Sunday, October 31, 2010

The first set of pictures..

These are the pic’s off my camera… of course there’s more on my phone because my camera disappeared for a day or so…


This is our new dining room table!  My mom and I went to garage sales the other day looking for clothes for the kids.  But… we also found this table.  My parents called me that night and said “we want to buy that for you guys for Christmas, can I go back and get it??”  So… we now have a dining room table that easily seats 12-14! :)  In the picture, there are 4 seats down each side and 2 at one end.  I realize the chairs don’t match :)  The black seats are the ones that came with the table, but there are only 6 of them. 


A few pictures from Animal Kingdom!

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Kristopher was very excited about the bats! They’ve been studying them in school and there were a bunch of HUGE bats there!

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The tigers were up close in the viewing area and all the kids got a good look.

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When we stopped for lunch, these guys came over and set up right behind us!  I have a cute video (maybe one day it will make it to the blog…) of the kids’ reactions to the music.  They loved it! :)

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Rafiki is the only character we waited in line to see.  He has a whole section of the park just for him!  Brianna and James were with Michael while I waited in line with these guys.  Emma REALLY liked him! (and Kristopher too!)


Everyone except Brianna loved the petting zoo too!  James went right up to the animals.  Emma was ok with them for a few then was ready for the safety of the stroller :)  Micah was intrigued by them, and last time he was one that was freaking out.  He did great!  Lynae didn’t like the goat RIGHT in her face, but otherwise liked seeing them.  Kristopher got to pet the cow with a brush and enjoyed watching the goats on their jungle gym too.

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Lynae had a wet wipe because I dropped milk on her head while I was refilling her cup.  So… she continued cleaning off her head long after I was done!

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Kristopher was a great helper and would hang with James if he walked to a different set of animals from where we were.  He wanted James to pet them!  He would walk right up to them, but then just stare until someone helped him pet :)

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This is the largest of the male gorillas at the park.  He was conditioned to sit and wait at a specific spot and would have fruit and treats thrown to him by the trainer from a bridge.  This was so that all 4 male gorillas didn’t try to get in through the small ‘barn’ door at one time.  They then signaled for him to go to bed and he’d go in to his bed area.

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We all had a nice family day together.  It was low key and a lot of fun!  The park closed at 5pm and that was perfect for us to grab a quick dinner and make it home by 7pm!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Join us at Park Avenue Baptist Church (2600 S. Park Avenue in Titusville) for Brock Gill performances at 9am, 11am, and 7pm and for the Pumptober Fest from 4-6:45 in the afternoon.

Brock is a Christian Illusionist that does "big time" stuff and we're excited to have him here!

The Pumptoberfest is a Halloween alternative with games, food, pony rides, bounce houses, pumpkin launchers (trebuchets) and more.


Animal Kingdom :)

We decided at the last minute to go spend the day at Animal Kingdom today!  We'd been given free passes for our family several months ago and had set them aside thinking I'd take a few kids at a time once school started and the weather cooled down.  Except... then James was sick the first weeks of school and now that the weather is cooling... we're leaving!

So we went to Animal Kingdom today as a family and had a great time!  The kids were all good and they enjoyed the animals and music and rides.  We saw the Lion King show and Brianna was a bit overwhelmed (and of course WAY over tired!) but otherwise did good.  Micah started off SCREAMING.  By the end, he was clapping and waving his arms in the air!  Not kidding even a little bit! :)  He went from crying to laughing in just a few songs.

James, Emma, Lynae, and Kristopher all THOROUGHLY enjoyed it!  They have 30' (or larger?) animatronic animals on floats that line the circular room and gymnast monkeys in the middle.  LOUD, BRIGHT, and FUN! :)

We also loved the Safari ride.  It was pretty bumpy, and I'm surprised they allow you to carry your lap babies on due to safety, but we all loved it :).

Pictures to come, for all sorts of stuff!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Today I'm headed to the school for a storybook parade with the preschoolers (and Emma's class is participating but she'll be with her class).  Then I'm off to the pumpkin patch with Emma's class :) !  After that the class is headed to the park, but Lynae and I will be coming home for lunch and a nap.  Her.. not me... though I might want one by then! 

Mike and I were able to get away last night for a few hours and went to Orlando for a quick supper and to shoe-shop for him.  His tennis shoes and dress shoes were both in ill repair and with it being pretty cold (highs in the 40's) right now where we're headed, a good pair of shoes is pretty important!  I think... dare I say... that we are pretty much ready to go as far as things that we needed.  We need to get another luggage tag and he needs a pair of headphones, and that's ALL :).  Until, of course, we figure out how many children are coming home and what sizes they are and then we can start in figuring out what we need to bring back over with us to bring them home.

And... I splurged.  I was waiting, thinking it over, playing with a loaner... and I decided to go ahead and buy a Kindle.  I ended up getting the wi-fi (not 3G) version because it is $50 cheaper.  And I was able to use rewards points from our credit card and paid a total of $30 including next day shipping.  It will be here on Saturday!  Im glad to be able to bring one small device and not a bunch of books.  I LOVE to read and last trip I read literally a dozen books during our adoption.  So I'm very glad to be able to pack that much LESS STUFF when I go over.

And yes, it was suggested to me to use the free PC Kindle instead of purchasing one.  The biggest trouble with that is battery life of the computer, but it's also hard to lay down in bed and read off of a laptop.  That is my favorite way to read... snuggled up in warm covers on a cold day!  

Off to a good fun day with the kiddos!  I can't believe it's FRIDAY already!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Yep, another day with no blog post

That would be yesterday.  It's as if I've had a few other things on my mind... failed attempts at bloodwork, grocery shopping, packing, cleaning, and... I'm sure there's been more than that but my brain is mush :D.

And so... no blogging...

Soon, very soon, I will be able to blog a bit more because I will be bored and lonely in a foreign country.  Until then, you get this quick snippet that says that I am VERY glad that I was able to get three kids' SUCCESSFUL blood draws today and I am almost completely packed.

Now off to pick up 5 sweet babies (oops, big kids!) at school!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rolling right along

Yesterday started with Emma waking in a pool of poop.  Seriously, in her hair, her feet, her hands, and ALL over her bed.  It was one of THOSE mornings...  After getting the kids off to school I stopped by a playgroup gathering that was also a birthday party and a 'sending off' party for two different friends.  I had only a few minutes but was glad to see the ladies and their little ones for that little bit of social 'down time' ;).

From there I started to head to Melbourne to pick up the remainder of my consignment items, but got a phone call instead asking me to pick up James at school, that he was sick.  I won't go into it... but he sounded congested and was "running a fever" of 100.2.  So I went to the school, went by the church to grab something, went by the house to get a stroller since I now had 2 kids and not just one, then headed to Melbourne (almost an hour away).

I decided now that James was just supposed to come with me to Melbourne :)  At the consignment building two of the ladies running things asked me about James and Lynae's age difference and as we talked a bit I was able to share about our family, adoption, special needs... well... it all just kinda comes out together :).  It was a great opportunity to share!

I'd asked my mom to pick the kids up from school so I could go to Sam's Club while I was down there and I went to the larger store there instead of the smaller one close by.  I'm glad I did :)  I grabbed a slice of pizza and a soda since it was after 1pm and sat and ate it and let the kids nibble on it as well, and a man and woman and their 9 month old commented about the kids as well.  Then the wife said that they've considered special needs adoption and she used to care for her cousin that has CP but is cognitively developmentally appropriate to her age.  Of course I shared more of our story there too :)

Then as I was walking through the store, a woman with Huggies samples came over and said she'd spotted me from across the way and handed me a few samples of diapers.  Later on when I walked by we engaged in conversation and she said we probably go through a lot of diapers... of course that was the open door to be able to share with her as well.  Because... yes... we have 5 kids in diapers.

In the back of the store a woman stopped and said "oh, you have a little Down's boy." To which I said yes...  She pulled out her photographs of her five children... the youngest was 23 and has Down syndrome :).  We talked for a few minutes and of course... I shared our story that we have four children with Ds.

So... James was simply supposed to be with me in Melbourne.  There's nothing more to it.  Unfortunately, he was still pretty iffy today though he went to school and did ok.  We'll see, I may decide to keep him home a few days just to make sure he doesn't catch something else while his immune system is running its course with whatever he's getting over.

After the grocery run I came home and of course unpacked and arranged things around here.  I stocked up BIG TIME on things like Pediasure for James and Lynae, babyfood "stage 4" containers for Micah, and other things that are much less expensive to buy through Sam's than at Wal-Mart or Publix.  Before long it was time for dinner and baths, and then my mom was knocking on the door.

In the evening, Michael and I went to the church to meet with the Elders and had asked them to pray over us and our upcoming trip and all the opportunities that are there for it.  I won't go into details, but I will say that the church leadership's "general reaction" (yes, big time generalizing so as to not call anyone out and I apologize for that but it is what it is :) ) has not been very supportive of our adoption.  Some things have been said that have been very plainly hurtful.  My husband works in ministry for the church, so it was especially difficult coming from these people whom we interface with regularly.

I share this now to say that when we went last night to receive prayer, we were OVERWHELMINGLY supported!  Once Michael and I shared our story and the testimony of God's hand and our just wanting to follow Him in whatever He's doing right now... it was as if there was no questioning what we were after.  They may still not all understand what we are doing or why we are doing it... but they know that it's what God's calling US to do.

I am so grateful to our church leadership for showing us their support both in word and in prayer as they prayed over us both.  My heart needed that confirmation that they understood at least in some way that we are following God's leading and that we will continue to seek Him out along the way.  Several opportunities arose for people to offer their "cautions" and I'd steeled myself for the idea of exactly that happening.  But nothing came of it.  All of the conversation was overwhelmingly supportive and loving.  We serve an awesome God, and He can change the hearts of even ministry staff :).

When we got home, a friend came by and brought me over her Kindle.  She got it just a week or so ago but offered for me to borrow it for a few days and play around with it to see if it would be worthwhile to get one.  I'm enjoying it!  It's definitely handy, but I think I've decided that I'll only buy it if I figure out a way to make it nearly free using points off of our credit card and such.  Otherwise, though I'd use it, I don't think now is the right time to put the money into something like that.  I'll just break my back lugging all my books overseas with me :D.  I am enjoying it, though, and I can see where I'd use it a lot if I did have one.  Thanks Heidi! :)

Today was a wash... I spent the entire day at the church helping get a worship ministry a forum, blog, etc... set up.  It's a good thing that I seriously had NOTHING else going on, of it would've been difficult!  But, today was an open day and it worked out for me to be there.

Tomorrow I'm sure will be another busy day, since I do have a lot to get done still before leaving...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Busy day

Poop, parties, sick kid, clothes, sharing, lunch, testimonies, adults with Down syndrome, shopping, kids, dinner, prayer, friends, and then bed.

I have a lot to say, to share... but, more important things are pressing. SLEEP.  Yes, despite popular belief I am very VERY human.  VERY fallible. Requiring more sleep than I've obtained the last few nights.  On that note... goodnight!  More when I have had a chance to sleep!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our "Step Up" for Down Syndrome

Our group changed from the Buddy Walk to Step Up for Down syndrome this year.  We had ours yesterday (and oops, I didn't get to post at all...) and it was a lot of fun!  I think this year has been one of the most enjoyable that we've attended.  The weather was beautiful, there was a HUGE crowd there, the vendors and such that brought food actually had enough food (generally they run out and we never eat anything LOL), the kids ALL went on pony rides, we saw old friends and met new ones... it was overall just a great morning with friends!

The three teachers in Emma's class came for the walk, and the main teacher brought her husband as well.  This is our 5th Walk, and we've always invited teachers and therapists to come, but this is the first year (I think) that anyone has showed up!  And... I didn't invite them this year! LOL  Since we were unsure of travel and such, I didn't know if we were even going to make it and I didn't even mention it at school.  Well, they took their own initiative after hearing about it on the radio and called and came :)  It is great to have such a caring team of teachers working with the kids!

After the walk all the kids were tired, so we went and parked by the river for them to nap a bit.  Except, only Lynae slept.  So we went to the mall to look for pants for Michael for our trip.  We ended up finding a pair of jeans, a pair of casual pants and black dress pants, a nice long sleeved button up (which Kristopher picked out for Daddy to wear to court), and FIVE short sleeved dress shirts for $100. Yep, GOOD sales! :)  We also got Brianna a Jacket since she was the only kid that didn't have one that would fit nicely (Emma's went from a 3 to a 5 between the last two winters and Brianna needs a 4).  That also came with fleece pants and was more than 50% off :).  Now Mike and Brianna are set for a little while.

We got home and crashed :).  We made Mac 'n Cheese, turned on a movie, and opened up the porch/playroom for the kids.  Everyone had a relaxing late afternoon.

After dinner I cut Emma's and Brianna's hair!  I've given their bangs trims several times over the last few months but I haven't touched the back of it because 1- it's time consuming and 2- it's more difficult.  But, I attacked yesterday and I do believe it turned out pretty cute.  I took about 3 1/2" off of Brianna's, but it is still LONG.  Emma just got about 1" off around the back but man oh man she couldn't keep her head still for anything! :)

I'm debating on a Kindle for our trip to Ukraine.  So last night I downloaded Kindle for PC and looked around at all the free books for it.  I downloaded a TON of classics, and a few of the free books that are free just for a little while.  I know I won't want to sit and read at the computer all the time, but am considering going ahead and getting a Kindle and wanted to try it out this way first.  I believe I'll have enough reward points to purchase a Kindle without a whole lot out of pocket.  At the moment the bottom of my suitcase is lined with books!  I read about a dozen books during my last adoption trip.

Today the kids are mostly still sleeping!  Kristopher and Brianna are up and  have a movie on and are just hanging out.  Brianna came asking for breakfast a bit ago and just asked for seconds and Kris for a bowl of cereal too.  Lynae's coughed a time or two but keeps going right back to sleep and Emma, Micah, and James are just beginning to make signs of life :).  I think they might have been worn out from all the walking and activity yesterday!

This is the last real weekend-day that we'll have without any plans or last minute packing.  Next weekend is the Pumptober Fest and Brock Gill at the church which Michael is heavily involved in and my sister and her boyfriend will be down for the weekend.  So today is cleaning, cleaning, packing, planning, and cleaning day.

Oh- and I almost forgot!  My mom and I went to a few garage sales on Friday and during our adventures saw a nice HUGE table.  It looked like it easily sat 10 people and really could seat 12 adults comfortably.  It had 6 chairs with it and the price tag wasn't enormous.  We didn't buy it.  My mom called me back later that night and suggested that she get it for us as our Christmas gift since it would seat us ALL and a few guests as well.  She went by the house on Fri nt where it was being sold and paid for it then brought it over yesterday.  It's not something I'd have picked out at a store, but it certainly will do the trick and I don't see any reason that we'd ever need to replace it.  I think we might eventually replace the chairs though ;).  Anyway, it has leaves so it collapses to seat 6 and expands to serve 12, which is perfect for our dining room!  Now we need to figure out what to do with our old dining table-- whether to keep it or the kitchen one.  The dining was an oval and served up to 10 people, the kitchen is rectangular and serves up to 8.  But the oval table loses some 'table space' with the rounded ends and... well, we just have to figure it all out :)

Off to get the kids up, it IS 8am and normally they're starting school right now!

Friday, October 22, 2010


**I wrote this post before Emma’s spontaneous walking, so, bear with me as it is now “old news”, but… here you go anyway ;)
Emma has come SO FAR in such a short time!  In the last few weeks she’s begun standing independently in the middle of a room! 
This clip is a little long, but it’s well worth it :).  When I asked Emma to hold my hand, I was just out of her reach.  She’s never taken a step independently and I was coaxing her to do it… to no avail.  If you watch her hands when I first ask, you can see her sign “no” LOL.  James also walks through the picture, he’s SO steady now and walking all over, even carrying his own backpack.
Of course Brianna needs in on it too… and tries her hand at being disobedient :).
Emma is such a funny little thing!  She has such cute little mannerisms :)  She loves the flashcards and does great immediately mimicking signs for them! (ask her a few min later…. not so much).  She also is GREAT about looking at me when I ask.  Which is very nice!  That was one of the first things we really worked hard on with each of our kids…
And then… her walking!!  It’s hard to help her walk at the same time as I’m trying to videotape her!  But, at the request of my mother, there is a little video of what she’s currently doing :)
Here is a little of Brianna, Micah, and James playing together the other night.  They are SO fun together! :) :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm NOT leaving Sunday!

It's been a whirlwind!!

Ok, so here's the thing... the original date given to me was October 26th to speak at the US Embassy in Kiev.  I talked to the worker and we got things squared away, etc... but we didn't discuss the date.  Now this morning, she emailed me back-- and guess what? The date was wrong!  It's NOVEMBER 26th!  So... I'm not leaving Sunday!

I will possibly still be there for our adoption(s?) at that time, and if so, I'd be happy to speak!  If we are able to go home before that, though, then we will likely be ready to take that opportunity to be with our family for Thanksgiving (25th).  So, we are praying and waiting on God a little longer.  Court dates may make the decision for us (if they're after that date and we have to be in country) or we may have to make the decision (if court can be before that and we have to decide to stay or go).

So... back to just the adoption trip with a possible ending at the Embassy as well! :)

I woke up feeling like a ton of bricks had hit.  Not physically, but emotionally.  I had my kids on my mind!  I know that it's all for the right reasons and that God's got great plans-- but I was really sad about leaving Lynae RIGHT as she's ready to start walking, and Emma RIGHT when she takes her first steps, and for being away when my sister comes down with her boyfriend next weekend and.. and.. and...

So although I was ready and willing to walk it out, I, of course, was also sad to be leaving my kids for an extra week.  And now... I have until NOVEMBER 2nd to pack and plan and to get Lynae walking :)  Twelve days!!  (still not a very long time but MUCH better than 4...)

My Consignment Sale Finds!

$20 Maclaren Stroller (which I will ‘make taller’ with a little more material up the handle area for Wesley to come home in!!)
Brand new size 4T HEAVY coat for Wesley to wear home!
A Euro Highchair (straps are disconnected) which changes to a booster and an adult seat.  We’re buying several of these that don't have the highchair part on them and this one was $30!  They are great at the table!!  The kids have a footrest (my kids hate their feet dangling and put them up in their chairs!) and the seat raises so Brianna would be all the way up at the table (without sitting on her knees...) and they adjust as the child grows and can een be used as an adult :)  Here's where I just ordered 2 from for Christmas presents... and saved $50 doing it :)  They were still $70 each when all was said and done including shipping, but much better than the $90/100 they usually cost!  (  Use the $25 and $50 off sales right now on that link! 
Also bought pants for Emma, Kristopher, Lynae, James, and Micah.  Brianna doesn’t need any ;).  I’m sold on consignment sales now! 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Goodness, my Emma... What will I do with you my dear??

James started crying, and I went out not knowing what exactly had happened (I was finishing getting their dinner on the table).  So I stood James, Micah, and Emma up and said "WALK" in my (not so nice) Momma voice...

And they did.


Yep, Emma took 8 steps!  Then she fell.  I stood her back up... said "WALK."

And she did.  Another 4 steps.   Then another 3.  Then five.  All the way to the kitchen.

I guess I should use my "momma" voice more often!

Travel Date and an invitation to speak at the Embassy!!


We got our travel date, our SDA appointment is Nov 4th! YAY!!! We're coming Wesley!!! (and Aleksa!)


I've been invited to speak to the US Embassy with people from the Italian and Spanish Embassies there as well on TUESDAY.  Yes, the 26th!  I'm getting ready to leave on Sunday!  Andrea may do a video conference with them instead (I offered for her to go in my stead, and she's looking in to that) but it is exciting either way!  It's to present for an hour about special needs children, specifically those with Ds and  how we raise them and what Ds is.  YAY!!!!

I'm waiting to hear back as to whether I'm leaving on Sunday or waiting for our SDA appt a week later.  Hoping to go speak this week tho.  Wow!

Ok, off to pack, and make phone calls, and get money out of the bank, and and and... It's here!!

Please read the post below and watch the video if you haven't already!

Our Video Testimony...

Here is Aleksa's story, the story of our family make-up, and how we came to the point we are today with our family of 8 and growing!

Now, I will shamelessly ask that you please repost and share!  If you know anyone that will pray for our family, especially during the preparation for and the first few weeks of our trip as we meet with the director and potentially begin the process of TWO adoptions, PLEASE share this with them!  We appreciate the prayerful support and getting the word out!

You can use the embed feature of OneTrueMedia to repost to blogs.
This video is also available for download at
 If you would like a DVD copy, please fill out THIS FORM and we will mail you one to share with your church, small group, Down syndrome groups-- whomever!

 Thanks for watching and helping spread the word!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Patch :)

We went to the pumpkin patch today! After school we stopped at a local church patch and we all piled out of the car.  We managed to do the pumpkin patch AND everyone pick a pumpkin with no stroller :)  That was quite an accomplishment in my book!  Micah held Kristopher’s hand (and they both did great), Lynae was in her carseat carrier and hung out in the shade (cheating, I know), and James and Emma held my hands and walked with me.  Brianna minded nicely and didn’t leave the patch- even putting each pumpkin back where she’d found it after picking her initial pumpkin to bring home :).

Here they are, the great pumpkins with their great pumpkins :)


I think that’s the first picture of the six kids all standing (even if two are leaning on the door)!

It took Emma a little time, but she eventually decided that the pumpkin wasn’t so bad…

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Brianna and James didn’t want to give them back to me ;)


Micah, still doesn’t like it :)  But he didn’t scream.  And Lynae screamed, when Brianna took hers away…


Without Faith there is nothing

If Jesus isn’t who he says he is, then he must be crazy.

Seriously, think about it. The guy says he is GOD. His mother says she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. He spoke of things in the future, healed people of diseases for which there was no cure, and brought dead people back to life. Even if you don’t believe all of that, the mere fact that he says the things that he does about “his father” makes him either 1- RIGHT, or 2- CRAZY.

How can a sane person, a ‘good prophet’ make such claims? Why would God use an ordinary man who claims he is god’s son to do things on His behalf? He probably wouldn’t. So if Jesus isn’t God’s son, then Jesus did nothing on God’s behalf.

Back to the beginning… if Jesus isn’t who he says he is, then he must be crazy.

I wholeheartedly believe that the ENTIRE Bible (and ONLY the Bible) is God-breathed word. It says in John 1 verse 1 that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The Bible is true, accurate, and from God. And Jesus is exactly who He says He is. He is God’s son, born of a virgin, worker of miracles, crucified for my sins, and resurrected. Conqueror of death, sin, and the grave. Savior of mankind.

This belief is the foundation of my life. I was raised in a Christian home, and as a teenager I turned my life fully over to Christ. Since that time I have sought His will in my life in deed and in action.

If you ask Michael to tell of his faith and beliefs, he will tell you similar. Together we follow Christ and want His will for our lives and our family.

Take just a minute and read this section which may be familiar to you… may not:

James 2

14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18But 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.

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,"[e] and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Wow. Quite a bit to take in there. We are not saved by works or deeds, but they are an expression of our faith. Here’s another verse about that:

Romans 9 30What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone."

That stumbling stone, as it is written in Romans, is still there today. It’s the idea that works can get a person into the Kingdom. Into Heaven. Into the family of Christ. Or, for those that have a ‘similar’ faith to true Christianity but don’t think they’re completely sold on the Heaven and Hell idea, to a “good destiny” or karma, or… fill in the blanks. It’s clear in the Bible that that’s not the way. It’s NOT by works. It’s by FAITH, and a natural expression of faith is a person’s deeds.

It is absolutely, without question, because of our faith that we have the children that we have. It is the foundation of our lives, our home, our marriage, our childrearing, our passions, our works, our deeds. It is the backbone of our lives. If we had no faith that there is a God of the Universe who loves us and cares for us and orchestrates things by His hands… If we had no faith that our Father will take care of us and will lead and guide us… If we had no faith that our pursuit of Him would lead to where He planned for us to be… then it would all be for nothing.

If you’re walking into the journey of adoption and have no faith to stand on before you walk it out, I want to suggest without hesitation that you take some time to chat with the God of the Universe, the Savior of our world, before doing that work. Because just as faith without works shows no action and cannot be true faith, neither is work without faith going to prove beneficial.

God answers the prayers in the foxholes- but waiting to be in trouble before crying out to Him doesn’t allow Him to help guide your path and keep from trouble. Surrender to Him, and HE will make your paths straight and your ways clear. It’s not always in the way that *we* intend it to be, but it is always the best way.

In case you can’t watch the video below, here are the lyrics to the song…

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.
Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

Shine your light and let the whole world see,
We're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus (x2)

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.


And one more, simply because I love this song :)

Left my fear by the side of the road
Hear You speak
Won't let go
Fall to my knees as I lift my hands to pray
Got every reason to be here again
Father's love that draws me in
And all my eyes wanna see is a glimpse of You
All I need is You
All I need is You Lord
Is you Lord
One more day and it's not the same
Your spirit calls my heart to sing
Drawn to the voice of my Saviour once again
Where would my soul be without Your Son
Gave His life to save the earth
Rest in the thought that You're watching over me
All I need is You
All I need is You Lord
Is You Lord
You hold the universe
You hold everyone on earth
You hold the universe
You hold
You hold
All I need is You
All I need is You Lord
Is You Lord


Monday, October 18, 2010

The buzz...

Our house is abuzz with all sorts of things going on right now.

There's "normal life" with the eight of us... which means lots of stories and outings and sunggles and loving with each of our 6 precious little ones.  It means family dinners and movie nights and playground time and playing ball.  It means laundry galore and dishes always running and toys underfoot and backpacks hung.  It means picking out clothes and mixing bottles and making lunches and brushing teeth.  It means giving medicines and wiping noses and changing diapers and putting kids on and off potties.  It means packing up backpacks and driving to school and walking to classes and picking up from school.

There's also Wesley's adoption.  Right now that is just waiting, but it has meant picking up papers and getting things notarized and signing more papers, and mailing them off.  It has meant picking out names and going through clothes, and planning out bedrooms, and planning for purchases.  It has meant saving up money, raising up funds, drawing up plans to leave, and getting things ready.  In the very near future it will change to packing up suitcases, buying plane tickets, setting up apartments overseas, and arranging our travel.  It will also mean preparing our childcare, signing paperwork, preparing our home, and getting things settled here.  That change in gears could happen as early as today.  It's a scary shift because it means that this is all REALLY happening, and we are really letting go of control and walking out this Faith Road.

Then there's Aleksa's potential adoption.  Right now it's at a standstill overseas until we find out if we can bring her home or not, but over in our neck of the woods it means fundraising, fundraising, fundraising, and fundraising!  We have secured only a very small portion of what will be needed if we are able to bring her home.  We have about $1500 of the $13,000 (we thought we would have another large amount but it didn't come through).  Two, maybe 3 people are fundraising for us as well, and we are saving money in every way we can and going out of our way to try to make a little extra money as well.  For this I just set up 150 outfits for infants to consign this month.  I also brought a bunch of clothes to a consignment store this weekend and received store credit for them (which we will use once we're home with the kids to fill in the gaps!).  We are also preparing ourselves.  Or at least trying to.  Though this is the child we met in 2008, we have to recognize that she is not the same child.  She has now had 2 1/2 years in an institution.  That's a LONG time to just age, much less to change due to the different structures and routines of an institution versus a baby house.  More on that another day...

With both adoptions being the main thing taking up out mental energy, and the 6 kids at home taking up much of our physical energy, and of course the house and chores taking up what is left... it has been a busy little household here recently!!

Though I have blogged rather randomly about things, our hearts are still the same... God is always first.  In every deed and action, He is priority.  Our marriage is second.  Our children at home are third.  Our waiting children come next.  And then our work and extended family and friends and everything else.  Holding tight to our priorities makes it much more manageable to work on an adoption.  If it doesn't push itself into slot #1 then it is much easier to accomplish.  God has to drive, your spouse has to be on board, and your children at home have to be cared for.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why we like the institution director:

Though we were hurt by the decision he made not to allow us to adopt, we have never spoken ill of the institution director.  There’s a good reason for that.  He’s really not a bad guy.

Yes, he turned down our adoption of Aleksa 2 1/2 years ago.

Yes, he had a very strong personality and was pretty intimidating.

Yet, in the great scheme of things, we still left the institution knowing that Aleksa was dressed, fed, and being generally cared for ok. 

Any institution is just that- an institution.  A place where there is no family, no support of brothers and sisters, and no dedicated person who love you unconditionally and will teach you both in educational ways and in social graces. 

In many if not most institutions for older childdren, there is very little structured learning time.  There are generally rooms lined with benches where the residents sit.  A majority of the day.  There is a room for eating where, however they are capable, they eat.  There are rooms for toileting and if you are able to toilet and are mobile, then that is what is done.  Bathing in general is not a very regular occurrence.

The residents never leave the facility for walks or to visit a park, to go to the zoo or the ocean.  They don’t attend school with other children or learn how to eat nicely, to walk in a group or line, to respond to general social graces of the world (hello, handshake, goodbye, or even not to rip your glasses off your face or not to spit right in your face when you bend down to them), and it’s not just that they haven’t done these things, but that they have no idea that they are missing this link to the rest of society.

Here’s the kicker…  We, Michael and I, know very well that any child will do better in a family than in an institution.  That there are many more opportunities for them in a family to be able to learn, to be able to grow, and to be able to develop in society and take part in a more fulfilling life with opportunities that FAR reach the walls of one facility.  If we’d never seen that happen… how would we feel?

What if all we’d seen of disabled persons overseas were news stories of the children being ridiculed at school?  Or the standpoint of the abortionists that says they don’t even deserve to live?  What if the viewpoint we saw was of homeless people with intellectual disabilities standing on street corners asking for money?  Or if our viewpoint was based on reports of abuse in both families and schools of disabled children?  What if our reports all came from the Child Protective Services about the number of adults and teens with developmental delays that have been abused in their alternate housing?  What if that was what we used to build our viewpoint of how disabled persons in America are treated??

We understand the director’s hesitancy to allow us to adopt Aleksa when we went there in 2008.  We see that he has a viewpoint of Americans and disabled persons and adoption which isn’t going to change based on meeting one family one time.  We knew that there would be no way for us to get him to put his neck on the line for us because he had no reason to believe that we would treat Aleksa any better than the person that sent their Eastern European-born son back to his birth country on an airplane. 

That is where the story changes for this visit.  Now we have three things.  One, is that we have completed an international adoption of two disabled children.  They have gone from the video I posted last week into the healthy, active, HAPPY, and growing children that they are today.  Second is that our missionary friend has prepared the way for us.  She has given a bit of our story to him, and has shared with him that we’re coming.  He now has time to prepare for us.  The third is that the general climate toward accepting people with disabilities into a family has begun to change in Ukraine.  We are seeing more and more people come and speak out and say “I want to take my baby home.” There are photographs of children with Down syndrome and advertisements about “I can” during Down syndrome awareness month in the Metro stations.  There are support groups much like the ones that Shelley and I visited.  The climate has begun to change there… maybe the director will recognize the potential that is already in effect here.

What we need now, is a whole lot of prayer.  Prayer for the director’s heart, his attitude toward us and our coming, and the potential release of Aleksa to be adopted.  Of course we want God’s will and that is what we have been seeking from day 1 with this experience!  Though I cannot imagine that God’s will is for an orphaned little girl to remain an orphan again, I also couldn’t have imagined that it was God’s will the last time we visited her—yet we knew after meeting Emma and Micah, that His Will was for us to bring them home and nurse them back to health.

Please pray with us for this director’s heart and attitude.  He really isn’t a bad guy.  He just has a picture of international adoption and of family with disabled children that isn’t a real account of what it means to have disabled children in the US.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Our trip to the ZOO!

There are FIVE giraffes at the zoo now!  In the very back there’s a new baby, and a mom and dad and… I’m guessing 3 other ‘kids’ based on the way the workers were talking about this family…


Most of the kids were intrigued by the giraffes.  Brianna was showing her independent spirit and sat behind us on the bench… :)

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Then, when the giraffe came close, she was RIGHT THERE.  She loved it!  Kristopher and Brianna were ‘buddies’ since they both were down and mobile, so he took that as a good opportunity to scoot right in with the cute little girl (who everyone let through to the front) and he got in close too!

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One of the other giraffes then decided that we were a good thing to look at.  He was probably counting how many kids were in the stroller… This picture is not zoomed at ALL, and my kids had their feet on that fence.  Ironically… Micah was looking UNDER the beam and had NO IDEA that that big spotted moving thing in front of him was actually alive and connected to a head with eyes up a little further.  This is probably a good thing since he freaks out at petting zoos…


We met up with friends to visit while we walked around the zoo and between the 5 kids in their family and 6 in ours, we were quite the crowd.  ALL of the kids were great, though, and there was no issue with the two moms being completely outnumbered by 11 kids age 8 and under! :)

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The ‘riding crew’ enjoying the boardwalk.  This zoo is great for strollers, it has walkways everywhere… except the parking lot where I about had a heart attack trying to get the stroller through the 50 feet of sugar sand!!


All the kids together...


Next time we get together at the zoo, instead of being a group of 11 kids, they will have their new baby and we will also have Wesley and maybe Aleksa in our family as well! I’m sure it will be great as a group of 14 as well!