Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Bucket List

Last week on Extreme Home Makeover the family had a list of things they wanted to do for others or their children.  I've never seen the move "Bucket List" but I decided to come up with my own list.  So, in no particular order here is my bucket list.   It is a short list so hopefully I can add to it as I think of things.

1. I would like to secretly pay off a family's adoption expenses.  I've always dreamed that someone would do this for us so I am sure other familes have the same dreams. 

2.  Take my kids to Disney World with my parents.  My parents LOVE all things Disney and have dreamed of taking their grandkids.  Of course, I am sure they never thought they would have this many grandkids either.  A couple of years ago we were able to get a great deal so we planned a wonderful week long trip to Disney with my parents.  Four months before our trip my parents were in a serious car accident and we had to cancel our trip.  Due to finances (i.e. adoptions) we have been unable to reschedule our trip.

3.  I would like to take Jacob to see his nanny in Ethiopia.  Jacob was very ill and would have probably died if it had not been for his wonderful nanny nursing him back to health.  I got to see her again last year when I picked up our girls and she asked about Jacob.  She is a wonderful Christian woman and I know she would love to see Jacob happy and healthy.

4.  Take our children on a mission trip.  It has long been a dream of ours to take our family on an annual mission trip.  It is very important for us to teach our children about serving others first. 

5.  I want to find a way to serve others from my home.  Honestly, I have no idea what this looks like.  It is very difficult for me to get out of the house to volunteer somewhere.  While home schooling our children, therapy, and just daily tasks it is almost impossible.  I would really like to find my niche, something I can do out of my home to help serve others. 

6. Impact the lives of as many children as possible.  Yes, I know I cannot save the world and I don't plan to do so.  It is my Heavenly Father's job to do the saving.  I just pray that He allows me to continue loving as many children as possible in His Name!  I can't put a number of children on this because only God knows the number.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I have wanted to write a post for a few days but honestly I don't know what to write about.  It has been quiet the last two weeks.  The kids have had colds so we have not been out of our house much over the last two weeks.  I have been out a few times for a doctors appointment or to the grocery.  I am getting cabin fever!!!!

We have still not heard anything about our adoption case.  All of our documents were sent in December so we are in a waiting game.  This is the hardest part for me.  We sent her a package with pictures but she still has not received them.  I did receive a new picture of her from their Christmas celebration.  She still looks very thin.

The kids at home are doing great.  Grace, Miranda, and Ethan are doing well with their school work.  They have had some hard life lessons recently.    They are getting at an age where they want what everyone else has, so we are learning to be content and to not covet what others have.   Contentment only comes from God, not from things.  There will always be the "newest crave" but it will only make you happy for a moment and then you will want the next "big thing".  This is a lesson that I am also have to remind myself. 

I have all of these random thoughts sitting in my head but I don't have time to share them now.  The kids are getting up so my day must start.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

One Year Ago Yesterday

One year ago yesterday I arrived home with Sera & Grace.  Enjoy these pictures from the airport. 

 Darren meeting Sera for the first time

 Darren meeting Grace for the first time.

Jacob did not cry all week but as soon as he saw me he could no longer control himself

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Today is Grace & Sera Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One year ago today, around 5:00a.m.USA time, I met these two shy little girls for the first time.  Grace was nervous, but so was I.  We had never adopted a child over the age of 18 months.  I can honestly say it has been wonderful!!  She is such a blessing to our family.   Sera held on immediately and would not let go.  I can not believe how much they have grown in ONE year.

Grace has turned into a beautiful young lady.   She is full of personality and has her own fashion style.  She loves to pose and have her picture taken.   She got a camera for Christmas so now she is busy taking pictures of others.  The girl can draw!!!  I will post some of her drawings soon.

Sera is amazing!  You would not know the girl has a disability.  All her therapist have been amazed by her ability to adapt.  She has the sweetest personality and loves to hug on people.  She is funny or at least she thinks she is funny.  I love to catch her walking around the house just laughing to herself.  She is quite the character!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Sweet Words from Ethiopia

I received a few emails from families who have traveled recently and who met our daughter waiting in Ethiopia.  We just can't wait to meet her!!! 

"my daughters and I have fallen madly in love with your daughter.  We are in Addis and have spent a lot of time at ________ -- and she stole our hearts right away"

"She is such a sweetie!  She followed me around wherever I went helping me and always had her arm around me!  She is shy and quiet and I could tell she was so hungry for the love of a Mom.  You are so blessed to be adding her to your your little girl! "

" they spent lots of time with her. They LOVED her!! We love her name too"

 "I got to spend a bunch of time with _____________.  It is my pleasure to inform you that she is a fantastically sweet child and you are very lucky to have her joining your family.  If I could, I'd like to tell you a quick story about __________.  It's actually one of my favorite memories of our entire trip.  Early one morning at _______ I was sitting just outside the door of a classroom we were working on, stirring a bucket of paint.  Nobody else was around.  I heard something and looked up and across the courtyard.  ___________had come around the corner from the soccer court and was yelling someones name.  She stopped when she saw me, smiled, ran across the courtyard, and gave me a giant hug.  She really is one of the sweetest children I've ever met."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Releasing My Home To God

If you have read very much of my blog you will know that I have a love/hate relationship with our home.  A little history about our home . .   We build our house 5/1/2 years ago to meet our then current family's needs.  We were so excited because I was pregnant with our second child and we had decided to adopt our third child.  Building a smaller home would allow me to stay home and raise our children.  Life was perfect and our home was perfect for us. 

We knew as we adopted more children, especially our son in a wheelchair, that we would not be able to stay in this home forever.  However, I did not realize how difficult it would be to find a home in our price range to meet our growing family's needs.  I have been very actively looking for a home for about two years.  I have found Nothing, Nada, Zilch!  Honestly, it would take a miracle to find a home in our price range that would meet our family's needs.

My frustration has escalated to an unhealthy dislike for our home.  It has become a topic that is causing frustration between my husband and I.  So I have decided to release my home over to God.  I need to stop focusing on the barriers of our home and focus on the wonderful memories we are making.  So today I am going to write down the top 5 positive things about our house.

5.  We have a beautiful yard with room for the kids to run and play

4.  Our 12 passenger van fits in the garage

3.  It is warm in the winter and cool in the summer

2.  Our home is filled with laughter

1.  It allows me to stay home with our children

So today I am giving our home over to God.  I am no longer going to complain about the limitations.  I am not going to focus on the "what if we had"  "wouldn't it be nice to have".  I am going to rejoice daily that God has provided a safe, warm home for us to raise our children.  

God is good all the time and I know He will provide in His perfect timing!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I am ANGRY!!  There, I said it.  But I don't feel any better.  I don't even know who to be angry at?  Myself? God? Other people?

On our current agencies waiting child list there are 27 children with varies medical needs and 68 children waiting that are HIV+.  Besides the obvious frustration that so many children are waiting I am actually angry about something else. 

It is not fair, life is not fair.  Yes, I know that is not a new revelation.  Here we are a family who is willing, not only willing but wholeheartedly WANTING to bring more children into our family.  Children with medical needs, children who are dying while they are waiting for a family. 

So, why am I so angry?  Resources!  WHY?  WHY? could our family not have been blessed with financial resources.  Why can't we have a home big enough to fill with more children?  Why can't we have a vehicle that will transport more children?  WHY?  WHY?  

We are willing God but how can we?  How can we get more than 2-3 children into these small bedrooms.  How can we continue to lift our son from his wheelchair in and out of the van so we have seats for more children?   How can we get more medical/therapy equipment in this house? Tell me how to do it and I will!

OK, I will stop ranting.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year and New Schedule

So I realized today I still have not gotten a calendar for this year.  Luckily, my sister-in-law gave me a wall calendar I can use for now.  When I started filling in the month of January it got a little scary.  We have added some therapy sessions for the kids and we have several doctors appointment this month.  If you were wondering, which you probably were not, here is our weekly schedule.

Daily Schedule
6:00a.m.  I get up and get Faith up for school
6:45a.m.  Faith gets on school bus
7:00a.m.  Little ones start getting up
8:00a.m.  I drag the big girls out of bed/Breakfast/Medications given
9:00a.m.  Big girls start school work/they work on their own until they finish what was assigned for the day.  Ethan starts his school work
11:15a.m. Faith gets home
12:00 p.m. Lunch/Medication given
1:00 p.m. Little ones down for nap
3:00 p.m. Little ones are up and we straighten the house before Dad gets home.  I also check the big girls school work around this time.
5:30 p.m. Dinner
8:00 p.m  Little ones to bed/Big girls to bedroom to play/Medications given
9:00 p.m. Big girls to bed

Therapy Schedule
Monday       9:00-9:30 Speech
Tuesday       9:30-10:30 VIPS
                    2:00-3:00 OT
Wed.           10:30-11:30 OT
                    1:30-2:30 PT
Thurs.          11:00-12:00 Speech for one child
                    11:30-12:30 PT for the other child

Add in at least one Doctors appointment per week and you have our schedule.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome to 2011

We have a busy year planned ALREADY!!!   Here is a list of our goals for this year.

1.  Our new daughter will be coming home.  We are waiting on our court date. 

2.  Sera will be having extensive testing on her eyes in January.

3.  Sera will be having surgery in March to remove extra fingers and toes.  She will have casts on her hands and feet for at least two weeks.

4.  I will have 5 children to be home schooled next school year.  YIKES!!!  This will take lots of planning this year.  Finding quiet spaces for them to work has been difficult this year and I only had 2 doing "real" school work.

5.  We will continue to be praying for God's guidance with our housing and vehicle situation in 2011.

6.  We also hope to squeeze in a couple of weekend trips.  We love to go camping and plan to go a couple of times this summer.

I do have ONE personal goal for the year.   This year I am going to work on becoming more selfless.  I want to serve others more.  My ongoing prayer for this year will be for God to lay on my heart specific people and ways I can serve them.  A year ago we read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  It really challenged our family and we have spent the last year making some changes in our lifestyles and mindset to prepare us to love others more intentionally. 

Every once in a while I come across a song that captures what I have been thinking.  My theme song for the year is Crazy Love by Hawk Nelson.