Friday, October 29, 2010

We have Pre Approval!

We got awesome news last night. We got our pre-approval!!!! That news came a week after our LOI (letter of intent) finally got submitted. Once we get back from vacation we will finish up our homestudy and fill out the form for immigration approval. Hopefully we can get all sent to USCIS maybe by the 10th or before and get fingerprints maybe before Thanksgiving.
God kept me up last night and I hope to share with you this afternoon. Gonna do some more family fun first though!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sites and Sounds

The snow is coming down again. We were able to get some sledding done today in town. For the first two days we had run ins with security over sledding at the resort. First day, not on the mountain. We were only going 30 feet up and were with our children. I was hacked that there is nothing to do, no one around, no one on the mountain and we couldn't even sled 30 feet up from the bottom!? People were hiking all the way up and they weren't getting on them! (and we weren't in the hikers way) So day 2 we use a pile of snow that they made at the end of a sidewalk that leads to a grassy area and made that into a little sled run. We cleared off the hill when the bobcat was adding to it, we were being very safe and guess what happens. Yep, security comes around again and says absolutely no sledding period. The guy from the previous day said we could sled in the area that we were in. And now-nope. ARRGGG. So 2 1/2 hours of sledding with no incidents. The reason for this no sledding policy, apparently some children died one year after they crashed into a tree. How many people die from skiing and yet they still allow skiing! They do however have sledding in their sledding area, where we were!!!!, whenever it is set up, but it is not because usually there isn't this much snow on the ground already...

Today with our sled run in town, there for an hour, we suffered a bump on the head, a bloody nose, an almost continuous temper tantrum and this was supposed to be "safer"? Oh and bad road conditions getting into and out of town. I don't know about the general population, but my vehicle sliding on ice is not my idea of fun.

I don't want to be stuck at a closed resort and yet I don't really feel like being animal food by going out and hiking around the national parks with a foot of snow on the ground... I really hope that this vacation gets better...

The kids have been able to continue learning Chinese though and Mr. Incredible and I have been able to complete our 10 hours of Hague training each, so all is not lost. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bye, Bye Super P

Today was Super P's last day. He has been hired on for a full time job and we are left praying and wondering who God will provide as our next helper. (maybe God is speaking to you?) It's our usual lazy Friday (Ha!), no appointments, however we have been busily cleaning and preparing for tonight's visit from our adoption agency's social worker and for all of what is happening next week!

Quick update on adoption: I had asked our agency over a week and a half ago what I needed to be preparing and gathering for the homestudy. They said "nothing". Monday I called to see if our LOI had been sent and had to leave a message. Tuesday I sent an email to follow up the phone message. On THURSDAY I finally got a response and it said that all the stuff that I had asked about the week prior and told I didn't have to do, we would have to do!!! It also said that our LOI was getting sent off on Thursday! Whatever happened to sending it Monday?! I was angry and wanting to scream, not at all in the mood for being around our five blessings, feeling so pressed for time in other areas of my life that I thought about skipping exercising. But, I knew I would feel better besides being a better mommy if I went. So I did. When I got back home God had the MOST amazing news for us in the inbox. (I started crying while reading the email and was still crying when I called Mr. Incredible.) We only have to redo a few things and most I got taken care of already! The others will hopefully be here the first week in November! I also found out information that made me have to go change this post. The favor that we are being shown is simply amazing. I am so humbled by what God is doing. This stretching is hard and so many days I feel like a complete failure, but God is working to bring our daughter home and I simply need to do what HE asks and trust. And as Beth Moore says, MOVE IT!!!!!

I will post more about the 7 Habits for Highly Effective Families, later.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

9-1-1 Does Work!

So I bet your wondering what happened. Through a series of events Mr. Incredible was home alone with our younger four doing dinner, baths, etc. Mr. M found a sticker earlier or at some point prior to his next action and when daddy said go upstairs and get jammies and underwear, he interpreted that to mean do what the sticker says, which was to call 911 in real emergencies. Well, guess our reading needs some help. Because though no "real" emergency was present, Mr. M commenced to sneak into our room and use the phone to call 911. Mr. Incredible was finishing dinner with Mr. T and Elizabeth and was only made aware of what happened when he answered the ringing phone and was asked if there was an emergency. Oh yeah. Wait for it. It gets better. If you dial 911, they will come to your house, even if you answer the return call. So... One of the two officers that responded is our neighbor who I had already waved to twice tonight through our various coming and goings. Apparently he did have quite a smile going on while speaking to Mr. Incredible, however they did save their laughter until after Mr. Incredible had shut the door.
Thankfully Mr. Incredible did answer the phone although he had debated not doing so since there had already been one telemarketer call tonight. Not sure he would have heard their knocking from the bathroom...
So (drum roll) that makes 3 poison control calls for a certain child and now a 911. And he's only 6!
I love you, Mr. Incredible. It could happen to anyone, it just seems to keep happening to us!

7 Habits of a Highly Effective Family, #1 and #2

So this is what we learned this past weekend....

Habit #1- Be Proactive

Instead of being reactive
Stimulus -> Response

Be Proactive
Stimulus->Choice in Response ->Response

The goal here is to stop and choose a response better than your initial gut (probably not prudent) reaction. Choose the best thing to do. Exert control over your response. The only thing we can control is our reaction to the situation.

Habit #2 Begin With the End in Mind

Imagine your life in 20 years, who are you with and what are you doing? Start whatever it is you want now!

Be intentional. Be intentional with who you are. Be intentional with what you do. Be intentional with who you do it with.

Make a 2-3 sentence family mission statement that clarifies your goals as a family.
___________________________________

Don't think we have it all together, we are still working on our family mission statement! The biggest thing that these two habits spoke to me was I HAVE to be intentional with spending time with each of the kids each day. It is NOT going to just happen. This is a choice I need to make so that I can better meet each of my children where they are. I need to be willing to stop my to do list and do something with them that they enjoy (probably not school related) and meet them where they are. It's not easy, but do I want my children to think the house or email more important than them?!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Little Things...Eat You

So many things have been going on, and on, and on, and on...

Trying to finalize details for "For the Children" on November 6th. There is also something else local going on the 6th and we are trying to resolve that conflict.

Instances of why I didn't want to use our same adoption agency again have permeated the week. It took them four agency agreements to finally send us the right one. (We are the first family doing this 2nd "immediate" adoption from China) The cost of this adoption is more expensive (initial cost) than their "basic" adoption, now it's only by $20, but COME ON! Saying that they couldn't begin our homestudy for two weeks because of the "refund" period in our contract. Well the fourth contract they sent, the one we signed DIDN'T have a refund period! AAAAAAHHHHHH. So that was Mon.- Thur.

Lest Friday and Saturday be somewhat calm, I mean we were at a retreat for foster/adoptive families! Our helper let us know that he found another job and wanted to know how much notice to give! I really wanted to scream, "YOU CAN'T LEAVE!!!!", but I knew that was my insecurity about abandonment talking. Considering we are going to be on vacation for 10 days, I knew I probably had a right to say 3 weeks, but that would disqualify him for this new and *better* job. GRRRRRRR.

Right now I am flying on a wing and a prayer, so close to tears all the time and wondering just how I'm going to get this southern family prepared for 10 days in CO with gluten free food, all our usual weekly stuff and find a new helper and and and.... Sometimes it's all the little things that really eat you up.

Lord, you are the maker of time. Please help me to budget mine wisely because it's slipping like sand through my fingers.

I will post about the wonderful training we received, later...

*40 hours a week, more pay and benefits* Not sure how that's better than being around 5 awesome kids, but apparently some think so. Oh wait! There are days that I think so too! LOL! :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Two Worlds Collide- a sister for Elizabeth

When Mr. Incredible and I started praying about adopting again, I had plan. I wanted a little black baby girl. (notice there isn't much room for GOD in I) Mr. Incredible wasn't sure about the timing - seemed too soon- but admitted that the whole process does take a while and so we started praying for the Lord's will to be done...

If you had asked me back back in August when I posted here , what God was going to do I would have said I thought I knew a direction. Little did I know! LOL! If God had revealed where we are now then, I would have RUN SCREAMING and NOT have posted. Funny how God works!? He only gives us what we can handle, then He stretches us and we can handle a little more, followed by more stretching... If HE had showed me the whole thing, I would have said it wasn't HIM. But now I can see how HE is WORKING. He has a plan. I have to trust.

Our world has collided with God's plan and we will never be the same. God is moving in our lives and giving us favor with foreign governments and we are now going to be adopting a little three year old girl with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bones) from China. Yes, we know she breaks easy. Yes, we know we already have five kids. Yes, we know it sounds TOTALLY INSANE. And yes, it is God's leading! Not what we imagined, thought of or even considered, but when God moves HE MOVES.

I was not going to ever use our adoption agency from Elizabeth adoption again and they knew it, but our name kept coming up and other families kept saying "no" to this little girl and so they contacted us. They contacted us the last day that Mr. Incredible was in Indonesia. A few days prior he had been in the Chinese city where this little girl lives. God had laid on my heart that his business trip would change our lives, I could only think of negative, VERY negative, ways "our lives would be changed". So when that email slipped in the inbox hours before Mr. Incredible was to end his business trip, I just had to wonder. It also turns out that she went on the waiting child list within hours of Mr. Incredible and I coming into agreement that God wanted us to look at adopting again. (remember that post?) Within hours of THAT!!!

This last Friday we submitted formal application to the adoption agency not knowing what China would say about the dossier, had an inkling but nothing official. At the end of the application was the "submit" button. Before I sent it off I called Mr. Incredible at work and we had one of those just to make sure, really?!, not too late to back out you know, no money spent yet conversations. He asked me what was so hard. Being real I had to say that I knew what this meant, the waiting, the strain, the work, the financial and emotional cost and I just didn't want to do it,... but I knew that God was leading us here. Interestingly, I had to click "submit" to complete the application, not "finish" or "done". I wasn't just clicking a button to finish an application, that click of the mouse was the difference between obedience and my way. Clicking that button indicated my/our submission to God's will for our family no mattered how it differed from MY plans. Never would I have imagined a simple task to cause such a pause, yet I KNEW that if I didn't obey, God could not be glorified.

The reward for obedience?! I can finally get excited(!!!!!), TODAY the Chinese government officials gave the go ahead to be able to *proceed. (it's amazing what submission does, we've been waiting for a couple of weeks for that approval!) *It also means that we will be able to bring her home a lot sooner- very important medically and emotionally (more on that later). That we can *proceed is such an answer to prayer and such a confirmation that God does truly want her to join our family. Oh, I forgot to mention... our *.

It's strange, we know we are going to adopt her, China knows we are going to adopt her, but apparently we are the first family to do what we are doing and so there is a bit of a hangup on the paperwork and until it is officially official we can't post identifying information or pictures :(. So bear with us until God straightens this out.

For whatever reason God has chosen us to be the parents of this little precious girl. He has seen her birth, her abandonment, her life, her many broken bones. We haven't (so far). He knows how Mr. Incredible hates needles and can't stand to see his children in pain. God knows my mother's heart and how tough it is to be with the children through their various procedures and surgeries, even if it's for their good... and yet we are going to have to be willing to break her so that she can be healed.

Well that's our news. Our world is colliding. Our family expanding. To God be the glory!

*as of 10/21/10 we received news that what we had previously shared is now confidential. So in the interest of keeping China and our adoption agency happy, I deleted some information. I am sorry it doesn't read as well now and you are privy to all the cool things that God is doing. But OH MY HE is WORKING!!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Two Worlds Collide part 2

What if I lived here?

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 24: (EDITORS NOTE: A TILT AND SHIFT LENS WAS USED IN THE CREATION OF THIS IMAGE.) A family pose outside a shanty house on June, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)



Instead of here.



What if this was our family vehicle?

A family fleeing flood waters rides on a motorcycle to evacuate while looking for higher ground in Khan por village in Sukkur at Pakistan's Sindh province August 9, 2010. Landslides triggered by the worst floods in Pakistan in 80 years are hampering already troubled relief efforts, with aid workers using donkeys or travelling on foot to reach millions in desperate need of help. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro (PAKISTAN - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)


Instead of this.




What if the fact that we have a vehicle is an unattainable reality for most?

What if this was MY child's bed?

A Cambodian child rests on a hammock at his family shelter at the Steng Meanchey dump site outside Phnom Penh July 5, 2010. Although the city has new modern site that handles its garbage, hundreds of Cambodians including children, many of them orphans, still live and work at the old abandoned dump site in the outskirts of Phnom Penh.  REUTERS/Damir Sagolj (CAMBODIA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT)


What if our pot of soup for our dinner would be consider a week's worth of meals for a family in another part of the world?

What if my this was where I prepared our food?

A woman washes her clothes with water from a polluted river in Indonesia's capital Jakarta August 21, 2010. Jakarta, with a population of 9.59 million, is overcrowded, set in an earthquake zone, prone to flooding, and crippled by inadequate infrastructure. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has recently suggested moving the capital, or the seat of government, to relieve Jakarta's congestion. Picture taken August 21, 2010. To match feature INDONESIA-CAPITAL/  REUTERS/Crack Palinggi (INDONESIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY BUSINESS CITYSCAPE)

And this our water to drink?

A girl bathes with water from a polluted river in Indonesia's capital Jakarta August 21, 2010. Jakarta, with a population of 9.59 million, is overcrowded, set in an earthquake zone, prone to flooding, and crippled by inadequate infrastructure. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has recently suggested moving the capital, or the seat of government, to relieve Jakarta's congestion. Picture taken August 21, 2010. To match feature INDONESIA-CAPITAL/  REUTERS/Crack Palinggi (INDONESIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY BUSINESS CITYSCAPE)





What will I do when confronted with these images? Am I willing to DO anything? Willing to sacrifice something? Will I sit idly by? Saying I have enough to do already. Will I turn away and pretend it doesn't exist? What will God say when I stand before Him?

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'There is no commandment greater than these." ~Mark 12:30-31

Are they really my neighbor 1/2 a world away?

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act."
~Proverbs 3:27


Friday, October 8, 2010

Two Worlds Collide

These are the images that I got to be a part of in April of 2008. These are the children that opened my heart to considering a special needs adoption. These children live in a foster home of about 28 children in China. They all are special needs and EXTREMELY well cared for.
video

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One Less

Pause the music at right and take some time to listen.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Have Sister Will Travel

The conversation went something like this,
Boys: Let's put Elizabeth in the cooler and roll her to the car.
Me: What?! Why?
Boys: She goes so slow so this will be quicker!
Me: Okay, but you can't close the lid, J, it's your job to hold it up.
(Commence our slowest walk to the car yet, LOL)
Boys: This is fun!
Boys never cease to amaze me.

video

Monday, October 4, 2010

Busyness

I know it may seem like I've disappeared lately. Our incredibly busy life has just been even more consuming lately.
On Sunday our pastor spoke of how people drink to dull the pain of their empty life or will fill their life with busyness to keep their mind off of the hole in their life. Sitting there I thought on it. Nope. I have a very filled life because I've obeyed God and we've adopted/or God blessed us "the old fashioned way" with 5 children who each have unique issues and opportunities to overcome challenges- Gluten Free diet, food allergies, ADHD, RAD, PDD, LD, and hearing impairment. Wrestling with the finite hours in my day is not because I need to fill a void, but is one of the delights of a heart bended to hearing God's call. Off now to more joyous opportunities to serve!