Saturday, November 24, 2012

Building Progess

Daddy told the kids one morning if they worked really hard to get all of their school work done they could come with him to the church building that afternoon.  Well, they worked really hard, finished everything by lunch.  So, we had a little family time and went to the park for lunch before heading to the church building.  

They love picnics.  Scarlett enjoyed it too.

Olivia loves taking pictures.

They were begging Daddy to climb a tree.

He was eager and willing.

Trying to decide where he can place his
foot so that it is not eaten alive by the Gimongous ANTS.

Mr. Slow eater.

Deep in thought about something.

David and Jorje were able to remove the wall within a week.  This is a picture after the wall was removed and the temporary posts in place.  David and Jorje have since placed the permanent weight bearing beam (I took pictures, but Olivia deleted them because she was in need of more room on the memory, I need to take more).  

The door to the left is the front door into the building and this is now the meeting area with the wall removed. The ceiling on the left was complete with sheetrock.  We have purchased the sheetrock for the right side.  We are needing to hire someone to come and do some plaster work, but not sure when that will happen right now.  Someone came by a couple of weeks ago to look at it but we do not have a price yet for the labor and supplies for the plaster.  It may have to  wait, along with painting.

Olivia and Scarlett playing
outside at church

Funny face

One of our church residents.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Non-Traditional Traditional

I, and I think David would say as well, have not complained really at all since we have moved here.  I haven't had major meltdowns about moving so far away from home, missing family.  Well, at this moment the aching for home is overwhelming.  This is my favorite time of year, my favorite season.  It pretty much hit me Wednesday like a ton of bricks.  I love everything that comes with winter.  And I am missing all of that.  And above all I am missing doing everything with my family.

Traditional Thanksgiving:  At my Mom's, my house, or Linda's with lots of family.  Eating lots of Smoked turkey, Sweet Potato Casserole, and more pies than we can consume.

Non-Traditional:  Roast (turkeys were $55, for a small one), mashed potatoes instead of sweet potato casserole.  Ate with Mom, Dad, Justin, Brittany, Kaden, and Evan was napping, via Skype.

New Traditions:  Olivia baked her first Pumpkin Pie, crust and all, and fluted it beautifully.

Showing Nana her pie.

Traditional:  Lazy Thanksgiving afternoon scouring the ads for the best deals and mapping out a plan to catch some deals.  

Non-Traditional:  Searching the ads online and talking with my mom on the phone to make sure she got the right memory card for my camera.

I miss so many things and they are all things that cannot not be bought and thrown into the suitcases coming in a week.  

Traditional:  Black Friday Shopping and Saturday Christmas decorating

New Tradition:  Decorating the tree on Thanksgiving night (well, we started it, and will finish when Nana and Papa bring a few things from home).

He has been spoiled to a Pre-lit tree for the last 8 years,
and he was really missing it last night : )

Making sure the lights stayed untangled.

Simple Pretty balls made her so Happy.
Mommy is sentimental and is missing all of
our ornaments that have a story.

She kept saying, "HAPPY!"

Trying to find just the right spot.

Filling in holes.

He hung the last ornament.  He was
handing everyone ornaments to hang.  
He thought it was a great job.

Always a Tradition:  Cooking with the kids.  The kids and I were super down Wednesday after our airport dropoff.  There were many tears sliding down little cheeks the entire way home and not a single word uttered...that NEVER happens here.

So, we baked cookies and slathered lots of CANNED STORE BOUGHT frosting.  I know, I was a cheat.  But when I saw the canned stuff at PriceSmart for a good deal I had to purchase.  I have a secret love for canned frosting.  It is sooo good.

I am an emotional baker.  I see my tennis shoes needing to cover lots of miles for the month of December to cover my baking.

Always a Tradition:  Christmas music blaring through the house everyday starting immediately after Thanksgiving dinner.  Always brings HAPPY and CHEER.  This year while it still makes me happy, it also makes me sad....

People keep telling me to make new traditions and while I know we will, we will miss the ones we LOVE too.  Don't get stressed this holiday season, don't sweat the small stuff.  Enjoy the traditions, family, and love.    I don't what the next year holds, but I do hope and pray (please pray too) that I will be able to be with all of our family...because this isn't fun being away from home at the holidays

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanks for Family

I have been reading all the daily "Thanksgiving" posts since the beginning of November.  There has not been a day go by that I have not read from multiple people their thankfulness for their family.  I read these, I think the same thought of being so thankful for my family, and so thankful that God blessed my family with our 2 children.  I am so thankful that He decided to bless me with our two children through adoption.  So many people say, "Oh, they are so blessed to have you."  No, I AM BLESSED to have them.

So, during this month of thankfulness, my heart hurts for all those who have no family and especially the ones who are voiceless and only have a small population of the world crying their plea for them.  These children don't have anything.  They do not have the pleasures of this world that are ruining so many children (Yeah, I did just say that, because it is true.  I see more and more clearly how the youth is corrupted by all the "things and activities" that dominate their existence).  But not only do they not have things, they lack the most important things, Love and, for so many, the very knowledge of God.

But for some orphans, they became One Less and we are so thankful they are our family.  We are thankful to say we are blessed because of them, not that they are blessed because of us.  Through the next couple weeks I want to share with you true life stories that added to families, started families, and completed families.

Leia and so many others were and are so blessed by the Love they received from the wonderful staff of His Hands Taiwan.  These babies had a blessed beginning in this home.  The staff at His Hands wants their babies to learn about God and our wonderful Savior.  We are so thankful for this.  Most of the orphans in the world, do not have a beginning, middle, or ending as these babies.  No, they remain part of the 163 million who have no family, no love, and no future of knowing the Lord.

There are so many things you gain and learn through adoptions and my favorite is the awesome friends I have made and continue to make.  This comes from one of those sweet friends.

We were blessed with 2 amazing biological sons Dayne in 1992 and Keagan a short 10 months later in 1993.  We had struggled with infertility before Dayne so we were thrilled to be pregnant again so quickly.   We love being parents and always thought we would have at least 4 children.  

In 1996 we got pregnant a 3rd time--again we were ecstatic, but only 12 weeks later we lost that baby---we were devastated!  But we also knew we would try again and we would have more children.   

It took until 1998 to get pregnant again...this time all seemed to be going great until a routine ultrasound revealed our baby had passed away.   Our son Trevor Daniel was stillborn May 5, 1998.  We were beyond devastated.   Still we knew we wouldn't give up. We were sure God wanted us to have more children.  During this period of years  I had recurrent dreams of a baby girl we would have, always telling Tim that  she is beautiful but that I didn't  understand because she has black hair and black eyes (she looked nothing like us). We  got pregnant 3 more times  between 1999 and 2004.   We prayed and prayed and we finally had Peace that we were not having more children.  We went on enjoying the boys we have and loving life.   We were thrilled God had finally showed us that our family was complete. 

Spring Break 2005 we went to Disney World with the Peach family.  They also have 2 boys and all the boys had a great time!   

June 2005 Paula calls and says "hey guess where we are ALL going next year for Spring break".  She then tells us how ALL of us are going to China and adopt baby girls!  We thought she was nuts!  I mean good for them...but we have been done for over a year thinking about having more kids, we are happy, we thought we were complete.  God had other plans;)
She invited us to come to an informational meeting that an adoptive family was giving at their church it was on Sunday night...ummm I work weekends, no one will work for me...Tim would never adopt....our family is many excuses I could come up with!    The closer it got to the meeting the more we felt we might like to go.   I asked a couple people at work if they would be interested  in working...nope, not surprising its impossible to get someone to work a Sunday for me....NOT gonna happen.  So I give up!    I get a's from a fellow coworker(someone I hadn't asked...or even considered  This person NEVER works extra!  NEVER!)   She says I hear you would like to go to a meeting Sunday and I'd like to work for you! WHAT???   

So we get to go to the meeting---we are gonna go to hush Paula, but that's it!  Our family is complete!  

We get there and the other people that are in the process of adopting are there, they are all normal ordinary people like we are.  Not super rich or super stars they are just ordinary people that are going to adopt!  Really?  That's possible?  I went to the restroom and saw Jackie there with her little 2 year old from China..they were at the sink and I suddenly felt this overwhelming urge I hadn't felt before...I couldn't look at them, because if I did I would have cried  right there in the bathroom.  

We are sitting in the meeting and hearing all the testimonies of these "ordinary" people   Then Jackie stands up....she brought some visual aids----her children from Guatemala and China!   She tells her story and shows us her beautiful children.   I cried through this whole meeting.  I had never felt anything like this before.  God had put all these things together so that we could be here with these people!  So we could learn about this wonderful thing called adoption---He had even taken care of finding someone to work for me!!  

We left and I asked Tim what he thought.   I'm nervous at this point I'm thinking I would like to do this but we both have to want it!   He says we should talk with the boys, we should decide as a family.   We sat the boys down when we got home and asked what they would think if we decided to adopt them a sister...they both said "we aren't sure why that is even a question. There are babies that need homes and we want a baby...we should do it!"    

That was Sunday night....Monday morning we called a homestudy agency, filled out the application with FTIA for China and called all our family and friends and told them we were expecting a baby!;)   We started the crazy paper-chase and decided on a name!  Ava Christine would be our daughter!   

On November 17, 2005 we were officially LID (log in date) for China!  we thought it would be a 6 month wait....but Gods plan is perfect and our daughter was born January 14, 2007 in China.   We got THE CALL August 2, 2007.    Ava's Gotcha day was October 14, 2007  what a blessing she is!  

We are thrilled!  Our family is COMPLETE!  People ask us if we will adopt again, we say no we are done....,.well God is in control, He knows best!  


August 2010...we hear about His Hands Taiwan!  Some Friends of ours Donnie and Gina have just been home a short time with their little girl from there. The Dunns from Mt Carmel are working with them and we start reading about their ministry.   We contact them and just inquire if we can adopt from there.  We are told there is a waiting list.  But we are put on the waiting for an application list. 

On November 17, 2010 we are given an application to fill out!   This is 5 years to the day we were LID with Ava;) 

On February  9, 2011 we were accepted officially into their program.  Now the real wait begins!   

We thought the wait would be short, we are impatient and sometimes forget that Gods plan is perfect.

  On February 9,2012---yes one year to the day of acceptance with His Hands we got an amazing email telling us that we have a beautiful daughter born January 12, 2012 in Taiwan!   We click on her picture and we instantly know she is our daughter.  She is what we have been waiting for!  We are instantly in love!  

On September 7, 2012 in a train station in Taiwan we are handed our beautiful daughter Kerrigan Jayne!  What a blessing!



As we look at these 2 beautiful
Blessings, Praise God that when we said we are complete as a family...He said "no you aren't".  

So again we think we are complete;). We are happy and thrilled with the family God has given us!   We will see what the future holds and if God calls on us again then we will say yes! 
The journey wasn't always easy! But when we look back  we see God always had the perfect plan for us! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Justice to the Fatherless"

I could spend days, weeks, and months pleading for the orphan.  I could preach of all the verses that pertain to the poor, oppressed, widows, and orphans.  But I won't, I will simply share with you the four that stand out TO ME more than any of the others.  There are many more than four, but these are the ones that were seared to my heart and caused me to become broken for the orphan.

James 1:27
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:  to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."  

Isaiah 1:17
"Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause."  

Proverbs 31:8-9
"Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy."

And even more than the three scriptures above that seared me with a brokenness was this...

Matthew 25:40-45
40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

Something so simple brought sparkles in
his little eyes.

He will probably never remember me, but maybe that 
is one less day of lonliness that he will remember.

There are 163 million more pairs of these eyes that 
are begging you to pull them in.

Wow!  To ignore the fact that there are 163 million children without a mother or father, no one to love them, some with no one to feed them or clothe them, millions of people starving and naked in tattered rags, people sick with diseases that leave them in isolation, men and women imprisoned (some guilty of their charge and some innocent) who have never even heard of Jesus and what He did for them.  To think that I once lived my life in complete ignorance to the outside world around me, the world that so many never see or acknowledge that it exists.  How could I continue and ignore such things? Because by ignoring these things, I was ignoring Jesus.  Guys, he is everywhere.  Is your heart not broken?  Does it not break your heart to know that daily we ignore Jesus.  Daily!!!  We live in isolated worlds where days go by without acknowledging the dire NEEDS of others.  

People say, "I can't adopt."  You don't have to adopt.
Logan and Olivia can't adopt but they can
 be a voice for them.
 pray for them.
 love them.

You can become broken without adopting, before adopting, while adopting, and maybe it doesn't even happen for some until after they adopt.  But if we are not broken for "the least of these," then we are not living the path Jesus set before us.  We have to be broken.

Some may know what today is, it is any other day.  But some have come to know this day as a day to come together and be a HUGE voice TOGETHER for the ORPHAN.  It is ORPHAN SUNDAY and November is Orphan Awareness Month.  A month that Americans cherish as the month of Thanksgiving and family.  So, as you journey through this month and the blessings that are being poured on you and all around you, I beg you to please think about the ones who have no voice.  They have no one to turn to, no one to hear them.  It is simple, WE ARE THEIR VOICE.

My family is so blessed to have been able to be a part of the miracle of adoption.  And I say miracle, because it is just as miraculous as giving birth to your own child by blood.  God gives many miracles and adoption, I believe, is one of them.

A woman who gave the gift of life and chose us to
be Carson's family.  I love you, Molly!  And we love 
Carson so much!!!

Proud Daddy

Big sister assessing her new brother.

I think she is quite smitten.

Big brother checking him out.

Nothing like holding your baby for the first time : )

Family of more to come ; )

And then God blessed us with another miracle.  Leia (Sin Xio) Liu Raboin our second little princess.  We waited, I can't say that it was patiently, to hold you in our arms.  And the day finally came....

Snuggled right up to Daddy

Nothing quite like this moment.

She's holding on to my shirt, and I'm not 
letting go either : )

She laid her head down and kept it that 
way for hours.

Loving with her big brother.

Everybody wants to play with me.

Oh, how he loves her and still adores her every whim.

Sweet Kisses X 2!

Such a WONDERFUL big sister.