Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Week

We have had a wonderful week celebrating and enjoying time together.  On Saturday the 22, we went to Dallas for the day.  We went to meet my sweet brand new niece, Brock, and spent a few minutes with her family before heading to Troy's family Christmas party that evening.  It was great that Troy's Dad was able to be there (someone was able to come and take care of Troy's Mom for the evening).  We had two new little faces this year, Liam (11mos) and Landry (5mos).  We were excited to also meet some other new friends.

We had a traditional Christmas Eve, we went to church services with my family and then out for Japanese food.  The food was great and the kids really enjoyed it, they love to spend time with their cousins.   It is hard to believe how big they all are.  They were able to all sit at their own table and now Caitlin is big enough that she chooses to sit with the adults.

We spent most of Christmas day at home.  Our kids all have a slumber party on Christmas Eve, and they did not wake up until I went to get them at  7:00.  Later in the day we went to my parents house for dinner.

On Thursday, Colton turned 6.  He is so cute.  He came into our room at around 7, dressed in full football uniform (pads, helmet, everything)  First words out were "I'm 6 now"  Sweet little boy, I guess he has already learned that he has to remind us of his birthday. 

Hopefully, next year, we will have one more day to celebrate during the busy Christmas week.  Steven's birthday is December 21...we hope that we get to celebrate his birthday with him from now on!

Other adoption news, we are waiting for our homestudy to be finalized.  When we get it back we will be sending our I800 in.  Troy is headed to Dallas on friday for the Cottonbowl and I am hoping he can hand deliver it.  We are estimating that our first trip to meet Steven will be in about 12 weeks.

Financially, the total estimate for adoption from this country is about $25,000.  We have already paid  $6,000.  Before we travel, we will need about $12,000 more.  This amount will be to pay the agency fees (second payment is $5,500 and travel expenses).  We are hoping that you can help.  This is a tax-deductible donation.  When you think about it, If we could get 120 people to donate just $100, we would have enough for the trip, or If we could get 190 to donate $100, our adoption would be paid.  Thanks to each of you who have already contributed and are helping us to answer our calling to adopt Steven!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Consider Your Part In This

Tiffany shared with me that we were warned about some negativity from some folks regarding contributions to cover the cost of adoption.  I really don’t understand the thought process of some folks.  Sometimes it shocks me that the cost to adopt is so high?  Seems counter-intuitive that here is someone willing to take on the expense and responsibility of providing a nurturing home to a child without a family…seems like the people willing to take on this responsibility should be paid and the process made much easier.  Well, enough of my whining, the process is what it is and the cost is high.  Back to the folks who are opposed to funds being raised by others to cover the cost of adoption, we’ve assumed that some of the concern may be that if someone doesn’t have the money to cover the cost of adoption, then how can they provide for the adopted child?  That’s a pretty silly objection when you consider that if God so chooses, even Warren Buffett can lose his wealth tomorrow…we simply have no guarantees when it comes to the financial blessings, just read the book of Job.  However, we do know that God will provide for our needs. 

The reason I bring this up is we are requesting that all our friends and family strongly consider and pray about your ability to help us financially in Steven’s adoption.  Because the incremental cost of adopting additional children from Bulgaria is low, we are now seriously contemplating a second adoption.  God has blessed us with considerable means for providing for these children over the course of their lives but this upfront cost certainly digs into savings we have put aside for emergencies, cars, weddings, college, etc.  We would appreciate any and all financial help to bring Steven and any future/additional children to a better life in a home where they will be loved and trained in the LORD.  Please consider and pray about what your part will be in Steven’s life and whether you can help us financially or physically be involved with raising him. 


Sunday, December 9, 2012

What are we thinking?

The body language and some of the initial reaction from folks when we first share our intentions to adopt Steven are clearly…”What are you thinking…isn’t five of your own more than enough?”  Well, all we can say is when your life has been blessed as we have been, to keep it to ourselves would fall right in line with the culture around us but it’s not what God has called us to…we are not called to the American Dream of working 40 years climbing the corporate ladder and making lots of money and then retiring to the golf course.  We have no intention of retiring until God calls us home…when you look at life that way, then it’s hard to worry about the potential we are taking on with this and future adoptions…potential that we will be full-time caretakers for the rest of our lives.  Before we started this journey, we sat and prayed with our children and explained that God can use us to save these children from a terrible life in orphanages without love and we can give eternal life by introducing them to a Savior.  This is counter to the selfish culture we live in today but after all, it’s how we are called to live…

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

James 1:27

Friday, December 7, 2012

Smells and Smiles

Things have been very busy here.  As far as adoption news, this week I drove to College Station to get certified copies of our marriage license.  Troy and I were fingerprinted for our fbi clearance.  I also received documents back that were apostilled in Austin and sent them to our adoption agency.  They will be taken to Europe next week and translated.

Aubryn and I enjoyed going to College Station.  She is such a great little girl.  About 45 minutes into the trip, she looked out the window and asked, "where are we going". I  told her to get some papers and then go to lunch.  She was fine with that.  Sweet girl sat in the car all morning without a complaint.  I did realize that there are not many restaurants with indoor play areas in that college town.  I had never noticed that before.  18 years later, I do not remember exactly why we got our marriage license in College Station.  But, it was alot better than having to go to downtown Houston for documents.

Caitlin is in the musical "Guys and Dolls" next weekend.  She is a hotbox dancer and has taught Aubryn her part.  I hope it brings a smile to your day.  Colton has also learned the song, but as any 5 year old boy would, he has changed the words and made his own silly (somewhat inappropriate) version.  Goofy kid!

On the smelly side of things, a new critter decided to take up residence in our garage.  On Monday night, a skunk decided he would like to live in there.  I called an exterminator/animal removal service and they wanted $425 to put a trap in there.  Well, for some strange reason, we already had a animal trap.  After trying several different things, we finally trapped him last night.  Thankfully, no one was "skunked out" in our experience.  He is still alive in a trap that was pulled about 200 ft away from the house.  He will stay in the trap until some critter lover has compassion and wants to let him out (I don't know how they could without getting sprayed) or till he takes his last breath.  So long, Skunk!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our big news!

Well...where do I begin?  For years, people have asked, "Are you done having kids?"  We would laugh and respond, "we are done having them, but we would take another".  We truly feel like children are a blessing and should be treasured.  We have looked into different opportunities to help kids.  We tried to get involved in a foster care program for kids in Houston, but that door was quickly
closed.  We knew God had something planned, we just were not sure what.

A few months ago, a friend put a post on facebook about a website called "Reece's Rainbow".  It  caught my attention (mainly because her comment that none of her friends cared).  I started looking at the site and was immediately drawn to a boy named Steven.  Steven is four years old and lives in an Eastern European country.  He has been diagnosed with Ataxic cerebral palsy and was left by his family around the time he was two.

A few years ago that diagnosis would have scared me.  I am a nurse and have dealt with lots of different diseases.  Then God blessed us with Colton.  Through Colton's struggles with his left leg, many different diagnosis, many doctors appointments, many orthotics, and many tests,  God has shown me that we can handle this.  Yesterday, I was parent reader in Colton's class.  I was running late and forgot the pile of books, so I picked one off the bookshelf in his class.  It was a children's Christmas book by Max Lucado about a lamb (I can't think of the name right now).  Anyway, the lamb is crippled, and the sweet story was about how God had a special plan for him. The lamb didn't like being different and always felt different.  As we were leaving, we had a few minutes by ourselves (which is rare in a family with 5 kids) and I asked Colton what he thought about the story.  I asked if he felt different, he said "yes, my brace makes me feel different"  I then asked if it made him feel bad about himself and he replied, "why would I feel bad?"  Oh, I love that little guy.  I am sure there will be  times when being different will be hard, but I pray that he knows that he was created just the way he is for a purpose.  That God wanted him to be exactly how he is.

So, back to Steven.  After several weeks of talking and praying we have begun the procedure to adopt Steven.  It is something I never dreamed we would be doing 2 months ago.  We are in the process of having our homestudy done.  There is lots of paperwork.  From all the information I have the process will take about a year.

How can you help?  First of all, pray...pray for Steven and his current living conditions.  Pray that someone hugs him today, pray that he has enough food and is warm.  We are going to be setting up a link to Reece's Rainbow.  Through the link, you can donate to the adoption costs for Steven.  This is a tax-deductible donation.  The estimated costs are about $25,000.  We are hoping that we can quickly raise this money and won't have to worry about the costs.  This amount includes all adoption fees as well as travel costs.

I will try to keep everyone updated.  I am also hoping that Caitlin, our oldest daughter, will help with this blog.