Saturday, May 30, 2009

Matthew Joseph Wright

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So this is our miracle number 3....born at 5lbs. 14oz. He looked like a baby doll, and because he was soo light in that carrier/carseat compared to Andrew when we switched him to the "toddler" car seat a month was completely odd. We kept he in here?

So here is a miracle all 3 of our children in our home now.....would eventually become ours....eventually! So Andrew's adoption would become final about 2 months after this picture, but Matthew's case still went on for another year. We literally finalized his adoption 2 weeks before we moved to Louisiana to the camp where we are now! Talk about God's timing and not our own!!!!!!
So here he is my Mama's boy to the T. He won my heart from the first time we saw him. The good part about his case in the social work system is that the biological mom wanted us to have him because she knew that we would treat her well, and so we got to meet him the day he was born (same birthday as his biological mom). It was one day before Thanksgiving....what a great miracle to be thankful for!!!!

The crazy part about his case was that the biological mom went through a really tough time as well. She had some shirt tail relatives that really took advantage of her. I won't go into too many details, but it was not ok! When that all fell by the wayside there she was all by herself, again. I have a deep empathy for her. She was abandoned at the age of 8 herself, and shifted from foster home to foster home. How can we expect her to know what a family is? The real problem was her depressive disorder that was made worse by her use of certain other chemicals.....

Well, this boy is a comedian, charmer, and has such a petite tiny frame of a just draws you in!!!! He loves to make others laugh with such a dry sense of humor. He can say all kinds of funny things with a straight face! It is great! He loves to cuddle too which is great for me.

He loves trains!!!! He is excited about any kind of train, and as a result has a lot of Thomas stuff. I was worried when Jonathan came home he may be jealous (he would no longer be the youngest boy), but he loves being a big brother. He even wants our next child to be a boy...our response - we have no control over what God decides.

He is just such an easy child....the kind that we needed after Andrew's colic. Thank you Lord for that!!! Wow 3 beautiful children!!!! How could we be any more Blessed??? Well, continue checking back in for the continuing stories.........

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Giving Thanks To God For Our Hannah Grace

What a roller coaster ride we have been on over the last year or so. We finalized Joshua, Sarah and Elizabeth's adoption in March 2008, and by the end of March we were already applying to adopt through All God's Children.

In May of last year an email was sent from AGCI about a little girl that they wanted to find a family for. She was only a few weeks old and she had multiple special needs, including severe scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and spina bifida. I have to admit that Dawn is the one who sees the faces of the children and falls in love first, then she leaves their pictures on the computer screen for me to see, or she shows the kids how beautiful a child is, wins them over, and then I have to cave in!

After seeing this little girl for a few days and letting the Lord speak to our hearts, we felt moved, and with joy asked AGCI about her. At that time we were informed that another family were interested and were gathering more information about the medical prognosis. After feeling so moved we were disappointed for ourselves that maybe we were too late. We waited (impatiently) and after what seemed like forever we got a message on our machine saying that the other family had chosen not to pursue adopting her. We were so overjoyed, ran back to the computer, looked at the pictures, and kept dreaming again...... (Ever done that over your child?)
So, one year ago, this very week, after falling in love with a beautiful baby girl, we requested the referral of Lidya, whom we chose for her the name "Hannah", which means "Grace", so we felt the name Hannah Grace would be perfect.

Knowing the medical situation was serious, doubled with excitment, we moved as quick as we could to do everything. We're talking Homestudy, dossier, training credits, fingerprints - you name it all achieved in a matter of just about 3 weeks (Thanks to Dawn's amazing ability of pushing it to get it done, as opposed to my gift of procrastination). We were on the way! Our doctor was very concerned that we needed to bring Hannah home as quick as possible, as she would need lots of specialized medical attention, including surgeries, so with her help, and the gracious help of AGCI, as much as possible was being done to bring her home.

The next few weeks of the summer were hard (The waiting), not that we had much time to twiddle our thumbs as we are in full time camp ministry, so July was busy, and with bugging our senator, and USCIS to make sure everything was being done, as well as having to make changes to our letter of favorable determination to include a child with special needs! We were at least on the home stretch! We had notification that we had a court date!!! It was to be on August 4th. We knew we'd be traveling and holding our baby girl within weeks.

On Friday July 25th, just 10 days before court we received a call from AGCI to let us know that they had received word from Almaz that Hannah had become very unwell, and they were very concerned that she would not survive. This is an excerpt from the email we sent that afternoon:

"Our hearts are just breaking right now, and we have been on our knees as a family praying this lunchtime for her, for those giving her care and for strength for our family. Why does this happen so close to us bringing her home? We are yearning to hold her, to tell her she has a mommy and a daddy and six brothers and sisters, and that God loves her, made her and has a beautiful plan for her life. We have pictures of her in our home, we've been buying pink outfits for her, our kids talk about Hannah Grace all the time and are so excited to meet their new sister. We are wanting the best out of this situation, but fear the worst. We know she's in God's hands, and right now there's nothing physically we can do about it, just pray and wait.."

We felt so helpless, yet utterly dependent on God's strength. Isn't it crazy that after we heard the news about our Hannah that on that very day in the mail came our I-797C/Letter of Favorable determination form the USCIS. I forwarded a scan of it to Julie at AGCI, and she prayed with us on the phone - wow - an agency that prays with you! The plan was to wait through the weekend and talk again on Monday to see how she was doing.

Then before the day was through we received another call from Emily at AGCI, a call I know must have broken her heart to make, telling us that they had received word from Almaz that our sweet, precious, beautiful Hannah Grace had gone home to be with Jesus.

The utter grief that tore our hearts was the worst feeling we've ever had. We loved this baby girl with our whole heart. Why had we been led by God down this road? Why did he bring her into our lives? Why did we fight so hard and pray so much only to lose her? Why couldn't we have held her in our own arms? I know it sounds selfish, but even now as I type I have tears in my eyes and a sadness in my heart that Dawn and I never got to hold her and tell her we love her.

We know fully now that God took us on this journey to make sure that this little girl, who in the world's eyes did not hold much value, would not leave this world without having a family willing to fight hard and pray much for her, and to claim her in their hearts. Isn't this the mission we all share on our journey together - that each and every child has someone who claims them in their hearts? It's so important for us to do this, not so that we receive the "reward", but that we give selflessly and unconditionally out of joyful obedience to God. In turn the rewards are real and truly "out of this world", and we have a special connection to God through this obedience, however tough and heart-breaking it can be along the way.

So, we will always feel a deep sense of loss over our Hannah Grace, but a deeper sense of joy knowing that God entrusted our family with the responsibility of being a mommy and daddy, brothers and sisters to His precious child. What a privilege and an honor he bestowed upon us. Not only that, but I can barely fathom that through this journey he blessed us not only with Hannah, but also our sweet baby boy, Jonathan Caleb. We could not imagine our lives without him, yet if Hannah had come home with us, we would not have brought Jonathan home. I see it this way: God planned our journey - a special, unique and tough journey to strengthen and deepen our relationship with Him, to not just bring one child home, but to give us the gift as a couple and as a family of two precious children of God: Our Jonathan to bring home into our arms, and our Hannah Grace to hold in our hearts and hand into the arms of our Heavenly Father.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Andrew's Story

So our story starts with the last picture. Actually the story starts with a heartache. You see at the point Andrew was born we were in the waiting period to adopt Abigail. That was would only be about 6 months before her official court date. But for Andrew on the day he was born we were told he would come to us. As directed by the bio mom....whom we had a good relationship with. She wanted her son to be with her daughter-makes sense.

Unfortunately the bio mom has a depressive disorder and she couldn't be released from the hospital unless she went to live with family or someone stable...and therefore she was released to live with her grandma...on the other side of the state. So as the social work system was a different county. The new social worker (who needed a bit of a coming to Jesus Meeting!!) thought that this mom had an unfair deal and that her son should be returned to her inside a couple of months. Well, having knowledge of the whole case thus far...this was not a good or safe idea. Unfortunately!

We waited and waited....had Christmas...but although thrilled about Abigail....longed for our son.........and we waited.....I promise it felt like years! This is the only time I can really look back on my life and claim TRUE depression. Not just a bad month or teary things, but depression. I wrote in my journal that I felt like I was at the top of a high know the cement ones that are really really tall. Above a pool with no water. And I was on the edge. So for any of you who have experienced know what I mean! It was a nightmare.

Thank you Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That nightmare ended January 22nd after the court had happened the biological mother said she was moving back to her original home 45 minutes away. When this happened Andrew (then Antonio) would come to us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I felt Christmas & New Year's and all the Holidays in one moment!!! So excited!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe she asked if we wanted for her to bring him tomorrow or if we wanted to travel the 6 hours to pick him up??? Is that a question???? Hello!!! I replied we will be ready to leave in 15 minutes & be there by you then...(and we stayed at a hotel).

I remember when we arrived at the home of the lady who was fostering him (she smoked worse than a chimney!!! with an infant!!!!- I remember thinking this is not right!!!). Abigail went right over to him and said I love you...and sang to him... "read" books to him....and I was in a dream of loving this little boy I had only heard about. There were months of court dates, visits again...2 times a week with bio mom. Severe colic!!!!! WOW that was a challenge any parent who has lived through that craziness knows what I mean. Screaming over 10hours a day!!!! You rock and rock...and nothing drive them in a car...hoping it will change formulas hoping that will do everything that is suggested...hoping something will work...and then finally one day- they stop screaming!!! Then you know how to say- THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!!!!

Then a little less than a year later- We had an adoption day! And this fine young man who is sooo compassionate, emotional, and courageous becomes yours- on loan from God of course. But you look at his big brown eyes...and your heart melts you smile constantly, and you know that he is a miracle! You think to yourself is this real? And you find out- YES!

He is one of the children that really remembers prayer. When I say that I have read a blog or the yahoo group someone has asked for prayer- He remembers. He is constantly remembering to pray for all of those who don't have a mommy and daddy! Watch out world - He Will Help Save all those beautiful children!!!! When the hurricanes happen here in the south. He thinks about the children who have lost all their toys, clothes, homes, and who are displaced. He is stubborn, fun loving, and full of lots of energy.

We love our beautiful son!! Now 7 1/2 years old...where are those wobbly not yet walking legs??? Gone...replaced with a boy who loves to run, jump, bike, swim, and is all boy!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Furry Adopted Family Member

So here are some pics of our littlest furry friend. Note our tan dog to the right- Teddy is sniffing the new one cute! The puppy is only 5 weeks old?? Left with 6 other siblings in a milk crate in the middle of a gravel road. After losing our wonderful outdoor dog...I couldn't cute it this little dog. Our kids couldn't get enough!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our Abigail

I thought I would share more in depth about each one of our children. So Abigail our oldest sweet girl. She is 9 1/2 and reminds us almost daily that she will turn 10 later this year! She is very kind, honest, loves being the oldest & is a great help to us - daily! She rarely complains and has such a sweet spirit. She loves to lead the other kids in activities, and I just love her companionship. She has a memorization skill that is incredible and if you forget where you put something- she can find it!!!!

She came to us actually through a friend of a friend. We were camp directors in Iowa at the time, and had just finished a foster/adoption class (This was in Feb 2001). Our fellow camp directors knew this and had taken in 4 children all at once through the foster system. Their friend who was fostering Abigail at the time...asked them if they were interested. Because of other things happening at that time, they said no, but they knew of another family that would be- US!!! Praise God for these amazing friends that connected us to our sweet baby!!! So I remember the first time we met her. She came walking down the stairs at our now friends home that were fostering her at the time. She was so cute, and acted like she didn't want to have anything to do with us. She was 14 months old at the time. We had her in our home for a over a year before the adoption was final. In the meantime we had court dates to keep up with...visits 2 times a week in a town 45 minutes away for an hour and a half each. I promise we put so many miles on our car just for visits we could have driven around the world.

But who could resist that face!!!! We couldn't. There were several crazy times in our adoption story. One of which happened within a few weeks of knowing our little angel. The court date came up for termination of parental rights. All possible fathers were notified, and one told his parents...and they petitioned to have blood tests- the day before court!!! Now Abigail had been in foster care for over a year at this point...but you know wait until the last second! So we ended up waiting and waiting and seemed like at least forever! It was actually about 6 weeks!!!!

I remember it like it was yesterday - our friend kept saying on the phone- He's not the dad! He's not the dad!!!! Wow my heart flew out of me and my breath was taken away!!! We of course called everyone we knew and celebrated!! What a relief...she was ours forever...or so we thought. We also had an interview to go through. The interview was to see if we were really the best choice of placement. It was horrible we were both soo nervous. Our social worker at the time (even though at that time it was against the law!!!) told us they would look for a couple that had the same skin color.

SKIN COLOR!!! What you mean skin color determines who is a better parent??? Come on do we not live in the same century???? Thank God that in the end all things were good, and our little angel stayed with us. As of finally!!!! June 17th, 2002 Sheenique became- Abigail Marie Wright FOREVER!!!!

And with that came another surprise, and another, and so on.....but I will save that for later. We are just so happy to have our first of many blessings. We know that God has huge plans for her, and can't wait to see HIM work in her life even more!!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Swimming Fun & Pre Summer Stress

So....our live right now consist of so many projects I think our heads spin just mentioning it. As Christian Camp Directors (we share our job..) our lives are crazy enough...add 7 children and it gets even crazier. So Mother's Day for us was a time to relax in our just remodeled swimming pool here at the camp......YEAH!

So in the above picture this is the girls....running from (the first picture) which is daddy loading up the big squirt foamy thing!! Scary......or maybe just fun to watch!
This is Matthew...loving the goggles look. Is he adorable or what? 6 years old, but just look at the face :)

Then there is the slide...something we added a couple of years ago, but never gets old!

What a beautiful day with my children. Couldn't have asked for a better Mother's Day!!!!
So then there is this last week.....within one week we have of course been working like headless chickens because we have sooo much to get done before staff arrive (a week from tomorrow!!!). It started with our personal computer crashing....then our outdoor dog- Sugar dying- she got hit by the UPS truck.....then as Jason was mowing yesterday the mower hit a rock which proceded to knock out our back window in our 15 passenger van. So this last week has been crazy!!!! One more week to get through until staff are much to do. This is the time of the year when it all hits us.
As a homeschooling family....most people tend to follow a regular school schedule as in they take a summer break when public schools do- us we take a break from mid April - the beginning of June. Then once camp starts- we start homeschooling again. Crazy, but in our home - true!
So if there are breaks in our is only to do with the fact that we are preparing, praying, and working here. Please pray with us for the many campers who will be coming, our summer staff made up of wonderful college type students, us, and of course all of the families affected when a camper makes a commitment to give their lives to God, and to grow in their faith! WE just PRAISE GOD we get to play a part in God's Plan for them!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jonathan's Adoption Party!

BUSTED!!! Joshua are you looking for your brother's presents????? What are big brother's for?

Is this my party??? Cool. I love the chocolate chip cookie cake that daddy made. Does it show? I may not be able to say a whole lot yet, but I do know the word chocolate. Of course it comes out more like....chokick. But hey, it's the cuteness that counts!

Here is Abigail out first child....our Shining Star. How beautiful is that smile? She is very excited about her new brother!!! (Although truth be known she wants another sister too...)

Ok Matthew.....we have to talk about your teethbrushing skills. (Did I mention I like to get silly gifts for all the kids on special days. Well, today it was funny teeth and fun glasses? What can I say.... I am crazy.)

Look at this handsome man! Great glasses, and great teeth! A real ham kind of guy. A great big brother though. Even though when we first brought home his (first) little brother when he was 1....he looked at him with disgust....and walked on by.....Good thing this only lasted a short time. Now he loves being a big brother which is good!!!

So our parties are (almost) no rule days. So pop, sugary drinks, plenty of candy....and they are having a blast!!!! Who could resist those smiles...not me!!

This is Jonathan taking full advantage of us not caring that the kids have loads of sugar on this special day!!! Can we say sneaky??? Just found himself a step stool.....and found out that he could see all the snacks....and took what he wanted! So glad to have him in our family!!!!!!

Yep, this is my husband holding our dear friends' baby girl! She is sooo cute!!!! Couldn't wait to hold her, and we were so glad they could come (they work at a camp in MS). So of course being a mommy who wants more children - of course I do!!!!!!! I said...look at that sweet face....don't you want more. Being a GREAT DADDY & HUSBAND- his reply- sure why not.

Our friends hanging out...Jason sporting his Ethiopian outfit...which we both wore. They are soo comfortable! We love them.

Our staff and volunteers love our children!!! It is great for them and us. Not to mention even though we don't live close to family....our children are still Very Very Very Very SPOILED!!!

Now this is our "grandma" that lives nearby. Her and her husband are wonderful, willing, and skilled volunteers- BLESS THEM!!!!! They babysat for us so we could go to our classes to be foster/adoptive parents when we first moved here to LA over 5 years ago now(yep we had to take the foster adopt class again when we moved...long story). They barely knew us, but are we glad that they love our children, and love the ministry that happens here at the camp! They are great!!! She also couldn't get enough of the baby smell & touch!!!
On the left our camp director's assistant....and our only babysitter extrodinaire!!!! She can handle all 7 on her own....she is completely amazing!!!!!! We have no idea what we would do without her! She is handy on a tractor, with our programming, and is a big part of our family. The fabulous young lady to the right....a former summer employee and mama to that cute baby!

Well what can I say....the party was fun. We had people that loved our children there...plenty of sugar for the kids.....and just happy that we have been sooo blessed with Jonathan Caleb Wright!!! It is a huge reminder of how far our family has come, and an indicator for where we are stay tuned for when we will be adopting....again........ (just a hint we can't start paperwork until late in the year...).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My heart Breaks- please pray


Today is not about us, but about our "family- at AGCI, other agencies, the children in Ethiopia, and the beautiful people who care for them". It is about a change in government policy which may be needed, but is slowing down the process for a lot of people who are adopting precious little ones. Ethiopia is wanting to review, change rules, etc. on adoption of children who are "abandoned" (NOT all children being adopted, but a good number). My heart breaks as I read posts, blogs, and just sit feeling so helpless, but I know through God that I am not hopeless- We serve A BIG GOD!!!! One that knows the hearts of the little children He created. I ask that as you read this you will pray for the situation to resolve so children can meet their families and can come HOME! Pray NOW!! Thank you from all of us!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Sarah Joy Wright (Our Princess!)

So yesterday was Jonathan's Adoption Sarah's Birthday. I think it is God's sense of humor with 7 children and having lots of our Birthdays & Adoption days so close together.

So here is our princess- she let's everyone know that her name means princess! She is 5 today which is a hard birthday for me...they are no longer a toddler with chubby legs and they will officially start school (we homeschool- so that is better because I don't have to give them up for a whole day- all week long).

So let me tell you about our sweet Sarah. She is incredibly smart with a strong will. I do mean strong will!!! My mother know that God may have given her that gift for a reason. She reminds me she is praying for us as we bring her up, and that God used me, and I have a strong will too. So I guess it will work out in the end.

So more on our Birthdays & Adoption Days at the Wright Home. We have all the presents on the table, with balloons, streamers, and a white board announcing what special day it is. They get to open the gifts as soon as everyone is up (we are all in our pj's still) and we are ready with the camera.

Chef Jason does a cake to order- including flavor of cake, frosting, and candies on top. Sarah chose chocolate, chocolate frosting, with M & M's on top. So Jason is doing that right now for the evening meal.

Now just look at that face and you can tell- she is just too cute!!!
Because she is also very smart this is a hard combo, but we just can't resist!!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Adoption Day Jonathan Caleb Wright!!!!!!!!

Good Morning...sweetheart!
Jonathan's reply- what are you doing waking me up so early! What is this?
Hey, Jonathan it's your Adoption Day!
Jonathan's reply...leave me alone and no one gets hurt.
My reply...honey we have to get in the tub so we can get ready. I know it's early, but we have 7 children to bathe, do hair, get dressed, and get out the door.

Hello, mommy....your hair is wet...what is this again? Remind me why are we getting up so early? Oh yeah, something called adoption?

Now it's getting better...I just had to give my daddy some kisses...
And so the fun of getting everyone in their matching outfits, getting everyone breakfast, and then out the door continues....

That's better. Now that we all match, are handsome as can be, and of course I am the cutest!!! Look at me go!

Look at my beautiful sisters! They are gorgeous aren't they? I think so, and they give great hugs and kisses too.

Here we our 15 passenger van to the court house 1 1/2 hours away! Yeah!!

Everyone say...Silly Daddy!!!!
Mommy says...Jonathan are you sure you want to go through with this???
Jonathan's response- yeah! (this was actually his response and it was very cute.)

WOW Mommy can't believe it we are all looking at the camera- what a talented bunch of children!!!!!!! How beautiful is this? Of course I am a little biased because this is my new family the judge and the lawyer ok'd everything, and now I am officially Jonathan Caleb Wright!!!!!
How exciting!!!!

I'm so happy I want to kiss my mommy. She is so great! Did you know how much paperwork they have done, how much they have prayed, how many times they had to have fingerprints taken, how much they loved me before they even met me, and then check it out.....they flew to Ethiopia just to meet me, love me, and take me home! Wow they must really love me a lot!!!!

Now we are eating some good grub at Chili's!!!