Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So blessed

Wow...  I am so blessed. So blessed by the response to our adoption announcement.  So very grateful for everyone who took a moment to send well wishes, encouragement, support and love.  I want to print out all the facebook messages, blog comments and other notes I've received then tuck them away in our Sweet Child's lifebook.

The lifebook will be their story - the story of us waiting, the story of their waiting, and ultimately the joining of family. Our homestudy social worker encouraged us to start the lifebook now and I think it's a great idea! We have been blessed by an amazing social worker in our homestudy process. She actually goes to our church - I am amazed at how God puts people together. We go to a fairly large church and so there are many people whom we have never met. We had never met M.B. before our first homestudy visit, but now we have run into her every Sunday since at church. She has made the process so easy for us so far. The homestudy visits are exhausting though....so many questions and of course I want the house to be clean and tidy each time she comes over. Not an easy task for a family of eight, but we can pull it together when we need to!

We are finished now with our homestudy visits.  China requires four.... Some countries only require one! So now we wait for our social worker to type it all up - it's supposed to be about 25 pages all together. wow.  Then she sends it to us to review before it gets all finalized and approved.  In the meantime, we work on our Hague education requirement.  There's an all day training we will need to attend.  I feel like if I can just do a little something everyday to move forward, whether it's sending an email to our agency, filling out a forms....oh, so many forms to fill out, or say a prayer on our Sweet Child's behalf, then we are making progress.

I'm reading The Connected Child right now.  Anything we can do to prepare ourselves and our child for the road ahead - it may be bumpy, but it will always be full of love and compassion.  Someone once said that adoption is not for the faint of heart. There are hard times.  So far, the waiting hasn't been too hard, but I think it's because I've had so much peace over our decision to move forward. God doesn't give us a task without equipping us for the challenge and I think knowing His hand is in this completely provides us with the peace and understanding we need.  I bet it will be harder to wait though once we see our child's face and know we can't bring them home right away!  We may be months off before that happens. Can't wait for it to happen though!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Journey to you - here we go!

There was a time not too long ago, when I never thought I would be writing this. But I want to share this journey, to also have a place to document it, but to also have a place to share the amazing road God has put us on. As my husband said not long ago... this isn't about us, it's about Him.

So where to start?! I guess the beginning is the most obvious place so I'll start there.  I never thought we would be the ones to adopt a child. We have six healthy children, and we love them ALL to the moon and back.  They are Jeff's and my world and heart. I was adopted as a baby, at three months old, and raised by parents who loved me. But I never longed to adopt, because there have always been issues about being adopted that I didn't want to deal with. So many who have gone before us on this journey have always known that they would adopt one day - not us. Imagine our surprise when God placed this on our hearts then! We felt smacked. Us adopt? We have SIX children! Are you kidding us?!

There's a wonderful organization called Love Without Boundaries and they do amazing work in China for orphans and children.  While taking the Snap Shop course last Spring offered by Ashley Ann, I followed her journey to her little one and watched as they waited for her to come home. At first, I just thought how wonderful that they are doing that! Then while they waited, the very long wait - she raised funds for an incubator for her daughter's orphanage. She hoped to raise enough to cover the incubator....she raised A LOT more...and through LWB support was able to help dozens of orphans have surgeries they needed and receive the care they so desperately needed. I contributed - it was the least I could do (isn't that how most of us think?).

I must have signed myself up through my donation for the LWB newsletter as it started arriving in my in box a bit later. My interest in China adoption had definitely been sparked. Through a series of articles called "Realistic Expectations" in the newsletters, I sat in my room reading one day... I felt God speak to me. As an electrical numbness ran through my body, like I had just been shocked, I read each and every article in the series. I'll never forget the fear/excitement I felt as I paced afterwards, prayed and wondered if this is really what we were meant to do. There's nothing logical about it.  But there's one thing I know and that is that journey's of faith are often of limited sight.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6

Jeff and I talked, walked (we talk most when we walk), ran, prayed and researched all Summer long. Each blog or article I read, led me to another, and at every turn I read just what I needed to know next. I found some wonderful women online willing to talk about their experiences. We found New Day. The day I found them, I clicked on their contact information and about fell down when I saw the US contact address was in our very own town.  Goosebumps.  Everywhere we turned, we felt that we were being led to start this journey and to share the blessings we have been given.  So we gave our fear and faith to God and said "yes"!  I have found a lot of comfort in these Bible verses as we contemplated what to do.

"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

So we begin! The peace I feel now that we made the decision to do this is amazing! The children are excited...we are excited... and we know there's a sweet little child out there in China waiting to become a part of our family and us a part of their life.  We pray for support from our family and friends as we begin our adoption journey and hope you'll follow along.  I want to write all of this down, to share one day with our sweet child. I know it will mean a lot to know how someone on the other side of the earth loved them and waited for them. In the meantime, I just pray that God will wrap them in His arms with love and comfort until I can do the same myself.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phillippians 3:6-7


Friday, March 1, 2013

Dinner Blessings - DIY Taco Box

I can't remember where I first saw this idea for a Taco Box dinner, but I tucked it away knowing I would use it one day. So when a friend needed a dinner, the Taco Box dinner was made. We love our Tex-Mex food here in Texas and how fun to make a box to deliver the dinner in?!

So easy to make a little extra to help out a friend. We all know how much it means to have a night off cooking dinner, especially when a husband has had surgery or when a new baby arrives.  How many times I have been blessed by a friend's meals and what a treasure they were at the time.  Nourishment for the body and the soul.


The original idea called for a wooden box, but I had a cardboard box handy and just the right size.  I taped the letters out in painters tape then brought out the spray paint. Red seemed perfect!


The box was filled with chicken taco meat (how to: boneless chicken thighs, salsa or can of tomatoes, some chili powder, salt, pepper and garlic - all go into the crock pot on high for 4-5 hours, then shredded), guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, corn & flour tortillas and beverages for the family (plus a little chocolate for my sweet friend).

So fun to make and a blessing to give.