Praying and Waiting (3)

So it has been just over 2 weeks since we sent out our first adoption letter to our family and friends. This first letter basically was to make everyone aware that Jason and I intend to pursue adoption. In this letter we had stated we planned to research foster care and domestic waiting children. However since writing that letter we have felt God moving on hearts and just saying “Be open…. anything is possible through me.” I wont lie the cost of international adoption is extremely intimidating but God is bigger then us and we want to keep that in mind. That being said, we HAVE NOT decided on any one program. But when we attend our meeting we plan to go in with open hearts and minds and are going to allow God to direct us wherever he sees fit.

September 8th…… it has felt like this day will never come! I have been trying to appropriately filter what information I take in from sources on the internet about adoption however that has been EXTREMELY difficult. My mind does seem overwhelmed with possibilities and places we could potentially adopt from. But as far as international goes we have focused on Africa. It’s one of the few places that has countries where we’d meet the requirements to adopt. Africa has always been a place I dreamt to adopt from. Why wouldn’t it be ya know? The people are kind and beautiful with some living in extreme poverty. We would love to bring our child home from Africa if that’s the Lord’s plan. Lot’s to pray about 🙂

I also have started reading The Connected Child and am really learning so much from this book. I would even recommend parents reading this who haven’t adopted. Especially if you feel like you are at the end of your rope with your child. It is so good and has so many creative ways to communicate with your child and vice versa and it emphasizes respect both from children and parents. Since it is geared toward children with emotional impairments and attachment disorders they do not use any kind of corporal punishment and discourage the “spare the rod” techniques. (For your healthy biological children I’d venture to say a spanking here and there is not gonna kill them, haha.) But I have been able to use a lot of their advice with the girls and seen positive results. So it’s been great! Not sure what will be next on my reading list but if any one knows a good book on adoption I’d love to hear about it! 🙂

Continue to pray for each step our family takes. Pray we would find the right agency to work with if it’s not Bethany. Pray we would find the right adoption program. We want only to be used by Him for His glory.

Praying and Waiting revealed

Actually you all probably received the letter so it’s not really a “reveal”. It’s more just me putting it in my blog to keep track of every step. And for anyone who by whatever small chance might be reading this that doesn’t know me. This is the copy of the letter we sent out to our family and friends. If you’ve read it, scroll down and read something I posted of another families amazing story from the momma’s blog. 🙂

Dear loved ones:

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to adopt. It’s something that I know the Lord had placed on my heart at an early age and I have always intended to follow His leading on the matter. Jason and I agreed before we had children of our own that eventually we would adopt. Lately I’ve just felt the Lord telling us “Now is the time”. At least to start researching and becoming more knowledgeable on the topic. It certainly seems like an overwhelming decision. I already have felt “Man it’d be WAY easier to get pregnant!” but the point isn’t to just have another baby, (though that will probably come in time too 😉 ) the point is that the bible instructs us to take care of orphans. {Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. James 1:27 True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us.} I believe the Lord calls us to serve and portray HIS love in many different ways and some feel called to adopt. Jason and I feel very strongly about adopting. Because I am already a mother and will be in this “season” of life for the next 20+ years, I think this has a lot to do with why I feel called to foster and/or adopt. I’m here, taking care of and loving my biological children, why not take in and love a child that desperately needs a place to call home.

This is what we have been praying and waiting for. At first I was anxious and ready to go overseas and bring home a baby. Save the world one child at a time I guess. But through out this time of prayer my eyes have been opened to numerous things. There are many different routes you can take with adoption. There is infant adoption (domestic and international), there is state adoption (usually older children, sibling groups, or special needs children) and there is fostering to adopt. There are also many different costs and processes associated with each kind of adoption. Ideally we would love to adopt a baby internationally but the reality is infant adoption is expensive and there are a lot of couples who are willing to adopt babies. We know there is a great need for families who are willing to adopt children that have been in foster care. And we feel this is the direction God is leading us in.

It’s not a fairy tale. It’s not about bringing home a perfect, healthy, baby, and having a perfect life with our perfect family. It’s a way to exemplify Christ love. And that is not always easy but it IS gratifying being obedient to Him. There are so many children waiting to be adopted. And I wish we could adopt them all. But that’s not realistic…… However, we CAN do our best to love the ones God brings into our lives. And that is why Jason and I have decided to look into fostering and state adoption (children waiting).

The bottom line is that we want to do what God wants us to do. His will is perfect and we know what He wills will be best for EVERYONE, including our existing family.

In September, Jason and I will be more seriously looking into foster care and adoption. This will include our first information meeting with Bethany Christian Services September 8th. After our first meeting, if we feel confident in moving forward, we will be required to complete a 2 hour orientation and then 20 hours of IMPACT training. Once we have done those things we will have a home study and upon completion of a home study we should be approved to foster or adopt. If we move right into adoption it can take on average 9 months to have a child placed with you. Fostering obviously is different and can either be temporary or a permanent placement and could move much quicker.

We have already been praying for these next steps, the emotional and mental preparations, praying for wisdom and guidance along the way and also for who ever God brings into our family whether we end up fostering or adopting. Our biggest prayer is that who ever does come into our home would feel loved by us, our family, and most importantly by Christ.

We’d like for all our loved ones to join us on this journey and pray for our family along the way. We welcome questions, if you have any. If you know someone who would be interested in praying and hearing about this, please feel free to pass it along. You can also follow future updates on the process at our family blog, but I will try to send out email’s when anything “big” happens. 🙂 It’s for Him and Him alone.

For His glory,
Katie and Jason

Through out the course of this time we have been surrounded by many people who are involved in adoption in some way. It’s been a blessing to hear their testimonies and eye opening as well. We know adoption/fostering is no easy task. But I read this wonderful blog Good To Be Crazy that you MUST check out. Specifically there Once Upon a Time Story I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this part of her story because she made such a wonderful and convicting point that I took very seriously.

She says ” The little family had big dreams. They dreamed of building a big, beautiful home on the lot of their tiny 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house. They dreamed of taking their two childen on exotic, international trips every summer. They dreamed of country club memberships and educating their children at the very best private schools in Atlanta. The Mommy dreamed of upholstered furniture and custom window treatments for each room of their home. The Daddy dreamed of a lake house and early retirement and expanding his stock portfolio.

And then one night in the midst of all this dreaming the Lord gripped our hearts – both mine and Dan’s at the same time (what a blessing!). He gripped our hearts, gripped our faces in His beautiful hands and said to us… “My children, do you really think I went to the cross for THIS? For your abundance? For your comfort? For you to live in outrageous luxury in comparison to the rest of the world?

Do you think the point of your life is to make things as easy and comfortable and as fun as possible?

If so, you are missing it. You’re missing your calling and you will miss the blessings I have for you. Because this life you are dreaming of is not the Christian life – it’s just man’s invention and it’s called The American Dream.”

Reading that hit me and confirmed even more that we needed to pursue adoption. And we needed to look at those children that NEED homes. Not specifically a pretty little girl or a handsome little boy, that could resemble us, and has no medical or behavioral needs.God does not have a “criteria” for this so why should we? We need to leave the door WIDE open for God to work. (Something else Shelly states in her Once Upon a Time blog. Seriously, read it, it’s so good!)

Anyway, I’ll wrap this up with some verses that I hold tightly to.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2, NLT
 
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 ESV
 
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13 NIV 
 
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV

Happy Birthday R!

R turned three years old today. My girls are getting so big so fast. I miss my babies. When M turned 4 I wrote a poem for her, but then my computer crashed and the poem disappeared. So I’ve decided from now on to write in a blog something special about them on their birthday. Here are some of the sweetest things I remember of R before turning 3.

Things R says:

  • Before bedtime, “When I’m done sleeping, can I eat pancakes and watch a movie down the stairs?”
  • R: “Look at all the goosedid!” Jason: “It’s actually geese. When there are more than 1 goose, you say geese.” R: “Look at all the Geesedids!”
  • Every morning R alerts me, “M’s awake!”

Movie titles by R, can you figure out what they really are?

  • Bapunzel
  • Deskipableme
  • Sound Mcnusic
  • BeggieTales

Place’s R enjoys going:

  • ChickNlay
  • ChuckNcheese
  • Plublix
  • The Pool
  • Anywhere you can pet puppies and kitties

R’s favorite food:

  • Cold turkey dogs…..even in the morning.
  • Cinnamon raisin English muffin
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Anything that YOU are eating, when you are eating it.

Things I love about R:

  • You’re sweet smile and your willingness to always show it.
  • How you tilt your head for pictures, every time.
  • Your hugs and when you sweetly tell me with out prompting “I loves you mommy.”
  • Your sensitive spirit and your love for life.
  • How much you love your big sister.
  • How you eat your hot dogs, just like your daddy. Cold with no bun, skin first working your way to the middle. It’s gross to watch but I love it.
  • I love how you sing, ALL the time, and make up new lyrics to the tune of “Firework” or any song for that matter.

God has blessed me richly with sweet and beautiful daughters. I love you R and pray you will grow into a beautiful woman who serves and loves the Lord with all your heart and soul. Happy 3rd Birthday!

About to open presents from Graham Grans and Diane and Lu.

She has been wanting a baby to take to the pool and play with in the tub. Thank you Gran Diane and Aunt LuLu. 🙂

Now she can look just like “Bapunzel!” Thank you NeeNee and PawPaw!

Pretty birthday girl!

Twins!

 

A new park and swimming

So our cousins told us about this great new (to us) park and we went there yesterday. Jason and I played some disc golf (I know, we are too cool!) and the girls delightfully tagged along with us. Because Georgia has a little more to offer as far as natural landscaping and terrain, there are beautiful rolling hills, trees, rocks, and ponds all in one area. We had a lot of fun being out in the beautiful sunshine and walking up and down the hills. Quite a work out too! I definitely plan on going back there with my good camera and taking some family photos, but for now, here is what I took on my iPhone.

We also are enjoying are last few weeks at the pool. I don’t think I blogged about M recently learning how to swim. Last summer she took swim lessons but it was obvious that she was going to have to do it in her own time. This summer we just let her go to town with her floaties on. Enjoying being able to keep up with the big kids and not worrying about her learning how to swim with out them. Then one day a few weeks ago, she decided she wanted to practice with out them. You could tell she was determined. Her biggest fear to conquer with swimming was getting her face and head wet. It’s always been an issue even in the tub. It’s amazing I’ve kept her hair that long considering she has always hated having it washed. She started to build her strength up and was able to swim AND keep her head above water. But I think she figured out she was doing herself a disservice by insisting on not getting her head wet and within a few days she took the full plunge. Everything had to be her choice in her time but when she was ready she did it. And look at her now!

Yesterday she decided she was ready to jump in the pool. Even when she wore floaties she didn’t like jumping from the edge into the water. When she would, it was really a pathetic excuse for a jump haha. Here is a photo of her jumping in by herself without any coaching from any one. I wish I had video of us watching her while she scoped out the water and calculated exactly how she was going to make this jump. She is VERY careful with every decision she makes. I hope that characteristic sticks around through adulthood. 🙂

I’m so proud of her. It’s so cool when you see your children make progress in things you wondered if they’d ever come around to learning. Way to go! This is a perfect example of how sometimes as parents we have to sit back and let our kids achieve things in their own time.

R isn’t far behind. I’m sure next summer she’ll be swimming with the big kids. 🙂

Wrapping up visits and a very last minute birthday party :-)

We are coming to the end of summer and have had our last round of visitors. The last 3 weeks have been so much fun with everyone coming up from Florida to see us. And no offense to ma and pops or Linda and NeeNee BUT I have had the most fun with CJ and Jamie coming and all the kids. I think mostly because OF the kids and seeing how much fun THEY have had. Because let’s just get real, it’s a whole lot easier having grandparents come to visit than other people with children. When the grandparents come it’s more of a vacation for ME. 🙂 But we have so enjoyed Keith, Damien, and Riley and of course I was thrilled to spend some time with my sweet sister-in-law and brother. I just love my family and feel so blessed to have the kinds of relationships that I do with each member. 🙂

Ryann and Damien playing on the cupcake app.

Bathtime! Sorry Keith, you’re just a little too old for bathtime 😉

Jamie and I went down to the Marietta “Square” and window shopped.

SO back tracking, CJ and fam came in Thursday afternoon and we had already made plans to have some Georgia friends over Friday and play on the make shift, giant, visqueen, slip-n-slide. 🙂 But on Thursday evening Jamie and I decided that it was the best time to throw a birthday party celebrating Damien and Ryann’s 3rd year. Damien’s birthday was actually on Friday and Ryann’s is the 14th.

At 6:00pm Jamie and I went off to Party City, Dollar General, and Wal-mart to get all the supplies to throw this totally last minute shin dig. Nicole also supplied lots of left over party favors and we used whatever we could find around my house. To clue you in on just how last minute the birthday party was, no one we invited even knew we had turned it into a birthday party. Akwaarrrddd. hahaha But honestly, I’d rather do it that way because my kids do not need birthday presents (except maybe from Jason and I and the grandparents)  and even when you say “No birthday presents please” people STILL buy them. So it was actually more of me trying to be sly and not clue people in on the secret celebration they were attending. We just want your PRESENCE 😉

Here is how it all turned out.

We decided the cutest, easiest “cake” to do would be the ice-cream cone cupcakes. And then we made individual mini cakes for Damien and Ryann so we could personalize them. The cupcakes were super fun and SUPER easy.

As you can see we used funfetti cake mix and I used about an ice cream scoop full of batter and poured it into the cone. Then carefully set all the cones on a baking pan and stuck them right in the oven.

We did lose one cone that was already cracking before I even filled it with cup cake mix. But other then that the cones held up nicely. You bake them according to the normal cup cake directions on the box.

Once they were done and cooled I used Betty Crocker Cupcake Icing.

We decided it would be fun to leave the sprinkles off and let the kids add their toppings.

The table decorations came from all over. Table cloth was $1 at the Dollar Tree. And so was the Happy Birthday sign. As you can see I used the cool Paint Brush Flowers from Micaila and Georgias party and gotta have some M&M’s in clear vases 😉 I had some left over tissue paper and hopped on Youtube to find how to make the blue and yellow “flowers”. Nicole provided the ribbons and baskets and vuuwwaaalaa.

Props to the party planning committee 😉

And here is the cake that I made special for Ryann. I dyed the buttercream icing a little with yellow food coloring and then I used an idea Jamie had to cut out circles from some cookies to make the flower (since I’m terrible at drawing). I used Betty Crocker writing pens to color the flower and write Ryann’s name. And this year it not only turned out pretty cute but it tasted good too! It’s always better to set your standard low when making a cake because then you wont be disappointed 😉

Jamie did a terrific job on Damiens spider man cake. She’s much more talented than I in the baking department 😉

Here are some photos from the slip-n-slide fun.

Hattie and Riley 🙂

Riley trying out the jetski, lol.

Yummy watermelon, they actually were passing each others back and forth, haha!

The birthday boy getting a push from the birthday girl 🙂 so sweet.

Some of our guests…..

Aly’s little boy Jeremy

Aly’s hubster, Kyle and their daughter Jemma. 🙂 Love that little girl!

Aly and me 🙂

Micaila on the Monkey Bars!

Time to sing!

yeah we made a few extra cakes with their initials on them lol

You can never have too much cake on your birthday 😉

Keithster

This was at like 10pm and I’m pretty sure it was her 3rd hahaha.

Her cute new bakers outfit from Aly and Kyle.

And that just about wraps up the party. Turned out to be quite a fantastic evening. Happy Birthday to our babies that are growing up so fast.

If you’d like to see more pictures from the party or hear it told from another perspective check out Jamie’s Blog 🙂