We truly are a family redefined. We are husband, wife, son, daughter, step children, biological and adopted children and most importantly, Children of God.

A friend pointed out that I needed to update my blog header. After our adoption from Ethiopia, I had updated it stating how the adoption of Sara Joy completed our family. Well... the journey continues. After much prayer, we have decided to follow what we feel is God's calling for us...we went to Ghana with the intention of adopting a four year old girl, Isabella Hope. Little did we know that she would be the catalyst to bringing home not only her, but her half brother and sister. We will now be adding not only Isabella Hope to our family, but also Mary Grace (9) and Gilbert (6) who we will transition to the name Nathaniel Timothy. The shock is wearing off and the JOY and EXCITEMENT are overwhelming. Now truly, our family is complete. The great part of journeying with God, is that it's always an adventure. He knows where we are going, and for us it is all a marvelous surprise. Looking forward to sharing our family adventures as we walk daily through life and as we venture off to Ghana to bring home Mary, Nate and Isabella! It's always an adventure redefining our family!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Have you heard????

Yesterday I was sitting at the computer, catching up on some e-mails and I came across one from my agency.  It said that CHINA IS NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SINGLE WOMEN FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN!!!

I was so thrilled!  Obviously, I'm not a single woman anymore, but when I adopted Anna, I was.  China had a very limited number of adoptions that they would allow to be processed for single parents.  Somehow, by the pure work of God, I managed to be one of them!  It was not too long after I got home that the doors closed to single parent adoptions in China.  God got me in and got me out.  God led me to the right agency - because had my wait been much longer, Anna would not have come home to me.  God was just written all over that adoption. 

Having somewhat of a disability myself, I am not in a position to adopt a special needs child.  We struggle sometimes right now with all of the running around we have to do with regard to Dr.'s appts for three kids, school activities, sick days... things like that.  Since I am not able to drive, all that is left in Tim's hands.  It becomes difficult.  I don't feel that Tim and I would be able to knowingly commit to the requirements of a special needs child - but we do know full well that at any point in time, something could happen to any one of our children, and we would have to be there to take care of them.  Not an issue - not even a question.  We just couldn't make that choice to do it.  Not with my situation.

That being said, I have always had a heart for special needs children.  Having a sister who has special needs probably placed that in my heart.  My mom said that I was very aware of it since the time I was small.  I would defend my sister and not allow people to "stare" at her, or make her feel "different".  To me, she was not different, she was my sister. 

I strongly feel as though I was led to write about this today... that it would stir something in someone's heart.  I can't adopt a special needs child, but I can advocate for their care!  There are children in all countries, not just China, that are dying to be welcomed into a family.  They are the "less desirable" because of their special needs, but they are the greatest in need of our love and the love of a family.  I don't know much about a lot of the special needs, but I know families who have managed cleft lip / palate, albanism, club hand/foot, burns, deaf, blind even medical status such as HIV positive... it can all be managed.  And there is a CHILD behind that special need.  Some people look at the special need and forget the child... for each SPECIAL NEEDS child, there is a special needs CHILD!!!

If you have ever had the desire to adopt a special needs child.. if you ever had that tugging at your heart but just tucked the idea away.. maybe now is the time to pray and ask God to lead you in HIS direction.  Maybe now is your time, and maybe now YOUR child is waiting!  Maybe your child is in CHINA!

If you want a recommendation for a great agency, give me a shout and I'll give you a name!

In Christ,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Fingerprints" and "Footprints"

Before I write about my "fingerprints and footprints", I want to say thank you to Michelle.  I don't know Michelle and I have no way of getting in contact with her, other than this blog.  Michelle visited my blog and left me a comment the other day.  Michelle - your comment really touched me.  You are the reason I want to write.  You are the reason I want to share about ADHD.  Young ladies like you who have overcome!  Young children who are struggling to overcome.  Young ladies who are destined to success due to their sheer determination.  I will continue to write for people like you.  I'd also love to hear more about your story.  We can be an encouragement to one another, and others can learn the truth of ADHD.

Now, onto my fingerprints and footprints...the other day I went up into Cameron's room.  Ugghh, it was a mess.  Clothes all over the floor.  Bed not made.  Footprint. 
I went to Anna's room.  Much the same.  Her bed was made, but her room was a mess.  Footprint.  I walk past the office, and it's a mess with Anna's clutter.  Footprint. 
In the den there are little pieces of junk (leggos, stylus from the DS, minature DS games) inbetween the cushions of the couch.  Fingerprints. 
And Sara, she is not immune because she is so small.  Oh no!  I walk into the bedroom, barefooted of course, and step on one of her small legos!  Fingerprint. 
I clean the kitchen from breakfast, only to walk in there and find "stuff" - glasses out on the counter, wrappers from something on the butcher block...fingerprints.  Laundry - just when I think I'm done, Cameron tells me he didn't empty his PE bag so I need to wash his PE clothes.  Or, better yet, since he changed at school and threw his clothes in the car and didn't bring them into the house when we got home, I need to get those out and wash those too... footprints. 
There is a wasp in the hallway that was killed with a book and then just left (under the book)...fingerprints.

I was very frustrated recently with all these little "fingerprints and footprints" around the house.  I wanted to walk into a room and have it be clean.  I wanted to clean something and have it remain clean for more than 5 minutes.  What would that be like?  I cleaned up the "fingerprints and footprints", knowing that they would be back. 

Then I remembered the days before kids.  I remembered what that would be like.  Before the days of fingerprints and footprints.  I remember the days when I would get dressed for work and wouldn't end up with spit up on my shoulder or jelly fingerprints at about knee level on my pants.  I remember having time to get myself ready for work, have a leasurely breakfast and get only myself out the door.  I remember sitting at the dinner table and not having sticky spots on the table or crumbs all over the floor from messy little ones.  I remember being able to eat a meal and not have mine get cold because I'm busy feeding a little one, or getting a drink for someone, or reminding someone that they need to eat their veggies.  Days of not assisting with 6th grade homework or projects.  Days of not having to help with money addition and coin recognition.  Days of not having to try to teach a little one the difference between her elbow and her eye.  I remember not having to bathe anyone but myself....

It sounds like I had it made when I didn't have little ones... but I didn't! 

The days of me caring about sticky fingerprints at knee level are over.  When I'm at work and I notice the little bit of food on my shoulder because Sara wiped her face on my shoulder on the way into the bathroom to wash her face, I smile.  It reminds me of the blessing I have in that little girl.

When I walk into the kitchen and find milk left out on the counter for hours and it's starting to stink - I sigh smile happy that I have the wonderful children that I do... and at least they are drinking milk!

I've learned that the fingerprints and footprints of life do not matter.  A spotless house is not the be all and end all.  So what if I have a little bit of something on my clothes?  What matters are the fingerprints and footprints that my kids are leaving on my heart.  The crud in my hair because little hands hugged me while they still had peanut butter on their hands... sure, it's a hassle, but those little hugs are fingerprints on my heart.. things that I will remember forever.  When my kids are sick.. sure it's a hassle and I get sick of wiping snotty noses and forcing medicine down throats - but the joy that comes in snuggling up with a sick child to make them feel better... they are the footprints on my soul. 

I don't know what you get to take with you when you leave this earth.  I know it is not physical things, I know it is not money or status... but somehow, I hope I take the fingerprints and footprints that have been left on my soul by my precious family with me. 

I need to remember that the next time I step on a lego!!!

In Christ,