Sunday, September 27, 2009
Growing up, I was raised a Catholic. We were one of the families that went on holidays to church though. Most weekends we were up at our cottage on the lake and Sunday morning as soon as the sun came up, we were playing on the water - - - we were definitely not in church.
I became a Christian when I was nearly 31 years old. It took a move to SC and the help of my church family that got me to consider it. I know God moved in me, but the Body of Christ got me to the right place at the right time, so I was in a position to receive. A position to accept. A position to ask. A position to understand. A position to realize that I even needed something more than I already had. I needed Jesus Christ.
Prior to becoming a Christian, I never really considered whether or not I would go to heaven. I just thought that when I died, that is where I would go. I mean, I wasn't the type of person who would go to hell. I didn't feel I was "hell worthy". I guess I never stopped to consider whether or not I was "heaven worthy". At the time, little did I know, I was not "heaven worthy". I'm so glad that at 31 years of age, I finally stopped and pondered that question as to whether or not I was heaven worthy, because I was not. I still am not, but thank God, Jesus Christ is, and He stands before God on my behalf. What a friend!
I believe that there are many Catholics in the world who are Christians. I'm not saying that you can not be Catholic and be a Christian. I just know that, having been raised in a Catholic church, that getting there is a lot harder. I don't need the priest to get to heaven. I don't need to confess my sins to anyone but God, and the only person I need to go through is Jesus. I don't need the pope. I go straight to the Holy One Himself. The one and only. I don't need to be baptized, although I have been out of obedience. The only thing, the only ONE I need, is the Lord Jesus Christ! Thank God, I am saved. All it takes is faith. Faith in Jesus Christ. I'm not sure I would have learned this lesson in the Catholic church. I truly believed God put me in a place, arranged my circumstances and placed people in my path who would tell me about the truth.
I'm very thankful today for Anna's scripture verse, and what it has meant to my life!
Now a quick update on the home study and the rest of the weekend. The home study went really well. It went LONG, but it went really well. We met our case worker and she was wonderful. Very informative. She was great with the kids. She interviewed Tim and I separately, then each of the kids separately, and then Tim and I together. We had a really great conversation with her. The kids gave her a tour of the house, and then she was on her way. Unfortunately Cameron and Anna missed Cheerleading and football on Saturday due to the home study, but I think the home study was a bit more important.
After the case worker left, we headed out to run a few errands. We stopped at Koh1's and got some super great deals. I had to get some personal things, and had to get Anna some pajamas. Also, while I was there, I wanted to take a look at some water goblets. (By the way, the kids for some reason think "goblet" is a very funny word) We went in the store with a certain amount of cash. As we were walking toward the cashier, I told Tim that it seemed as though it would be more than what we brought in. But if it was, that was fine, because I brought in some extra money in my purse. So, we checked out, and of-course it was over, and I went to get the extra money out of my purse, and suddenly the amount changed to much less than what we originally brought in. The lady behind the counter had a 20% off coupon for the day and she scanned it for us. Cool!!! That was awesome to me!
Today has been pretty relaxing. Tim is out for an evening run. I just finished ironiing both of the kids' uniforms for the week, and now I think it is time to relax.
The cool news on the adoption is that as soon as the home study is done, we will be ready to file the immigration papers. I have nearly everything completed for our dossier, so when the home study is done and we get immigration approval, we will be good for our documents to go to Ethiopia!!!!
Gotta run! Time to relax!
In Christ's love,
Friday, September 25, 2009
Tim just found Anna's Nintendo DS. We have been looking all over for it. I initially said I was not going to look for it, because I have told her a million times to put it away - somewhere safe. She never does, so I was going to teach her a lesson. Then I felt bad. So, I started to help her look. I couldn't find it, so I gave up. Tim found it in the car under the floor mat. He asked Anna how much it was worth to her, and she said she would give him $1000 for it. Man! I should have looked harder!
Cameron and Anna got some shots today. They got the chicken pox booster and the flu nasal thing. I guess they were really good about the shot. Good for them! That just means that my kiddos are growing up. Thank goodness we have another little one on the way or I might go through withdrawl.
Tomorrow is the home study! Pray that all goes well with that. I'm sure it will be fine. It's just a new agency and not sure how everything will go. I always get nervous and it is never a big deal.
So, now I'm tired. I'm going to relax and watch some television. I'm more of a morning cleaner than an evening cleaner. I'll straighten up in the morning. It will smell fresher then anyway :)
Excitedly in Christ!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Guardians - confirmed!
References - sent in
School reports - ordered
Fingerprints for FBI criminal background check
Cameron and Anna Physicals
Copies made of family pictures
We're getting close!!!!
Cameron had a football game tonight. We watched his B-team game and stayed to watch JV because Tim was working the concession stands. I sat back and watched Cameron play football with his friends on the side yard. I loved watching him interact with them. They were some really good kids.
Anna.... well, everyone loves Anna. Everyone KNOWS Anna. She just has that magnetic personality. Young kids love her, Cameorn's age kids love her, older kids love her, even adults love her. She never met a stranger. She had fun tonight.
Oh yes, and Pearl. She had fun as well. Since we went straight from work to the game, we packed a "picnic" dinner. Sandwiches for everyone, chips and a drink. Well, Anna had a cupcake as well. She ate half of it and then set it on the bleacher. I had taken Pearl over to see a special little boy who really wanted to pet her, and on the way back, we walked past the cupcake and Pearl snatched it up. I dug it out of her mouth, but she got quite a bit of it! So, I guess she had her dessert before she even had dinner. Oh well... it was her first and LAST cupcake!
What a fun day!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Someday you will be home with us, and the years will pass and you will be old enough to read this on your own. Until that time comes, I will share this dream, these thoughts with you as often as I can, as you go to sleep, as you eat, as we play. I will share with you just how much you are loved and how much you were loved, before we even knew who you were.
I was listening to a song the other day and in it it said how a child is loved and known before they are even born, before they ever "were", they are known and loved by God. Adoption is so much like that. I guess that is why it many times is used to represent God's love for us. We are adopted into his family. He loved us before we even become a part of His family. I bet He waits anxiously for us to accept Him and become part of His family. Just like we are anxiously awaiting the day you become part of our family. With adoption, you are loved before you are known. You are loved for the daughter you will become. You are loved for the person you are - without even knowing who that person is. You may even be loved before you are born. Sure, at that point in time, the parents are in love with an "idea", but that "idea" becomes a person, and for us, that person has become you. You are part of our family already. God left and prepared a place for us. We have a place prepared for you sweet Sara. I think that is what I will call you when you finally arrive. You will be my "Sweet Sara". I truly can not wait for you to get here!
Your dad and I have been waiting and wanting you for a very long time. I would like for you to know that adoption was never a "second chance or second choice" for us. Adoption has always been our first choice. When your dad and I were dating, I talked to him about adoption. I had already adopted your sister Anna, and I asked him if he felt he could adopt her and treat her as his own. He obviously said yes, or we would not be married. He did adopt Anna and he does love her as his own. I also talked to him about the possibility of adopting another child. We immediately started to the process to adopt again, as soon as we could after we were married.
God closed some adoption doors for us. At the time, I was very frustrated and discouraged. But that all changed when we decided that we would try to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia. God gave me peace in my heart. He gave me peace with the years and money wasted trying to adopt from other areas. He gave me peace with the time it was going to take to get you home. We had to start the process all over - but something about it was different this time. God, I believe, is involved in this adoption. Any time it takes to go through this process, I'm sure, is His timing. His timing will lead us to you sweet Sara. If it is quick, it is becuase you are already there, waiting for us. If it is slow, it is because maybe you are not even born yet. Who knows? GOD KNOWS!!! I'm counting on Him, because HIS timing is perfect.
It makes me sad, sweet Sara, to know that you will leave a place that you currently call home. It may not be, in my mind, an ideal home for you, but it is still your home. You are spending your time right now getting used to the smells, the sounds, the "feel" of Ethiopia. You are getting used to the taste of food from your home. I will take you from all of that, and I know it will bring a great deal of anxiety to you, and that truly makes me sad. I also know that someday you will realize that you suffered a loss. I'm grateful to know that at least I will be there to go through it with you. I surely won't understand, but I will be there for you. Your dad and I both will be. I know we can never replace the mother that God allowed to carry you, but we can become great parents to you. I hope the love of our family will somehow help soothe the loss in your life. I hope our love overwhelms you and covers you. I hope we make a difference for you.
We will never look the same physically, but you will always be our daughter. We didn't come from the same place, or experience the same things, but you will always be our family. I feel it already. God has plans for you sweet Sara, and I don't know what they are, but they must be great to bring you from all the way across the earth, into our home. We will teach you about the great God that brought this family together. We will teach you how you are ultimately HIS child and not ours. We are just entrusted with you for the time that you are here. Hopefully, during that time, we will have the opportunity to teach you about the God that loves you so much, and that we will be able to experience with you, accepting Christ into your heart. I'm not sure that there could be anything sweeter to a parent than that.
While you wait for us, sweet Sara, I hope that you are happy. I hope you are comfortable, healthy and warm, and that your belly is full. I hope that when you cry at night, that someone hears your cry and looks after you. I hope that when you are hungry you have someone to give you food. I hope that when you are tired, you have a soft, warm place to sleep. When you come home, your dad and I will give you all of these things and more. I will rock you when I feed you. I will give you warm baths and let you play in the tub. Dad tells real good bedtime stories (just ask Anna), so he will do that for you. Don't let him sing to you though, I will take care of that. Dad tries, but he's not the world's best singer :) I'm not either, but again, I try.... I can't wait to take you out in the warm sunshine and play with you in the grass. I can't wait for you to meet your brother and sister, and your step-brothers. I can't wait to take you to church. So many people there are already praying for you sweet Sara. They want you home quickly as well.
I want to brush your hair and make it so pretty. I wonder if you get bows in your hair now. I will put bows in your hair. You will have a closet full of pretty dresses. You will have your very own room - painted by me, with love, with only you in mind. You will have hugs - more than you can imagine. You will have kisses, more than you can count. When you cry at night, you will have a mom and dad to come and soothe you. When you fall and get hurt, we will be there to kiss it and make it better. We will wipe the tears from your eyes. We will never be able to make all of your hurts go away, but we will try with all we have to give you everything we can to make your life good. We will give you a good education, in hopes of a bright future for you. Most important, we will give you family. There is nothing more important than family - a family that includes God!
Your dad and I will do our best to teach you about the country you came from. Some day, we will return to Ethiopia with you. You will see the land you came from, the people who will I'm sure, be so much like you. You will no longer speak the same language and you will have different life experiences, but I'm sure you will sense a connection. I will stand back and watch you in your country, and be blessed that you were brought to us, to our home.
I'm bursting with excitment to get to the point where we know YOU! All in good time though. All in God's time. Until then Sara, I hope you are warm and comfortable. I hope you find things to giggle and coo at. I hope someone teaches you to clap and you enjoy it. I hope as you learn to walk (if you are that old) that you have someone's pinky's to wrap your small hands around while you learn. I hope someone finds time to snuggle precious you every once in awhile. I hope again that your belly if full and you are warm. I hope you learn the warmth of a hug and the look of love in someone's eyes. We can't wait to bring you home. You are loved!
Mom (desperately waiting for God to show us our daughter!)
Last week, I was thinking about the fact that I really need to show thanks more often. I really, truly am thankful for the people who work for/with me. They put in lots of hours and sacrifice time with their family to make sure we can make the medicine that we need to make to save peoples' lives. Especially at this critical time right now, when we are gearing up to supply the world with Tam!flu. They put in long, stressful hours, and I truly am thankful to them.
I have a little surprise for them next week. At our staff meeting, I'm giving them each a gift to share with their family. I thought it would be nice to show my appreciation by giving them something that they could do relaxing with their family. It's only a small token and doesn't compare to what they have given lately, but I hope it will show them that I appreciate them and their time. I got each of them a gift certificate to a nice local restaurant and a gift certificate to the movie theatre. Again, it doesn't compare to what they do for me, but it does show them that I care and appreciate them.
Now, they all need to get back to work! I would apprecaite them even more if they were HERE!
The manager that is out, and one of my people are out in California on an audit of a supplier facility. They were out at the beach/pier yesterday as they got to California early enough and didn't have to audit until today. I think I heard chuckling in the background as I was conveying my string of work questions. They seriously need to come back to work!
I really do appreciate my job and the people I work with. They are great! Sorry I forgot to be thankful yesterday. It's hard to do that from under the covers :)
In Christ (full strength)
Monday, September 21, 2009
I'm done complaining now. I'm going to go crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head like none of this is happening.
Maybe tomorrow will actually be better!
In Christ, (totally surviving only through Him)
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Anna had a great cheerleading day yesterday. It was her first time and she looked so sweet. She cheered at the 9:00 game. Cameron's game was not until 12:00. I had quite a bad headache, so I didn't make it to Cameron's game, which is why I only have pictures of Anna. Tim was there though, and he said Cameron did great. He scored three out of four touchdowns! GO CAMERON! Here's Anna's first cheerleading picture:
Next weekend we have our homestudy. Whoo-Hoo! It will be so nice to get that done! Please pray for our family as we continue down this adoption road. I am so looking forward to our daughter coming home and being with us.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I think Anna had a really nice birthday.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
On September 16, 2003 in Yangdong (Guangdong Province) China, a little girl, a princess was born. No one knows her given name, if she was given one. No one truly knows her birthday. What I truly know is that she was born for a reason - to be my daughter - and she is a true blessing.
She was not born into wealth or even anything close to that. She was born and for reasons unknown to any of us, she was left. The reasons for being left can be speculated, however, no one really knows. I'm not going to share where she was left, because that is not important, and quite frankly, it's Anna's story. But, she made it to the Yangdong Police Station adn from there, made it to the Yangdong orphanage.
The workers there guessed that she was just two days old when they took her into the orphanage. I have a picture of Anna from that very time. I know it was from when she was very new, because she still has her little, black-haired, cone-shaped head. I can tell it is her by the shape of her lips and by her bright, big eyes. What a sweetie.
About the same time as she was entering the orphanage, I was getting paperwork ready. I was a single mom, with at the time, a 4 year old little boy. I truly believe a seed was planted in my heart years and years ago, and God grew that seed. Right after I became a Christian, it burst into fruit. He made it so I could go! I got my home study ready and got immigration approval. My dossier went to China and was logged in on Feb. 10, 2009.
It was difficult to wait for my little girl's referral, but compared to the wait now, it was a very miniscule amount of time. On July 30, 2004 I received the referral of Dong Ai Yi. A beautiful 10 month old little girl. When I saw her picture the first time, I cried. She was sweet! She was beautiful!
On October 4th, 2004 I boarded a plane and traveled to China, with my then 5 year old in tow. We met Anna on October 8th, 2004 and had our Forever Family adoption day on October 9th, 2004. We were a family of three.
Anna has changed so much over the course of those years. One thing that has never changed though is her stong will and stubborn personality. Boy did I get the right little girl! She remains a beautiful little girl, both inside and out. She has a sweet spirit and a very generous heart.
Anna has also been blessed with a wonderful dad, and Tim has been blessed by her. She is loved beyond measure.
Since this is my week to make a conscious effort to remember to give thanks, I'll do that here. I thank God for Anna. I thank God for how she came to be part of my family and how He knew she would be mine before she even was. I'm thankful that there was never a time when she was truly alone. She may have been without a mother for a period of time, but she always had a Father - God was always with her. I'm thankful to China for allowing me the opportunity to adopt this little girl. I'm thankful to God for giving me the finances that allowed me to bring her home. I'm thankful for the opportunity to share the gospel with her and raise her and educate her in a Christian environment. One day I hope I have the opportunity to be thankful for the fact that Anna has asked Christ into her heart. I'm thankful for Anna's birthmom - that she chose to allow Anna life, rather than choosing an alternative end.
Happy Early Birthday Baby Girl!
Mom and Dad! (and Cameron too!)
Sunday, September 13, 2009
So, I thought a good way for me to do this, would be to have Scripture Verse Sunday. Anna gets a new bible verse every Wednesday and has to recite it by the following Wednesday. So, obviously by Sunday, I have memorized the verse. Why not spend some time thinking about it. Really trying to understand what God wants me to do with it, instead of just reciting and helping Anna get a good grade. Further, I could discuss it with Anna as we do her hair in the morning, instead of just having her recite it. (we have MANY a good discussion over braids in the morning. From becoming a "new man" to explaining how Jesus got from the cross to heaven and is alive again). Truthfully, I love taking a bible verse and applying it to my life. Applying it to the lives of my children... and I LOVE writing about it.
So, let's start with this week and I'll post a new one every Sunday. This weeks' verse is
Psalms 118:1 - O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good.
Memorized it.... now what do I do with it? Put it to good use, I say. We were discussing bible reading and memorization in Sunday School class today. Reading the bible and memorizing verses is all well and good, but the only thing that really counts, is God's Word in action. So, what does "Action" mean for this verse. What does ACTION mean for me with regard to this verse.
I need to take more time to be thankful to the Lord for all He has given me. I am not thankful enough for all I have, all I have the opportunity to experience, and for all He has done for me. I think I have said it before, that I tend to share the woes of my life. I spatter in a joyful burst here and there, but normally I move past those quickly and the bad stuff stays with me for awhile. God gave me all of it though. Good experiences, bad experiences. Some of it was brought on by myself and He allows me to travel through it. It's a consequence of my wrong choices.
God is good. Always. No matter what. No matter how difficult my circumstance. No matter how good my circumstance. God is always there, and God is always good. I ought to thank Him more. For everything. For my salvation. For His SON. For the fact that He loves me. For the fact that He is good and that He does not change.
I need to come into His presence with Thanksgiving in my heart and enter His courts with Praise. I don't do that. I cut to the chase. I figure "God knows I love Him and all that stuff. I don't have to say it. Let's just get to where we need to be in the discussion". What if I approached it a different way. What if I approached God with so much thanksgiving and praise that MAYBE, just maybe, sometime if I got around to it, I would then ask Him my petitions. I need to approach my God in that manner.
So, in terms of this week - my week to live out "O give thanks to the Lord for He is good" - what is that going to look like? It will be an intentional remembering of everything I have and all that I am thankful for. It would be remembering that even though I have a terrible eye condition - I'm not left alone. It's thanking God for carrying me through this far and leaving me for now, with the sight I have. Thanking Him for showing me that He will carry me, even when I feel like I can't deal with another change in my sight. Thanking Him for this adoption journey. Two years and two countries unsuccessful, but He changed me in the process. Oh how He changed me.
Maybe I will update you on "Want Not Wednesday" of how my Scripture Verse Sunday in action has been going. It's easy to say on a Sunday evening, sitting in front of the computer how I will be thankful all week. It's another story when we have a Monday workday, a Tuesday full of evening practices, Anna's birthday on Wednesday, Thursday football games, Friday children pick ups, and looking forward to a Saturday and Sunday of being on the road both days. Still, I need to find time to Thank God for all He is. God is Good.
I have an interesting story to share tomorrow. I have challenged myself - and God was involved. I will share how tomorrow.
On one final note - I'm so excited about the thought of my Sara Joy! I'm thankful to God for leading us to Ethiopia - to our daughter - Sara Joy!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
In Christian Love,
Monday, September 7, 2009
Here's a picture of Anna in the flower garden and one with my cousins Erin and Jessica.
The wedding is beautiful, and I'm so happy for David and Elizabeth. I think they will be very happy together! Elizabeth is a very sweet girl, and David has always been a great young man.
The trip was a bit eventful, but it all worked out. We were to leave Friday morning at 10:00 for the airport, and Cameron woke up that morning with what appeared (and turned out to be) pink eye. We had to get him to the Urgent Care center in time to get an antibiotic and get the Rx filled and get on our way to the airport. We managed, but it was close. While we were on the plane, Cameron was so conjested, he almost got sick. It took us two hours to get 20 miles from the airport, so we missed the rehearsal, but made it to the dinner. Like I said, the wedding was beautiful.
Now we are back home and getting ready for another work week. Thank goodness we had the holiday weekend, because we need the recovery time! I ended up getting sick while I was there and am feeling really under the weather today. It's nice not to have to be in work today.
Adoption update: Tim and I were approved by our new agency and turned our homestudy documentation in. We should be able to set up our home study here shortly. I'm gathering all of the dossier documents, so by the time our homestudy is done, I'll likely be ready with our dossier documents. We will have to wait for immigration approval, but then we will be ready to go. I'm hoping that within three months, we will have everthing ready to go. I guess I will set the target though for the first of the year. That should be realistic. Here's to hoping that everything moves quickly. We are ready for our Sara Joy to come home! We are going to start looking for furniture soon for Cameron's room. We have decided to move all of his furniture into Sara's room (since we were thinking about getting Cameron a full sized bed anyway). She will have a twin bed with a trundle. We will get her a new comforter and curtains and things like that. It just made sense to give her Cameron's furniture. It is only a couple of years old and looks like new. It will be cute in her room (and will fit her room well) with a nice girly bed spread. It will be nice. I'll keep posting pictures as we go.
Next weekend.... Anna's birthday! Not sure what to get her yet, so I guess I better start thinking hard about that!
Hope everyone has a great Labor Day!