Verse of the Day

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Five Month Update, and a Little Advice to Those Just Starting the Process

Unbelievable! I honestly can not fathom that the three musketeers have already been home for 5 months!  B., A., and Miss G. have made quantum leaps in all areas of life--- across the board!

New and Encouraging Changes within the Past Month:

  • The kids successfully and enthusiastically completed a soccer season and 2 sessions of swimming class.  Each of them displayed improved physical coordination, drastically improved endurance, and good interpersonal skills with team mates.  The kids were cooperative with coaches and with kids; each demonstrated an ability to persevere under stress and fatigue.  They do seem to enjoy a competitive atmosphere.
  • School!  The kids continue to make slow, steady progress in preschool level work.  The kids now consistently know colors; they can even recognize the color names written in English.  The Kumon workbooks have been a continued source of joy and inspiration for the kids.  They feel a sense of accomplishment when they can work an entire book and actually understand a key concept.  I am so impressed with the workbooks that I even purchases a couple of them for Miss. B.  We continue to do a lot of oral work:  calendar, weather, numbers, alphabet, basic math facts.  The kids respond favorably to the structure of the day:  devotions, oral work, workbooks, snack--- workbooks, math music, Califone vocabulary cards, and puzzles or additional coloring.  School is now up to 3 hours, with fairly good attention span!  The kids all ask for more school, even on the weekends.  Sorry kids, but teach needs time off, too!
  • No more bed wetting.  A 2 week use of pull-ups is all it took to get our youngest to use the bathroom.  Who knew this would be so easy?
  • Manners are noticeably improved.  Although we still have issues with everyone talking at the same time, the kids are doing so well that we can now take them out to eat.  We have taken them to eat out twice now, each time with no negative issues whatsoever.  We just make sure we split up all the big talkers... and make sure we get cup with lids on them!  Everything now is just "normal kid stuff."
  • No major grieving issues over the past month.  The kids are sleeping well, eating well, and display no sign of sadness, depression, or any unusual behavior.
  • No more food hoarding.  
  • Less and less testing.  I do not even recall an incident of any of the kids trying to test me this month.  Maybe I'm just tired....
  • Ability to memorize Scripture.  This one amazed me!  Here we have kids who don't even speak English 100% of the time, but they can memorize simple verses.  My heart burst with joy when they come up to me throughout the week, rehearsing their verse.  They seem to enjoy the challenge, and definitely enjoy hearing our positive encouragement.  Truth and Grace Memory Book
  • Some decrease in the hyperness of the boys.  The the boys are finding more and more activities that keep them physically or mentally busy.  "Focus!" is the mantra of our household, particularly for our oldest boy.
  • The kids are far more willing and able to share.  They even helped identify items (clothes, toys, etc.) that they could donate to a local charity.  This clearly demonstrates that they are feeling infinitely more secure and safe.
  • Sticker Reward System for Appropriate Behavior = Success!  See old post on chart; works beautifully!
Unchanged Behavior over the Past Month:
  • No discernible increase in use of English.
  • Bed time chatter continues for the boys.  
  • No increase in the "acceptable foods" department.
  • Lying continues, but is more of an issue in only one child--- not all three.
  • Sibling squabbles continue, but hitting and physical fighting has stopped.
Areas Requiring Attention
  • Stranger danger:  During a large family get-together, one of the kids retreated.  He was clearly tired and overstimulated; he hid from everyone in the front yard, not responding to people calling for him.  He was only "missing" for a few minutes, but it was an unnerving few minutes!  As a result, I did purchase a stranger safety video and had all of the kids watch.  I wasn't sure how much they really understood, but the next day they demonstrated a new awareness of potentially threatening situations.  We continue to work on some of the key ideas in the video.  I'm sure this will take some time to really penetrate.  Stranger Safety Video
  • Bad language:  Initially, I thought I was not hearing correctly... but there is was again--- in clear English.  Some words (and gestures) are just universal, apparently.  I honestly thought a few months ago that some Ethiopian word must sound an awful lot like an American cuss word... little did I know that they picked up the English word(s) very early in their education.  Guess they all go through it; I'm not too concerned.
That's about it for now.  How much more encouraging or positive could this be?  Don't be frightened off by older child adoption.

If you are considering older child adoption, please do your homework and sign with a reputable organization.  Read blogs and join Yahoo groups that can offer agency feedback.  Furthermore, choose an agency that truly knows the child's temperament and as much social history as possible.  This is critical in older child adoption, especially if you have children already at home.  In my experience, YWAM's Adoption Ministry simply shines in this regard!  For us, everything stated in our children's histories rang true, and we were prepared for certain behavioral issues the kids demonstrated while under YWAM's care.

Just as important, choose a reputable agency to do your home study.  It is critical that you have a positive relationship with your social worker.  Don't try to save money here, or look for a fast process.  Get a recommendation; don't blindly choose a social worker.  Problems can and do occur in adoption; your social worker ought to be your first call for advice.  This person should be available for you, and you must feel that you can completely open up and be honest with this person.  Without a doubt, we were blessed to work with Lisa Peterson of Building Arizona Families.  I emailed her frequently, especially when the kids first came home.  I actually look forward to Lisa's visits; she is a true friend and advisor, and helped us tremendously in our transition with the kids.  That is the type of relationship you need to look for before you start an adoption.

Unfortunately, some families do experience exceptionally difficult adjustments.  Disruptions can and do happen.  I can not imagine the pain these families endure, and my heart hurts for both parents and children involved.  But please... don't allow that possibility deter you from making a decision to choose an older child.  Just plunge in, with your eyes wide open!  Don't let fear stop you, but be smart about your decision.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Final Soccer Game

Today was the final day of the soccer season; and, with great joy, the kids celebrated an exciting victory!  B. and A. each scored a goal; all of the kids played their best game of soccer yet.

The kids were a little overwhelmed with receiving two trophies... one from the league and one from their coach.  Nonetheless, they had a great experience and learned to play very well with lots of other kids.

The highlight of my day was receiving multiple hugs and kisses from my sweet, sweaty players... how good can it get?

Great job, kids!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Music Recital

T.J., Taylor, Dustin, and Blanca all performed in Saturday's AIMPA Music Recital.  Here are some of the highlights:
T-Man and D-Man performed together, playing some of D-Man's own blues material.
Miss B. performed beautifully, despite a big case of stage fright!  It'll get easier, Baby girl... really.
Here, T-Man performs an original song, "Surf of Carlsbad."  I have to say, his musical ability really threw me off guard... I had NO idea he was so talented!  T-Man is actually working on a CD that he plans to release on iTunes this summer.  Go figure!
This is T-Man performing another original song, "Anticipation of Overtones."  Just awesome!

Miss T. actually enjoys the recitals.  She seems to feel quite at home on stage; her enthusiasm for the piano shines through.
Miss T. , accompanied by Angela Anderson on piano and T-MN on guitar; she sang "Holy," by Nicole Nordeman.  This made Dad cry....  Her voice has gotten stronger; her range much broader.  I also appreciate her song choice.  She shows a great deal of maturity, preferring to sing songs that praise the Lord.
Yes, I think I need to get her a bodyguard.  She's way beautiful, inside and out.
The "crew" just prior to the performance.  What a good-looking bunch of kids!  And they all behaved for a 2 hour show!  That's a miracle, in an of itself!
B.says he just can't wait to be able to join D-Man--- jamming on an the electric guitar!
A. loves his big brother.  T-Man has lots of fans in the household, and they sure all love being "on" him all of the time.
My sweet girls

D-Man's a Camo Belt!

It's hard for a mom to watch her son spar... he likes it, though.

The camo belt is the fourth belt in D-Man's quest for a Taekwondo black belt.  

Congratulations, Dustman!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Family Invasion

This Mother's Day we had the pleasure of seeing my parents, my grandmother, and my brother--- with his family.  Uncle C. kept us entertained, as usual; I worked at keeping everyone fed, as usual.  It was fun!  Here is my brother, C., showing Miss G.  how to brag about being number one!
Here is Logan with his entourage

It was like Christmas in May, thanks to Aunt D!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Behavioral Charts... seem to be working

I found another great resource online.  It is a behavioral chart from an ADHD site.  I honestly don't believe the kids have any disorder--- but they obviously are in great need of structure and discipline.  These charts just seemed to fit where they are, behaviorally speaking.

The text is a little difficult to read here, so I encourage you to view it at  (for some reason does not always, so you may have to copy and paste it to your browser.)ADHD of the Christian Kind

For Miss B., my just turned 8 year old, I used the blank chart to personalize the goals.  For example, I removed a few of already mastered goals and replaced them with:
  • I cleaned up my own messes
  • I did not pout
  • I spoke with respect to my mother (I do let her have a "redo" or "try it again, with respect")
  • I did not demand my way
  • I preferred others to myself
  • I was patient
  • I avoided being impulsive
  • I was patient
  • I served my brothers and sisters
All 4 younger kids love this new system!  Of course, it is all new--- so we'll see what happens long-term.  I reward stickers throughout the day, or sometimes at the end of the day.  I also have the older kids tell me if they witness any especially good behavior.  This is great, as sometimes the older kids tend to be the "police" looking for negative behavior.  This has resulted in a much more positive home environment.

As a reward, I did get some personalized pencils, cool erasers, small lollipops... and the big prize of a tiny stuffed animal (found on Oriental Trading).  They can accumulate their stickers for bigger prizes.  I have found this encourages some of my impulsive children to exercise patience and delayed gratification.   

Ah, I feel like I'm back in the kindergarten classroom!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

If You Enjoyed "The Connected Child," You'll Like This, Too

Karyn B. Purvis, Ph.D., author of "The Connected Child," has now come out with a downloadable study guide.  I've leafed through it--- it's 77 pages long--- and it looks good.  (The links don't show up on the screen until you run the mouse over the blank area... I don't know what the problem is, but they are there!)

Hope it helps someone.
"Created to Connect: A Christian's Guide to the Connected Child"

Video excepts are here:
Videos relating to "Created to Connect"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Would You Ever Do it Again?

Ahh, I'm such a good, loving mommy!  Isn't this such a great photo?  It's love on display!

Anyway, a question I do get quite frequently is, "Are you going to adopt any more?"

For many this might be a no-brainer, but for me it's kind of sad.  Like a told my dear husband, I think women who love kids always want more.  Being a mom is simply what I was created to do; I love them all dearly and I enjoy teaching them at home.  I'd take in more kids in a heartbeat.  That being said, however, leaves a little someone named Dr. Husband.  This man works his you-know-what-off providing for this large family.  It is difficult for me to "ask" him for more....

I imagine the only way we would adopt again is if we received that proverbial lightning bolt from the sky (accompanied by a large check :>)!  Of course, for those who know our story, we did receive a "brick from heaven," (that resulting in Miss B), and then we were in hearty agreement on the adoption of the next sweet three.  I guess I have finally learned to never say never.  Heck, I'm the one who didn't think she wanted children; I'm also the one who said I'd never home school!  Goes to show you, be careful what you speak!  Once the Lord gets ahold of your heart, you really don't know what you life will end up looking like.  So, while I would absolutely welcome any additional children in our home, I think I'll just have to push the "hold" button on that one; Dear Husband probably wants to bring out the hammer to take care of the button once and for all....

Psalm 127 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

The Blessing of the LORD

A Solomonic song of ascents.
 1 Unless the LORD builds a house,
    its builders labor over it in vain;
    unless the L
ORD watches over a city,
    the watchman stays alert in vain. 
    2 In vain you get up early and stay up late,
    eating food earned by hard work;
    certainly He gives sleep to the one He loves. 

    3 Sons are indeed a heritage from the LORD,
    children, a reward. 

    4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the sons born in one's youth. 

    5 Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them.
    Such men will never be put to shame
    when they speak with [their] enemies at the city gate. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3!

Today was a special day.  Miss G., Mr. B., and Mr. A. all had the opportunity to dine out for the first time! We needed a "test restaurant," as the kids seriously need to work on manners and appropriate public behavior.  In July, the whole family will be attending a semi-formal 50th wedding anniversary party in honor of my parents. The event will be held at the fancy-shmancy La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California... and we certainly want it to be a memorable occasion---but not memorable because of embarrassing reasons, if you know what I mean! 

So today, we descended upon the victim:  Red Robin.  We were very smart to choose a quiet time of day for our first dining out experience.  It was a good move.  The kids didn't have to wait too long, and they weren't overly hungry.  Red Robin also had crayons and coloring pages for the kids.  Awesome!

I prepped the kids thoroughly before entering the doors.  We hit all the top "usual" offenses, including:
  • No yelling
  • No hitting
  • No burping
  • No other purposeful air emissions
  • No getting up and running around the room
  • No crying, whining, or pouting
  • No throwing food at the table or at anyone in the room
  • Try to chew with your mouth closed
  • Try new foods, even if it's one bite
  • Keep your voices at the table
  • Say "please" and "thank you"
The kids ordered chicken nuggets, french fries, and milkshakes.  Of course, we knew Asher would find the milkshake offensive, but he still wanted to try it.  He hated it.  The waitress, being eager to insure them a positive first dining experience, was quick to offer a fruit smoothy.  Ahhh... success!  He thought it was pretty awesome, although he could only drink a small portion of it.  

All in all, the french fries were the biggest hit!  D-Man got to eat all of the leftover chicken nuggets, so that too, was a big hit.  

We were in and out of Red Robin in under one hour.  That was when I could see the writing on the wall... the wheels were beginning to come off...  the yelling and arguing was about to start.  Praise the Lord, we made it out of there!

Incredible though it may be, we had no spills, no crying, no whining, no pouting... nothing negative to report!  I stand in awe of these kids!  They really stepped up to the plate and did a great job displaying the manners they've learned and demonstrating some understanding of social appropriateness.

Great job, guys!  Mommy is very proud of you!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

How Adoption Has Changed Me

The last year has been a whirlwind of anxiety, anticipation, excitement, confusion, and joy--- sometimes all of these emotions occurring in the same hour-- as our family welcomed it's newest members. Our family grew from a manageable 6 members, to an often insane 9. We have 4 adult children from my husband's first marriage (not living with us), 3 home-grown kids of our own (ages 15, 13, and 11)... and we have 4 heaven-sent adopted kids (ages 6, 7, 8. and 8). To say that adoption has changed our family is an understatement. And having been through it twice, well, the lessons are always new and changing. A person really can't expect to stay the same after experiencing such emotional, physical, and spiritual peaks and valleys. Life is just not the same. Adoption refines. Adoption humbles. Adoption blesses. Adoption strengthens.  And I've come to agree with the adage:  sanity is overrated!

Adoption Broke My Heart

Adoption has refined me in countless ways. I have long prayed for the Lord to break my heart for the things that break His heart. Yet, despite the years of praying this, the Lord showed me I still had a great deal of breaking required to make my heart pliable enough to be fully His.  We've adopted before, so I unwittingly assumed that I was pretty broken.  After all, I was broken enough to adopt!  Additionally, I've traveled to impoverished Mexico, and I've seen the deplorable poverty of Guatemala.  Yet, my heart had still not softened to where it needed to be.

Ethiopia broke my heart. It literally smashed it into pieces. I've heard before that traveling to Africa will forever change you; this is a truth that I can't explain without tears coming to my eyes. Seeing the young rural Lalibela children, walking on emaciated legs, carrying heavy loads of firewood... and not just one or two children... but child, after child, after child, working in the fields all day long... how can you not be changed?  These kids are totally alone.  Are they hungry?  Are they thirsty?  Where is their mother?  How does Jesus feel when He sees this little one out, alone on dusty country roads--- walking all day with no shoes, no food, little water--- and unprotected from any person or animal with harmful intent? But it wasn't just the children.  Seeing feeble, lifeless widows begging for money or food on the streets... how does the Lord feel about her despair? Seeing tear-stained, fly-filled faces of abandoned little ones traipsing around Addis Ababa... hoping for a handout of money or food. How does Jesus feel seeing all of this pain?

I know a little of how He must feel. Angst. Pain that goes far beyond a momentary wince. It's that sadness of soul you feel--- you know the kind--- it feels like you're driving in a car and going over a big dip in the road. But it's not in your stomach. It's your heart. It's an unsettling sensation. The Spirit has gripped your heart. The poor---their lack, their pain, their hunger grips you, even if just for a moment. How must the Lord feel as He sees the entire world's pain all at once? That kind of pain we are simply unable to understand. But I am thankful to be able to experience His pain, if just for a moment. Yet, our hearts seem to cry out: life seems so unfair! Why God?  Why do You allow this?

God never promised fairness. No two people are treated the same by our Heavenly Father. He is the one who chooses where we were born and to whom. He chooses the country we claim as our home; He chooses our talents, gifts, and tendencies. Some are rich, some are poor. Some are strong and resilient, some are wavering and easy to shatter. But God does promise justice. He will judge everyone in this world based on his or her relationship to His son. He will judge believers on how they loved and served people. (See Matthew 25:31-46) While we are on His earth, we are to seek and promote justice and mercy. We are to bring what we might consider "fairness" to a people or to a situation. We are literally the Lord's hands and feet.  God uses pain for a purpose.  We are to share in His suffering, the suffering we see all around the world.  We are here to help alleviate someone else's pain.  

When I saw the people of Ethiopia, I wanted passionately to make a difference for someone... anyone. We were blessed with a couple of wonderful opportunities to help people in a very practical way. Yet, being able to help a couple of people just falls so flat. It's just not enough. I have to continue reminding myself that the world can be changed, but it will happen one life at a time. I can't save the world, and it's not my job to try to save everyone. I just want to do what God created me to do and to help everyone He's given me to help. I now pray for opportunities to serve Him and opportunities to "be" Him. My outreach--- my territory-- needs to be enlarged. I need Him to show me how to gather more people to help.  I have to let the pain He allowed me to experience turn into action, not passive resignation.  Jesus didn't frustratingly throw up His hands and give up because the world's pain and the misery was too great.  He doesn't want us to give up either.  

Adoption Humbled Me

The experience that is Ethiopia made me more determined and more inspired to find creative ways to bring assistance and comfort to the needy. Yes, it sounds great to start an Orphan Ministry at your church--- and I do hope to do that-- but why not examine my own house first? What can we do now?  I had to start looking at my cultural values and my own way of processing life. The Lord used Ethiopia to shine a little light on areas of pride and idolatry in my life. Very humbling. Little things like the type of face cream I used became big heart issues for me. I could no longer justify spending a hefty sum on a beautiful container of wrinkle cream. Buying another book became a heart issue for me: why buy it now with the intention of reading it in a few weeks or months when a little kid needs to eat now? I could no longer justify buying a pair of shoes... just to have a newer pair of shoes. Perhaps I just felt that I "deserved" such niceties. After all, I am such a "good" little Christian homeschooling mommy... don't I deserve something just for me? Something to make me look pretty or feel good? Hmmmm. Sounds like a little pride and vanity to me... now.  

Now I can see how much more I can give to others if I just deny myself little things. The little things add up to a lot of money when those little things are cut by an entire family. And of course the funny thing is it doesn't feel like denial; it feels like finally understanding that I'm just not that special of a person that I should "require" such things. I'd rather give a little extra money to World Vision, AHope, or YWAM's Orphan Adoption Ministry so that they can buy a widow some shoes or so they can buy food for a starving child.  

Adoption Challenged Attitudes towards Food

Adoption has also changed my attitude towards food. I've lost 15 pounds. I realized the number of times I was eating when I wasn't really that hungry. Seeing starving people helps you to realize the ridiculousness of eating for enjoyment or entertainment. Americans are so spoiled.  We don't often contemplate what is going on outside of our own families.  We spend large sums of our money in huge warehouse stores, storing up food for months.  We eat to celebrate, we eat when we are sad, we eat because we're bored.  How many of us eat simply to live?  In many parts of the world, people live on less than two dollars and day.  One little town in Ethiopia doesn't even have a local store to purchase formula for malnourished, abandoned babies ... food and clean water are not taken for grated.  People all over Africa and other parts of the world starve to death on a daily basis.  And we remain blissfully unaware.  We'd rather pretend we didn't know about how much of the world lives; we are too comfortable.  Now don't get me wrong:   food is still enjoyable to me --- and I do love my coffee--- it's just that I don't feel like I have to fill myself with it anymore.  And if I can buy food cheaper, so that I can send more money to relief organizations, I'm going to do it.  Once you see a starving child, you figure out ways to give more.   

Adoption Changed the Way I Managed my Household

Because we do have many more at our table, menu planning, laundry, and house cleaning are big issues.  Practically speaking, the biggest differences to my day are cooking and cleaning. Cooking for 7 children, three times a day is time-consuming.  And making sure I have Ethiopian food on occasion adds to the complexity of the menu.  Yet, food preparation has never been that daunting for me.  I really don't mind it.  And even the laundry doesn't seem to be that much more difficult to complete. The house, however, is just always a mess. THAT drives me crazy! The messes that kids can make are simply mind-boggling.  The new kids throw everything on the floor... or hide little items behind or under furniture.  They like to "store" things for later use; it helps them feel secure.  Yet, I know, this too, shall get easier. It's all about training, training, training. It just can't be done overnight.  (We are trying some chore/behavior charts with a reward system; I'll let you know how it pans out.)

The other area that is very challenging is school. Ah, another area of pride for me. I was so proud of the fact that I could home school my children in a "classical Christian" sort of way. I spent lots of money on books, supplies, etc.... only to suddenly realize that this was absolutely not going to work with any of the adopted children.  Have you ever realized how many of our phonics materials use items only known to our culture?  I had to look for the very basic of basic materials for all four adopted kids; I also had to radically adjust my expectations regarding performance and progress.  These kids are going to be years behind.  There simply is no way of getting around that.  I had to accept that--- deep within my being-- that regardless of their aptitude or intelligence, these were my children.  I needed to love them and accept them as they are, not as I wished them to be.  Any one of my "old original" children could have had any number of learning or behavioral issues.  Would I have treated them any differently?  Would I have loved them any less?  No.  Each child placed in our home, whether by being born into the family or adopted, is chosen by the Lord himself to be in this family.  I just love them all.  I love them as they are today, not what they will be in the future.

Adoption Blessed Me

Speaking of love, another almost inexpressible way adoption has changed me is that I really didn't realize that it was such a tremendous spiritual blessing.  My husband likes to say that when we started out in the adoption arena, we naively thought we were doing something for God.  After all, we were responding to His leading.  Yet, as we look back on the adoption of Miss B., Mr. B., Miss G., and Mr. A., there is no doubt in my mind that the Lord simply used them to bless us.  I get to experience the joy the Lord must feel as believers become one of His adopted sons or daughters.  The joy I feel in my heart when I see little Miss B. jumping up and down after winning a soccer game... it's of the Lord.  The joy I feel when Miss G. sleepily saunters down the hall in the early morning--- and gives me the sweetest hug and smile there ever... it's of the Lord.  These kids simply overflow with love, joy, and excitement for living.  It's contagious!  To think that by being disobedient to the leading adopt could have resulted in my missing all of this?  I am just so grateful and joy-filled, even on the hard days.  I am blessed.

Adoption Strengthened Me

Adoption has filled my heart with joy, and strengthened my walk with the Lord.  Because adoption also broke us financially, we have had to rely more fully on the Lord to provide for our daily needs. We have had to forgo purchasing a house; we have had to forgo vacations and lots of "nice" little things American families like to do.  We don't eat out; we don't go to many movies.  We just don't have the extra cash.  But all I have to do is look at these kids... I wouldn't trade them for anything money could buy.  I'd rather know that I was instrumental in saving their lives as opposed to saving for a retirement.  Yet, we have often gotten challenged on these very points.  Are we reckless for not saving for our futures?  Are we selfish because we don't put away ten of thousands for our children's college funds?

First and foremost for us, the Lord directed us to adopt.  If we had not been obedient, we would have committed a blatant and calculated sin.  Second, additional answers come from Scripture.  We are to be diligent, to work hard, and plan as much as we can.  The Lord knows we need food and clothing, but we are not to obsess over acquiring them or hoarding them.  Additionally, we are not to store up treasure on earth.  The lust for earthly treasure has the ability to become more important than the Lord.   It can also vanish in a moment.

The definition of "treasure" varies from person to person.  For some, it's a house.  For others, it's a meaty retirement fund or investment portfolio.  But the Word says we are to store up treasure in heaven by taking care of people in need and ministering to Him.  The Lord did not own home, as He had "no place to rest his head." (Now I'm not against home ownership, but I've had to realize that we may never own a home.  That may not be in His will for us, I don't know.) Yet, it doesn't make sense if I scrimp and save for a house, or hoard food, or kill myself pouring money into college funds if my neighbor is dying today.  That is just not compassionate.  It's not loving our neighbors as ourselves.  It's okay to provide for our families and do it well; we just can't forget about ministering to the least of these--- the orphans and the widows in the world.  Our world--- our culture--- our families need love, compassion, and moderation in all things.

Financial opposition has brought into focus the need for total dependence on the Lord.  Whatever He wills is right and true for us.  As long as we stay focused on being in the Word, listening and obeying His leading we will enjoy great blessings and treasure.  He becomes our strength, day by day.

Adoption Inspires Me

Finally, adoption inspires me.  Experiencing such awesome joy in my very own family inspires me to do more and greater things for the Lord.  And it's not out of duty or obligation.  It's out of the sweet love and gratitude I have for my Savior.  He saved me from hell, from a life with no purpose or meaning.  I have a burning passion to serve Him because He first loved me.

Adoption has prompted me to think big:  what can I do as part of a group to help save lives on a global level?  How can I help someone enough so that they lift up their hands and praise the Lord that He met their needs?

My big prayer now is finding others who would like to join with me in ministering to orphans and providing support for the adoption community.  I pray that opportunity presents itself at our new church home.  Time will tell.

Sanity is Overrated

7 kids.  2 dogs.  2 cats.  1 stinky hamster.  18 or so loads of laundry a week.  Endless cycles of loading and unloading the dishwasher.  5 different grades in home school.  Piles of smelly, mismatched soccer socks.  Sigh.  Life is very busy and very overwhelming sometimes.  Yet, the saying is true:  sanity is overrated.  I'd much rather run my fool head off loving on my kids and teaching them the Word of God on a daily basis that have a clean, tidy, predictably comfortable life.  Living life for the Lord can mean living on the edge.  But trust me, it's a great place to be!   Our live belongs to the Lord; we find our greatest joy when we full serve Him and do what He wills.

Adoption will change your forever.  If you have already walked down this road, you know it to be true.  If you haven't and feel the tug on your heart, follow what the Lord tells you to do.  It's so worth it!