  Not that anyone would have cared at all!  Because they wouldn't have! 
 But the sweetest thing ever happened instead.  At the second service (we did this in rehearsal and at 2 services without naps- my children deserve big time awards!) Joanna reached over to Michael - they were both on my lap- brushed his hair aside and gave him a big smooch on his forehead.  My heart seriously melted in a big puddle!!!!  HERE IS A LINK- you can see it for yourself at this link and if you don't want to watch the whole service- although I highly recommend it- watch from about 19 minutes on.....right before the lights fade the last time on Jason the kiss :)

***HA- had people ask me if that was planned.  My response- ummmm......she is 2- you can't plan anything with a 2 year old!  ;) 
 Our Christmas Eve photo- (these are the outfits we bought for Michael's Adoption Day.  Yes, remember, I am the matching freak!  :) 
 Of course we then came home read more of the Christmas story, lit our Advent candles......
 and put Mary and Joseph in the nativity scenes.....they had wandered around our home for a while......
of course our wise men are still wandering until January 6th :). 

You've been contemplating adoption for some time now, how about making your New Year's Resolution to GO FOR IT!
Let's make 2013 the year that you open your home to a child through adoption!


 Today through January 4th, we are offering 10% off our Consulting Services and 20% off consulting services through our Minority Adoption Program.  As always there is a 50% discount for our special needs program - for children over 3 years old or children with physical needs or syndromes. 
(This discount does not apply to our Do It Yourself Program and may not be combined with any other discounts)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christian Adoption Consultants New Year's Special :)


You've been contemplating adoption for some time now, how about making your New Year's Resolution to GO FOR IT!
Let's make 2013 the year that you open your home to a child through adoption!

Today through January 4th, we are offering 10% off our Consulting Services and 20% off consulting services through our Minority Adoption Program.  As always there is a 50% discount for our special needs program - for children over 3 years old or children with physical needs or syndromes. 

(This discount does not apply to our Do It Yourself Program and may not be combined with any other discounts)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Matthew Joseph Wright's 9th Adoption Day (December 22nd)

 Happy Adoption Day Matthew!!!!!  9 years ago today we adopted you!!!!!!  You were our first babe that came to us straight from the hospital.  A wee little guy who was a tad early and weighed 5lb 14oz. 
 You were just a month over a year old when we adopted you.  Very quick for a foster care situation!  There were of course "hiccups" in the waiting to see if you would be ours forever or not.  As there always are with any foster care situation or adoption.....permanent or not. 
 We praise God though that we were able to adopt you!!  Our 3 little cutie at the time and we thought at the time we were probably done having children ;).  3 babes in 3 years......and a lot of ups and downs......
 Our little man who we could fit inside a stocking when you first came home.  You make us laugh!
 You are cheeky!  Like the other day when you asked me to read something so you could try to sneak a drink of my Mt. Dew!  You like to bug, but really it is a part of trying to get someone's attention and play.  You sense of humor is different than most, but highly intelligent. 
 You still love to take things apart and see how they work.  You love to cuddle with your mom and also wrestle with your brothers.  You wished you were "bigger", but I love you just the way you are! 
You will always be my little man in my heart no matter how tall you get!  Just flash that smile and you have stolen my heart again. 
Isn't hard to see why!  You are my super hero Matthew!!!!!

**Have some catching up to do...... :)  as we just celebrated Elizabeth's Birthday yesterday- yes she is a Christmas baby....and tomorrow we celebrate Michael's Adoption Day too!!!  We will be having a celebration this upcoming Saturday.  If some of you actually live closer to the Brandon, Florida area and want to attend - email me :).  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What have we been up to?

 Hey it's me Michael again....just wanted to share that I am AWESOME!  :)  Look I am putting my fingers in my mouth!  Mommy I guess thinks that is a big deal?  Not sure, but hey she says it's good and cheers for me. and mommy holding hands.  I wonder if daddy is jealous?  ;)
 OK- just chillin' because I am so cute all I need to do is sit here and suck my thumb and my mommy thinks I am a Rock Star! 
 Soooo.....we have been pretty busy lately.  Crazy things have come up- like yet another "glitch" in our adoption process.  As far as we know we will still be going to court for 11am on the 27th to finalize our adoption!  PRAYING!!!!!! 

***If you saw my facebook statuses we had some issues with our agency and with the "state".  Anywho, our social worker totally got it all done and back to them even though it meant she was working late at night to do it!!!  PRAISE GOD!!!!!!  Whew!!!!! 
 We have been trying to get a lot of bits and pieces done for our family- some extra appointments (Michael had an EKCO done- just for precaution since he was early, and was a very sick little baby, and then neglected as well.  Then he also had a hip xray because of his Cerebral Palsy- again just precaution because there can sometimes be many things that can hurt your hip or cause it to "get out of place" with CP.), making appointments- it takes work to try to squeeze all our kids into the dentist time slots, getting our birth mom letters and pictures done :) which I find hard sometimes mainly because there is so much I want to say and sometimes feel that it can be hard to do, my hubby has been finishing up some last minute things for 4Kids of Tampa - now he is officially not working for them anymore, and well with Jason still working for a while outside the home and myself doing a lot more with Christian Adoption Consultants- getting us both on the same page with our clients and putting things together etc, as well as talking about how things are going to work in the future with us both being home and everything......there has just been a lot to do!  Whew.....oh and that is not to mention celebrating all of our kiddos adoption days and birthdays, doing our Christmas traditions, making cookies, and of course going to Busch Gardens too!!
 You know sometimes it is ok to actually take some time to transition.  I know for our family there have been plenty of transitions that left us with no time to breathe and "restart".  So we decided that we would take the month of December to catch up on things, finish things off, enjoy time together, do our work, and really be a family!! 

Notice Daddy and Jonathan in the front row of the Scorpion- the very first roller coaster at Busch Gardens and yes it goes upside down too.
 Here is a tiny - very tiny lizard. 
 Can you find the lizard?  He is seriously the smallest I have ever seen.  Looked like his tail had already been cut off a bit. kids are already driving!!!  Ahhhhh- run far, far away :). 
 Oh yes, we have also gone to a couple of "practices" for our churches Christmas Eve services.
 So here we are hanging out.........chillin'.........
 We get to be the family that will be sitting in a "living room" setting on stage - Jason will read the Christmas story.  Which is great because it is real that is what we do every Christmas!!  :)  Some people are sarcastic about those who don't attend church except Christmas and Easter, but we totally think of it as an opportunity to share the Love of God- Whenever and Wherever!!!  God's Word has the power to heal and change people's lives no matter how often the come to church!!! 
 This is our family hanging up door hangers from our church for this weekend's services.  They are having pony rides, hot cocoa, face painting, hay rides, skits, and the service includes 100's of people on stage all at once- WHY?  Glad you asked- TO SHOW PEOPLE GOD'S LOVE and INVITE THEM INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST!!!!  They have asked everyone to invite others they already know and are around to come. 

Believing that it isn't about Santa, or pony rides, but about taking time to have fun as a family together- in church- and inviting others to come along!!  Praying for many lives to be changed!!!!!! 

I know as a former camp director- we used to put in ropes course elements, add crazy games, train our staff on every safety thing possible, have great food, etc.  Same reason- to INVITE PEOPLE TO CHRIST!!!!  ***Do you need these things- no way- CHRIST IS ENOUGH, but it is a way to reach out to where people are!!!  :) 
 Oh and we have been doing our Christmas traditions.............What are our traditions? 

We give gifts throughout the season- but they are gifts to draw us together and have fun together- games, books, movies, and activities (like my parents monetary gift was spent on Busch Gardens passes- which is only 20 minutes away and always fun).  This year as you can see- we added to our scooter collection as well. 

Mary and Joseph as well as the wise men travel around our home....until Christmas when Jesus was born (yes we know Christmas Day was probably not his birthday-it's all good).  Then the wise men come onto the scene on Epiphany- even though we know it was a couple of years after Jesus' birth. 
 We read fun stories like the Legend of the Christmas Tree, the Legend of the Christmas Stocking, The Legend of St. Nicholas, The Legend of the Candy Cane, Is Santa for Real, The Story of Jonathan Toomy, The Most Marvelous Gift, Granny Mae's Christmas Play, The Crippled Lamb, The Pine Tree Parable, The Little Spider, God Gave Us Christmas, The Tiny Star, The Christmas Miracle (Shoey and Dot)........

**Just a note if you want to know where things like Christmas Trees, Stockings, Santa, the Candy Cane came from these are wonderful books!!!  :)  The others are all fun too and point to the REAL reason for this Blessed Season. 
 We love to break out in song  and find new Christmas favorites!  Singing carols is a great time!

We love to decorate, hang stockings- all our stockings and stocking holders are snowmen, we each pick out a new ornament for the year (we love Hobby Lobby 1/2 price ornaments), popping popcorn and drinking cocoa!!  This year we added a lighted cross and a new huge wreath in our yard!!  **The wreath was repurposed Christmas tree that bit the dust earlier.  My hubby is creative!  :)
 Oh - yes......well this is what happens when you break the rules of doing scooters.  Such as going in the road, not watching for others, not wearing a helmet, not wearing proper foot wear, etc.  ;)  They aren't happy with me now, but I love them too much to worry. 
 I asked Michael if he would ever break the rules.....this was his response- blowing raspberries at me ;).  Awesome. 
 Last night we packed up some extra treats and went off to go see some Christmas lights after Jason made some really yummy Chili!!!  **Have I mentioned that I love the fact that we now work from home so he can cook?  BECAUSE IT IS A HUGE BENEFIT for our whole family!  Trust me!
 These two crawled in the back of the Suburban as mommy and daddy were talking and watching the kids scoot.  Are they cute or what??
 Crazy too!
 Hello Elizabeth!!!  :)
 Oh and one thing that has kept us busy as well is cleaning up and doing more purging!  :)  Look at my desk!!  You can actually see it!!!  WOW!  How can one family have so much paperwork?  Oh and or file area that hold another huge batch of papers as well as my desk has been cleared!  This is truly a Christmas miracle- not kidding!
 This scene is from Busch Gardens......where the tradition of Christmas lights comes from......when Christians would light candles as a representation of Christ being the Light Of The World! 
 On a beautiful starry night, the angels opened the sky and with light and joy pouring out of heaven a beam shown down upon the manger in preparation for the birth of the babe. 

Love the language used and the picture it paints.  God was in every detail of His Son's birth. 
 I just love the fact that it is represented here as well! 
 This gives HOPE- to me, to you, and to all the other people living on Earth!  This is the reason for everything we do- all year long!!!! 
 This season is just a reason to remember.  In scripture and now in the Jewish tradition there are many things they did as a reminder of God's Laws, God's Promises, and God's Love for us.  It is necessary to have all of them.  It is necessary to remember!!!  To pass that down!!!  To help our children remember and celebrate what God did for them and for us.  To show others the Light of The World!! 

What do you do to remember God in this season? 
 This little man helps me remember every day.  He is a miracle himself, and the progress he is making is miracle on top of miracles!!!  When he first came into his first healing family- he pretty much didn't eat baby food....let me tell you that was a feat in itself!  He didn't like anything in his mouth.  Slowly but surely God has brought him to the place of slowly learning to use his muscles in his mouth.  To use his lips, to lick things, to allow us to stretch and "wake up" his muscles in his mouth. 

Today- he licked this sucker!  He allowed me to "roll" it in his cheeks, he changed hands and brought the sucker to his mouth with both hands, he willingly put it in and out of his mouth on his own!  He played with the sticky stuff on his tray!  He played with his own tongue with the sucker!  These are all HUGE accomplishments.  We are sooo proud and excited about what God is doing in his life! 

Oh and another brag- he said Momma, and then pretty much right away said Michael.  Another HUGE step 2 words right in a row both with 2 syllables.  Now that daddy is working at home - he gets to see a lot more as well.  :)
 Oh dear....hide an seek?  Actually he got hurt this last week and wasn't using one of his hind legs at all, but now is using it a little bit.  Silly kitty likes to play outside so no idea what happened. 
 Oh and sometimes we just have a philosophy of - Why not?  This is all of us eating apple pie and ice cream for breakfast- why not?'s true.  I must have the best parents in the world!  ;)
Praying your Christmas time has been Blessed.  Praying for you all to have a safe time with family and friends!  I know we will. 

Praying specifically for those who have lost someone.  Praying God will send extra comfort and love to them!