Not my will, but your's be done.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Updates for the sick ward

I don't have much time, but I wanted to give a quick update on the happenings around here.

-We have ALL been sick at some point last week.  For Josh that point was all week.  I don't know if it was the flu, or just the worst cold ever, but I am glad to be on the recovering side of it.  While we were in the middle of it all I was thinking, "I can't handle one more illness in this household!!"  We are hardly ever sick.  Seriously.  Josh gets the sinus stuff from time to time.  Ray has some allergies that flare up her asthma, so we deal with that sometimes.  And of course, kids get the puke-bug every once in a while.  But other than that, we are generally pretty healthy.  We have had atleast one person in this house sick since right after we commited to adopt Daniel, over 3 months ago!  Uh, ya think it might be Satan trying to gum up the works?  Yeah, my votes is on that too.  I have to admit, it did rattle my cage for a while.  I really got to worrying about what if Luke or Ray gets sick while we are overseas.  Or what if me, Josh, or the baby gets sick while we are in a foreign country.  I was really stressing.  Then I decided to stop letting Satan win this one.  He'd love nothing more than for our adoption to be a complete failure.  He'd love for my Daniel, Parker, and Josslyn to die without ever knowing the love of a family or the saving love of Jesus.  And if he can't stop me, then he would love nothing better than to make me miserable every step of the way.  I'll confess, I had been letting him steal my joy.  But once I realized what I was doing, I said, "Sorry, you big dumb-dumb.  You can't have my kids and you can't have my joy.  THIS battle belongs to the Lord, so just butt out."

Yep.  That's pretty much what I said to Satan.  Out loud.(because you know he can't read minds)  When you have a 3 year old, it doesn't at all seem weird to call Satan a "big dumb-dumb".  Not that we permit name calling in our home.  But sometimes it happens anyway, regardless of whether or not it is allowed.
Moving on...

-I did our taxes.  We are expecting a refund, and since I e-filed, I'm hoping that we will get it soon so that we can apply it towards our adoption.  We still have somewhere between 10,000 and 11,000 dollars to go for our adoption to be fully funded.  I have a few more fundraisers in the works though, if we could just get well around here!  At times I get a teesy bit stressed about not being fully funded yet, because there is a very real chance that we will be traveling 6 weeks from now.  But then I remember how God has provided so far, and I choose to trust him.

-We got our immigration approval paper in the mail!!!!  It was the last document we needed for our dossier!!  It still has to be notarized and apostilled, but after we are DONE!  It came in the mail yesterday(Saturday), so I won't be able to get it notarized until Monday.  Then it will need to be faxed overseas to be checked.  If it passes that check, then we can send it off to Austin to be apostilled.  I hope to send it off to Austin on Tuesday.  I am going to include a pre-paid overnight envelope when I send it, so hopefully I will get it back on Thursday.  As soon as we get it, we will be packing up all our papers and sending them overseas to our facilitator, who will then translate them.  The SDA(Secretary of the Department of Adoption) in EE re-opens  to receive new dossiers on Febuary 10th.  I don't know if our's will be translated in time to be submitted on opening day, but if not, it should be within a few days of that.  I am so excited!!  This huge paperchase is coming to a close!  I almost can't believe it.

Tomorrow will consist of some notarizing(I always bring extra copies because 9 times out of 10 atleast one is done incorrectly...), faxing, and hopefully overnighting some papers to Austin to be apostilled.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blogger Trouble

I am having some trouble with my blogger account, thanks to our email hacker.  Blogger is not accepting my username and password.  Luckily, I am logged in to blogger on my computer, but it it ever logs me out I will not be able to get back in.  I've tried emailing them, but they told me that they can't help me because I didn't provide enough information about my account.  Pray that this problem will be fixed, because if it isn't, once I'm logged out of blogger I will have to start a whole new blog from scratch.  I DO NOT want to do that.  Pray that the issue can be resolved.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Diagnosis for Ray and a Challenge!

I FINALLY got a call today from Ray's urologist's office about her bladder test.  She does have bilateral reflux, which means that some of her urine is flowing out of her bladder back up towards her kidneys.  There can be several reasons that cause this and many different degrees of severity.  All I know right now is that Ray's isn't severe.  I would guess that means she won't have to have surgery.  I have an appointment with the urologist next Thursday to talk about her treatment.  I'm glad that we are getting this all sorted out before Josh and I travel.  Ray got sick again on Sunday afternoon and when Josh took her to the doctor she had yet another UTI, so I am really glad to be getting to the bottom of this mess.  Thank you for all the prayers sent up on Ray's behalf! 

Now for the challenge!  We cannot figure out a middle name for Parker!  To tell you the truth we haven't put a whole ton of effort in to it, but I'd still like some help.  Nothing seems to fit.  His real name is a no go, and I just can't seem to find something that fits with Parker.  Josh wants it to be meaningful, but the few names I've thrown out that have a meaning behind them that fits his situation, Josh has shot down.  I thought that maybe some of you might have some neat idea for a rockin' middle name for him!

We already have middle names for Daniel and Josslyn.  Daniel's middle name is going to be Dawson, after his daddy(Josh's middle name is Dawson).  And Josslyn's middle name has her real name in it, so I can't share it with you until our adoption is final.  It's cute though. Parker, poor Parker, is just middle name-less!  So if any of you have any good names that pop in to your head send 'em my way! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Time for a little Q and A

Actually, Q and A time is probably well over due!  I have been meaning to do a Q and A session for about 2 months now, but never got around to it.  We get ALOT of questions about various aspects of our adoption(and that is GREAT), so I figure that there are probably those of you out there who have questions that you have never asked.  Now that our adoption has changed drastically by adding two kiddos with a very different diagnosis than Daniel, I am sure that questions have all but doubled! 

I know that I won't hit on everything in one post, but this can get us started for now.

1.  Why Eastern Europe?  There are orphans all over the world, including here in America, so why Eastern Europe?
The answer to this question could be a 3 part blog post in itself, so I will just give you the super shortened answer.
That is true that there are orphans all over the world, around 147 million of them actually.   That total includes THOUSANDS of waiting children whom are eligible to be adopt  right now in the United State.  The short answer to "why Eastern Europe" is God.  Plain and simple, that is just where God called us.  I in no way view orphans in the United States, or other various countries, as less worthy of love and a family than the orphans in Eastern Europe.  EE is just were God called us to go.  He drew our hearts there through bringing to our knowledge the fate of orphans with mental and physical handicaps or special needs in EE.  When Josh and I first learned about children with special needs being sent to mental institutions, being viewed as garbage by the society in which they live, or being treated inhumanly due to poverty or neglect and abuse, it was almost as if we heard the audible voice of God say, " YOU go to them."  Something inside both Josh and I changed.  It was more than just feeling bad for them, we were broken.  The heartbreak was unpleasant, espeically when you feel helpless to do anything in your own power.  But amist the heartbreak was hope.  Hope that God was going to use us to make a difference in a child's life.

2.  Eastern Europe isn't a country, so why do you use Eastern Europe instead of using the actual country name you are adopting from?
Privacy reasons.  The country we are adopting from prefers to remain annonymous, so we respect their wishes.

3.  Since your original adoption cost was in the $25,000 ballpark, does that mean that the cost will be tripled now that you are adopting three?
Praise Jesus that the answer to this on is a resounding NO!   The majority of our adoption expenses are related to travel.  Adding Parker and Josslyn added about $8,600 to the cost of our adoption.  There is a $2000 per extra child facilitator fee, a USCIS(our government)fee of $670 per extra child, about $1050 extra per child for their visa, medical examination in country, and passport, and then around $600 a piece for their plan ticket home.  As of right now, we are a little over $11,000 away from our adoption being completely funded

4. Did you have to re-do or add alot of paperwork when you added Parker and Josslyn to your adoption? 
Once again, I am thrilled to say "NO".  We had to add 2 Child Specific Petitions that named all 3 of the children, and we had to update our Adoption Petition so that all 3 of the kiddos were named on that too.  Those 3 documents just had to be notarized.  Since we are already a pro at that it was simple as pie. The new documents have been completed and approved, now they just need to be apostilled.

5.  What do your bio kids think about you adopting?
Oh my goodness, they are thrilled to pieces!  Luke has been begging us to adopt for a while now.  He put his request in for a brother his age.  A black brother named John to be exact.  Once we committed to adopt Daniel, I was afraid that Luke would be disappointed that Daniel was younger than he requested and that he had Down syndrome.  Luke is very familar with DS because of my Uncle Mike.  He adores Mike, but I was worried that a tiny little handicap brother wasn't going to be what he had in mind.  God had prepared Luke's heart ahead of time though.  When we told him about Daniel he was thrilled.  He is so proud that he is going to be the big brother of a tiny little DS boy.  I should have just trusted that God was going ahead of us and preparing the way.  Now that we have added Parker and Josslyn, Luke is just over the moon!  We knew that Ray would be happy about getting a little sister, but she has surprised us at how excited she is about all 3 of her new siblings. 

6.  What is the medical part of your life going to look like with 2 kids with HIV?
All 3 kids will see a specialist in Houston after we get them back home.  She specialized in international orphans.  She knows all the tests to run to check them over from tip to tail.  Once she has given them the once over, Parker and Josslyn will see a pediatric HIV specialist at Texas Children's Hospital.  They will take meds twice a day that helps keep their immune system strong, and they will have blood work done every 3 months to check their levels.  Pretty simple.  Once we get Daniel and he is seen by a specialist, we will see if he needs any kind of physical therapy, glasses, etc.

7.  Are you going to continue to homeschool? And are you going to homeschool them all?
Yes and Yes.

8.  What is your biggest fear about adopting 3 children at once?
The plane ride home!! I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty terrified of it.  Me, by myself, with 4 kids(3 of which do not speak of understand English), on a plane for over 20 hours.  YIKES!  If we can survive that, I can deal with anything back here at home!

9.  Are you and Josh ok with the fact that you will never be empty nesters?
Absolutely.  We know that Daniel will be with us until the day he or we die, and we are completely fine with that.  I have the awesome example of my grandparents with my Uncle Mike to put any concerns to rest.  It doesn't bother us one bit.  I know that special needs adoption of this kind isn't for everyone.  The fact that we are completely fine adopting a child who will live with us the rest of his life doesn't make us special.  This is just what God has called us to do and he has given us a peace about it. 

10.  Are you done having kids?
Haha! We get this one alot!  I don't really have a good answer for you though. Sorry!  That is up to God, not us.  The passion God has placed in our hearts for the fatherless is pretty consuming.  That in mind, I would have a hard time saying that we will never ever adopt again.  Adopting 3 kiddos at once will put us out of the game for a while, but unless God calls us in to full time orphan ministry of some sort, I would imagine that we will adopt again one day down the road.  All that being said, that is just my best guess.  I have no idea what God has planned for our family.  Where we are at right now is somewhere that I never would have guessed we would be ever. Adopting 3 kiddos at once!  Even 6 months ago I never would have guessed that this is where we would be right now.  So GOD is seriously the only person who knows what the future holds for our family.

I know I haven't answered all your questions, but at least that is a start.  Please feel free to email any questions you may have to and I will do my best to email you back or address it here on my blog in another Q and A time.

Have a wonderful evening!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wonderful News for Davids!

A few days ago I shared with you about the 15 year old boy, Davids, who was in desperate need of a family.  I then shared that a family had committed to adopt him!  I just wanted to add a couple of more totally awesome details to his story, for those of you who might be interested.  He was so very heavy on my heart, and I have been standing in awe at how supernaturally things have fallen in to place for this precious young man.

First, when the desperate cry went out across the internet that Davids needed a family NOW, it took less than 48 hours for a family to step up and commit to adopting him. 48 HOURS.  Now that is just amazing, folks.  Beyond amazing.  His story spread like wild fire through the adoption community and he had HUNDREDS of people crying out to the Lord on his behalf.

Secondly, after an amazing family committed to adopt him, it was only a matter of a few days before all the funds had been raised to more than cover Davids adoption.  Mouth. hanging. open. crying. tears. of. joy.  This boy has a future and a hope AND his ransom is paid in full!  God, you are so good!!

Third, Davids now knows that there is a familiy coming for him!! Go here and check out this priceless picture of his reaction to the wonderful news.

Last but not least,(and by far the best of all), Davids is being adopted by a family that loves the Lord with their whole hearts.  Davids is going to be taught about how much Jesus loves him and the sacrifice that he made from him because of that love.  This is the best news yet!  I CAN NOT WAIT to watch Davids thrive in his new family.  If you, too, would like to check on Davids from time to time, then you can go to his family's blog here.  Davids parents-to-be were already in the process of adopting another Lavian fellow, so Davids will have a brother from his native land traveling home to America with him.  I am so excited for Davids AND his new family!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Uncle Mike

Part of the logo at Reece's Rainbow says, "Because every family deserves the blessing of a child with Down Syndrome".  The idea that having a child or family member with Down syndrome and that being a blessing may be a foreign idea to many, but it is something that I am very familiar with.  My uncle(my mom's younger brother) has Down syndrome(let's just go ahead and shorten that to DS now).  I have learned, first hand, throughout my life, what a blessing is truly is to have a family member with DS. 

Mike is more than just a blessing though.  He is a living breathing miracle.  He was born and everything seemed to be normal, but shortly after coming home from the hospital disaster struck.  Mike was sleeping in his cradle when my grandmother went to check on him.  He was black, from lack of oxygen, and was barely breathing.  They rushed him to the doctor.  When they arrived there the doctor said that he was in heart failure and he sent them straight to the hospital.  When they got the hospital they discovered that his heart, liver, and spleen where more than twice the size that they should be.  He insides where so enlarged that they were putting pressure on his lungs and making it very difficult for Mike to breathe.  Mike was not only having trouble breathing, he was burning up with fever.  A nurse came to take his temperature, and when she did, she screamed and ran out of the room.  Several nurses came running back in and poured buckets of ice all over Mike right there in the incubator.  My grandparents later learned that when the nurse tried to take his temperature it had immediately shot to the end of the thermometer.  They will never know how high is fever actually was.  The doctor ran blood tests where it was discovered that Mike not only had DS, but severe lukemia.  The doctor told my grandparents that there was nothing that they could do for him.  He was too sick.  The doctor said that if he were them, that my grandparents should just take him home, love on him, and let him die.  He was so sick that it was anticipated that he would die very quickly.

My grandparents took my Uncle Mike home, loved on him, and prayed.  Word spread all over the area about the sick baby boy.  Prayer requests burned through church prayer chains like wild fire.  People all over where praying for Mike.  My PawPaw fervently prayed and told God that if he would just save Mike's life, that he would devote his life to helping handicap people.

For several months Mike barely held on to life.  Too weak to suck a bottle, my grandmother had to feed him with an eye dropper.  My great aunt had to sew doll size clothes for him because he was so very tiny.  His muscles were as limp as a dishrag.  But still people prayed.

My grandmother brought him to the doctor every week for blood work, and always it was the same.  His white cell count was astronomically high.  Lukemia ravaged Mike's tiny body.  Then one day, when Mike was 4 months old, his blood work came back normal.  The doctor had no explaination, except that his cancer must have gone in to sudden remission, but that it would be back, most likely very soon.  He said that Mike would never be able to sit up or walk or talk, and he wouldn't live past the age of 12(if that long), and it was doubtful that he would even be able to hold his head up.

He sure proved him wrong.

Today is Mike's 48th birthday.  He has lived one of the happiest and fullest lives of any person I know.  He won a gold medal in the International Special Olympics and Arnold Schwarzenegger was the one who hung the medal around his neck.  He has been in books, magazine articles, and newspapers.  He has met tons of celebrities, not to mention, the Queen of Jordan.  He has traveled all over the country and had all kinds of amazing adventures.  Mike is loved by everyone everywhere he goes.  He is like the glue in our family.  The joke, that is actually only half a joke, is that one day when my grandparents die, that we are all going to fight over who gets to have Mike live with them.  We ALL want him.  My PawPaw loves to say that Mike has never had a bad day, and it is a very true statement.  He's always happy.  Always smiling.  Always a joy to be around.  I have had the priveledge of knowing what a blessing it truly is to have someone with DS in my family.  I don't know what kind of family we would have been without Mike, but I don't want to know.

My PawPaw kept good to his promise to God that if He would heal Mike that my PawPaw would devote his life to helping those with handicaps.  That is exactly what he did.  When Mike aged out of the special education program through the public school, my PawPaw retired from his job as an electrician at a refinery and he and my grandmother started a non-profit organization that helps adults with physical and mental handicaps.  They built a center for "special" adults, where they could learn life skills, exercise, do school work, play games, and go on field trips.  The ministry that they provided to those special adults for over 20 years was amazing.  They changed so many lives over the years.  The effects of their love on the many handicapped adults that they came in contact with, has had a farther reaching effect than they will ever realize.  All because of a little miracle boy named Mike.

Every family really does deserve the blessing of a child with Down Syndrome.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Quick Ray Update

I realized that I never posted an update about how Ray's bladder test went on Thursday.   I guess I was so traumatized that I completely put it out of my mind.  When a friend asked me on Facebook today how it went, I realized that it was rude of me to ask you all to pray for her and then never let you know how it went! Sorry!

Thursday was not a good day for me, and it was an even worse day for Ray.  She pretty much cried from the time we left our house to head to Texas Children's Hospital at 8am, until about 3 o'clock that afternoon.  The actual test went much better than I anticipated, but the day in general was just not good at all.  The meds they gave her to sedate her did not sit well with her at all.  She was very angry and irritable on the car ride home.  She did alot of screaming that she didn't love me and thought I was mean.  She also did alot of throwing things at me from the back seat.  And to top it off, she un-did her seatbelt and tired to get out of the car while I was going 70 in the interstate.  Not fun.  The only other time she has had sedation was when she had dental work done 2 years ago.  It had pretty much the same effect on her then too, but not as intense because she was a much smaller person then and easier to contain.  Now we know to never do oral sedation again. Ever.

We survived though and hopefully that will be then end of the tests for a while.  The doctor didn't call on Friday like I was told he would.  I guess I will call on Tuesday, if I still haven't heard anything.

Thank you all for your prayers for her!  She can't remember much of anything from the time she was sedated until after she was home, so that is a good thing.  And she was back to loving me that evening, so we're all good there too.  Thank you again for all the prayers for Ray!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Prayers for Ray

I know this is my second post of the day, and they are both posts asking for prayer.  But I wouldn't ask for prayer if I didn't believe that it worked.  Speaking of prayer working, here is a little update for anyone who happened to read about and pray for the young man I requested prayer for earlier today.  HE HAS A FAMILY!!!  Is that not a miracle?!  God has moved a HUGE mountain on behalf of this fellow, and I, for one, and thrilled that I was able to be a part of this miracle by praying for him.  After reading his story, I was so very heavy hearted for him, and it was balm to my soul to hear that he has a family coming for him.  What a miracle!

Now for Ray.  Her bladder test is tomorrow at 11:00 at Texas Children's Hospital.  They called me on Monday to schedule and I told them that I wanted the first available, since the Doctor had told me that it could possible take 2-3 months to get her in.  They had an opening this Thursay, so I jumped on it!  I am so ready to get this over with and hopefully get to the bottom of this.  Ray, on the other hand, is NOT looking forward to it.  All she knows is that she is going to the Doctor tomorrow, and she is not happy about that.   She questioned me throughly tonight before bed, and I had to dance along that fine line of not lying to her, but not telling her too much. 

I am also pretty upset too.  The hospital called to do all the pre-proceedure questions over the phone today.  In the process of that call, it came to light that Ray isn't really going to be asleep, she is just going to be in a twilight state.  This did NOT sit well with me at all.  Ray was given twilight meds 2 years ago for a dental procedure and they pretty much had the opposite effect on her that they were supposed to.  Needless to say, I am very very upset to think that she is going to be awake during the test.  It is quite possible that there will be a mama bear sighting tomorrow at Texas Childrens Hospital.  Please pray that she sleeps through the proceedure and that everything goes smoothly.  I know it is what is best for her, but putting her through more poking and prodding sure doesn't feel like I'm protecting her from harm.  Sometimes being a mama is so hard.  Any prayers for Ray tomorrow would be very appreciated.  Pray the test goes quickly and smoothly.

Thank you and I hope to post and update tomorrow(about Ray and adoption stuff!)

Urgent Prayer Request!

Take a look at this sweet guy.

His name is David and he is a 15 year old orphan in Latvia.  In 11 short days he will turn 16 and be too old to be adopted.  Shortly after that he will age out of the system and basically be put out on the street.  Please go here and read his story, and then get on your knees and pray your heart out for a miracle.  Pray that God will move mountains to get this young man to a family.  Please pray, pray, pray.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Just in case you were wondering...

what families of 8 drive...

15 passenger vans, that's what!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Your Sunday Afternoon Homework

I would like to share some information about the two newest additions to our adoption. As I mentioned in my last post, we found them on the Reece's Rainbow website. All the children on Reece's Rainbow have a special need of some sort. Reece's Rainbow was orignially set up to advocate for orphans with Down syndrome, but they have expanded and now advocate for orphans with many differnt special needs. Praise the Lord! They are providing HOPE for these children for which adoption is there only hope. What an incredible thing.

Since all the children on Reece's Rainbow have a special need of some sort, that means our two new angels do too. Parker and Josslyn are both HIV+. I know that a large percentage of you who read my blog are already educated about HIV, so this isn't any kind of shocking news. But I am sure that there are a few of you, that those 3 little letters just made your head spin, as it did mine when I first learned that there were HIV+ orphans available for adoption. My first thought was, "Why in the world would anyone adopt a child with HIV?? Aren't folks with HIV sickly, and contagious, and just sitting around waiting to die?" I was very clueless. I have since educated myself, and found that I was completely ignorant on the topic all together. Before judging us, rejecting our precious children, or jumping to any conclusions, I am asking if you will please educate yourself on the topic of HIV too.

After you read the rest of this blog post, please mosey your way over to Positively Orphaned, From HIV to Home, and Project Hopeful, to find out more information about HIV. Or heck, you could just skip my post all together and go do some research for yourself. Either way is fine with me, but PLEASE do some research.

For those of you who decided to stick around, here is just a little bit of information:

-First, and possibly most importantly, HIV is NOT AIDS. For many, the term HIV is synonymous with AIDS. They are two very different things. HIV is the virus that can cause AIDS, if it is left untreated.

-Children with HIV are the same as all other kids, with the addition of daily medication to keep their immune systems strong.

-HIV is now considered a chronic but manageble disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long full lives.

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is NOT spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sharing towels, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming, or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding, and blood to blood contact, such as sharing needles.(Now go back to the beginning of this one and read it again. Keep re-reading it until it sinks in and dispells any fears you may have.)

-Children with HIV who receive medication live normal healthy lives. They can play sports, have sleep overs, go to camp, attend day care and public school, etc. They look like other children and play like other children. They take medicine in the morning and evening. They will have 4 or more appointments a year with a specialist that monitors their blood levels to make sure the medication is working properly.

-The biggest medical concerns for children with HIV is taking their medication and seeing the doctor every 3 months. When they get colds, bacterial infections, and viruses like other children, they can take over the counter medications or perscription medication(Neither of these interfere with there HIV meds.) There illness typically last the same length and are the same severity of non-HIV children.

-HIV+ children and adults who are on proper medication, usually have undetectable HIV. Meaning that the levels of HIV in their blood is so low that it is undetectable.

-Life expectancy is close to normal with proper treatment. Doctors claim that children with HIV can expect to live as long as any other child with a long term chronic illness, such as diabetes, although HIV is generally considered a more manageable condition.

-People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support, and acceptance as all people do. If any one wants more information on tranmission, there is great information on the Center for Disease Control website.

There is a TON of other good information out there about HIV. I urge you to do your own research to set your mind at ease of any concerns you may have for us, our children, your children, or yourself. I was uneasy when I first felt God calling us in this direction. I knew nothing about HIV and I had the typical misconceptions that the majority of people who are not educated about HIV have. After educating myself, I can honestly say that I no longer have any concerns whatsoever about tranmission to my children or others. I would never do something to intentionally put Luke, Ray, or Kellen at risk of harm. We didn't jump in to this on a whim, the Lord led us to these children. We also did plenty of praying and researching before we officially committed to adopt them. We read, prayed, enlisted an awesome prayer warrior, and talked to parents who have already adopted children who are HIV+. Once again, I ask you to please take some time to do some research and educate yourselves before you jump to any conclusions.

Thank you so much for your support and excitement about our newest additions! I can't wait to get them home and watch them blossom!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Here they are at last!!

First we have Parker!

He is almost 5 years old. His Reece's Rainbow name is Parker, and we will most likely be keeping it that. We are undecided on a middle name for this little guy, but we will let you know when we make a decision. His sweet face has been on my heart for a few months now and I am estatic that God is giving me the chance to be his mother!

This little precious love, is Josslyn!

Oh my goodness, isn't she just perfection?! She will be 3 in a couple of months. Her Reece's Rainbow name is Lisa, but we are naming her Josslyn.

I am so very glad that we chose to wait on the Lord in obedience. If we had not, we most likely would have missed out on our little princess. Miss Ray is thrilled beyond measure to be getting a little sister, as you can imagine, and we are thrilled to have the honor of being her parents.

Adding Parker and Josslyn to our adoption has brought us so much joy. I can only imagine what our crazy wonderful life is going to be like when we get our 3 precious treasures home where they belong!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hurry up and wait.

This entire adoption journey has been a walk of faith. Every step the Lord has been nudging us forward, saying,

"Keep going. Move forward. Trust me."

Some times it has been little steps of faith here and there, and sometimes it has been LEAPS of faith. When we knew that God was calling us to adopt Daniel, committing to him was a leap of faith. We didn't have $24,000-28,000 laying around. And short of robbing a bank, we didn't have a way to get our hands on that kind of money either. But we chose to believe the Lord when he told us that he would provided if we would just obey him.

Leap of faith.

We leapt and never looked back. God has kept his hand on us and provided every step of the way, thus far.

In the nearly 3 months since we committed to adopt Daniel, we have felt God pulling our heart in a new direction. Or I guess, expanding our hearts, would be a better way to put it. Very shortly after God called us to adopt, but before we ever found Daniel, or even Reece's Rainbow for that matter, Josh said that if/when we travel to Eastern Europe to adopt that we should go ahead and take that opportunity to save two children. In his opinion, this was going to be a once in a lifetime experience for us, so might as well go all out with it. Make it a 2 for 1. Save 2 lives, and only have to make 1 trip.(Actually, it is 2 trips, but you get what I mean.) I thought this sounded good. My thinking at the time, though, was that an Eastern European adoption was no where in the near future for us. Surely an undertaking like that was a good ten years down the road? I was submitted to where ever God was leading, but if just didn't seem like an EE adoption was going to be anywhere in the near future for us. So adopting 2 children at once, ten years from now, sounded like an excellent plan.

It didn't take long to realized that God did not intend for us to wait ten years before taking the plunge. While I could fathom a domestic adoption at this point in our lives, international adoption terrified me. Once I knew for sure that God was calling us to move forward and work towards an EE adoption, it was a leap of faith to surrender to move forward with what terrified me most. Josh's heart was there all along, and it was his unwavering faith that this was where God was leading us that encouraged me to trust that God knew what he was doing. Even if it looked like he was leading us down and impossible path.

Then we found Daniel.

God's call to us to adopt Daniel was a crystal clear as his original call for us to adopt in the first place. No doubting. I threw my heart and energy behind doing everything possible to keep that little boy from being transferred to sure death in an institution.

Everything step of the way of our adoption journey, God has been telling us to keep moving forward. In leaps and bounds. Over and over he has said,

"Keeping walking in faith, and trust me."

Then I laid eyes on another little boy on the Reece's Rainbow website. I was instantly drawn to him and kept going back to look at him. Every day. Multiple times a day. I couldn't get him out of my head....or my heart. I showed him to Josh, and he was drawn to him also. As the days and weeks went by, I found myself falling in love with this little fellow. I tried my best to guard my heart, because I didn't know yet if God was calling us to adopt him also. Oh, did I mention that he lives at Daniel's orphanage? Well, he does. Adding him to our adoption would only cost around $4000. That is $4000 that we didn't have, but what's $4000 compared to $28,000? We'd be saving $24,000 dollars to go ahead and adopt him now, as opposed to going back for him later. Not to mention, that way back when we first surrendered to adopting, Josh said that if we're going to make this trip we might as well save 2. It only made logical sense to add him to our adoption. Yet, I felt like the Lord hadn't said yes. So I went to the opposite end of the spectrum. I felt like if God wasn't saying yes, then he must be saying no. I tried to put the little man out of my mind. I stopped looking at his picture. I tried to stop thinking about him. If God was saying "NO", then I was going to guard my heart even more to keep it from getting broken.

It didn't work though. I didn't forget about him. I couldn't forget about him. But God still wasn't saying yes. The odd thing was, Josh and I both felt that God had another child for us to add to our adoption. Then, God provided a huge jump in Daniel's grant that would make adding a child to our adoption very feasible. Yet, God STILL wasn't saying yes. I started praying about it more fervently(and enlisted a prayer warrior to pray with me). Josh and I started praying together for guidance, in regards to this little guy.

Then he said it...(By HE, I mean God)



I placed him in your heart. I drew you to him. But wait.

WAIT?! What in the world does wait mean?!


Why wait?! He could be transferred! And we need to update our paperwork! That takes time and we don't have time to wait! HE doesn't have time to wait!

Trust me. And wait.

So I took a few deep breathes. I chose to trust him. And I chose to wait. This whole journey God had been asking us to trust him by walking in faith. Moving forward and trusting him to provide and take care of us. Now he was asking us to trust him and wait.

So we waited. Let me just tell you, waiting is HARD. I had no clue why God was making us wait. By now, we knew full well that this little guy was going to be ours. So why, why, why not just make it official, update the papers, and make our announcement?

Then the Lord showed us his why.

A precious little angel of a daughter was why. It puts a lump in my throat and tears in my eye just to type about her. We had no idea that there was an angel waiting in the wings for us. I was so ready to barrel ahead with my heart. If I had done so I would have barrelled right past her and missed her altogether. I would have gotten so wrapped up in all the technicalities of adding this new little fellow to our adoption, that by the time I could see through the pile of papers, it would be too late to add the little miss. God had us wait, so that we could add them both at the same time, therefore, doing all the neccessary updates to our papers only once.

Isn't God good?

Now the only why I am asking, is why the Lord saw fit to bless me so. I look back at my past and my mistakes, and then I look around my at the children the Lord has given me, here at home, and the ones whom we are adding through adoption, and I don't know why the Lord saw fit to bless me so. God's grace at his fullest.

I will share their names and pictures with you tomorrow. But for now, just rejoice with us that two more precious angels will be coming with us when bring Daniel home!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

To Luke


I really can't believe that it has been 8 whole years since you were born. First thing this morning, your daddy commented that you are half way to 16 years old! These first 8 years flew by, and in the blink of an eye you will be driving. It's hard to believe.

On your birthday I want to tell you thank you. You made me a mother, and that is a gift I could never repay you for. The minute you were born and they laid you in my arms, I knew that my life would never be the same. Having you turned my life around and sent me in a whole new direction. A good direction. I am so thankful that God gave you to me when he did. I think he knew how much I needed you.

You are such a sweet boy that truly has a heart to help others. Whether it is the children in South America that don't have any shoes, or the homeless man on the side of the road, or the orphans in Eastern Europe, you want to help them all. I love that about you.

You are also a great big brother to Ray and Kellen. They are lucky to have to around to teach them all kinds of things. Like how to sword fight, and how to do a flip on the trampoline, and how to hit a bullseye on a target with a BB gun. You know alot of good stuff.

Your daddy and I both pray for you all the time. As a mama, I tend to pray practical prayers, like that God will keep you safe. But your daddy's main prayer for you life is that you will love God with your whole heart and seek his will for your life above all else. I think that is the best prayer anyone could ever pray for you. As long as you do that, you can never go wrong.

Your dad and I are very proud of the young man that you are. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for you in the years to come.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kicking and Screaming

Thanks for the prayers for my rotten day. It is better than it was. Although, it did get worse before it got better. I ended up in the ER last night, and to make a longish story short,(mainly because I don't feel up to writing that much), I have pneumonia. It's a bummer, but I don't think it will have me down for long. Tomorrow is Luke's birthday, so I'm hoping to feel a little better by then. Wouldn't be a very fun birthday to have mom laying around on the couch most of the day.

No update on the hacker stuff. I'm too drained to try to deal with it right now. I'm leaving it up to Josh. He worked all day and probably won't be home until around midnight tonight from work, so I'm guessing that he won't have a chance to check into it further until tomorrow. He is taking a sick day tomorrow to stay home and play Mr Mom so that I can try to rest.

Ray had her appointment with the pediatric urologist today. It went, uh....well, it went. Atleast I can say that. She didn't sleep well last night, so her, um, zesty spirit, shall we say, was in full form all day. She was not a happy camper at home or in the car, but she cheered up when we got to the TCH(Texas Childrens Hospital) waiting room. Lots of toys, books, and movies to keep her entertained. She didn't have long to play though, because they pretty much brought us right back. She did ok talking to the dr, until he asked me to take her pants off. She pretty much lost her religion at that point. Obviously, she is still pretty traumatized from her hospitalization in October. I finally got her calmed down and eventually got her pants off of her, but the drama started again when the dr came back and asked her to get up on the examining table. Then things went from bad to worse when he actually tried to examine her. She put up so much fight, that he finally stopped trying. I guess any furthur external examination that needs to be done they can do when she is sedated for the kidney test.

I call tomorrow to set up her kidney test, but the Dr said it might take a while to get her in. They only do so many tests under sedation a day, because of needing recovery rooms and such, so that is why it might take a month or two to have the test done. I'm kind of upset about that, because I wanted to get all this behind us before Josh and I travel overseas. I am going to be so worried about her while we are apart, if we haven't gotten to the bottom of this problem.

Any way.
I don't really have any kind of good closing for this post and I don't feel like trying to think one up. So, goodnight, will have to do.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A sorta rotten day.

I hate to even say that, really. God has been so good to us that if seems a bit brattish to complain about my minor life issues. And honestly, my day wasn't all that bad. I just don't feel good, and that clouds my perspective. I think I'm coming down with something. The majority of the family has passed around the crud, and I guess it's my turn. Also, the baby hasn't been sleeping great, so being tired can't cause me to misplace my rose colored glasses for a bit. I'm sure I'll find them again soon.

Our email was hacked early this morning. The hacker sent out an email to everyone in our contacts saying that it was Josh and that he was stuck in Spain because he had lost his wallet. We tried to log in to our email to send out something to let folks know that Josh wasn't really stranded in Madrid, but the hacker had changed our password and all of our security questions. Nice. Hopefully it will be resolved tomorrow. All of our adoption paperwork is in a folder in our email. It has ALL of our personal information in it. Mr Hacker-man can do alot of damage, if that is his intent. I'm praying that he was just being a annoying.

Ray has her appointment with the pediatric urologist tomorrow. The kids and I will make the treck over to Texas Children's Hospital-The Woodlands Clinic tomorrow. My mom is coming along for the ride and to help with the kids. When she originally offered to come with me, I thought that she shouldn't because she would have to take off of work, and I am completely capable of taking care of my children on my own. But I said yes and I am thanking God that I did now. The way I feel right now, she may end up doing all the driving and childcare. I'll probably be useless to the world and just listen to what the doctor has to say and nurse the baby from time to time. Thank the Lord for mothers!!

I think I'll go cry now. That'll release some toxins, but probably give me a swell headache in the process. Ok, scratch crying. Guess I'll go to bed then.

Pray the email hacker issue is resolved promptly. If he crossed me right now he'd probably wish that he had never laid eyes on a computer when I'm through with him. Kidding. Sorta.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Florida Vacation Giveaway!

There is a sweet family that I would love to share with you. They are the Eichhorn's and they are adopting two sweet children from Daniel's country. They already have a court date set for January 26, and will be leaving on the 24th to travel overseas. They are in desperate need to the last bit of funding for their adoption. I am asking you to please hop on over to their blog, and if the Lord leads you, to donate towards their adoption. These people have a genuine heart for God and from the contact that I have had with them, they are super sweet. If you donate, it not only goes towards their adoption, but you are also entered in a giveaway for a free vacation at a BEAUTIFUL Florida beach house. Go check out the pictures! They definitely had me drooling!

If you read their blog and do not feel led by the Holy Spirit to donate towards their adoption that is fine. I will beg of you, regardless of whether or not you donate, to PLEASE keep them in your prayers. Our God is a God of miracles, and I just know he has one in store for this sweet family. Be a part of were God is working by praying for this wonderful family.

You can check out the link to their blog and the giveaway here.


In honor of my first born's birthday, which is later this week, I thought that I'd post some pictures that show a little bit of his personality so that you can get to know him better. He's a sweet kid, and keeps us on our toes! One of his many great qualities is that he loves animals. He has had contact with lots of different animals in his lifetime. We have had lots of pets, exotic animals, and farm animals. He really does great with all different kinds of animals. For a while he had a cat named Rose, that acted more like a dog than a cat.

This was his boxer, Pilot. Pilot was his Christmas present 4 years ago.

Pilot was a great dog, but we had to give him away to a new home a few months ago because he liked to eat chickens. Our chickens.

Luke with Rose.

He's a sweet sweet boy and I look forward to sharing pictures of him that showcase his unique personality with you over the next few days.(IF the computer will cooperate, that is.)

Have an excellent 2nd day of 2011!!