Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fathers do not provoke your children, unless they become discouraged

I am up tonight late, lots on my mind. I received an interesting phone call tonight and so my head is racing. Insomnia seems to be a devoted companion, so I thought I would write.

Molly was very sick on Sunday and I spent most of the day holding her and laying with her on the couch. Molly is such a sweet little girl. She is very sensitive. She feels things and deeply. When she is angry..she is very angry. When she is happy, she twirls. Molly listens to everything that is said to her and wears it like an accessory. Molly does not get or appreciate insulting humor. She is very literal and does not pick up on the subtle sarcasm. She tends to hear compliments to others as comparitive insults to her. It is so concerning to me that she is so hard on herself.

I have been thinking a lot how to parent a child like this. I think the core is to create a safe haven for her. I also think that Nathan has a great responsiblity in making her feel special and beautiful. I am convinced little girls receive a very real sense of themselves from the estimation they receive from their father. It is amazing how one sentence said by that very special man in a girls life can haunt her in her quiet spaces all the days of her life. It is hard, I think, for men to realize the importance of being careful in their jesting with their daughters or the other little girls that bless their lives.

As I think of the days of her life to come, I know media messages, mean little girls, unsmitten boys and her own self doubt will challenge her to see herself as the beauty I see. I want for our home, our words and the words of those whom she values to cushion her from those things we will not be able to control. The best protection comes from years of being lifted up by those who love her...this means course jesting just is not appropriate....not for her.

Balancing this is the concern of helping her learn not to take herself to seriously. Teaching someone to laugh at themselves can not come from tearing them down in the name of jesting, instead I believe it comes from creating opportunities for them to begin to jest at themselves. I have not quite figured out how to make this happen, but it is my pursuit. I pray I find wisdom as I raise her--she is so like me in so many ways, so I feel I have insight on how she feels, I just feel like I am blind in navigating the road of parenting her well.

The Nugget

Received the file on the nugget. He is the little boy I saw on the webpage and was so drawn to. Oh how my heart is breaking for this dear little boy. What a tormented life he is leading. He has needs we just do not feel we are able to meet. It is so hard to want to love these children and not have the skill set it would take. I stand more convicted than ever we need to be reaching out to parents who are making bad choices. The effects of these choices are so destructive to children who then repeat the cycle. Yet in the repeat, there is so much damage done to the hearts of the children, they are worse off than their parents. How can this be?

Prayer for the day:
Oh Lord God I lift up the lives of Jeremy, Joshua and praise you that they have a family that will love them and teach them your ways. Lord please cover them in your care and protection. Lord please be with little C who needs a home who will be able to meet his needs, be with the foster family who is caring for him now. Lord please be with the little Nugget. He is so tormented Lord and I pray that you release him from his torment. Lord bring peace into his little heart and heal him of the pain he feels from the failures of his family. Lord I see these children and my heart aches. Lord please give us understanding as to how to be a salve to the wounds of the children who are hurting. Lord give us clear vision as to your will for us. I find it hard to pray that you bring us a child, because that means a child must be wounded, so I pray Lord that you bring us to the child that is wounded and use us to heal that child. Please lay on Nathan and my heart a united vision as to what you would have us to do. Please be with Fonda as she is working with these children daily. Please guide her to use us as you would have it be done. Help us to remember it is all for you and for your Glory. May it ever be.

In the name of Jesus,
Amen

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas

We headed down to my grandmother's home for a Christmas with the Kinser family. It was so much fun to be with everyone. We had a great dinner and a great round of dirty Santa. It was fun to be with all that were able to be there. After the presents we moved on to desserts. As Macy began to eat a cookie, she thought she got choked, but it appears that a stomach bug got hold of her. By midnight she was throwing up every fifteen minutes or so. She was unable to keep anything down. She was so pitiful. Nate and Macy stayed at the hotel, but pretty soon, Noah was not feeling well so I swept up all of our stuff and headed to get Nate and Macy to head home. When I got to the hotel, Macy's eyes were sunk deep into her head and she continued to take a drink, just to throw it back up. We loaded up the car, praying we would make it back home with little incident, but soon determined we better take Macy to the hospital. We realized she was dehydrated and we just could not get any fluids in her.

We drove to Murfreesboro and took Macy to the ER. Luckily, there were very few people there and we were taken to triage right away. As we were in Triage, Macy fainted, so they rushed us straight back to the ER. Watching Macy faint was more than a little frightning, and I was so glad we had her at the hospital. The doctor saw her and confirmed she was severly dehydrated. They hooked her up to an IV and put anti-nausea medicine in the IV. She was running a slight temperature when we got to the hospital and once they got her on the IV her fever spiked up. They were able to get Tylenol in her in about an hour.

She was so sweet. She whispered in my ear that she did not want me to let go of her hand because she was very scared. I wanted her to try to sleep, but I think she was so overwhelmed, she just couldn't. I climbed into bed with her and we both fell asleep. The nurse came in and woke me up and wanted to check her temperature. Her fever was going down and they needed a urine sample. Macy was very hard to wake up, but once she was awake, she looked so much better. Her eyes were shiny again and the gray paller was fading.

After about a five hour stay, she was released and we headed home. The bug has now made it's way through the entire family, save Molly....We are praying she is saved from the experience. We are laying low for a few days to be sure we are all better.

Surely a Christmas we will never forget.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas...I hope this season helps us all to remember we are all adopted children of God. It has been a great holiday season for us so far. We have already shared Christmas with the children with an early visit from Santa. We will be heading down to my grandmother's for Christmas with the Kinser clan and I am looking forward to being with the extended family....it has been a very long time since I have shared a Christmas with them.

Nathan and I were commenting last night how different we anticipated this Christmas being for us. We thought we would have the boys with us by Christmas. Although disaapointed, we began to realize as we approach a new year, we will have much to look forward to. I guess I should have asked Santa for a dose of patience!

Our family wishes you the very happiest of Holidays and a New Year of purpose, praise and joy.

Merry Christmas,
The Joneses

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A gift

Today at lunch my friend Rachelle called and told me she had a quick story to tell me. Her daughter Sheldon is on a swim team and she and her family were at a meet when she struck up a conversation with the girl sitting beside her. The girl commented on Rachelle's kids, she has five, and Rachelle asked her, do you have a big family? The girl stated, I have a brother and my family just adopted two little boys we have been fostering. It struck Rachelle that this must be the family that adopted Jeremy and Joshua. She started to ask a lot of questions and learned about the family. She called me and told me this story and shared how loving and great a family Jeremy and Joshua seem to have. She hoped that this would bring me comfort. What a gift. In the past couple of weeks Nathan and I have begun to really feel at peace with the situation. This seems like a little nod from God, letting us know His will has been accomplished. It is an honor to have been a tool for his purposes.
Yesterday I was able to finally speak to Fonda about the decision about C. She is so wonderful to make us feel comfortable about our decisions and is very supportive. I am very thankful to have her on our team.

I think I have mentioned before about the picture of the Nugget. While we were still in the midst of the process with the boys, I was online and looking at the adoption listings for Kentucky and as I looked from picture to picture, one little boy stood out in my mind. I thought he was so cute and had such a glimmer of adventure in his eyes--I called Nathan and told him, "I know you are going to think I am crazy, but I have found a little boy, he is definitely our little boy..he is so cute, he's just a little nugget." I sent an email to Fonda about the nugget and she stated she thought we needed to focus on the boys, but she would check on his information and get back to us.

I keep having dreams about the nugget, so I mentioned him to her again yesterday. She has sent an official inquiry about him for us. I know very little of his past or circumstances, but for some reason he has stood out to me in the sea of these kiddos. I am anxious to hear all about the nugget.

Prayer for the day,

Lord, today I am feeling the weight of all the children who are in need of a home. I struggle with understanding why there are children who are in need when we are all so incredibly blessed. I believe you struggle in that understanding too. Lord, in this season, as hearts are soft and Your Son is on the hearts of mankind, please extend your grace and mercy on these children. Use as a tool the people who at this time are searching to do good. Lord bring into our lives the child or children you feel we can best love and Lord, while we wait, help us to make our home, our family, prepared for him/her/them. We love you lord, please extend the reflection of that love to the children who need us, as we need them.

In Jesus,
Amen

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11, 2009

I still have not called Fonda to let her know we are not going to consider C for our family. I have meant to call her everyday since December 1. I just can not seem to bring myself to call her....to say out loud, "No, I don't want this child," is difficult for me and so in a truly cowardly way, I am practicing the art of avoidance. But today I am going to call. I am going to say those words and I am confident in the truth that C is just not "our" little boy. I guess he will be another boy we are intended to pray for, we will add him to the list with Joshua and Jeremy.

As I was laying in bed this morning, I was reprimanding myself for my lack of courage and confirming to myself that we will not be able to get to our child unless I take this step. I find myself talking to myself and to God almost simultaneously these days. "Lord, give me strength. Self, get up and be strong." "Lord, help me understand. Self, walk in faith, not understanding." Part of the problem is that I am talking to myself more that I am talking to God.

This time of year I start to really think about what goals I am going to be setting for myself and for our family for the next year. There are many items of self improvement I have planned for myself. But I have realized if I could just step out of the way and let God work in my life, He would accomplish far more than I can do. This is difficult for a girl with control issues....but essential for a girl who wants nothing more than to be transformed and walk in faith.

***UPDATE: I called FW and left a message. She sent me an email stating she would be out of the office the rest of the day due to a funeral (we have a mutual friend who died on Monday) and she will call and we will chat on Monday.

Prayer for the day:
Lord, I have faith in you. I believe you can transform me and I believe you will. Lord, lead us where you want us to go and we will follow. We are preparing our home for you to fill it with the child or children you feel need us and that we need. Lord, in your time, let it be.

Because of Jesus,
Amen

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A New Feeling

I have had the newest file at my house for three days and it has sat beside my computer upopened until last night. I am not sure why I did not rush to it and open it when Nate brought it home. I looked at the nice yellow expandable folder and then sat it down and walked away. I returned to it each day, put my hand on it, but then decided to do something else. If I Dr. Laura'ed myself with questions I am sure I could come up with some very profound reason I have put it aside, but for now I will just say I was not ready.

Last night, I took a drink, the folder and sprawled out across my bed ready to read all about this little boy. I dug into the first quarter of the package and found the pictures. There were three black and white photocopies of unposed pictures of a sweet little boy of 8 who needs a home. It helps me to have the picture sitting in front of me as I read all the information. The adoption packages seem to be anywhere from 200-400 pages (I have only read 3, Jeremy, Joshua and now this little boy's) of information. I read the who's, how's and why's of this little boy's life. I looked at all his pictures and I felt sad. Sad for this little boy who needs a home, sad that red flags were popping up in this folder for me, sad that I don't feel like our home will be the home for this little boy. I began to feel a new feeling--I am not sure what to call it, but it is not comfortable...it stems from saying no to a child who needs a home. I have not prepared in this whole process to say no to a child...and it makes me feel very guilty. I feel certain that we are not the home for this particular boy. Nate and I made a very clear boundary of what we felt we could introduce to our home, knowing our first priority is the children we have now. This child falls outside the boundaries we have set.

I know our children are out there and we must be patient waiting for God to bring them to us... I am praying for the patience and the wisdom we need to make the right decisions in this journey. I feel certain God knows our hearts and will guide us.

Prayer for the day:

God you know the desires of our hearts. Please read our hearts and guide us in the direction we should go. We lift ourselves up to you. Please give us wisdom. Please help us with our patience. We love You, we trust You, we want to do Your will.

In Him, Amen

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Starting Over

Our meeting with Fonda went well. We discussed our new perameters, we discussed what options we have and we agreed to look at a new file. All in all we are just starting all over. I feel good about it.

Prayer for the Day:
Let love and faithfulness never leave me;
bind them around my neck,
write them on the tablet of my heart.

Then I will win favor and a good name
in the sight of You and man.

I will Trust in You with all my heart
and lean not on my own understanding;

in all my ways I will acknowledge you,
and You will make my paths straight

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tomorrow

It has been an emotional day. Just when I think I am over the hump, emotion hits me when I am not expecting it. At church today I realized I am mourning the loss of the boys, but also I am struggling with doubt for the first time in my life. I have never had trouble believing, I have not always acted as a believer should, but I have always had a simple faith, it came easy to me. I guess maybe it is not a lack of faith, but a lack of trust. This lack of trust or faith or whatever it is, is making me feel horrible. I feel guilty, but it is what I am feeling. I keep praying, "Lord I believe, forgive my unbelief." But the nagging lack of trust is adding to the emotional tsunami that hits me. I want to trust. I need to trust. I don't want to be sad anymore.....my eyes hurt.

A guest speaker had us close our eyes today before we closed in prayer and said take a moment and see what your next step in your relationship with God is....I sat there with my eyes closed, visualizing and all I saw was nothingness. He spoke of how no matter your hurt, no matter your addiction, your problem, Jesus was wanting to heal you, love you, sustain you....and all I could think was, "Yeah, but..."

I have thought of this all night. I feel like I am wrestling the devil and he has me pinned down...but I am going to fight and I think the only way to win is by letting go. I think I am still holding on to my wants and not just letting go and feeling the comfort of God. Instead of drawing near to him, I have been angry he did not intervene--even when I have prayed that if this was not in our or the boys best interest it would be defeated. Once again I want to be in control and now in this moment I want to be in control of God. He did not do what I wanted Him to do, so I have pushed Him away and have dealt with this grief on my own. Not wise. I think my last entry I even said, "I have decided to feel better." as if I can control the length of my grief, the depth of my hurt. Why do I want to deal with this alone? I keep thinking of the song "HELD" and I want to say "this is what it means to be held." But I have to let go of me to feel that comfort. Why do I hang on?

Tomorrow FW is coming to talk with us about the "what next". I am scared.

Prayer for the day: "Lord I believe, forgive me my unbelief. If I let go, will you catch me? I need your comfort. I need your peace. Please let your Spirit come upon me and renew me again. I know you are able to accomplish what concerns my heart. Lord, entreat me to let go of my control and fall into your hands. I am scared. I want to move forward. Lord let my life be for your glory. Because of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Moving on

Yesterday I decided would be the last day I would feel sorry for myself. A convenient run of some sort of sickness allowed me to stay a guest at my own pity party longer than I really wanted to stay. But I am feeling better both in my heart and in my body. I am resolved to move forward. Our goal was for Jeremy and Joshua to have a home and family, they have that, objective met. Time to move on to the next goal. Nathan tried to call FW yesterday to get the ball rolling again. It was Veteran's Day and there was no one in the office. He will try again today. We did not make many decisions about things since we were matched with Jeremy and Joshua even before we were approved through the state. I look forward to exploring what our options are now.

Prayer for the Day:

Father God, Thank you for comfort. Thank you for being big enough and loving enough to be with us when we are expressing our hurt and anger to you. Our hearts are sad, but our resolve is renewed and we again give ourselves over to you and your guidance. Lord give us faith. Forgive us our disbelief. We love you and give ourselves over to you fully for your purposes.
In the name of Jesus,
Amen.

Friday, November 6, 2009

week

It has been one week. I am sitting at my Mom's house, enjoying a house full of diversions, a concert and date with my hubby last night, good company and pampering, but my head is still full and my heart still aches and I have reached the really, really, really mad part of the grieving scale. Nate and I have been discussing that one of the stated objectives in the classes to become foster/adopt parents was for us to become experts at understanding loss....uh, check.

I received a very supportive email from FW today. I know she is very upset by the way all of this had worked out, and it means a lot to us she is working with us, and really cares for us.

I continue to pray the boy's foster parents change their mind. I know some may think me selfish, but it is my constant prayer. I first and foremost want what is best for the boys and for our family...but my heart earnestly desires for us to be what is best for each other. I would appreciate you joining my in this prayer.

Thank you with all my heart for your words of encouragement and love...they are a warm comfort while we are in this cold place.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trials

I guess a journey of faith must require tests, trials, hiccups in the road to truly be a faith quest. We have this past weekend felt the weight of trials as we have learned that each journey will have it's own detours. Wednesday, we met with the people who are involved in Joshua and Jeremy's world. The foster parents, the caseworkers and us. In the two hours we met and learned all there is to know about the boys, the emotional anguish of the foster family was more than apparent. This couple love Joshua and Jeremy with the depth that comes from raising two little boys for two years. Nathan and I were emotionally exhausted as we were divided to another room to speak with our caseworker. The first question I asked as the door shut was, "Are they going to be able to let these boys go?" We were assured they have had months to make the decision to keep the boys and they had continually said they were not willing. We saw pictures of the boys from their infancy on, we found a little piece of artwork that said, "God Makes Families." We told our caseworker we were more convicted than ever that these were our boys. We left with the month of November full of visits and plans signed by us and the foster family.My heart was full of love and joy, but my brain was tired and I typed the words "Emotionally Exhausted" to my dearest friends.

I guess on the 29th, we prepared ourselves to meet the boys for the first time--we were nervous about the awkwardness of meething with the distraught foster parents, but overwhelmed with excitement to meet the boys...our boys. I went to Walmart to make an activity bag of toys, puzzles and books for us to take with us. I anguished over each purchase, would they like this, would they like us--as if each gift was a piece of us they would accept and love or reject and dislike.

We woke up early on Friday, Nate went into work early so he could take the afternoon off to meet our boys. I got up showered and sat in my closet--what to wear, what to wear....then the phone rang. When Noah said, "Mommy, it's Miss Fonda," tension feeled my heart....the knowledge of what she was going to say came to the surface of my heart and when she began to talk, I knew before she uttered the words what she was going to say "The foster family can not give up the boys. They are going to adopt them. My knees grew weak and I could hardly respond as my heart began to churn. I am on a see saw of practicality and emotion "This is what is best for the boys. It is all about the boys. This is the only home they know. Those people are who they know as Mommy and Daddy"...up....."Those are my boys....who are they to take my boys...they had their chance, those selfish, selfish people. They can not love these boys as much as we can. Why is this happening?".....down......


I am overwhelmingly disappointed. My head is reeling in the aches and whys and what nows....but we are not defeated. We know God has a plan.

Prayer for the day:

Why God? Why did this happen? Why were we given this gift just to have it torn from us? We do not understand. We want to understand. Help us understand. I know God you can change hearts and minds and our prayer is you change the heart of this family. Bring our boys back to us. We want to provide them a home, we want to share with them the blessings you have provided. We know you know what is best and if it is best for the boys to stay in their current home, we will respect that, but our desire is for them to be with us. We know you can make that happen. Lord, give us peace. Give us directon. Show us your glory Lord. We love you, we fear you and we know you are in control--even when what we see around us makes no sense.

In the name of Jesus we pray...Amen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October

We thought the first week of October, we would be meeting with all the pertinent people and beginning our visitation process with the boys. But, the boy's foster parents had planned a long vacation and we are now waiting for the boys to get back from Gulf Shores. They should be back home tomorrow or Friday, and FW is working already to make the appointments we need to get things moving. We have tried to stay extremely busy in October in order to hurry the time. We have been successful and it has been a great thing to realize we are so close to getting the ball rolling again.

This month we have been matched with our adoption mentors. God has been so good to us in placing amazing people in our lives throughout this journey. I am thrilled with our mentors and their story is AMAZING. You hear so many nightmare stories of adoption through the state, but we have enjoyed getting to know our caseworkers, the cabinet staff, our mentors and all the other folks who have come along the journey. We feel very blessed thus far, even when things have not gone exactly the way we have wanted them to, because of the people who have been a support to us.

The truth is I am in love with these children, my children. I have only seen pictures of them, only read their history, but I am certainly in love with them. I long for next week where we will be able to see them, hug them, hear them speak. I look forward to seeing what makes them laugh, makes them cry, makes them happy, and even what makes them mad. I want to know all of them--I am reminded of the feelings of anticipation I had as I carried Noah, Macy and Molly--fully in love with these creatures I had never seen, but longed to know completely.

Prayer for the day,

Lord God, I praise you for your hand of comfort through this month. I praise you for placing in our lives the very people we have needed in order to travel this journey and for giving us comfort through them. Please be with the boys and their foster family as they travel home. Be with Fonda as she prepares our meetings, Lord we just ask you to remove all obstacles that may be placed before us. We ask that this process move as quickly as is possible without harming the boys. Lord, we know you are in control and that brings us tremendous courage.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

And then I saw (their) face, now I'm a Believer...

...there are no words to express what it is like to look into the pictured faces of children you have never met and know they are your children. Just no words. The pictures we were given with the files are grainy xerox copies of snapshots, but I have studied these pictures for hours. I am just so full of praise.

We will be spending the next few days pouring over the boys files. We have much to learn about our little men and we are soaking up every detail of their lives. Their story has already started and I want to know it so well, that as the next chapter begins (I like to think it will be called Becoming Jones) we move forward with a gentle transition of past and future.

We will be talking with FW toward the end of the week and then a pre-placement conference will be scheduled for us to talk with and learn from all the adult figures who have balanced their time in care.

My goal for the day is to beam, show everyone I know the greatness of God, and avoid spending any money on things for the boys (Nate and I are on an incredibly structured budget to prepare to be a family of 7--a family of 7, what a hoot!--and we did not budget clothes and toys for September, but October is coming :))

Thanks for your prayers in this journey, we ask you to continue to pray as we move toward transitioning our lives with the boys. Pray for the boys...they will suffer the most drastic changes and while we hope that their lives with us will be joyful and blessed, we know we are taking them from the life they have come to rely on. And for a time, we will not be Mom and Dad to them, but instead the people who have taken them away from their Mom and Dad. I know there will be many tears of pain amid the tears of joy. Thanks for lifting us up as we make our way through the process.


Prayer for the day:
God,
THANK YOU.
Amen

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Phone Call

Today I was up in my room getting our yard sale pile in order, when I hear Noah running up the stairs whispering very loudly..."It's Miss Fonda, It's Miss Fonda." She said hello and I told her I was so happy to hear from her. She shared that the boy's caseworker had chosen us to parent the boys! ---------WHOO HOOOO!!!!---------

Nate is on his way to pick up the boy's file right now and I can hardly stand it! I will not see him until about 7:00 and therefore will not be able to see the file until 7:00.

As I was talking with Fonda, Noah and Macy stood in the hall outside of our room. They were trying to decipher what was being said. When I hung up the phone, the kids questioned, " WELL?" "We can have the boys!" They embraced each other into a tight knot and started jumping up and down.

Molly is with her grandparents and so I will not be able to tell her until I get her from them. I can not wait to see her reaction.

I am so full of praise for God.

Thank you Lord for guiding this journey. Thank you Lord for bringing our family together. Amen

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting.....

I have not been writing here because it seems like a broken record at this point...we are just waiting. We are now waiting for the caseworker for the boys, who is different than our caseworker) to decide we would be good for the boys. This is the third week of waiting and my patience level is being tested. We have been very busy, and there is much to accomplish so I should probably be glad for the time, but you all know me, I am a doer not a waiter. I keep trying to recite to myself God's time is perfect, and I am solid in this truth.

Maybe this lesson in patience is to benefit me as a mom of five....maybe it is just
H1N1 making half of our small city sick and making deadlines extend, and extend,
a n d ... e x t e n d.

Prayer for the day,

"Lord your timing is perfect, I know it is. I am struggling to be patient. I am struggling in remembering to be still and let you be God. Lord forgive me for my impatience. Lord be with Nate and I as we enjoy our family of five. Please keep your hand on Jeremy and Joshua...place our love in their hearts as we wait on them. We love them already and we praise you for the opportunity of being their parents. Because you can make it happen we ask you in faith. Because you have adopted us, we yearn to adopt them. Because of Christ we come to you. Amen."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My new favorite word.....

is Approved!!!!!

FW sent us an email yesterday letting us know we have been approved and we are awaiting just one more signature. Praise God.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday

It is Friday. We did not hear from FW this week. I guess this means she did not hear from the state this week. What a bummer. I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed. I know a few more days in the big scheme of things is no big deal, but I really wanted to hear this week. The good news is I have enough to keep me busy over the weekend to keep my mind occupied. But whether industry will be the cure for the inpatients is yet to be seen.

I need to put this out of my mind. Figuring out just how to do that---(shrugs).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday, Monday

Today is Monday. Just a normal little Monday in the line of many Mondays which have passed and by the grace of God those which will come. This Monday is special for no particular reason, just the first day in the week we are hoping to hear that we have been approved by the state of Kentucky and we can move on to the meet and greet portion of the show. It is a pretty Monday. It is lovely outside, it is comfortable inside.

While we sit and wait, I thought I would share with you some good news. Some friends of ours from church have adopted again. This is their fourth adoption. The courts of Ethiopia have declared the G's as parents of a most beautiful little 2 year old boy. They will be leaving on September 10th to meet him and bring him home. What a celebration that will be. Their family is so beautiful, and what an addition they are receiving. So excited for them.

Our little church family has been so greatly impacted by adoption. The G's little boy will be the 10th child adopted into the families of our church in the past 10 years. What an amazing gift to be a part of a group where such experience and wisdom has been combined with overwhelming generosity. Beyond the children who have been permanently placed into families, there are more children than I am able to count who have been fostered and nurtured by the families in our church family. Along with our family, there is another who is working toward adopting through the state. We did not know the other was going to be going through the classes until we showed up at the classes and the other was there.

It is a great comfort to Nathan and I, as well as our children, to look around on this journey we are taking and see so many familiar faces journeying along with us. I love having those with experience sharing their perspectives with us. I love that when we are sad, frustrated, elated, and/or scared, there are so many we can call and find empathy. Just another reason I love our church family.

So it is Monday and I am distracted by the hope of what this week will bring us. So leaving a prayer here that if you would like to join with me in praying I would appreciate!

Father, You are so GOOD. I will be coming to you each day of this week praising your name for all that you are. You are the God who created us. You are the God who gave us the choice to love you. You are the God who provided us the way back to You through your son. You know what it is like to wait on the children you are wanting to adopt, because you have waited on me. You know what it is like to be patient, please help me to be patient. You know what it is like to wait for approval, you are waiting for that from so many. But I know you are with me. I feel you in my heart, I see you all around me. I see you as you join child with family. I see you when you touch the lives of those I love with your Goodness. I see you in hurt and pain, for you are there providing comfort. I praise you God for providing a body of people to encourage and teach me. Thank you Lord. This week as we await the word from the state, Lord please just hold us in your hand and if it is your will, please let the decision be made in our favor and quickly,

Through the name of Jesus,
Amen

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Finally a word.

As you can tell from my last post, the being patient is killing me. I have such a huge appreciation for the absolute unreasonable load of work our sweet FW has and how she is juggling in files the well being of children with the paperwork required by the state, with smiles and personality. However, I have the patience of a child waiting on Santa Claus the night before Christmas, and it is KILLING me. ***Patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue----patience is not my virtue***

At long last we heard from FW yesterday. She needed dates for the last dental visits for the children and then the file was being packed off and sent to the state. I received an email last night which stated "we will know something next week." Whoo Hoo...I can do next week. Apparently, our whole completed homestudy disappeared off her computer after a storm--poor lady, so there was a bit of a delay. But we should be reaching the end of this phase of the journey, and I am certainly ready to be on the next leg...where the boys are!

Please pray the state accepts our file and they just use 1 week to make a decision.

Prayer for the Day,

We are lifting praises up to you today because we know you are in control. We know you have a plan, a time, a way. We know we are impatient and we ask you to forgive our impatience. We know we are reactionary and we ask you to forgive our lack of discipline.

We pray that you be with the state workers who are dealing with our file. Lord we ask that if there is any reason we would not be the best place for a child that our file be defeated by the system. However, if we can be a tool for healing, a home for growing, arms for loving and ears for hearing, please bless this effort with a speedy acceptance.

Lord, please be with Nathan, the children and myself as we prepare for the changes we are so hoping will come our way. We ask you to soften our hearts, fill us with your Spirit.

It is because of you we can know love, it is only because you have extended grace to us we can show grace in small portions to others. We want to be your tools for service. Use us as you see necessary.


In the name of Jesus,
Amen

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dreams

I have been dreaming lately. I seem to dream in cycles. I guess I dream my most vivid dreams when I have a lot on my mind and when I am trying not to talk about what is on my mind. I guess my nature to express myself when denied is manifested in my dreams and voila--big, full color, can remember every detail the next morning dreams pour out of my tiny little brain. This week I have been continuously dreaming about the first week the boys come to stay with us. All week long, the same dream enters my sleepy world and continues into the next night...my own little miniseries, I guess.

I am a bit leery of becoming so "sure" that these boys will be ours. There are still so many hurdles to overcome. We still need to get the state's official stamp approval, then there is the boy's caseworker, the boys themselves, and of course us. I guess it would not be a "Journey of Faith" if it was all a sure thing.

I remember being pregnant with Noah and because from the moment we realized we were expecting I was confident he was a boy and his name would be Noah, I felt so connected to him. I remind myself of how I had faith in that time of waiting that the end result would be Noah Jones...I did not know what he would be like or if he would be healthy. Truth be told I did not know if he would be born alive. I had faith he would. I believed he would. I had no reason to doubt.

With one of the miscarriages Nate and I experienced, I came to lose a bit of faith I once had. I had clear evidence that just because you are presented with the possibility of a child, does not always mean that the end result would be what you hoped for or what you expected. While I feel healing from the hurt we experienced, I do recognize the scar that was left on my heart. Sometimes my thoughts see that scar, just as my eyes see the scars on my legs, and I am reminded. I am reminded of how unified in crisis Nate and I became. I am reminded of how God held us as we clinged to Him in our sorrow. I am reminded that the only pain you really forget about is pain in the body, not the heart.

The truth is pain of the heart is not like pain of the body in any way. You burn yourself you learn, don't do that again. And if you are wise, you don't. In my experience, when you feel pain of the heart, you become more resolved to try again, because when something pains your heart you realize how worthy it is.

I know the name of these boys. And just like I knew Noah's name as he grew inside me, I can identify with them, I have come to know them even without meeting them. I have faith that they will be ours, even in the knowledge that there is a lot that could happen. I think maybe this is what God feels like when he thinks of Us. He knows our name. He recognizes we may not become His--amazing that he gives us the choice. But I imagine if I am hoping as I am for these boys, how much more He is hoping for me, and for you. How beautiful to know he wants me and that He knows my name.

Friday, August 7, 2009

God is so good....

I am no longer completely thrown off by seeing God respond to the specific prayer requests we have been asking. I still remain completely astonished and amazed that he does it, but no longer am I surprised. He has been so good to us. I must share with you how often God makes himself known to me.

In this time of waiting, I have to admit that the evil one has tried to attack my heart. Fear and doubt have been his tools. There has been a lot of down time, we were so busy for so long and now the quiet is deafening. Much to my shame I have accepted the offer to slow dance with satan as he uses his tools on me, but my God is stronger than I give Him credit for, and he has continually counter -balanced these tools. This is a fun story to tell, just because I have given up coincidence. We know the names of the boys we are going to consider. Well, we know their first and last names. For fun, I put their first names and our last name into a name generating program we found on line to come up with a middle name.

Two things you should know before I finish this story:
1. Nathan's favorite boy name of all time is Xavier. Noah would have been Xavier, Macy would have been Xavier, Molly would have been Xavier, children that were not born would have been Xavier....you get my point. He loves the name Xavier.

2. We do not want to mess with the identity these boys have established, however we would like to give them a name (we gave all our other children a name), so we have contemplated legally changing their middle names when we change their last name.

So, I put in the names and push the enter button to see what middle name would pop up. Enter, wait....Xavier. Huh, let's try again. Enter, wait....Noah. Wow. One more time....Enter, wait...Nathan. Ok, now it is time to call Nate and tell him this neat story. We have been praying for God to clearly show us if these boys are "our boys". That seemed pretty clear, huh?

The next story comes after two weeks of really going in circles with Satan and his unfair use of fear and doubt. We were heading out of town for a few days without the children and we were dropping them off at Nate's parents house for the time. We spent the night with Trevor and Amanda and went to church with them. The sermon could not be more suited for this current battle. Letting go of control, realizing how God is bigger than anything that we fear. The preacher actually said, "there are some of you who are thinking about adopting, but are worried that there might be health issues, situations that will cause you pain--don't you realize your doubting God to allow this fear to control your thinking?" I hear you, Lord. I hear you, I don't want to doubt. I have faith in you.

I do not know how this will all end. I do not know if these two little boys are OUR boys, but I do know and feel compelled to share that God is OUR God. He is in control of the boys lives and He is in control of our lives and I KNOW that what happens will be for His glory. I could go on and on of how these boys are just what we feel is best for our family--when you consider ages, life experiences, etc. I could tell you over and over how we have asked for specific situations to happen, and they have. I can tell you over and over how things we have specifically asked for have been blatantly denied--answered clearly NO!, which is again an answered prayer in which we asked that we be defeated clearly in the things that were not God's will.

God is good and we are putting our faith in Him.. What a blessing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Letters

Today I needed to get letters to our caseworker to put in our file, a letter to the birthmother and a letter to the child. I thought I would post the letters here.


Dear Birthmother, We appreciate so much the opportunity to introduce ourselves to you. We are Nathan and Sara Jones. You are providing us with the opportunity to fulfill the long desired dream of extending our family. As parents, we can only imagine how much information you would want to know about us and our family. Please accept this letter as our offering to share with you some insight into who we are.We have been married for eleven years. We met after Sara completed her education and moved to Louisville for her first post-college job. We met at church and became very good friends, then best friends, and then we knew we would not want to live life without the other. We married and the following summer Nathan finished his degree work. In the fall we welcomed our first child, a son, into our family. The following year, we were blessed with our first daughter. Upon her arrival, Sara became a stay at home mother. Nathan took on his current position in the insurance industry. The next year, our family became a family of five when our second little girl was born. It was just after her birth that we moved from Louisville with Nathan’s job.
We have found that our family runs best when Sara is providing for the children as a stay-at-home mom. Nathan’s job allows for us to meet the needs of our family financially, while allowing Sara to stay home. Nathan has been with his current employer for more than 9 years. We are actively saving for the futures of the children by funding education savings accounts for each child. We are also investing in their future by providing them opportunities to learn sports, music, and various other skills by participating in extra-curricular pursuits. We live on the outskirts of town and we have 3 acres for the children to run and play. We are surrounded by neighbors with farms and there are many children on our street. We have a small dog named Lucy who loves the children and is a faithful companion as they play in the yard and neighborhood. We love to travel as a family and plan a larger vacation each year and several smaller weekend getaways during the year. We are blessed with large extended families on both sides of our family and there are many cousins to play with. We have four great grandparents and four grandparents who love and spoil the children along with 9 aunts and uncles. We spend a lot of time with our extended families throughout the holidays. The children are visited regularly by their grandparents and enjoy visits at their homes from time to time. Our extended family is excited about our decision to adopt and is ready to welcome your child into their lives.We are very involved with a church family and enjoy the friendship and kinship of that family in everyday ways. Our faith is a foundational part of our lives and we are daily pursuing a meaningful and devoted relationship with God. This is made easier with such an amazing church family. Our children are surrounded with friends from church and enjoy play dates, sleepovers, and many activities with these children. Our children are blessed with a diverse group of friends, some who have been adopted from different nations. Nathan is involved in the leadership of our church and Sara is active in the children’s education program. We feel very fortunate to know that this group of amazing people are actively supporting our children and our family. We want you to know that our family is strong. We are completely dedicated to our marriage and to our family. We adore our children and will count it great joy to love and adore your child as our own. We believe a strong family must spend time together and communicate with each other constantly. We enjoy spending our time together and encourage every person in our family to speak from their heart. We strive to listen fully as each person speaks. We make all efforts to have a balance of fun and laughter with work and discipline. We believe the greatest gifts we can give to our children are to love them unconditionally, allow them the opportunity to learn to be independent, and to challenge them to be their best and follow their dreams. We want each of our children to see the completion of the goals they set for themselves, and we will stand behind them with our encouragement and support.Please know that each day we will lift your name to God in prayer, thanking Him for the gift you are giving us. Your child will be our child and for that we will be eternally grateful. We will love him with all we have and will share with him what a gift you are. May the Lord bless you all your days, With our promise of love and devotion to your child, Nathan and Sara Jones


Dear Little One, This letter is to say hello to you and to introduce ourselves. We are Nathan and Sara Jones. We wanted to write you and tell you a little bit about our family and to share with you how important you are to us. Nathan is the Daddy. He is very tall and is very funny. Nathan works at a business that helps people after they have a car accident. He is at work through the days, but at night and on the weekends he is at home taking care of the yard, the house, and playing games with our family. Nathan loves to laugh and loves to play. Sara is the Mommy. She is not so tall and is very silly. Sara stays at home and takes care of the children. She teaches the children their school work. She cleans the house, reads books out loud and takes the children to the pool and to friend’s houses. Sara loves to tell stories and do crafts.There are three children who live at our house. Noah is 9, Macy is 8, and Molly is 6. They love to swim and play. They like to ride their bikes and read books. They like to play on the computer and sing and dance. Noah, Macy and Molly are very excited to meet you. They cannot wait to play with you.We have a little dog named Lucy. She is a very funny dog. She lays around and is lazy until a car drives by and she tries to run and chase the car. Lucy is very nice and likes children very much. Lucy likes to have her ears scratched. We live in a house out in the country. We have a very big yard where you can run and play. A few houses down from us there is a farmer who has cows. There is also a house that has horses.We are very excited to meet you. We would like for you to come and live with us at our house. We have a special place set up for you and want you to make it your own. We want you to be a part of our family. We want to love you and take care of you. We want to listen to what you want to become and then help you become that. We want to give you the opportunity to learn about our world, play sports and learn music. We want you to grow big and strong. We are here to give you the strength and discipline you need to make your dreams come true. As you become a part of our family we promise to love you forever and to do all we can to provide you with all that you need and a lot of what you want. We want to give you a lot of hugs and kisses. We want to laugh with you and give you a place where it is ok to cry. We want our home to be your home and our family to be your family.With all of our hearts, Nathan and Sara Jones

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Case of the Hurry Up and Waits

We are done. All the paperwork is in, the interviews have been done, and the inspections have passed. Now we wait. Our Caseworker (F.W.) says she will have two weeks to finish all her reports, then it will go to her supervisor, who will have a week to review and submit it to Frankfort (the State) to get their approval. Frankfort will then have 2 weeks to review our homestudy and file and then--we should be approved. FW says she does not see any reason this should not be the case. So we wait until apx. mid August for news.

We did learn the names of the boys and their birthdates. We received a bit more information about their situation, why they came in to care and issues the boys will face in their lives. We will be able to see their entire file after we are approved. So until then, we will sit and wait. And pray.

Lord, you are so good to us, and we feel your grace. We don't fully understand the love you have for us, but we recognize how good You are for it. Lord please be with us as we wait for all the paperwork to be completed. Help us spend this time focusing our hearts and minds on what you would have us to know. Lord please help us know if your will is for us to be parents to these little boys. Please be with these boys, hold them in your care, protect their hearts. If we are not meant for them, please bring them a family who will Love you first and then them entirely.

Thank you for wisdom, thank you for adopting us. Help us to extend the grace of our adoption to children in need. Be with Noah, Macy and Molly as they open their hearts to more siblings. Help Nate and I to be good parents to them.

Because of your son, we feel we can come to you and pray.
Amen

Monday, July 13, 2009

One more time

We have the second of our Homestudy sessions on Tuesday. It will be the last of the sessions. I think after this session, she has 2 weeks to get our reporting in to her supervisor and then we will be approved and ready to go! Very exciting!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

First Home Study

Our first homestudy visit went well. Our Case Worker came and had breakfast with us. I made my Grandmother's cinammon twists. We ate and chatted as a family, and then the children went upstairs to watch tv while we talked with her. She asked us mostly about our childhoods, our relationships with our extended families, how we met, how we would describe each other (Nate and I), our concerns about caring for kids, and we chatted about the situation with the boys she had mentioned. (I will write more about that later!) She then spoke with the children privately. She wanted to go ahead and schedule our next visit as quickly as possible. Looks like it will be on Tuesday evening. Everything with the house was fine. After this second visit she will have two weeks to get her report into her supervisor (Her supervisor was the second teacher in our classes.) and then we should be good to go. Things are going well. It seems to be going fast, but we are excited about that.

Prayer for the day,

Lord, I just praise you for your goodness. Thank you for being with us in this journey. We feel You around us and we are relying on you. You can make all things happen for your purposes. And for that we praise you.
Amen

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thursday

Thursday is the day to count down to this week. Our Case Worker will be here to inspect the house. We have been working on a bunch of projects this week to prepare for her visit. We have tried to be open minded to our home to decide what could be perceived as a danger for smaller children who do not know our house.

My dad will be thrilled that we finally installed the banister at the top of the first stair case. When we moved into this house there was a column up at the top of the steps. I felt it was more of a danger because if you touched it, it moved. I thought it would be safer to realize you needed to be careful than to have the false security of the column. But it has been repaired and I am glad it is taken care of.

We have a little left to do in the boys room to show we are ready for a new little one to come and live with us...mostly cosmetic, should be done tonight.

Nate and I went through all the medicines and threw out expired medicines and double checked our first aid kit. That is set and now behind closed and locked doors. We also cleared out the cleaning supplies. I will do the last thorough cleaning on Wednesday evening. All the cleaning supplies will then be locked up.

Ithink that is the key things to be done. Nate will get out in the yard tonight and make sure it is manicured and clear.

I am so excited to get this part past us. I am anxious to get the files to peek through...so much anticipation.

The prayer for the day..

Father God,

Your time and your wisdom is perfect. Give us the patience to wait on you. Please be with our home study this week and help us to be completely open to who we are so that you can work in us to your purposes. In the name of Jesus we pray,
Amen.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Classes, Paperwork, and Homestudy

It has been awhile since I have had the opportunity to sit and think long enough to write an entry on this blog. This past week we finished the MAPP classes and it was very profitable. Nathan and I had to drive seperately to all of these classes and I think it was good for me to have the alone time in the car to process all we learned, heard, felt in the class. I cried many nights on the way home and prayed a lot for wisdom and understanding. I really struggle with what these kids are going through. I struggle with feeling any compassion and grace toward the parents who are damaging these children in very profound ways. I feel so naive, and in that naivety so blessed to not know what these children are being taught. It really helps to convict my heart this journey is a righteous one and I can hardly wait to open our home and hearts to a child or children who need us. What I am learning each moment in this is I can hardly wait to open our home and hearts to a child or children because we need them.



Class #10 was very powerful. It was the open panel night. It was the night foster parents, adoptive parents, social workers and invited birth parents come to tell their story, answer questions, and give perspective of what it is to live in this life we are journeying to. In ways it is scary to hear their stories. They all have dealt with a lot. These kids are not going to be perfect little angel babies born into our families. These are children who will push the boundaries to see if we will walk out on them too. I think the most profound statement made to me was the statement made by the social worker. She was asked, "What is the hardest part of your job?" To which she began to sob and say, "When I have to look a child in the eye and tell them, I am sorry but you are never going to get to go back home." To imagine what that must feel like burdens my heart. It burdens my heart that my child, whom I have yet to meet is going to have to hear those words if he has not already.



Class #11 was a potluck and some final items. The last lesson of the night was about being prepared for what you can not be prepared for. One of the activities of the night was we had to write down 3 words we found offensive. All those words were placed in a basket and we each had to draw out a word. We had to say the word aloud. And then if you wrote the word you had to say "That's my word". The point is to be prepared to hear language from even the youngest of children who don't know better and to respond, not in shock or disgust, but in loving direction of what is appropriate and acceptable. In ways it was a bit humerous, in others ways a bit disgusting. But yet again, a bit of perspective.



We turned our paperwork in at class #11. It seemed a lot of work. Gathering information, trying to find answers to questions you scarecely think about. The teachers of our classes help put that into perspective by stating, "Think about what all you would want to know and share about your child if a stranger was to suddenly be their primary caretaker." Enough said.....



Part of our package was to provide pictures for children to look at if we were chosen to be their home. The pictures would help the child feel more comfortable with us and our spot in the world while waiting for us to come and get them. I got creative one night and decided to make a slideshow with music, because I thought it would be more intersting. If I can figure how to put it on here, I will.



Next Thursday, the 9th we have our first visit for our home study. I am pretty excited about getting the house set up for a new child. We will need to have a bed set up in Noah's room. When our caseworker set the time with us, she told us she would be bringing the file of two boys she would like us to think about---whoa....how exciting and completely terrifying. I forwarded the message on to Nate and he had the same reaction.....oh my that is fast, but man I am glad it is fast. So we have a lot of praying to do over the next couple of weeks and I have a lot of work to accomplish!



Well that brings us up to date. Please pray for us as we continue on this journey. Pray for our child who is not currently living with us now, please pray God fill his heart with peace and comfort while he is dealing with his current circumstances.

video

Lord God,

Please give us courage to face the unknown,

the love to open ourselves to a child in need,

the mercy and compassion we will need to love a stranger,

the hope that You are not only guiding the road, but created the road we are walking,

the wisdom to listen to Your direction,

and the faith You are with us in it all,

Because of Jesus we pray,

Amen

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Week #6

Tonight will be week number 6 in this journey we are taking and boy is the time flying. Of course it is because each week seems to pack itself before we have a chance to blink. Right now our schedule looks a little like this:

Monday: 5:00-7:30--YMCA soccer practice
Tuesday: 5:00-7:30 Soccer games
Wednesday: 3:00-5:00 Swim Team, 7:00-8:30 Midweek Church Activities, 9:00-?? Nate plays basketball.
Thursday: 6:00-9:30--Parenting Classes for Foster/Adopt
Friday 3:00-5:00 Swim Team
Saturday Morning: 7:30-12:00 -Soccer games
Sunday--10:00-2:00-Church


Somewhere in between all of this there is over 50 pages of paperwork to fill out, about 30 documents to locate and copy. Recommendation letters to solicit from creditors and friends. 3 children to raise, 2 acres to mow, one large disastrous landscaping project to fix, a house to keep somewhat in order, more laundry to do than should be reasonable, Nate's full time job (he has been averaging 60 hours this month) and my part time job. Phew...

By the grace of God we are getting it all accomplished, even with time for a few parties here and there.

Last weeks class was a really difficult and enlightening class to attend. The main theme of the class was attachment issues. The exercise for the evening was a reflective meditation where you closed your eyes and placed yourself in your mind's eye in the crux of your home. She then shared that there was a knock at the door and a "people mover" took you from your home, your family. You had 30 minutes to pull any belongings you wanted to take and you could only fill a paper sack. Once in the car as you were being transported from your home and your family, you were told there was another family who would be so happy to see you; they had been waiting a long time for you to come live with them. You are dropped off at this new house, it is a lot nicer than your other house. But standing on the front stoop is a man who is telling you to call him HUSBAND, and children who are calling you MOMMY. How do you feel? You are to go into this home and start living with them. You are not allowed to see your real husband, or your real children right now, but maybe, just maybe you will get a visit later. You have to begin their routine--of course first you need to figure out their routine. This family loves you like they have known you all their lives, but you just want to go home.

On and on it went. Perspective....wow. How hard for this to happen in your mind, as an adult. How much more difficult for this to happen to a child. Perspective. We are about 2 weeks away from having all of our packet complete, and then we will have our home study. We have about 10 things to do to the house before the homestudy--minor things (fix the handrail on the stairs, cover outlets with child-proof doodahs, put a lock on the door of the pantry which houses the cleaning supplies and medicines. We also need to get another twin size bed for Noah's room. I bought new sheets and comforters for the "boys" room last week. Looking forward to getting that all arranged and complete.

It is interesting as our recommendation letters come in to read them. It is a bit like hearing your funeral sermon. How sweet and gracious our friends have been in these letters. It is such a blessing to have such a great amount of support in this endeavor.

Well... off to pay for summer camp for the kiddos.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Filling in the blanks

Nathan and I have been working on filling out all the paperwork required by the state. It has not been a tough chore, just a bit time consuming. It has struck me the questions that are asked in the personal profiles are very difficult to answer in two very small font lines allowed. Questions from name a time you were dissappointed and how it impacted you (2 lines) to what is your worst childhood memory (1 line) are a bit difficult to pair down in an economy of words. We have about 2 more hours of work ahead of us.

The children have some paperwork to fill out as well. Their assignment is to draw a picture or write a story about our family after we adopt. The children are very excited about this little task. The girls have already drawn a family portrait (family of 6 style.) I found it interesting how they chose the hair color of the people in the picture. Nate and I have black hair, N, M and M all have blond hair and new brother has black hair. I asked them why they chose the hair color for the new child and they had no explanation. Interesting.

I am going to have to order a birth certificate for Nathan. I have no idea if we have ever had a copy. I will call and ask his Mom if she has a copy, but I should order one for us. I have mine and the children's. Funny how little pieces of paper are meant to represent so much.

It is nice to have this little project to work on, makes me feel like we are actually doing something. Little steps closer to our goal. That certainly feels good.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Conversations

Today I had a conversation with an amazing lady from church. After raising her two children, she has been opening her home to foster children, teenage girls to be specific. Her job by day is to be a teacher for teenage boys who are in an alternative school. She is always so great to talk to because this woman is daily walking the walk of loving others.

Due to her experiences, I have found myself sitting at her feet lately trying to get some wisdom and understanding from her.

At this point, it is not our plan to foster children, but instead adopt. But seeing her and talking with her, I can imagine Nathan and I fostering in the future. This is her ministry. She is touching the hearts of girls who have been deeply disappointed by the world, sceptics to a loving God and rejected by families.

A couple of years ago I wrote on another blog how I truly believe that Christian homes all over the world should be opening their doors to orphaned and neglected children. Today our conversations stemmed from seeing how the current Child Placement and Permanency systems are failing...in fact perpetuating themselves. When you begin to discuss how to make improvements to a failing system the debates could be endless. But the reality from a Christian worldview is that the only solution to the system is for there to be no need for the system. Imagine the euphoric world where all parents loved their children and the community embraced children and always looked out for the best interest of those children. Hard to imagine? What about a world where even if parents and the community let down children, the ADOPTED children of God rallied and did not let them down. What if every christian home took in one child--how many children would be left in the system?

I praise God for the challenge this sister in Christ lays before us as she tackles and overcomes the challenge day in and day out. I am glad for her friendship and humbled by her service. I am so glad to have her wisdom and support. I found a blog by Tom Davis that I will spend many weeks meditating upon.

From Tom Davis' blog:
Today, I wanted to post some scriptures to meditate on. It tells some of the story of why orphans are so important to God and why we are supposed to care for them.

God calls Himself the Father of the fatherless.
· Psalm 68:5, “A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation.”

God considers spiritual service the purest when His people are taking care of orphans. (and) A religion that does not care for orphans is no religion at all.
· James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”

God’s people are commanded to care for orphans. To see an orphan afflicted, and to turn a deaf ear, is sin, even rebellion.
· Exodus 22:22, “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.”
· Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”
· Isaiah 1:23, “Your rulers are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless.”

We can be the hands and love of Christ Himself by providing practical care.
· Deuteronomy 10:18, “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”
· Psalm 10:14, “But You, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.”
· Matthew 18:5, “Whoever receives a child in My name, receives Me.”
· Matthew 25: 45, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these, you did it unto Me.”

Orphans are to be taken care of with the same honor and provision as a Pastor or Priest.
· Deuteronomy 14:28-30, “The Levite (priest), because he has not portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.”

A portion of all that we possess is sacred and belongs to the orphan.
· Deuteronomy 26:12-14, “You shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.”

Friday, May 1, 2009

Perspective

Last night's class, like last week's, really started to give some perspective as to what to expect and what every member of the family is going to be going through--birth parents, the child, the case worker, the foster families. What a truly amazing thing to think about a child being torn from their home. In the scenerio we played out last night, the birth parents had lost their jobs, and in a moment of stress made a very bad decision which led to their child being removed from their home. I think it is so easy to think about these birthparents as monsters who are killing their children, but this exercise helped to point out how these parents could be good people who made a bad choice and it is spiraling into a nightmare around them.

In the scenerio, a child that was placed in the foster home had experienced abuse which was being acted out with the other children of the home. This is really something dear to my heart. The one part of this journey that gives me the most pause is the protection of the children I already have. It really has been what has delayed our steps forward up to this point. I think in ways my fears about putting my now children in danger were both revisited and calmed in last night's class. The reality is that if our child to be has been abused, the chances are great they will exhibit behaviors as a result of that abuse. BUT there will be plenty of services and help in getting each child counseling, therapy, and treatment to help that child heal and overcome such abuse.

I again realize what a precious bubble of naivete I live in and am continually thankful for the lack of knowledge of such things. But the reality is that bad things are happening all around us, to the children all around us.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Praying

For the past three weeks, I have had trouble getting to sleep. It seems the moment I get settled in to sleep, my mind turns to our family--the ones sleeping under my roof, but more precisely the ones not sleeping under our roof yet. As we are going through our MAPP classes, my heart just breaks. The numbers of children in our county, in our state, in our Nation who are without a home is staggering. The reasons for the children not having homes is heart wrenching. My mind wanders to the fact that our child--the child we don't know yet is out there somewhere suffering for some reason. It breaks my heart.

On this journey, there will be people whom God sets along the way to direct our path. We are already so thoroughly thankful for our church family who is praying over this decision and journey for us. We have been so blessed to have such an amazing group of people to fellowship with in the cause of Christ. In this family we have never felt so driven to be all that we could be for Him, while at the same time so peacefully in love with God and His people. Knowing that these people are in prayer on our behalf is overwhelmingly comforting.

There are others in our church group who are farther along in their journey of faith. The Huddleston family and the Guyer family are currently matched to a child and are waiting for all of the i's to be dotted and t's to be crossed. I can only imagine how overwhelmingly difficult it must be to have a name, a face, and yet be in waiting for your child to come to your home. Please be in prayer for them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Getting started

Since this blog is coming two and a half weeks after the official start of our journey, I thought I would catch myself up. Our first foster to adopt parenting class was April 16th. Now our story could not be told without sharing how a dear dear friend has stepped in, in a very huge way to help us by watching our children every Thursday evening for the 12 weeks. What a dear our favorite Mary Poppins is--she legally goes by Vanessa, but we all know she is Mary! With the children very happily in the care of the magic of Mary, I mean Vanessa, we have been going to the Department of Protection and Permanency.

The first night was an introductory night, we went around the room and introduced ourselves. There are about 20 couples and 2 singles there to receive the training. It is a neat cross section of people, from those with fertility issues, to older parents who have raised children and are now looking to give love to children, there are black and white families, a really funny Russian lady and apparently many aspects of faith represented in this little very warm conference room. There are two facilitators, women who are social workers and will be involved in placement and home studies. The first night was a short night and the time spent after introductions was for reasons why they require such a class.

The second week was more participatory. We did an activity where you were either assigned to be an foster/adopt (f/a) parent or a child in the system. You were given a bit of information and then you were to interview until you found a match. It was interesting. I was an adult who was looking for a girl who wanted no contact with her former family. Nathan was a teenage girl who needed a home that did not mind she was sexually active. I did not find an exact match, but compromised and took in a little boy instead. Nathan was not chosen at first, someone who did not want him just took him in. It was an interesting perspective exercise.

The remainder of the time spent dealt with feelings and behaviors you may come in contact with from children who are in the system. It is a little overwhelming to think of what is happening to children in our community, in our state and in our world. How blessed we are to know so little of what these wee ones are learning too early.

We'll start at the very beginning, that is a very good place to start......

It was a warm day in 1997. Nathan and I were not yet engaged, but both secure in our hearts that we were "the one" for the other. We were lying on a quilt at our favorite park in Louisville chatting as those who are love struck often do about what we thought would be our desired family picture. We both had a desire for a larger than average family and we both realized we had in our hearts a desire to adopt a child. This conversation was the first of a million of conversations we have had about our family since, but the desire has always been there for us to adopt.

We married in August 1998 and put ourselves on the five year plan for a family. Nathan was still in school, had just procured a preaching position and we were happily living on a wing and a prayer. On February 2 , 1999, I came to realize in a very real way that my plans were not to be. I, after a few weeks of denial, took a pregnancy test which confirmed my suspicions of being pregnant. On that day, I could not decide if I would laugh or cry, be excited or be scared, or if these emotions were so linked together I could not tell the emotion or the reaction from the other. I waited a day to tell Nathan. The look on his face seemed to be a mirror of what mine must have been the day before. How could fear, surprise, and excitement be expressed in one face that is forever etched in my mind? In September, we welcomed Noah into the world. We were never more happy, never more ready to see what the Lord had in store for us. Or so we thought.

When Noah was nine months old, and Nate and I were a year and a half into our marriage, we decided to take a trip to NYC, leaving Noah behind with his grandparents for the first time. It was a great, much needed reconnecting trip. And it brought with it a great souvenir, Macy. The day Noah turned 18 months old, he was given the title of BIG BROTHER, and we rejoiced in the beautiful dark haired baby girl. Again, our plans were thwarted...but we sure were glad!

A boy and a girl, 18 months apart born before our 3rd anniversary! Having Noah and Macy so close together caused us to wonder about future children, would we keep having children in such rapid succession, (we were attempting to prevent both times--praise God for His timing!). We both agreed we did not like the idea of the two being so close and there being a large gap in the ages of future children. On Macy's first birthday we resolved to just see what would happen. Two weeks later, we were expecting our Molly. I turned 28 the October before Molly was born and our little family was living quite happily in a 900 square foot cape cod. We realized our five year plan was to give birth to all our natural born children in the first five years of marriage...we had the timing right, we just missed the outcome!

More than six years have gone by since Molly made our family a populous of 5. In the past six years, I have had a tubal ligation which did not prevent pregnancies, had miscarriages that broke our hearts, and have developed endometrial abnormalities and fibroid tumors which will disallow a viable pregnancy.

After our second miscarriage, the desire to adopt was firmly placed on my heart. Nathan, the more practical half of our team, felt the timing just was not right. He, I am sure was feeling the overwhelming burden of heading up our brood, while gracing me with the opportunity to be at home. "Let's pray on this a year." And so the praying and the listening commenced.

Bringing this long story to a conclusion, the year passed, the desire to adopt was now secure in both our hearts and we began on this journey. On April 16, 2009 we began the parent training classes required by the state of Kentucky to adopt a ward of the state. We have opted to foster adopt and are very excited to be working toward our goal of extending our love and resources to a new Jones. Thanks for coming on this journey with us. Please be praying with us and for us as we navigate this journey of faith.