Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gal Pal Getaway!

I was in need of some serious reconnect time with two of my girls so while Tom took the guys and some friends to play paintball for Alex's 13th birthday, we got away!

We had tried to get together back in January to celebrate Andrea's birthday, but snowfall, etc... interfered.

This particular Friday was beautiful though, and we left as soon as Amanda got off work. We stopped on the way and grabbed some decorations and horns to blow. We filled a bag full of treats and we were set to celebrate Andrea. We were having her It's-Not-Your-Birthday-But-We-Love-You-Anyway party!

She almost cried. It was sweet. We had dinner, got caught up on each other's happenings, shopped, found some deals, endured a stinky elevator, and ate some more!

Great time. Great memories. Love my framily!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Adoption-Faith Sprouting

Was husband on board with adoption?  

Well, yes, even from the beginning, when I first began to talk about it.  He knows well the beauty and need of adoption...his oldest and youngest sisters are adopted, so Tom was never ever opposed to it, but he didn't seem too ready to pursue it either.  I wasn't sure what that meant.

I tucked the dream far away and continued to think "someday" we would get serious about it.

About a year and a half ago, I was at a retreat as my friend, who has adopted several children from Africa, shared about a friend and her family's situation.  They had adopted a few children as well, and one of their daughters came from China.  She was 13 years old, and sadly, things were not going well.

I do not have specifics of the circumstances that were happening.  I do not know this family.  What I do know from many families who have adopted is that the process and adjustments can go many different ways. 

As I listened to my friend saying that the family was looking to re-home this young lady, well, my gut twisted and my heart ached.  I could not hold back the tears.  All I could think about is what this little girl must be going through and how 13 years ago my heart had been gripped by a little Chinese toddler on T.V.  

My friend, of course, could not help but notice how emotional I was, and as I began to share my dream with her, something broke loose inside me.  By the end of our conversation, she was asking if I wanted to talk to this family.

I. Didn't. Know.

What???  What was happening?  Was this God?  Could He have stepped into my life 13 years earlier, when this little baby girl was being born, to get my attention and prepare my heart to receive her? It was amazing and humbling to even consider that He may do such a magnificent thing!

I began texting Tom about all of it, as I couldn't even hold in the possibility that God may be up to something so unbelievable!  When I arrived home, we talked extensively, naturally going over the lists of pros and cons.  In the end, as with everything in our lives, we knew the bottom line was, "Father, what is your will?"

We determined not to push anything...only to wait and pray, seek and listen.  We knew we were not the answer for this precious girl if it was not God's will.

As it turns out, it wasn't God's plan for her to join our family, but God absolutely anointed her as a catalyst for our journey!  

Her name is Faith, and I know with all my heart that she became part of our story to get our attention and get me praying for the one(s) who will be coming home to us.

Faith increased my faith to believe that the dream wasn't meant to just be a dream and that the God of the universe could absolutely orchestrate a mind-blowing set of circumstances to get any child He ordained into our home!

So now I knew my husband was really willing, but did he dream too?  Did he desire to pursue this?  Did he regard it as an option or accept it as a calling?  

I had more praying to do.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sweet Muddy Memories

What a beautiful 74-degree day this has been!

After spending the day with a sweet friend and getting all the boys home, I laid outside on a blanket and soaked in some sun while kids ran all around getting out their pent-up winter energy.

C'mon spring! I choose to ignore the chance of snow flurries for tomorrow. I love winter, but I have officially had my fill now. :-)

Trey, cousin Ethan, and neighbor Noah went off to play in the woods. Garrison and cousins, Adalee and Hadassah, hung out with little neighbor Addi. Who knows what Alex was doing, though probably avoiding any chance of spring allergens trying to rear their ugly heads! 

The dogs were giddy and the mommas were walking. New neighbors came outside, and the smell of grill smoke wafted through the warm air.

Ahhhhhhh! GREAT DAY!

For the second evening in a row, I enjoyed dinner with my sisiter-in-law/one of my besties, Rebekah. We always laugh our heads off together. Such a blessing to be so close all these years! And to live on the same street? LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

When I walked into the house, I found a trail of mud. Turns out that Trey and his buds decided to have a mud fight! Two of them were now in my showers.

Trey was assuring me he had cleaned things up well as I am looking at the mud caked in his ear! Really son? My bathroom is clean, but you can't even manage your own ear?

I was slightly afraid to look.

So I didn't.

Trey went on telling us about this grand adventure when we stopped him to ask if they had gotten into the mud of the neighbor's current yard project.  His reply: "We're dumb, but not that dumb!"

Hmmm...what do you say to that?

Well, I'm a veteran mom now! I lived through Alex!

I just laughed and said, "Okay, well you just decide how many times you want to clean the bathroom then, because you will keep doing it until it's clean."

He did a pretty decent job. There were only three spots I just found on the shower curtain. :-\

Cousin Ethan...well, he has been in mud predicaments before, so he opted for hosing off in the cold water outside first. Just heard  that his momma found his trail through her bathroom.

Eh, what are ya gonna do? I can just hear the shouts and laughter that must have ensued during that mud war! So wish I had pics of the aftermath to share, but these will have to do... Evidence Exhibit A and two stinking adorable girls! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Adoption-Seed Planted

Garrison, our oldest son, was two years old.  I was standing in my bedroom holding him one morning when a little toddler girl from China caught my eye on the television.  The show was called Life Today, and they were doing a special on how many girls were orphaned in China because of the country's law that a family could only have one child.  Most families want males which fills the orphanages up with discarded baby girls.

My heart was gripped forever.

I think that was the first time I really paid any attention to what went on outside of my country.  Sad but true.  I was 22 years old.

I looked at my son in my arms, thought about how much I loved him and wanted him.  I thought about how special each and every child all over the world is to God...about how precious every single life is.

I knew that someday, someway, our family would be part of adoption.  It wasn't a wish, it was a confident knowing.

I am a researcher.  I study.  I plan.  But God said no; I was not to do that with this.  I was to wait and to trust.

So I tucked that dream away very close to my heart.  I don't even think I told my husband for quite some time.

That was thirteen years ago.

That dream has never died.  It has only grown stronger.

As I met families who have adopted, it grew.
As I watched more adoption stories on T.V., it grew.
As I traveled to foreign soil and held orphans in my arms, it grew.
As I raised my sons and saw what a loving family can do for a child, it grew.

This desire feels like something I must do...that I am supposed to do.

But...what about my husband?