Thursday, March 28, 2013

Adoption: It will cost you Everything!

 Here is a picture of the most handsome man on the planet!  :) 
 He learned how to install our new water heater for us, bought the necessary items from Lowe's, and.....
 did it!  LOVE that he is willing to go outside of his comfort zone to fix things!  He has also fixed our pool pump- remember the casing on our filter broke and you couldn't get to the filter to change it.  Yikes.  So he ordered a new casing, new filter, and other new parts to get our pool back up and running.  He has now fixed that too!  :)
 This is our new refrigerator!  YEA!!!  We got a discount, and Lowe's was running a special deal and we will get a card for money to spend there later (pretty sure we will easily use that), and there was a ding on the back corner- so more discount!  NOT BAD!  :)  It is a pretty high capacity- BONUS for us!
 This is a dark picture, but my camera has issues (or it most likely my fault ;) with either making a picture too bright or too dark.  UGH!  Anywho- this is my tower of "baby wipes".  Once every few months I chop the below package of Bounty (you have to have the good stuff to make it work, and I get it from Sam's) into make baby wipes :).  I use an electric knife, but it still makes my arm ache a bit.  I am a whimp and not afraid to say it! 
 Then you mix 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and 1 tablespoon of baby oil, and a squirt of baby soap.  They work great!  Just pop it in a plastic container (slit an X shape in the top) and - whola it works great!  Saves tons of money too!!!  :)
 So today as I stated on FB we had a "game of hospital".  There were doctors, nurses, a chef, Joanna went around drinking everyone's medicine (ummm....I think she was supposed to be giving it out? ;), Michael was the supervising surgeon!  I was the momma who went to visit all the children.  he he he he.....I think something happened and it got out of control though.  YIKES!  Oh well.....
 Here is my little man- standing with only my hands around his hips. 
 Look at him go!!!!!! 
Yes, I am in my PJ's, but that isn't the important part- Look at my little man standing up so well with pretty much just holding my hands.  He can do this for a pretty long time too!!! 

**He did have a soft tissue injury recently.  No idea what happened, but his cerebral palsy doctor said it could have been a standing attempt, or stretching injury.  Well, he got over that now and is back on track standing and working on walking! 

There is this idea that adoption costs too much.  Usually people are talking about money.  It's true- it isn't cheap.  There are great grants, loans, and if you foster to adopt it is either low cost or free.  There are many online websites that have been created to help you fundraise even- WAHOO! 

BUT that isn't what I am talking about.  I am talking about the REAL COST!  The real cost is - YOUR LIFE!  I am not just talking about raising a child.  I am talking more in depth than that.  I am talking about helping them to trust, allow you and God into their hearts, I am talking lots and lots of time and energy, I am talking constant reminders to yourself about connecting to them, I am talking about relearning your parenting skills over and over and honing in on what your child needs- love languages, I am talking about repeating "I love my children" to yourself over and over and over again as they throw things at you from all directions throughout the day. 

I am talking about a sacrificial love that is very hard!  This isn't an easy path.  This is anything BUT the "easy way to have a child".  This is a constant reminder that you will be tested on all sides!  This is a reminder that you CAN NOT DO IT ALONE :).  Oh - I do not like those words.  If you haven't met me yet I would describe myself as a persistent do it yourself kind of person.  ;) 

Oh, and did I mention you will be put completely outside of your comfort zone?  Because you will!  Whether it is someone's remarks to you about your child, or your child's actions, or the way to healing for your child that you never expected to have to do.  Maybe it started with the words- fundraising.  He he he he- that is enough for me to run for the hills!  Much less the crazy hard work of raising any child to begin with...without all the "hard places" some of our children have experienced. 

I think this concept of It Will Cost You Everything......has really hit me this week.  It hasn't been harder necessarily.  Well, I mean we only had one appliance break this week ;).  The kiddos haven't been any "harder" to deal with this week.  I think it is more because recently I was asked why we adopted.  At first I gave my "stock answer" we first adopted because we wanted to have children (I had cancer when I was 8 and a total hysterectomy).  Once our eyes were opened to the need- 163 million orphans worldwide- we decided to be open to that need. 

Both of the above answers are correct!  There is nothing wrong with them.  They are indeed why we have adopted our 9 beautiful children.  On a personal note I think I have realized is deeper than even my compassion and yearning for all children to have a home.  It is one of commitment to the Lord.  Of saying this is something I can do for Him.  I love children.  I love my large family.  I want to serve them and my husband. 

I am FAR from perfect, or even the best.  I get upset.  I lose my patience.  I don't want to keep giving sometimes I just want to hide in the closet.  I roll my eyes back at my kids.  I don't take the time I should to listen to them every time they come to me with something. 

But, my children......they are my living sacrifice to the Lord, imperfect though it is.  My service to them and in turn to God is what I do.  What I want to do for Him.  I want my children to know, to be healed, to be redeemed by the ONE WHO DIED over 2,000 years ago for them, for me! 

When I am tempted to give up and throw in the towel- I try my best to remember my adoption cost Jesus everything!  Praise God HE STILL CHOSE ME!  In turn.....I choose to keep going.  To keep sacrificing.  To keep saying God I can't do this- HELP!  To keep saying.....I am not perfect, but I will continue to give all I can.  IT WILL COST ME/US EVERYTHING AND IT IS WORTH IT!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sometimes it is just well.....crazier

 As you know I have to have some crazy pictures first right?  So here you go- this is my life.  My husband cut this out of a package.....and so the fun begins.  A few days ago- this is what we found......
 On the seat of our toilet- Yep!  Welcome to my life ;).  Praying nothing explodes here- come on we just fixed the septic!!!! 
 There was a quick redo of rooms.  This is what happens when on top of all the other crazy happening in our world-( GO HERE to read up if you lost count of everything so far)- you just decide well let's just play switcharoo!  :)  So here is what we did..... 
 This is where our 4 girls slept.  A little crowded, but they loved being together.  The only problem......we have some rowdiness going on a lot of the time because......well ya know.  So I had the idea that if we split up the rowdy- it may be less rowdy?  :)
 This was "the babies" room.  Although Joanna had been switched to a "toddler bed" and had sometimes slept in the "big girls" room. 
 This is all the extra stuff thrown in our room while we were "switching". 
 Empty room- seems very strange!!!! 
 Note- the one fan blade looks different.  This was the skill of our girls- they took off the fan blade and put it back on- upside down.  Talent!!!  Especially without a screwdriver! 
 So now.......these two are together...... in this room.....
 And Joanna, Abigail, and Michael are together in the bigger room.
 Yep, doesn't match- oh well.....pretty sure it is ok! 
So continuing with crazy- this is our life theme right?  This past weekend.....

1)  The wall in our boys' bedroom - leaked.......awesomeness.  We thought we had fixed it, but with little to no rain for months (which is very weird for Florida) we found out we hadn't.  Back to the drawing board, with more digging, praying, and coming up with another plan.

2)  Our water heater- died.  Awesome right?  So we had to go buy a new one.

I want to say first of all- PRAISE GOD for people who have given to us without being asked.  There are seriously NO WORDS!!!  We have been blessed beyond measure with people who love and care for us, have seen our needs and given.  I think before our adoptions began I would have been offended.  Like a prideful - we can do this on our own kind of thing.  HA!  Adoption changes that in you pretty quick, because whether it is monetary or not- NO ONE can do it on their own!!!!

I Praise God because I believe our dear friends to be sincere in their gifts, and honoring to the Lord.  They would die if I mentioned them at all, but I wanted to just say God has a way of providing.  We thank them and God for providing for our needs.  We have been able to fix everything without debt!  PRAISE GOD!

To those who wonder how we can afford 9 children.....answer - God has always provided.  HA!  Not for everything I want....although I wouldn't say no.  BUT always for everything we have needed!  

So today even while my hubby has totally been a rock star- through his shouts of "NOT ONE MORE THING"- is outside installing our water heater.  He has spent time learning how to, bought a few new tools, and is hard at work.  How did I ever get this blessed??  I discovered that the only thing sexier than a husband who plays with his 9 beautiful children is a father to 9 who is willing to do whatever he can to fix things around the house even if it means a lot of study as well!  :)

So take a challenge with me- READ AND PRAY PSALM 23 - 7 or more times EVERY DAY THIS WEEK!!!  It was a challenge from our pastor- love it!  So come will be fun......God can always be trusted to change our hearts to HIM. 

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday Joanna Faith Wright

 Happy Birthday to you.....Happy Birthday to you.....Happy Birthday Dear Joanna......Happy Birthday to you!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
 I want to give you a quick recap of our story- How Joanna came to us.  All of our children's stories are miracles- there is NO HUMAN explanation I can assure you, and Joann's story is the same.

Once upon a time there was a mommy and a daddy and 7 beautiful children!!!  (great start huh?)  They were matched with a little girl they named Naomi Caroline from Ethiopia.  They had prayed, raised funds, prepared their hearts and home for this precious daughter to come home soon.  Then they got an unexpected letter from USCIS in the mail while they were overseas visiting family in England.  This letter stated in other words of course that we did not make enough money to adopt another child.  When we tried our best to prove to them that indeed although our salary was not huge, but we had all our housing and utilities paid for- they would not accept that, and said denied!  (In other words our USCIS person needs some Jesus- Desperately!)
 This mommy and daddy were heartbroken beyond belief!!  Had we heard God wrong?  What could we do?  Was there another way to adopt?  I mean we already had "too many" children to foster any more children.  Surely we couldn't do a domestic adoption???  I mean we had 7 children!!!!!  I would totally pick my profile, but would a mother be that confident in a person who had 7 children already??  What could we do??  Our hope was gone, and we lay in disbelief and depression. 
 Until.......I found another blog.  A blog of a person who adopted their 10th child!!!  WAHOOO!!!!  Faith restored, and talked with Tracie Loux - Christian Adoption Consultant!!  She said it was possible to adopt even though we had so many beautiful blessings....could this really be???  After speaking to Tracie on a Friday.....Monday rolled around and she called back asking if we had filled out any paperwork yet. we had a retreat group that weekend, and hadn't had time to think about it.  Why??  Oh there may be a situation already??  What???

As it turns out- there were 3 within a 24 hour period of time!  We cried with JOY!!!  We signed on immediately, and prayed hard.  God showed us a situation that was not to be our child, but then showed us JOANNA's situation!!!! 
 People there is NO explaining this- without God.  There just isn't!  We talked excitedly to Deb OKane from Mother Goose :).  We booked flights, filled out a bundle of paperwork, changed our homestudy, transferred money, filled out and scanned more paperwork, made arrangements to be gone, went to Walmart at 4am on our way to the airport, had a flight delay in Louisiana due to a crazy hail storm!!!  I mean- this was CRAZY!!!!!!! 
 BUT GOD!!!!!!
 Sometimes, in our lives it seems like God has somehow failed.  We look at our lives and say- See God!  I told you so!  Why did you do it this way?  This doesn't seem fair!  This isn't right!  We didn't have a bad motive, why didn't this work out the way we planned, hoped, and dreamed??  WHY!!!!!

Then God says, man makes his own plans......

Psalm 20[a]

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
    and accept your burnt offerings.[b]
May he give you the desire of your heart
    and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
    but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
    Answer us when we call!
 God knew and heard our call of distress!!!  He knew all about our broken hearts!!!  He knew our daughter was going to need us, when, where, and all those details.  The hardest part is saying- Whatever for You God! 
 He knew that on this day 3 years after Joanna was born that she would have a light sword fight with daddy and laugh and be silly!  Now I don't know about you, but sometimes when things are going crazy- this is a HUGE comfort!!!  I MEAN HUGE!!!  Because God knows our hurts, our hangups, our weaknesses, our strengths, our selfishness, our love for others, our hearts, our minds, all about our spouse, and all about our children and future children! 
 This- our beautiful "stork drop" miracle baby girl who lights up a room with her sassy charm!  Our bundle of complete joy and craziness.  The little baby who never wanted a pacifier, didn't do tummy time, didn't like baby food, has never wanted to go to anyone but mommy and daddy, and she has a crazy sense of humor.  We know God totally sent her to remind us - ummmm we are not perfect parents ;).

Yet, since bringing her "twin" home we have witnessed a bond, a love so deep, and a sense of giving in her sweet heart.  Oh, she has her moments as well, but she is just a huge blessing to us! 
 I can tell you that a little  over 3 years ago.......we needed a miracle.  We were devastated when the miracle we wanted didn't happen, but GOD!  God knew the miracle that would be ours!!!!!
 Happy 3rd Birthday Joanna Faith Wright!!!!
We love you our little boo boo!  :)

**Side note: Now working for Christian Adoption Consultants- Love working  with others walking crazy journeys and praying with and for them!!!  God has brought us to a place where we get to share in the joys and heartaches of others too.  I give God thanks for allowing us to do this and pray that He uses us to connect children and families :).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

5 years ago today.....Happy Adoption Day Joshua, Sarah, and Elizabeth!

 Time sure flies!!!  I can't believe that it was 5 years ago (yesterday) we walked into court and said YES to be the forever family for Joshua, Sarah, and Elizabeth!!  It was a lonnnggggg 3 year road of many ups, downs, and when I thought my head was spinning out of control to be honest. 
 Seeing my sweeties happy and a part of our family brings me great joy!  I love them so very much and would go through the uncertainties all over again in a heartbeat! 
 Because now I know.....but we didn't always know that is for sure! 
 We didn't know that this young man who is devastatingly handsome, loves to read, play with legos, has a great imagination, is protective of his family, loves his siblings, is a Jesus follower, who ripped right through daddy's new flowers with a bike off our front porch that first day he came to our home, would even be with us today.  BUT HE IS AND WE LOVE HIM TO BITS AND PIECES!!
 And this young lady- full of  life, almost 9, can charm everyone with her fun and crazy ways, who loves to entertain others, loves to sing her heart out, loves to dress up and dance, is happy to give others a hug when they are down- just at that moment you feel sad, who when she first arrived in our home was sleeping.....awwww.......
We soon learned of her big personality and how much she loved testing everything, but that smile!  That smile and her loving ways melted us! 
 She has so much JOY in those eyes of hers.......
 I love seeing her grow in beauty and her love for the Lord! 
 Elizabeth was our "surprise package" as she came to us in the middle of the night- literally!  I will never forget Joshua and Sarah's BIG EYES & JOYFUL VOICES- "MOMMY!!  DADDY!!!!!  SHE IS HERE!!!!!!"   It was better than Christmas Day when she came to our home.  They LOVED having their sister with them.  That day is etched in my mind forever. 
 These 2 are inseparable!   They do pretty much everything together! 
 Elizabeth......our little bundle of energy.....she is crazy, has a song in her heart and out it flows, she has a true joy in her life as she zips around like a butterfly, she is beautiful, loves Jesus, loves to dance, and loves to snuggle and cuddle! 
 She has a loving heart, and we love seeing her as she grows into a young lady. 
 Back then.....
when they first came into our lives.....
we didn't know.......
we didn't know........
we thought it would be for a while........
TODAY we know! 
We know they 3 years of pain, joy, heartache, and love is here to stay, but then we didn't know.......
 I praise God for their birth family, and I know the road was hard for them as well.........
 I also know that the pain caused when families can't stay together is hard on everyone- the birth families and the foster parents.........all stuck in situations that can be tricky, difficult, and undeniably crazy. 
 Today though we celebrate the fact that God allowed us to foster our children!  To love them when they needed us.  We also celebrate the fact that we were in the right place at the right time with open hearts to say......we can be their forever family as well.......when we were needed.  That is a hard thing to do.  Many don't answer the call because - let's face don't get any appreciation from the world, or the social workers- we had some that were pretty rude to us, or the judge- we have had them yell at us and say all kinds of nasty things to us too, we even had volunteers that said we had no business being foster parents- because we had the wrong skin color. 

So why did we do it then?  It was for the children!  It was for God!  If it was for ourselves or to please others- DO NOT BOTHER!!!  You won't get probably won't even make it through the classes. 
 There were times I thought my life was falling apart at the seems- ok millions of times!  Things NEVER go as planned- ever.  God knows though, and HE alone brought us through.  I am more than thankful that HE DID!  That we were able to keep our eyes on HIM! 
 And it was worth every tear, every time we were told you are crazy, every time the plan changed again, every time we had a social worker, judge, or CASA worker that was rude to us.......because WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN!!!!!
 This was Joshua's dessert for the day!!  Cinnamon cloud- cool whip, pudding, and cinnamon graham crackers. 
 It was too thin to set a candle in it- so of course he pretended to blow out the candle- :)  LOVE THIS HANDSOME BOY!
 Sarah's choice.....lemon meringue pie!  YUMMY!!!!! 
 **Yes by dinner we were in our PJ's again, because the kids decided to go swimming even though it was a bit chilly outside!
And Elizabeth had cheesecake!  All 3 were excellent choices!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes we definitely have a lot of dessert on March 19th every year!!!  ;)  HEY, THIS IS A DAY WORTH CELEBRATING!!!

Happy 5th Adoption Day- Joshua, Sarah, and Elizabeth!!!!