Friday, May 28, 2010

Lessons I've learned...

From Braeden's masterpiece "I've been learning by leaps and bounds in First Grade!"

"I have a dream"
I have a dream for a better world.
My dream is to go to Africa to help the children.
I would like for this dream to come true
because I can be proud of my self.

(mommy is already so proud of him just for writing that)

"The tooth fairy"
What does the tooth fairy do with all the teeth?
I think she makes toothpaste out of them.

"Lion and Lamb"
I can be like a lion and a lamb at different times.
Most of the time I am like a lion because I am always
bugging my sister.

"Things to Love"
I love my ant Glinda.
I love my unkol Thad.
I love my dad and my mom.
I love my sister.
I love my brother.
I love my Cosan.

And from the first of the year, a letter from Seth to describe himself to his teacher:
I love science, it is my favorite subject. I have a brother that is going to 1st grade and a little sister going into 3K. My mom thinks I am an artist and my dad thinks I am a good baseball player. I have 1 dog named Gracie and 1 turtle named Turdy. My family and I are adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. My mom and dad are helping start a church. My mom is a volunteer for Compassion, she has gone to Africa. I love steak and I love to go fishing.
I like to go to the mountains and camp or stay in a cabin.

Seth Wages

I love seeing what my kids think are important in their lives. I'm thrilled that TV shows and DS games aren't seen as that important but family and friends are. I just love my kiddos and the lessons God is allowing them to learn.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

God's Toolbox

Know what that is dear friends???? That is a big, mac-daddy toolbox.

That was donated by our awesome friends Patrick and Tawnya!

That was just sold on Craigslist for $1800!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you, guys!!!!

Funny that a toolbox would be used as a tool to help fund Olivia's adoption!

Know what else dear friends???? We made $640 on our garage sale last weekend!!!
We had great friends let us use their office space on a main road, great family donate items, great (brand spanking new) neighbors who let us empty out their garage and it was a great success.

The thermometer on the side has, all-along, been tracking the amount in our adoption savings account plus the amount we should get back in taxes. But due to a mistype with our taxes, our taxes have been delayed at least a month - OF COURSE. Cause why would I expect to take any step in this adoption without stumping my toe?!?

So the amount at the side you see is what we currently have in our account. The good news is that America World will consider letting us delay our fee to them if our i71h comes in and our dossier is finished before our taxes are back. The other good news is that any 'extra' money above and beyond the $7700 to submit our dossier will go on to the next step: $5450 to accept our little girl's referral (giving the ok that 'yes' we will parent that child)! Just wondering how many more of my toes will be stumped by that time!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dear Toot Fairy

Red allergy eyes and a mouthful of teeth (minus one)

Mt. Tooth

Dear Toot Fairy
Can you get me $100 for this tooth?
I am in the top bed
When you see me can you wake me up?
If you don't have any money
Then get me a prez
We are adopting a girl from Aferka
Isn't that cool? Yes or No

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wake up call

Ever think things are going along great and then you hear or find out something that makes you stop dead in your tracks and say, "woooo, that's BIG NEWS. I need to let others know about that!" Well, this is old news, but still made me stop dead in my tracks so I'm letting others know about it.

A friend let me know about a free audiobook download from

The book for May is "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns. Let me just say. It is a MUST read/listen to book for all Christians. However, I didn't realize that Mr. Stearns is the CEO of World Vision and a 'competitor' of Compassion. But in the world of rescuing children from poverty, there aren't really competitors, only team-mates, true? Disclaimer: But in my opinion, Compassion International still rocks, big time. So go sponsor a child through Compassion. Like right now.

What blew me away was a chapter devoted to Christ's description of the end times and his separating of all people into groups, as a shepherd would separate sheep and goats. The story takes place in Matthew 25, and I'm sure many of you have heard it many times.

Matthew 25: 31-46 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

So - the "Hole in the Gospel"?? Here is Christ, describing the Day of Judgment, (and he should know right?) Although I had read this story before, I didn't see the obvious implications until pointed out by Stearns -

Christ DID NOT say "all of you who have believed in me are on my right"
Christ DID NOT say "all of you who have prayed to me to save you are on my right"
Christ DID NOT say "all of you who go to church and praise my name are on my right"
Christ DID NOT say "all of you who are a good person and haven't killed anybody on my right"

Christ DID say, that those who fed his children, looked after the poor, cared for the sick, clothed those in need - would be rewarded with eternal life. And it was also pointed out that even those in this category were surprised that the criteria for their salvation was not a sinner's prayer - but how they responded to the calls of Christ. Something they had done in Jesus' name.

And for those on the left who were taken away for eternal punishment - in Stearns translation it was because, "For I was hungry and you had more than enough to eat, I was thirsty and you drank bottled water, I was a stranger and you wanted to deport me, I needed clothes and you needed more clothes, I was sick and you judged me for what led to my sickness, I was in prison and you said I had gotten what I deserve."

How is today's church stacking up in terms of which side we will be on? Is the church of today so focused on making sure we are against all things evil, and for getting as many people in the pews, for getting as many people as possible to say a sinner's prayer - that they have forgotten the basic commands of "feed my sheep, look after the least of these, a cup of water to one of these little ones, welcome a little child in my name"???? Those led away as goats were surprised as they thought they had done it all right but were found to be in want - and that frankly, is terrifying.

Stearns also stresses that he does not mean to indicate that good works is what will get you into Heaven. But that it is the deeds that you do that indicate the true faith that you have. Salvation can not be bought like fire insurance and put away in a lock box until the day it is needed. "Prayed prayer. Check. Go to church most of the time. Check. Drop a check in a basket most of the time. Check."

Salvation, and the true gospel, is a gradual process of growing and of becoming more like Christ.

I have told many of our plans to adopt, or of sponsoring a child through Compassion and more times than I can even count - I have heard (and I use to say this too - so no stone throwing!)

"I would love to do something like that, but I just can't afford to right now."

With a story as transparent as this - how can we afford NOT to???

James 2:18
But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

Just a little Wednesday Wisdom to think about. It was a big wake up call for me. "None of us are Christ-like yet. Gotta keep working at that. Check."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Planes and buttons

For mother's day we did what I love best - took the kids on a field trip. I love just getting out of the house, out of the yard, and it being just us and the kiddos for the day.

We went to the local Air Force base to see their air show and had a great time. Both the boys fell in love with the planes. And the guns. And my sister just cringed as she read that.

You'll notice you don't see Addison in many photos. That's because the boys were the ones running plane to plane with my camera.
So today was my rare day off and Mommy-n-Me day with Addison. We started off doing errands and then I decided that since I had a coupon, I would get her hair trimmed as her bangs were getting long. I had been doing it myself ever since Wal-mart had been charging me $12 just to cut a straight line around her head. How hard can that be?

On our way into the salon she says, "I want my hair short. Mommy, can I get my hair cut short?"

"Oh, I don't think so baby - you're daddy would be so mad at me." The same Daddy that is in Texas for training right now. On my Anniversary. The same Daddy who has told me not to cut his precious princesses hair short.

Just to clarify: this was completely her idea. She kept pointing to the pictures in the magazines saying, "I want short hair like her!" And she has said about 25 times today "I LOVE my hair." And in no way was this surprise in response to his surprise for me last year when I was away on a trip. When I came home from Africa to big puppy-dog eyes and pee spots.

His first text back to me after seeing a fuzzy, camera-phone pic of her? "Ok, I'm upset"

My text back: "really? Addi said you wouldn't be as you thought she was beautiful and since you love her, you wouldn't be mad at me. I love u...."

His response: "that's just wrong"

So yes, maybe this was just a little bit of payback. But my daughter is loving all the attention. I think she is cute as a button. So she told Tony on the phone that, "mommy thinks I look like a button!"

And as I told my family in regards to our 'surprises' for each other - I think that's why we've made it all of our 14 years. Life is too short to get mad over a haircut. Or a puppy. Or a bedroom suit. Or a new car. (And just to point out, I only paid $4.99 for a haircut). You roll with the flow, discuss, and wait for the next instance to realize how much you love your husband and how well-oiled your relationship is. (And be thankful again for a little something called grace.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

All in the perspective

Yesterday I began treating a new child - a two year old with Down's Syndrome. With her little pudgy fingers, small eyes - I'm sure many a person in Wal-Mart or at restaurants would have looked at her with pity and thought, "Poor family. Poor little girl."

But that little girl was the apple of her mother's eye. That little girl would flash me the most beautiful smile I think I have seen on any baby girl I have ever worked with. And that mother gets to see that smile every day. That little girl will never stamp her feet because she doesn't have the brand name clothing her friends have. She will never pout as her hand-me-down car isn't as great as her friends. She will never tell her mother she doesn't love her - because she is all love.

In the same way, the last couple days I have had Holetta on my mind. A slum of Ethiopia. Where the houses had more cracks and openings than I could count - allowing the turrential rains from the rainy season or the cold of the night to freely enter. The dirt floor with a feed bag to sleep on. One room divided with a piece of cloth. One bench to sit on. One dish pan to cook with. "Poor family. Poor children."

Then I look to another house, one with heat which can roast you in the cold weather and air which can freeze you in the summertime. Three frying pans. Three. Four different sized cooking pots and an extra for the heck of it. Even four different sized baking clays. Two bathrooms. SIXTY different kinds of drinking apparatus (I counted) - mugs, juice cups, nice cups, plastic cups, sports cups. A whole room just to house a washing machine and dryer. At least 15 different blankets in the house.

The first house - that family will never wish their car was a nicer model. They will never get mad that the flowers they bought for in front are dying. They will never yell at their children when they spill red juice on their furniture. That first house - their children will never say "I don't want to eat that" or "why can't I have an X-box like my buddy".

And yet we can always say - "oh others have so much more than I!" I was sickened by a realty show where the couple needed another home as they lamented the fact that they had THREE storage units full of 'stuff' they couldn't fit in their house. I got mad and left the room..... I have fifty cups - for five people..... Reality check.

But yet, both those families, they are the apple of their Father's eye. Both of them. But who are the ones that are joyful for every day? Who are the ones that praise their Father instead of saying 'why me?' Who are the ones that can count on their Father to provide their every need vs. their own paycheck? It's so easy, especially in this economy, in this time in our life, to let the world cloud over the Sonshine isn't it? Just praising God that sometimes hard times come our way, sometimes depression over a situation sets in, just so we can sit back and see the Son again.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Guess it just wouldn't be fun if it were easy?

When you jump into the world of international adoption - you hear the time lines, the stats, the problems and I know I always thought - "man, I hope that isn't us!" China taking 16 years to adopt a child (maybe an exaggeration, but not by much...); parents waiting 2 years just to get their paperwork completed; parents getting a child referred but going through court multiple (as in SEVEN) times before they could go get them; children referred as toddlers and brought home as early elementary age ...

Just hope that isn't me...

Well... not saying how the rest of this process will go but here's just a beginning taste:

  • Started paperwork, started homestudy visits
  • Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays delayed visits
  • Tony lost his job, delaying visits for a month as we revamped and rescheduled with new job
  • Social worker cuts her finger on a cauliflower, (seriously) and as a contracted employee, has to wait until she gets the splint off to start typing again - delayed 4 weeks.
  • Report sent to AWAA where my caseworker has just taken off on a week and half vacation.
  • Report makes it's way back to homestudy agency where it is signed. Well no --- can't be signed because our background checks expired and we have to wait on new ones. - delayed 3 weeks.
  • Report is signed and we overnight it to Charleston, Citizenship and Immigration.
  • Find out we needed to have copy of homestudy license in with that copy just sent to Charleston. That nugget of info must have been hidden in the 35 pages of directions on how to do your paperwork - cause OCD me didn't highlight it.
  • Get copy of license and send it to Charleston. Whew.
  • Get call that as DSS was reviewing our report before sending it to Charleston (huh?) it needed an additional letter from Tony because of his childhood and foster placement situation.
  • Signed copy of letter, sent it to homestudy agency to be notarized - hoping it makes it's way to Charleston at some point this year. (Insert eye roll....)
It would be kind of funny if it weren't for the fact that in terms of an adoption pregnancy, I've merely just taken that EPT test. This pregnancy's far from even starting. Heaven help us when we get to the labor and delivery portion.... cause I hear those can be a doosey.