Thursday, June 30, 2011

Isaiahs Bday

Click here to view these pictures larger

Isaiah's 1st Birthday

My baby is 1 years old! I cannot believe it! We had a birthday party at the sprayground and cake at our house to celebrate. He has a blast and we felt so blessed to have so many friends and family come out to celebrate him. All these pics were taken by my friends Tiffany who did a fabulous job (if you need a photographer she is starting out and is really talented as you can see). By the way Isaiah's has the cutest friends ever!

PS I am not sure why Blogger would not let me post text with my slide show...that is why they are two separate posts....if anyone has tips they are appreciated!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Needs and a little extra....

Since I have quit my job, things have been tight and we are struggling. But, it is a good struggle. We are having to re-evaluate. We are having to trust. We are having to simplify. We are not good at these things. So, as we are learning, our bank account is dwindling, our savings are shrinking and we (ok - I) are (am) panicking. We have many trips coming up and few funds. Some of them are necessary, some of them not, but they all feel necessary.
But anyway...yesterday was Isaiah's first birthday party which was wonderful for lots of reasons. One of which is that the Lord used it as a reminder of how He meets our needs through the body, through his people. Over and over again. Since we have become foster parents, he has met our needs in amazing ways through all of you! Before we were ever foster parents, we received a ton of gear and $1800 in gift cards. When the girls came, there was a never ending stream of people bearing clothes, food, formula, and toys. We had friends who did a room makeover for Abby. When Thomas and Joy came, again, more clothes and gift cards. When Isaiah came, you all threw us THREE baby showers, and brought us meals for a month. In nearly eight months, we just bought Isaiah's first pack of diapers because we had that many. We have tried to be faithful in giving when we felt led, even if we didn't know how it was going to work out, yet it always has. Back in April, we felt specifically led to give a certain amount to the church's new building fund even though we needed to pull from savings to do so. The next day, we found out from our accountant that we would be receiving a tax return that was three times the amount we had given to the church.
Back to my original point, yesterday was Isaiah's birthday party, and things were super tight financially. But we have just been trying to trust. One gift that we got was a photo session for Isaiah which is a huge blessing because we truly can't afford it and we wanted so badly to get his one year portraits made. I mean - this is not a necessity, but it is a little extra. Also, imagine my shock when I opened a Sesame Street card and multiple large bills fell out! Completely unexpected! Our bank account was about to be in the red friends, and now it's not.
When I think about our God and how he has ministered to and provided for us through you all, in small and large ways, in the ways you all have cared for and loved our family, the only way to describe it is: ridiculously, extravagantly generous LOVE!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kingdom Come

Throughout this foster care journey, there is one prayer that has been constant: "Your will God, not mine." In the beginning, I will admit - I did not mean it. What I meant was: "Your will - as long as your will aligns with mine." My husband and I would pray "God - do your will in Abby, Panda, Joy, and Thomas' life," silently pleading: "but let them stay, make that your will, do not take them away from us."
Something has begun to shift. It started while Thomas and Joy were still here and it is still shifting. I started to trust Him more. Trust his will more. Trust the goodness of His plan more. Even if it hurts at the time, even if I can't see the reason or the purpose, I am actually starting to believe He has a plan.
Yesterday we found out that the fifteen-year-old who we wanted to adopt is no longer available for adoption. His current foster family, who at first did not want to adopt him (they were just a straight foster family), has changed their mind. This is awesome news. From what we have heard, they have really done wonderful things in his life. Theirs is the home in which he started to believe that he wanted, and was worthy of, a family. So while we are a little disappointed for us, we rejoice for him. This is the shift I am talking about. One year ago, this same news would have angered, saddened, and confused me. Yesterday when I got the call, I was so excited for this kid. He is home. It actually didn't matter all that much to me that it wasn't my home. I thought God's will was done. I don't know why the Lord told us to submit for him. I don't understand why he wasn't ours. But I trust His plan. Even when it means I don't get everything I want.
Last night we were driving home from a training and I was thinking about the Lord's prayer. Specifically, the line that says: "Kingdom come, YOUR will be done." That is when the Kingdom comes. When God's will is done in our lives. When we get out of the way. When we relinquish perceived control. When we put down our agenda. Then we see the kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers Day

Today I want to honor my husband Matt. He is an amazing father. He has so many qualities that embody the heart of THE Father. He is raising up men and women. He is a father to the fatherless. He is willing to spend himself on behalf of children for as long as they are with us.

He loves with abandon knowing full well that someday they may be gone. He is patient and kind. He is humble and quickly asks for forgiveness when he feels he has wronged our children.

He is gentle. He is fully engaged and present with our children giving them undivided attention. He plays well. He laughs easily and is willing to be silly.

He is reassuring and strong. He provides a safe place for our children to have new experiences or process through emotions that can be scary. He is unafraid to get in the trenches of stomach viruses, dental procedures, father issues, blow out diapers, and massive fits. He is a true partner, and helpmate to me.

He gives them his all for as long as these children are here whether it be forever or a little while.

I am so blessed to have him to share this life with, to walk this road with. I know it is not just any man that would say yes to a life filled with so many abrupt hellos and good byes. A life filled with uncertainty and transition. I life filled with sleep training and toilet training over and over again. But the really beautiful thing is he doesn't just say yes, he says lets bring them home. Let's chase them on behalf of our Father. Lets take the ones that the world says are unwanted and want them. Lets take the ones that the world says are un-adoptable and call them sons and daughters. My heart is full and thankful for this man today and every day.

*Also you should know that he is a wonderful editor, but I didn't want to have him edit this post so please excuse any grammatical errors

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fear- Update!

I just wanted to update everyone that about an hour after I posted my last blog I got the call that we had been waiting for and info we had been waiting for regarding Isaiahs trial. This is a call we have been waiting for since mid April. His termination hearing is mid July. Please pray that things will continue to go smoothly. God is SOOOO GOOD! All glory and honor to HIM!


We are all affected by it. We are motivated by it. We are paralyzed by it. It can reveal our true character. It can cause us to react in unusual ways. We all have our own personal fears. Fear of failure (financial, career, in our marriage, as a parent, in school). Fear of being alone. Fear of the unknown. Fear of regret. Fear of snakes, spiders, little people (you know who you are ;)), and things that go bump in the night.

In the last couple of years, my fear has mostly been wrapped around one item: Being a mother. I was afraid that my baby wouldn't come. Even though God promised me that he would. Fear that my heart would break when my foster children left. Even though God promised me that he would not devastate me. Fear that I would do all this and be left with nothing to show for it. Even though the scriptures tell me that that is a lie:

Hebrews 6:10-19
"For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
When God made a promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, "I will surely bless you and multiply you." And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. Human beings, of course, swear by someone greater than themselves, and an oath given as confirmation puts an end to all dispute. In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain,

And now that God has miraculously brought me my baby (read our story here) I have a different fear...that someone will take my baby away. You see, Isaiah is not adopted yet. He is called a legal risk placement which pretty much means that the plan is adoption, but anything could happen. With Isaiah's case, the risk is minute but it is there until the ink dries on the paper and he is legally mine. The risk is there.

But you know what else is there? A reminder that God is true, real, just, good, and keeps his promises. As I sit here, drinking my coffee and typing this, God's promise to me is in his crib, butt-in-the-air, napping. Multiple times a day, I put my reminder of God's goodness in and out of a car seat. Every night, my husband rocks our reminder that God is real and working today, to sleep. I am not saying the reason I believe God is real and good hinges on Isaiah, but on days when I am struggling with believeing, I look at him, and think about how he was brought to us and wonder: how can I deny God? Last night, my husband and I were praying over Isaiah's case and the Lord gently reminded me that he didn't need any help bringing Isaiah to us. That actually, when I finally stopped trying to manipulate and control the situation - then my hands were open to recieve my son.

I confess friends, I have been back to my old tricks: calling caseworkers, sending emails, etc to make sure our termination date in July goes off without a hitch. Then I was reminded of something one of my friends said: "You don't have to do anything to get God to be good and loving and fulfill his promises. You can't do anything to make that happen because it is already true. It is already in his character". So I am going to try to let go of the fear or at least loosen my grip because Psalm 34:4 says: "God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears". Amen.
Also if you think to vote that would be great!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Circle Of Moms

Voting for my blog will help me drum up readership. I would love that.
I have this blog/soapbox/platform for several reasons.
First, I want to process this journey of foster care and adoption which is amazing, humbling, awe-inspiring, lonely, sad, scary, gut-wrenching, beautiful, and right in the center of where I am supposed to be.
Second, I want to encourage and inspire other foster and adoptive moms and families because I remember when my first foster daughters went back home, I was overcome by grief; I didn't know how to process it and didn't have anyone in my life who had been through what I was experiencing. I scoured the internet trying to find someone whose blog I could read, someone whose common ground I could stand on and whose words and experiences could help me learn to deal and learn to heal. Honestly, I came up short. I found plenty on adoption but not too much on my particular niche in the adoptive arena. That was when I decided that maybe I could attempt to do for others what I couldn't find for myself.
Last, and equally important, I want to inform people; I want to disprove stigmas and deconstruct stereotypes. I want people to see foster care and adoption as something in the realm of their possibilities. I want people to see my family and realize we are simply a family trying to love Jesus and each other as best we can. I want to attach names, stories, and faces to orphans so they become more personal and less distant. I want to challenge people to realize that the orphan crisis is everyone's crisis and that there are many things we, in both small and large ways, can do to unite the lonely with families and turn orphans into sons and daughters.

So if you like what you read here vote for me here:

You can vote mulitiple times.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

All about Isaiah 11 months-ish

This boy is growing so fast and melting my heart! He is so fun and smart, and sweet, and cute. I feel so incredibly blessed that God chose me to be his mother.I am over the moon. I want to remember every single moment and it is going by all too fast!So I am trying to do these post periodically to document some stuff.

Foods: CRACKERS! and mostly fruits and vegetables.Your favorites are tomatoes and watermelon. You eat almost anything and a lot of it! You do not like bread, or bananas.

Music: You LOVE it . Whenever a song comes on with a beat that you like you stop what you are doing pull up and dance. You also love patty cake and know all the motions to do with it!

Activities: Practicing standing you do this all day. Pull up, gain your balance, let go of whatever you are holding onto, stand a few seconds, fall, repeat. But when you do this you are so proud you raise your hands over your head and have a huge smile on your face.You are SO BIG! You also love getting in the dog bowl, pulling books of the shelf and playing with kitchenware, and taking a bath.

You can: CRAWL you are all over the place, you are cruising, you sign more, you blow kisses, you wave, and "roll it up" (Patty Cake), feed yourself

Things that make you laugh: Wrestling you love to roughhouse, your Daddy (when you hear the back door open in the afternoon your whole body gets excited and you start shrieking), feeding me of your plate

New Stuff- you chirp usually when you are kinda frustrated.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On the horizon

We have some really exciting things on the horizon right now.
One is that we are pursuing a fifteen year old boy for adoption. The Lord has been speaking to my heart recently about the kids who are considered "difficult to adopt." I felt like He was saying, "You say that you are for me and that I am for orphans. Lets go after the children who are really waiting." This generally includes teens, large sibling groups, and children with disabilities. My pastor spoke about the fatherless a couple of weeks ago and I was looking for some resources and I came across one that talked about adopting teens and my heart was pricked. So, I found a teen on TARE, Texas Adoption Resource Exchange, and called my adoption case worker at Kornerstone. She agreed to inquire about the boy on TARE but she also had a teen that she wanted to tell me about (she always has one that she wants to tell me about, her pockets seem to be full of them). When I heard his story, I immediately felt a connection to him. As Matt and I prayed, we felt as though this boy quickly became cemented in our hearts and we believe that he belongs with us. We are in the very early stages and are waiting to hear if his caseworker even wants to move forward with us - prayers are appreciated.
The other thing is that we met a family, the Cottles, and the Lord has laid a clear vision on our hearts of starting a foster community similar to this one with this amazing family. We are in the early stages of praying, dreaming, and planning, but this is definitely where we are headed and we are thrilled at the goodness of God's plan for our life. We have only had three dinners together but after the first one, I knew that we would be partnering in ministry and that ultimately we would be growing our families along side each other.
I share all this with you because we covet your prayers over both these situations.